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Living Gnosticism: An Ancient Way of Knowing

4.4 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1933993539
ISBN-10: 1933993537
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 132 pages
  • Publisher: Apocryphile Press (November 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933993537
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933993539
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.3 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #490,322 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jordan Stratford has been pronounced clinically dead, and was briefly mistakenly wanted by INTERPOL for international industrial espionage. He is an ordained priest, has won numerous sword fights, jaywalked across the streets of Paris, San Franciso, and Sao Paolo, and was once shot by a stray rubber bullet in a London riot. He lives on a tiny windswept Pacific island populated predominantly by realtors and carnivorous gulls.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Gnosticism, says Canadian Gnostic priest Jordan Statford (and blogger), is not a Jewish or Christian heresy, but stands alone, "too heretical for other faiths. . . . the Secret Church of the Holy Grail."

His new book, Living Gnosticism: An Ancient Way of Knowing, defines it as "a pre-Christian religious tradition that fuse Judaism, Greek philosophy, and the Mystery Schools of the ancient world.

"Originating in the intellectual 'café societies' of Alexandria around 200 BCE, the original Gnostics were Greek-educated Jews, living in Egypt, on the doorstep of the Roman Empire. Theirs was the realm of diverse and interplaying cultures, of ideas and imagination. Gnostics unflinchingly explored the borders of myth and archetype, of metaphors and dreams, of creativity and poetic expression."

(Sometimes he makes them sound like beatniks of the ancient Mediterraean.)

Also included are

* A dictionary of Gnostic terms such as archon and demiurge.

* A ritual calendar that starts with Candlemas, equating Bridget with Sophia, both as "goddesses" of wisdom and creativity, and runs through the feast of the apostle John, December 27. (Not real goddesses but "symbol[s] for an aspect of something greater.")

* A question-and-answer section, viz., "Do Gnostics deny the historical Jesus?"

Answer: He is an archetype; "these stories don't need to be historically true to be valuable."

* An introduction to the various Gnostic churches of North America: the Apostolic Johannite Church, the Ecclesia Gnostica, the Ecclesia Gnostica Mysteriorum, the Gnostic Church of Mary Magdalene, the Order of St. Esclarmonde (a Cathar mystic executed by the Inquisition).

It's an excellent introduction to the topic.
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Those who follow Jordan Stratford's writing will not be surprised by the poetic sensibilities and thoughtful reflection which run through this small and beautifully designed volume.

Readers may differ from Stratford in their evaluations of some historical and theological matters, but this is not a book intended as a contribution to academic debate. Rather, we are presented with contemporary gnosticism (and its heritage) as seen through the eyes of one of its most articulate practitioners.

This book will be of considerable interest to the gnostic community, to spiritual seekers intrigued by gnosticism, as well as to those who study new religious movements and independent sacramental churches.
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If you want to understand Gnosticism as a contemporary faith, then this is the place to start.

Not a heavy read, but certainly not a "Gnosticism for Dummies" either, this book gives one a great insight in only a few pages. Get this along with Stephan Hoeller's Gnosticism: New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowing first, then follow it with Kurt Rudolph's Gnosis: The Nature And History of Gnosticism, all the books by Elaine Pagels, and the Gnostic Bible and/or the Nag Hammadi Library, and you will be well-versed in Gnostic thought.
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A very good 101 book. If you're looking for an introduction to contemporary Gnosticism, this is your book. The only drawback is that it is a bit too brief. Perfect for the casual seeker and a good starting point for anyone looking down this path.
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Format: Paperback
"Living Gnosticism: An Ancient Way of Knowing" is a very fun and informative book. It is a generally superb introduction to Gnosticism. However, it does leave out some important details.

Thus, speaking as a modern practictioner of Gnosticism, let me offer this advice to those who are seriously seeking Gnosis: The Meta Knowledge you seek cannot be found in books nor on the Web. Seek ye the genuine Tree of Knowledge. Seek out entheogenic experiences - and then go forth and feast on as much written and spoken wisdom as you can find (to supplement the experience and conceptually expand upon it). And then go back for another entheogenic upgrade and repeat the process as often as possible, every couple of years or so.

What "Living Gnosticism: An Ancient Way of Knowing" tippy-toes over rather than mentioning is that Gnosis is not for everybody. It is only for those who want it badly enough. Rumi said it best when he wrote "I want burning." The true Gnostic is pulled by an irresistible call and will do whatever it takes to inflame his/her soul and keep it from falling back into sleep. If it means breaking a few laws or doing taboo things, then so be it.

Remember that Gnosticism was a heresy punishable by death for several centuries and that many tens of thousands of people died endeavoring to live in a Gnostic manner. Remember also that Gnosticism is not a faith. Gnostics shun faith. Gnostics seek verifiable, repeatable direct experiences of the Numinous and are not at all interested in deluding themselves with hollowed out placebo experiences such as offered by faith based religions. In that sense Gnosticism is more a spiritually street smart living philosophy than a "religion" per se.
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