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117 of 122 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for beginners..
This is a great modern introduction to Gnosticism. It covers Gnostic creation myth, rituals, teachers, Sophia (divine feminine wisdom), the Gnostic Jesus, Mandaens Manichaens Cathars, modern Gnostics and more. This is a basic overview for beginners, not for the advanced. If you know nothing of gnosticism, and are looking for a general overview, this is it. It is written...
Published on July 31, 2002 by Zev Bazarov

versus
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Still a bit unsure
After reading this book, I'm positive of only two things:
I still don't know much about Gnosticism and this book leans towards explaining what Gnosticism isn't.

I understand what is being said, what is trying to be conveyed. I simply feel that there are some significant things that are left out. An example of this is that religious dancing and sacraments...
Published 12 months ago by Jmont


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117 of 122 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for beginners.., July 31, 2002
This review is from: Gnosticism: New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowing (Paperback)
This is a great modern introduction to Gnosticism. It covers Gnostic creation myth, rituals, teachers, Sophia (divine feminine wisdom), the Gnostic Jesus, Mandaens Manichaens Cathars, modern Gnostics and more. This is a basic overview for beginners, not for the advanced. If you know nothing of gnosticism, and are looking for a general overview, this is it. It is written very simply and clear. It also lists a good list of books for further study. Also includes a short dictionary of Gnostic terms. Details teachings and myths. There is no better introduction than this. If you enjoy this book, read the others listed at the end for further in depth information. 5 stars. Check it out.
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88 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The rediscovery of ancient wisdom, December 27, 2003
This review is from: Gnosticism: New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowing (Paperback)
Side by side with Christianity, the Gnostic tradition had its origins 2000 years ago in the Middle East. The main difference between the two is that Christianity focuses on faith whilst Gnosticism seeks a state of consciousness in which the divine can be directly experienced. Hoeller's excellent book investigates the history of the Gnostic worldview as an indigenous Western mystical tradition. It is also a concise and sympathetic look at the teachings and spiritual lineage of Gnosticism.
According to the author, Gnosticism straddles the divide between psychology and religion - the place where soul and spirit meet, where dream and vision are transformed into an experience of liberation. Gnostic myths, metaphors and symbols partake of both psychological and metaphysical meaning. It this sense they are like endless loops in which psychological meaning points to metaphysical meaning that leads one back to the individual psyche again. It is the place where cosmology and psychology fuse, where archetypes and deities merge and separate in an endless dance. In both the intrapsychic and external sense, Gnostic myths belong in depth psychology and religion at the same time.
The author discusses the Gnostic view of the soul and of the divine and manifest worlds, considers the Gnostic Christ as a guide to the sacred mysteries and as Liberator more than Saviour and looks at the concept of Sophia (wisdom) in the Gnostic tradition. Various groups like the Mandaeans, Manicheans and Cathars are investigated.
One of the most interesting sections deals with three great Gnostic thinkers: Valentinus (famous for the poetic beauty of his words), Basilides (renowned for his mystical profundity) and Marcion (noted for his informed criticism of the Bible.) Finally Hoeller considers the influence of Gnostic ideas on writers and artists like Blake, Jung, Hesse, Melville and others.
Another very gripping section looks at Gnosticism in the light of Chaos Theory, Modernism, Post-Modernism and Nihilism. Here, Hoeller very convincingly refutes the claims of certain critics that Gnosticism is similar to nihilism and proves that it is, on the contrary, a very positive and life-affirming worldview that offers hope to the individual in the 21st century.
The text is enhanced by black and white illustrations of ancient and modern Gnostic art, and the book includes a glossary of terms, a general reading list, a bibliography of modern books and an index. I also recommend this same author's earlier masterpiece, The Gnostic Jung And The Seven Sermons To The Dead.
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very educational and enlightening, January 29, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Gnosticism: New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowing (Paperback)
I'm totally new to Gnosticism and found this book to be a comprehensive introduction on the subject, as well as quite accessible and easy to read. He covers vast territory without going into too much detail, and also provides excellent bibliographies if you wish to further explore the subject.
I do get the feeling from reading the subject that he is pushing his own particular brand of gnosticism, some of which is disconcerting. He seems to argue at the end that gnostics should turn their back on the world completely, and let it suffer in its own pool of dreck. That was unsettling to me but as I explore gnosticism further in other books, I'll find out for myself if this is THE gnostic position on the subject or just one position of many within the gnostic world.
Overall though, a great place to start for the Gnostic beginner.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thorough Introduction, May 14, 2003
This review is from: Gnosticism: New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowing (Paperback)
Having been intruiged by Gnosticism for several years, I was finally compelled to pick up a text that did something other than introduce one, or several, of the Nag Hamadi scriptures. Stephan A. Hoeller(Tau Stephanus I) is a long-time Gnostic Bishop, with a valid line of Apostolic Succession. He holds a PhD had has been the head of a California-based Gnostic organization for many years: in short he is well-qualified to write this book.
I must say that his education and, further, his experience with Gnostic Christianity show in the way he writes this book. It is an extremely thorough introduction to Gnostic Christianity, in all its forms. He frequently mentions Jungian psychology, but Jungian theory does not sour this book one bit. Mentions of Jung are generally brief, and used to present one explaination to a topic. The book covers the Gnostic gospels, some early history of Christianity, prominent early Gnostics, Gnostic views of salvation, Christ, and resurection. It's a very, very in-depth, and well-researched, book. I would recomend it to anyone seeking an introduction to Gnostic Christianity.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Intro to Contemporary Gnosticism, December 9, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Gnosticism: New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowing (Paperback)
Stephan Hoeller's book "Gnosticism" is truly a great introduction to Gnosticism in both its ancient and modern forms. I find it quite humorous that some of the "reviewers" on here are being so critical of a book, when they obviously haven't even read the introduction. The fact that someone even mentioned that the book is biased makes me laugh...of course it's biased, as are most books trying to tell people about their philosophy or beliefs. The market is flooded with books on the beliefs of Orthodox Christians; does it threaten you that a Gnostic Bishop gives an alternative opinion?
Also, in reply to someone who said, "He seems to argue at the end that gnostics should turn their back on the world completely, and let it suffer in its own pool of dreck." This however is a misrepresentation of Dr. Hoeller's views. Who much like comparative mythologists Joseph Campbell would say, "The world is a mess. It's always been a mess. We can't change the world. We can only change ourselves." I know for a fact that Stephan would add to this "but you can make it better" and of course that would probably be summed up in "changing yourself".
If you bought this book in the hopes that it was a scholarly book you should've referred to page 10 in the Introduction, "This book is not primarily a work of academic scholarship...The format and style of this book are rather more simple than those of my other books, even simpler than I like. The reason for this is that the book aspires to serve as an introduction to the subject." However, this does not make the book useless! If you want scholarship read Pagels, Jonas, Rudolph, Ehrman, or any of the authors that he gave in his "Gnostic Reading List" at the end of the book for further study.
If however, you want to "wade in the shallows of this deep subject called Gnosticism" and find out how a modern day Gnostic Bishop applies these Ancient concepts and beliefs in today's world, you should buy this book.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb background on the subject of Gnosticism, July 28, 2004
This review is from: Gnosticism: New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowing (Paperback)
Having reached this book by a circuitous route starting with "Uriel's Machine", I found this a very insightful and enjoyable read.

I have, for a long time been a very "non-religious" person based on the fact that I found commonly accepted religions to be biased - and in many cases down right unreligious! Stephan's book allows the reader to make his own choices and interpretations, rather than forcing a "this is the way it is" attitude onto everything. The references and history contained in the book are amazing and represent a torrent of additional reading material.

If you have ever questioned commonly accepted faith religion in the past, this is a must read.

If you have ever suffered depression, or depressive symptoms, on the basis of a lack of understanding of purpose in this world - even if you are successful in what you do - then this is a must read.

If you have heard of Gnosticism and are intrigued by what it all means, this is a must read.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a Gnostic, but appreciative, May 10, 2004
By 
K. Spencer "AKSPDX" (Portland, OR United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Gnosticism: New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowing (Paperback)
While I'm not Gnostic, and have some serious problems with some of its principles...I must admit a certain fondness for it because of Dr. Holler.
Anyone familiar with Dr. Hoeller's lectures on the Gnosis.org website knows that he has charming turns of phrase and an amazing fund of knowledge on Gnosticism. This book reflects that. It is an indispensable introduction to the subject of Gnosticism--its history, and principles. For those more familiar with Gnosticism it is just as useful, if for no other reason than it is so approachable and well written.
One reviewer mentioned Dr. Hoeller's bias in interpretation. True enough, but everyone is biased after all, and we can afford Holler some tolerance in his own because he communicates it so delightfully. Beyond this, the very premise of Gnosticism is one of deep subjective 'knowing,' so for a Gnostic to play the objective historian would be nonsensical.
If you're interested in the subject, buy the book. For fun, I'd listen to a couple of his lectures first so when you read it you hear him talking in his rich Hungarian(?) accent (he sounds like Dracula!)
=)
KS
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive work from a true Gnostic Bishop and scholar., December 23, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Gnosticism: New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowing (Paperback)
Briefly put,this author is spearheading the revival of the Gnostic tradition in it's most true form in the Untied States. This is a comprehensive work of the original Christianity before it was warped into a controlling, dogmatic system of fear and control,rather than personal liberation,freedom,and enlightenment. How the Christian world,and the world at large would change for the better if only it would consider it's original traditions as they are so easily explained by the author in this laymen manner for all to understand in this book. As the Gnostic tradition and system of mythology,and spiritual/psychological transformation is so deep,this book covers the basics for us to stick our toes into the vast ocean of Gnosticism to test the waters. I urge everyone to read it with an open mind.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Introduction, October 29, 2005
This review is from: Gnosticism: New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowing (Paperback)
Bishop Hoeller of the Gnostic Society is an amazingly intelligent and educated man, as anyone who has listened to his lectures knows. My first thought when I saw this book was that it would be a difficult read, but Bishop Hoeller has the raest of talents: an ability to communicate complex ideas in a simple manner without sacrificing accuracy.

Bishop Hoeller's book is a first-rate introduction to Gnosticism in general, and I highly recommend his other books as well.

Nate Merit
[...]
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written easy to understand introduction., February 27, 2006
This review is from: Gnosticism: New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowing (Paperback)
Not a religious or spiritual person myself, this was a great book for introducing me to the values, history and evolution of Gnostic thought. The writer was not being preachy or ridiculing the Gnostic belief system. It was a great factual representation of it. If you are at all curious about Gnosticism, this is a great place to start.
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Gnosticism: New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowing
Gnosticism: New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowing by Stephan A. Hoeller (Paperback - July 1, 2002)
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