December 3, 2006 |
GNOSTICISM is a label applied to a collection of religious ideas that has long exerted a certain appeal to public intellectuals and controversialists, ranging from the theologian Marcion in the 2nd century AD to literary critic Harold Bloom in our time. What attracts them, I suppose, is the conviction that the highest truths are available only to a small circle of initiates -- the Greek term gnostokoi can be translated as "those who understand divine matters, knowing what the gods know."
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 22, 2006 |
When National Geographic unveiled the Gospel of Judas this month, the narrator in the accompanying television documentary solemnly announced: "It tells a different story. One that could challenge our deepest beliefs." The Gospel portrayed a Judas who simply carried out his master's orders -- and did not betray him.
February 29, 2004 |
The bride and groom emerge from the temple to climb down the slopes of a riverbank fetid with garbage, and pause at the water's edge to pray before wading in. "Please cleanse my soul of the sins of this material life," they say. Then they crouch down in the river, bow their heads to accept the cold splashes doled out by their cleric and swallow the river water he dribbles into their mouths.
October 6, 2002 |
Near the nexus of Hillhurst Avenue and Sunset and Hollywood boulevards, Bishop Stephan Hoeller has presided since 1977 at Ecclesia Gnostica, the tiny, incense-infused chapel of the Gnostic Society. Gnosticism, an ancient form of Christianity that flourished in the 1st to 3rd centuries, rejects doctrines such as original sin and emphasizes transcendence through inward, intuitive knowledge ("gnosis") of the divine spark in each individual.
November 17, 1999 |
The familiar landscape of Los Angeles turns into something rich and strange when viewed through the eyes of an authentic visionary in "Gnostic Architecture" by Eric Owen Moss (Monacelli Press, $45, 160 pages). An architect with a global reputation, the Culver City-based Moss has chosen a building near Baldwin Hills to illustrate his own idiosyncratic notions of urban design. The label that Moss applies to his approach to architecture is drawn from the realm of religion and philosophy.
August 30, 1998
Let us make the test. Say God wants you to be unhappy. That there is no good. That there are horrors in store for us if we do manage to move toward Him. Say you keep Art in its place, not too high. And that everything, even eternity, is measurable. Look at the photographs of the dead, both natural (one by one) and unnatural in masses. All tangled. You know about that. And can put Beauty in its place. Not too high, and passing. Make love our search for unhappiness, which is His plan to help us.