Tonight's guests will be discussing Pistis Sophia (Greek for Faith Wisdom), a 2,000 year old Gnostic text. Flourishing in the second century A.D., Gnosticism(1), from the Greek word gnosis meaning knowledge, was a mystical Christian religion that is thought to have had at least 60 sects. One of their talismans, Abraxas, is pictured left.
A core Gnostic belief was in "agape," or mystical love, as the pathway to knowledge of God, though it could only be arrived at through a difficult purging of material concerns. Interestingly, the term agnostic also stems from gnosis, and refers to the unknowable, a view which some ascribe to the nature of God.
Orthodox Christianity considered Gnostics to be heretical and they were persecuted to the point of being wiped out by the 13th century. Esoteric groups though such as the Freemasons, Rosicrucians, and Kabbalists have kept alive some Gnostic ways of thought. And Carl Jung, the great 20th century psychotherapist, worked to reintroduce some Gnostic concepts to modern culture, viewing them as prototypes for "depth psychology."
Source: Harper's Encyclopedia of Mystical and Paranormal Experience(3)