Goddess Murder, 5: The Work Begins

VII. The Work Begins  To Zeus all things are beautiful, just, and good, but men have supposed some things to be just, others unjust.At eight o'clock on Saturday night, I walked up the steps to Brendan and Megan’s house on the hillside behind the campus, the sort of Tudorish half-timbered mansion you might expect a college professor with lots of kids to have. The members of the ad hoc translating committee were already filling the circle of overstuffed chairs and couches in Megan’s li … [Read more...]

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On the Novel as Simulation Modeling

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, my academic studies progressed from mathematics to poetry, then to theology. What tied those foci together is that each is a system for working with abstract symbols in order to generate maps of possible realities, something like Marianne Moore’s description of poetry as imaginary gardens with real toads in them. Likewise, I conceive of a genuine novel—that is, a story that is genuinely novel—as a simulation model of an alternative history, which sometimes turns … [Read more...]

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On My Love for Sophia, Our Lady of Wisdom and Mercy

It is common to suppose that knowledge is not wisdom, but just what is the difference between them? Mapping knowledge is easy enough: mathematics, science, humanities, social studies (they should be scholarly, but they are not sciences), then dividing them into categories, subcategories, and so on, down to a subncategory small enough that one can know everything relevant to that tiny slice of reality. That is the ambition of almost every academic researcher. But as a result, said researcher … [Read more...]

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The Queen Who Is Hidden in the Gospels, Part IV

In Part III of this series, I pointed out that Mk (The Gospel According to Mark) is not a simple reporting of unadorned facts, but is instead a carefully constructed literary masterpiece. That Mark constructed his gospel carefully was actually known in antiquity. Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyon, in his Detection and Refutation of Knowledge Falsely So Called (still one of the most important sources of information about the “Gnostics,” since Irenaeus had the good sense not to set forth a straw-man arg … [Read more...]

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The Queen Who Is Hidden in the Gospels, Part III

 As I discussed in the previous blog, that rather humorous passage about the Queen of Heaven in Jeremiah. . . but Kate Gladstone chides me for not knowing that that passage is not in the current calendar of haftarot. Perhaps it may have been back then, but . . . Anyway, “Queen of Heaven” was a title used for many goddesses in the Hellenistic world. Could there still have been any genuine belief in a Queen of Heaven in the Judea of Jesus’ time? Any awareness of Her as still being Yahweh’s wife and … [Read more...]

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On Jesus as a Gnostic

 Why write about him at all? Because, like it or not, he is the protagonist in the story of Western civilization. You know about him; you have a theory about him, even if it’s that you should ignore him. But, as with most topics, it’s better to be well-informed than to be ignorant.Before 1945, the few people interested in the Gnostics generally thought they were heretical interlopers whose teachings had nothing to do with the genuine Christian message. The Nag Hammadi documents, which iclude … [Read more...]

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On the Necessity of Awakening

The Castle Frankenstein poem I posted as a blog records an experience that set me on a Gnostic path. It think it must be significant that I recovered my memory of it during a strange, dark prelude—maybe calling it “existential despair”is not too inaccurate—to my 1963 Awakening experience, of which I have not yet posted a full description, although my long History poem was one attempt to describe it.My experience in 1954 had been an Awakening also. Afterward I knew many things; in that sense I … [Read more...]

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A Request and Previews

Our intrepid Managing editor for the Patheos Pagan Channel, Dr. Christine Hoff Kraemer, has suggested to me that, in order to avoid burnout, it might be wise not to try to make a major contribution to world literature, theology, and philosophy with every blog. I can see that. It's okay just to chat once in a while.Now, I do have a request. If those among my readers who are college teachers or who otherwise hold a prestigious position that might impress our Dean might be so kind as to post a … [Read more...]

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The Letter to Theophilus, Part I

The Letter to TheophilusMy dear Theophilus, all the brothers and sisters send you greetings in the name of the Lord and the Lady. I will endeavor to answer your questions concerning the teachings of our founders and of all who have preserved the true mysteries of our faith.The Origin of the True ProphetOur community in Alexandria was founded by our Holy Queen, Mariamme Magdala, wife and successor of the True Prophet Jesus, before she fled for safety to the land of the Gauls. Her … [Read more...]

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Preview of “The Letter to Theophilus”

In my recent review of The Gnostic Bible, edited and largely translated by Professors Willis Barnstone and Marvin Meyer, whose death at 64 has made me even more acutely aware of my own mortality, I commented that the book left me unsatisfied. It is the best study yet of the major segment of the “Gnostic” movement, those who were radically dualistic and radically ascetic, but they were not the only varieties of  “heresy” in the ancient and medieval worlds.Another was the Christians who remaine … [Read more...]

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