Tuesday, 29 September • 7:30–9:30 PM
What if we can all access the Divine directly through gnosis?
How a Countercultural Spirituality Revolutionised Religion from Antiquity to Today.
“Religion is not about obeying the gods, but transcending them in order to find spiritual union with the supreme source of all existence.”
Join us for this searching interview with the author of ‘The Gnostic New Age’ and discover more about this movement and its reappearances through history, including the Cathars of Languedoc, the Florentine Renaissance of Ficino, 19th century esotericism and the 20th century rediscovery of the Gnostic Gospels including those of Thomas, Philip, Mary and Judas.
In The Gnostic New Age, Professor April D. DeConick of Rice University explores the emergence of countercultural Gnostic spirituality with its subversive view of a transcendent God, the divine rather than sinful human being, and illusory worlds. The Gnostics were the first to view traditional religion as the opiate of the masses, the drug that keeps people satisfied to serve the gods and their kings as obedient slaves and vassals.
Obedience and submission, the traditional postures of worship, are turned upside down by the Gnostics. Professor DeConick shows that Gnosticism is not a heretical religion with a particular set of myths, rituals, and beliefs that were transmitted from one Gnostic church to the next until it was successfully suppressed and defeated by the Catholic Church.
Nor is it a figment of the imaginations of Catholic leaders who conjured the Gnostic heresy in order to suppress alternative forms of Christianity in the second century.
In this book, she offers us Gnosticism as a radical form of spirituality that emerges around the turn of the first century CE, when it shook the foundations of the ancient religious landscape. She argues that Gnosticism was very real and remains with us even today in various esoteric movements and contemporary spiritual philosophies.
Professor April DeConick
April DeConick holds the Isla Carroll and Percy E. Turner Professorship in New Testament and Early Christianity at Rice University, Department of Religion. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1994 in the Department of Near Eastern Studies. Since then, she has studied, written and taught on a range of topics revolving around the silenced voices of religious people and the communities that were left behind or discarded when Christianity emerged in the first four centuries CE as a new religion.
She is the co-founder and executive editor of a new academic journal called Gnosis: Journal of Gnostic Studies. She founded and chaired the Mysticism, Esotericism and Gnosticism group in the Society of Biblical Literature and the Nag Hammadi and Gnosticism group.
Her most recent book, The Gnostic New Age, has won an award from the Figure Foundation for the best book to be published by a university press in philosophy and religion. It is tradition that the Figure Foundation composes a koan for each book to receive this award and publishes it on the front page. The koan for The Gnostic New Age reads: “that square be squared”. If you have any insight into the meaning of this koan, she would love to hear it.
Find out more about April at http://aprildeconick.com.
‘The Gnostic New Age – Interview with Prof April DeConick’ is an evening webinar on Tuesday, 29 September, 7:30 PM-9:30 PM (BST).
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