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Between 1978 and 1984 Moore maintained intermittent correspondence with (Henry) John Sinclair, 2nd Baron Pentland, contributing firstly towards the privately published Gurdjieff Bibliography [San Francisco 1980], and secondly to the more substantial Gurdjieff, an annotated bibliography by J. Walter Driscoll and the Gurdjieff Foundation of California [New York 1985, Garland Publishing Inc., 363pp. ISBN 0-8240-8972-3]. From this ensued a longstanding and productive friendship with Driscoll. Moore’s most innovative ‘bibliographic’ excursion was his compact article ‘Gurdjieff: the Man and the Literature’. Sensitively braiding narrative and citation, it draws on Work classics to evoke Gurdjieff’s life and teaching. Originally published in Resurgence [No.96, Jan-Feb 1983], it has been widely ‘borrowed’ and reproduced; its current posting on the Web in numerous European languages suggests it may become an ‘evergreen’ of secondary  Gurdjieffian literature.


For decades Moore has worked to promote a more responsible depiction of Gurdjieff in works of reference. In 1985, in correspondence with Lars Mahinske of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, he corrected erroneous allusions to Gurdjieff in the Micropaedia [Vol.5, 15th ed.] The substantial module on Gurdjieff and the Gurdjieff legacy in Professor Andrew Rawlinson’s compendium The Book of Enlightened Masters: Western Teachers in Eastern Traditions [Chicago and La Salle 1997, pb., 680pp, ISBN 0 8126 9310 8] was tempered by Moore’s advice. Apropos The Encyclopaedia of New Religious Movements ed. Professor Peter B. Clarke [London 2006, Routledge, Taylor & Francis, 686pp, ISBN 10: 0 415 26707 2] Moore’s contributions on Gurdjieff and Ouspensky were hobbled by space constraints. However, his historico-morphological study of Gurdjieff’s symbol the enneagram constitutes a salutary challenge to the populist and aggressively marketed  ‘typological enneagram’.


The crown of Moore’s endeavour in encyclopaedism is his module on Gurdjieff in the Dictionary of Gnosis and Western Esotericism edited by Professor Wouter J. Hanegraaff, in collaboration with Professor Antoine Faivre, Roelof van den Broek and Jean-Pierre Brach [Leiden, Boston, Koeln, 2005, Brill Academic Publishers]. Leaning neither to scepticism nor credulity, Moore impartially differentiates Gurdjieff’s uncorroborated evocation of his spiritual apprenticeship from independently validated history of his subsequent ministry. He next rises to the formidable challenge of precising Gurdjieff’s panoramic and triple-tiered ideology - a concordia universa integrating a semantic critique, a social critique, an epistemology, a mythopoeic cosmogony and cosmology, a phenomenology of consciousness, and a practical Existenzphilosophie. To encapsulate all this in c.4000 words has been saluted as a considerable achievement. Now accessible on the WWW, the piece is mandatory orientational reading for anyone seriously embarking on Gurdjieff studies, criticism, or apologetics.


© 2006 James Moore



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