Tag Archives: heresy

Witchcraft in the Middle Ages

Witchcraft in the Middle Ages by Jeffrey Burton Russell, the 1992 fourth printing paperback from Cornell University Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Jeffrey Burton Russell Witchcraft in the Middle Ages from Cornell University Press

“All the known theories and incidents of witchcraft in Western Europe from the fifth to the fifteenth century are brilliantly set forth in this engaging and comprehensive history. Building on a foundation of newly discovered primary sources and recent secondary interpretations, Professor Russell first establishes the facts and then explains the phenomenon of witchcraft in terms of its social and religious environment, particularly in relation to medieval heresies. He treats European witchcraft as a product of Christianity, grounded in heresy more than in the magic and sorcery that have existed in other societies. Skillfully blending narration with analysis, he shows how social and religious changes nourished the spread of witchcraft until large portions of medieval Europe were in its grip—’from the most illiterate peasant to the most skilled philosopher or scientist.’ A significant chapter in the history of ideas and their repression is illuminated by this book. Our growing fascination with the occult gives the author’s affirmation that witchcraft arises at times and in areas afflicted with social tensions a special quality of immediacy.” [via]


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]

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]

Apocalyptic Witchcraft in Bibliotheque Rouge edition

Scarlet Imprint has announced that Apocalyptic Witchcraft is now available in paperback edition as part of the Bibliotheque Rouge series.

Bibliotheque Rouge edition of Apocalyptic Witchcraft from Scarlet Imprint

“The spectre of witchcraft is haunting the West, the dead giving up their secrets. This is a ritual unveiling of these mysteries. It is a vision and a revelation of the mytho-poetic structure of the Art.

Apocalyptic Witchcraft is a bold project which does not seek to impose an orthodoxy on what is the heresy of heresies. Instead, it suggests a way forward.

Apocalyptic Witchcraft gives a compelling and profound account of the Sabbat and Wild Hunt as living experiences. These are the core of our ritual practice. Dream, lunar and, critically, menstrual magic are explored as a path to this knowledge. The wolf, the Devil, and the Goddess of witchcraft are then encountered in a landscape that ultimately reveals the witch to her or himself. These are not separate threads, but arise from a deep mythic structure and are woven together into a single unifying vision. Alternating between polemic, poetic and ecstatic prose, an harmonious course is revealed in a sequence of elegant stratagems. The book is threaded together with a cycle of hymns to Inanna, pearls on the tapestry of night. Seemingly disparate aspects are joined into a vision which is neither afraid of blessing nor curse. This is a daring undertaking, born from both urgency and need. It offers a renewed sense of purpose and meaning for a witchcraft that has seen many of its treasured ideas about itself destroyed. An apocalyptic age demands an Apocalyptic Witchcraft, and this is a book which is offered up to revolutionise the body of the craft, a way out of the dark impasse.

Tradition is not static, it flows, and this work pours forth a vision for the future. Founded in pilgrimage and ritual, encountered in dreams and gleaned from the conversations of both doves and crows, a remarkable narrative unfolds. Its wings span from pre-history, through the witch-panic and it emerges fully fledged into our present moment of crisis. It offers a witchcraft for our time. Apocalyptic Witchcraft is a controversial, luminous text. A shuddering paroxysm of eternal renewal beneath the serpent moon.

It is neither a how-to book, nor a history, rather it is a magical vision of the Art in its entirety.” [via]

Apocalyptic Witchcraft

Apocalyptic Witchcraft by Peter Grey is the newest title from Scarlet Imprint (of which Peter Grey is the co-founder), available for pre-order, and expected to arrive before the Vernal Equinox in two editions, followed later by a bibliotheque rouge paperpack. I don’t see information about this on their website or blog yet I can link to directly, though by the time you read this there may be something, so I quote from email at length:

“The spectre of Witchcraft is haunting the West, the dead giving up their secrets.
This is a ritual unveiling of these mysteries. It is both a vision and a revelation of the mytho-poetic structure of the Art.
Apocalyptic Witchcraft is a bold project which does not seek to impose an orthodoxy on what is the heresy of heresies.
Instead, it suggests a way forward.

Apocalyptic Witchcraft gives a compelling and profound account of the Sabbat and Wild Hunt as living experiences. These are the core of our ritual practice.

Dream, lunar and, critically, menstrual magic are explored as a path to this knowledge. The wolf, the Devil, and the Goddess of witchcraft are then encountered in a landscape that ultimately reveals the witch to her or himself. These are not separate threads, but arise from a deep mythic structure and are woven together into a single unifying vision. Alternating between polemic, poetic and ecstatic prose, an harmonious course is revealed in a sequence of elegant stratagems. The book is threaded together with a cycle of hymns to Inanna, pearls on the tapestry of night. Seemingly disparate aspects are joined into a vision which is neither afraid of blessing nor curse. This is a daring undertaking, born from both urgency and need. It offers a renewed sense of purpose and meaning for a witchcraft that has seen many of its treasured ideas about itself destroyed. An apocalyptic age demands an Apocalyptic Witchcraft, and this is a book which is offered up to revolutionise the body of the craft, a way out of the dark impasse.

Tradition is not static, it flows, and this work pours forth a vision for the future. Founded in pilgrimage and ritual, encountered in dreams and gleaned from the conversations of both doves and crows, a remarkable narrative unfolds. Its wings span from pre-history, through the witch-panic and it emerges fully fledged into our present moment of crisis. It offers a witchcraft for our time. Apocalyptic Witchcraft is a controversial, luminous text. A shuddering paroxysm of eternal renewal beneath the serpent moon.

It is neither a how-to book, nor a history, rather it is a magical vision of the Art in its entirety.

Contents

Exordium
A Manifesto of Apocalyptic Witchcraft
She is Without
The Cup, the Cross and the Cave
A Spell to Awaken England
The Scaffold of Lightning
The Children that are Hidden Away
A Wolf sent forth to snatch away a Lamb
Fifteen
Hic Rhodus, Hic Salta!

 

Peter Grey is the co-founder of Scarlet Imprint. His previous work The Red Goddess has become the standard work on Babalon. Apocalyptic Witchcraft represents his mature understanding of these mysteries, working in conjunction with Lover and accomplice Alkistis Dimech. This is his second book length work and the first title we have devoted to witchcraft.

 

The standard Of the Doves edition
1000 exemplars

The standard Of the Doves edition is bound in black linen. The boards are stamped with white doves, whose hidden meaning is elucidated in the text.
Lyrical typography and carefully chosen images communicate further understanding. All pre-ordered copies will be signed.

£40 plus postage

UK pre-order
European pre-order
USA, Canada and Worldwide pre-order

 

The fine bound Of the Crows edition
81 exemplars

Bound in a hand-grained morocco of hammered gold. The leather is charged with a murder of crows, a totem of the author.
The ends are blackened. The book comes ribboned, slipcased and signed.

£200 plus secure postage

UK pre-order
European pre-order
USA, Canada and Worldwide pre-order

 

(A Bibliotheque Rouge paperback and digital editions will also be available in due course)

Two launch parties are being held in the East and West, with brief readings given and more extensive libations poured.
Come and join us at the charming Labyrinth Books on the eve before The Occult Conference in Glastonbury, or in London at the esteemed Atlantis Bookshop.

Labyrinth Books
Glastonbury High Street
Friday March 22, 6.30-8.30pm
Please rsvp to be added to the guestlist:
labyrinthbooks@aol.com

Atlantis Bookshop
Museum Street, London.
Saturday April 6, 7.30-10.30pm
Please rsvp to be added to the guestlist:
atlantis@theatlantisbookshop.com

 

This title is already with our printers and will ship before the Vernal Equinox.”

Heretics and Heresies

You may be interested in Heretics and Heresies by Robert G. Ingersoll, newly released over at Project Gutenberg. This appears to be part of a larger work, The Gods and Other Lectures, of which a number of parts are also available via the Robert G. Ingersoll author page.

LIBERTY, A WORD WITHOUT WHICH ALL OTHER WORDS ARE VAIN.

WHOEVER has an opinion of his own, and honestly expresses it, will be guilty of heresy. Heresy is what the minority believe; it is the name given by the powerful to the doctrine of the weak. This word was born of the hatred, arrogance and cruelty of those who love their enemies, and who, when smitten on one cheek, turn the other. This word was born of intellectual slavery in the feudal ages of thought. It was an epithet used in the place of argument. From the commencement of the Christian era, every art has been exhausted and every conceivable punishment inflicted to force all people to hold the same religious opinions. This effort was born of the idea that a certain belief was necessary to the salvation of the soul. Christ taught, and the Church still teaches, that unbelief is the blackest of crimes. God is supposed to hate with an infinite and implacable hatred, every heretic upon the earth, and the heretics who have died are supposed at this moment to be suffering the agonies of the damned. The Church persecutes the living and her God burns the dead.”

Killing the Buddha post about heresy reviews God Interrupted

Killing the Buddha post about heresy at The Heretical Imperative reviews God Interrupted.

“To adopt Lazier’s title, the modern predicament is one in which God’s call is ‘interrupted.’ The orthodox solution to this dilemma is to act as though she can still hear the word of God with complete clarity, while the atheist’s solution is to clap her ears against the ever-quieter echoes of past revelation. The Jewish intellectuals discussed by Lazier present us with a third option: to open our ears to nature, and to one another.”