STANDARD Edition (Limited to 913 copies — 2022): 6.5 x 9.5 inches. 224 pages. (The dimensions of a PILLARS book but thicker.) Hardbound 100pts. Cover Material: ‘Paradise’ Black & Green Fine Italian Bookcloth. Gold foil blocking on rounded spine and on the cover. Full Colour interior, with B&W printed Graphite Endpapers with cracked-stone texture. Green & Yellow Headbands. Illustrated throughout by José Gabriel Alegria Sabogal. Fine typography, printed on textured paper: Strathmore Cambric Platinum White 200M archive-quality paper. Individually hand-numbered.
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AO is an iconographic proposal, an attempt to illustrate the Gnostic worldview and its myths as understood by the Ophites, a sect of which little is known. It is, perhaps, an exercise of imagination, of what Christian iconography could have resembled if the Ophites had survived. Visually, it follows the sequences of the Speculum Humanae Salvationis and the Biblia Pauperum, reordering their contents according to this heterodox initiative.
“Gnosticism lacks images in a remarkable way, the abstraction of its texts is only equated by the visual silence of its few and discrete remains. And yet the texts are filled with images!
“These images are, in fact, visions, allegories, and myths of a yet unexplored richness. And the ambitious proposal here is to consolidate an iconographic programme…”
Central to this initiative is the reconstruction of the Ophite diagram described by Origen of Alexandria in Contra Celsum – a complex system in which their whole cosmic vision was integrated.
“The three axis, which the images will revolve around, are three distinctive topics of the gnostic worldview: The demiurge (and his relation to the manifested world), the myth of Sophia (and the female aspects of the divine), and the ophite Christology, or the saviour as a serpent.”
IAO rejects the commonly held notion of Gnosticism as a mere form of dualism within Christianity, and explores its relationship with other religions – if only by conceptual coincidence, following Edward Conze’s comparison between Buddhism and Gnosis.
Moreover, the Ophites, by declaring Christ to be an incarnation of the Serpent of Genesis, stood outside the moral spectrum of what is now understood as Christianity. Instead, notions of non-duality can be found in the doctrines of Basilides and the idea of the Pleroma, which are explored within, both conceptually and visually.