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A Dictionary of Gnosticism [Paperback]

Andrew Phillip Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Quest Books,U.S. (1 Nov 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0835608697
  • ISBN-13: 978-0835608695
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 914,952 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DICTIONARY FOR THE LAYPERSON 1 Sep 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a fine layman's Dictionary of Gnosticism, by Andrew Philip-Smith.
His short bite-size history of the rise of Gnosticism,which precedes his incisive entries, gives a snapshot in eight pages of this cultic activity which meandered through many thought patterns and philosophies in Early Chrisendom, although it had borrowed roots from ancient Jewish and Iranian mysticism. To clarify the situation even more, some indications of early gnostic activity during the first three centuries of the Common Era.
It was proto-catholic christianity that disavowed any move away from the Jesus as God Incarnation theory, because the mysticism of gnosticism seemed to
contradict the 'reality' of this belief.
Jewish mysticism embraced elements of mysticism within their own cabbalistic
documents that had a Mono God at its centre and not the Triune deity, so there
was not this combative tension that Christianity felt as the latter battled to secure a firm foundation for its beliefs and practices.
So the history of Gnosticism as a fully fledged cult really belongs to christian in-fighting, and not to Jewish anxiety or intellectual formulation.
When we are apprised of this difference between the Two great Religions, some statement of early Gnostic activity is essential for those readers who would like to discover why early Christianity was so antagonistic to this cult. Why also, gnosticism was finally forced underground, only to re-emerge
in fits and starts, in later centuries, as a loadstone that was ethical and
asumed puritan garb.
Today Gnosis as a way of life can take its place among minor philosophies and cults, and freely proclaim its revelatory beliefs.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 18 July 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful in digging for truth 15 Nov 2009
By L. Gagne - Published on Amazon.com
This book is a terrific reference for anyone interested in religion, mysticism, esoterica, ancient history and any form of Gnosis from ancient to modern. Though it would appear at first glance to be a basic dictionary of words rarely used and seldom contemplated in the average everyday world, it is a storehouse of clues to the origins of Western esoterica and literary fancy. Take "AEEIOUO," an entry on page 5. Reminiscent of the Caterpillar's song in Lewis Carol's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" it is also the (Greek) vowels chanted repetitively in certain forms of magic derived from Gnostic texts ... a little online cross-research explains that according to the Nag Hammadi, Aeeiouo is the shape of the Self Begotten Soul. (In Greek, Alice happens to mean "truthful.")

The Nag Hammadi codices are outlined beginning on page 168 where it is explained that the "tractates in the codices are in Coptic, but scholars believe they were originally composed in Greek."

What's a "tractate"? Look it up on page 247 where you can also brush up on the word "transcendence" contrasted with "immanence" on page 124.

A Dictionary of Gnosticism will help you comprehend Plato's Timaeus from which the concept of the "demiurge" originates, as well as modern film concepts. The 1999 movie "The Matrix" is explained on page 156 where "archon" equivalent characters (agents) govern reality "on behalf of the entity that created the world". The demiurge in Gnosticism is compared to the machines in the Matrix.

Try Googling all that! It is wonderful to have this handy Gnostic dictionary at one's fingertips as a quick reference for looking up some of the more obscure terms of Gnosis ("direct spiritual experience") - but it also helps in grasping much of what more mainstream literature and contemporary media have been trying to tell us all along. The truth is in between the lines ... or in the process of "inverse exegesis." Make up your "Nous" or mind and avoid the "interdict" if you are a heretic. Explore Pistis Sophia. Use this quick reference manual of Gnostic terms as a springboard for further inquiry. Ablanathanalba.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good companion book to the "Nag Hammadi Library" 23 Oct 2011
By Astara - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A must-have if studying the Gnostic scriptures. I would suggest anyone ordering, "The Nag Hammadi Library" buy this at the same time.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book purchase 8 Sep 2011
By vw3272 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I enjoy referencing this book. Names and definitions in this book help me alot to understand the content of any reading material related to Gnosticism. The book is in good condition and I received it promptly without incident. Thank you.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars very resourceful 19 May 2010
By Red - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
this book makes it a handy reference in researching the terms i encounter when studying gnosticism. it simplifies the need to search the key terms i encounter. want to know something about origen? instead of searching a lot of pages in the internet, get your hands on the book and see the term origen.. though, it still needs an updated version. lots of space unused.
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