On Being Outside All the Boxes

Having been working (for a long time) on a novel about the same alternative universe as in my Goddess Murder, I have been looking for books on Mary Magdalene, the Gnostics, and suchlike. Recently I found Secrets of Mary Magdalene. Don’t be put off by the title. It is a well-balanced anthology of interviews with and essays by the leading scholars, largely women, of Gnosticism, early Christianity, and related fields, and by women novelists, not the hack writers whose forgettable novels clutter … [Read more...]

“History” — Part II

[For an overview of this poem and its complete title, please see the previous blog.] Second Theme 7. Sunlight When the whirled is all inhuman Flower, what can I say To the angel flaming Flower-spectrumed in Eden? Shall I ask this angel Who's got my mind in hock, Who burns my eyeballs green, Who strips the gears of my soul Naked, for wisdom? No, It's the always instant Of knowing nakedness That makes us men. When self Begins to speak again, the leaf Will mean again, and … [Read more...]

The Letter to Theophilus, Part III

[This is the last installment of a hypothetical letter that could have been written by Christian Gnostics who believed in sacred sexuality. There really were some. For more explanation see  the "Preview of the Letter to Theophilus" three days back.] Of Baptism as the First Initiation For their first initiation we lead our students to a place with living water. They descend into the water skyclad, and we baptize them, saying, "Into the name of the unknown Father of the universe, into … [Read more...]

The Letter to Theophilus, Part I

The Letter to Theophilus My 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 Prophet Our 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...]

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 … [Read more...]

Marvin Meyer, 1948-2012

After I posted my blog yesterday reviewing The Gnostic Bible, edited and translated by Willis Barnstone and Marvin Meyer, I thought I’d copy it to Marvin, since I was taking his name in vain, to see what he thought of it. As I was poking around, trying to figure out where I had stored his contact information, I came across his Wikipedia page, which had been updated, letting me know that he had passed over on August 16th of this year, from melanoma, the same cancer that took my brother a decade … [Read more...]

The Gnostic Bible: A Review

gnostic-bible-barnstone-willis-meyer-marvin-paperback-cover-art

The Gnostic Bible (Boston & London: Shabala, rev. ed., 2009; $29.95 [a bargain]) collects many important documents from the early sects that have been lumped together under the umbrella term of “Gnostic.” It was edited, with many of the documents translated, by Willis Barnstone (who, among his other achievements, has carried out the best translations of Sappho ever) and the late Marvin Meyer (whom I had the pleasure of knowing since my salad days in the AAR and who, I just learned, … [Read more...]

Of Blogging and Poetry

Now that I’ve been blogging for a few months, I have some opinions about it. I’m grateful that Star recruited me to do this. I’m glad to have more of my writing out where people can see it. But I’m not entirely happy with how this is going. The initial concept was that this would be paying work—if I got enough hits. I probably won’t. Serious writing about things religious does not attract a mass audience, unlike action thrillers and other children’s literature. Q: How should one … [Read more...]

Aphrodiphobia, Part IV: The Logical Consequences of the First Commandment

The “First Commandment” under discussion here is not that in the Decalogue, but the one in Genesis 1:28: God blessed them by saying, “Be fertile and increase in numbers. Fill the earth and subdue it. . . . “ In the King James translation, “blessed them and said,” the blessing appears to be different from what is said; that is simply wrong. When God says, “Be fruitful and multiply,” that is both the blessing and the commandment. Thus, the commandment is a blessing, and what … [Read more...]


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