In 1891, Herman Melville published his final book, a collection of entitled Timoleon . I want to focus on one of these , which initially quite mysterious. But it be understood, if we appreciate the prevailing historical views of the time about heresy and sectarian religion. I also want to touch on a theme that I will be exploring in more detail in coming , namely the wide-ranging influence of Theosophy in these years. The Melville in question is entitled Fragments Of A Lost Gnostic Poem Of The Twelfth Century , and that itself is truly odd. Here is the (brief) full text: Found a family, build a state, The pledged event is still the same: Matter in end will never abate His ancient brutal claim. … Indolence is heaven’s ally here, And energy the child of hell: The Good Man pouring from his pitcher clear But brims the poisoned well. Whatever we think of the poem literature, there is one stumbling block, namely: did Gnostics actually exist in the twelfth century, or anywhere near that period? Did Melville think that they did? If so, was he wildly ignorant of the actual […]