Thursday, October 10, 2013

Book Note: Histories of the Hidden God (DeConick and Adamson)

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Very excited about this new edited volume in the Gnostica Series published by Acumen.  This volume came out of a very special conference that we held here at Rice in April 2010.  At Rice we have a wonderful program we call GEM (Gnosticism, Esotericism, and Mysticism) which is an approach to religious literature and practices that takes seriously the marginalized and forbidden, what I like to call the "edges of religion".  We think it is essential to understand and incorporate the edges of religion into our histories and analyses of religion, rather than focus only on what became over time the center of religious traditions and the authoritative literature.

So the book comes out of the first international GEM conference.  Histories of the Hidden God: Concealment and Revelation in Western Gnostic, Esoteric, and Mystical Traditions, edited by myself and Grant Adamson.

The papers deal with the fact that even though Western religious traditions typically portray God as a humanlike creator, lawgiver, and king, both accessible and actively present in history, there is another concurrent tradition that God hides.  This has led to a tension in the traditions.  It is the Gnostic and the mystic who capitalize on the hidden and hiding God.  It is the sage and the artist who try to make accessible to humans the God who is secreted away.  This book explores the secret God from antiquity to the present day.  The book is organized around three themes: the concealment of the hidden God; the human quest for the hidden God; and revelations of the hidden God.

In this book I have published one of my papers on the Gospel of John and Gnostic origins: "Who is hiding in the Gospel of John?  Reconceptualizing Johannine theology and the roots of Gnosticism."

Friday, October 4, 2013

Book Note: Practicing Gnosis (eds. April DeConick, Gregory Shaw and John Turner)

I  promised to get some book notes out this week, and lo and behold, it is already Friday and I haven't had a chance to get to my blog until now.

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The big news for me is that the festschrift that we have been putting together for Professor Birger A. Pearson has been published by Brill.  Gregory Shaw, John Turner and I have been gathering contributions and editing this project for two years, and it feels so wonderful to see the book published in honor of such a great scholar in the field of early Christian studies and Gnosticism.

Although I was not a graduate student of Professor Pearson, I have always considered myself his student, so essential has been his research to my own.  When I was new to the field in the late 80s and early 90s, his work on Gnosticism helped to orient me and inspire me, especially his classic pieces on Philo, the Jewish nature of Gnosticism, and its Egyptian roots.  So it is with great pleasure that I joined forces with Greg Shaw and John Turner to honor Professor Pearson.

We choose to create a volume around a specific theme, Gnostic rituals and practices, because there is such a gap in our knowledge when it comes to what the Gnostics were actually doing and why they were doing it.  While the book is not comprehensive - how could it be? - we were able to cover five main areas of practice in the volume: initiatory, recurrent, therapeutic, ecstatic, and philosophic practices.

This is the volume in which I have published my paper on the Ophian Diagram, and I am particularly proud of it because I believe that I have actually solved its mystery.

List of articles:

--> Initiatory Practices

April D. DeConick, The Road for the Souls is through the Planets: The Mysteries of the Ophians Mapped
Roger Beck, Ecstatic Religion in the Roman Cult of Mithras
Bas van Os, Gospel of Philip as Gnostic Initiatory Discourse
Elliot Wolfson, Becoming Invisible: Rending the Veil and the Hermeneutic of Secrecy in the Gospel of Philip
Erin Evans, Ritual in the Second Book of Jeu
Nicola Denzey Lewis, Death on the Nile: Egyptian Codices, Gnosticism, and Early Christian Books of the Dead

Recurrent Pratices

Einar Thomassen, Going to Church with the Valentinians
Madeleine Scopello, Practicing ‘Repentance’ on the Path to Gnosis in Exegesis on the Soul
Edward Butler, Opening the Way of Writing: Semiotic Metaphysics in the Book of Thoth
Fernando Bermejo Rubio, “I Worship and Glorify”: Manichaean Liturgy and Piety in Kellis’ Prayer of the Emanations
Jason BeDuhn, The Manichaean Weekly Confessional Ritual
Jorunn Buckley, Ritual Ingenuity in the Mandaean Scroll of Exalted Kingship

Therapeutic Practices

Naomi Janowitz, Natural, Magical, Scientific or Religious? A Guide to Theories of Healing
Grant Adamson, Astrological Medicine in Gnostic Traditions
Marvin Meyer, The Persistence of Ritual in the Magical Book of Mary and the Angels: P. Heid. Inv. Kopt. 685
Rebecca Lesses, Image and Word: Performative Ritual and Material Culture in the Aramaic Incantation Bowls

Ecstatic Practices

John D. Turner, From Baptismal Vision to Mystical Union with the One: The Case of the Sethian Gnostics
Niclas Förster, Marcosian Rituals for Prophecy and Apolytrosis
James Davila, Ritual Praxis in the Hekhalot Literature

Philosophic Practices

Zeke Mazur, The Platonizing Sethian Gnostic Interpretation of Plato’s Sophist
Michael Williams, Did Plotinus’ “Friends” Still Go to Church? Communal Rituals and Ascent Apocalypses

Kevin Corrigan, The Meaning of “One”: Plurality and Unity in Plotinus and Later Neoplatonism
Gregory Shaw, Theurgy and the Platonist’s Luminous Body

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Book Note: Heavenly Priesthood in the Apocalypse of Adam

I have several new books that have come across my desk recently, but not enough time to get notices out to you about them.  I will try to catch up over the next week or so.

Let's get started with the beautiful new volume written by Andrei Orlov, Professor of Judaism and Christianity in Antiquity at Marquette University.  The book is called Heavenly Priesthood in the Apocalypse of Abraham and it is published by Cambridge University Press.

Professor Orlov continues his exploration of apocalypticism and mysticism in this book, arguing that soon after the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, the Apocalypse of Abraham was written in order to demonstrate that the true place of worship is heaven (not Jerusalem).  It depicts Abraham as the primary example of an initiate of the celestial priesthood.   Orlov focuses his analysis on the scapegoat ritual, which is the central rite of the story.  It is reinterpreted within an eschatological context.  Orlov thinks that this reinterpretation represents a transition from Jewish apocalyptic thought to the symbols of early Jewish mysticism.

Congratulations to Professor Orlov for the publication of another superb study of early Jewish and Christian mysticism, following up his other recent study, Dark Mirrors (2011).

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Humanities and Science

This semester I am teaching a course on cognitive science and religion.  It is called The Bible and the Brain, and I am writing a book under the same title.  The course is exploring ways that religion can be better understood when we take into consideration the cognitive abilities and limitations of human beings.  More on these ideas as the semester progresses.

As I am teaching this course, I am aware that there continues to be an uproar about whether the humanities should be in dialogue with the sciences and if so to what degree.  Steven Pinker has written for the New Republic an impassioned plea for humanities' scholars to get with it and engage the sciences HERE. He articulates in this piece a call for humanities scholars to show more interest in science, especially in the downward spiral that is strangling us in the wake of post-modern critique.  There have been many responses, most like Leon Wieseltier, also published by New Republic, HERE. The title of his piece summarizes pages of his own impassioned plea which he calls "Crimes Against Humanities: How Science Wants to Invade the Liberal Arts. Don't let it happen."

There was a time in my life when I was very content to go along teaching and writing what I would call strictly humanities content.  I saw very little connect between anything scientists did and my own work and interests.  That is until I married a physicist.  I realized three things very quickly.

First, the scientific understanding of the world is our reality.  We live it everyday.  We have no choice but to engage it.

Second, scientists are studying the universe and human beings, the same subjects that I study as a humanist, and they have information that is essential to how we all understand ourselves and our world today.  This information is so essential that it will likely alter the way we have been perceiving our academic disciplines.  I see this particularly in terms of cognitive studies and embodiment which can help us reformulate the way we "do" history and understand religion.

Third, if we as humanists don't jump into the conversation that scientists are engaging in very public ways, we will be leaving the interpretation of knowledge about humans and the world to them.  Frankly I think we have been so slow on the uptake that this has already happened. In other words, scientists (and social scientists for that matter) are going to continue to run well-funded experiments on our subjects, subjects that we as humanists hold near and dear.  And then they are going to control its interpretation, when in fact, they know very little about the subjects we study, like religion, for instance.

A case in point.  I read a fascinating book this week by Drs. Andrew Newberg and Eugene D'Aquili, called Why God Won't Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief.  I couldn't put it down, riveted to the results of their SPECT scans on Tibetan monks and Catholic nuns during meditatively induced states of Unitary Being.  Since I study mysticism, their findings really caught my attention.  But what also caught my attention was the fact that their understanding of religion is under the weather so to speak.  They equated religion with a form of mysticism that is relatively recent in human history (derivative of Underhill and James) and tried to overlay that on Neanderthal burial and cult practices.  They argue that all religion originates from someone's mystical experience and that the purpose of religion is to perpetuate those experiences of unitary being.  So here we have scientists with really good experiments, but with little knowledge of the field of religious studies in which to make good sense of them.  But their views are popular and well-cited in the literature.

If we don't engage the sciences as humanists, we are not just doing ourselves a disfavor, but the public too.  We are leaving the interpretation and popularization of our field open to scientists like Richard Dawkins, rather than doing it ourselves and doing it better.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Book Note: Who Do People Say That I Am? (Vernon K. Robbins)

There is a fantastic new book just published that covers Jesus and the gospels, canonical as well as extracanonical.  Vernon Robbins, Who Do People Say I Am? Rewriting Gospel in Emerging Christianity.

Professor Robbins' book is the best there is on the market in my opinion.  I highly recommend it to you, especially if you are looking for a book to teach this subject.

Robbins sets the more commonly known representations of Jesus in the Bible alongside lesser-well-known portraits of him found in texts like the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Mary, the Gospel of Judas, and the Acts of John.  He does this, not simply as a rehash of general knowledge, but applying all of his years of accumulated knowledge of orality, rhetoric, cognition and the social fabric of Christianity to the material.  You are face-to-face with Robbins the veteran professor sharing generously his knowledge.

The book is very accessible in terms of style and yet very careful in terms of historical detail.  A perfect match for the non-specialist reader, and specialists from other areas of New Testament study who want to get a handle on the extracanonical material.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Welcome to our students at Rice

The academic year for us starts on Monday.  Things are different for me this year because I have become the Chair of the Religious Studies Department after a year long leave.  The summer was spent traveling and moving my office, which turned out to be a bigger chore than I was prepared for.

I want to extend a warm welcome to our incoming and returning students into our very special intellectual community here at Rice.  I have taken this opportunity to write more about our program and post it on our departmental website: "The motto of Rice University is strikingly bold.  'Unconventional Wisdom.'  It is a motto that we love to own because it describes the kind of intellectual community that we create and foster in the Department of Religious Studies. To study here means to challenge the status quo, to investigate what is not obvious, to reimagine what was, is and can be when it comes to religion.  To study here means to enter an intellectual community where critical thought, disciplined training, and innovation intersect with religion." To read the rest of my message, click HERE.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Humanities and technology

Working in the trenches of humanities in face of the rise in the last decades of the internet and the overwhelming belief that knowledge is about information and data and number crunching, that everything about being human can be reduced to scientific investigation, I have been very concerned about where we are going as a people.

It is as if utilitarianism and efficiency and speed are all the driving forces behind anything we now consider most valuable.  Everything is short and sweet and public.  If it doesn't make us richer, faster, or easier, we don't want it.  We don't think it is worth pursuing.

We are becoming thin and instant like our devices.  We are remaking ourselves in the images of our devices.

We are scattering our attention.  Like our devices, we do two or three things at once.  We watch TV and check our email, giving neither full attention, while ignoring the other people in the room.  Screens intersect and offset us from others as we type away behind them.

At restaurants, in classrooms, in cars we are on the internet, uploading pictures to Facebook to get instant feedback about where we are or what we are doing.  Nothing seems to wait.  Gaming draws us in and keeps us coming back, psychologically preying on our desire for instant feedback and success. 

We mistake computer intelligence for the human mind.  We are held in the grips of our iPhones, iPads, our Facebooks, Twitters, and Texts, as if they were lifelines that plug our brains into other brains.  Some of us have become so addicted to technology that to unplug, even for a day, is traumatic.

I am not against technology.  I have a laptop, iPhone, iPad, a digital camera and all the rest.  And I love them.  What I worry about is what this is all doing to us so quickly.  What are our lives becoming?  How has it changed the way we think about things?  Interact with others?  Value things?

Where is our humanity in all this? What is happening to us spiritually and intellectually as we disengage and devalue the pursuit of knowledge which we have mistaken for information?  When we are convinced that we can reduce everything about us to scientific answers?

Leon Wieselttier gives us something to think about in his commencement address published by Republic HERE.  He argues that humanities and its pursuit has suddenly become countercultural.  Take a look.  It is worth the read.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

David Capes' Blog

I was just on Facebook and noticed that Professor Capes of Houston Baptist University has been keeping a blog on all things religion.  Check it out HERE.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Symposium on Apocrypha

Tony Burke is holding a symposium on the Christian Apocrypha.  He writes:

"The 2013 York Christian Apocrypha Symposium, “Forbidden Texts on the Western Frontier: The Christian Apocrypha in North American Perspectives,” will take place at York University September 26–28, 2013.

The event is organized by Tony Burke (York University) in consultation with Brent Landau (University of Oklahoma). It brings together 22 Canadian and U.S. scholars to share their work and discuss present and future collaborative projects."

For more information, go HERE.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Another woman biblioblogger

Welcome to Candida Moss, another woman biblioblogger.  Happy to see you in the bibliosphere!

Here is a link to her new blog.  Professor Moss is a New Testament specialist at Notre Dame.  She has written two books on early Christian martyrdom and other topics.

Friday, May 3, 2013

A wild thought about scripture

One of the things that has deeply struck me as I have been rereading the ancient sources like John and Paul as I am writing chapters for my book The Ancient New Age, is that our assumptions make all the difference to our understanding of what a text says. 

Now this is not a new revelation for me.  I have known this since I was an undergraduate.  But knowing it intellectually is very different from really experiencing it.  Scholars know this.  But, by and large, we don't do anything about it.  We continue to read texts as we have been trained to read them (as orthodox Christians have read them for centuries), and there is great turmoil if someone suggests otherwise. 

We assume that the orthodox Christian reading of scriptural texts is the author's intent.  We gloss and harmonize what doesn't fit.  We do it unconsciously so that the text fits our preconceived mental frames.

With the work I have been doing (some of it in cognitive studies), I have come to see that the assumption that the orthodox Christian reading of scriptural texts is the author's intent is simply wrong.  The authors of the New Testament texts were not orthodox.  They were not even proto-orthodox.  They had their own ideas, many of which were innovative, revolutionary, and wild.

What makes the text orthodox is its interpretation, one that is imposed upon it by later readers who had a stake in how the Christian tradition was unfolding.  We simply have inherited this interpretation and consider it authorial.

There was a war over these texts and their meaning, a war that continues today.  It was an early war too.  This is not about Gnosticism at the end of the second century that somehow got the interpretation of the texts all wrong.  This is about the first century.  It is about Palestine and Samaria.  It is at the root of the Christian faith. 

Paul of the letters is far removed from the author of the Pastorals who tries desperately to tame Paul's wildness, or Luther's Paul who is further excised of any charisma.  John of the Gospel is far removed from the domestication that the Elder in the Johannine letters imposed on John and later orthodox church leaders picked up and developed. 

Once I was able to dislocate myself from my orthodox training, I have come to see that both Paul and John were impacted by Gnostic spirituality.  It forms the center of their concept of the Christian faith.  Both were reacting to Judaism, which they saw as a religion that did not really know the true God or what he actually wanted.  Both preached liberation from the old forms of Servant spirituality that was the cradle of all the Near Eastern religions.  Both believed that the experience of God, the revelation of God, was what mattered, and it was to be experienced by everyone through initiation.  Both were transgressors who understood the old Jewish scriptures in ways that subverted its accepted meanings.  And on and on.

I guess what I am saying is that I think there is more work that needs to be done on Christian origins, work that demands we set aside our assumptions about orthodoxy, and come to see the wild innovative nature of the early Christian communities.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Who was Paul really?

I have been making quite a bit of good progress on The Ancient New Age book.  I just finished chapter 4 on the Gospel of John and the letters of John called "The Dark Cosmos."  It was thrilling to write this chapter and finally get down my reading of the Fourth Gospel and its Gnostic predisposition.  Yes.  I really find in the fabric of that text Gnostic spirituality merging with Jewish scriptures and nascent Christianity. It is not just later Gnostic interpretation imposed on an orthodox gospel.  It is there in the soul of the Gospel.

My next chapter is on Paul, so I am now immersed in Pauline literature and just got the chance to read James Tabor's newest book on the subject, Paul and Jesus.  The Paul that Tabor speaks about (and his relationship to the Jerusalem church and other apostles) dovetails nicely with the ways that I have come to understand Paul over the years.

I remember as a young woman really disliking Paul.  What I didn't know then is that what I disliked was not Paul but Luther's Paul.  That is when I discovered Paul the mystic.  I read Albert Schweitzer's book and then Alan Segal's book, both on Paul the mystic.  Suddenly Paul made sense to me.  But he wasn't anyone that contemporary Christians could relate to.  What he was saying was way out there.  Undomesticated.  Wild.  He was a visionary who realized union with Christ whom he saw as the manifestation of God.  He developed rituals that helped democratize this experience so that all converts could similarly be united.

One of the features that I really like about Tabor's book is that he starts from the position that Paul was a mystic.  Tabor then breaks down Paul's message into five understandable chunks.  This makes Paul the mystic more accessible rather than wild.  Tabor's book is written around these chunks:
  • The resurrection body is a new spiritual body that believers attain.
  • Baptism gives the believer the Christ/Holy Spirit with unites with his/her own spirit and makes him/her a child of God, part of a new genus of Spirit-beings who will inherit God's Kingdom.
  • The believer achieves a mystical union with Christ due to this Spirit infusion, a gradual process that is transformative involving also the sacred meal where Christ is taken within as food.
  • The world is in the last throes of its existence, and life would soon be transformed. 
  • Paul turned his back on the Torah and abandoned Judaism, replacing it with the new Torah of Christ.
Of course as I am thinking about Paul the mystic, I am also wondering about Paul the Gnostic.  Have we worked so hard over the centuries to domesticate Paul that we have lost touch with his Gnostic aspects too, like with the Fourth Gospel?  Anyway, these are my thoughts right now as I am in the reading and thinking phases of writing this chapter.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Second question about New Athena font

Thank you for sending me a copy of the font to download.  I have done so.  But I don't seem to have a corresponding keyboard on this new operating system.  I don't know what I used on the old system that worked.  Any suggestions for a keyboard so I can get this font to work again?

Where did the New Athena Free Download Go?

I need to download the New Athena Unicode font on my new laptop.  But when I try to find it on the internet, I am not successful.  Does anyone know the webpage where the download is stored?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Congratulations to Dr. Daewoong Kim

Today Daewoong Kim successfully defended his PhD thesis on Daniel's use of Genesis and Ezekiel.  Congratulations.

Photo: Left to right: Dr. Matthias Henze (Advisor: Religious Studies), Daewoong Kim, Dr. Scott McGill (Committee: Classics), Dr. April DeConick (Committee: Religious Studies).

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Gospel of Judas dated to 280 CE

The Gospel of Judas is in the news again.  Apparently the ink has been studied in depth and it has been definitively dated to 280 CE.  Now that is early!

See the story HERE.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Smart Art Video on U-Tube: Easter in Memory of Her

Smart Art video in Houston recorded "Easter in Memory of Her" and has uploaded it to U-Tube.  We are very grateful to Art Smart for doing this for us.  So here it is if you missed the performance on Saturday. Art Smart does all kinds of personal productions, including weddings.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Lecture by Larry Hurtado at Rice University

We at the Religious Studies Department at Rice University are very pleased to announce that Professor Larry Hurtado will deliver the Burkitt Lecture at Rice University on Wednesday, April 10th, 7-8 p.m. in the Kyle Morrow Room of Fondren Library on the Rice campus. The public is invited to attend.

The title of his exciting talk is "Revelatory Experience and Religious Innovation in Earliest Christianity".  He will talk about how powerful religious experiences came to be a major factor in producing significant religious innovations in earliest Christian circles, with special reference to the rapid emergence of the “dyadic” devotional pattern in which Jesus was reverenced along with God.

The Burkitt Foundation Lectures have been devoted to exploring issues in Catholic thought that are of interest to the university as well as to the Houston community. Founded in 1996, they have featured such distinguished speakers as Mary Carruthers, Jean-Luc Marion, Mark Jordan, David Tracy, and Kocku von Stuckrad.

Professor Hurtado is Emeritus Professor of New Testament at the University of Edinburgh (Scotland) and he now writes a blog on early Christianity called Larry Hurtado's Blog.  He has written a number of outstanding books on the devotional practices of the early Christians and their understandings of Jesus as God, all of which can be found on Amazon for reasonable prices.

Larry W. Hurtado, God in New Testament Theology. Nashville:  Abingdon Press, 2010.  ISBN 978-0-687-46545-3.

Larry W. Hurtado, How on Earth Did Jesus Become a God? Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans, 2005.  xii + 234 pp.  ISBN 0-8028-2861-2.  

Larry W. Hurtado, Lord Jesus Christ:  Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity.  Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003. (xxii+746 pp.). ISBN 0-8028-6070-2. 

Larry W. Hurtado, At the Origins of Christian Worship:  The Context and Character of Earliest Christian Devotion.  The 1999 Didsbury Lectures.  Carlisle:  Paternoster Press, 1999, ISBN 0-85364-992-8.  US edition, Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans, 2000, ISBN 0-8028-4749-8.  (xiii + 138 pp.).

Larry W. Hurtado, One God, One Lord:  Early Christian Devotion and Ancient Jewish Monotheism.  Philadelphia:  Fortress Press, 1988. (xiv + 178 pp.).  ISBN 0-8006-2076-3.  British edition by SCM Press.  Second edition, Edinburgh:  T. & T. Clark, 1998 (xxx + 178 pp.), reprint edition, London:  T&T Clark (Continuum), 2003.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Permanent Archive for Front Row Preview

The permanent link to the Front Row Preview has been set up.  If you care to listen to a bit of the performance preview of "Easter in Memory of Her", just click HERE.  You are invited to the actual premier which will take place Saturday, March 30, 4-5 pm at Christ Church Cathedral in Houston.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Front Row Preview

Today on "Front Row" produced by KUHA/KUFH Houston Public Radio, a preview of "Easter in Memory of Her" will air.  There will be interviews with me, Betty Adam, and Sonja Bruzauskas about our production and two soloists present portions of their parts.  It will air twice.  Once at noon on KUHA Classical and then again at 10 pm on KUFH News.  The link to Front Row's website is HERE.  It will be archived on their website tomorrow.  Hope you will listen to this historic production.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Let's Remember the Biblical Women at Easter: Huffington Post

As you know, this Easter I have worked with Reverend Betty Adam of Christ Church Cathedral here in Houston to create an Easter event for Holy Saturday that would remember the biblical women.  My idea for the production was to focus on the faithfulness and feelings of the women who followed Jesus to Jerusalem and remained with him as he died. 

As I wrote the script with Betty, I "stayed" with each woman in her story as it is recorded in the bible, and as I did so I imagined what it would be like to be that woman.  What was her relationship with Jesus?  Why was she with him at his crucifixion?  What was going through her mind and what was she feeling in her heart? 

As I wrote, I realized how different each woman's relationship with Jesus was, and how their reactions to him were very personal, just as our own are.  I realized how much of their spirituality we have lost because we have forgotten to include them in our Easter services.

So I wrote a piece called "Remember the Biblical Women At Easter" and it has just been published by Huffington Post HERE

I hope that if you can't attend our special service on Holy Saturday, that you will join us in spirit during the hour 4-5 p.m. by rereading the women's stories in the bible and remembering their faithfulness and steadfastness, and their prominence in Jesus' life and death.  How do their stories touch you?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Jung Center Lecture on The Ancient New Age

So much is going on this week.  If you are interested, I am going to be presenting some of the work I have been busy with this year as I have been writing my book The Ancient New Age.  The venue will be Thursday night (yes, Maudy Thursday) at the Jung Center, Houston, Texas.  Here is a LINK to more information including time and registration.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

You are invited to "Easter in Memory of Her"

I am excited to invite you to a special service that will be performed at Christ Church Cathedral (Houston, Texas) on Holy Saturday (March 30th) this year.

It is a service remembering the biblical women in the life of Jesus who followed him to the cross and remained steadfast by his side as he died.  The idea for this service came when Reverend Betty Adam approached me and asked me to help create a service that would feature the women followers of Jesus.  I was so honored and excited to get involved in this project and within a couple of weeks Betty and I had written a script and asked local musicians to get involved in creating an original score for voice and harp.

The musical performance and meditation features five women in the life of Jesus who remember Jesus as they stand near the cross and look on.  We hope that this remembrance of the women can become part of the traditional cycle of Easter services performed in Christian churches across the world.  We choose Holy Saturday because it is a silent time, a time vacated and empty when churches strip their altars and when clergy only perform last rites services.  We thought that this time, from 4-5 p.m., would be an appropriate time to remember the women who have been forgotten, whose voices we seldom hear, but who remained steadfast and faithful to Jesus, even to his death.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Anthony LeDonne and a Jesus course online

Professor LeDonne is trying out something new.  He is offering an online course he calls Portraits of Jesus.  To find out more information, click on this link HERE

This is the course description: In this course we will examine some of the different "Jesuses" who have emerged through the ages, including several interpretations of Jesus in historical studies, and several interpretations of Jesus from art and literature. This course will weave together three primary threads: 1) the Jesus of history; 2) ancient representations of Jesus; and 3) the various modern Jesuses who embody various symbols, ideologies, collective memories, and cultural identities. Through lecture and discussion, we will examine diverse portraits of Jesus in history, literature, art, song, and film throughout history.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Upcoming Lecture on The Ancient New Age

I am pleased to announce that I have been invited to give the 24th Annual Loy Witherspoon Lecture at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte on March 11th, 2013.  I will be speaking about my newest book that I am writing, The Ancient New Age: How Gnostic Spirituality Revolutionized Religion.  For more information, refer to this link HERE.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Book Note: Introduction to "Gnosticism" (Denzey Lewis)

I was delighted yesterday when Nicola Denzey's new textbook on Gnosticism arrived in my office mailbox.  I had the pleasure of reading the book while it was in preparation, and I am excited to see it finally in print.  The book covers all the main issues of the Nag Hammadi literature and will be a perfect compliment to the Nag Hammadi Library if you are considering teaching a course on this literature, or if you are studying the Nag Hammadi texts independently.  The textbook clearly is designed from Denzey's experience teaching a course on Nag Hammadi literature over many years, so it focuses around the main schools of Gnostics that are represented in the Nag Hammadi library, plus a discussion of the other Nag Hammadi texts like the Gospel of Thomas and the Hermetic literature.  The book contains maps, diagrams, timelines, and photos to illustrate the text.  At the end of each chapter are "Questions to Consider", "Key Terms" and "For Further Reading."