Item description for The Other Bible by Willis Barnstone...
Overview Presents a comprehensive overview of the ancient texts excluded from the official canon of the Bible and provides extensive introductions to such major writings as the Gnostic Gospels, the Dead Sea scrolls, the Kabbalah, wisdom texts, and the Apocrypha. Reprint.
A new edition of our classic, The Other Bible, including a new index, new cover, and a new introduction from the author to bring The Other Bible up to date.
The Other Bible gathers in one comprehensive volume ancient, esoteric holy texts from Judeo-Christian tradition that were excluded from the official canon of the Old and New Testaments, including the Gnostic Gospels, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Kabbalah, and several more. The Other Bible provides a rare opportunity to discover the poetic and narrative riches of this long-suppressed literature and experience firsthand its visionary discourses on the nature of God, humanity, the spiritual life, the world around us, and infinite worlds beyond this one.
This new edition will include a full index and a new introduction from editor Willis Barnstone.
o The interest in Gnostic texts begun with The Da Vinci Code has spread to include many of the other "suppressed" early texts of Judaism and Christianity, and this book contains many of them in one volume.
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Reviews - What do customers think about The Other Bible?
The Other Perspective Mar 24, 2007
As Mr. Barnstone so ably points out in his introduction, "Had events been otherwise and certain of these inspired texts incorporated in our Bible, our understanding of the tradition of religious thought would have been radically altered." Much as we might wish to believe that truth is the foundation of religious constructs and "holy books" are the divinely inspired word of God, The Other Bible awakens us to the fact that both are the result of arbitrary choices made by those with specific agendas that included the desire for power and control. While Barnstone does not ask that we discard familiar writings, he does invite the reader to consider other valid texts that offer another perspective. Any serious seeker will do well to avail themselves of the invitation.
Barnstone's opening introduction and the short explanations offered before each text aid the reader in gaining a sense of time and place. Barnstone also offers knowledgeable insights that shed light on the wording and symbolism used in each text. We would, however, offer a word of caution to the reader. Mystical and Gnostic writings are not literalist works and cannot be taken at face value. Gnosis (knowledge) is received through personal experience, varies greatly from person to person, and is often impossible to translate into words. Spiritual insights were often couched in symbolic terms that would be meaningful only to those privy to their interpretation. While most "holy books" are static, gnosis is fluid, ever-changing and pertinent to the time and location in which it is written. Readers who expect to easily understand ancient mystical and Gnostic texts will be disappointed. On the other hand, the texts that Barnstone presents will hopefully whet the reader's appetite for their own personal gnosis. Gnosticism is alive and well, and we thank Mr. Barnstone for so ably presenting these historical texts. Lee & Steven Hager are the authors of Quantum Prodigal Son: Revisiting Jesus' Parable of the Prodigal Son from the Perspective of Quantum Mechanics.
Great refrence book Aug 25, 2006
If you have missilanious intrests in diffrent religous doctrins, this book is for you. Some of everything. However, the book of Enoch is here in part, but if you want that great book (WHICH I KNOW YOU DO) then you should just get the printed copy of it. whirlingwheels dot com
Very good collection of extra-canonical material Mar 6, 2006
Willis Barstone, the compiler of the paralell text 'The Gnostic Bible', has here collated a wide range of diverse ancient religious literature.
In his introduction, Barstone concludes 'We have recieved a highly distorted and censored version of ancient religious literature...and now we can see these traditions free of their doctrinal strictures.' The historical evidence does support this thesis, though authors like Dan Brown tend to greatly exaggerate a 'conspiracy' to hide certain ancient documents.
What is true was that during the first few centuries after the ministry and teaching of Jesus, there was not one canonical Bible like the one we had today, but instead a very wide range of Christian movements, from Gnostics to Marcionites to the Proto-Orthodox, who all claimed to faithfully represent Jesus and his teachings. During this time all these movements produced countless Gospels, Acts, accounts of the creation of the universe, Infancy Stories and legends about Jesus and the Apostles, as well as bizarre myths about the fall of the female wisdom, Sophia, from the heights of the pleorama and the tragic creation of the God of the Old Testament, the 'Demiurge.'
With the victory of the Proto-Orthodox and the laying down of a fixed Biblical canon, the Church authorities were keen to bring the Christian religion under tight ecclesiastical control, and many works disagreeing with official doctrine were burned or destroyed, and movements deemed 'heretical' persecuted. A lot of 'Gospels' and other works of literature, as well as the literature of the Gnostics, was lost, until discoveries in the 19th and 20th centuries by scholars unearthed much material, such as the Nag Hammadi Library and the Dead Sea Scrolls. What these discoveries have shown is that Christianity was far more diverse and less unified in its beliefs than was originally thought.
In truth, the works used in the other Bible are well known to scholars of mysticism, ancient literature, philosophy, and theology, so they do not necessarily present a danger to your faith, though to the unprepared the notions in much of the literature can seem odd. In our 21st century age, we are used to finding truth in logic and science, whereas the writers of these ancient works found it in inner visions, mystical experience, and processes somewhat like the creation of art, music or poetry. As Barnstone says, there is a lot of very beautiful material material here, from the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas which emphasizes finding the divine within rather than hell and judgement, to the remarkable visions of the Books of Enoch which later were a source of imagery for the writers of Christian apocalyptic works, to the hauntingly beautiful poetry in the Odes of Solomon.
Somewhat less attractive are the rambling stories of the Aggadah, the confused and frenzied visions of the Gnostics, and their bizarre and pathological hatred of the universe, the world and the human body, the violent visions of doom and hell in the Apocalypse of Peter, and the overly long legends of the travels of the Apostles and their tedious focus on fantastic miracles. Still, there is much of religious worth and beauty in this collection, and Barnstone appropriately ends the book with quotes from the mystical Neo-Platonic Philosopher Plotinus and the shadowy Pseudo-Dionysius the Aeropagite, who would later found the mystical tradition in Christianity itself.
This book is well worth owning if you are interested in how we got the Bible, what got into it, and what didn't. In the end my view is that a lot of the material excluded is just as beautiful in a literary and religious sense as what was in the Bible (i.e. The books of Enoch, Gospel of Thomas, Odes of Solomon) and one wonders how our religious history would have unfolded had we had a different bible, or bibles, handed down to us by history.
A must for the serious Gnostic Student Jan 22, 2006
Many years ago, I attended the Clairvision School. This is a school run by the author of `Awakening the third eye', Samuel Sagan. `The Other Bible' was on a list of recommend books to read. After reading `The Other Bible' I asked Samael about Gnosis. I discovered that Samuel's teachings had Gnosis as a foundation. The profoundness of `The Other Bible' has stayed with me these many years later as I still work at unravelling its mysteries.
For those who are interested in Gnosis or are already in a Gnostic School, I cannot stress enough the benefits of reading the Gnostic manuscripts contained within `The Other Bible'. This information is foundational and 'The Other Bible' is a great resource. In a lot of ways, it is no use for me to try and describe the Gnostic scripts contained in the other bible; you simply have to read these for yourself. Having said this, the other bible does contain other scripts that are definitely of a Judeo-Christian leaning.
Having read a large number of Judeo-Christian manuscripts, I found `The Other Bible' difficult when it came to the Gnostic Scripts. The Gnostic scripts are 'Other worldly'. The reason for this is that they are describing higher spiritual realms and states. Anything that I did not understand, I would shelve, as apposed to judge. This was especially true when it came to reading of the Demiurge (creator of this world) and fall of the Divine Sophia (feminine aspect of God). It has taken me many years for only certain aspects of these Gnostic scripts to fall into place. This is the nature of Gnosis, especially if you are trying to grasp it with the intellect or fallible mind. Those who are familiar with koans will understand what I am talking about.
I would also recommend the `Pistis Sophia' by Samael Aun Weor for further Gnostic readings. This version has commentary, so you will be able to get a better handle on what this amazing book has to offer.
The Other Bible Oct 3, 2005
First of all, you must have a very strong faith to begin reading any book that claims to include lost or missed scriptures or Biblical histories. The writings are VERY interesting! Included are events from Christ's childhood (very interesting). Prophetic books are added and changed from what we read in the Bible as we know it. A must read. As initially stated, your faith must be very strong because much of what you believe as a Christian (or non-Christian) will be challenged. The book arrived in excellent condition, as promised by the seller, although almost 4 weeks after my order. This was my first order via this site from a private person. In the future, I will check the cost of shipping vs. anticipated receipt.