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Old 12-12-2016   #1
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Bizarre Christian/Gnostic/Judaic/Islamic Texts

Planning on writing a religiously-themed short story soon and I feel obliged to read some early Abrahamic texts for accuracy and inspiration. What are the most bizarre specimens?

At the moment I'm reading the Apocalypse of Peter, introduced and translated by M. R. James.

This is my life. This is my damnation. This is my only regret--that I ever was born.

-- Swans, "Beautiful Child"
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Old 12-12-2016   #2
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Re: Bizarre Christian/Gnostic/Judaic/Islamic Texts

"The Desert Fathers" by Ward and published by Penguin. I think you will find a treasure trove of inspiration for your story.

"The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind." - H. P. Lovecraft
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Old 12-12-2016   #3
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Re: Bizarre Christian/Gnostic/Judaic/Islamic Texts

This is one of several Nag Hammadi texts that refer to the Archons, basically "soul diverters" sometimes described in the ancient texts as grey-skinned and having the appearance of aborted fetuses:

The (First) Apocalypse of James -- The Nag Hammadi Library

And the mysterious Book of Jeu (Bruce Codex) is a cosmic ritual employing mantras/words of power to unlock gates and pass guardians - similar to the Egyptian Book of the Dead - to send the soul of the initiate flying from this false universe on to the next True one:

The First Book of IEOU

Hope that this helps!
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Old 12-12-2016   #4
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Re: Bizarre Christian/Gnostic/Judaic/Islamic Texts

Revenant wrote, ""The Desert Fathers" by Ward and published by Penguin. I think you will find a treasure trove of inspiration for your story."

I agree with Revenant; the Desert Fathers are a wonderful, inspiring collection of tales that contain real insight into the practice of Hesychasm (transcendent stillness).

While probably not "Gnostic" in the esoteric sense, (rather more "Dead Sea Scrolls" than "Nag Hammadi Library"), these tales carry the flavor of the austere lives of 4th Century hermits alone in the desert with their prayers and visions. A World Treasure.
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Old 12-12-2016   #5
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Re: Bizarre Christian/Gnostic/Judaic/Islamic Texts

The Apocryphon of John names a number of bizarre entities the demiurge uses to create man. I've used a few of the names for creative purposes.
"And the powers began: the first one, goodness, created a bone-soul; and the second,
foreknowledge, created a sinew-soul; the third, divinity, created a flesh-soul; and the fourth, the
lordship, created a marrow-soul; the fifth, kingdom created a blood-soul; the sixth, envy, created a
skin-soul; the seventh, understanding, created a hair-soul. And the multitude of the angels
attended him and they received from the powers the seven substances of the natural (form) in
order to create the proportions of the limbs and the proportion of the rump and the proper
working together of each of the parts.
"The first one began to create the head. Eteraphaope-Abron created his head; Meniggesstroeth
created the brain; Asterechme (created) the right eye; Thaspomocha, the left eye; Yeronumos, the
right ear; Bissoum, the left ear; Akioreim, the nose; Banen-Ephroum, the lips; Amen, the teeth;
Ibikan, the molars; Basiliademe, the tonsils; Achcha, the uvula; Adaban, the neck; Chaaman, the
vertebrae; Dearcho, the throat; Tebar, the right shoulder; [...], the left shoulder; Mniarcon, the right
elbow; [...], the left elbow; Abitrion, the right underarm; Evanthen, the left underarm; Krys, the
right hand; Beluai, the left hand; Treneu, the fingers of the right hand; Balbel, the fingers of the left
hand; Kriman, the nails of the hands; Astrops, the right breast; Barroph, the left breast; Baoum, the
right shoulder joint; Ararim, the left shoulder joint; Areche, the belly; Phthave, the navel;
Senaphim, the abdomen; Arachethopi, the right ribs; Zabedo, the left ribs; Barias, the right hip;
Phnouth the left hip; Abenlenarchei, the marrow; Chnoumeninorin, the bones; Gesole, the
stomach; Agromauna, the heart; Bano, the lungs; Sostrapal, the liver; Anesimalar, the spleen;
Thopithro, the intestines; Biblo, the kidneys; Roeror, the sinews; Taphreo, the spine of the body;
Ipouspoboba, the veins; Bineborin, the arteries; Atoimenpsephei, theirs are the breaths which are
in all the limbs; Entholleia, all the flesh; Bedouk, the right buttock (?); Arabeei, the left penis; Eilo,
the testicles; Sorma, the genitals; Gorma-Kaiochlabar, the right thigh; Nebrith, the left thigh;
Pserem, the kidneys of the right leg; Asaklas, the left kidney; Ormaoth, the right leg; Emenun, the
left leg; Knyx, the right shin-bone; Tupelon, the left shin-bone; Achiel, the right knee; Phnene, the
left knee; Phiouthrom, the right foot; Boabel, its toes; Trachoun, the left foot; Phikna, its toes;
Miamai, the nails of the feet; Labernioum - .
"And those who were appointed over all of these are: Zathoth, Armas, Kalila, Jabel, (Sabaoth,
Cain, Abel). And those who are particularly active in the limbs (are) the head Diolimodraza, the
neck Yammeax, the right shoulder Yakouib, the left shoulder Verton, the right hand Oudidi, the
left one Arbao, the fingers of the right hand Lampno, the fingers of the left hand Leekaphar, the
right breast Barbar, the left breast Imae, the chest Pisandriaptes, the right shoulder joint Koade, the
left shoulder joint Odeor, the right ribs Asphixix, the left ribs Synogchouta, the belly Arouph, the
womb Sabalo, the right thigh Charcharb, the left thigh Chthaon, all the genitals Bathinoth, the
right leg Choux, the left leg Charcha, the right shin-bone Aroer, the left shin-bone Toechtha, the
right knee Aol, the left knee Charaner, the right foot Bastan, its toes Archentechtha, the left foot
Marephnounth, its toes Abrana."
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Old 12-13-2016   #6
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Re: Bizarre Christian/Gnostic/Judaic/Islamic Texts

You might also be interested in Manichaeism, once another Abrahamic world religion but now virtually extinct.

Manichaeism - Wikipedia
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Old 12-13-2016   #7
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Re: Bizarre Christian/Gnostic/Judaic/Islamic Texts

Quote Originally Posted by Revenant View Post
"The Desert Fathers" by Ward and published by Penguin. I think you will find a treasure trove of inspiration for your story.
Do you know what the difference is between this and Thomas Merton's book? I'm trying to work out if the latter is a straight translation or not.

"人生夢幻耳" - 高井鴻山
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Old 12-13-2016   #8
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Re: Bizarre Christian/Gnostic/Judaic/Islamic Texts

I'm quite intrigued by the Boskoi. The following link cites a number of sources:

http://libarynth.org/grazing_hermits

"人生夢幻耳" - 高井鴻山
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Old 12-13-2016   #9
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Re: Bizarre Christian/Gnostic/Judaic/Islamic Texts

Quote Originally Posted by qcrisp View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Revenant View Post
"The Desert Fathers" by Ward and published by Penguin. I think you will find a treasure trove of inspiration for your story.
Do you know what the difference is between this and Thomas Merton's book? I'm trying to work out if the latter is a straight translation or not.
Sadly, I have never compared the two.

"The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind." - H. P. Lovecraft
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Old 12-14-2016   #10
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Re: Bizarre Christian/Gnostic/Judaic/Islamic Texts

Quote Originally Posted by Revenant View Post
"The Desert Fathers" by Ward and published by Penguin. I think you will find a treasure trove of inspiration for your story.
Inter-library loaned. Waiting impatiently for it. Thanks, Revenant.

This is my life. This is my damnation. This is my only regret--that I ever was born.

-- Swans, "Beautiful Child"
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