"The ancient Gnostics"
Coptic cross
Public DomainCoptic cross

Gnosticism comes from the ancient Greek work for “knowledge.” The Gnostics were various ancient religious movements that attempted to harmonize disparate and contrasting beliefs. Shown here is a Coptic cross, adopted by early Christian Gnostics in Egypt and possibly modeled on the Egyptian Horus, a figure with a hawk's head and human body who served as a sentinel.

One of the primary aspects of Gnosticism is that it is usually dualistic in nature; that is, Gnostics saw balanced and battling forces in the universe -- from the radical dualism of Manichaeism which posits a struggle between equal powers of light and darkness, to more unequal contests.Gnosticism comes from the ancient Greek work for “knowledge.” The Gnostics were various ancient religious movements that attempted to harmonize disparate and contrasting beliefs. 

The narrator seems sympathetic to Gnostic criticisms of monotheistic theologies, and there is certainly no shortage of dualisms in this book, from lightness/heaviness, weakness/strength, and music/words to Tomas’s declaration that “It is much more important to dig a half-buried crow out of the ground than to send petitions to a president.”