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Index: Xul Solar. Exposición Homenaje, CS,El círculo secreto. Buenos Aires: Emecé, 2003. 66. A Poet’s Creed, CV,This Craft of Verse. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000. 109.


Fishburn and Hughes: "From the Greek gnôsis, knowledge: the collective term designating a number of early Christian sectarian doctrines. Because of its emphasis on direct knowledge of God and the secret of salvation, and its adherents' claim to possess this knowledge, Gnosticism was declared heretical by the Church Fathers. For the Gnostics, knowledge meant not rational 80 cognition but a revelationary experience 'transforming the knower himself by making him a partaker in the divine existence' (H. Jonas, The Gnostic Religion, Boston 1958). The essential feature of Gnosticism was its dualism. God is 'absolutely transmundane', alien to the universe, which he has not created and does not govern and to which he is as opposed as light is to darkness. The world is the creation of 'lower powers', Archons (rulers), who, though descended from God, do not 'know' God and obstruct knowledge of him. The earth is the domain of the Archons, whose leader is the Demiurge, or World Artificer. It is likened to a prison surrounded by cosmic spheres. Each Archon rules the earth and his particular sphere and bars the passage of souls wishing to escape and return to God. Mirroring the composition of the cosmos is the composition of man, whose origin is similarly twofold, his earthly body being bound by (seven) cosmic spheres, whereas 'pneuma', a spark of dormant divinity, is enclosed in his soul. The aim of Gnostic thinking is to liberate this imprisoned spark through 'knowledge'. Of particular relevance to Borges's work is the Gnostics' use of the labyrinth as a metaphor of a universe encompassing a plurality of worlds. Each section of the labyrinth corresponds to a different world through which the soul loses its way and wanders about, but whenever it seeks an escape 'it only passes from one world into another that is no less world'. Little was heard of the Gnostics after the second century, but their beliefs survived among other heretics, notably the Albigensians in the twelfth century. Because their beliefs implied that Jesus was not the Redeemer of humanity, the Gnostics were looked upon as Antichrist." (79)