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Of chaos and internal fire: the quest for nothingness by lyrical manifestations of re-interpreted Gnostic thought
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Culture Studies, Religious Studies and Educational Sciences.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This essay researches the prevalence of Gnostic influences in contemporary music lyrics, more exclusively within the context of the extreme metal scene. A resurgence of such topics has also been evident in contemporary music; not surprisingly, as music in general is part of the foundations of culture, and in a wider aspect, of society at large. The essay is performed using a hermeneutic method, interpreting music lyrics and discussing them from a background of cultural and religious theory. The purposes of researching the influences of Gnosticism in this environment are to determine the presence of Gnostic thought in extreme metal lyrics, research the eventual re-interpretations of historical sources of Gnosticism, and to discuss the acknowledged Gnostic influences in the displayed art form in a contemporary cultural perspective, related to cultural aspects such as secularization, modernity and globalization.

Sources include music lyrics appropriate to the subject matter at hand as well as previously published interviews.

The results of the investigation demonstrate that there are multiple interpretations of Gnostic thought apparent in extreme metal lyrics, varying from slight re-interpretations to more extensive ones, as apparent in what is identified as a chaos-gnostic current. The Gnostic material has in the latter scenario been integrated into an originally satanic worldview and as a result has become a major part of the chaos-gnostic belief system. The chaos-gnostic current has appeared in a highly secular surrounding, and the results of the essay propose that a secular surrounding can breed elements of trangression within individuals, leading to the resurgence of oppositional counter-cultural characteristics and an awakening of alternative spirituality with oppositional overtones.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 65 p.
Keyword [en]
Contemporary music, culture, extreme metal, Gnosticism, music lyrics, re-enchantment, Satanism, secularization, transgression.
National Category
Religious Studies Cultural Studies Music
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-11443Archive number: HRV:E12:1OAI: diva2:492380
Subject / course
Religious studies
Educational program
Humans – nature – religion – master’s programme (one year)
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2013-04-29 Created: 2012-02-07 Last updated: 2013-04-29Bibliographically approved

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