Valentinus was a Christian, not a “Gnostic”: Exploration of the history shaped by the “Orthodoxy vs Heresy” Dichotomy

In this series, I will look at the historical figure Valentinus (2nd c, CE), whose life work demonstrates an important intersection of second century, CE, Western thought: Hellenistic trends in Judaism and Christianity in Alexandria, "gnostic" influences from Syria and Palestine, a classical education in Greek philosophy and highly sophisticated Christian theology. He is remembered,... Continue Reading →

Pierre Bourdieu on How Language Shapes Reality

Although I've written previously about Pierre Bourdieu's social theory, especially in regard to how we view religion in society, my favorite insight from his work is on how language, power and perception of reality are related in our daily lives. Here is a short summary of how language shapes our perception of reality, according to Bourdieu.... Continue Reading →

Power Relations and the Socially Constructed Self: What does this say about “belief”? Part II: Louis Althusser

In the previous post, I presented an overview of this series. Here, I will focus on Louis Althusser. After providing a more comprehensive overview of the three theorists, I will discuss the relationship between social indoctrination and personal belief. Althusser Louis Althusser claims that a primary function of State Power in a capitalist society is to perpetuate the... Continue Reading →

Getting my Masters Degree: “Write What You Know”

   I'm about to graduate with a degree in Religious Studies. Thursday, I submitted the final paper of my graduate degree: this one an attempt to salvage the reputation of second century Alexandrian Christian (often called "gnostic") Valentinus from the heresiological reports of Church Fathers like Irenaeus and the resulting orthodox historical narrative that shapes... Continue Reading →

Self-reflection as Creation in Apocryphon of John

Apocryphon of John contains one of the most complete and detailed narrations of a gnostic cosmogony, explaining how the invisible and visible realms emanated from the original monad in a highly sophisticated narrative. The tractate takes the form of the popular "apocryphal acts of the apostles," after the Greek "romances", pseudepigrapha attributed to the disciple John,... Continue Reading →

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