[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next]

Forbidden Faith: The Gnostic Legacy from the Gospels to The Da Vinci Code

May 16, 2006 09:24 AM
by danielhcaldwell

Forbidden Faith: The Gnostic Legacy from the 
Gospels to The Da Vinci Code
by Richard Smoley, former editor of the journal "Gnosis"

Hardcover, 256 pages 


"There are plenty of books about Gnosticism, but instead of just 
interpreting Gnostic Gospels in relation to Christianity, Smoley 
takes a more inclusive approach, showing how Gnosticism has 
flourished in one form or another throughout the ages, rearing its 
head today in the popularity of The Da Vinci Code and the myriad 
books that have followed in its wake. Smoley begins with an 
introduction to the Gnostics, tracing their beliefs back to the 
Egyptians. He then moves forward in history, discussing in readable 
style the Gnostics' battles with orthodoxy as well as Gnosticism's 
evolution and its links to other forms of mysticism, including 
kabbalah. Throughout, Smoley makes the point that the appeal of 
Gnosticism, whatever its form, stems from a lack of vitality in 
Christianity, which in turn derives from the fact that 'crucial 
material about the earliest era of Christianity seems to be 
missing.' Although Smoley writes in a popular style, he never lacks 
for scholarship. The many readers interested in Gnosticism will find 
new and valuable ways of looking at the topic here." Booklist

Another recommended book by Smoley:

Inner Christianity : A Guide to the Esoteric Tradition 
by Richard Smoley

Paperback, 352 pages 


"While the institutional church has frequently set boundaries 
limiting what ideas, beliefs, and practices could be considered 
Christian, Smoley, a former editor of Gnosis magazine, reminds 
readers that adventurous seekers have always borrowed freely from 
many sources to enhance their inner spiritual knowledge. Smoley 
collectively labels these disparate voices 'inner' (or "esoteric") 
Christianity. The writings used to construct this tradition are 
diverse, ranging from Gnostic gospels and kabbalistic cosmologies, 
through late medieval alchemical theory, right up to Swedenborgian 
and New Age teachings. An initial chapter spells out the historical 
breadth of these traditions, but the bulk of the book offers a 
contemporary synthesis, providing insight into the deeper, mystical 
meaning of traditional Christian doctrines. Quotations from the 
sources are usually more engaging than the synthesis itself, but the 
author makes the case for listening more closely to an eclectic 
Christianity's own esoteric voices. Many readers will filter much of 
the material through a selective sieve of skepticism, but the book 
overviews a wide range of material and provides a solid introduction 
to esoteric Christianity for the general reader." Library Journal


[Back to Top]

Theosophy World: Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application