Kazantzakis & Last Temptation of Christ

My Gnostic calendar says this for today: Birthday of Nikos Kazantzakis, Writer & Mystic 1883-1957, “My entire soul is a cry, and all my work is a commentary on that cry.”

He’s the guy, you may recall, who wrote the oh-so-controversial Last Temptation of Christ.

Found this online:

Magdalene jumped up and paced back and forth between the fire and the door.

Her mind had grown furious.God is the great enemy, she was thinking; yes, God. He never fails to intrude; he is evil, jealous; he won’t let a person be happy. She stopped behind the door and cocked her ear. The heavens were bellowing. A whirlwind had arisen and the pomegranates in the yard knocked against one another and were ready to break.

–from The Last Temptation of Christ

The Greek novelist, poet, and thinker Nikos Kazantzakis, b. Crete, 1883, d. Oct. 26, 1957, spent half his life living in Germany, the USSR, and France. He also traveled widely throughout Europe, Japan, and Communist China. Influenced early by Nietzsche and Bergson, he owed a debt to Marxism and Buddhism as well as to Christianity and attempted to synthesize these apparently disparate worldviews. His career started out more philosophical and pedagogical than literary. He came to the fore as a poet only in 1938 with his vast philosophical epic The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel (Eng. trans., 1958), which takes up the hero’s story where Homer leaves off.

Even more successful were his novels, which he did not begin writing until after his 60th year. His first, Zorba the Greek (1946; Eng. trans., 1952; film, 1965), is the most popular. In it Kazantzakis embodies Bergsonian ideas of the elan vital in the exuberant figure of Zorba.

His other novels are perhaps deeper, if less exuberant. Freedom and Death (1953; Eng. trans., 1956) deals with the concept of liberty, told through the story of a dour resistance fighter in the Cretan struggle for independence from the Turks. The Greek Passion (1954; Eng. trans., 1954) is a reenactment of Christ’s passion, set in a Greek village. Kazantzakis also wrote the novels The Last Temptation of Christ (1955; Eng. trans. 1960; film 1988) and God’s Pauper: Saint Francis of Assisi (1956; Eng. trans., 1962); a large number of plays; and an autobiography, Report to Greco (1961; Eng. trans., 1965).

P. A. Mackridge

Text Copyright © 1993 Grolier Incorporated
Retrieved from http://www.levity.com/corduroy/kazantza.htm

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So the fella who wrote Last Temptation of Christ (LTOC) was born on Crete, he is literally a Cretan, not figuratively, hee hee. He lived as a subject of the old Ottomon Empire until he was 35 or so and never wrote a novel until he was 60! Wow. Influenced by Marxism. Yikes. And Nietzsche…

Understandable that modern Gnostics revere him as a one of their own.

All the furor over LTOC when the movie came out was understandable, but you gotta admit it was deep, and it was thought provoking. I was in my young 20s when I saw it and though disappointed when he didn’t stay with Magdalene and ended up sleeping with other women in the New Testament (seemingly every woman mentioned therein!), I still found the entire concept of a last temptation while hanging on the cross as plausible, meaningful, and yes, fascinating. That such battles, such inner jihads, can take place in our minds / dreams / altered states, is pretty awesome. I was a bit deflated when the movie ended with Jesus’ fatherhood and loverhood relegated to “just a tempation,” a “bad decision,” but still I get the point. I was glad for the ride. Titillating as the subject matter of Jesus having sex is, the point of a god/dess-sent Messenger having free will until the very end, grappling with the mundane life vs. divine mission choice gives much to think about. Too bad N.K. didn’t somehow show Jesus gloriously managing to both embrace the body and the mundane life and deliver his all-awakening message. Now that would’ve been something to sink one’s teeth into. LTOC was published in 1955, so take that all you critics who say the idea of Jesus’ marriage and co-parenting with Magdalene didn’t come about until the 1980 non-fiction book, Holy Blood, Holy Grail.

Magdalene’s thoughts in the book excerpt above, “God is evil,” speak to the Gnostic suspicion / conviction that the True God isn’t ruling this planet, rather a Usurper is. He (call him Demiurgos or Ialdobaoth or Satan) interfered at the very beginning, messed up the Petrie dishes during our Creation, and this place is flawed, flawed, FLAWED. Time to repair the world, tikkun olam in Kabbalah, and wake up to the stark reality just like Neo has to in the first Matrix movie. Evil overlords are at work here. The Gnostic myth of Creation explains a lot, especially the Problem of Evil, as we have been discussing at length over on the GoddessChristians forum.

A Gnostic Martyr’s Day, Giordano Bruno

This is the 2nd Sunday of Lent in both the mainstream and alternative (Gnostic) churches. But according to this awesome new Gnostic calendar I am enjoying, Feb. 17 is also a Martyr’s day and also a modern esotericist’s birthday.

Birthday of Charles Leadbeater (1854-1934), Bishop and Institutor of the Liberal Catholic Church.

Giordano Bruno, Gnostic MartyrDay of Martyrdom of Giordan Bruno, Priest & Martyr. 1548 – Feb 17, 1600 “Perchance you who pronounce my sentence are in greater fear than I who receive it.”

The statue of Giordano Bruno pictured right stands in Mexico City. He seems to be looking into our eyes, we in the future, saying, Listen, listen, if you have an ear. Think, think, if you are drawn. Wake, awake. (I was thinking Giordan or Giordano Bruno’s first name means “Jordan”, as in the sacred river of Judeo-Christianity.)

A hermeticist, esotericist and Gnostic — very much loved by the people for his charismatic street-corner talks –, he was burned at the stake by the church. Jerks. Here’s a cool article, a different picture of him, and a bunch of inspiring quotes of his, over at Jennifer Emick’s exhaustive Alternative Religions archive.

Hail Holy Giordano, Saint in our Hearts, Teacher in the Darkness, baptised in the fire…


Honor Gnostic “Saint” Valentinus on Valentine’s Day

My way-cool Gnostic Calendar which I got here: Gnosis.org says for today February 14, “The Holy Valentinus, Guide to Gnosis”. We alternative Christians, including esotericists, gnostics and semi-gnostics, should honor this Gnostic “Saint” today. Gnosticism: A New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowing by Stephan HoellerI put quotes around the word saint because the alternative church and the Gnostics have never had a Pope to declare saints. Since the word saint means “holy”, the author of my nifty calendar, Rev. Troy Pierce of the Ecclesia Gnostica, says it perfectly, “The Holy Valentinus, Guide to Gnosis.” Living legend, author and Gnostic Bishop Dr. Stephan Hoeller aka Tau Stephanus, writes: “Valentinus, a Gnostic for All Seasons. …the Greatest of all Gnostic teachers [is] Valentinus, who is said to have been a disciple of Theudas (or Theodas), a friend and student of Paul.
“…G.R.S. Mead called Valentinus ‘the great unknown’ of Gnosticism, and indeed there is little information regarding his life and personality. He was born in Africa, probably within the territory of the ancient city of Carthage, around or before 100 A.D. Educated in Alexandria, in his prime years he transferred his residence to Rome, where he achieved high prominence in the Christian community between the years 135 and 160. Tertullian writes that Valentinus was a candidate for the office of bishop of Rome and lost the election by a rather narrow margin. [Wow! Would’ve been a Gnostic Pope.]
“…Valentinus, the Gnostic who almost became Pope, was perhaps the only man who could have achieved positive recognition for the Gnostic approach to the message of Christ.
“…Valentinus’s own variations on the Gnostic theme includes the signal importance he gives to Sophia, the feminine emanation from the Pleroma [Fullness, Wholeness, “highest Heaven”]. Though the figure of the Divine Feminine was undoubtedly present in Gnosticism since its inception, as evidenced in the teachings of the earliest known Gnostic, Simon Magus, the myth of Sophia in particular, with all of its rich detail and dramatic elaborations, is largely the work of Valentinus.”
Bishop Hoeller then continues describing Valentinus’s teachings in his 2002 book, Gnosticism: New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowing. It’s a favorite book of mine, and I have all kinds of things scribbled in the margins including, Jesus was a facilitator of wholeness, IAO, Valentinus and the Baby (there’s a cool story about a vision Valentinus had of a newborn), and finally “Valentinus Lives!” I wrote in bold ink, followed on the next page with “Valentinus rocks!” I really love this ancient guy and am glad he can be celebrated on this day of love. Hoeller writes, “…the sublime message of this great technician of human transformation [Valentinus] who beckons to us from across nearly two millennia. Valentinus indeed lives. He was a source of inspiration and guidance for persons in every age and clime, a timeless messenger of the mysteries of the soul.” Hoeller ends with a stirring quote from Valentinus himself:
“From the very beginning have you been immortal and children of life — such life as the aeons enjoy: yet would you have death shared among you, to spend and lavish it, so that death might die in you and by your hands; for inasmuch as you dissolve the world and are not dissolved yourselves, you are lords of all creation and destruction.”
That’s the spot where I wrote, “Valentinus rocks!”
I highly recommend Gnosticism: New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowing by Stephan A. Hoeller and this beautiful colorful Gnostic calendar created by one of his priests.


SeventhDay Adventists similar to Cathars aka Waldensians, Albigensians

I went to Seventh Day Adventist schools and boarding schools during all my childhood and teen years. They teach a love for the Cathars big time. Our elementary school teachers made us read stories and color pictures of Waldensian and Albigensian children walking perilous mountain cliffs, hiding from the Inquisition on pain of death, carefully writing out copies of the Bible.

I left the Adventist church as a young adult because they don’t acknowledge the Divine Feminine, but I still have a friendly attitude toward some of their doctrine. I have been studying the Gnostic Cathars more in depth than usual lately and found some old notes I made last year. I realized the Adventists have a lot in common with the Cathars — who were called Waldensians and Albigensians in their day, only the Roman Catholic Church called them Cathars, originally a derogatory term meaning “purists” or “pure ones.”

Here is what I jotted down last year when I realized the uncanny similarity between the SDA’s and Cathars / Waldensians / Albigensians. The SDA founder, Ellen G. White, visited the Cathar / Waldensian valleys area in Europe (Italy and France border area) twice in 1885 to 1887 while she was in Europe. Chapter 4 of her famous book, The Great Controversy, is about these cool heretics. Adventists really really honor heretics!, good for them.

Similarites between Cathars & Adventists. Both Cathars and SDA’s practiced the following things:


Distrust of the Roman Catholic Church to the point of calling it and the Pope, Anti-christ & “the Beast”

Sabbath-keeping. See pic of SDA kids at Waldensian stone table room http://npucnewsletter.wordpress.com/2007/08/21/why-not-try-this-learn-lessons-from-the-waldenses/
Proof they were Sabbath keepers see: http://www.sabbathtruth.com/history/sabbath_history12.asp

Bible carrying

“Run to the hills!” teaching

Ascetisism: No adornments of any kind: no steeples, no stained-glass, no crosses, no rituals, no jewelry not even wedding rings. No christenings, no priests. These are all SDA no-no’s.

No swearing of oaths, no killing or soldiering (SDA’s are conscientious objectors in war-time)

* * * *
Adventists teach Waldensians and Albigensians are heretic heroes whom children should revere, study about, and use as role models. The word Cathar was originally an insult of the RCC, so true descendants of the Cathars actually call themselves Waldensians or Albigensians – just like the SDA’s who never used the word Cathars.

The fact that Adventists instill in their children from an early age love of (and affinity to) Cathars and love of Judaism (sabbath keeping) makes you wonder…

References: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathar


Lots of groups, evangelicals, especially Baptists, use the Waldensians aka Waldenses to provide themselves with pedigree stretching back to the Apostles. It’s called Baptist successionism. EG White has a chapter in GC about the Waldensians, but she doesn’t claim pedigree thru them, just that they kept the Sabbathkeeping torch alive thru the dark ages. They may not have even kept the Sabbath, but EG White’s limited research concluded they did. She probably read 17th century English author Sir Samuel Morland’s book about the Vaudois, another name for the Waldensians which said they kept the Sabbath.

Those who attempt to establish a pedigree for the Waldenses anterior to Waldo himself often refer to the work of Sir Samuel Morland, a 17th-century English author and diplomat who claimed to have found evidence that verifies the great antiquity of the sect. [4] Morland reproduced documents supposedly from the year 1120, which, he said, show that the Waldenses (French, -Vaudois-) had the scriptures for about forty years prior to the translation that Waldo obtained.

The documents in question, however, show the Bible divided into chapters, and such divisions did not appear before about 1250 or later. [5] The confession of faith produced by Morland makes it appear that the Waldenses held to a strongly Protestant-evangelical theology centuries before Luther. It is now known that this document originated in the 16th century. It contains teachings of Martin Bucer, reformer of Strasbourg, copied almost verbatim. [6]

Despite their usual aversion to Roman Catholic sources, successionists have not hesitated to cite a remark by Reinerius Saccho that the Waldenses movement is ancient,

“for some SAY that it has existed from the time of Sylvester, some from the time of the apostles.” http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/num3.htm