Paul Bembridge FRSA
The Gnostic Crisis: Getting Evil out of the Heavens
One of the biggest crises of faith ever to afflict mankind occurred around the time of Christ, when a confluence of belief from Mesopotamian, Greek, Persian, and Jewish thought triggered the Gnostic Crisis: the conviction that a great battle was raging in the heavens between the constellations and the planets, the good and evil tools of opposed deities, forcing man into testing forms of anxious participation. How, then, to get evil out of the heavens and bring spiritual reassurance? In this presentation the various roots of the crisis are examined and the role of astrology, Christianity, Roman religion, and Neoplatonism in defusing it is assessed.
Educated at the University of York, BA (English Literature) and MPhil (Medieval Studies) Paul has had a long career teaching in the Humanities programmes of various universities, most recently for the Centre for the Study of Esotericism at the University of Exeter, where he was staff-tutor for the history of astrology, until the closure of the Centre in 2014. He is a member of Faculty for the New York Open Center, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and an Honorary Fellow of the University of Exeter.