It is another one of those nights where Yahoo just doesn't seem to
be letting posts work. I'm going to try to answer you anyway,
>>>I believed the Cathars to be the survivng gnostics, and the Pistis
Sophia is considered a gnostic text that was not hidden with the Nag
Hammadi, yet validated much of the essence of the texts of the Nag
I am not sure I understand what you are saying. I am aware that the
Pistis Sophia is not part of the Nag Hammadi texts, and that it is a
late Gnostic text. I have a number of other Gnostic texts sitting
here in my collection that are also not from the Nag Hammadi
library. This includes the Books of Jeu and the untitled text from
the Bruce Codex, and the recently published Gospel of Judas.
I am not sure how that connects to the Cathars (or if you intended
to connect them, though your sentence appears to do so).
>>>The ancient gnostics didn't call themselves "gnostic" nor
sis the Cathars.<<<
At least most of the groups we call "Gnostics" today did not seem
to. However, Irenaeus does mention a group of "Gnostics" (presumably
their own name). Also, though I have recently raised issues about
Plotinus' "Against the Gnostics" in conversation with Steve, the
title does seem to imply a recognizable group known by that name in
that time. However, this is actually unimportant. What ancient
groups called themselves has little to do with historical
>>>But having studied both I believe them to be descendants of the
ancient gnostics, a group which survived the early heresy hunters
only to be wiped out ( although not entirely) by the Inquistion. But
that would be a discussion for another forum, I would think.<<<
At this point most of the historians I can think of consider the
Cathars to have come from the Bogimils. Prior to that the source is
less clear. Rudolph, for instance, mentions a few possible sources.
These include the Paulicians, the Manichaeans, and the Marcionites.
They did seem to have some practices that were similar to the
Manichaeans, such as the distinction between the ascetic "elect" and
the common practitioner. However, the basic belief that Satan
created the world reminds me more of the Marcionites.
Well anyway, the Cathars are listed on our homepage, I guess.
Perhaps, though, we should complete the exploration of the group we
started with first... eh?
>>>Just my views. As for the Essenes not engaging in preaching to
the masses being against their beleifs, I have not been able to
discover that, but I did see where Josephus speaks of an Essene
named 'Judas' who preached on the steps of the temple, much like
Yes. There are, however, some difficulties with that passage. Some
versions of Josephus just say that Judas respected the Essenes,
while others say he was "of the Essene race" or "born an Essaios".
Since Josephus actually mentions two seperate groups named "Essene",
and one is ascetic, not producing children, I think we have some
confusing problems with this passage.
My essential point, though, was intended to be about the supposed
secrecy of the Essenes. Perhaps they were not secrative, if this
passage from Josephus can be taken at face value. That would seem to
get rid of one of attributes that came up in comparison to
Gnosticism. The other possibility could be inner vs outer teachings,
but considering the monastic Essenes contrasted with the non-
Monastic Essenes we see mentioned, this particular case may simply
be one of confused identity.
>>>As for them not taking a political stand, since they avoided
cities and the like I believe they would have avoided politics,
considering as their allegeince was to their faith and not in a
ruler of any sort.<<<
On the other hand, the parts of the DSS that are sometimes
attributed to Essenes (or a closely related group) are quite
political, advocating an overthrough of the Kittim (Romans)...
though assuming it will be God who will do it.
>>>I haven't been able to get real clear on what they believed in as
to their beliefs in creation and the like, so I am not prepared for
that discussion yet. I have been studing only what others have said
about them, and haven't perused their texts yet. I will be happy to
discuss soteriety after more research.<<<
In the end the soteriology and cosmology (and general mythological
structure) that are of prime importance to this discussion. Ritual
and practices, though similar, demonstrate much less in this case
than beliefs... since it is the beliefs that are being used to
categorize the various groups from this similar era and region.