Jelly glanced over at Sergeant Migliaccio, first section leader. "Five minutes for the Padre," he stated. Some of the boys dropped out of ranks, went over and knelt in front of Migliaccio, and not necessarily those of his creed, either -- Moslems, Christians, Gnostics, Jews, whoever wanted a word with him before a drop, he was there. (Starship Troopers)

I seem to vaguely recall hearing the word Gnostic/Gnosticism in a Heinlein context before, but cursory Googling didn't show any obvious hits.

Were Gnostics (or Gnosticism as a religion) a name used elsewhere in Heinlein's work?

  • 1
    Almost beat me to the first Heinlien question of the Heinlein week. +1 as a consolation prize (and for a great question :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Mar 20 '12 at 0:31
up vote 10 down vote accepted

This is not quite a direct naming of the religion, but Stranger in a Strange Land had a a character named "Professor" Simon Magus, a carnival grifter and mentalist who is described as a "likable scoundrel". Simon Magus was one of the founders of Gnosticism.

The links between Gnosticism and Stranger run much deeper than a mere character name.

A very good article analyzing the links is an article "Whence Came the Stranger: Tracking the Metapattern of Stranger in a Strange Land". It's a little heavy on mysticism and such but a very thorough analysis.

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    This was also extensively discussed on alt.fan.heinlein - here and here are two good summaries – DVK-on-Ahch-To Mar 20 '12 at 1:14

"Job: A Comedy of Justice" is clearly a gnostic story where "God" is a spoiled and disruptive child (the Demiurge).

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