Gnosis and Hermeticism from Antiquity to Modern Times / Edition 1

Gnosis and Hermeticism from Antiquity to Modern Times / Edition 1

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State University of New York Press


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Gnosis and Hermeticism from Antiquity to Modern Times / Edition 1

Traces the historical development of Western Esotericism—religious traditions which emphasize the importance of inner enlightenment or gnosis.

This volume introduces what has sometimes been called "the third component of western culture." It traces the historical development of those religious traditions which have rejected a world view based on the primacy of pure rationality or doctrinal faith, emphasizing instead the importance of inner enlightenment or gnosis: a revelatory experience which was typically believed to entail an encounter with one's true self as well as with the ground of being, God.

The contributors to this book demonstrate this perspective as fundamental to a variety of interconnected traditions. In Antiquity, one finds the gnostics and hermetics; in the Middle Ages several Christian sects. The medieval Cathars can, to a certain extent, be considered part of the same tradition. Starting with the Italian humanist Renaissance, hermetic philosophy became of central importance to a new religious synthesis that can be referred to as Western Esotericism." The development of this tradition is described from Renaissance hermeticists and practitioners of spiritual alchemy to the emergence of Rosicrucianism and Christian theosophy in the seventeenth century, and from post-enlightenment aspects of Romanticism and occultism to the present-day New Age movement.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780791436127
Publisher: State University of New York Press
Publication date: 11/28/1997
Series: SUNY series in Western Esoteric Traditions Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 432
Product dimensions: 5.84(w) x 8.98(h) x 1.07(d)

About the Author

Roelof van den Broek is Emeritus Professor of the History of Christianity at the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands. He has also written The Myth of the Phoenix: According to Classical and Early Christian Traditions and Studies in Gnosticism and Alexandrian Christianity.

Also at the University of Utrecht, Wouter J. Hanegraaff is a Research Fellow in the Study of Religions. He is the author of New Age Religion and Western Culture: Esotericism in the Mirror of Secular Thought.

Table of Contents


1 Gnosticism and Hermetism in Antiquity: Two Roads to Salvation

Roelofvan den Broek

2 Gnostic and Hermetic Ethics

Jean Pierre Mahé

3 Manichaeism: Its Sources and Influences on Western Christianity

Johannes van Oort

4 A Christian Gnostic Text: The Gospel of Truth

Jan Helderman

5 The Asclepius: From the Hermetic Lodge in Alexandria to the Greek Eucharist and the Roman Mass

Gilles Quispel

6 A Reading of the Discourse on the Ogdoad and the Ennead (Nag Hammadi Codex VI.6)

Jean Pierre Mahé

7 The Cathars: Medieval Gnostics?

Roelof van den Broek

8 Renaissance Hermeticism and the Concept of Western Esotericism

Antoine Faivre

9 Francesco Patrizi's Hermetic Philosophy

Cees Leijenhorst

10 Spiritual Alchemy: Interpreting Representative Texts and Images

Karen Claire Voss

11 Music and the Hermetic Tradition

Joscelyn Godwin

12 Hermeticism in Early Rosicrucianism

Roland Edighoffer

13 Christian Theosophic Literature of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

Arthur Versluis

14 Romanticism and the Esoteric Connection

Wouter J. Hanegraaff

15 William Blake and His Gnostic Myths

Jos van Meurs

16 Western Esoteric Schools in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries

Daniël van Egmond

17 Stockhausen's Donnerstag aus Licht and Gnosticism

Joscelyn Godwin

18 The New Age Movement and the Esoteric Tradition

Wouter J. Hanegraaff

List of Contributors


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