(Accidental) Gnostic Parallels in Evangelion

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ACGT-Samael
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(Accidental) Gnostic Parallels in Evangelion

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Postby ACGT-Samael » Fri May 04, 2018 12:13 pm

Most people will recognize a lot of the references in Evangelion as being Judeo-Christian in origin, but there's far more there than that. There are of course tons of scientific references (some of which are maddeningly far off the mark, but that's a topic for another thread), but also other spiritual ones. I'm probably reading too much into this but having thought about it for the purposes of my own writing, NGE2's Seven Carriers detail coupled with NGE's central premise of human isolation is giving me massive Gnosticism vibes.

For those not familiar, Gnosticism is a collection of beliefs that's somewhat tricky to categorize because of how many sources to draws from, but can loosely be called a religion of sorts if you're really charitable. Basically, the central tenet of Gnosticism is that there exist two separate planes: the physical one to which we are all bound, and an ethereal one where the True God exists. Humans are said to be pieces of that God's divine spark that became trapped in the material plane, and the only escape is an enlightenment that allows us to transcend physical form and rejoin with this God, sometimes called The One. Starting to see the parallels yet?

Meanwhile, notice how I said the True God previously. Gnosticism states that the physical world was created by a being known as The Demiurge, also known as Yaldabaoth or, in some instances, Samael. The Demiurge himself is a product of a being known as Sophia (Wisdom in Greek), herself an offspring of The One, attempting to create a plane. He is often described as the Blind God, for he's ignorant of The One's existence, and sees himself as the only God; as such, he maintains the border between physical and spiritual, forcing humanity to revere only him. He further creates 6 beings called Archons, roughly equivalent to Judeo-Christian Angels, and is sometimes counted as one, making 7 Archons.

Now do I think Anno based Evangelion and the Seeds of Life on Gnostic works? No, it's probably just coincidence, but it's kinda amusing. If anybody else is familiar with it maybe they can either add to or refute my assertions. If not, uh... I guess just discuss how you feel about this or something.

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Re: (Accidental) Gnostic Parallels in Evangelion

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Postby viperzero » Fri May 04, 2018 9:14 pm

Gnosticism and Science fiction have a long relationship. I'm actually writing a short article and Gnostic parallels in Lain. Its worth pointing out Gnosticism and Kabbalah have a close relationship, as do most wester mystic traditions.

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Re: (Accidental) Gnostic Parallels in Evangelion

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Postby Reichu » Sat May 05, 2018 11:01 am

viperzero wrote:Its worth pointing out Gnosticism and Kabbalah have a close relationship, as do most wester mystic traditions.

I would definitely pin any resemblance between NGE and Gnosticism to this. I never even got that far in my Gnostic research, but the memetic overlap with Kabbalism was "reach out and slap you" strong.

(EDIT: Though, having admitted I haven't gotten that far in my research, there could be very obvious nods to Gnosticism in NGE that I just don't have any inkling of.... but, eh.)

A work in the same tradition as NGE that does intentionally reference Gnosticism is the PS1 game Xenogears. People have a habit of bringing it up as a NGE "ripoff", but I imagine if these same people were quizzed on the number of older mecha shows they'd seen, we would see some very unsurprising results. Xenogears was published in 1998, so like many other works at the time it's guilty of riding on NGE's success, but it does the "love letter to the mecha genre that liberally mixes in Judeo-Christian mysticism" thing very differently. It's incredibly rich and I can't recommend it enough.


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