The Beginnings of Christianity

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The Beginnings of Christianity: Essene Mystery, Gnostic Revelation and the Christian Vision

Early Christianity had a powerful esoteric current. This is reflected in the New Testament writings of Mark, Paul and above all, John. Gnostic Christians tried to preserve this tradition, using the archaic mysteries as a way to knowledge (gnosis) of higher cosmic truths. But the Gnostic sects were finally suppressed by an orthodoxy which, Andrew Welburn concludes, had lost sight of the ‘dynamic of the self’.

The full scope of the traditions on which the Gnostics drew is clearer following the modern archaeological finds at Qumran and Nag Hammadi. As a result of these discoveries, the boundaries have started to fade between the ancient pagan mysteries, Jewish tradition, especially as found in the Essene sect, and early Christian belief.

Welburn discovers a real kinship between this present age and the early Christians, and shows how, in a way not possible for the Reformation Church, we now have the chance to rediscover the spiritual world and meaning of Christian beginnings.

About the Author

Andrew Welburn taught at the University of London, has been a Fellow of the Warburg Institute and taught at New College, Oxford, until 2005. He is author of Gnosis: The Mysteries and Christianity, and Rudolf Steiner: Philosopher of Freedom.

Additional information

Weight 23 oz
Dimensions 6 × 1 × 9 in




May 2004






Floris Books


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