Reading lessons


An almost burnt-down lit candle on a candle ho...

An almost burnt-down lit candle on a candle holder. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had not planned to blog today, but rather to sit in my easy chair reading.  So far I have read part of the New York Times, and the Washington Post, worked in the garden, and made a smoothie with my new blender.  With any luck I will make the rounds today and read other posts. 

Searching high and low, I have finally found a couple of books of interest. In the process of fumbling around the web, I rediscovered Philology, the study of language in written historical sources; it is a combination of literary studies, history and linguistics.   Now, I am no linguist and literary studies were not my forte either.  I am, however a historian and as such interested in old written sources.

I became interested in Philology because I was a Church School teacher years ago when I was a better Christian than I am now.  I loved reading the Bible and other religious books.  I got to thinking about this again because my granddaughter Amelia the new environmental scientist and I were talking about what she learned in her minor in religion which was really more history than anything else.  Our discussion reminded me of how much I have missed reading esoteric books. I am very fond of most things occult.  I say most because I am not into the Dark side of the Force, whatever that is.  And, don’t tell me it does not exist, because it does.  You don’t have to look far to see it.


Yes, I know Esoterica is a moth, a face cream and a rock band. However, Esoterica, defined by Wikipedia is:

Esotericism signifies the holding of esoteric opinions or beliefs, that is, ideas preserved or understood by a small group or those specially initiated, or of rare or unusual interest. The term derives from the Greek ἐσωτερικός (esôterikos), a compound of ἔσω (esô): “within“, thus “pertaining to the more inward”, mystic. Its antonym is “exoteric“.

The term can also refer to the academic study of esoteric religious movements and philosophies, or more generally of alternative or marginalized religious movements or philosophies whose proponents distinguish their beliefs, practices, and experiences from mainstream institutionalized traditions.

Examples of esoteric religious movements and philosophies include Alchemy, Astrology, Anthroposophy, early Christian mysticism, Magic, Mesmerism, Rosicrucianism, Swedenborgianism, Spiritualism, the Alawites, the Christian Theosophy of Jacob Böhme and his followers, and the Theosophical currents associated with Helena Blavatsky and her followers. There are competing views regarding the common traits uniting these currents, not all of which involve “inwardness”, mystery, occultism or secrecy as a crucial trait.


This week, I rediscovered Elaine Pagels, Professor of Religion at Princeton, and retrieved two of her books from my study, including the Gnostic Gospels.  I also bought the Kindle version of two of her books, Revelations: Visions, Politics, and Prophecy in the Book of Revelations, and The Origin of Satan, How Christians Demonized Jews, Pagans and Heretics, (I own a paper copy of the latter which I will reread on Kindle).    

I love reading about the Higher Power in whatever form it takes, which is why I am also reading Lord of Eternity, Divine Order and the Great Pyramid, by Richard E. Ford. 

Now that the migraines have passed I can read again.   

The doctor told me it was a good thing I could read without glasses.  Yes, I am severely near-sighted.


11 thoughts on “Reading lessons

  1. A relative who was very significant in my life taught the philosophy of religions at Columbia University. She wrote a book about Swedenborg which I think is still considered a rather definitive study and is available on Amazon. There’s a beautiful Palos Verdes, CA Wayfarer’s Chapel Frank Lloyd Wright’s son constructed that is a memorial to Swedenborg — a colleague told me just today she had attended another employees wedding there this past weekend.


  2. I’m so sorry about the migraines. I have a friend who had them and even required shots. She told me it’s hard for someone who’s not had them to understand how bad they are. I’m glad you’re feeling better.


  3. I, too, am reading several books right now on spiritual topics.My brother gave them to me after I attended church with him and his family and had questions about the information the pastor presented. That has led to a deeper look at reformed theology and the writings of some Christian thinkers of the past such as Augustine and Martin Luther. Using the phrase “a deeper look” is probably incorrect. It implies an earlier “deep look.”

    I suspect I have been doing “church lite,” especially when it comes to clarity of thought. Reading the Bible through each year for most of three decades has kept my faith growing as I see evidence of spiritual truths through Scripture and personal experience.

    Articulating those truths coherently, or even recognizing some, has been another matter. It’s a journey.

    Oh. I’m nearsighted, too, and take my glasses off to read. But now tiny print is tiring. Hooray for Kindle!


    • I absolutely love the topic of religion and nothing I have ever learned reading academic text books has diminished this. We read much Luther in my “European History in the Period of the Reformation” class. Also read many of the same books my granddaughter read.


  4. Have you read anything about near-death experiences? Such literature has always intrigued me, and I am a believer. However, that does not mean I am religious, as I have not attended Mass since 2004, don’t read the Bible, and don’t say grace before meals.


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