What Does The Hypostasis of the Archons Mean? Gnosticism, The Roman Empire and the Myth of Christ

Distracted from distraction by distraction
Filled with fancies and empty of meaning
Tumid apathy with no concentration
Men and bits of paper, whirled by the cold wind
That blows before and after time.

TS Eliot, Burnt Norton from The Four Quartets.

Page from the Gnostic Gospels
Page from the Gnostic Gospels

God of the blind

I first came across the Hypostasis of the Archons one rainy day in mid December 2005. I’d been sitting around nursing a hangover all day. It was grey and wet and miserable out there in the world, and I didn’t feel like going out. Later I would be going to watch the Christmas lights turning-on ceremony in our town. Meanwhile I’d been surfing the internet, looking for obscure political and religious texts, mainly about the various sects that exist in the region around Iraq. It’s something I was thinking at the time. Why did the American invade Iraq? Yes, because of the oil, but also – so I thought – because Iraq contains the key to an understanding of the origins of Christianity.

There are several Christian sects in Iraq. There are Chaldean, Assyrian and Syriac communities, who all practice variations on traditional Christian rites. Some of them do so in Aramaic, the language of Jesus himself, while several so-called heretical sects also find their home in Iraq. Plus there are two other religious groups, the Yazidis in the North, and the Mandaeans in the South, who are also clearly from the Judeo-Christian line. This is obviously aside from the two main Islamic sects which make up the majority of the population: the Sunni and the Shi'ites. The Mandaeans are particularly interesting as they are followers of John the Baptist, practicing daily baptism as part of their rite. They are also a Gnostic sect - “Manda” means “knowledge” - which casts a revealing light on the history of Christianity. If John the Baptist was a Gnostic then that must mean that Gnosticism precedes Orthodoxy, something that traditional Christians would be loath to admit.

It was just before I was due to go out that I found the Hypostasis of the Archons. I’m not sure what query I’d put into my search engine to come up with this particular piece of writing. I already knew some of the Gnostic texts, and had been intrigued and fascinated by them for years. I’d never read this one before, but there was something about it which seemed familiar somehow, and which seared into me from the very first words.

Here are the opening lines:

On account of the reality of the authorities, (inspired) by the spirit of the father of truth, the great apostle - referring to the “authorities of the darkness” - told us that “our contest is not against flesh and blood; rather, the authorities of the universe and the spirits of wickedness.” I have sent this (to you) because you inquire about the reality of the authorities.

The reason that it seemed familiar at first is that, in fact, it was familiar, as I later found out. The quote, which is attributed to “the great apostle”, is from a Biblical text, Ephesians 6:12, which in the King James version reads as follows:

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

What the Hypostasis of the Archons represents is an interpretation of that text in terms of the Creation Myth of Genesis.

The thing that struck me immediately – and which sent a shiver of recognition through me – was that line: “our contest is not against flesh and blood”. It’s the body he is talking about. This is an explicitly political statement. It is a statement of solidarity for all creatures of flesh and blood, for human beings in all their weakness and fragility, their vulnerability and their susceptibility to pain, and against “the authorities of the universe and the spirits of wickedness” , which, the King James version makes clear, is a specifically political target: “principalities… powers… the rulers of the darkness of this world…. spiritual wickedness in high places ”.

I read the line with a surge of gratitude to St. Paul for his tacit acknowledgement of the body, as a defence of the body against the powers that can control and inhibit the body - the authorities, the archons – which I understood as psychological forces, forces emanating from the invisible realms, but which have a specifically political dimension.

I have to be clear at this point, so there is no confusion later on: to me the terms spiritual and psychological are the same. Spirit is from the Latin and means breath, while Psyche is from the Greek and also means breath. Both words refer to an invisible animating principle in the Universe, which the Hypostasis of the Archons recognises a few lines later in the following terms: “for by starting from the invisible world the visible world was invented ”. For me the really interesting stuff lies at the junction between these two worlds: between the visible and the invisible, between the body and the mind, between the social and the ideological, between what our natural human inclinations would lead us to express in our lives – our creativity, our human kindness - and what is imposed upon us by a system of domination and control. It is this realm, it seems to me, that the Hypostasis of the Archons is concerned with.

I was just getting ready to go out at this point and I printed out the text to take with me, but, before I did, I had time to read the next lines, which are as follows:

Their chief is blind; because of his power and his ignorance and his arrogance he said, with his power, "It is I who am God; there is none apart from me." When he said this, he sinned against the entirety. And this speech got up to incorruptibility; then there was a voice that came forth from incorruptibility, saying, "You are mistaken, Samael" - which is, "god of the blind."

Again, there was a surge of recognition as I read these words. I immediately equated the god of the blind both with the God of the Old Testament and with George Bush, then in power in the White House. “His power and his ignorance and his arrogance ” seemed an apt description of the then President of the United States, who at this time had mobilised the world into a vain and futile war to seize the economic assets of Iraq. I knew that, as a Gnostic Text, the Hypostasis of the Archons was written during the years of the Roman Empire, and would have had the Roman Emperor in mind, and I was struck by the similarity of the worlds we inhabited, then and now. I also saw that the God of the Old Testament, who is also clearly being referred to here, represented the ego in psychological terms. "It is I who am God; there is none apart from me."

I folded up the sheets of paper, grabbed my jacket, and went out to meet the world.

I spent the next couple of hours drinking lager and reading the Hypostasis of the Archons. Eventually I went to get an Indian meal with a couple of friends of mine. I was reading the Hypostasis of the Archons in the Indian restaurant too. I kept seeing lines in it which would startle and intrigue me, and would show them to my friends. “Look at this,” I’d say, pointing to some peculiar or evocative line from the text: “What does that mean?”

It seemed like a fantastic mystery to me.

While I was in the Indian restaurant I met an ex-Labour Party man who had supported the war in Iraq, and we had a very public squabble. He said: ““I’m glad we invaded Iraq, to find out that they didn’t have weapons of mass destruction. Otherwise we wouldn’t have known would we?”

I laughed out loud at that. It was such an absurd argument that I felt I had to write it down. Which I did, on the top of the copy of the Hypostasis of the Archons that I had before me. It seemed to me the kind of false reasoning that might have come from the “god of the blind”:

His thoughts became blind. And, having expelled his power - that is, the blasphemy he had spoken - he pursued it down to chaos and the abyss, his mother, at the instigation of Pistis Sophia. And she established each of his offspring in conformity with its power - after the pattern of the realms that are above, for by starting from the invisible world the visible world was invented .

Pistis Sophia: a Christian Goddess

So that was my introduction to the text. The reason I’ve gone into the background to my finding it is that it illustrates the context in which I read it. I was reading it as a political as well as a psychological text. I felt that it had relevance to today’s world. I still do.

The words “Pistis” and “Sophia” mean “Faith” and “Wisdom”. It is the name given by the Gnostics to the female spiritual principle. She is their goddess. It’s a startling fact that this Christian group acknowledged a goddess figure in their pantheon, and that they equated the God of the Old Testament with such negative concepts as blind thought and blasphemy.

It’s clear that Samael IS meant to represent the God of the Old Testament by what follows in the text: a kind of upside-down retelling of the Genesis Creation myth.

As incorruptibility looked down into the region of the waters, her image appeared in the waters; and the authorities of the darkness became enamoured of her. But they could not lay hold of that image, which had appeared to them in the waters, because of their weakness - since beings that merely possess a soul cannot lay hold of those that possess a spirit - for they were from below, while it was from above.

So this has Pistis Sophia with her image appearing as a kind of chimera in the waters, and the archons glimpsing the image and becoming enamoured of her. There is also a clear separation between spirit and soul , what is above and what is below.

This is the first of a number of visionary images that appear throughout the text. The image in the waters acts as inspiration to the archons, who decide to create a model of their own:

The rulers laid plans and said, "Come, let us create a man that will be soil from the earth." They modelled their creature as one wholly of the earth. They had taken some soil from the earth and modelled their man after their body and after the image of God that had appeared to them in the waters. They said, "Come, let us lay hold of it by means of the form that we have modelled, so that it may see its male counterpart [...], and we may seize it with the form that we have modelled" - not understanding the force of God, because of their powerlessness.

This passage is startling for a number of reasons. It is a clear reference to the creation of Adam in Genesis, but the archons are creating their Adam as a trap in order to ensnare the image of God that had appeared to them in the waters. The image of God in this case, is Pistis Sophia, a female figure. That is startling enough in itself. But then we discover that Adam is being created to ensnare the goddess for sexual reasons. This is made clear later in the text. They are sexually enamoured of the image. But it is a false world they are creating. It’s a substitute world, a dead world. No matter how hard Samael blows into Adam’s face, he cannot make it move or give it life. It has soul, but not spirit. It is from below, while the spirit is from above.

And he breathed into his face; and the man came to have a soul (and remained) upon the ground many days. But they could not make him arise because of their powerlessness. Like storm winds they persisted (in blowing), that they might try to capture that image, which had appeared to them in the waters. And they did not know the identity of its power.

Thus we have the image of the ego creating a false world. Samael declares that there will be no other god but him. This is the voice of the ego. It’s like a viral thought-form passing itself down from generation to generation, infecting the human race with its strictures, with its laws and its psychological control. From Father to Son, from Mother to Daughter. From power to powerlessness. From master to slave.

This is how the “spirits of wickedness ” maintain their presence in the world. “Hypostasis of the Archons ” means “The Reality of the Rulers ”. Who can doubt their reality? Witness our world now, a world controlled by violence and war, in which war has become an end in itself, a means of power to those that are in thrall to the archons, who have made themselves into the image of the archons, who have become the representatives of the authorities, the spirits of wickedness in this world. We can see the archons as specific thought-forms which are handed down to us, as the psychopathic creatures in all of us, those who take pleasure in the destruction of others, who cannot relate except through a relationship of power, whose purpose is to take gain from another’s loss.

This is the Roman world, the world that the early Christians were opposing. It is the world of slavery and control. The world of conquest and Empire. The world of sexual violence and sexual power. It is also our world.

The archons imprint their model on us, their dead world. That’s what we see through the eyes of the ego: a dead world. A world of objects, of things, bereft of life, hollow, empty, meaningless. A world ripe only for exploitation. A purely economic world. A world in which some humans have the power of life or death over others, a world where we can go to war for possession of a commodity. A world in which men and women, adults and children are slaughtered for the economic benefit of a few.

The archons also mould the physical world in their image. They create concrete ideological forms, cities, city-centres, huge towering structures which impose upon us, which bear down upon us, to remind us of their presence. And then forms of control, laws, institutions, banks, armies, security forces, prisons, which shape us spiritually and psychologically, making us fit in to their world. We are bent out of shape by it. We are made to submit. It is a political world. They control us by the power of money, by the power that money exerts over our lives.

What also becomes immediately clear from reading this text is that these early Christians are engaged in the process of re-interpreting the myth, of criticising it. They are not content to take the scriptures as “read”, they want to argue with the scriptures. The scriptures are not dead things to them, passed down from God, inviolable, untouchable, but living things to be shaped, re-written, open to change. They are engaged with the myth, in a process of renewal. Thus the myth is a dynamic process to them. It doesn’t exist at some lost time in the distant past, but it is here, now, in front of us, ready to play a part in our lives.

The myth of Christ

Part of that engagement with the myth of Creation involves reincorporating the feminine into it. The feminine is the spirit . It is the spirit which brings life to the man. It descends and comes to dwell within him. Thus the man becomes a living soul. The man is identified with the earth, with the ground, with the soil from which he is made. It is the spirit that enters him that brings him to life. The rulers then cause Adam to fall asleep. The sleep is called “Ignorance”. It is in the state of sleep that they create Eve out of him. The man is split in two. One part of him – Adam – contains the soul , while the other part – Eve – contains the spirit .

This is another startling element within the text. It was one of the things I was pointing out to my friends in the Indian restaurant. Adam is referred to as the soul-endowed man while Eve is referred to as the spirit-endowed woman . Thus we are given an image of complementarity between the sexes, of completion, which is entirely lacking in conventional Christian texts. The high regard that the writer of the book has for women is made clear in the passage where Adam is awakened from his sleep. “It is you who have given me life; ” he says, on seeing her, “you will be called 'mother of the living.' – For it is she who is my mother. It is she who is the physician, and the woman, and she who has given birth .”

It is after this that the sexual element enters in to the equation. The archons see Adam speaking to “his female counterpart ” and become enamoured of her, as they has been enamoured of the spirit in the waters they had seen earlier. They become “agitated with a great agitation ”. They pursue her in order to impregnate her. Then we are given another image of a split world.

And she laughed at them for their witlessness and their blindness; and in their clutches she became a tree, and left before them her shadowy reflection resembling herself; and they defiled it foully. - And they defiled the stamp of her voice, so that by the form they had modelled, together with their (own) image, they made themselves liable to condemnation.

There is a platonic element in this. There is the world of appearances, and the ideal world that underlies it. Eve is raped but her spirit escapes unharmed. We have an image of sexual violence and sexual power that reflects the Roman world, and an image of a spiritual world which is separate from it and which defies it. The spirit laughs at them while the body is being defiled. Thereafter Eve is called the carnal woman . The spiritual element in her has departed.

After this the female spiritual principle returns in the form of the snake. This is the point at which the text most clearly reverses the imagery of the original creation myth. Instead of representing the idea of temptation, the snake here represents the idea of instruction. It advises Eve to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and to ignore the demands of the archons that she refrain from eating. Unlike in the original myth, this eating of the tree is represented in a positive light. “Your eyes shall open and you shall come to be like gods, recognizing evil and good.

This is the creed of Gnosticism: knowledge. The archons want to keep us in ignorance – in lack of knowledge. What conventional Christianity abhors, Gnosticism embraces.

Finally Adam and Eve are thrown out of the garden.

They threw mankind into great distraction and into a life of toil, so that their mankind might be occupied by worldly affairs, and might not have the opportunity of being devoted to the holy spirit.

This is the meaning of the term blind thought which is used throughout the text: the great distraction which mankind is burdened by and which TS Eliot so aptly described as distracted from distraction by distraction. What better way of describing the life of the ego? An endless cycle of repeated thoughts, of recycled moments, going on inside our heads, by which we are separated from the life outside of us, separated from the very moment in which we exist.

It would be easy enough at this point to continue our reading of the text line by line, but I suspect that this would be a little tedious.

Also the text becomes increasingly garbled as it continues. It’s clear that, in fact, there are two parallel texts, similar in form, but dissimilar in details, which have been stitched together to create this particular version. Thus there are repeated lines later on which makes the text confusing. We are given the story of Cain and Abel, and then of two other children of Adam and Eve: Seth and Norea. Norea appears to represent incorruptibility in this world, a being not created by the archons. She defies the archons and calls to the God of the entirety to protect her from their advances. An angel comes down – Eleleth, sagacity – and begins to explain the allegory.

A veil exists between the world above and the realms that are below; and shadow came into being beneath the veil; and that shadow became matter; and that shadow was projected apart.

Another character is introduced – Zoe the daughter of Sophia, which means “Life” – and more names – Yaldabaoth and Sabaoth - which confuse things even more.

You are left scratching your head at the bewildering complexity of it all.

There continue to be startling moments, however, as when light is introduced into the picture: Sophia stretched forth her finger and introduced light into matter . Once more we see the female spiritual principle taking on the role given to God in the Genesis story.

The end of the story appears to be a continuation of the conversation between the angel Eleleth and Norea in which the nature of the universe is explained.

Norea’s offspring contain the spirit of truth and therefore they exist deathless in the midst of dying mankind .

The point about this text is that it is clearly meant to be interpreted psychologically. It takes a section of the Bible which fundamentalist Christians would insist as literally true, and reads it as allegory. This is an early Christian text – probably dating from around the 3rd century – and yet it seems entirely modern in its outlook. It shows that there was once another form of Christianity on this planet, a more sophisticated form, which doesn’t attempt to bamboozle us with fairy tales.

In fact, you could argue, Gnosticism IS Christianity. It is that form of Christianity that existed before Roman Catholicism was adopted as the ideological wing of the Roman Empire. The Gnostic texts represent true Christianity, a Christianity that is free of the constraints of Empire. It is a deliberate and conscious mythos, a creation, revelling in its own freedom, a challenge to the Empire, not an arm of it. Whereas the early Church fathers would deliberately falsify texts in order to bolster their claims to legitimacy, the Gnostic texts are unashamedly allegorical. You read into them, not out of them. You engage with them and interpret them, just as – you might imagine – you are meant to interpret the story of Jesus himself. For the Gnostic, Jesus, like the creation story, is an allegory. The cross is an allegory. The resurrection is an allegory. The whole gospel tale is one grand allegory you are encouraged to partake in, to engage with, to interpret. Not literal. Allegorical.

Gnosticism treats us as adults rather than children. It is Christianity for grown-ups.

Once you understand this Christianity makes sense. Whereas conventional Christianity asks us to have faith – blind faith - in a series of absurdities which we are to understand as miracles, those same absurdities, when viewed through an allegorical lens, become profound truths to be savoured, to be interpreted, to be understood.

As for what you think the allegory might mean: that's up to you to decide.

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Comments 38 comments

pgrundy 5 years ago

Wow CJ, this is amazing, and so different from your other stuff. Here in the U.S. people are going mad with this evangelical meme. It's starting to look like 'Night of the Living Dead'. (I don't know if George Romero was a Gnostic, but his movie fits.) Sadly, those infected won't understand this excellent essay even if they try to read it, but I appreciate you anyway.


salt profile image

salt 5 years ago from australia

I will make the effort to read this article properly!!!!!


amorea13 5 years ago

CJ this is serious commentary and I both applaud you and thank you for the time and zeal with which you have 'chased' this down through the centuries!

I first got to the Gnostic gospels years ago and felt an immediate affinity but I had never heard of The Hypostasis of the Archons.

There are so many 'connections' as you suggest between what you have explained and what goes on around us today and has done for thousands of years; from beyond Roman times. There are so many it's difficult to know where to begin!

The influence of State Education in slowly squeezing intuition into oblivion in favour of 'science-based' analysis of what is 'known' and accepted by 'masculine' authority (yet another example of the feminine in us being regarded as inferior), the growing up with the words of the Lord's Prayer ringing in our tiny minds as children, "Our Father which art in Heaven" (meaning we are always separate and therefore different from Him)and "Thy will be done," placing us wholly without free-will of our own.

I could go on and on CJ, your article has created so many starting points for discussion but I feel that your comment in the body of your text is most important where you state, " our natural human inclination would lead us to express . . . creativity . . . (and) human kindness."

Yes I so agree but it is precisely that which authority in general and religious authority in particular has caused us to forget or disbelieve; that inner, infinite 'humanity'within us all which is essentially good and god-like. We have been encouraged to believe that we are separate, sinful, ghastly in action and naturally evil and NOT human - unless we conform to all that we may be told or read that is given to us by those who know best - our 'masters' of the universe!

As a last comment I am reminded too by your words about how we have indeed CJ all been deliberately confused (lied to) by government and law in that from our registration of birth (or 'berth' in Maritime Contract Law!) we are by those authorities regarded as 'corporate fictions' and NOT as human-beings at all! We are sovereign, sentient, living beings of God but this is NOT how government or Law (or banks!) view us. We are THEIRS in terms of identity and use and we have not even known it.

Your article is, for me, a further 'eye-opener' CJ telling me that this state of affairs has been going on far longer than even I imagined and that there have always been those 'out there' who have left clues for us to discover who it is who has misled us and what they have done to do so. Thank you - brilliant piece of work. Voted up CJ.


DiamondRN profile image

DiamondRN 5 years ago from Charlotte, NC USA

CJ., you seem fairly certain that oil was one of the major reasons that the US invaded Iraq? As a seeker of the truth, I'm curious as to what credible evidence you may have found to support that thesis. Thanks for your time. Bob


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Lady Guinevere 5 years ago from West Virginia

Wow! What a great piece of work and I will have to get into reading those Archon texts as well. I am already well aware of the Gnostic Tests and The Nazarene Way.


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HOOWANTSTONO 5 years ago

Man you missed out on Islam, they are also one of the sects originating in the middle east of Jewish/Christian Origin.


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Bard of Ely 5 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

This is absolutely brilliant, Chris, and as Pam has said not like your usual work at all!


CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

DiamondRN: I am indeed fairly certain that the war in Iraq was fought for oil. I don't think it takes all that much thinking about to see that this has to be true. But, just in case you can't work out the logic of it, here is Alan Greenspan saying the same thing: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/articl

Hoowantstono: I took it for granted that you'd realise that Iraq is also a Muslim country, and that I didn't have to mention these. Also, until 1948, Iraq had the oldest population of Jews in the world, who could date their presence there to the 8th century BC!

Cheers all the rest of you. This is another of those hubs which I said I would never write, but I've been thinking about it a lot recently. Of course, I could never get it published anywhere else.

PS pgrundy, I think George Romero might be a Gnostic. John Carpenter's They Live - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/They_Live - could also be interpreted as a Gnostic film.


Alan Craw 5 years ago

I suggest a look at the differences between belief in the Archons in regards to Greek 'Pagan' Gnostic Beliefs and those of the later Greek 'Christian' Gnostic Beliefs.... in particular regard to both the Archons and to Ialdaboath/Yaldaboth.

And to that of the Judeo-Chistian - Jehovah.

Have a look at both the creation myths the original Pagan Gnostic Creation Myth, then the later Greek Christian Gnostic Creation Myths.

Not to mention have a look at the deeper meaning of the orgin of the word Archon (from Arkai) itself...!!!

Ialdaboath and Jehovah, in the Christian myths are seen as enemies on a similar part to God and the Devil, etc within modern Christianity.

Whereas originally Ialdaboath was the chaos of the depths of space within the Universe, the chaos within the void.

In the original myth Ialdaboath (Chaos/Void) mates with Sophia (Knowledge) to give birth to the Archons (light, and possibly order) within the creation of the universe... the Archons are nothing more than the divine spark of creation of the original 7 traditional planets in our Universe.

Inreality, Ialdaboath and Sophia can be seen as the origin architechs (Arkai-Tekton - Devine Buiders of Light (Life!)...) within the Unbiverse.

The Archons are also of course mentioned several times within the Apocraphyl texts of the Secret Gospels of Mary.


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CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

I'd be interested in seeing your sources Alan. Very interesting information.


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Thanks for a great piece! Cheers!

"Religion is the opiate of the masses" Karl ...


CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Thanks Mr Happy.

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.


HOOWANTSTONO profile image

HOOWANTSTONO 5 years ago

"O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." Jesus Christ

God hates religion


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cheaptrick 5 years ago from the bridge of sighs

Hello CJ.I wish I could press each button over and over I'm so Thrilled with this presentation!I have been a Christian Gnostic for some years[though my hubs don't reflect it]and was masquerading as an agnostic because of the"Your a Devil worshiper"Blow back when I expressed myself.I absorbed every word in your comments box as well...Bellissimo!,all of them!This is a wonderful glimpse into Gnosticism for those who haven't learned to translate gnostic terminology.I would like to recommend a few other works for your readers who would like to explore Gnosticism if I may

.The Second Treatise of the Great Seth is beautiful in it's imagery and quite startling as well.The Gospel of Mary should be in every Gnostic's library.fascinating psychological connection in it.And finally,A work by an obscure fringe group of Gnostic's called the Naassenes,not to be confused with the Essene Jews of the dead sea.It is,'The Naassene Sermon',very understandable to beginners and highly recommended.

So sorry I took so much space in your comments but this is the Hub of the Century for me!You made it So understandable,something I've never been able to do...Oh...one last thing.Sophia is an Aeon of The All where there is no gender.The All,Virgin Spirit,The One,etc is the unknowable ineffable source beyond human understanding.Thank you Thank you Thank you

Dean


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CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Steve: actually it covers some of the same ground as my War is a Racket hub: http://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/War-Is-A-R

amorea13, I gather you are familiar with the idea of the freeman on the land. Actually there's another hub to be written about Christianity as the incorporation of Jewish and Roman Law. Jewish Law allowed release from debt slavery - "redemption" - at regular intervals, whereas Roman Law passes the debt burden on to your descendants. What Christianity does is to allow redemption, according to Jewish Law, but only after you are dead! We currently live under Roman Law.


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CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Thanks for your enthusiastic response Dean. I know some of those books too. Actually the link to the Gnostic Library (above) will contain most of those texts. I'll put a link to The Naassene Sermon in too. Glad you like my work. I was a bit uncertain of it myself, as it's quite hard to think some of this through, but I'm glad you think I've succeeded.


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Sufidreamer 5 years ago from Sparti, Greece

Great work, Chris - I had to skim through it a little, as it is getting late here. I will read it again tomorrow, and follow the links, when my head is clearer.

I love Gnosticism, too, ever since I stumbled across the Judas Gospel (surely the most misunderstood figure in the Bible). If just goes to show that censorship isn't a modern phenomenon - they never liked we plebs to read anything controversial!


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CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Hi Sufi, hope your reading of it tomorrow is enjoyable. I'm not sure, but I have the feeling that the word "Sufi" is from Sophia, and represents a form of Islamic Gnosticism.

Dean, I couldn't find a link for The Naassene Sermon. Is it the same as the Hymn of Jesus?


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Sufidreamer 5 years ago from Sparti, Greece

It could well be - I heard that it has a double meaning: 'Wool', from the simple robes they used to wear, and 'Purity'. Not far away at all.

I have always been drawn towards the fringes of religion - I am sure that there are mystics in the deserts of Arabia, the valleys of Tibet, and the green mountains of Ethiopia who have answers.

Sadly, we don't even know the questions, yet, and they will not be found in mainstream dogma and religionism. It seems that most of these fringe groups were persecuted throughout history - they are too much of a threat to the established order of things.


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Lady Guinevere 5 years ago from West Virginia

Sufi, that be true. All the answers are within each and every one of us, but the crux is to know what questions to ask.


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Amanda Severn 5 years ago from UK

Wow Chris, just too much to take in at once. I've never read about the gnostic gospels before, so this is all new to me, but already I'm finding echoes of other traditional stories in this hub. The moon on the water, Nimue dallying with Merlin, the great Architect of the Freemasons.

It has always been plain to me that religion is largely used as a tool to control people. I can see why these texts are unpopular with hard-core Christians.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Hello Amanda, what is even more difficult for hard-core Christians to handle is the possibility that Gnosticism might be authentic Christianity, and that Orthodox Christianity, as it comes down to us from Constantine and the council of Nicaea, is in fact the fake religion. It means that Christians have been completely misunderstanding their own religion all this time.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 5 years ago from South Africa

My humble opinion is that Gnosticism contains as much anomalies and contradictions as any other religion. Since the beginning people tried to understand all states and processes known through the senses, intuition and reasoning – they tried to put their thoughts and feelings and the conclusions they have reached into words – in stories, articles, essays – in such a way that they and others can understand what seems to be above their comprehension. They’ve used metaphors, analogies, and all kinds of comparisons in their writings as well as in their verbal conversations, inciting people forever to study and analise them in a never-ending search for knowledge and wisdom. In the meanwhile life on this earth flies, and by the time we face death, we realize that we have never really lived and loved – we were too busy to find a god who comes up to our expectations.

Yes, this is all interesting to know. But do we really need to know this? Will this enable us to love our fellow-men the way we love ourselves actively and not merely passively? I’ve studied these kinds of subjects, including mythology, and eventually decided to study people – for how can you love yourself and other people if you don’t know who you and they really are?

This is but only my view on the topic. I’ve found this hub interesting, thought-provoking and well-written. And I know all of us need to have a concept and perception of a suitable god before we can live and love. For we need the guidance and protection of a Being, a Force, a Spirit more solid and reliable as a mortal human being.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Martie, no doubt Gnosticism contains many anomalies and contradictions. For a start, it's not a single thing, but represents a movement within Christianity with a variety of different points of view. But the essential thing is that it is more spiritually "mature" than everyday Christianity in that it asks questions of the texts that Christianity tries to pass off as "true". Also I feel that it is very sophisticated in its understanding of psychology. But the clincher for me is the attitude of the Roman Empire which adopted Orthodox Christianity as it's state religion, while suppressing Gnosticism. So then, you have to ask, which was the more radical, the more questioning, the more revolutionary?


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 5 years ago from Stepping past clutter

You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation. Isaiah 12:3

Don't ask me why, it seemed relevant.

I loved gnosticism and its deepening of the Christianity I grew up believing. Now I am into what was before The Bible. So many of these myths plagiarize earlier stories. Well, plagiarize may be too harsh.

I think these truths are contained within the very elements of the earth. I think they are communicated in oxygen and seasons and light, reinterpreted for new ages. Think of it- the oxygen we breathe has been recycled for how long? Surely it contains information from Creation.

The Feminine Face of God has been squelched for reasons of male domination and power. I don't care because we females have our own screwed up priorities. I suppose balance is the key- we all need to return to balance.

When arguing Romans versus Gnostics versus whomever, don't forget that there were shamans operating elsewhere and the Chinese had their myths and that many of these Old Testament myths were taught to and adapted by the Jews while in Babylon.

Sumeria has such wonderful tales of gods and goddesses. And Kuan Yin is so similar a tale to the Jesus of the Hebrews, descending into hell and rising to save the children, so to speak.

In fact, it is probable that Jesus has usurped the feminine spirit in similar fashion as God took the feminine position in the Old Testament. Except Mary Magdalene knew him and loved him and so she was relegated by priests to prostitute status in order to be diminished.

Man, I sound like a ranting lunatic. I have been studying this for a very very very long time. It matters to me, as I love stories, particularly of the spirit.

Thank you for a most engaging and fascinating hub. I truly admire your scholarship.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Keep studying it Storytellersrus. I've obviously sparked something off in you!


Gregory Sams 5 years ago

Great stuff CJ. I expect you've seen John Lash Lamb's work, "Not in His Image." That was my first exposure to the half of this world/half not "archons," with a love of deceipt and trickery.

Thanks for ploughing this field even further and expressing the alternative view of the Garden of Eden that was destroyed along with the Gnostic Ophites in the 4th century.

You know my work and I think you'll resonate with the alternative Eden-related piece I wrote for the MAPS journal psychedelia and ecology edition.

http://www.pdfdownload.org/pdf2html/view_online.ph...


Gregory Sams 5 years ago

Hi CJ, I don't know if there's a way to get that link in there since most of the address seems to be cut off. The document is also top of the page, the MAPS article download at http://www.gregorysams.com/other-topics.html

let's see if all that gets through.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Greg, the first attempt didn't get through, which is why I've deleted it, but the second link works. I'll take a read of it later.

What I'm very clear about now is that the destruction of the Gnostics has lead us into virtually 2 millennia of false thinking. Lets hope that we can step back into our "true" minds before it is too late.


Joyus Crynoid profile image

Joyus Crynoid 5 years ago from Eden

Wow, great hub CJ. I resonate with your statement "Gnosticism... is Christianity for grown-ups". Instead of seeking mind control it seeks to free the mind. It resonates with my position that Christianity, at heart, is a humanist mythology.

Spiritual and psychological have also been synonymous for me. But I didn't know before reading this that 'spirit' and 'psyche' come respectively from Latin and Greek words for the same thing--breath, that which animates life. That is cool.

Humanity has forgotten so much, and keeps repeating its old mistakes (albeit with greater destructive power). The western world (the US in particular) is very much like Rome before the fall, and will likely have the same fate.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Hello Joyus, yes Christianity is at heart a humanist philosophy, or was, before it became the cheerleader for Empire. And I agree, the western world will have the same fate as Rome unless it returns to its true values again. Thanks for your comment and I'm glad you like the piece.


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 5 years ago from West Virginia

Oh CJ we must not forget about all the books and knowledge that was burned and blamed on a third party of Library of Alexandria. What people won't do for power and control of money and people.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Yes Lady G. And it was the rediscovery of a lot of that material that lead us to the Enlightenment. Thank god for the Arabs for saving it. The perspective I now have is that conventional Christianity is associated with ignorance and stupidity, not to say, bigotry, all of which continue it seems.


bob 5 years ago

hows your kiddyfiddling drunkard friends?


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 5 years ago from West Virginia

Yes and it sure is a shame. Wonder if 2010 is really going to be more enlightenment and the Christians are getting scared that their "Empire" will fail/fall.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Hey "bob" - if you are referring to Dave, the guy I brought round to Denny's house that time, he's dead. Died of alcohol poisoning in the Philippines a few years back. As for me, I no longer drink. If you've got an issue with me, stop posting on my site and contact me directly. And stop using a pseudonym, use your real name please.


parrster profile image

parrster 5 years ago from Oz

Hi CJ. Well you've definitely made some broad-sweeping assertions in your article; I speak chiefly of the bible is allegory conclusions. Untrained in this field I cannot lean heavily on my own knowledge to either refute or agree with you; though there are many well trained minds out there that could. I find so much written on this subject little more than the entrenched security that one’s own views are right (no offence intended).

Such articles as this are too light weight to really ascertain the facts, though it may whet the curiosity of the reader enough to dig deeper; and I hope readers do because there is very strong opposing arguments to some of the things you have asserted. However I fear the only lasting result of such articles as this is encouraging the Chicken Littles in the Christian community to panic at data that they are simply not prepared to wrestle with, while at the same time inflating the confidence of those equally unable to contend.

I enjoyed reading the hub.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

parrster, I agree, the end is a bit broad and sweeping. The justification arises from the fact that whoever wrote the Hypostasis of the Archons is clearly dealing with the creation story as an allegory, but the broader question, about whether the gospels are allegories too, is only touched on in this piece. I might get round to exploring this more at some point.

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