Gnosis and psychosis
Yeah, but I was actually talking about how Gnosticism ties in with Cathars and the Knights Templar and the Rosicrucians. You see, the Cathars were a group of Gnostic sects that inhabited the Languedoc, and made up a fair chunk of the Languedoc's population. Taking the 'salvation through knowledge' idea to heart, they helped make the Languedoc a bright spot of learning and the arts that rivalled even Byzantium at a time when most of Europe was rolling in shite. Being as the Cathars were completely at odds with the Roman Church on several key points (not the least of which is the fact that the Cathars considered the Crucifixion to have been an event of utter irrelevance), it was only a matter of time before Rome lost her mind over them..
According to cathar philosophy, the forces of good and evil are in a constant state of opposition, a struggle that pervades everything. The Spirit is good; matter is inherently evil, and was in fact, created by a usurper god to imprison the Spirit.
Not hard to see where the Pope and his minions had a problem with that.
It gets better. since the Spirit is good and all matter is evil, how could Jesus Christ have been the saviour? Well, Cathars weren't one homogenous group, but rather a population of related sects, some of which saw Jesus as being pure Spirit, and others of which saw him as being just another prophet. Either way, the crucifixion wasn't worth harping on.
Cathars also saw very little of divinity in the fat and corrupt priests sitting in their big, ornate churches. In rather stark contrast, the Cathar approach (meeting in whatever open space was convenient, be it a barn or an open field; dismissing the 'priest' tradition in favour of a sort of 'elder') begins to look downright cozy. Of course, the Cathars believed that the heart was where one met God, directly and without need for priests and other middle-men. Yoiks, right?
Oh yeah, the Languedoc was also rich in fertility and gold. The lords and kings of Europe wanted some of that, and the Pope wanted the tithes that the Cathars weren't paying him. Even worse, the Cathars were closing in on the Roman Church's posiiton as predominant religion in the region.
The excuse the kings and clerics needed came on 14th January, 1208, when a papal emissary to the Languedoc was murdered by a bunch of anti-papal rebels with no Cathar connexions whatsoever. Using the French king's soldiers, as well as those of the surounding nations and principalities as stormtroopers, the Pope wiped the Languedoc from the face of the planet. When one of the Crusaders asked the Pope's representative how one would know a Cathar from an innocent Laguedocais, the cleric said 'Kill them all. God will know His own.'
So, one of the earliest genocides in Europe went on for about a quarter century, until the entire region was a bloodslick. In Béziers, hundreds of natives who took refuge in a church were chopped up in the nave. In the end, 15,000 people were killed at Béziers, from warriors to babies.
The thing is, the historical character of the New Testament has been called into question and revised by so many scholars that it's almost laughable that we still cling to the orthodox Christian view of Jesus's life at all. Hell, who doesn't know about the Dead Sea Scrolls or the Nag Hammadi Scrolls? Even Pope Leo X said that 'It has served us well, this myth of Christ.'
In any other historical field, this much revision, re-thinking, and discovery would rate at least a passing academic nod. I mean, there has been so much academic ink spilled on the subject, from Dr Hugh Schonfeld's The Passover Plot to Robert Graves's King Jesus to, well, the Koran; that you can't really completely ignore it. You really can't. I mean, we're talking about the New Testament, here...
And this has been going on for longer than one would think. The Knights Templar marched into battle during the crusades and fought for the glory of Rome, never surrendering and never running away if the odds were less than 3 to 1 against them, yet Rome abandoned them to their fate when King Phillippe of France and other European Monarchs arrested Templars wherever they were found and tried them for heresy.
Okay, they were said to be spitting on crosses and such, which was definitely cause enough for burning, but the collusion between Pope Clement and King Phillippe that led to the Templar pogrom and the burning of Jacques de Molay was more than just shocked indignation at some cross-spitting. The Templars' ranks were chock full o' Cathars, first off...
Which whould explain why, according to Baigent, Leigh, and Lincoln (in their The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail) Templars did *some* sort od repudiation as part of their induction into the order:
'One knight was told..."You believe wrongly, for he [Christ] is indeed a false prophet. Believe only in God in heaven, and not in him." Another Templar declared that he was told, 'do not believe that the man Jesus whom the Jews crucified in Outremer is God and that he cansave you." A third knight similarly claimed he was instructed not to believe Christ, a false prophet, but only in a "higher God." He wa then shown a cricifix and told, "Set not much faith in this, for it is too young."'
Yet the Templar cross was emblazoned on Columbus's ships centuries later; and the Knights in Scotland were never persecuted, and in fact are said to be the source (or reference point, at least) of the Masons' Scottish Rite. Not only that, but the Order's sister order, the Cictercians, were never subjected to the same wholesale arrest and torture, nor were the Teutonic Knights (who had been incorporated as a military-clerical order under the Templars).
Lots of places for Templars on the Lam to hide themselves, especially as the Teutonic Knights had by that point established their own principality to the northeast. Others joined the Hospitallers or other orders. Hell, in Portugal, they just changed their name to the Knights of Christ. Vasco da Gama was one of these.
the Teutonic knights secularised in 1522 and threw their lot in with Martin Luther, exacting revenge on the Holy See for the betrayal of the Templars.
I had told Mystie a couple of days ago that I'd really just skimmed Gnosticism. But I remembered recently that I wrote a *huge* paper on it in College. Man, I love this shite...
||Gods save the Queen,
One last little note... - 09.21.2006
de-stressing, biking and terrorism - 06.06.2006
Mildly stressed... - 05.29.2006
More crime stupidity - 05.28.2006
Scary stuff - 05.25.2006
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