--- In gnosticism2@y..., "Gerry" <gerryhsp@y...> wrote:
> Of course it has allegorical value for usit's merely the literal
value that troubles me.
I read Gerry's latest post with interest because I also agree that
how we interpret Christ is very important as Gnostics. I was
reminded of an Easter homily by Stephan Marshall (Gnostic
Ecclesia), "The Inner Resurrection":
This homily seems to support a docetic view of Christ, showing the
mythic, pagan roots of the event of the resurrection.
I recently posted this link about Mithraism:
"Mithraism, the religion followed by those who worshipped the sun god
Mithra, originated in Persia about 400 BC, and was to spread its
Pagan ideas as far west as the British Isles. In the early centuries
of the Christian era, Mithraism was the most wide-spread religion in
the Western World, and its remains are to be found in monuments
scattered around the countries of Europe, which then comprised the
known civilised world.
Mithra was regarded as created by, yet co-equal with, the Supreme
Deity. Mithraists were Trinitarian, kept Sunday as their day of
worship, and their chief festivals were what we know of as Christmas
and Easter. Long before the advent of Jesus, Mithra was said to have
been born of a virgin mother, in a cave, at the time of Christmas,
and died on a cross at Easter. Baptism was practised, and the sign of
the cross was made on the foreheads of all newly-baptised converts.
Mithra was considered to be the saviour of the world, conferring on
his followers an eternal life in Heaven, and, similar to the story of
Jesus, he died to save all others, provided that they were his
IOW, Gnostics who adopted a Christology were invariably
Now, I find nothing wrong with metaphor, which is quite obvious from
many of my recent posts. lol On the contrary, I find mythology to
be revealing, an avenue that reaches deep in the psyche.
I do, however, like Gerry, find literal adaptations of mythology to
be confusing. Whether or not there was an actual man who was the
source of the Mithra and Jesus legends is not as important to me as
If we even take an adoptionist view of Jesus Christ, a human who
became infused with the Christ, why is a death and resurrection
scenario necessary? After all, the message there might be that this
man is an example of how *we* as humans could find the Christ within
us right now. I feel that some kind of later, superhuman physical
resurrection (even if attention-getting) seems not only redundant,
but also takes away from his humanness to which we could relate. If
he were indeed crucified, his human body would just rot. An ensuing
physical resurrection could only be viewed symbolically. Otherwise,
we would be waiting with all those other Christians to witness bodily
resurrections, which just don't jive with a Gnostic worldview.
So, why is the theme of resurrection used in writings like _The
Gospel of Truth_ and _Treatise on Resurrection_? Obviously, because
cultural legends are very powerful and working with these myths and
not against them is part of the process of awakening. Could not
those of us who came from mainstream Christian religious upbringings
identify at some turn in our paths with Rheginus in _Treatise on
Resurrection_? The author writing the letter to Rheginus is very
sensitive to the ordinary Christian view of death and revivification
and sought to abstract that concept for the reader to a metaphorical
understanding of the intellect's ascension from the boundaries of the
"Therefore do not concentrate on particulars, O Rheginus, nor live
according to (the dictates of) this flesh; do not, for the sake of
unity. Rather, leave the state of dispersion and bondage, and then
you already have resurrection. For if the dying part (flesh) `knows
itself,' and knows that since it is moribund it is rushing toward
this outcome (death) even if it has lived many years in the present
life, why do you (the intellect) not examine your own self and see
that you have arisen?"
I suppose that in the end, a Gnostic awareness would support an
abstract, docetic view of Christ. As Gerry says, "The very fact,
though, that we're still trying to rationalize other-worldly realms
in mundane terms is a sure sign that contradictions will continue."
We see that now as much as was apparent even in ancient times. _The
Gospel According to Philip_ has both adoptionist and docetic
The Valentinians identified our hylic, psychic, and pneumatic
natures. In our present material form we are not just pneuma. We
relate in temporal terms, ... part of that paradoxical Gnostic path.