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Interesting alternative perspective
on 20 November 2015
This is indeed a thought provoking book. I think the authors do well in making a range of complex material accessible to the lay reader in their books. However, as I am aware that the authors very much endorse a 'do it yourself' kind of pirituality and are subsequently far less favourable of mainstream religion, and this agenda is very much clear here. Far more highly acclaimed scholars take issue with the credability of the authors research methodology behind some of their radical shock tactic claims (see Tom Wright). Having said this, I am sure that there are elements of truth in this book, even if at times it may have been exaggerated or twisted to suit their agenda. As for the historicity of Jesus, the overwhelming majority of academics would not entertain such radical claims, even the reknown scholar Bart Erham is convinced he existed, and he is certainly no fan of Christianity. It is easy to see how those readers that only explore such things on a superficial level may be so easily convinced of such claims. Truth is we don't know with a 100 percent certainty either way and the thus the wise are likely to continue to remain open minded.
Despite this, I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to those who are interested in Gnosticism or cobbling together an idiosyncratic spiritual path, a popular undertaking today, and the authors provide validity and credability to such self aggrandising ideals. If you enjoyed this book you may also enjoy their interpretation of 'the Hermetica' another easy and enjoyable read by the authors, I too, found that a good read and helpful in providing an overview of what is otherwise a complex text in places (Corpus Hermetica) that is related to the Neoplatonic philosophy presented in this book. Having said all this I am not sure that Gnosticism really offers us anything better than what we have already got. No doubt it will be an appealing path for those who wish to believe that they have access to secret teachings or spiritual methods that others have not got. Naturally, this idea is attractive to the proud ego's that want to believe that we have the special key to enlightenment and others do not, I am more advanced than he etc, but the reality is that it is rooted in pride, and if we cannot see that then perhaps we are not as developed spiritually as we are inclined to deludedly kid ourselves. The impact of Neognosticism and its effectiveness in such spiritual pursuits remains to be seen and will undoubtedly unfold within the fullness of time.