I recently picked up and read the 1926 book “Gnosticism” by Mary W. Barrie. This book was published pre-Nag Hammadi, so I was curious to how it portrayed Gnosticism. It is a rather small book, just a little over 100 pages. The book gives a history of the Gnostic sects and touched upon some of the literature that was available at it’s publishing (Pistis Sophia, Books of Jeu, etc…). Overall, I thought it was interesting and worth a read though nothing really ground breaking was revealed. However, what I really liked about the book was the diagrams that were included in the back of the book. I love seeing such diagrams and decided to share some of them here on the site. This first diagram I am posting about is the “Mnemonic Diagram of Valentinus.” I have copied the text from the book that describes this diagram:
In this diagram emphasis is laid on the Fulness, the circle from which the three fiery ones are born. The two aspects of Spirit and Matter are represented as separate spheres within the Fulness. Then we find the Divine or Upper Tetractys and the Lower Tetractys together making the mystic eight or Ogdoad. The interlacing of the archetypal and sensible worlds is symbolised in the interlacing triangles. Lastly there is the five-pointed star, the symbol of the goal of liberation and perfection, with its apex within the first triad. All is beautifully simple and clear.
More to come!