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    Gnosticism: The Search for Divine Knowledge

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    Gnosticism: The Search for Divine Knowledge

    Post by Lucid Memes on Mon Jan 04, 2010 10:54 pm

    [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] is a name giving to a collection of 2nd century religious groups (deemed heretical by the Orthodoxy) who believed that liberation from the material world could be achieved after a devoted seeker discovers the [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], the key to salvation.

    In another thread, I summarized Gnosticism as the follow:
    "...in a nut shell (Gnosticism) is, the idea that the spirit realm is the only thing that is true, real, holy and good, etc...and that the material world is all that is false, illusionary, and evil. And that the material world was a type of cosmic accident...a type of deviation from the spiritually perfect reality, by which a lesser/base force of evil, hijacked god and created the material world (earth) as a prison for spirits and souls. The base god was called the [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]."

    I've had a long history with Gnosticism in my life. I'd say about 15 years of familiarity with its general principles and teachings. I considered myself as a Gnostic for many years but no longer wish to. I'm still fascinated by it however. I just wanted to make this thread for discussion and information gathering.


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    Re: Gnosticism: The Search for Divine Knowledge

    Post by Extant on Mon Jan 04, 2010 11:09 pm

    I'll come back to this. I found Hans Jonas' book "The Gnostic Religion: The Message of the Alien God and the Beginnings of Christianity" very good on this subject. He compares ancient Gnostic thought to Existentialist philosophy. It was a kind of proto-Existentialism for him. Remind about this thread and I'll post quotes from the book.
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    Re: Gnosticism: The Search for Divine Knowledge

    Post by Lucid Memes on Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:39 pm

    My first introduction into the themes of Gnosticism came after I saw the movie The Matrix (which still to this date, my be my favorite film). The Matrix resonated with me strongly, largely due to the perspective I developed from reoccurring sleep disorders I experienced for a long period of time, which gave me particular interest in dream/reality metaphors...which were also strong themes in the Matrix.

    And coming from a Catholic upbringing, it was easy for me to recognize the Christ metaphors in the movie. After the sequel came out, it was clear that the Architect of the Matrix was a character that represented God...but an evil God at that. Family members pointed out to me the heretical nature of the film, and thus my research lead me to the beliefs of Gnosticism, which also resonated with me as well. The Matrix movies were based on an interpretation of Gnosticism (amongst many other things).


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    Re: Gnosticism: The Search for Divine Knowledge

    Post by Extant on Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:54 pm

    The Matrix is a very Gnostic parable, but as you say a mixture of other elements as well. It takes knowledge to identify the themes though for sure, when it first came out I didn't have a clue about the comparison having no knowledge of Gnosticism whatsoever. I grokked the concept immediately after viewing, of a the world being a shadow realm, but didn't really know about traditional Gnostic thought.
    The average cinema goer (just like me) was clueless. Sleep


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    Re: Gnosticism: The Search for Divine Knowledge

    Post by Lucid Memes on Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:17 pm

    Speaking of other gnostic parable films, the movies The Truman Show and Dark City are well within that range. I'd even make the argument that Dark City is more gnostic than The Matrix is.


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    Re: Gnosticism: The Search for Divine Knowledge

    Post by Lucid Memes on Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:20 pm

    But as you also acknowledge that there are other themes that are symbolic in the story, it's interesting, when studying the origins of Gnostic thought and culture, that the principles of Gnosticism stretch far deep and wide into the ancient world. Gnostic themes are common in Egyptian religion, Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, all the forms of Greek Platonism, etc... But since all these systems pre-date what we know as Gnostic culture, it's probably better to describe these common themes as something other than Gnosticism since Gnosticism is a more recent branch. The word I've been using to describe it since early last year is the term "Emanationism" to describe the wide spread ancient belief that material reality is a degraded emanation from an out-of-reach spiritual perfection.

    Its all funny to me upon discovering this. I once believed that Gnosticism was a lost and rare underground ideology, privileged to an esoteric few, but once I realized it comprised a general perspective in the shape of ancient thought, as well as more modern religions such as forms of Protestantism and Puritanism, it became greatly demystified and ironic to me LOL. Still fascinating though and I have fun learning about it regardless.


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    Re: Gnosticism: The Search for Divine Knowledge

    Post by Extant on Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:51 pm

    Lucid Memes wrote:Speaking of other gnostic parable films, the movies The Truman Show and Dark City are well within that range. I'd even make the argument that Dark City is more gnostic than The Matrix is.

    Dark City mirrors The Matrix very, very closely. There are even scene for scene steals I believe. Both films had the same producer. Andrew Mason. There's a suggestive surname eh? Especially considering the fact that the Freemasons are certainly heir to a Gnostic tradition too:

    Freemason Information.com: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

    Andrew Mason: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

    Comparisons between Dark City and The Matrix: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

    Lucid Memes wrote:But as you also acknowledge that there are other themes that are symbolic in the story, it's interesting, when studying the origins of Gnostic thought and culture, that the principles of Gnosticism stretch far deep and wide into the ancient world. Gnostic themes are common in Egyptian religion, Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, all the forms of Greek Platonism, etc... But since all these systems pre-date what we know as Gnostic culture, it's probably better to describe these common themes as something other than Gnosticism since Gnosticism is a more recent branch. The word I've been using to describe it since early last year is the term "Emanationism" to describe the wide spread ancient belief that material reality is a degraded emanation from an out-of-reach spiritual perfection.

    Yes, similar strains of thought to Gnosticism are evident before the 1st century ADE, but I guess that the Gnosticism we identify in its fully blooded form didn't manifest until it had an enemy to define it. Good ol' orthodox Christianity.
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    Re: Gnosticism: The Search for Divine Knowledge

    Post by Lucid Memes on Tue Jan 05, 2010 11:14 pm

    Excellent links there, Extant Wink

    Andrew Mason? Go figure lol!

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    Re: Gnosticism: The Search for Divine Knowledge

    Post by Extant on Fri Apr 02, 2010 6:04 pm

    The following book is a must. Edited by one [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], president of the [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], a serious academic institute for the study of Western Esotericism.
    The book is the very expensive [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], available from Scribd.com [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.].
    The book is the most comprehensive survey and resource you could want on the subject.

    [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

    cheers


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    Re: Gnosticism: The Search for Divine Knowledge

    Post by Lucid Memes on Fri Apr 02, 2010 6:21 pm

    Very well done, Sir.

    *saves to harddrive*

    This will serve as an excellent reference.


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    Re: Gnosticism: The Search for Divine Knowledge

    Post by Extant on Wed Apr 07, 2010 8:40 am

    Download link to Sendspace for a PDF of Gnostic Wars by Stefan Rossbach:

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    Re: Gnosticism: The Search for Divine Knowledge

    Post by Lucid Memes on Wed Apr 07, 2010 3:15 pm

    Awesome, did you scan all that, Extant?


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    Re: Gnosticism: The Search for Divine Knowledge

    Post by Extant on Wed Apr 07, 2010 4:17 pm

    Yeah. The PDF version isn't as neat as I'd like but it's readable. I'm working out my PDF creation software to see if I can produce a more asthetic version.
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    Re: Gnosticism: The Search for Divine Knowledge

    Post by Lucid Memes on Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:57 pm

    Actually I think it's very well done!

    Excellent job, again Smile


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    Re: Gnosticism: The Search for Divine Knowledge

    Post by Extant on Fri Jun 04, 2010 6:13 pm

    Following the comments at Conspiracy Archive [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] I have found a marvelous book that has been recommended as a companion to Rossbach's Gnostic Wars, via Gigapedia:

    [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

    Have a quick peruse on [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] of it. Looks a very promising premise from reading the first few pages.

    Book description:

    Contends that the historical failure of the Communist system is the logical result of men who regarded revolution as their calling and who seek destruction of the existing world to clear the way for a new world paradise.

    Also have a look at this one:

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    This is in RAR'd HTML, best viewed after downloading in Firefox browser with the Fastestfox add-on.
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    Re: Gnosticism: The Search for Divine Knowledge

    Post by Lucid Memes on Fri Jun 04, 2010 7:21 pm

    This looks great. The summary of "Revolutionary Apocalypse"

    Emerging from the cultural catastrophe produced by the traumatic advance of modernity, the professional revolutionary is one disenchanted with the world. Incapable of accepting reality, he/she is convinced that he/she has a scientific knowledge that resolves the puzzle of history and will result in the creation of a paradise on Earth. Pellicani details the history of the birth of revolutionarism as a new form of Gnosticism through a study of the theory, the organization, and the practice of the Leninist party and their project to purify society by permanent terrorism. He analyzes the causes behind the collapse of the totalitarian system built by the Bolsheviks, and he pres new insights into understanding the recent revival of the nihilistic anarchism of the "Black Blocks" in Europe and their violent attacks against globalization and modern civilization.

    The book of Revelations itself is a very Gnostic revolutionary text. The Jews being persecuted by the Roman authorities saw the destruction of the material world (Apocalypse) as the ultimate act of revolution against their oppressors.

    There's an "In Our Time" episode that goes into some of these aspects.
    [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]


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    Re: Gnosticism: The Search for Divine Knowledge

    Post by Extant on Fri Jun 04, 2010 7:25 pm

    Yes, that preamble really caught my eye. Pellicani has set the stage very well for a potentially explosive historical narrative. This will probably be the next book I read.
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    Re: Gnosticism: The Search for Divine Knowledge

    Post by Extant on Tue Jun 08, 2010 4:38 am

    Another book along similar lines as Gnostic Wars and Revolutionary Apocalypse is this one by [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]:

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    Description via [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]:

    Shafarevich's book The Socialist Phenomenon,[7] published in the US in 1980, argued that the leftist-nihilist utopian impulse is a revival of gnostic religion, rooted in rebellion.[8] In his view, this is an anti-Christian urge that fights obsessively with the normal state of the world, demanding material equality and the eradication of individual and gender distinctions.[9] Shafarevich wrote that "the death of mankind is not only a conceivable result of the triumph of socialism – it constitutes the goal of socialism."[10]

    Shafarevich's views were influenced by Karl Wittfogel's theory of hydraulic society.[11] The mathematician argued that socialism has two archetypes: ancient despotisms (such as Sumeria, Babylonia and Egypt) and millennial sectarian movements of medieval and early modern Europe, along with a Freudian death-instinct.[11] Out of this combination, he said that this ideology works to co-opt the prestige of science and faith in progress.[11] Shafarevich covered in his work what he regarded as socialist tendencies and socialist states that have occurred during the history of mankind. He contrasts Campanella's (City of the Sun) and Thomas More's (Utopia) visions with the facts known of the Inca Empire and concludes there are striking similarities. Also, in Shafarevich's (1980:207) opinion, Marxist ideology has not even the climate of scientific inquiry. Marx's most important postulates are contradicted by the very reality:

    If a socialist state comes into being only under the conditions created by the development of capitalism, if, as Lenin wrote, "socialism originates in capitalism, develops historically from capitalism, and results from the action of a social force that is engendered by capitalism," then whence did it come and as a result of what social force did it develop in the Inca empire or the states of the ancient Orient? History only reinforces the doubts engendered by the contemporary situation: socialist states have arisen in China, North Korea and Cuba--that is, in the countries where the influence of capitalism can in no way be considered a determining factor.

    (Shafarevich 1980:202)

    Further description:

    "The Socialist Phenomenon", first published in Russian in 1975 and translated here into English by William Tjalsma, by dissident Russian mathematician Igor Shafarevich is a brilliant examination of the history and development of socialism tracing its origins back to ancient times and the medieval heresies to its supposed scientific development under Karl Marx and his followers. Igor Shafarevich (1923 - ) was a dissident Russian mathematician who founded an important school in algebraic number theory and algebraic geometry and who also wrote on political matters. Shafarevich was a friend of the late Nobel Prize winning novelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (who provides a Foreword to this book) and served as an important critic of the Soviet regime and of future liberal proposals for the development of Russia. This book which was widely read in the West, provides a unique history of socialism tracing the origins of socialism from ancient times, through the medieval heretics, through philosophers and novelists in more recent times, and ultimately to its supposed scientific pretensions under Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels and their followers. In many ways, the understanding provided here by Shafarevich is similar to that of certain other modern political thinkers including Erik Voegelin (who traced the origins of the political religions, including Marxism, back to the ancient Gnostics and through the medieval heretics), Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn (who traced the roots of leftism to medieval heresy), or Norman Cohn (who traced the history of revolutionary movements through the middle ages and beyond). Shafarevich writes from the perspective of a Russian Orthodox Christian and a Russian nationalist and as such provides a unique understanding in this light. The book is also heavily indebted to the economic history of Karl Wittfogel who provided a detailed study of what he termed "Oriental despotism" and related this to modern day socialist movements and Marxism. The book provides a fascinating study on the history of socialism and an examination of the problems within socialist doctrines as held by Marxists. As such, this book remains an important and courageous book showing the errors that lie within the socialist impulse (which Shafarevich ultimately finds to be rooted within the death instinct) and unveils the Soviet state for the monstrosity it was.

    This book begins with a Foreword by Russian novelist Solzhenitsyn which explains the importance of Shafarevich's work and details the rise of socialism in the Twentieth century in both "Asiatic" and "Russian" aberrations. Following this appears a Preface, in which the author lays out his understanding of the crises of the Twentieth century leading up to a much more profound crisis. The author quotes from F. Heichelheim regarding the economic history of man showing how the trends of the Late Capitalist Age have led to the end of the development of economic individualism and to a return to Ancient Oriental models which were laid down at the beginning of the Iron Age. The author sees socialism as an important aspect of the developing crisis of man which is leading to the destruction of the "old world" and argues that fundamentally socialism lacks a "definition free from contradictions". The author will trace the history of socialism from ancient times through the medieval heresies to philosophers and novelists and finally to the supposed "scientific" socialism of 'The Communist Manifesto'. The rest of the Preface lays out the plan for the book. Part One of the book is entitled "Chiliastic Socialism" and begins with an Introduction. Here, the author explains that socialism can mean both a doctrine and an appeal based on it for changing life as well as a social structure that exists in time and space. The author comments on the "classic" writings of Karl Marx, socialism as it exists in the U.S.S.R. and the People's Republic of China, and the visit of novelist and thinker H. G. Wells to Russia. The author next considers socialism as a doctrine, considering what he refers to as "chiliastic socialism" (the belief in the thousand-year Kingdom of God on earth). The author quotes from Aristophanes comparing Athenian socialism to the modern _Communist Manifesto_ attempting to show how all socialisms share the same three components: abolition of private property, abolition of the family (i.e. communality of wives and disruption of the bonds between parents and children), and purely material prosperity. Following this, the author turns to "The Socialism of Antiquity" which consists of a discussion of the state as laid out by Plato in _The Republic_ and _Laws_, showing the role of the "philosophers" (which Bulgakov argues should be referred to as "the righteous men" or the "saints") in Plato's ideal state as well as the communality of property and Plato's castes. This section also discusses certain socialist ideals mentioned by Diodorus and various Gnostic sects mentioned by early Christian Fathers. Following this, appears a section entitled "The Socialism of the Heresies", mentioning the role of socialism for the medieval heresies which persisted up to the time of the Reformation. The author provides a "General Survey" discussing such movements as the Cathars (or "pure ones"), the Brethren of the Free Spirit or Apostolic Brethren, the Taborites, the Anabaptists, and Sects in the English Revolution of 1648 (including the Diggers and Levellers). This "General Survey" ends with an Appendix which includes Three Biographies including Dolcino and the Apostolic Brethren, Thomas Muntzer, and Johann of Leyden and the "New Jerusalem" in Munster. Following this appears a section entitled "Chiliastic Socialism and the Ideology of the Heretical Movements" providing a detailed examination of the heretical movements and their relationship to orthodox Christianity. The third section of this part is entitled "The Socialism of the Philosophers" and discusses "The Great Utopias" (mentioning _Utopia_ by Thomas More, _City of the Sun_ by Tommaso Campanella, and "The Law of Freedom" by Gerrard Winstanley). Following this, appears a discussion of "The Socialist Novel" (mentioning several important early socialist novels) and "The Age of Enlightenment" (detailing the role of socialism in Enlightenment thought), and a section entitled "The First Steps" (explaining the origins of the revolution in France) as well as a "Summary". Part Two of the book is entitled "State Socialism" and explains various cases of the socialist state in practice. This part begins with a section on "South America" including mention of "The Inca Empire", and "The Jesuit State in Paraguay". Following this appears a section entitled "The Ancient Orient" including discussion of "Mesopotamia", "Ancient Egypt" (with an Appendix entitled "religion in Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia"), "Ancient China" (with an Appendix entitled "Was There Such a Thing as an "Asiatic Social Formation?"), and a "Summary". The discussion of China entails a discussion of Shang Yang who maintained that "When the people are weak the state is strong; when the state is weak the people are strong" and a discussion of the ideas of Wittfogel concerning "Oriental despotism" and relating this to the theories of Marx. Part Three of the book is entitled "Analysis" and examines the question of the phenomenon of socialism. This part begins with a section entitled "The Contours of Socialism" discussing such aspects of socialism as "The Abolition of Private Property", "The Abolition of the Family", "The Abolition of Religion", and "Communality or Equality" and relating all of these to the theories of Karl Marx. Following this appears a section entitled "Survey of Some Approaches to Socialism" which includes parts discussing various notions of socialism entitled "The Marxist standpoint", "Socialist teachings as scientific theory" (relating Marx to Fourier and noting such things as the importance of science at the time of Marx and his need to make his theory grounded in science, but also noting Marx's deficiencies in understanding mathematics and other areas of economics), "Socialism is the theory of preparing and implementing revolution: it is a series of rules which must be followed in order to seize power. At the same time, it is the technology of power, the philosophy of the absolute state to which all life is subjected - - i.e. statism", a section discussing socialism as based on compulsory labor, "Socialism as such does not exist. That which is called socialism is one of the lines of development of capitalism - state capitalism", "Socialism is the expression of the quest for social justice", "Socialism is a special religion", "Socialism is a consequence of atheism, the conclusion to which atheism leads in the field of social relations". The author finds all these notions to be problematic in their own ways while at the same time mentioning such facts about Marx as his unquenchable hatred of the existing order, his intolerance, his atheism and God-hatred, his failures to understand certain facts of economics, his hypocrisy in his reliance upon the capitalist Engels for financial support, the failure of his predictions, his reliance upon the labour theory of value which has been largely superseded by marginal utility, and his dismissal of others who tried to improve the lot of humanity and the poor such as Charles Dickens as mere "bourgeois philanthropists". There is also a discussion of Freud in relation to Marx and the theories of the New Left particularly mentioning Marcuse. Further, there is a discussion of Dostoyevsky concerning socialism as atheism. Following this, appears a section entitled "The Embodiment of the Socialist Ideal" which includes parts discussing "Economy", "The Organization of Labor", "Family", "Culture", and "Religion". This is followed by a section entitled "Socialism and Individuality" which discusses the idea of equality and the theories of Marcuse. Finally, there appears a section entitled "The Goal of Socialism" in which the author relates socialism to the goal of the death of all mankind. The author writes, "The death of mankind is not only a conceivable result of the triumph of socialism - it constitutes the goal of socialism." The book ends with a Conclusion in which the author re-affirms his position on socialism as rooted in the goal of the death of all mankind and relates it to various philosophical positions including Hinayana Buddhism, the philosophy of Schopenhauer, Hegel's system, Sartre's philosophy, and La Mettrie's idea of man as machine ultimately relating all of this to an idea of Soloviev that man must pass through a nihilistic phase on the way to a faith in God. The author concludes that socialists have accomplished little in the way of improving the lot of humanity (such accomplishments being nearly always achieved by men dismissed by Marx as "bourgeois philanthropists") and relates this to the unique experiences of Russia.

    This book offers a fascinating study of the socialist phenomenon which fully examines and refutes the theories and predictions of Karl Marx by tracing their roots in ancient systems and medieval heresy. This book is important because it was written by a dissident Russian mathematician who bravely unveiled the Soviet state for the monstrosity that it truly was. It is highly recommended for those who seek to understand the roots of socialism and the crises of the Twentieth century.


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    Re: Gnosticism: The Search for Divine Knowledge

    Post by Extant on Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:06 pm

    I've just started reading Steven Runciman's [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] and have come across this amazingly evocative, bloody, colourful, yet compacted passage of history regarding the heretical [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]. This sort of stuff I live for in history books as it really makes me think, "What would have been like to be alive in that time to witness the events?" Or at least be in the mix with all five senses even if if only hearing second-hand. To be in the chain of the spreading of the M&M's (Myths and Memes). These medieval Gnostics were some severely aggressive bastards who engendered the same from the orthodox establishment. Some irony indeed in the following line:

    In 835 Sergius was killed with an axe by a certain Tzanion of Nicopolis, while he was chopping logs on the mountain-side above Argaoun.

    Spoiler:
    The Paulicians

    The Paulicians, according to this story, take their name from a certain Paul of Samosata. He and his brother John were the sons of a Manichaean woman called Callinice, and they spread the Manichaean faith in Samosata. In the reign of Constantine, the grandson of Heraclius, that is to say Constans II, an Armenian from Mananali called Constantine met an ex-captive from Syria called Diaconus, who took him to Samosata and taught him the heresy, which he took home to Mananali. From Mananali he moved with his disciples to Cibossa, near Colonea, where he founded his church securely. For twenty-seven years he flourished there, till the Byzantine authorities ordered an inquiry. An imperial official, Symeon, arrived with full powers to deal as he chose with the heretics. Symeon ordered the Paulicians to put their leader to death, but none could be found to carry out the sentence, till at last a certain Justus, Constantine's own adopted son, consented to be the new David and overthrow the giant of heresy. But the episode was too much for Symeon's orthodoxy.
    Unhinged by the Paulicians' fervour, he embraced the heresy himself and stepped into their murdered leader's place. Symeon ruled the Paulicians for three years; then he died, during a persecution ordered by Justinian II. His successor was a certain Gegnesius, the son of an Armenian called Paul, who somehow secured his elevation. Gegnesius made his centre a village called Episparis but later moved to Mananali. He ruled for thirty years, and in the course of his rule he had a disputation with the Patriarch of Constantinople.
    On his death his son Zacharias succeeded him; but there was a schism. The greater part of the Paulicians followed a bastard, Joseph, whom Zacharias nearly slew, and who fled for protection to the Saracens, during one of their invasions. Joseph apparently triumphed in the end over Zacharias. He moved from Episparis, where the pious local prince Crichoraches took action against him and ended his life at Chortacopeum, apparently near Antioch-in-Pisidia. When he died—the approximate date is not indicated—the leadership was taken over by Baanes, the natural son of two of his chief disciples.
    But Baanes was soon overshadowed by a greater heresiarch, Sergius, son of Dryinus of Annia. Sergius had been converted to Paulician ism by a female friend. Once converted, he flung himself into the movement; and under his guidance Paulicianism reached its heyday.
    His letters have the true ring of the missionary.

    "From East to West, from North to South have I hastened, preaching the Gospel
    of Christ, tramping on my feet."

    Sergius dominated the Paulician Church for thirty-four years, from Irene's reign to that of Theophilus. There had been a schism between him and Baanes, which must have weakened the church, though the Baaniotes were apparently few. The Emperors Michael Rhangabe and Leo the Armenian both ordered persecutions; but their offi- cials, the Metropolitan Thomas of Caesarea and the Prefect Paracondaces, were killed by the heretics, the former by a branch called the Cynochorites, the latter by the Astati. However, Sergius thought it wiser to retreat to the protection of the Saracens. The Emir of Melitene, whose patronage he sought, gave him and his
    disciples the villages of Argaoun and Amara near Melitene. From there they would make frequent raids into the Empire.
    In 835 Sergius was killed with an axe by a certain Tzanion of Nicopolis, while he was chopping logs on the mountain-side above Argaoun. On his death his disciples decided to have no leaders but all to be equal. They began their democracy by killing off the followers of Baanes, till Sergius's disciple Theodotus persuaded them to stop. For the next few years they lived in happy anarchy, raiding the Empire and collecting slaves to sell to the infidel.
    The presence of this Paulician principality on the Euphrates was for a time to loom large in Byzantine politics. Before we trace the story of its fate, and before we examine the nature of Paulician tenets, we must estimate the historical value of the foregoing narrative.

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