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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

Gnostics (from the Greek word for “to know”) A mixture of astrology, kabala, Christianity and Egyptian mysticism formed the philosophies of a number of Gnostic sects. They attempted to reconcile Christianity and the philosophy of Pythagoras. A preoccupation with rather heavy orgiastic rituals alienated them from some of the Christian churches. These sects were inordinately fond of magic talismans of various kinds, usually carved on gems.
      Among the various Gnostic sects were the Albigensis, Carbonari, Carpocratians, Cathari, Lollards, and Paulicans. All were looked upon by the Christians as heretics and sorcerers. The magicians Simon Magus and Apollonius of Tyana are said to have been Gnostics.
      See also charms and Secret Gospel.

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