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Jung and the Lost Gospels Hardcover – 1 Dec 1994


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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Quest Books (IL) (1 Dec 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 083560652X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0835606523
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 14 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,674,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Pieter Uys HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 30 Oct 2009
Format: Paperback
A well-written introduction to Gnosticism, this work is unique in its comparison of the Nag Hammadi Library to the Dead Sea Scrolls. Hoeller examines the mysticism and mythology of the Essenes and the Gnostics within the framework of Carl Jung's depth psychology. The almost simultaneous discoveries at Qumran and Nag Hammadi revealed an ancient psycho-spirituality that had been virtually forgotten for almost 18 centuries. In both cases the retrieval/collection, translation and publication took years to complete and some documents are undoubtedly lost forever.

The author emphasizes Jung's awareness that Gnosticism was the only tradition which considered the psyche or soul as the meeting point of the divine and the human. The open practice of Gnosticism endured to the third century of our era (except for the Mandaeans of Mesopotamia that survived to the present day). Jung called for a revival of this ancient heritage and for a return to the understanding of God as an immanent and transformative presence. His view of the symbols, myths and metaphors of the Gnostics inspired his life's work. Many decades after having written them, he commented as follows on the Seven Sermons to the Dead: "All my work, all my creative activity, has come from those initial fantasies ... everything that I accomplished in later life was already contained in them ...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Pieter Uys HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 30 Oct 2009
Format: VHS Tape
This informative work serves as an introduction to Gnosticism and a comparison of the Dead Sea Scrolls to the Nag Hammadi Library. Hoeller examines the mysticism and mythology of the Essenes and the Gnostics within the framework of Carl Jung's psychology. The almost simultaneous discoveries at Qumran and Nag Hammadi have revealed an ancient psychological spirituality that had been virtually forgotten for almost 18 centuries. In both cases the retrieval/collection, translation and publication took years to complete and some documents are undoubtedly lost forever.

Hoeller emphasizes Jung's awareness that the only tradition which considered the psyche or soul as the connection between the divine and the human was the Gnostic that endured to the third century of our era (except for the Mandaeans of Mesopotamia that survived). That's why he called for a revival of this ancient heritage and for a return to the understanding of God as an immanent and transformative presence. Jung's view of the symbols, myths and metaphors of the Gnostics inspired his life's work. Many decades after having written them, he commented as follows on the Seven Sermons to the Dead: "All my work, all my creative activity, has come from those initial fantasies ... everything that I accomplished in later life was already contained in them ..."
.
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By Fran Garcia on 9 Sep 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Enjoyed the book very much. Would recommend the book for anyone interested in the subject matter
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22 of 44 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 Aug 1997
Format: Paperback
This book is extremely enlightening in many ways, but stops puzzingly short of making (obvious?) connections with gnosis and the ancient (read - pre persian, greek & roman domination) Egyptians as seen primarily in their ancient myths (attested as the world's earliest by many scholars) of Osiris, Isis, Horus and Seth.

There were also seemingly obvious slights with (unnecessary and probably unrecognized by the author) racial overtones - specifically the author's interpretation of the 'Pearl' and the 'unclean' Egyptians and the 'darkness' issue (ignorance, etc.) of Egypt.

Egypt (actually Africa) is the genesis of humanity - all things, including all aspects of civilization, and its priests were the authors of all religions on the planet today - including gnosis (as was often only briefly alluded to - although often - by the author).

In spite of these things, the book brings out many, many enlightening perspectives.

A MUST READ for all TRUTH SEEKERS!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 14 reviews
143 of 145 people found the following review helpful
An essential book on Gnosticism 24 Mar 2000
By Lance S. Owens - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Among the many scores of books on Gnosticism now available, there are two which I consider essential reading: "The Gnostic Gospels" by Elaine Pagels and this book, "Jung and the Lost Gospels", by Stephan Hoeller. Pagels elucidates the nature and historical roots of Gnosticism while introducing the Gnostic texts found at Nag Hammadi. Hoeller carries the discussion forward to our own time and brings the immediacy of a modern psychological understanding to the ageless message of Gnosis.
Readers who delve directly into a reading of the Nag Hammadi Library often find themselves bewildered -- or simply overwhelmed -- by the complexity of the Gnostic worldview. Hoeller offers aid by clearly and systematically examining the central themes and myths of Gnosticism. His discussion of the Essene communities (whose writings we find in the Dead Sea Scrolls) helps further develop a basic understanding of the creative and heterogeneous visionary environment in which Christianity was born.
The name "Jung" (as in C. G. Jung, the Swiss psychologist) may attract some readers, while undoubtedly frightening many others. Hoeller is not overbearing in his use of Jung. This is a book about the birth and continuing life of Gnosticism. Those seeking a living understanding of "Gnosis" will find here wonderful new insights into both Gnosticism, Jung, and themselves.
62 of 64 people found the following review helpful
Well written Intro to Gnosticism. 30 Sep 2003
By C. Middleton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This insightful text is an elegantly written introduction to Gnosticism and a simple though comprehensive appraisal of the Dead Sea Scrolls, found by a goat herder in 1947, and the Nag Hammadi Library that was discovered by two peasants in 1945 in Upper Egypt. These writings are contemporary with the canonical biblical texts, which illustrate a different perspective of what constitutes the spiritual life, and the teachings of Jesus Christ. These works have been branded heretical because their message in some ways, contradicts the orthodoxy of the reigning Church. Taking the word `heresy' in the literal sense, meaning to take the position in opposition to the orthodoxy of the time, the Nag Hammadi texts are indeed `heretical'. Hoeller not only presents the works of the Essen's (The people of the scrolls) and the Gnostic Gospels in an easy to comprehend format, but also connects these works with the depth psychology of the famous Swiss psychiatrist, C.G. Jung. What is fascinating about this connection is that Jung did not come to these materials by way of other researches and scholarship, but through a personal, direct encounter of the images and myths themselves. If you are interested in how Jung came upon this material by way of self-analysis and `active imagining', read his autobiographical text, `Memories, Dreams and Reflections.' Jung's approach to healing the psyche and teachings of the Gnostics are strikingly similar; this method towards the spiritual life is not based on following a particular dogma or the way of `faith', but through experience of Self and the divine.
There are numerous paths towards enlightenment and the Divine. In my personal experience, one perspective is not necessarily more `true' than another...faith in the divine and the practice of good works is but one path; believing in the biblical canon in a literal sense, on face value, has aided many an individual out of the depths of despair and has set them on the road to living a meaningful and spiritual existence. But for some individuals, faith is not enough. To the Gnostic, the notion or phenomenon of experience takes precedence over metaphysical speculation or literal faith in the Gospels that have been handed down to us from the traditional Church. What the American philosopher William James described as "faith in someone else's faith" does not provide spiritual meaning for a lot people. Some of us hunger for a direct experience or vision of the Divine, and this is what the Gnostic scriptures advise us to do. By truly knowing oneself, one can discover God.
In the last chapter of this text, `From Hiroshima to the Secret Gospels', the author warns of the current condition of our age, in terms of the potential annihilation of the entire planet with our weapons of mass destruction. This is not some rhetorical `scare tactic' or apocalyptic ranting, but a genuine call for us to take a close look at ourselves, the darl sides of our natures, and to make a concerted effort to heal. The Lost Gospels might possibly provide us with greater insight into the Divine, thus avoiding our self-perpetuating extinction.
74 of 79 people found the following review helpful
Full of good insight, very helpful for beginners. 13 July 2000
By David Lenoir - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A very good book for those just beginning to study Gnostic Christianity ("Elements of Gnosticism" by Stuart Holroyd and "The Gnostic Gospels" by Elaine Pagels are also very good).
I especially liked the chapter "The Secret Sayings of Jesus". In that chapter, the author provided a very helpful analysis of selected sayings from "The Gospel of Thomas". That analysis gave me a good basic understanding of the Gnostic Jesus.
The chapter "Means of Transformation", equally good, basically puts Gnostic Christians in a good light. It accomplishes that by refuting some of the negative stereotypes against Gnostic Christians (for example the erroneous ideas that they hate God and the physical world and have no regard for virtue).
The chapter "Redemption and Ecstasy" is also interesting to me, personally, because it drew some parallels between Gnostic Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism's Kabbalah. Students of comparative religion, I believe, would find that chapter of interest.
As for the Jungian content of the book, I unfortunately can't really comment on it. The reason is that I admit that I have never read any of Jung's works only Gnostic interpretations of it. Let's just say I'm learning about Jung little by little as a side benefit of reading Gnostic writings.
63 of 67 people found the following review helpful
Enlightening but sometimes heavy handed 14 Jan 2000
By KTB - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a great book for anyone interested in gnostisism. I tried reading the gnostic texts and found them to be a little confusing, but after this book I feel I can go back to them with a little insight.
However, you have to keep in mind that this is not a purely academic book. This is Mr. Hoeller's opinions and feelings in some cases and in parts he can be a little heavy-handed. If you can ignore the bits where he's trying way too hard to convince you of a specific point then you'll be fine. Gnosis is all about coming to your own conclusions (I hope).
It's an excellent starting point for any study of gnostic texts and the whole concept of gnostic christianity. I recommend reading it alongside The Nag Hammadi Library (ISBN 0-06-066935-7) or The Other Bible (ISBN 0-06-250030-9).
43 of 48 people found the following review helpful
Parallels across the eras of Judeo-Christian history 8 July 2002
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Jung And The Lost Gospels: Insights Into The Dead Sea Scrolls And The Nag Hammadi Library is an incredible and fascinating survey of the similarities between the traditions of the Essene authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Gnostic authors of the Apostolic Age. Thoughtful as well as thought-provoking, persuasively argued, meticulously researched, and superbly presented, Jung And The Lost Gospels draws unique parallels across the eras of Judeo-Christian history and highly recommended reading for students of Jungian psychology, Judaic Studies, and the evolution of first century Christian historian and doctrine.
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