Maciej Mikurda

LECTURE: The Myth of Gnosis – from Simon Magus to C.S. Jung

In the beginning of the first millennium, Gnosticism posed a serious competition to orthodox Christianity. Gnostic ideas represented by spiritual teachers such as Basilides or Valentinus rapidly gained followers, encompassing the entire ancient world. The flourishing of Gnosticism ends with the rise to power of Emperor Theodosius, who proclaimed Christianity the state religion in 380 AD. As a result of persecution, Gnostics disappear from the ancient world, and the memory of them and their teachings survives only in the writings of their polemical opponents. For many centuries, the Knowledge (Gnosis), which Gnostics owe their name to, is forgotten. What was this Knowledge? Was it a path leading to enlightenment? In 1945, a random discovery near the Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi revealed ancient codices buried in the desert containing Gnostic scriptures. In this way – after almost two millennia of silence – Gnostics regained their voice, reminding the world of their Knowledge about the divine origin of man. The lecture discusses the history of Gnosticism, key points of Gnostic beliefs, and the modern reception of Gnosis.
Maciej Mikurda – Chairman of the Board of the Panteon Foundation, sociologist, popularizer of knowledge about Gnosticism and Western esotericism.