>. . . from one book review I have read of the book, Smith does not claim
>that there is direct evidence between the origin of Gnosticism and the
>Second Jewish War. Is there anything in particular about the cosmology
>that places it in connection with the Second Jewish War?
<Isn't Gnosticism the result of the influence of Middle Platonism on "early Christian" efforts to figure out the relationships among the "Father," the "Son," and the Holy Spirit?>
Hm. I have yet to find I a theory that thoroughly convincing. I would agree that Gnosticism has Middle Platonism as a framework, but I am not sure that it accounts for the formation of Gnostics as a groups. I would look to an impulse to create a distinctive identity and persecution (per Carl Smith), or general social pressures have to figure into the creation of an "us" and a "them".
>I don't know what to think except that if Gnosticism suddenly emerged in
>132 and the Gospel of Judas was composed some time around mid-second
>century (giving it time enough to be circulated and important enough for
>Ireneaus to take note of it in book 1, shall we say 170-180 CE). Is it
>conceivable that "defection" from Judaism to a form of Gnosticism was
>earlier, say starting in 70 CE?
<At least. There were plenty of puzzles for them to work on, and meanwhile
Paul is talking about the "mystery", and about wanting to wean baby
Christians from "Milk" to more solid stuff (I Cor 3:2), and then Mark talks
about "secrets" and things the dumb disciples couldn't figure out (Mark
4:11, etc)-- not yet Gnostic, but providing grist for the future gnostic
I would say that it is not just that a formed Gnosticism could look back at them a draw on canonical text for support, but that there is a continuity of phenomenology between them. Differing views and the attitude that the "them" have those views because the lack knowledge or an insight.
<My point is not that Paul was a gnostic, but rather that gnosticism did
not emerge ex nihilo. As has been pointed out:
> > But severe critique of the twelve is not limited to the second century.
> We find it
> > with Paul and the Gospel of Mark.
Severe criticism about "not knowing" implies a kind of gnosticism (lower
Particularly if we tie gnosis to authority, authority to determine truth. Truth about Gentiles, truth about the Law, truth about the nature of the crucifixion, etc..
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