Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Changes

Ever so often I like to change the look of the blog. If fact, Seeker of Sophia has been through three major thematic times in its life. I liked the first incarnation. I was quite happy with it, and it reflected something about myself at the time.

Eventually I outgrew it and decided that I could do better. So I did, and I spent some time making the layout much snazzier, in my opinion, and I was very happy with the result. I carried over part of the original theme, the rainbow gradient, light shifted and shown in so many ways, and layered a lotus blossom atop it, to symbolize growth and flowering.

So it is fitting in this time of the year, when the Sun is reborn, when we are celebrating birth of things new, when people are celebrating the changes to come, with hopefulness and faith and effort, both in the world and in themselves, that I have decided to change the look yet again. As with the first two versions of the blog, the layout represents me in a way, perhaps in only ways that I am aware of. It reflects that I am changing, hopefully growing and learning, becoming someone better than myself. All this based on what I have learned and what I continue to seek out, whether that be gnosis, Sophia and Christ, god, something to listen to, a book to read, a meal to eat, a future that I can be happy with, or simply myself.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Sacred Institution?

Here is an excerpt from an article in Newsweek, regarding gay marriages and the oft-uttered "the Bible says" arguments against them. It turns out that "the Bible says" crowd isn't being particularly factual, although in their defense most of them probably don't realize that. Link to the full article is below the quote:
Let's try for a minute to take the religious conservatives at their word and define marriage as the Bible does. Shall we look to Abraham, the great patriarch, who slept with his servant when he discovered his beloved wife Sarah was infertile? Or to Jacob, who fathered children with four different women (two sisters and their servants)? Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon and the kings of Judah and Israel—all these fathers and heroes were polygamists. The New Testament model of marriage is hardly better. Jesus himself was single and preached an indifference to earthly attachments—especially family. The apostle Paul (also single) regarded marriage as an act of last resort for those unable to contain their animal lust. "It is better to marry than to burn with passion," says the apostle, in one of the most lukewarm endorsements of a treasured institution ever uttered.
Full article is HERE.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Holy Brawl


Greek Orthodox and Armenian monks resort to violence at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Story from the BBC is here. Bizarre.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Sophia, The Wisdom of God



The above is an icon in the collection of the British Museum. It is a Russian icon from the late 17th century, depicting Sophia, God's Wisdom, along with Christ, the Theotokos ('God-bearer', Mary), and John the Baptist (a.k.a. Forerunner). Here's an excerpt from the site:
Amongst icons of the Mother of God in the collection of the British Museum is a fine icon of ‘Sophia the Wisdom of God’ (cat. no. 25) from the late 17th century. In this icon are represented two widespread versions of the symbolic union of the image of the Mother of God with the idea of Divine Wisdom ‘building her house’, understood as the creation of the earthly church. The image of the fiery-faced winged angel in the centre, according to Novgorodian tradition, arises from the prophecies of Isaiah about an angel of Great Light and the vision of John the Apostle in the Book of Revelation: ‘And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire’ (10:1).
Below is a more recent rendition of the above icon, found here:


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Reputation, Posterity and Cool = Fear

I'd like to share a blog post written by comedian/actor Patton Oswalt, in which he addressed the 2008 graduating high school class of his alma mater. Here's a quote from the post:
I completely ignored the deeper lesson which is do not judge, and get outside yourself, and realize that everyone and everything has its own story, and something to teach you, and that they’re also trying – consciously or unconsciously – to learn and grow from you and everything else around them. And they’re trying with the same passion and hunger and confusion that I was feeling – no matter where they were in their lives, no matter how old or how young.
Full post is here.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Book Sale

Last week the local public library had a book sale of old library books and donated books that were either removed from the shelves, or never made it there in the first place. I didn't know about the book sale until it was almost over, but there were many books of all sorts to be had. The stock was fairly picked over, but I think I managed to find a couple of gems, "Early Christian Doctrines", by J. N. D. Kelly (this edition published in 1978), and "Man and God: Passages chosen and arranged to express a mood about the human and divine", by Victor Gollancz (published in 1951).

Both books are exactly what they claim to be. The Kelly work is, as far as I can tell so far, a comprehensive summary of doctrines, beliefs, and ideas that were formed during the early centuries of Christianity. It is a bit dated, obviously, but I think I'll find it very informative.

The other, "Man and God" by Victor Gollancz, also seems very intriguing at first glance. There are quotes and passages assembled from both the Old and New Testaments, noted Rabbis, the Zohar, Soloviev, Saints of both the Eastern and Western Christian churches including Julian of Norwich and John Chrysostom, Beethoven, Chuang Tzu, Goethe, the Bhagavad Gita, C. G. Jung, John Macmurray, Dostoevsky, William Blake and many others. I think it's remarkable, but I haven't had much of a chance to really get into it yet. If I enjoy it as much as I am anticipating, it should be well worth the pennies I spent on it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

THE BIG GNOSTIC SECRET

...is out, people. The biggest argument that I still see against Gnosticism is that it was secretive. The implication, without fail, is that this was a dirty secret. It was so secretive in fact  some of the various Gnostic groups were known about in their own time, so secretive that there are tomes written by the likes of Irenaeus against them. It's needless to say that it wasn't a very well-kept secret.

What about now? The links to the many gnostic blogs on this page? Those aren't secret. The Nag Hammadi Library collection over at gnosis.org? That's not secret either. In fact, if you're willing to learn about Gnosticism, however broad a category that is, you'll find information plastered ALL OVER the internet. Information is also published in books at your local library or bookstore, and in academic works that may be a touch out of reach for many people, both because of their cost and academic jargon, but nevertheless, they are there. They are not secret.

So what is the real secret? It's not that you can't find the information. The real secret (which also isn't really a secret) is that you probably won't understand the information when you find it. That doesn't make you stupid, and those of us who do think we understand it, in any extent, don't think you're stupid. (We really don't think we're better than you. I'm sorry to burst that bubble.) The truth is, most of us don't fully understand it either and you would be hard-pressed to find a "modern Gnostic" or academic who will claim to. If they do they're probably lying. In fact, the real, REAL SECRET, is in the journey, and the journey only takes on meaning if you're walking it, however that may be. Anyone can walk it. Whether it's a journey that is right for you is for your own determination. Gnosticism is not something everyone will embrace, and it never will be.

Gnosticism is a complex issue, both from the perspective of those who practice it in a contemporary religious form, and for those who spend their lives studying classical Gnosticism and its umbrella of related topics. To make a practice of reducing it to such simplistic buzzwords, "secretive, elitist, dualistic", etc., is at best ill-informed, and at worst disingenuous.

By the way, if you look at all of the links on this page, click on them and see that there is indeed a vibrant modern Gnostic current, you'll see that those arguments aren't really working. "I'm just saying...", as they say.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

AFR

I've been listening to Ancient Faith Radio a lot lately. It's an online Orthodox Christian radio station featuring religious chants and music, and occasionally there are spoken word bits about Christian and specifically Orthodox topics. There is also Ancient Faith Talk, which as you might imagine, is mostly spoken word content, although they have music every so often.

I am rather drawn to it, and really enjoy listening to the music. I have an interest in the Orthodox Christian churches that keeps me coming back to the topic, which is one reason I listen to AFR as much as I do. This is all not to the exclusion of my "gnostic understanding" of the nature of things, but there is a beauty about the Orthodox churches that inspires me. Perhaps I am only seeing a romanticized version of the subject, as I am sure there are probably many Orthodox, who knowing my other spiritual persuasions, would be scandalized. Regardless, it's there, and I embrace it as it is. I don't know where this interest will take me ultimately, but I have an idea of where I would like it to lead me.

Regardless, I'll continue to listen to Ancient Faith Radio, and I encourage others to listen to it and perhaps be inspired by the Spirit of it as I have been.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

I <3 Dick

In my time away recently I have had the opportunity to, for the first time, read some of Philip K. Dick's books. If you read any gnostic blogs/forums at all, you will (or you should, anyway!) come across mentions of PKD, usually in the vein of how brilliant he was. Having had the chance to experience it for myself, I now have a better appreciation of just how awesome his ideas and his writing were and are. It leaves me wondering what it must have been like to be in his mind.

So yes, I can proudly say that Dick touches me in that special place, and makes me feel all warm and tingly on the inside. Figuratively, of course. More succinctly, "I LOVE DICK!"

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Time Away

It's been a few months since the last post. I have been somewhat away, and things have been a little hectic personally, and that has managed to pull me away from Here. I was reading The Gnostic Bible daily, and that was providing some insights I hadn't had before. That has, for now, fallen by the wayside as well. I have been keeping up with bits and pieces from the Logosphere, and reading April DeConick's Apocryphote of the Day entries (all very compelling!) over at the Forbidden Gospels Blog.

I'd like to be more focused during these ups and downs, but I haven't mastered that yet. Things happen, and you put more energy into other things, when there are things that might be more helpful that you set aside, feeling too drained or too "out of it", for the moment, to engage in.

I suppose there is the sense that these things are a luxury. Spending time on the spiritual, on the self-centered (I say that not with a negative tone) journey.. it just feels like there are other things I could and should be doing. Perhaps I haven't learned to integrate the spiritual into my life yet. It's a thing I do, not a thing I am, but that opens the existential can of worms, "who am I?" I don't entirely know the answer to that. I do know that This is important, and that I want to invest myself in it, but sometimes I simply find that the Door is not open. Sometimes I even lose the Door.

Friday, April 18, 2008

If only...

From the beginning, this one Church has been marked by a great diversity which comes from both the variety of God's gifts and the diversity of those who receive them. Within the unity of the People of God, a multiplicity of peoples and cultures is gathered together. Among the Church's members, there are different gifts, offices, conditions, and ways of life. "Holding a rightful place in the communion of the Church there are also particular Churches that retain their own traditions." [LG 13 § 2]

-- Catechism of the Catholic Church, 814

Monday, April 7, 2008

Hot Air In There

My understanding of Gnosticism is modern (and also woefully incomplete). This might seem like a ridiculous statement. Of course my view of Gnosticism would be a contemporary one, with its own nuances and perplexities. It is impossible to comprehend exactly the world of the Sethians or Valentinians et al., and it is difficult to translate their world to ours.

This is why I find that accusations of "gnosticism" (that is, a modern group or idea is labled as "gnostic", as if some great insult has been levied and the reader is now fully aware of the topic's naughtiness) are at best amusing. In these situations gnosticism is always identified as an arrogant, early dualist heresy that had a secret handshake that gave its members supAr secret knowledge, and that it was roundly tapped on the head, scolded and done away with for being the bad little child it was. This definition is, at best, patently dishonest. Those that speak against these things that they have labeled as "gnostic" surely aren't talking about what I'm talking about, and I'd be surprised if most of them had any notion of who Sethians or Valentinians were.

I pause slightly when I come across these things on blogs, tempted by the desire to correct false assertions, and simultaneously held back by the greatness of silence. Some of the things I come across are blatantly ignorant of the subject, while others seem to know just enough to twist gnosticism or gnostic ideas into something totally alien to reality (whatever that is). It is at this moment that I sometimes begin writing in the comment box, succumbing to the temptation to respond. Without fail, however, at some point before I hit submit, something always comes to mind that causes me to forget about my indignation entirely:



Thursday, March 20, 2008

...so?


VP Dick Cheney doesn't care about Americans. So I wonder.. if we should disregard the over-whelming majority who disagree with his neocon masturbatory foreign policy, can we also disregard the lesser majority, slightly over half, who put him into the office of Vice-President in the first place and, say, move up the 2008 Presidential elections? Cheney would likely not favor that notion.

This was founded to be a country based on democratic principles, where what the people think and have to say matters. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, "...government of the people, by the people, for the people". It's disheartening that it has become a place where their concerns are casually dismissed by a figure such as the Vice-President as a mere "fluctuation" of a reactionary public. In actuality, the American people are long-standing in their disapproval of this war and the Administration that has mired us in it.

I see the mocking, dismissive smirk of VP Cheney, and I can't help but think of the thousands upon thousands of men and women that have been wounded, died, or wished they had, thanks to this Administration's careless hard-on for war.

The phrase "Vote Bush, Get Dick" has never been more tangible.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Favicon Goodness

I've made a favicon that I can use to replace the default Blogger favicon. Favicons are small images that appear in the address bar, and next to links in a list of bookmarks or favorites, for example. The one to the left is 32x32 pixels and the one in the address bar is 16x16 pixels. This one is heavily inspired (read as: I copied it and made it into a favicon) by this symbol, created by Fr. Jordan Stratford+. I really like what he did with this eleven-fold, "MDCCCXC" cross. It represents "Big G", contemporary Gnosticism (and therefore a certain set of principles that define said beastie, of which I adhere to), which dates primarily to France with the 1890 (MDCCCXC) Restoration.

To download the favicon click here for the .ico (icon file) or here for the .png (image file). Then simply upload it to your server, or an image/file sharing site (Flickr, Picasa, etc.) and copy down the url, which you'll need a bit later. If you're not using your own server, it's probably best to go with the .png version. I uploaded the image via a post to a Blogger test blog of mine, and then opened up the post, right-clicked on the image and copied the location of it to get its url.

To make sure the favicon shows up like it should on your site/blog, you need to link to it in your html. To read some info about how to install a favicon, click here and read the Instructions (ignore the Create your favicon section, unless of course you have an image of your own you'd like to make into a favicon) from an excellent site, Blogger Buster.

Feel free to use it for your own website or blog. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Q & Eh?

There will, I hope, come a point where I ask myself, "Am I doing this all wrong?", and actually know the answer.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Lost Faith

Something that I have wondered about for quite some time is the role of faith in contemporary Gnosticism. Often, in mainstream Christian traditions, faith is used as a noun and is synonymous with the religion itself, e.g. "the Faith".

My impression is that faith is viewed somewhat as a naughty word in some Gnostic circles. Who needs simple belief in a thing when you already have a knowing of the thing, after all? I would agree, if the faith spoken of is a blind one. Blind faith is a mindless faith. It doesn't require examination, but simply adherence.

So what is faith to the Gnostic? For what purpose does it serve those who already know? I think of it in these terms: If gnosis is the lightbulb, "aha" moment, faith is why you reach for the light switch in the first place.

With any religion, I believe, you must make certain assumptions and hold to certain core ideas and principles for the process to have meaning. Why do I strive to maintain a praxis? Why do I continue to search out these things? Why do I seek for gnosis? I would have to attribute the answer to some level of faith, both in myself, and in the process.

I came across a translation of a section from the Gospel of Philip (Valentinian) today, on the blog of Dr. April DeConick, as translated by her:

The world's farming relies on four things. A harvest is gathered into the barn because of water, earth, wind, and light. God's farming likewise relies on four things - faith, hope, love and knowledge. Faith is our earth in which we take root. Hope is the water with which we are nourished. Love is the wind by which we grow. Knowledge is the light by which we [ripen].

I think this expresses the role of faith perfectly. It is my opinion that rejecting faith, a faith in context with love, hope, and knowledge, is anathema to the process of inner and spiritual growth.

I reserve the right to be entirely wrong, but I think we all start out with faith, that what we are doing is what we should be doing, so we keep doing it until we know. Once we know, faith remains as a map to the inner path. We keep looking to it when we are not sure of where we are, even if we know the ultimate destination. And so we trudge on.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Biblio

I got a copy of "The Other Bible", edited by Willis Barnstone, today. It's in the same vein as "The Gnostic Bible", edited by Barnstone and Marvin Meyer, which is not surprising. There is a wider net cast by Barnstone here, in that he includes Jewish, Christian, and Pagan sources along with the Gnostic elements.

I'm not deeply into it as of yet, but it looks promising. I was actually looking for Bentley Layton's "The Gnostic Scriptures", but I didn't find it in the local bookstore. I did see a copy of Robinson's "Nag Hammadi Library", but I was more interested in some of the content of "The Other Bible". I might be interested in said Robinson book in the future as it is. I was surprised to find anything overtly Gnostic at all, in all honestly. I suppose you do find a gem every now and then.

As for whether it was worth the investment, I suppose that remains to be seen, but I think it will be. I still have "The Gnostic Bible" to get through before I really jump into it, though!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Down to Earth





The above is a performance of "Isaac", by Madonna, during her Confessions tour. I had a bit of a moment when I viewed it earlier. Think what you will about Madonna, the artistry was superb. The visuals, along with some of the lyrics, and the singing by Yitzhak Sinwani in Yemenite (the words apparently mean "If all of the doors of all of the generous peoples' homes are closed to you, the gates of heaven will always be open. The creator is living above the angels, and they are all nourished from his spirit"), there were times while watching it where I certainly felt moved. The liberation of the dancer in blue held a tinge of metaphorical recognition, definitely. Also, I like me some catchy pop music.

For more there's an article from Billboard of an interview with Madonna, where she discusses the song, here.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Thirsty

I've been thinking a lot lately about where I am drawn spiritually. Obviously the pretext is that of Gnosticism, not just of gnosis, but of the larger Gnostic Restoration that began in the late 19th century and was reinvigorated with the discovery of the Nag Hammadi Library in 1945.

Having had an individual journey so far, I don't really find easy placement within the larger community, which I feel is one predominately of organized ecclesiastical communities (Apostolic Johannite Church, Ecclesia Gnostica, Alexandrian Gnostic Church, et al). I whole-heartedly believe in and support what these organizations are doing and hope to one day participate in them, but that is not where I am right now.

My jaunty little path is, right now, a solitary movement of one. This is true of all Gnostics when we are alone with our own minds, to be fair. Certainly, also, I am connected with the broader community through the shared understandings of what gnosis and Gnosticism are, at least at its core. These are explored at the Palm Tree Garden forums in the form of the "Four Point Plane", which outlines the core priniciples that most Gnostics (at least those involved at the PTG) would likely agree upon:

1. Emanations cosmology (Becoming is an extension of Being)
2 Immanent Pneumatology (Spirit is "veiled" in matter and can be "unveiled")
3. Gnostic soteriology (The experience of gnosis is what saves one from the realms of imperfection)
4. Sacramental Praxis (Gnosis is achieved by a variety of practices which seek to make the imperfect realms "holy" or sacred-- the eucharist, contemplative practice, etc.)

Those core ideas expand when you come to individual Gnostics. The many shades shift from Buddhism, to ceremonial magic and the Hermetic, to a more goddess-oriented approach, and all of this is not even to mention the differences and nuances between the various classical sects of Gnosticism (Valentinian/Sethian/etc).

All that considered, I have been thinking about what I am drawn to, what inspires me. What shades color my vision of Gnosticism? Surprisingly I have to say that I feel most attuned with the more Christian Gnostic aspects.

Not originating in Christianity, gnosticism can be quite varied even when it has been embraced within Christian contexts. Clear evidence of this is seen from any exploration of the Valentinians, to the Mandaeans, and later the Cathars. By their nature these are all gnostic movements to varying degrees, but they each express the common thread of gnosis differently. Indeed, there are major differences between some of these groups, and there is some disagreement as to whether all are properly Gnostic.

There was a point when I was adamantly anti-Christian. I rebelled against what I was lead to believe Christianity was, when what I knew of Christianity was actually more like an old teapot, covered in years of grime, dust, and neglect, dented and scuffed, blackened with age. My Gnostic perspective has allowed me to re-examine this old teapot, and as I scrub away at the layers of obfuscation, I can see the brilliant shining beneath.

I am afraid that there will always be remnants of that outer layer on the figurative teapot that I can never fully get rid of, but the truth is, I don't need to. I know what is behind it now, and I happily anticipate the nourishment I can gain from this old teapot, no matter what flavor of tea I taste or what cup I drink from.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Yitzhaq (He Laughs)

"Strive to enter the shrine within you and you will see the shrine of heaven, for the one is the same as the other and a single entrance permits you to contemplate both. The ladder leading to that kingdom is hidden within you, that is, within your soul: cleanse yourself from sin and there you will find the steps by which you ascend."
-- St. Isaac of Syria, 7th ct. Nestorian Bishop of Nineveh, hermit, and mystic

Saturday, February 9, 2008

On a Date

I've been working on another blog I created some weeks ago, although it's not a blog in the classical sense of the word. I'm using it as a personal liturgical calendar. I am also using it as a tool to learn about subjects that are important to my understanding of what being a Gnostic means, and how it is expressed.

For the most part I am going off the liturgical calendar of the AJC, with some dates from the EG, OA, and other dates that I think are personally relevant. This is more of a long term project, in that I pick a date from the calendar and I research subjects or events honored or celebrated on that day, and then summarize as a post in chronological order (it requres some manipulation of the timestamps, heh) in the blog. As you can imagine, with a calendar of 60 - 70 days, there's a lot to read through and become familiar with.

I'm finding it fairly fulfilling, personally. It's allowing me to become more aware of not only Gnostic references and ideas, but also overtly "mainstream" Christian ones, and how they relate to each other. I was raised Protestant (Southern Baptist, specifically), abandoned the church in my late childhood (I was so over it at 9 or 10, I thought), and am now drawn to more Catholic and Orthodox shades of Christianity within a Gnostic mindset. It's quite a learning experience.

Right now I work on it when I feel motivated and so far I have been choosing entries around the actual date. Currently I am working on the entry for Valentinus, honored on February 14. I know relatively little about Valentinus, certainly no more than the very basic understanding (began the Valentinian school of Gnosticism, was influenced by Platonism, wasn't very popular with Irenaeus et al, could have been a contender [for Bishop of Rome] etc). My exploration of the topic is opening up an entire umbrella of related subjects, the study of which will go on long after I finish the entry in my little calendar.

It's all very fascinating, to say the least!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Great Painted Hermes

I was in the local bookstore yesterday and managed to find a little book (I say little, it's somewhat larger than a CD case, but is a girthful 575 pages long) called Alchemy and Mysticism, by Alexander Roob.

Here is the book description from Amazon.com:
A fantastic journey through the history of esoteric lore: the great work of the alchemists (TASCHEN's 25th anniversary - Special edition) The Hermetic Museum takes its readers on a magical mystery tour spanning an arc from the mediaeval cosmogram and images of Christian mysticism, through the fascinating world of alchemy to the art of the Romantic era. The enigmatic hieroglyphs of cabbalists, Rosicrucians and freemasons are shown to be closely linked with the early scientific illustrations in the fields of medicine, chemistry, optics and colour theory. The author: Alexander Roob studied painting at the University of Fine Arts, Berlin. From 2000 to 2002, he was a professor at the University of Fine Arts, Hamburg. He has been teaching at the Academy of Fine Arts, Stuttgart since 2002.
It's quite a jewel, I think. I found it in/around the clearance shelf. The title originally caught my eye, but then I had an inner moment of quiet squealing when I realized that it was an art book, filled with intriguing hermetic works (with informative captions) and related material. It does actually contain a lot of information regarding the Hermetic, mostly as it relates to the artwork, but is largely a "surface-scratcher", so to speak. Something that also caught my eye were the inclusion of works by William Blake, which is a fact that might stir the interest of any modern Gnostic.

All things considered, I am glad I found it.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Twenty - Five

That is how old I am today. Yay me, and yay birthdays! I have been a little introspective today, and I have thought about where I am, where I thought I would be by now, and where I want to be.

I am not who I thought I would be, but I like where I am going.

I am not who I want to be, but I still have time to change that.

I don't feel at all prepared to make that change, but hopefully I have it within me to have the courage to face what I find lacking in myself.

I never would have envisioned myself as being particularly religious (whatever that means), but if I am lucky, I will have been spectacularly wrong.

In Peace.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Diversion

The title says it all, really. I think I've diverged a bit from my main goal. In this new year, and in the time of Epiphany, it is time to refocus. What better way to do so than by studying the NHL (among other things)?

That's been made a little more accessible to me lately (despite the readily available texts online, I prefer to sit down with a book in my hands). Finally I have my hands on a book I've been wanting to get for quite a while. It's actually the first "(G/g)nostic" book that I own (funds are a little tight): The Gnostic Bible, edited by W. Barnstone and M. Meyer.

I had to travel an hour away to find it; what semblance of a bookstore we have here is woefully understocked on Gnostic materials (I am only half-joking). I found my copy at a Big Chain bookstore. I was a bit torn, actually. Dr. April DeConick's book was also there, and after following along with a thread on the PTG, I very much want to read her book. I could only pick one, alas, so I went with the more (G/g)nostically comprehensive of the two.

Dr. DeConick's book is an examination of the public release of an english translation done by the National Geographic Society of the Gospel of Judas in 2006. The NGS translation, as it turns out (and according to Dr. DeConick), is at best flawed and at worst detrimental to the entire field of Early Christian studies (and beyond). Dr. Deconick's book, The Thirteenth Apostle: What the Gospel of Judas Really Says, examines Judas in the context of its Sethian roots (which I find interesting in and of itself). From what I know of her conclusions she seems to make some valid criticisms of the NGS translation and the circumstances surrounding it. I am certainly not an expert on the subject, however.

I digress.

I have to say that I find the editorial notes helpful as I read The Gnostic Bible. The footnotes and information given by the editors adds a layer of intellectual comprehension to the texts that any singular translation of the texts does not provide. In my reading so far, I highly recommend said bible. I'll be reading and pondering over it for some time to come.

For more information about April DeConick (Isla Carroll and Percy E. Turner Professor of Biblical Studies at Rice University in Houston, Texas), here are links to her website and blog.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

It's All Virtually Real

"This paper explores the idea that the universe is a virtual reality created by information processing, and relates this strange idea to the findings of modern physics about the physical world."
More concerning one man's scientific attempt to show we really do live in the Matrix, here.