Monday, December 13, 2010

A mostly complete bibliography for the 2011 calendar

Sure, it's a calendar, but I do quite a bit of research for both the images and text.

(I haven't included standard primary sources: Tanakh, New Testament, Wisdom literature, Apocrypha, Philo, etc.)

Barker, Margaret. 2008. Temple themes in Christian Worship.

Barker, Margaret. 2003. The Great High Priest: The Temple Roots of Christian Liturgy.

Barker, Margaret. 1992. The Great Angel: A study of Israel's Second God.

Binger, Tilde. 1997. Asherah: goddesses in Ugarit, Israel and the Old Testament.

Birkan, Amy. 2005. The Bronze Serpent, a Perplexing Remedy: An analysis of Num. 21.4-9 in light of Near Eastern Serpent Emblems, Archeology and Inner Biblical Exegesis. Thesis.

Burrus, Virginia. 1995. The Making of a Heretic: Gender, Authority, and the Priscillianist Controversy.

Chadwick, Henry. 1976. Priscillian of Avila: the Occult and the Charismatic in the Early Church.

Cross, Frank Moore. 1973. Canaanite myth and Hebrew epic: essays in the history of the religion of Israel.

Davies, Le Grande. 1986. Serpent Imagery in Ancient Israel: The Relationship Between the Literature and the Physical Remains.

Day, John. 2000. Yahweh and the Gods and Goddesses of Canaan.

Day, John (ed). 1995. Wisdom in ancient Israel: Essays in honour of J.A. Emerton.

Dever, William. 1984. “Asherah Consort of Yahweh: New Evidence from Kuntillet Ajrûd.” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, No. 255. (Summer, 1984), pp. 21-37.

Edersheim 1874. The Temple: Its Ministry and Services as they were at the time of Jesus Christ.

Epstein, I. 1952-61. Soncino Babylonian Talmud: Translated into English with Notes, Glossary and Indices. (Available from

Fantalkin & Yasur-Landau (eds).2008. Bene Israel: Studies in the Archaeology of Israel and the Levant during the Bronze and Iron Ages in Honour of Israel Finkelstein.

Garfein, Susanna. 2004. Temple-Palace Conflict in Pre-exilic Judah. Dissertation.

Hoffnung, Frayda D. 1980. The Family of Jesus: A Sociological Analysis. Dissertation.

Hogan, Karina Martin. 2002. Theologies in Conflict in 4 Ezra: The wisdom debate and apocalyptic solution. Dissertation.

Karmi, Yael. 2005. The Goddess Asherah in Ancient Israel and Her Pillar Figurines. Thesis.

Meyer, M. (ed). 2007. The Nag Hammadi Scriptures: the International Edition.

Moor, Johannes Cornelis de. 1987. An Anthology of religious texts from Ugarit.

Kletter, Raz. 2010. Yavneh I: the excavation of the 'temple hill' repository pit and the cult stands.

Klingbeil, Martin. 1999. Yahweh Fighting from Heaven: God as Warrior and as God of Heaven in the Hebrew Psalter and Ancient Near Eastern Iconography.

Knohl, Israel. "Melchizedek: A Model for the Union of Kingship and Priesthood in the Hebrew Bible" in Clements & Schwartz (eds) Text, Thought, and Practice in Qumran and Early Christianity.

LeMon, Joel Marcus. 2007. Iconography of Yahweh's Winged Form in the Psalms. Dissertation.

Mason, Eric Farrel. 2005. The Concept of the Priestly Messiah in Hebrews and Second Temple Judaism. Dissertation.

Mullen, E. Theodore. 1980. The Divine Council in Canaanite and Early Hebrew Literature.

Prag, Kay. 2001. "Figurines, Figures and Contexts in Jerusalem and Regions to the East in the Seventh and Sixth Centuries BCE." in Amihai Mazar (ed) Studies in the Archaeology of the Iron Age in Israel and Jordan.

Rainbow, Paul. "Melchizedek as a Messiah at Qumran." Bulletin for Biblical Research 7 (1997) 179-194

Smith, Mark S. “Ugaritic Studies and Israelite Religion: A Retrospective View.” in Near Eastern Archaeology, Vol. 65, No. 1, (Mar., 2002), pp. 17-29.

Swain, Sally. 2003. "The Great Goddesses of the Levant" in The Journal of the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities, v. 30, pp. 127-182.

Toorn, Karel van der. Et al. 1999. Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible (2nd ed).

Torhjelm, Roger. 2003. 11QMelchizedek: Liberation, Judgment, and Kingdom. Dissertation.

Wyatt, N. 2002. Religious Texts from Ugarit (2nd ed.).

Yadin, Azzan. 2003. “קול as Hypostasis in the Hebrew Bible.” Journal of Biblical Literature, 122/4 pp. 601-626.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The 2011 Gnostic Calendar

Featuring the Liturgical Calendar of the Ecclesia Gnostica
Anno Domini 2011

by the Rev. Troy Pierce

The first Calendar specifically for Gnostics is now in its sixth year!

The calendar features the Liturgical Calendar of the Ecclesia Gnostica:
the Sundays and Holy days/holidays of the year, with the liturgical
color of the day in the upper right hand corner.

The Gnostic Calendar also features many additional dates of interest.
It is an introductory outline, in calendar form, to different threads in the Gnostic Tradition. Also included are many unofficial Gnostic holidays, historical days of note, secular holidays, humorous/fun holidays, made-up holidays, Buddhist holidays, solar holidays, full and new moons--and yes, more.

Facing pages feature original art and information on Gnostic themes by a Gnostic Priest and Scholar. This year's theme is “Where can Wisdom be found?”: Gnostic roots in ancient Israelite Religion.

Printed on high-quality thick and durable acid-free paper, the Gnostic Calendar sells for only slightly more than you'd pay for a non-generic calendar at a retail outlet.

Proceeds benefit education and services in the Salt Lake City area, and programs and outreach on the internet.

Space may separate us, but time can join us. May this help serve that purpose.

Calendar price: $22 per wall calendar not including packaging and shipping. Discounted 10% from last year. Now Shipping. Order here.

General shipping costs:

US$2.50 First class Mail for 1+ $.75 per additional calendar
Canada$3.25 Airmail shipping for 1+ $1.25 per additional calendar
Overseas$7.00 Airmail Shipping for 1+ $2.50 per additional calendar
These rates may be subject to modification based on actual postage fees for a given order.
(Large quantities may qualify for free shipping.)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Levels of Interpersonal Common Ground

Very unpleasant dealings that resulted from my trying to be of service to someone in a personal contradiction resulted in experiencing yet again how disturbing it is when someone doesn't interact with basic courtesy, and doesn't follow basic ethics or morals. Every time it happens I say I'll stop trying to be of service where I am not specifically asked for help. But, after enough time has passed, I try again.

So, here are some results of my ruminations, levels of common ground, such as objective systems one can appeal to arbitrate in a dispute:

4. Where there is mutual compassion, one need not appeal to an objective system, but appeals directly to the other.

3. Where there is acknowledgment of mutual social standing, one can appeal to common courtesy.

2. Where there is recognition of mutual reasonableness, one can appeal to ethics (or specific rules, such as the rules for argumentation).

1. Where there is recognition of mutual humanity, one can appeal to morality.

0. Where there is no recognition of mutuality, there is only the law to be appealed to.

We cannot change the other person, or force them to accept arbitration by any objective system other than the legal system we share in common. This is most likely why we have become such a litigious society. If you find yourself in this situation, don't feel bad if you actually need to invoke the law. That is were the other person is at, but it doesn't need to be where you are at. You can pursue necessary legal action compassionately, courteously, ethically, and morally.

Ideally, we should at least try to listen and interact with compassion in regards to others. Unfortunately, you never know when something will set someone you don't know off the deep end when you are trying to help. But, try to always have a compassionate ear open, and try to do no harm if possible.

In any case, we should not see even user's code names and silly avatars as anything other than representing people. You will not want to interact with them all, and some will take delight in going after you and yours, but there are people behind each avatar. Some may act like internet interactions are not subject to morals, ethics, or courtesy, let alone compassion. And, they may hide in places where they can isolate themselves from responses to, or consequences of, their actions. But we are all people, and compassion is the ideal.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

To question all things

To question all things;– never to turn away from any difficulty; to accept no doctrine either from ourselves or from other people without a rigid scrutiny by negative criticism; letting no fallacy, or incoherence, or confusion of thought step by unperceived; above all to insist upon having the meaning of a word clearly understood before using it, and the meaning of a proposition before assenting to it;– these are the lessons we learn from the ancient dialecticians.

- John Stuart Mill, Inaugural Address as Rector, University of St, Andrews, 1867.
(Quoted by Margaret Barker.)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

GnosCast: the Gnostic Podcast - #15 & 16: Frameworks of Meaning

Episode 15

Continuing a users guide to Gnosis, an overview in the form of "you are here." A naive view of meaning sees it as "out there," a property of the object that we perceive rather than something we participate in. Far from being "out there" meaning is something that we make in an interaction of what is "out there" and the many meaning frameworks we exist in, and the interpretations we bring to bear on what is "out there." The many ways in which we construct meaning are important to how we understand the world, ourselves, and the Gnostic tradition.

Topics include: misunderstanding that meaning is objective, early studies of meaning, portrayal of remote scenes in local contemporary terms, paradigm in Kuhn's the Structure of Scientific Revolutions, paradigm shift as change in meaning structure, assimilation versus accommodation, overuse of paradigm, valid and invalid interpretations, interpretations of Gnostic texts, misuse of interpretation by Ireneaus, Heracleon's exegetical use of interpretation, importance of interpretation in making use of Gnostic texts, modern disadvantage of not having gnosis in our meaning framework, importance of gnosis in all of its dimensions, awareness of when we do or do not have gnosis, importance of metaphors in understanding, nature of the metaphor influences the meaning of the concept conveyed, Gnostic meaning framework a part of the path of gnosis, Lakoff's work on frames, frames used to elicit a positive or negative reaction, propaganda, meaning of metaphor, study of metaphors, meaning and perception without cultural context, equivalent to gnosis lacking in language and cultural understanding, encountering the absence of gnosis in artificial intelligence design, perception of objects, limitations from cultural context, ontology as another dimension to interpretation, the ability to change perspectives, emancipatory and transformational learning.

Presented at the Holy Gnosis of Thomas Chapel in Salt Lake City, 13 June 2010.

Episode 15: "You Are Here" (part 3) Making Meaning

Episode 16

Examining meaning frameworks that can blind us and keep us from liberation, and frameworks that can aid us in liberation.

Topics include: Different frameworks of meaning can be a source of blindness or aid in liberation, if we are unaware of our meaning structures we are locked within it, main source of difficulty in approaching Gnosticism is a pre-existent meaning structure, frameworks of religion, in-group out-group bias, orthodox religion framework is belief-centric, religion studied within an orthodox framework, Gnosticism is not belief-centric, Gnosticism in a belief-centric framework is inconsistent or nonexistent, over-determined view of Gnosticism when orthodox frameworks imposed upon it, evidence bias, frameworks that blind, over-determined frameworks, examples of over-determined frameworks in Elaine Pagels's account of drawing lots in the Gnostic Gospels, inappropriate frameworks, invalid conspiracy theory frameworks as predetermined conclusions in search of evidence viewed through a modern idiosyncratic framework, egocentric psychology as framework, using philosophical tools for spiritual liberation, shift from egocentric psychology as major developmental shift of meaning framework, frameworks that aid in liberation, elements of the Gnostic worldview, mythic poetic symbolic as inner-deeper meaning framework, limited imperfect framework, liberation is possible framework, dangers of ego taking over these views, individual self-transformational framework, the truth shall set us free.

Presented at the Holy Gnosis of Thomas Chapel in Salt Lake City, 13 June 2010, by Gnostic priest and scholar Troy Pierce.

Episode 16: "You are Here" (part 4) in Frameworks that Blind or Aid

Thursday, June 10, 2010

GnosCast: the Gnostic Podcast - #14: From the Image to the Real

Continuing to explore the distinctions between the image and the real as elaborated by Plato's Analogy of the Divided Line as they appear in ancient Gnostic texts. We look at four general motifs of the relation between image and real in the Nag Hammadi Scriptures, including how to move from the image to the real. (pdf with references)

Topics covered: Understanding a system of concepts versus having gnosis of real things, the surprising encounter with the real, the motif that “names/images can deceive/enslave” with texts, the motif of “truths in symbols, types, and names” with texts, the motif of “seeds of logos/truth” with texts, the image that is presented is only the beginning point, the motif of “the visible as image of invisible/hidden” with texts, the motif that “mysteries connect the image with the real” with texts, the bridal chamber, psychic versus pneumatic understandings, misunderstanding of Gnosticism as a system of concepts/beliefs, need to connect to the reality beyond the images, trust that the image points towards the real, temptation of system building, desire to fill in the blanks, cultural images, archetypal images, Christ as image of God, experiential symbolism.

Presented at the Holy Gnosis of Thomas Chapel in Salt Lake City, 06 June 2010.

Listen or Download MP3

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

GnosCast: the Gnostic Podcast - Episode 13: Gnosis and Meaning

Exploring Meaning and Gnosis in the ancient Platonic context and in Gnostic texts; and the connection between Platonic and Gnostic understandings of meaning.

Finding a connection between Plato and Gnostic understandings of meaning, in the wee hours lead to a presentation exploring meaning in terms of gnosis in the ancient Platonic context familiar to the ancient Gnostics and terms from Gnostic texts. (Reference Handout available.)

Topics include: brief look at interpretive frameworks, projection of literalist interpretation on ancient Gnostics, Plato's framework for making distinctions between knowing with gnosis and knowing without gnosis in both the sensible and the noetic, knowing without gnosis in sensible and noetic both called images, Jewish Platonic tradition of allegorical exegesis, gnosis and meaning in three passages from the Gospel of Philip, comparison to the hymn of the pearl, uses of Plato's framework in understanding Gnostic texts, reason for emphasis on gnosis after the apostolic age.

Presented at the Holy Gnosis of Thomas Chapel in Salt Lake City, 30 May 2010.

Listen or Download MP3

Friday, May 28, 2010

GnosCast: The Gnostic Podcast #12: "You are Here" (part 2) as a Social Animal

Visit the new GnosCast site. (I'll cross post here for a time.)

Part of a "last lecture" series on essentials. A users guide to Gnosis continuing with an overview in the form of "you are here." As a social animal we have evolved in groups and will instinctually repeat patterns in organizing ourselves into group. The instinctual form of this and the type of hierarchy that results is discussed in the context of sociobiology. Functional pragmatic hierarchies are discussed, and contrasted with instinctually based ones.

Topics include: evolution and group organization, bio-social forms of hierarchies, examples, evidence, ways of recognizing sociobiological hierarchies, pragmatic hierarchies, formalization of pragmatic hierarchies provides opportunity for bio-soc form to take over, pattern in christian history, bio-soc hierarchies are a part of human nature no ideology, authority as a manifestation of bio-soc pattern, failed attempts to address bio-soc hierarchy issues, ways to keep a pragmatic hierarchy from being taken over, recognition of teachers in some traditions, lack of that in Western traditions, Holy Orders in that context. Followed by a discussion that includes: modern Gnostic practice, the necessity of psychological perspective, how you understand religion, religion as developmental framework, historical encounter of the West with the East, pragmatic religion.

Presented at the Holy Gnosis of Thomas Chapel in Salt Lake City, 16 May 2010

Listen or Download MP3

Thursday, May 20, 2010

GnosCast: the Gnostic Podcast # 11: "You Are Here" part 1 - Embodiment

My segmented and somewhat fragmentary "last lecture" continues with a users guide to Gnosis. First part is a "You are Here" in a body. Evolution and its effects, towards an evolved self-gnosis.

The Description:

Continuing a series on essentials of Gnosticism. A users guide to Gnosis beginning with an overview in the form of "you are here."

Topics include: Perspectives on religion without Gnosis, tripartite division of the human and individual orientation, our evolved nature, evolution's aims and the suffering that causes, evolved capabilities, evolved mechanisms for cooperation, modeling others and self, ego, identity, self-deception, freedom through awareness, gnosis and logos, limits of knowledge, steadfast pursuit of Gnosis, religion as social control or developmental system, progressing to uncertainty, not knowing.

Presentation with discussion in the Holy Gnosis of Thomas Chapel in Salt Lake City, 16 May 2010, by Gnostic priest and scholar Troy Pierce.

Direct Link for the non-podcastically inclined.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

GnosCast: the Gnostic Podcast # 10: Gnosis Further Considered

The second of a series on advanced essentials of Gnosticism (as opposed to basics). Further considerations on the nature of gnosis and implications for understanding and practice. Topics include: Mistaken notions of self (rational and self-controlling), irreducible nature of gnosis, gnosis in Platonic Forms, recognition of objects and concepts, gnosis of gnoses or epignosis/metagnosis as Gnosis, example of the good art critic, Gnosis as transformation, Gnosis as developmental process, Gnosis as shape of reality, misrecognition, self-gnosis of embodiment.

Health-wise I was worse off while recording this than while recording the previous week.

Presented at the Holy Gnosis of Thomas Chapel in Salt Lake City, 9 May 2010.
Direct link

The science fiction story mentioned is "They're made out of meat" by Terry Bisson.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

GnosCast: the Gnostic Podcast # 9: Gnosis in Context

Since I have been too ill to write or plan and give a long lecture of late, I plan to use some of the time at services where I am unable to do more to have short presentations and discussions on some of the essentials.

Although it varies within a range, long-term my health isn't getting any better. While I plan and would very much like to write about the understanding I have arrived at after decades of study and practice, it may not happen. So, I hope these short talks will be of service in passing on some of what I have found that may be valuable.

Please, forgive some of the lack of composition and coherence. They are necessarily given at less than 100% ability, the fatigue effects my ability to think, speak, and recall. This podcast has been edited to reduce those effects.

The first of a planned series on essentials of Gnosticism, this one considering the nature of gnosis and implications from the ancient context. Topics include: meanings and implications of the term 'gnosis' in the context of the Greek language and philosophy and in ancient Gnostic texts, concluding with a free ranging discussion. Presentation and discussion at the Holy Gnosis of Thomas Chapel in Salt Lake City, 2 May 2010, by Gnostic priest and scholar Troy Pierce.

Here is the direct link

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

GnosCast: the Gnostic Podcast #8 - the Emergence of Gnosticism

The first part of the Gnosticism Then and Now lecture from March 6th has been added to the GnosCast podcast feed as episode 8. It focuses on the three major traditions from which Gnosticism emerges: the Mystery traditions, Philosophical practice, and Jewish Mysticism. Unfortunately, the battery in the digital recorder failed after this part, so, it is only the first two-fifths of the talk.

The next part of the lecture was an overview of Gnostic teachers and developments after Jesus. And that was followed by what connects them all together--Gnosis. (It seems actually possible to get across what Gnosis is in the tradition that way.) I finished with a quick overview of modern history, but that was a preface to even more content that there wasn't time for.

I think I'll follow a suggestion of giving, and recording, a series of lectures covering the same ground in more detail. And also including the aspects of modern science I didn't even touch upon.

Let me know your reactions.

Direct link to the mp3 file

Saturday, January 30, 2010

From an Interview with June Singer

January 29th: Death of June Singer, Mystic & Guide of Souls (1920 - 2004). [from the Gnostic Calendar]

MISHLOVE: June, in your early work at the Jung Institute, you have described in Boundaries of the Soul how for your final examination you were asked to describe the process of individuation, which is the goal of Jungian therapy, as if you were talking to a street sweeper while you were waiting for a bus. I wonder if you could repeat that definition for us.

SINGER: Yes, and that was a shocker of a question, I might add, because I had studied all the parallels of the individuation process from the alchemist down to the present day. So when this question came to me, to describe this process while you're waiting for the bus and you're talking to a street sweeper, I looked out at the Lake of Zurich, and I thought, well, it's something like being in a sailing boat on the lake and utilizing the wind, understanding that the wind is something that you don't make and you can't control. But you need to understand how to live your life in the same way that you understand how you would sail a boat, taking the power of the wind and going with it and allowing your own knowledge of it and your understanding of it to help you go in the direction that you need to be headed. And so in Jungian analysis you learn how to deal with your own power, or rather the power that comes through you, and live your life in such a way that it's harmonious with that power which is above and beyond and all around.

MISHLOVE: It's as if the forces within our psyche are like the winds that might blow us about, and as we learn how to work with the winds we can direct ourselves through our lives.

SINGER: And we don't change them. We don't in Jungian analysis try to make somebody different from who they are. But what we try to do is to guide people to recognize themselves and discover themselves and find out what was always there, but hasn't been recognized or lived out.

Full interview

Friday, January 08, 2010

From the Gnostic Calendar

January 6th: Feast of the Epiphany

Birthday of Alan W. Watts, Priest, Scholar, and Philosopher (1915 - 1973). " can only know God through an open mind just as you can only see the sky through a clear window." [from 2008 Gnostic Calendar]