Tag Archives: early christianity

Omnium Gatherum: July 20th, 2014

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for July 30th, 2014

Afterlife with Archie issue 6
“Afterlife With Archie” Issue 6 is a comic every Lovecraft fan will enjoy — Mike Davis, Lovecraft eZine

 

Here are some top gatherum posts from the BBS this week:

  • The Baphomet Sculpture Hidden in Brooklyn — Jena Cumbo, Village Voice

    “Lucien Greaves (a.k.a. Doug Mesner), one of the people who commissioned the sculpture, that now sits in a warehouse in Red Hook, Brooklyn, asked the sculptor — we’ll call him “Jack” — to forgo the breasts. This Baphomet is smooth-chested and muscular, with thin, shapely lips and rectangular pupils. The sculptor based his physique on a blend of Michelangelo’s David and Iggy Pop.”

  • ‘Join us in our ritual,’ beckons Cthulhu-based cryptocurrency — Adrianne Jeffries, The Verge

    “Written in the voodoo cultspeak of futurist horror writer H.P. Lovecraft’s short story, ‘The Call of Cthulhu,’ the creepy Cthulhu Offerings may be the most confusing digital currency yet.

    ‘The time draws near, the return of The Great Old One is upon us,’ writes the developer. ‘Join us in our ritual.'”

  • 70,000 Year-Old African Settlement Unearthed — Past Horizons

    “During ongoing excavations in northern Sudan, Polish archaeologists from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology in Poznań, have discovered the remains of a settlement estimated to 70,000 years old. This find, according to the researchers, seems to contradict the previously held belief that the construction of permanent structures was associated with the so-called Great Exodus from Africa and occupation of the colder regions of Europe and Asia.”

  • The Occult Knowledge – Strategies of Epistemology in La Société Voudon Gnostique — Maria Liberg, a Bachelor thesis in Religious Studies at University of Gothenburg, supervised by Henrik Bogdan

    “The academic research on Western esotericism in general and contemporary occultism in particular has been largely neglected in earlier scholarship and has only recently gained serious academic attention. This thesis examines how the contemporary occult group, La Société Voudon Gnostique, headed by David Beth and an organization under the general current Voudon Gnosis, legitimate their claims to knowledge, mainly through three discursive strategies of epistemology offered by Olav Hammer, namely: the appeal to (1) tradition; (2) scientism as a language of faith; and narratives of (3) experience. Since Hammer argues that these strategies can be found in esoteric currents in general, but only examines theosophy, anthroposophy and New Age as well as only examining “esoteric spokespersons” this thesis aims at examine them in relation to contemporary occultism as well as in relation to both the spokesperson and to “ordinary adherents”. In order do this, La Société Voudon Gnostique works as a case study in qualification of being a contemporary occult group that has gained no academic attention before.

    The conclusions of this thesis are that the strategies are all prevalent, to a more or less extent, in La Société Voudon Gnostique and they are also used by the adherents. Besides the strategies proposed by Hammer, this thesis argues that the secrecy and elitist approach, which can be found in the texts, also can be seen as a discursive strategy of epistemology.”

  • Christian Persecution: The Movie! — Scott Stenwick, Augoeides; about the forthcoming movie Persecuted

    “Persecuted, is based on a laughably impossible premise that the audience is supposed to find threatening. In this case, it’s the government attempting to legislate religion, something Poor Oppressed Christians are totally for until they realize that religious freedom also applies to non-Christians. Then they go off the rails about how wrong and unfair it is that they aren’t treated as special and given more privileges than everyone else.”

  • The True History of Libertarianism in America: A Phony Ideology to Promote a Corporate Agenda — Mark Ames, NSFWCORP at Alternet

    “Pull up libertarianism’s floorboards, look beneath the surface into the big business PR campaign’s early years, and there you’ll start to get a sense of its purpose, its funders, and the PR hucksters who brought the peculiar political strain of American libertarianism into being — beginning with the libertarian movement’s founding father, Milton Friedman.”

    “That is how libertarianism in America started: As an arm of big business lobbying.”

  • Aldous Huxley quoted at Reversed Alchemy — Michael Gilleland, Laudator Temporis Acti

    “Certain authors possess the secret of a kind of reversed alchemy; they know how to turn the richest gold into lead. The most interesting subjects become in their hands so tedious that we can hardly bear to read about them.”

  • Ian Clark quoted at The Limits of “Unlimited” — Barbara Fister, Inside Higher Ed

    “By speaking up, we are not only defending public libraries but the entire notion of public services. Silence is not how we defend ourselves against an ideological battle, it is how we surrender.”

  • More Songs for the Witch Woman — John Coulthart, feuilleton

    “It’s been a great pleasure in recent years seeing the welling of interest in Cameron’s work. In 2001 when I was compiling notes for an abandoned study of occult cinema, Cameron as artist, witch or mere human being was a shadowy presence about whom nothing substantial seemed to have been written; her art was impossible to see anywhere, all one had were fleeting references in books”

  • Love Spells — Sarah Anne Lawless

    “Love spells are black magic. Love spells to manipulate the body, heart, and soul. Love spells to dominate, to bind, to cause destruction and madness and pain.

    Love spells are not about love, they are about the lustful eye and the selfish heart. Be honest with yourself about it and then move on to the work at hand.”

  • Bible Stories for Newly Formed and Young Corporations — Tom the Dancing Bug, Boing Boing

    Tom the Dancing Bug Bible-stories for Young Corporations detail

     

  • Stick-Gods — Inonibird

    “‘Stick-Gods’ is the culmination of over a dozen years of fascination with Ancient Egypt—particularly, its mythology and deities. Whether you’re studying Egyptology, a practicing Kemetic or just a fan of myths, there should be something in there for you! I’m doing my best to balance informed content with a fair bit of silliness. …And puns. Lots of puns.”

    Inonibird Stick-Gods

     

  • William Blake’s Sexual Path to Spiritual Vision, by Marsha Keith Schuchard — Gesigewigu’s, Spiral Nature; a review of William Blake’s Sexual Path to Spiritual Vision from Inner Traditions

    “Reading William Blake one cannot help but realize this is a man who is both religious and spiritually active, especially his poems known as the prophecies. The question is what was the nature of his spiritual life? What inspired Blake to create works that are both heavily Christian and at the same time antagonistic to many Christian ideals? The surprising answer is laid out as Schuchard leads us back into the complex religious web of mystical Christianity of the 17th and 18th century.”

  • A Victim of Drunken Channeling — Scott Stenwick, Augoeides

    “Aleister Crowley criticized spiritism as ‘a sort of indiscriminate necromancy’ because of a complete lack of formal magical procedures and protections, in which many mediums simply opened themselves up to whatever spiritual force happened to be present. Modern channelers such as Knight still employ essentially the same methods that Crowley was talking about. As such, there’s a real possibility that any channeling attempt could reach just about any spirit, like some sort of metaphysical Chatroulette.”

  • Mary Magdalene and the Gospel according to Mary — Kate Cooper; an edited excerpt from Band of Angels: The Forgotten World of Early Christian Women from Overlook Press

    “The argument between the four disciples seems to be our anonymous writer’s way of exploring the different positions being taken by the men and women of his own day on the question of an alternative tradition being handed down by women. But he is also expressing his concern that the Church is changing, and not for the better. In his eyes, Peter seems to represent the voice of a faction in the community which wants to ‘make rules or lay down laws other than the Saviour gave’ – in other words, a group that wants to develop an institutional structure to replace the more fluid and informal movement of the early decades. This was clearly a topical warning after the death of the disciples who had known Jesus. Levi thinks that the new rules are a way of drawing the community away from fulfilling its task of preaching the gospel. The anonymous writer seems to be using Levi to suggest that too much emphasis on authority from the ‘Peter faction’ is stifling the Church.”

  • “Afterlife With Archie” Issue 6 is a comic every Lovecraft fan will enjoy — Mike Davis, Lovecraft eZine

    “As the story begins, our heroine Sabrina Spellman is relating one of her eldritch dreams to her psychiatrist, Dr. Lovecraft. Sabrina has apparently been committed to an institution because after her aunts died in a house fire, she had a breakdown and couldn’t deal with the reality of their death.

    But is that really what happened?”

 

If you’d like to participate in the Omnium Gatherum, head on over to the Gatherum discussions at the Hrmtc Underground BBS. You can check out all the other gatherum posts, like posts you enjoy, and even add your own posts with links to other things of interest, related to the subject matter of the library, from elsewhere around the Internet.

Band of Angels

Band of Angels: The Forgotten World of Early Christian Women by Kate Cooper, from Overlook Press, may be of interest. You can also read an excerpt online at the author’s site.

Kate Cooper Band of Angels from Overlook Press

“In this inspiring new history of the early Christian movement, award-winning historian Kate Cooper reveals a vivid picture of the triumphs and hardships of the first mothers of the infant church. As far as recorded history is concerned, women in the ancient world lived almost invisibly in a man’s world. Piecing together their story from the few contemporary accounts that have survived requires painstaking detective work, but it can render both the past and the present in a new light.

Following the lives of influential women across the first centuries of the church, Band of Angels tells the remarkable story of how a new way of understanding relationships took root in the ancient world. As Cooper demonstrates, women from all walks of life played an invaluable role in Christianity’s growth to become a world religion. Peasants, empresses, and independent businesswomen contributed what they could to an emotional revolution unlike anything the ancient world had ever seen.

By sharing the ideas that had inspired them, ancient women changed their own lives. But they did something more. Their story is a testament to what invisible people can achieve, and to how the power of ideas can change the world, one household at a time.”

Adam, Eve, and the Serpent

Adam, Eve, and the Serpent: Sex and Politics in Early Christianity by Elaine Pagels, the 1989 paperback edition from Vintage Books, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Elaine Pagels Adam, Eve, and the Serpent from Vintage Books

“How did the early Christians come to believe that sex was inherently sinful? When did the Fall of Adam become synonymous with the fall of all humanity? What turned Christianity from a dissident sect that championed the integrity of the individual and the idea of free will into the bulwark of a new imperial order—with the central belief that human beings cannot choose not to sin? In this provocative masterpiece of historical scholarship Elaine Pagels re-creates the controversies that racked the early church as it confronted the riddles of sexuality, freedom, and sin as embodied in the story of Genesis. And she shows what was once heresy came to shape our own attitudes toward the body and the soul.” — back cover


The Gnostic Gospels

The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels, the 1989 paperback from Vintage Books, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Elaine Pagels The Gnostic Gospels from Vintage Books

“In 1945 an Egyptian peasant unearthed what proved to be the Gnostic Gospels, the sacred books of one of the earliest Christian sects. This landmark study, a winner of both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, draws on those texts to illuminate the world of the first Christians and to examine the different ways in which both Gnostics and the orthodox constructed God, Christ, and the Church. Did Jesus literally rise from the dead? Was there only one God, and could He be both Father and Mother? Whose version of Christianity came down to us and why did it prevail? Brilliant, provocative, and stunning in its implications, The Gnostic Gospels is a radical yet accessible reconsideration of the origins of the Christian faith.” — back cover


Early Christian Heresies

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Early Christian Heresies by Joan O’Grady.

Joan O'Grady Early Christian Heresies

Gnosticism gets the lion’s share of attention in this survey of Christian unorthodoxy in antiquity, and O’Grady carefully distinguishes its qualitative difference from later heresies. Where Arians, Nestorians, and Pelagians might divide from Rome on points of doctrine, Gnostics differed with the “Great Church” (as she terms proto-Catholicism) on the very nature of the social institution of Christianity. She also appropriately identifies Gnosticism with the Neoplatonic culture of late antiquity, although further speculation on the non-Christian origins of Gnosticism (not to mention the non-Judaic origins of Christianity) is decidedly muted.

O’Grady’s book is not a piece of imposing scholarship; it’s more of a reflective journalistic approach. She’s almost painfully even-handed in her evaluations of heterodoxy and orthodoxy. To her credit, she does treat orthodoxy as a phenomenon demanding an explanation, rather than a mere given.

As an accessible, wide-angle treatment of its topic, it is better than passable. The author fails to disclose her own religious identity, but it’s probably safe to infer that she is a believing Christian, based on the extent to which she valorizes the survival and development of the Christian tradition. [via]

The Gnostic Religion

The Gnostic Religion: The message of the alien God and the beginnings of Christianity by Hans Jonas, the 1963 second revised paperback edition from Beacon Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Hans Jonas The Gnostic Religion from Beacon Press

“Here is a full-scale study of the heretical world of Gnosticism—its literature, symbolic language and main tenets—based on actual Gnostic documents and written by an eminent authority in the field. The paperback edition of this classic contains an important new chapter entitled ‘The Recent Discoveries in the Field of Gnosticism,’ and an epilogue on ‘Gnosticism, Existentialism and Nihilism.'” — back cover


Introduction to “Gnosticism”

Introduction to “Gnosticism”: Ancient Voices, Christian Worlds by Nicola Denzey Lewis, from Oxford University Press, may be of interest. There’s an interesting review of the work over at Peje Iesous at “Nicola Denzey Lewis’ Textbook On the Gnostic Literature Is Really Useful (Or: Why I’m Glad My Class Failed Before It Got Off the Ground)” [HT Jared Calaway] which may also interest you, especially since it highlights this book’s apparently good exploration of the way the term “Gnosticism” can be problematic. The review seems to suggest this is a new work for 2013, but I notice that Amazon has 2012 as the publication date; but, it is at least recent for some reasonably flexible value of recent either way.

Nicola Denzey Lewis Introduction to "Gnosticism" from Oxford University Press

“Discovered in Egypt in 1945, the fascinating and challenging Nag Hammadi writings forever changed our understanding of early Christianity. State-of-the-art and the only volume of its kind, Introduction to “Gnosticism”: Ancient Voices, Christian Worlds guides students through the most significant of the Nag Hammadi texts. Employing an exceptionally lucid and accessible writing style, Nicola Denzey Lewis groups the texts by theme and genre, places them in the broader context of the ancient world, and reveals their most inscrutable mysteries.

Ideal for use in courses in Early Christianity/Origins of Christianity, Christianity to 1500, Gnostic Gospels, Gnosticism, Early Christian Writings, Orthodoxy and Heresy, and New Testament Studies, Introduction to ‘Gnosticism’ is enhanced by numerous pedagogical features, including images of the manuscripts, study and discussion questions, annotated bibliographies, tables, diagrams, and a glossary.” [via]

Omnium Gatherum: August 14, 2013

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together …

Alton Brown FC The Brewers - Be Afraid...
“In case of bewilderment Crowley Ales were brewed in Alton.” [via]

 

  • Five hundred new fairytales discovered in Germany” — Victoria Sussen-Messerer, theguardian.com

    “A whole new world of magic animals, brave young princes and evil witches has come to light with the discovery of 500 new fairytales, which were locked away in an archive in Regensburg, Germany for over 150 years. The tales are part of a collection of myths, legends and fairytales, gathered by the local historian Franz Xaver von Schönwerth (1810–1886) in the Bavarian region of Oberpfalz at about the same time as the Grimm brothers were collecting the fairytales that have since charmed adults and children around the world.”

    “Their main purpose was to help young adults on their path to adulthood, showing them that dangers and challenges can be overcome through virtue, prudence and courage.”

  • Reza Aslan—Historian?” — Elizabeth Castelli, The Nation

    “Simply put, Zealot does not break new ground in the history of early Christianity. It isn’t clear that any book framed as a “the life and times of Jesus of Nazareth” could, in fact, do so. Indeed, if it had not been thrust into the limelight by an aggressive marketing plan, the painfully offensive Fox News interview, and Aslan’s own considerable gifts for self-promotion, Zealot would likely have simply been shelved next to myriad other examples of its genre, and everyone could get back to their lives. As it is, the whole spectacle has been painful to watch. And as it is with so many spectacles, perhaps the best advice one might take is this: Nothing to see here, people. Move along.”

  • Guerilla Open Access Manifesto” — Aaron Swartz

    “With enough of us, around the world, we’ll not just send a strong message opposing the privatization of knowledge — we’ll make it a thing of the past.”

  • ‘Agrippa Was a Chaos Magician!’ Redux” — Jack Faust, Dionysian Atavism; links to Austin Osman Spare‘s The Book of Pleasure

    “All of this leads us to conclude that Spare – despite his loathing for many magicians – was practicing, at times, highly traditional tactics of magical utility.”

  • Because I Can’t Sleep: Thoughts on Sigils” — Jack Faust, Dionysian Atavism; links to Austin Osman Spare‘s The Logomachy of Zos and Automatic Drawing

    “Any sigil that produces a sense of working for you can be used. All this really requires of you is consistently using it, playing with different means of expressing your desires, or applying the technique where it best fits.”

    “The versatility to the technique lies with you.”

  • The Aim of Magic” — Edred Thorsson, Edred Speaks (a reincarnation of Edred.net)

    “The rites are quite mysterious, but not in the sense that we do not know what they mean, or that they are obscure in their significance. On the contrary the mysteries lie not in what the formulas are, and rather in how the formulas work.”

  • New meta-analysis checks the correlation between intelligence and faith” — Akshat Rathi, Ars Technica

    “Overall, Zuckerman, Silberman, and Hall conclude that, according to their meta-analysis, there is little doubt a significant negative correlation exists (i.e. people who are more religious score worse on varying measures of intelligence). The correlation is more negative when religiosity measures beliefs rather than behavior. That may be because religious behavior may be used to help someone appear to be part of a group even though they may not believe in the supernatural.

    So why do more intelligent people appear to be less religious? There are three possible explanations. One possibility is that more intelligent people are less likely to conform and, thus, are more likely to resist religious dogma. A 1992 meta-analysis of seven studies found that intelligent people may be more likely to become atheists when they live in religious societies, because intelligent people tend to be nonconformists.

    The most common explanation is that intelligent people don’t like to accept any beliefs that are not subject to empirical tests or logical reasoning. Zuckerman writes in the review that intelligent people may think more analytically, which is “controlled, systematic, and slow”, as opposed to intuitively, which is “heuristic-based, mostly non-conscious, and fast.” That analytical thinking leads to lower religiosity.

    The final explanation is that intelligence provides whatever functions religion does for believers.”

  • Confessions of a ‘High Priestess’ in America’s Notorious ‘Love Cults’,” Chapter VIII — Marian Dockerill, St. Petersburg Times, May 2, 1926

    “Gurdjieff believes that almost all people, whether intelligent or unintelligent, are not fully ‘awake,’ either physically or mentally. He believes that the body is capable of something like ten times more skill and coordination and effort than the body ordinarily is able to put forth, and he believes the same thing of the mind. He seeks, in all sorts of ways, with various individuals, to ‘awaken’ and train both body and mind, so that they will be capable of using more of their stored-up, latent capacities.

    He would take pampered society women and put them to work, at hard labor, on coarse food as fare with this final object in view—and if he made the preacher drink champagne, it was for identically the same object, approached from a different way.”

  • The Year of the Witch” — Pamela J Grossman, The Huffington Post

    “Witches are midwives to metamorphosis. They are magical women, and they, quite literally, change the world.”

The Gnostic Throne of Alexandria

A post about a “Gnostic Throne” on which sat “the earthly representative of an ancient sun god” at stephan huller’s observations: The Gnostic Throne of Alexandria.

 

 

“In 828 CE a simple but quite beautiful object was removed from Alexandria and taken to Venice by a group of Italian pirates. The object in question was an alabaster chair, said to be the legendary Throne of St. Mark, the Christian apostle and gospel writer who, it was claimed, had once presided over the infant church in Egypt. This object represented the very beating heart of the early Christianity. ”

Apparently, it’s the size proper for a child to sit on, as the sun at dawn.