We don't have to look to the East for spiritual inspiration; there's an ancient and authentic mystical tradition right here at home. Gnosticism developed alongside Judeo-Christianity over two thousand years ago, but with an important difference: It emphasizes, not faith, but direct perception of God--Gnosticism being derived from the Greek word gnosis, meaning "knowledge." Given the controversial premise that one can know God directly, the history of Gnosticism is an unfolding drama of passion, political intrigue, martyrdom, and mystery. Dr. Hoeller traces this fascinating story throughout time and shows how Gnosticism has inspired such great thinkers as Voltaire, Blake, Yeats, Hesse, Melville, and Jung.
Dr. Stephan Hoeller is a world authority on the subject who knows its practice from the inside. His comprehensive introduction refutes the common notion that Gnosticism as a coherent set of beliefs does not exist. To the contrary, Hoeller reveals that Gnosticism is the indigenous mystical tradition of the West. Beyond history, he also makes us aware that Gnosticism is still much alive today worldwide with an important message for the twenty-first century.