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Esoteric Science Institute
6191 NW 34th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33309
This is an open lecture and discussion on the ancient Gnostic texts and teachings that serves as an introduction to gnosis, its practical applications, and the Gnostic path of initiation.
We will have selected readings from various texts in the Nag Hammadi codices and other sources of the Gnostic Arcanum. Topics may include the creation story and Gnostic cosmologies, the symbolism of Pistis Sophia, the role of the Demiurge and the archons, the path of redemption and ascent through the Aeons.
A basic description of Gnosticism: a philosophy that differentiates the Demiurge, the god of this world and the lower material planes (who is often identified with the god of the Old Testament) from a higher more abstract God revealed by Jesus Christ, a philosophy that regards this world as the creation of a series of archons or powers who wish to keep the human soul trapped in a physical body, a philosophy that preaches a hidden wisdom or knowledge as necessary for salvation or escape from this world.
Although the main focus will be on the ancient Gnostic sects and esoteric Christianity, gnosis in general is not limited to any particular school of philosophy or religion.
The word gnosis is a Greek word for knowledge which usually refers to any type of direct communion with the divine. Philo refers to this as secret «knowledge» (gnosis) and «wisdom» (sophia) of God. It is not only knowledge of the divine, but also of thyself, the world, nature and the Great Work (Great Arcanum or magnum opus). The Gnostics believed they were privy to a secret knowledge about the divine, hence the name. The Hebrews describe Gnosis with Da'at. A Hebrew word for hidden knowledge, that in the Kabbalah describes a mystical state one has as they ascend up the tree of life to then reach the self-giving Divine Light. The ancient Egyptians described the Gnostic experience in many texts of their proverbs such as; «The body is the house of God,» and «Man, know thyself and thou shalt know the gods.»
In terms of religion, most scholars have theorized that Gnosticism has its roots in pre-Christian religions, instead of being merely an offshoot of Christianity. Gnosis is thus the source of the mystical roots and divine source knowledge found in every major religion. Gnosis is not limited to one specific culture, place, or time. The Gnostic wisdom is found in Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Tantra, Zoroastrianism, Paganism, and many others. And as that universal wisdom or knowledge, it is the essential science required in order to achieve the ultimate aim of all real religions, which is «union» with the divine.
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