Update: I am restoring the original full post here after deleting the passage at the end in bold face. I cannot quite delineate the Gurdjieff situation, but I have heard it said in sufi circles that Gurdjieff et al. replicated the triadic operation in the twentieth century, but it is hard to fully document this. The world of Gurdjieff is not a gang of saintly figures, and one might do will to be wary of the original Christological school: it was so full of disinformation, and outright deceptions as to be untrustworthy. But the critics in the books cited are suggesting the Roman Emperors concocted the gospels themselves whole cloth. They go too far, and the first book, Creating Christianity offers a more cautious this view….
These critiques of Christianity are essential and important but in my experience it is easy to miss something. Secular humanism needs its critique, but the object is not to turn everyone into Flatlanders.
For example, the work of Gurdjieff in his All and Everything with their Sufistic/gnostic angle discuss the larger phase of emergent Christianity (in Axial Age parallel with much else, e.g Buddhism/Mahayana) rightly pointing to the mysterious triadic coordination of three savior memes: John the Baptist, Jesus, and Paul, and their mutual ‘communication’. This ancient legacy going back thoussands of years (about which I know almost nothing) resurfaces in the Christian generative moment. This larger operation whose exact significance has never been clarified (best of luck with Gurdjieffian mystification) was the larger generator of the strange mystery cult whose unknown inner meaning disgorged its strange cultural exoteric outcome as Pauline Christianity and with an unknown relation to what we suspect is the Roman Emperor cooptation of the ‘what was all that’ that came before, apparently. The source ‘savior’ types probably thought the coopted Christianity a useful disguised outcome for their obscure operations which never reached the public. Ironically the Roman emperors provided a massive propaganda boost for the ‘lost cult’ soon the world of the Popes, and finally Constantine. These critiques then are useful but miss something larger points.
———-restored passage, can’t quite vouch for all this, but I took it for granted formany years in the last century and its New Age movement:
At the risk of turning around and walking back into the whole mess of pottage of Christian confusions, it is worth considering this view. In fact, the experiment if that is what it was seems to have been a bungled job. But the show goes on, as it were. Behind this show lies a hidden director, about whom we know nothing.
In recent times, one suspects that a new version of this triadic operation appears with, indeed with Gurdjieff himself, who said so in hinself, in reverse order: the Pauline/J. the Baptist, ‘christoid’, with the two others unclear, probably some sufistic group set connected with the notorious California ‘sufi’, neo-‘The Baptist’ E.J.Gold, the object of multiple critiques at the Gurdjieff Con. It appears that Ouspensky who publicized the Gurdjieff work had no connection with any of this beyond his brilliant piece of gnostic propaganda, In Search of the Miraculous after which he was cashiered out of the strange hidden movement of rogue sufism.These people miscalculate the modern age and fail to adapt to its truer ‘new age’ momentum.
It might help to try and flush out some explanation for this Mess #2 (or #3,4) of an ancient gnostic meme. At least Gurdjieff got one thing right: a lot of spiritual legacies have simply been forgotten and briefly resurface like the White Whale, in the litter the spiritual path shipwrecked cults.
I zipped through these books at high speed, and found them very compelling, but am unable to assess such a complex mass of similar yet distinct perspectives and datasets. I will have to read them a…