A long-awaited illumination of the mystical movement that teaches 'Gnosis' - knowledge of God as opposed to unquestioning faithAcclaimed author Andrew Phillip Smith delves into the myths and practices of this ancient movement, exploring its early popularity, its subsequent decline under the weight of orthodoxy in the Church, and its present-day resurgence.Gnosticism has travelled a fascinating path, from the Manichaeans in Persia between the 3rd and 7th centuries, to the triumphs and tragedies of the Cathars in southern Europe between the 12th and 14th centuries, to, finally, today's Mandaeans in Iraq. However the revival of Gnosticism extends further than these sects, offering inspiration to a legion of literary figures, including Dan brown and Philip Pullman. Gnostcisim's emphasis on personal over organized religion, in keeping with the doctrine of the early Christian era during which it thrived, has found particular resonance with today's multicultural world.The Secret History of the Gnostics is not simply an authoritative account of one sect's practical beliefs and customs - it is, in effect, a manifesto, an appeal to those inspired by or drawn to the Gnostic faith not to forget its origins.
Andrew Phillip Smith is editor of The Gnostic and the author of several books on Gnosticism, esotericism and early Christianity, including the first ever dictionary of Gnosticism. He has also written for New Dawn, Fortean Times and the Guardian.