Present danger…

I am to present before the Edinburgh University Religious Studies seminar a week today, and to use unacademic language, I’m shitting it. My title is “Typologies of 20th century ‘Gnosticism'”, and I only have to speak for some fifteen minutes. But still. If this was in front of degree-level people, fine: but in front of professors and doctors… there is the distinct possibility that they could humiliate me.

Having said that, I have handed in 7000 words of my thesis, and it was positively received. And an email to respected scholar on “Gnosticism” April DeConick had an interesting and, I think, positive reply. So research-wise, things are looking alright. I have a conditional offer for a Ph.D., and funding applications continue apace.

Some work done on Under the Rainbow #2. None on anything else.

An email from a legend

It’s time I should mention my research. I’m working on a Masters by Research at Edinburgh University, on 20th Century Gnosticism. But I’ll tell all about that another time.

You may have seen this Vanity Fair interview with the legendary comic artist Robert Crumb (the epitome of “underground”). He’s currently promoting his illustrated version of The Book of Genesis, and in the interview he states that he considers himself a Gnostic.

So I sent an email to his official website, asking if there was any possibility of asking what he understood “Gnostic” to mean, not really expecting any reply. Yesterday, his reply arrived, only two days later.


Mr. Robertson,
I define myself as a gnostic in the loosest sense of the word.  As different from an athiest, who denies the existence of God, or an agnostic, who doubts the existence of God, or a true believer, who accepts on faith some traditional conception of God, as a “Gnostic,” I believe in the existence of some higher, greater force behind our universe, but I don’t presume to fully understand what that force is, or how it works.  But I want to know.  I want unity with that force.  I seek knowledge of that greater being.  That’s my definition of “gnostic,” and that’s about it.
R. Crumb

What a gent. Incidentally, Robert Crumb also drew a comic based on Philip K. Dick’s “Gnostic experience”, and you can read it here.