• The Afterlives of the Archons: Gnostic Literalism and Embodied Paranoia in Twenty-First Century Conspiracy Theory

    Author(s):
    M. Dillon (see profile)
    Date:
    2020
    Subject(s):
    Gnosticism, Mythology, Nag Hammadi codices, Bible, Reader-response criticism, Spirituality
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    Nag Hammadi Codices, Reception of the Bible
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/drh4-y335
    Abstract:
    This article analyzes the reception of the ancient Gnostic archons, or rulers, in contemporary conspiracy theories. In the classical Gnostic myth these nefarious beings rule the cosmos, mold primordial matter into a prison for Adam and Eve, and blind the Elect to their divine nature. These archons send cataclysms to earth and serve as celestial gatekeepers that keep the divine light trapped in their creation. Contemporary conspiracy theorists such as John Lamb Lash, David Icke, and Carol Reimer read the archons not as allegories or metaphors, but as real beings at work in contemporary politics, media and religion. Utilizing Michael Barkun’s concept of “superconspiracies,” this article examines how conspiracists Lash, Icke, and Reimer weave disparate conspiratorial discourses together through the classical Gnostic myth. The article concludes that the vast gulf between the anticosmic and anthropic dualism of the classical myth and the generally pro-cosmic and humanist thrust of modern esoterica leads these authors into paradoxical understands of cosmos, mind and eschatology.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    2 years ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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