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The inspiration and insight of these Gnostic writings can become a companion on your own spiritual journey.
Just what is a soul, exactly? Where did the idea come from? How do we experience our souls? Two ancient Gnostic texts—The Exegesis on the Soul and The Hymn of the Pearl, both presented here in all-new translations—hold important clues to the development of the soul as a concept and reveal inspiring ways your own soul can remember and return to its unique, divine purpose.
The Exegesis on the Soul depicts the soul as a feminine figure who has fallen into the corrupted world and must find her way back to the Divine. It is the story of the soul’s struggle and redemption that will embolden your own spiritual pilgrimage. The Hymn of the Pearl is an allegorical story about a prince sent to retrieve a precious pearl but who soon forgets his purpose and falls asleep. It is a moving tale of the importance of remembering your soul’s identity and calling—and knowing that only you can fulfill your destiny.
Accessible facing-page commentary explains the Gnostic writings for you even if you have no previous knowledge of Gnosticism or early Christianity. Additional material draws on ancient religions, Platonism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam and modern philosophical and psychological notions of the soul to place the Gnostic teachings in a clear historical context. By following the development of this concept through time, you will more clearly perceive—and respond to—the divine spark found in your own soul.
About the Author
Andrew Phillip Smith has been investigating early Christianity and Gnosticism for over a decade, sharing the results in presentations and writings. He is the author of The Lost Sayings of Jesus: Teachings from Ancient Christian, Jewish, Gnostic and Islamic Sources—Annotated and Explained, The Gospel of Philip: Annotated and Explained (all SkyLight Paths) and The Gospel of Thomas: A New Version Based on Its Inner Meaning.
Stephan A. Hoeller, PhD, is professor emeritus of comparative religions at the College of Oriental Studies in Los Angeles. He is a frequent lecturer on Gnosticism and other spiritual traditions, and is the author of Gnosticism: New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowing and two other books on the relationship of Gnosticism to Jungian psychology.
Table of Contents
A Note on the Translation xli
The Exegesis on the Soul 1
The Hymn of the Pearl 45
Suggestions for Further Reading 91