A PENARTH author has written an introduction to Gnosticism – the teaching which is explored in epics such as the Matrix and The Da Vinci Code.

The idea of a divine soul trapped in a material world by a dark or evil God is the plotline for many blockbusters, but few understand the more complex theories of Gnosticism – though author Andrew Philip Smith believes many are interested in the subject.

He said: “There are Gnostic ideas in so many films and books at the moment.

"Some of them go off course and some of them touch on it, but it is a fascinating topic.”

Andrew, who grew up in Penarth and attended St Cyres, has already written four books on Gnosticism – this latest work is a 'beginner's guide'. He said: “It brought a lump to my throat when I went to Waterstones in Cardiff and saw my work for sale!”

Andrew has already started planning his next book – a study of the Mandeans, modern day Gnostics who trace themselves back to John the Baptist.

Andrew hopes to do a Da Vinci Code-type trail to try and trace their origins.

The Gnostics: History • Tradition • Scriptures • Influence, is published by Watkins and will be widely available from the beginning of September.