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Jesus and the Lost Goddess: The Secret Teachings of the Original Christians [Anglais] [Broché]

Timothy Freke , Peter Gandy

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Descriptions du produit

Extrait

'I will reveal to you what no eye can see,

what no ear can hear,

what no hand can touch,

what cannot be conceived by the human mind.'

Jesus, The Gospel of Thomas

Life is a Mystery. A Mystery so awesome that we insulate ourselves from its intensity. To numb our fear of the unknown we desensitize ourselves to the miracle of living. We perpetuate the nonchalant lie that we know who we are and what life is. Yet behind this preposterous bluff the Mystery remains unchanging, waiting for us to remember to wonder. It is waiting in a shaft of sunlight, in the thought of death, in the intoxication of new love, in the joy of childbirth or the shock of loss. One minute we are going about our business as if life were nothing special and the next we are face to face with profound, unfathomable, breathtaking Mystery. This is both the origin and consummation of the spiritual quest.

Although the conditions of life have changed continually throughout history, the Mystery of life has remained the same. This is a book about a remarkable group of men and women who, some 2,000 years ago, were touched by the Mystery and dared to plumb its depths. Revolutionary

free-thinkers who synthesized the available wisdom of the world and articulated perennial truths in dynamic, innovative ways. Creative visionaries who encoded their teachings in extraordinary myths. Explorers of Consciousness whose mystical philosophy promised 'Gnosis' - experiential Knowledge of Truth. These forgotten spiritual pioneers could not have conceived of the unparalleled impact they would have on the history of humanity. Who were they? They called themselves 'Christians'.

It was these radical individualists who inadvertently created the most authoritarian religion in history. Their questioning mysticism was distorted, almost beyond recognition, into the dogmatic creed of what they called an 'imitation church'.2 When this impoverished form of Christianity was adopted as the official religion of the brutal Roman Empire, the original Christians were violently suppressed, their scriptures burned and their memory all but erased. The Roman Church fabricated its own account of the origins of Christianity, still believed today, which dismisses the first Christians as a minor cult of obscure heretics. But it was these brilliant mythographers who authored a story which continues to dominate the spiritual imagination of the Western world. From the archaic allegory of a dying and resurrecting Son of God they fashioned a new and vibrant myth which has captured the hearts and minds of millions: the fable of a Jewish peasant who saved the world: the story of Jesus the Christ.

The Good News

For the original Christians, the Jesus story was a myth used to introduce beginners to the spiritual path. For those wishing to go deeper than the 'Outer Mysteries', which were only 'for the masses', there were secret teachings or 'Inner Mysteries'.#3 These were 'the secret traditions of true Gnosis' which, according to the 'Church Father' Clement of Alexandria, were transmitted 'to a small number by a succession of masters'.4# Those initiated into these Inner Mysteries discovered that Christianity was not just about the dying and resurrecting Son of God. They were told another myth that few Christians today have even heard of - the story of Jesus' lover, the lost and redeemed Daughter of the Goddess.

Amongst the original Christians the divine was seen as having both

a masculine and feminine face. They related to the Divine Feminine as Sophia, the wise Goddess.5# Paul tells us, 'Among the initiates we speak of Sophia', for it is 'the secret of Sophia' that is 'taught in our Mysteries'.#6 When initiates of the Inner Mysteries of Christianity partook of Holy Communion, it was Sophia's passion and suffering they remembered.7# Amongst the original Christians, priests and priestesses would offer initiates wine as a symbol of 'her blood'.8# The prayer would be offered: 'May Sophia fill your inner being and increase in you her Gnosis.'9# It was Sophia who was petitioned:

'Come, hidden Mother; come, you who are made manifest in your works, and give joy and rest to those who are bound to you. Come and partake in this Eucharist which we perform in your name, and in the love feast for which we have assembled at your invitation.'#10

The eradication of this Christian Goddess by the patriarchal Roman Church has left us all motherless children. Women have been denied a sympathetic rapport with the Divine Feminine. Men have been denied a love-affair with a female face of Deity. Spirituality has become part of the battleground which separates the sexes, when it should be the sanctuary of eternal

fellowship. The original Christians, however, practised 'partnership spirituality'. They valued men and women equally, as expressions of God and Goddess. They saw the division of the sexes as a correlate of that primal duality which is the source of creation, a duality that when made one, as in the act of love, brings the bliss of union that they called 'Gnosis'.

For the original Christians the Jesus story appears at the end of a cycle of Christian myths which begins with the ineffable Mystery manifesting itself as a primordial Father and Mother and culminates in the mystical marriage of Jesus and Sophia. The Inner Mysteries reveal these myths as allegories of spiritual initiation, symbolic stories which encode a profound philosophy with the power to transform an initiate from a Christian into a Christ.#11

For the original Christians the 'gospel' or 'good news' is not a story written in a book. Rather they taught that: 'The gospel is the Gnosis.'#12 The good news is that a complete transformation of consciousness is

possible. The good news is that there is a way to transcend suffering. The good news is that there is a natural state of happiness which is our birthright. This is the gospel of absolute freedom. It is not a set of rules which we must follow to become 'good'. It is about discovering our own essential nature, which is good already, so that we can live spontaneously. This gospel holds out the extraordinary promise that those who understand it 'will not taste death'.13# But immortality is not access to Heaven as reward for living an upright life. It is the immediate realization, here and now, of our true identity, which was never born and so can never die.

A Journey of Initiation

This book is an exploration of the gospel of Gnosis. Our aim has been to present a radical alternative to the traditional picture of who the original Christians were and what they believed. Like all spiritual movements, early Christianity covered a broad spectrum of individuals and schools with differing levels of perception, so we have chosen to focus on what we regard as their best and most enduring insights, which may still be valid for us today.

Why isn't the gospel of Gnosis common knowledge? First, because the Roman Church has spent over 16 centuries systematically destroying

the evidence that it ever existed. For much of this time, merely to possess Christian works unacceptable to the established Church was punishable by a cruel death. Thankfully some of these texts have nevertheless survived. In recent decades they have been augmented by fabulous archaeological finds such as the discovery of a library of 'heretical' Christian scriptures in a cave near Nag Hammadi in Egypt. The implications of this find, and the advances in our understanding of early Christianity that it has led to, have yet to be widely appreciated.

Inadequate translation has also played a significant role in disguis-

ing the secret teachings of Christianity encoded in the New Testament gospels and alluded to frequently by Paul in his letters. Rendering these works into familiar 'churchy' English lulls us into the reassuring illusion that we have understood what is being said, when in fact we have not even begun to scratch the surface of the real significance of the original Greek. The 'heretical' Christian gospels, on the other hand, are regularly rendered into unfamiliar English, making them sound strange and inaccessible. One translator was even in the habit of remarking that such texts were 'not supposed to make any sense'.#14 Little wonder, then, that an artificial division has been created between the orthodox canon and other Christian gospels. However, when the New Testament Jesus story is understood in its original context, as part of the whole Christian myth cycle, and the 'heretical' gospels are interpreted sympathetically, they can, at last, be seen as expressions of one profound mystical philosophy.

In our examination of these texts we have made one assumption which other commentators often do not make: that our ancestors were not idiots. We have postulated that although they lived in very different physical conditions, they still faced the same great enigmas of existence as we do today and that their answers are potentially as valuable as contemporary views. We have, in short, approached the people we are studying with the respect which they deserve and which they have been denied for nearly two millennia.

Academics have often failed lamentably to understand the spirituality of the original Christians because they have lacked mystical insight. The Gnosis is not an intellectual theory. It is a state of being. It is an inner 'Knowledge' which can never be truly understood from the outside. Trying to comment on the Gnosis without ever having personally experienced its life-changing impact is like writing a travelogue for a country you have never visited. Any native would find it laughably absurd. We approach this work not only with a commitment to rigorous scholarship, but also as lifelong students of experiential mysticism. We are not, however, members of any cult or affiliated to any religious organization. This, we feel, makes us ideally placed to take up the challenge of recovering the ancient Gnosis for modern readers.

New ideas can take decades to travel from scholarly circles to t...

Présentation de l'éditeur

Why Were the Teachings of the Original Christians Brutally Suppressed by the Roman Church?


• Because they portray Jesus and Mary Magdalene as mythic figures based on the Pagan Godman and Goddess
• Because they show that the gospel story is a spiritual allegory encapsulating a profound philosophy that leads to mythical enlightenment
• Because they have the power to turn the world inside out and transform life into an exploration of consciousness

Drawing on modern scholarship, the authors of the international bestseller The Jesus Mysteries decode the secret teachings of the original Christians for the first time in almost two millennia and theorize about who the original Christians really were and what they actually taught. In addition, the book explores the many myths of Jesus and the Goddess and unlocks the lost secret teachings of Christian mysticism, which promise happiness and immortality to those who attain the state of Gnosis, or enlightenment. This daring and controversial book recovers the ancient wisdom of the original Christians and demonstrates its relevance to us today.

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Amazon.com: 3.8 étoiles sur 5  64 commentaires
123 internautes sur 135 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 It identifies "common themes" in early Gnostic Christianity. 25 février 2002
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
This is an excellent book with much original research. Out of the three schools of thought in early Christianity: (1) Literalist (Pistis); (2) Joint Literalist-Gnostic; (3) Gnostic, Freke and Gandy are strong supporters of number (3), the Gnostic Christians.
Freke and Gandy attack literalist Christianity with venom, who they accuse of hijacking early Christianity which was eclectic and tolerant, turning it into the most totalitarian nightmare the world has ever seen. This included systematic destruction of the Gnostic Christian and Gnostic Pagan intelligentsia of their day and all their powerful knowledge they had gathered (with the destruction of the ancient, Great Alexandrian Library). Replacing it with mass ignorance and complete nonsense that was the beginning of the dark ages in the west.
The books great strength is that is "unifies" early Christian Gnostic thought, by identifying "common themes" that existed in all denominations of the Christian Gnostics, despite their "individual" differences. Describing the processes of hylic, psychic, pneumatic initiates and gnosis as the final prize for the initiate, in original Christianity.
The one big criticism of the book is Freke and Gandy's denial of the historical Jesus. Just because the independent evidence is weak for the existence of an historical Jesus, it doesn't mean he didn't exist as a person.
The totalitarian literalist Christians who seized power in the 4th century AD, may well have destroyed independent evidence of an historical Jesus fearing it would do damage to their ignorant vision, particularly if Jesus was a maverick style, radical individualist and a Jewish Gnostic, such as an Essene or a Therapeutae initiate and not the totalitarian figure the new powerful Christian church wanted to falsely portray. Freke and Gandy don't address this argument.
Also another criticism is that the Literalist Christians may not have always been this total monster that Freke and Gandy portray. Because the Literalists offered a sense of community, self-belief and faith, that gave its followers (in face of persecution), an intuitive sense of strength in unity before the 4th century AD. Literalist Christians were a "solid movement", while the Gnostics Christians were no match, being only a "loose network".
Only after the 4th century AD and the seizure of power and triumph of the totalitarian literalist Christians, one could argue, the "democratic" literalist vision was hijacked and twisted by these new, sinister, "totalitarian" literalists who seized power for their ignorant uses and plunged the west into darkness for 1000 years. Only with the "Reformation" in the 16th century some sanity has been restored, with the triumph of the "individual" in the west laying down the magnificent democratic principles of modern, western society.
I am sure Clement of Alexandria and his pupil Origen would have agreed with much of the above four paragraphs and that is why both these early Church Fathers were supporters of the joint Literalist-Gnostic school of thought. This expressed "both" the literalist exoteric outer mysterious (historical, the community and faith emphasis) and Gnostic esoteric inner mysterious (mythological, the individual and self knowledge emphasis), which the writer believes was the framework of original Christians, before the church split in two, with the literalist (Roman Christianity) and Gnostic (Alexandrian Christianity) factions disastrously going their separate ways in the 2nd century AD.
Despite these criticisms get a copy of this book now. This is an important book in the "Jesus Debate". It shows how easily a "philosophical" religion of inclusive, democratic freethinkers with "unity in variety" and a "freedom to question" as their message can be hijacked and turned into the "control" religion of the exclusive, authoritarian personality (see your psychology books), with "them and us" and a "duty to believe" as their message. That is what happened to Christianity and many of today's Christian denominations are a misguided product of this.
158 internautes sur 182 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Here is Wisdom.... 4 novembre 2001
Par OAKSHAMAN - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
_As much as I valued the authors' first book on the subject, I must say that I value this effort even more. This work goes beyond presenting the history of gnosticism, to setting forth the actual gnostic teachings in absolute crystal clarity. When you think about it, giving such clarity and accessibility to gnostic thought is a phenomenal achievement in and of its self. Unlike more academic studies, or outright translations, where you sense that the author or translator doesn't comprehend gnosis at all, here you have a definate feeling that you are getting teachings from true initiates. The analogy of the circle of the self with the One Consciousness of God at the center, radiating all of our individual psyches into the many seemingly separate bodies and egos of the physical world at the circumference is extremely well expounded. Yes, you find the same teaching in Plotinus, but only after wading through hundreds of pages of deliberately obscure prose.

_Oh yes, the connection of the gnostic teachings to the gospels is the best I've seen. The meaning of formerly difficult passages veritably leaps out at you.

_The authors mention in passing that when a student starts on the gnostic Way, meaningful coincidences often occur. This book was released on the date of my own birthday. I could not think of a finer or more appropriate gift. Thank you.
56 internautes sur 65 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Gnosticism for the masses 28 mai 2002
Par Jeff Danelek - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
For those who read Freke's and Gandy's earlier book, The Jesus Mysteries, this work is the perfect companion piece. Whereas The Jesus Mysteries made a good case for the pagan origins of the Christian mythology and the Gnostic origins of the early church, Jesus and the Lost Goddess goes one step beyond in explaining-in considerable detail-the nuts and bolts of how Gnosticism works. In effect, Freke and Gandy have done nothing less than reintroduce the ancient religion to a broader audience in an attractive package that is sure to reach even into the dusty pews of the established churches. Whether this will prove to be a good or bad thing is yet to be determined.
In any case, Jesus and the Lost Goddess does a good job explaining precisely how Gnosticism works and how the Jesus story might be interpreted in the light of Gnostic mythology. In this, it presents a thought-provoking and fascinating look at a movement who's time has come and gone and, perhaps, come again. And, it manages to do this in a considerably more user friendly manner than most books on the subject, including Elaine Pagel's excellent work The Gnostics (which, while it does an admirable job explaining the history of the movement, does not do as well explaining it) and herein lies its greatest strength: it manages to bring the very complex and often confusing concepts within Gnosticism down to a laymen's level. While it can be on occasion a tedious read (Freke and Gandy sometimes slip in a few $25 words) and a bit obtuse at points, anyone who makes it all the way through should have a pretty good working knowledge of this ancient belief system that manages to seem both ancient and modern at the same time. I also found many parallels between the Gnostic's theology and that expressed in Neale Donald Walsch's Conversations With God trilogy, making me wonder if the three men ever read each other's work.
There are a few negatives however. First, the buyer should be aware that fully half of this book is composed of endnotes, making it a less substantial read than it might first appear. I also found the first appendix to be an unnecessary (and less concise) reiteration of information contained earlier in the book, and the second appendix on Islamic Gnosticism to be misplaced and not particularly useful (I also question their premise that Mohammed was a mystic. Historically speaking, he appears much more a conquering warrior/king than a closet Gnostic, but-oh well.)
But for anyone who is looking for an all encompassing and intellectually satisfying belief system that can stand up to the scientific and philosophical scrutiny of the twenty-first century and beyond, Jesus and the Lost Goddess is a good place to start. It sure beats anything else I've come across recently.
25 internautes sur 28 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Great theory, finally fills in the gaps! This makes sense!! 13 avril 2005
Par J. Morris - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Great book, well written and extensively researched and foot-nooted. A refreshing read for anyone interested in the teachings and meaning of Jesus and the subsequent birth of the formal Church, especially put in the context of the time and place of his alleged ministry. Makes cogent, articulate arguments for many of their hypothesis; in fact after reading it, you'll wonder how it is not clear to the rest of the world. It also demonstrates quite clearly that the winners do indeed get to write the history, and the truth often gets lost along the way. As can be seen by some of the reviews posted here, not something that fundamentalist/ literalists will enjoy or even credence ( there are no leaps of faith required here, merely an open mind), but anyone who wants to know why we thirst for the 'divine' will enjoy this book.
46 internautes sur 56 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Here is Wisdom.... 2 juillet 2002
Par OAKSHAMAN - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
As much as I valued the authors' first book on the subject, I must say that I value this effort even more. This work goes beyond presenting the history of gnosticism, to setting forth the actual gnostic teachings in absolute crystal clarity. When you think about it, giving such clarity and accessibility to gnostic thought is a phenomenal achievement in and of its self. Unlike more academic studies, or outright translations, where you sense that the author or translator doesn't comprehend gnosis at all, here you have a definate feeling that you are getting teachings from true initiates. The analogy of the circle of the self with the One Consciousness of God at the center, radiating all of our individual psyches into the many seemingly separate bodies and egos of the physical world at the circumference is extremely well expounded. Yes, you find the same teaching in Plotinus, but only after wading through hundreds of pages of deliberately obscure prose.

Oh yes, the connection of the gnostic teachings to the gospels is the best I've seen. The meaning of formerly difficult passages veritably leaps out at you.

The authors mention in passing that when a student starts on the gnostic Way, meaningful coincidences often occur. This book was released on the date of my own birthday. I could not think of a finer or more appropriate gift. Thank you.
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