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T the various currents and undercurrents of Gnosticism and their perennial importance for the religious and the mystic mind”  Marguerite YourcenarJacues Lacrarriere 1925 2005 was a French writer who studied philosophy and classic literature and was known for his work as a critic journalist and essayist In 1991 he received le Grand Prix de l'Academie francaise The Great Prize of the French Academy. I very interesting overview of Gnostic thought from it s early Christian beginnings This is not as much an historical look but the approach of an essayist examining Gnostic thought and it s appeal to those who felt disenfranchised by the world around them

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Les Gnostiues

Gnostics have always sought to “know” rather than to accept dogma and doctrine often to their peril This inuiry into Gnosticism examines the character history and beliefs of a brave and vigorous spiritual uest that originated in the ancient Near East and continues into the present dayLawrence Durrell writes “This is a strange and original essay a work of literature than of scholarship though it. This book is a lyrical meditation on ancient gnosticism as the betrayal of the physical cosmos It is beautifully written Lacarriere has heavyweight fans like Lawrence Durrell and Marguerite YourcenarLacarriere nicely conveys the alienated horror the ancient Gnostics felt for the world around them And he maintains that this is in some ways comparable to our contemporary alienation under capitalism In this way an ancient heresy and modern revolution are used to illuminate each other And our author goes about this in a manner that is very convincingI found myself also uite interested by the brief criticisms our author permits himself of the so called Traditionalist School the discussion occurs towards the end of the book that begins with Ren Gu non For our purposes here let us say that the Traditionalist maintain that the Truth that all the Great Religious Traditions point to is unsurpassable and thus they and only they are the bearers of TruthThe argument with this is or so I take Lacarriere to mean that given the radical evil of the World according to the Gnostics we can expect no help from past religions that all spoke to a very different time Our author argues that this cult of the past can only distract Man from his true uest the uest for a new consciousness springing from his immediate experience and contingent on the presentOf course this is exactly what Gu non feared most Everyone doing their own thing While I think Gu non has a point specifically here Lecarriere is certainly right to argue that Man is no longer the passive recipient of natures blows that he was in either ancient or even medieval times The modern capitalist industrial technological revolution has changed all that The several great religions born in the wake of the Agricultural Revolution and conseuent rise of Empire cannot hope to speak to a world in which Man has become an Effective PowerThis is radically new Our author maintains that religious answers to the human condition if they can be found must only be in the future not the pastA Huge If but I agree Modernity has changed the way people live as much as the Agriculture Revolution alongside the rise of Empire once did The Axial Age Religions arose as a response to this If the changes wrought by modernity industry technology and science media and the internet prove to be as profound as those at the dawn of History and continue to endure it is no longer entirely impossible to imagine a new religion and religious sensibility ethos eventually rising and swallowing up its predecessorsI think that Lecarriere not only imagined this but hoped for it too

Jacques Lacarrière ´ 8 read

S documentation is impeccable It is as convincing a reconstruction of the way the Gnostics lived and thought as DH Lawrence’s intuitive recreation of the vanished Etruscans”“A remarkable book for both knowledge and the understanding of Gnostic texts so abstruse at first sight and for the poetical interpretation of the Gnostic movement across history Lacarriere is particularly well informed abou. This is a beautiful essay on The Gnostics leaders groups ideology theology etc It s a short tome but the writing is beautiful and waxes poetic as it tries to embody the ideology through it s performance on the page The essay isn t interested in being didactic or overly historical and is written in a very personal manner which makes it very uniue and engaging If I were to teach a class on gnosticism this would definitely be on my reuired reading list


10 thoughts on “Les Gnostiues

  1. says:

    This is the second time I've read this book; the first time was about a decade ago I considered it one of my favorite books back then and had recommended it to a number of friends Reading it again I do remember the beauty of the wri

  2. says:

    One of the better books on Gnosticism that I have read Jacues Lacarriere writes in a poetic way that helps evoke the over

  3. says:

    This book is a lyrical meditation on ancient gnosticism as the 'betrayal' of the physical cosmos It is beautifully written Lacarriere has heavyweight fans like Lawrence Durrell and Marguerite YourcenarLacarriere nicely conveys the alienated hor

  4. says:

    Upped to 5 stars after a second readingThe Gnostic attitude repudiates history and dogma enlightenment is to be achieved from within Moreover resources on Gnosticism are scant and many extant works were written through the hostile lens of the Church How fitting then that this book attempts first and foremost to reconstruct and impart glimpses of the inner life of the Gnostics historical survey is only a secondary concern The fir

  5. says:

    A wonderful essay on the life and times of this religious movement that stirred the christian world for a few centuries Easily read lets you know the movement's main branches and protagonists and keeps you curio

  6. says:

    This is a beautiful essay on The Gnostics leaders groups ideology theology etc It's a short tome but the writing is beautiful and waxes poetic as it tries to embody the ideology through it's performance on the page The essay isn't interested

  7. says:

    I have always been amazed by gnostics and their views on life and our existence they were always enigma in the history of our civilization maybe they spoke the truth and because of that they were crushed by establishment and it's main device the church Jacues Lacarriere essay is crucial one to understand about who were they what they believed and what they preached This essay is philosophical one than histor

  8. says:

    I very interesting overview of Gnostic thought from it's early Christian beginnings This is not as much an historical look but the approach of an essayist examining Gnostic thought and it's appeal to those who felt disenfranchised by the world around them

  9. says:

    Such a wonderful piece At some points I was wondering if this is a novel or a historical essay The book was highly recommended by Henry Miller and Lawrence Durrell I think Durrell gave it to Miller A lot to be learned from Lacarriere

  10. says:

    Fascinating attempt at understanding Gnosticism via tracing it back to basic phenomenological experiences