cover image GNOSTIC PHILOSOPHY: From Ancient Persia to Modern Times

GNOSTIC PHILOSOPHY: From Ancient Persia to Modern Times

Tobias Churton, . . Inner Traditions, $18.95 (480pp) ISBN 978-1-59477-035-7

More than a quarter century after his award-winning documentary and book The Gnostics, Churton returns to the academic love of his life. Exhaustive (but not exhausting) in scope and copiously annotated, his work will spice up virtually any reading list of Gnosticism and early Christianity. Positioning religious and philosophical questions alongside those of science and history, Churton clarifies that while Gnostic philosophy "represents a thoroughgoing inquiry into truth values," it does not adhere to the "literary monolith that we have become accustomed to think of when we use the term philosophy ." With great effort—and resulting effect—he succeeds in writing each one of his 14 chapters as a world unto itself. From the Magi to the Freemasons, the Hermetics to Jimi Hendrix, Churton unfurls an evolving awareness of and quest for truth across the ages. If there is a criticism, it is only that the rich history of the Knights Templar and the ensuing incarnations of the Freemasons could have been balanced with equally detailed study of the Enlightened literati and modern scientists. Seasoned with excerpts from original texts and replete with multicultural narratives, Churton will pique the interest not only of professional academics but anyone interested in the Gnostics through the centuries. (Mar.)