Gnosticism was a wide-ranging religious movement of the first millennium C.E. whose adherents sought salvation through knowledge and mystical experience. Sample the gnostics in their own words with this unique book-and-audio set. The book, The Gnostics and Their Scriptures, provides a brief yet thorough introduction to gnostic philosophy, while the audio program allows you to encounter the gnostic scriptures as the living oral tradition they were intended to be. The selections are taken from among the most important—and most poetically beautiful—of all gnostic texts, including the Gospels of Thomas, Judas, and Mary Magdalene. Includes 3 CDs.
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Gnosticism was a wide-ranging religious movement of the first millennium ce?with earlier antecedents and later flourishings?whose adherents sought salvation through knowledge and personal religious experience. Gnostic writings offer striking perspectives on both early Christian and non-Christian thought. For example, some gnostic texts suggest that god should be celebrated as both mother and father, and the self-knowledge is the supreme path to the divine. Only in the past fifty years has it become clear how far the gnostic influence spread in ancient and medieval religions?and what a marvelous body of scriptures it produced.
This is the first time that such a rich and diverse collection of gnostic texts have been brought together in a single volume, in translations that allow the spirit of the original texts to shine. The selections gathered here, in poetic, readable translation, represent Jewish, Christian, Hermetic, Mandaean, Manichaean, Islamic, and Cathar expressions of gnostic spirituality. Their regions of origin include Egypt, the Greco-Roman world, the Middle East, Syria, Iraq, China, and France. Also included are introductions, notes, an extensive glossary, and a wealth of suggestions for further reading.
Born in Lewiston, Maine, Willis Barnstone was educated at Bowdoin, Columbia, the Sorbonne, and Yale. He taught in Greece at the end of the civil war (1949–51), and in Buenos Aires during the Dirty War. During the Cultural Revolution he went to China where he was later a Fulbright Professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University (1984–85). Former O'Connor Professor of Greek at Colgate University, he is Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature and Spanish at Indiana University.
His publications include Modern European Poetry (Bantam, 1967), The Other Bible (HarperCollins, 1984), Poetics of Translation: History, Theory, Practice (Yale, 1993), Funny Ways of Staying Alive (University Press of New England, 1993), The Secret Reader: 501 Sonnets (University Press of New England, 1996), the memoir With Borges on an Ordinary Evening in Buenos Aires (University of Illinois, 1993), Algebra of Night: Selected Poems—1949–1998 (Sheep Meadow, 1999), The Apocalypse (New Directions, 2000), Life Watch (BOA Editions, 2003), Border of a Dream: Poems of Antonio Machado (Copper Canyon, 2003), and The Gnostic Bible (Shambhala Publications, 2003).
A Guggenheim Fellow, his awards include a National Endowment for the Arts award, a National Endowment for the Humanities award, an Emily Dickinson Award of the Poetry Society of America, a W. H. Auden Award of the New York State Council on the Arts, the Midland Authors Award, three Book of the Month Selections and four Pulitzer Prize nominations for poetry. His work has appeared in American Poetry Review, Doubletake, Harper's, New York Review of Books, Poetry, Paris Review Poetry, Partisan Review, the New Yorker, and the Times Literary Supplement.
Marvin Meyer, PhD, (1948–2012) was Griset Professor of Bible and Christian Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at Chapman University in Orange, California. His books include The Gospel of Thomas and, with James Robinson, The Nag Hammadi Scriptures.
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