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.