Gnosis ... is a mutual knowing, and simultaneous being known, of and by God
"Gnosis depends upon distinguishing the psyche, or soul, from the deep self, which pragmatically means any strengthening of the psyche depends upon acquaintance with the original self, already one with God. Originality is as much the mark of historical Gnosticism as it is of canonical Western literature, that Lewis simultaneously deprecates both the self and originality confirms the Gnostic negative analysis of those who assert that they live by faith rather than by knowledge. Christian"faith"Is pistis, a believing that something was, is, and will be so. Judaic"faith"Is emunah, a trusting in the Covenant. Islam means"submission"to the will of Allah, as expressed through the messenger Muhammad," the seal of the prophets."But Gnosis is not believing that, a trusting in, or a submission. Rather, it is a mutual knowing, and simultaneous being known, of and by God."- Harold Bloom
"Man is a trap ... and goodness avails him nothing in the new
dispensation. There is nobody now to care one way or the other. Good
and evil, pessimism and optimism—are a question of blood group, not
angelic disposition. Whoever it was that used to heed us and care for
us, who had concern for our fate and the world's, has been replaced
by another who glories in our servitude to matter, and to the basest
part of our own natures."
Lawrence Durell, Monsieur, or The Prince of Darkness
"The dominant element in Western religious traditions—particularly in Europe and the Middle East, less so in America—tends to be institutional, historic, and dogmatic in its orientations. This is true for normative Judaism, for Islam in its Sunni and Shi'ite branch, and for Christianity, whether Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, or mainline Protestant. In all of these, God essentially is regarded as external to the self. There are mystics and spiritual visionaries within these traditions who have been able to reconcile themselves with institutional authority, but there always has been an alternative convention, the way of Gnosis, and acquaintance with, or knowledge of, the God within, that has been condemned as heretical by the institutional faiths. In one form or another, Gnosis has maintained itself for at least two millennia of what we have learned to call the Common Era, shared first by the Jews and Christians, and then by the |Muslims also...
Gnosis depends upon distinguishing the psyche, or soul, from the deep self, which pragmatically means any strengthening of the psyche depends upon acquaintance with the original self, already one with God. Originality is as much the mark of historical Gnosticism as it is of canonical Western literature, that Lewis simultaneously deprecates both the self and originality confirms the Gnostic negative analysis of those who assert that they live by faith rather than by knowledge. Christian"faith"Is pistis, a believing that something was, is, and will be so. Judaic"faith"Is emunah, a trusting in the Covenant. Islam means"submission"to the will of Allah, as expressed through the messenger Muhammad," the seal of the prophets."But Gnosis is not believing that, a trusting in, or a submission. Rather, it is a mutual knowing, and simultaneous being known, of and by God.
I cannot pretend that this is a simple process; it is far more elitist that C. S. Lewis's"mere Christianity," and I suspect that this elitism is why Gnosticism always has been defeated by orthodox Christian faith, in history. But I am writing spiritual autobiography, and not Gnostic theology, and so I return to personal history to explain how I understand Gnosis and Gnosticism. You don't have to be Jewish to be oppressed by the enormity of the German slaughter of European Jewry, but if you have lost your four grandparents and most of your uncles, aunts, and cousins in the Holocaust, then you will be a touch more sensitive to the normative Judaic, Christian, and Muslim teachings that God is both all-powerful and benign. That gives one a God who tolerated the Holocaust, and such a God is simply intolerable, since he must be either crazy or irresponsible if his benign omnipotence was compatible with the death camps. A cosmos this obscene, a nature that contains schizophrenia, is acceptable to the monotheistic orthodox as part of"The mystery of faith."Historical Gnosticism, so far as I can surmise, was invented by the Jews of the first century of the Common Era as a protest against just such a mystery of faith which, as Emily Dickinson wrote," bleats to understand."Yet"Gnosticism"Is an ambiguous term; even"The Gnostic religion," Hans Jonas's suggestion, creates difficulties, as he acknowledged. There were, so far as we can ascertain, few, perhaps no Gnostic churches or temples in the ancient world. And yet Gnosticism was more than a tendency, more even than a party or a movement: I think it is best to call it a spirituality, one that was and is a deliberate, strong revision of Judaism and Christianity, and of Islam later. There is a quality of unprecedentedness about Gnosticism, an atmosphere of originality that disconcerts the orthodox of any faith. Creativity and imagination, irrelevant and even dangerous to dogmatic religion, are essential to Gnosticism. When I encounter this quality, I recognize it instantly, and an answering, cognitive music responds in me."
Harold Bloom, Omens of the Millennium
Riverhead Books (October 1, 1997) pp. 1-3
Angels, prophetic dreams, and resurrection—as we approach the millennium, American culture is increasingly fascinated with what many consider to be"new age"phenomena. Yet our current millennial preoccupations are derived from the ancient Hebraic, Christian, and Sufi traditions; they are neither ephemeral nor trivial. They have inspired and captivated the greatest of Western thinkers, from antiquity to Milton, Blake and Shakespeare.
What are the angels? And where does our notion of them originate? What role have dreams played in the history of human consciousness? What is the link between angels, prophetic dreams, and near-death experiences? How are these phenomena relevant to us today, as we approach the 21st century?
In this commanding and impassioned inquiry, Harold Bloom draws on a life-long study of religion and, in particular, of Gnosticism, the knowledge that God is not an external force but resides within each one of us. Through the ancient literature of Jewish Kabbalah, Christian Gnosticism, and Muslim Shi'ite Sufism, he reveals to us the angels not as the kitschy cherubs we know today, but as magnificent, terrifying, sublime beings who have always played a central role in Western culture. He allows us to feel their splendor, and to experience the powerful role that dreams and near-death experiences have held throughout the centuries. And in the dazzling final chapter, he delivers a Gnostic sermon in which he urges us toward transcendence.
In Omens of Millennium, Harold Bloom has written a book whose triumph is not only its synthesis of centuries of religious thought, but its deep spirituality, through which we come to know - and to mourn - a religious experience no longer available to us. A brilliant and provocative book, sure to engender as much discussion as his books The Western Canon and The Book of J. —This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
A fascination with near-death experiences, alien abductions, angels and prophetic dreams has reached a"particular intensity"In the U.S. as the millennium approaches. Or so says Bloom (The Western Canon) in this dazzling, maverick study in literature and comparative religion. Pausing often to unpack his own religious convictions, which are rooted in Gnosticism, a mystical belief system whose elusive history he traces to early Christianity, Kabbalistic Judaism and Islamic Sufism, Bloom contends that such"omens of the Millennium"Are in fact debased forms of Gnosticism. Gnosis, he writes, is a spiritual orientation at odds with orthodox religion. It eschews faith in an outward God for knowledge of the divinity of the deepest self and retells the story of creation as a fall away from a Godhead and a Fullness that, Bloom says, is more humane than the God of institutional religion. Contrasting the"Inspired vacuity"of New Age writers like Arianna Huffington and Raymond A. Moody to authentic Gnostic authors (who, according to Bloom, include ancient sages like Valentinus, medieval Kabbalists like Isaac Luria and more modern writers like Blake, Emerson and Shakespeare), Bloom explores how images of angels, prophecies and resurrection have always mirrored anxieties about the end of time, and how these images have been domesticated by popular culture. Bloom frequently injects himself into his study, discussing with rueful irony his own experiments with the outer limits of consciousness, including his own"near-death experience" (in a hospital while convalescing from a bleeding ulcer). The final chapter is a Gnostic sermon on self-transcendence. This book's brevity and eccentricities (Huffington and Moody are easy targets who don't exemplify the range and complexity of New Age thought) diminish its force as polemic. As a critical performance, however, it's a tour de force, highlighting a secret history of mystical thought whose visionaries and poets call out to each other over the centuries.
Web (May 12, 2013)
Gnosis is mutual knowing and being known of and by God
The Gnostic Gospels: Self-knowledge is knowledge of God
The mystic makes contact with the god inside
Hinduism is about exploring the very depths of your own soul yourself
Authors of old Asiatic books claimed ultimate truth was discoverable
But if you do not know yourselves, then you dwell in poverty
The failure to attain direct experience of the truth
The real study, in religion, is first-hand experience of God.
For Lao Tze it is the Tao, in Jewish mysticism it is the Shekinah
Spiritual but not Religious
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