A Prayer That I Hope Many More Can Say

After I came to AA in September 1976, I began to assemble a litany of morning prayers as a tool for maintaining myself in a fit spiritual condition. I began that litany with the “Lord’s Prayer,” the “Our Father,” the Paternoster, because I know it is a truly Jewish prayer, as taught by that tragic Rabbi. I have found every thought in it stated in other words somewhere in the Talmud.AA is a simple program, simple but not easy. All you need to do is change yourself, change everything you have e … [Read more...]

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...]

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...]

The Queen Who Is Hidden in the Gospels, Part I

I discovered Her by accident. Given my predilection for Goddesses since age 14, I obviously hope She is truly there, but I think (or at least hope) that I can be objective enough not to engage in special pleading or distort the evidence.The birth of my oldest daughter Maeve Adair in January 1973 forced me to begin growing up a little more. A few months later, Alta asked me, as we were sitting at a red light in Berkeley, if I had thought more about the possibility of going to the Graduate … [Read more...]

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...]

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...]

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 l … [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...]

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...]

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, passed ove … [Read more...]


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