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Gnostic Mystery

2.93  ·  Rating details ·  332 ratings  ·  242 reviews
An ancient mystery in today's Middle East . . . Jack Stanton, an American businessman, makes a pilgrimage to war-torn Israel in hopes of rekindling his Christian faith. While traveling with his friend Punjeeh, an ER doctor from Jerusalem, Jack acquires an ancient scroll written by the Gnostics, a mystical group of early Christians--and his spiritual quest takes an ...more
Paperback, 197 pages
Published June 5th 2009 by Hierophant Publishing (first published September 15th 2008)
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Average rating 2.93  · 
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 ·  332 ratings  ·  242 reviews

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Mar 03, 2009 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I just finished this book, and I can't stop thinking about it. It is not my usual reading material, but it is an eye opener. One of our preachers, some time ago, brought up these same topics, but didn't name them as Gnostic. I loved it, and will reread it, which I NEVER do. Pat
Mar 12, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: first-reads
I received this free, so forced myself to read through to the end. I wanted to write something positive, but can't. It was too heavy handed, and the main characters were so ignorant, it is laughable. Are adults really that uneducated?

It might have been better if the explanations had been made to a child, who would be expected to have read or studied less. Or as a short story, aimed at adults who have had a modicum of religious education...

I'm sorry I couldn't have liked this, but the book had
Mar 02, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Jon by: won this in a GoodReads First Reads competition
2.5 stars (and that's being generous)

Nearly all the dialog in this book is devoted to espousing Gnostic theology and early Christian history. None of the history (or theology) was a surprise to me as I have studied, albeit briefly, this subject previously.

The word "mystery" in the title refers to not only the mystery surrounding the discovery of a couple of Dead Sea Scrolls, but also the first secret "mystery" of the Gnostic path. I refrain from using the words "belief" or "faith" because the
Mar 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This books was a real page turner. I finished it in 3 days- I couldn't put it down. It provides a very thought provoking look at the beliefs of Christians and how those beliefs got started. The book is well written and does a fantastic job of intertwining researched facts into the story. I highly recommend it.
Mar 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone with an open mind about Christianity
Recommended to Sara by: Goodreads Book Giveaway
Shelves: first-reads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 01, 2009 rated it did not like it
Sigh. The Gnostic Mystery read like a research paper on gnosticism converted into a novel form. Davila's source material is good - I've read most of them - but because he failed to research the other side of the issue, the end result is a book that is overly optimistic about its ability to convince the reader. The main character is a lapsed Catholic who knows nothing about Christianity and is therefore swayed by things that wouldn't even phase someone who has studied the history of the early ...more
Fast paced and while it's title and info suggests a mystery, I feel it's a bit of a misnomer in some sense. That's not to say the mystery isn't there, it is. The reader is pulled into the story "in progress" and runs to keep up throughout. For me, it is the topic which gives this its appeal. The story in which the topic is wrapped is overlaid lightly and the characters are appealing. Indeed, the cast of characters allows insight into many of the stereotypical players in the religious/political ...more
--it was a fast read
--it has a pretty cover
--it smelled good

--there was no actual plot
--the characters are very two-dimensional
--the dialogue was awkward

Despite the fact that the book is classified as fiction, 95% of it read like a one-sided lecture about the origins of the early Christian church, NOT a story. The “plot” was barely there, the characters’ voices were nearly impossible to distinguish from each other and the dialogue between characters was not believable.

I gave
Mar 12, 2009 rated it it was ok
A passable first effort but a bit to didactic for my taste. Every other page the author was constructing straw men to be knocked down and the main character was made out to be impossibly ignorant on common subjects for no good reason (a middle-aged multi-millionaire who doesn't know what hummus is?). If there is a second book, it better be better or he won't get a third chance.
Mar 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone seeking an overview of Gnostic Christianity
I thought for a long time about how to rate this book. As a thriller, which is what the cover suggests, I would give it only a couple of stars. The language can be cliched "flashing his pearly whites" and the characters can be unrealistic in order to make a point. A middle aged, highly successful, businessman who is revisiting his Christian faith and doesn't know the difference between the Bible and the Gospels, the New Testament and the Old Testament.

However, I choose to give it four stars as
Mar 11, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: no one.
Recommended to Julie by: This was a giveawy
Shelves: first-reads
Two stars is being kind. I would honestly give it 1 1/2 stars. The premise as laid out in the book's description is intriguing but the actual story is far from what the description led me to think the story might be. As others have noted, I too hoped for a Da Vinci Code type mystery that unfolded in the streets of the Holy Land. What I got was the hint of a promising story of 3 poor, brave and enterprising boys and a thesis: and a poorly delivered thesis at that. The dialoge, which accounts for, ...more
Mar 01, 2009 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 27, 2009 rated it really liked it

Jack decides to take a vacation from his stressful life in Virginia to see his old college roommate, Punjeeh, who lives in Jerusalem. Punjeeh has been a devout Catholic since Jack met him. Lately though, Punjeeh seems to have changed, while Jack is now interested in learning more about his faith.

Jack meets Chloe, a religion professor who's view on Christianity differs from anything he's ever heard before. She has a great deal of knowledge on the "Gnostic" Christians and while he is
Tara Lynn
Mar 16, 2009 rated it did not like it
To be honest, I was expecting much more from this novel. From early reviews, and from GoodReads accounts, I was expecting something similar to a Dan Brown stereotype. I was completely disappointed to find that the plot was at points completely far-fetched and predictable. At certain moments, I felt as though I were reading a textbook about Gnostic Christianity. It felt as though the author had tried to build a story around several subpoints he was trying to make in a textbook about Gnosticim. To ...more
Mar 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It was a quick read for me, I found myself hardly able to put it down. The book was well written and I loved the interaction with Jack, Chloe, Punjeeh, & the Professor. Reading the descriptions of Isreal, the author was so descriptive and made you feel like you were actually there. It reminded me of a cross between DaVinchi Code and maybe the action of Indiana Jones. I highly recommend it!
Mar 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! The combination of a fiction mystery with some thought provoking religious "facts" kept me wanting the story not to end. The characters came alive for me, and I hope there will be a sequel in the near future.
Daniel (Attack of the Books!) Burton
Mar 25, 2009 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: almost no one
Recommended to Daniel (Attack of the Books!) by: good reads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 25, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: first-reads
This is not a good book. The author is obviously well educated in theology and has a particular pension for the Gnostics--believing that they have been unduly persecuted by the Catholics. Catholics take a big hit in this book, both as a religion as well as in the literal belief system. For those of you who are familiar with the Gnostic Gospels, nothing in this book will be new. For those of you who are amused when Catholicism gets picked on, you may want to read the book. For those of you who ...more
Mar 01, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Nancy by: Goodreads first-reads giveway
If you checked my Goodreads bookshelves, you'd see I read a lot of mysteries and a fair number of books in the religion category. When I saw this book offered in the Firstreads giveaway, it seemed right up my alley. Unfortunately for me, this book is targeted at people with no knowledge of pre-Christian and early Christian history. The story is not much of a mystery and is told in a bare outline form to bridge the conversations between the religious scholars and some surprisingly ignorant ...more
Mar 26, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: giveaways
Where to start? The back of the book say's it's like the Da Vinci Code. In only one way and that's the contravery about Jesus's life, who he is and what he did. This book is not exciting like the Da Vinci Code. The mystery part of the book is what the Gnostic's believe and then revieling these "truths" to the world. This book is less than 200 pages and at least half of them were devoted to explaining who the Gnostics were and what they believe. The rest of the story was filled with poor ...more
Mar 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book quite a bit from the spiritual aspect, not so much from the fiction aspect. As an ex-catholic myself, I find a lot of the history of the Gnostics engrossing. I have searched out a few of the claims of this book and find most of them ringing true. The fiction part of the book could be drawn out quite a bit and the characters worked a little more in depth. Then again, I am used to reading a lot of Stephen King, and he is always killed for creating too much backstory on ...more
Feb 05, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I like this book, but would not choose to read it on my own. It was just too light. I definitely like something a little more complex!
Mar 01, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Becky by: first reads giveaway
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 29, 2009 rated it it was ok
I won this novel through a Goodreads give-away. The premise sounded interesting:
Wealthy American businessman, Jack Stanton, feeling unfulfilled in life, decides to travel to Israel in search of strengthening his Christian faith. While there he purchases a scroll from a local boy and 'voila' it turns out to be an ancient Gnostic historical document. As the scroll is translated and explanations follow, Jack really starts to question everything he has ever learned.

I liked learning about the
Mar 01, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: first-reads
At first I found this book somewhat interesting, although the writer struggled to combine his “scholarly” information in a story form. The main character in the story, determined to renew his commitment to his Catholic faith, comes in contact with some ancient scrolls that cause him to question his beliefs.
I had some knowledge of some of the information given in this novel, such as the Council of Nicaea, the Emperor Constantine and his political ambitions, and his desire to be in charge of
Apr 16, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
Before I begin my review in the interest of full disclosure I should mention:
1) I won this book through First Reads
2) I’m a practicing Catholic

Because I’m a Catholic, I won’t comment on the religious aspects of the author’s message even though he compares the bible to a calculated work of historical fiction. Instead I will try and focus on Davila’s writing, and not his one-sided propagandist portrayal of Gnostic beliefs.

Davila story is scant and stretched around lengthy theological discussions.
Jennifer Defoy
This book was truly enlightening. I enjoyed it from the very beginning.

Having not been raised in any specific religion I'm a little lost when it comes to some of the stories and characters in The Bible. I do know the basics and the older I get, and the more I read, I'm beginning to piece together a fuller understanding of The Bible.

I had never heard of the Gnostics before reading this book. So I was coming to this one with a complete open mind. I think that is part of why I enjoyed this so
Rebecca McKinnon
Mar 13, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
I have to say, I was disappointed by this book. The first part of it was interesting, and I was excited to read it. Since I've spent some time in Israel I was able to visualize things well--when they actually were anywhere other than sitting in an office. However, the book was not what it was advertised as.

I expected there to be more of a plot, more intrigue. Some action would have been nice. After the first few chapters, most of the book consisted of theological discussions between three or
Sandra D
One thing I liked about this book is that it made me think, and that's always a good thing. It made me think about what I believe and why I believe it, and it reminded me that I've let my theology studies slide lately. I've read Eusebius, who figures in this story, and I think it was Alfred Edersheim who taught me about ancient Jewish oral and written traditions, which caused me to lose any belief in a strict literal interpretation of the Bible. That said, I don't know what I think about this ...more
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Book giveaway 4 25 Apr 01, 2009 02:47AM  

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Randy Davila is the President of Hierophant Publishing and Hampton Roads Publishing Company.

Between the two publishing houses, he has overseen the publication of books by authors such as don Miguel Ruiz jr., Eckhart Tolle, Byron Katie, Neale Donald Walsch, Richard Bach, Jack Canfield, and many more. Randy regularly teaches author workshops at venues around the country. For his current lecture
“...people only hear what they are able to, so it's pointless to tell them anything else” 10 likes
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