Gnosticism: The Enduring Heresy

Ref: C2340650

Gnosticism is a religious form of philosophical dualism that can be traced roughly from the time of Plato, through early Christianity, and to the Middle Ages, when it was violently quashed by Catholic forces during the Albigensian Crusade in the Languedoc province of France. However, with the Italian Renaissance and the rediscovery of ancient texts, Gnosticism reappeared in western culture and has existed off and on ever since. This course will look at Gnosticism's philosophical roots, then trace its development through early Christianity, the Renaissance and later in the work of the Romantic artist William Blake. Finally it will examine the many Gnostic beliefs and practices that are still in existence today, in social media, in popular films and in social policy.

Course aim

A look at the ideas and beliefs associated with the heresy known as Gnosticism, when and where these ideas have arisen over the past 2500 years, and how they have conflicted with those of the Christian Church.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • understand in broad outlines what Gnosticism is.
  • understand how Gnosticism is rooted in certain Greek philosophical ideas and see how it has developed over the past 2500 years.
  • understand some of the Catholic Church's objections to Gnosticism.
  • recognize some Gnostic ideas and practices in contemporary culture.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • Brief handouts for the following week's session may be distributed by the tutor to be read at leisure.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • All materials will be provided

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member

Download full course information sheet

Gnosticism: The Enduring Heresy

Enrolment Conditions

As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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