Gnostic Cinema

April De Conick has shared her opening talk that introduced the recent Gnostic Cinema movie series at Rice University. It is a fascinating talk, exploring both the ancient religious ideas that the term “Gnosticism” refers to, as well as the reasons why there has been a resurgence of interest in those ancient traditions. Click through to read it.

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  • Gary

    After reading this description, I can’t help but think about Scientology. I’d like to see a chapter in DeConick’s book comparing Gnosticism with Scientology (instead of Star Trek and Matrix).

    “There is another deep concern in gnostic writings as in science fiction films: to help us to see what it means to be human, where our boundaries are as human beings, where we might cross those boundaries or extend them and experience transformation into something bigger than we thought we were.  This is something that the ancient Gnostics obsessed about.  They were convinced that human beings are more than our physical bodies and our souls. They thought that human beings were born with a piece of the transcendent God buried within them.  They usually call this the human spirit.”

    L. Ron Hubbard, Science Fiction, Going Clear, Multiple levels of OT Spirituality, Thetan Spiritual Essence, Tone Scale, Eight Dynamics, Xenu making earth a prison planet…

    Maybe a comparison of The Revelation of Peter (Jesus laughing on the cross), versus Thetan belief, not to mention a comparison of various Gnostic cosmologies, versus Xenu. Would make the book “hard ball”, instead of “soft ball”.

    • Gary

      Not to mention “tone scales”…all the various Gnostic
      IIII
      EEEE
      OOOO
      UUUU
      In truth truly
      EIAAAAOOOO

      Like in The Holy Book of the Great Invisible Spirit.

      It makes me think L Ron Hubbard must have read the Nag Hammadi scriptures back in 1950…which I don’t think was possible.

  • arcseconds

    She seems quite enthusiastic about gnosticism’s ability to offer a critique of society, but how much of a critique is really offered by “it’s all an illusion from which you have to escape”? It seems to me this is just another form of “pie in the sky when you die”, which, if taken seriously, would lead to indifference about the situation in the mundane world.

    I also wonder whether it’s really enough for a film to present apparent reality as an illusion to warrant calling it gnostic. What makes it gnostic rather than Cartesian or even just paranoid, cf. mental disorders where one’s family is replaced by impostors, etc. ?

    The Matrix strikes me as gnostic. The Truman Show not so much…