Inner Christianity: A Guide to the Esoteric Tradition by Richard Smoley

By Richard Smoley

Internal Christianity is the 1st advent to mystical and esoteric Christianity for the final reader. It speaks from a nonsectarian viewpoint, unearthing insights from the full of the Christian culture, orthodox and heretical, recognized and imprecise. The esoteric culture has often hunted for meanings that may yield a deeper internal wisdom of the divine. whereas conventional Christianity attracts a timeline from Adam's Fall to the Day of Judgment, the esoteric frequently sees time as folding in on itself, bringing each aspect to the the following and now. whereas the Church fought bitterly over dogma, the esoteric borrowed freely from different traditions—Kabbalah, astrology, and alchemy—in their look for metaphors of internal fact.

Rather than basing his publication round exponents of esoteric doctrine, student Richard Smoley concentrates at the questions which are of curiosity to each looking out Christian. How can one reach direct religious adventure? What does "the Fall" fairly let us know approximately coming to phrases with the realm we are living in? will we locate salvation in way of life? How do we ascend, spiritually, in the course of the a number of degrees of lifestyles? What used to be Christ's real message to humankind? From the Gospel of Thomas to A path in Miracles, from the Jesus Prayer to alchemy and Tarot, from Origen to Dante to Jung, Richard Smoley sheds the sunshine of an alternate Christianity on those concerns and extra.

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The evidence for Christianity as an initiatic faith founded upon secret knowledge is not limited to hints in the canonical Gospels or to Clement’s tantalizing fragment. Another startling piece of evidence for this view lies in an enigmatic work called the Gospel of Thomas. Fragments of this Gospel in the original Greek were found in the nineteenth century, but the complete text was only discovered in a Coptic translation as part of a cache of scriptures found in Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in 1945. Thomas is extremely short and simple.

The Gnostic dread of the world cut much deeper. ” The number seven here is not just a piece of mystical obfuscation but refers to an ancient esoteric view of the universe. The earth was seen as the center; surrounding it were the spheres of the seven planets as they were then known: the moon, Mercury, Venus, the sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Esoteric philosophers believed that the spirit, as it took incarnation, passed through the spheres of each of these planets in turn, each of which in turn imbued it with its own negative characteristics—Venus with lust, Mars with anger, Jupiter with gluttony, and so on.

No doubt some did, and from the modern point of view social concern may seem low on the monks’ list of priorities. But a broader perspective suggests that the monasteries performed an extremely vital function. They served as repositories of learning and civilization in an age when these seemed almost certain to perish entirely. As little as we sometimes think we have left of classical civilization, we would have much less still if the monks had not preserved what they did. They also cleared land for agriculture and provided sound management of that land, creating the economic basis for European civilization.

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