gnosis / knowledge / insight

Erik Davis is teaching another class at MLA called Gnosis Now! from February 23 - April 5 2009.

Gnosis Now! (from MLA course page)

Gnosticism is one of the most potent, complex, and misunderstood elements of western esoteric spirituality. Rooted in the apocalyptic era of early Christianity, gnostic mysticism animates hermeticism, alchemy, and magick, and has profoundly influenced modern pop culture as well (Philip K. Dick, The Matrix, even Scientology). Because gnosticism is rooted in direct experience of the divine, it remains open to many different interpretations; scholars bicker about it constantly. for more info on the course or read more for the reading list

This class proposes to study a few of the most accessible and transformative gnostic texts, both ancient and modern, and to bring their tricky wisdom to bear on the state of consciousness today. In addition to online discussion threads, the course will feature weekly podcasts from Erik Davis, a celebrated speaker, as well as a few group voice-over-IP chats. Modestly-sized texts will include ancient gnostic gospels as well as accessible scholarly interpretations and modern short stories.


I asked Erik what books I should get for the reading list & here's his reply - I found a few on scribd, so the links are added by me ( buy the books if interested! I like the pdf / txt versions as I might be overseas so they're easier than carrying printed books, plus I can copy/paste sections I want to remember ) :

I am still putting together the syllabus, but most of the texts will either be available in online versions or I will make pdfs available in order to keep the cost down. I intend to focus on short treatises, chapters from scholar books, and a few short stories, so there wont be too much reading. However, if you wanted to brush up on the background, which would only make the readings better, I would encourage you to check out one of the following overview:

Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels (the best and most accessible introduction to the ancient material)
Hans Jonas, The Gnostic Religion (more philosophical and literary approach)
Couliano, The Tree of Gnosis (A great overview, accessible as well, more theological)

If you are interested in looking at more of the texts themselves--as well as the amazing apocryphal literature of the ancient world in general, I highly recommend a volume called The Gnostic Bible, edited by Barnstone. All the ancient gnostic texts that we will be reading come from there.


other reading : - has the Nag Hammadi scrolls and other gnostic texts

gnostic lectures - audio recordings from LA gnostic society

Nag Hammadi Bibliography, published by Professor D. M. Scholer.74 Kept up to date by regular supplements published in the journal Novum Testamentum, Scholer's bibliography currently lists nearly 4,000 books, editions, articles, and reviews (mentioned in Pagels, Gnostic Gospels, page XXXIV, this version published 1989)


I've created a book page for gnosis notes - from readings and this course once it begins (to save cluttering this article)

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