Tag Archives: orthodoxy

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.”

Aleister Crowley: The Fire and the Force on Kindle

You may be interested to hear that over the weekend Aleister Crowley: The Fire and the Force came out for the Kindle ebook reader. This book is an exploration of the work of Aleister Crowley by Don Webb published by Rûna-Raven Press.

“Aleister Crowley wrote many works himself, and many works have been written about him. Most of the latter focus on his colorful lifestyle, while others seek to interpret his meta-poetic words in terms of one or another Thelemite orthodoxy. In this volume Don Webb, former High Priest of the Temple of Set, goes beyond either of these approaches. Webb, who has himself made his way along the same arduous initiatory pathways pioneered by the First Beast, here focuses on the initiatory and philosophical meaning of Crowley’s life-work. He does so in a way that can be of personal magical benefit to all who read the book. The text of Webb’s book is divided into two sections: The first is made up of essays originally written for his inner students in the Temple of Set, the second part consists of new writings created exclusively for this book. Throughout Webb guides the reader in a fascinating initiatory journey along the Left Hand Path with ‘Uncle Al,’ like Vergil, at his side.”

Also, you may be curious about an upcoming work by Don Webb in which he’s writing a pestilential commentary to the Book of the Law. I’ll post more about that when I myself know more, but I hear that this new work will mention the Hermetic Library; so I’m certainly curious now if I wasn’t already!

New theophiliacs post is a survey of Sufism as a mystical and reconciliatory movement within Islam

New theophiliacs post at “Islamic Mysticism: Sufism as Reconciliatory Movement” is a survey of Sufism as a mystical and reconciliatory movement within Islam.

“So, here is the discussion I want to have about this piece of research: Do you think mysticism is a common enough thread to open dialogue between religions? I am under the impression that most (all?) religions have their own mystics, so what about the human condition and pursuit for experiential knowledge of the divine drives mystics? I, again, cannot get over how many similarities exist between the development of Islamic orthodoxy and Christianity (no matter how loudly critics shout about the differences that do exist, and I do acknowledge that those differences exist).”