Sorry in advance...this will be rambley as it is late and I'm really tired tonight. But I've been thinking about posting here as I'm currently reading The Jesus Mysteries (in small bits while nursing). Unlike Lab it wasn't my first exposure to the idea. I had already begun doing a lot of questioning about the nature of G-d and how much we anthropomorphize that which we call G-d. Obviously that would lead to some question about Jesus being the actual Son of....
Then, I read "Meeting Jesus again for the first Time" by Marcus Borg. Silly me, I read it right before Christmas and it sort of put a bittersweet spin on my favorite time of year. LOL It was good though...lots of food for thought. I liked how he talked about Jesus as a rebel for his time.
I just finished "Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism" by Spong and thought it a good read...but annoyingly slim on sources. I think it is just meant to be an introduction but I would have liked more documentation backing up his statements. (Sorry - I'm deep into writing my thesis so tend to notice stuff like that right now. Probably wouldn't care so much normally. Its just that he makes some provocative statements and doesn't footnote a one of them.)
Anyhoo - all this to say that the "Jesus Mysteries" still threw me a bit at first. However, its really starting to make some interesting connections for me and I think it is definitely worth considering. However, it does bring up a lot of heavy stuff for me which I don't have time or energy to go into right now. I agree with you Lab - the old environment and 'conditioning' (if you will) is tough to break through sometimes.
So - just a few thoughts and questions that are occurring to me right now. Anyone feel free to jump in and address them any which way. Its really interesting learning more than a thumbnail sketch about Gnosticism. I suppose its just a semantic issue, but I do have a bit of a negative reaction to the use of the word 'secret' that comes up so much. 'Secret' knowledge somehow sets my teeth on edge. I like better the explanation that uses the idea of spiritual maturation or evolution to greater understanding...or layers of understanding. Why that word...and why does it bug me so much? Somehow it cheapens it (gnosticism) to me. Makes it sound like some sort of grade-school club.
I'm really starting to get excited about the connections between Paganism and Christianity (in its many forms). Was watching something about Buddhists tonight on TV and noticed some parallels there as well. Fits in with my gut feeling that all paths, however imperfectly followed, lead to some sort of ultimate truth or good.
Actually, for quite a few years I've carried around the fanciful notion that all the world's great religious leaders...Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, etc....(those well known and those not so well-known) are people who are somehow spiritually gifted. Somewhat like there are great geniuses (whatever that means...nother whole topic) in music or science or art. That there are some people that are just 'tuned in' to the spiritual more than others. Hope that doesn't offend anyone...to lump everyone together like that. Just an idea of mine and I'm musing tonight.
OK - this is really rambling and I really need to get some sleep. Thanks for 'listening'.