The Gnostics and Their Remains

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The Gnostics and Their Remains

By Charles William King

In the mid-19th century, eighty years before the chance discovery of a treasure trove of Gnostic manuscripts in a dump in Egypt, C.W. King collected what was known about the Gnostics in this book. At that time there were only three sources of information on Gnosticism: polemics against them by early Christian writers, the Pistis Sophia, and a jumble of confusing images and cryptic inscriptions on Roman-era gems and amulets.

In spite of all of the missing jigsaw pieces, King managed to assemble a picture of the Gnostics which is still cited today as authoritative. Rather than one monolithic group, the Gnostics had very diverse beliefs. Some thought that Jesus was a man, while others thought that he was a God, and some believed that he became a God only after he was baptized. Some believed in a struggle between good and evil, others were non-dualistic. Most had widely-varying intricate systems of intermediaries between the ultimate deity and humanity. On the face of it, this looks polytheistic, but instead was an attempt to solve the problem of how a perfect God could create an imperfect world. Many of these Aeons later became the demons and angels of Medieval and Renaissance magic.

King seeks links to Gnostic symbols and beliefs far afield, from India, to the Templars, Rosicrucians and Illuminati. He discusses Mithra and Serapis worship, and gives many examples of Roman and Greek magical spells and talismans. He discusses the fudged birthdate of Jesus, Masons' marks, and Simon Magus. The book is a fascinating tour of hidden knowledge.

Production Notes: This text uses Unicode extensively, so you should consult the sacred-texts Unicode help page if the Greek and Hebrew text in this text is not displayed correctly in your browser. There are many quotations of Greek and Latin text from inscriptions. In some cases I have silently replaced rare forms of some greek letters (particularly uppercase omega) with the more common ones. In the final part of the book, there were no sub-sections. To break up this long part of the book into files, I have inserted logical sub-section headings. As usual, these are in green type.

--J. B. Hare, 5/28/200

Title Page
Preface
Contents
Introduction
Gnosticism and its Origin
Pistis-Sophia
The Book of Enoch
Gnosticism in its Beginning
Influence of Judaism on the Ancient World
The Zendavesta
The Kabbala and the Talmud
Indian Sources of Gnosticism.--Manes
Buddhism
Simonianism
Basilides
The Ophites
Machinery of the Gnosis
Chapter I. Origin of Mithraicism
Chapter II. The Mithraic Sacraments
Chapter III. A Roman Mithras in His Cave
Mithraic Talismans
Gnostic Sacraments and Initiations as Connected with the Mithraic
St. Augustine on Gnosticism
The Figured Representations of Serapis
The Probable Origin of Serapis
Monuments of the Serapis Worship
The Caduceus, and its Symbolism
Death as Depicted in Ancient Art
Tomb-Treasures
The Evil Eye
On a Ceraunia of Jade Converted into a Gnostic Talisman
The Agathodæmon Worship
The Chnuphis Serpent
Abraxaster, or Borrowed Types
Abraxoids, or Gems Confounded with the True Gnostic
The True Abraxas Gems
Gnostic Plaque
The God Abraxas as Described by the Christian Fathers
Abraxas-Etymology of
Abraxas-Its Numerical Force
The Abraxas Religion
The Ineffable Name in the Hindoo Form
Abraxas-Gems, Their Materials, Workmanship, and Nature
Legends and Formulæ
Gnostic Siglæ, Symbols, Legends Explained
The Name ??O
Abraxas, New Type of
Original Purpose of These Formulæ
Gnostic Theogony
The Scheme of the Ophites
The Cause of Sin
State After Death of the Uninitiated
Future Punishments
Talismanic Leaden Scrolls
Masonic Origins
The Earliest Masonic Document
No Relation of Modern Masons to Mediæval Guilds
Masons Marks
Origin of Modern Freemasonry
The Rosicrucians
The Templars
Idols of Baphomet
Manicheism
The Assassins
The Sufis
Diffusion of Oriental Culture
Profession of Continence
Mithraicism
The Transmission of Gnostic Symbols
The Illuminati
Conclusion
Woodcuts in the Text
Introduction
Plate A. Various Types of the God Abraxas
Plate B
Plate c
Plate D. Sigils of the Cnuphis Serpent
Plate E. Monuments of the Serapis Worship
Ancient Egyptian Types Adapted to Gnostic Ideas
Egyptian Types (continued)
Plate H. Egyptian Types (continued)
Plate J. Subjects Connected with the Mithraic Mysteries
Plate K. Mithraic (continued)
Plate L. Mithraic (continued)
Plate N. General Talismans (continued)
Plate O. Hindoo Symbols and Caste-Marks
Bibliographical Appendix
Index

 

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