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Living Gnosticism: An Ancient Way of Knowing [Paperback]

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Item description for Living Gnosticism: An Ancient Way of Knowing by Jordan Stratford...

Twenty-two centuries ago in Alexandria, a sect of philosopher-poets fashioned a myth the strands of which weave through Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Greek philosophy, and inspired the legends of the Holy Grail. Long banished to the realm of notorious heresy, the myths of the Gnostics took root in the fertile imagination of the nineteenth century's artistic movements and esoteric circles, bearing fruit in the daily spiritual practice of thousands today. In 1945, a library of Gnostic writings surfaced form the Egyptian desert, allowing the movement--after 1500 years of propaganda and slander--to speak with its own voice. Rich in imagery, nostalgic in tone, Gnosticism quietly restores Wisdom to her place as a Goddess in Western religion, reveres Eve as the first saint, and acknowledges Mary Magdelene as foremost of the Apostles.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   132
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.9" Width: 5" Height: 0.3"
Weight:   0.3 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 2007
Publisher   Apocryphile Press
ISBN  1933993537  
ISBN13  9781933993539  

Availability  132 units.
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1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > Gnosticism

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Reviews - What do customers think about Living Gnosticism: An Ancient Way of Knowing?

Living Gnosticism  Feb 23, 2008
A must read for anyone interested in Gnosticism. Unlike so many other books I have read on the subject the author discusses his concepts in language anyone can understand.

Well worth the read!
Gnosticism is not orthodox Christianity, nor is it Paganism  Feb 17, 2008
Gnosticism, says Canadian Gnostic priest Jordan Statford (and blogger), is not a Jewish or Christian heresy, but stands alone, "too heretical for other faiths. . . . the Secret Church of the Holy Grail."

His new book, Living Gnosticism: An Ancient Way of Knowing, defines it as "a pre-Christian religious tradition that fuse Judaism, Greek philosophy, and the Mystery Schools of the ancient world.

"Originating in the intellectual 'café societies' of Alexandria around 200 BCE, the original Gnostics were Greek-educated Jews, living in Egypt, on the doorstep of the Roman Empire. Theirs was the realm of diverse and interplaying cultures, of ideas and imagination. Gnostics unflinchingly explored the borders of myth and archetype, of metaphors and dreams, of creativity and poetic expression."

(Sometimes he makes them sound like beatniks of the ancient Mediterraean.)

Also included are

* A dictionary of Gnostic terms such as archon and demiurge.

* A ritual calendar that starts with Candlemas, equating Bridget with Sophia, both as "goddesses" of wisdom and creativity, and runs through the feast of the apostle John, December 27. (Not real goddesses but "symbol[s] for an aspect of something greater.")

* A question-and-answer section, viz., "Do Gnostics deny the historical Jesus?"

Answer: He is an archetype; "these stories don't need to be historically true to be valuable."

* An introduction to the various Gnostic churches of North America: the Apostolic Johannite Church, the Ecclesia Gnostica, the Ecclesia Gnostica Mysteriorum, the Gnostic Church of Mary Magdalene, the Order of St. Esclarmonde (a Cathar mystic executed by the Inquisition).

It's an excellent introduction to the topic.

There is no original sin in Stratford's Gnosticism; instead there is a story of loss. (I have suggested before that this story underlies the appeal of such fantasies as Anna Anderson's claim to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia.)

All Gnostics are in exile from heaven; they need to be reminded of their divine spark within; they need to be told that "the system" is not the world. And salvation comes not from faith-there is the rupture with orthodox Christianity-nor from works, but through enlightenment, gnosis.

Stratford wants to contrast Gnosticism with the "credal" or doctrinal religions. I think the opposite term to "credal" (following Harvey Whitehouse) is "imagistic" - not dependent on doctrine but on small-scale experience involving all the senses.

Stratford, in fact, wishes to link one of Gnosticism's arms to contemporary Paganism, but I am not so sure of that.

Ultimately there is a chasm between them. Gnosticism cannot be separated from a belief that the world was simply made wrong: "There's that certainty that something is wrong with the universe, and creeping paranoia that (a) this is somehow not the real world and (b) the forces in charge of this world are hiding something secret, something powerful." It is a religion of psychic exile.

By contrast, Paganism allows sacred relationships "with the tangible, sentient, and/or nonempirical," to use Michael York's definition from Pagan Theology: Paganism as a World Religion.

We may say that there is more to the world than This Side (the "nonempirical" part, but we don't reject any of it. The gods pop up everywhere: Aphrodite in a shoe-store window display, as Ginette Paris once said.

Some Pagans may feel alienated (for good cause), but we have no reason to be in exile. This is our world, the parts that you can see and the parts that you cannot.
Highly Recommended  Jan 9, 2008
Living Gnosticism, by Gnostic Priest Jordan Stratford, manages to be both poetic and highly informative.

There are quite a few books about Gnosticism floating around, but this is written from within the tradition, by an active participant a growing Gnostic community.

There is a little bit of something for everyone here. Those new to Gnosticism will find it a very readable and comprehensive introduction. Those who have been around a while will find Fr. Jordan's perspective and poetry refreshing and inspiring.
Good introduction to gnosticism as a contemporary faith  Jan 4, 2008
Those who follow Jordan Stratford's writing will not be surprised by the poetic sensibilities and thoughtful reflection which run through this small and beautifully designed volume.

Readers may differ from Stratford in their evaluations of some historical and theological matters, but this is not a book intended as a contribution to academic debate. Rather, we are presented with contemporary gnosticism (and its heritage) as seen through the eyes of one of its most articulate practitioners.

This book will be of considerable interest to the gnostic community, to spiritual seekers intrigued by gnosticism, as well as to those who study new religious movements and independent sacramental churches.
Gnosticism as poetry  Dec 30, 2007
Not meant as a a competition to academic studies of Gnosticism, Fr Jordan lives & writes as a Gnostic priest within the independant Gnostic Church movement.

Modern Gnosticism is not focussed on polemic or dogmatic theology, but is meant to be a guide to each individuals' experience of the Divine directly. Fr Jordan writes of the mythologies & allegories of Gnosticism that relate directly to the mystical experience; stories that appeal to the soul rather than merely to the intellect.

If you are a student of Gnosticism, there is material here for you; but if you wish to know more about the living Gnostic Path than is available in other books, from someone actually living within it, then this book is meant for you.


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