The Gnostic New Age: How a Countercultural Spirituality Revolutionized Religion from Antiquity to Today by April DeConickThe Gnostic New Age: How a Countercultural Spirituality Revolutionized Religion from Antiquity to Today by April DeConick

The Gnostic New Age: How a Countercultural Spirituality Revolutionized Religion from Antiquity to…

byApril DeConick

Hardcover | September 27, 2016

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Gnosticism is a countercultural spirituality that forever changed the practice of Christianity. Before it emerged in the second century, passage to the afterlife required obedience to God and king. Gnosticism proposed that human beings were manifestations of the divine, unsettling the hierarchical foundations of the ancient world. Subversive and revolutionary, Gnostics taught that prayer and mediation could bring human beings into an ecstatic spiritual union with a transcendent deity. This mystical strain affected not just Christianity but many other religions, and it characterizes our understanding of the purpose and meaning of religion today.

In The Gnostic New Age, April D. DeConick recovers this vibrant underground history to prove that Gnosticism was not suppressed or defeated by the Catholic Church long ago, nor was the movement a fabrication to justify the violent repression of alternative forms of Christianity. Gnosticism alleviated human suffering, soothing feelings of existential brokenness and alienation through the promise of renewal as God. DeConick begins in ancient Egypt and follows with the rise of Gnosticism in the Middle Ages, the advent of theosophy and other occult movements in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and contemporary New Age spiritual philosophies. As these theories find expression in science-fiction and fantasy films, DeConick sees evidence of Gnosticism's next incarnation. Her work emphasizes the universal, countercultural appeal of a movement that embodies much more than a simple challenge to religious authority.

April D. DeConick is Isla Carroll and Percy E. Turner Professor of Biblical Studies and chair of the Department of Religion at Rice University. She is the author of Holy Misogyny: Why the Sex and Gender Conflicts in the Early Church Still Matter (2013) and The Thirteenth Apostle: What the Gospel of Judas Really Says (2009). She starre...
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Title:The Gnostic New Age: How a Countercultural Spirituality Revolutionized Religion from Antiquity to…Format:HardcoverDimensions:392 pagesPublished:September 27, 2016Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231170769

ISBN - 13:9780231170765

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroduction1. The Matrix of Ancient Spirituality2. The Gnostic True Man3. Superpowers and Monsters4. Paul and Gnostic Dogma5. John and the Dark Cosmos6. Gnostic Altered States7. Hell Walks and Star Treks8. Spiritual Avatars9. The Pi of Politics10. Pleasantville Religions11. Gnosticism Out on a LimbBibliographyEnglish Translation of Gnostic SourcesFilmographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

DeConick has forcefully and elegantly thrown herself into the current scholarly debate on the Gnostics. In a book that is both rich in historical detail and passionate for deeper understanding, she argues that Gnostic spirituality not only provided a transformative and liberating experience for ancient devotees but it can also, even more, challenge and subvert the views of religious questers of the present, illuminating the modern search for spiritual truth.