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Voegelin's antignosticism and the origins of totalitarianism

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  • Caio Rossi
    Hello, I wonder if you have read this text and what s your position: http://www.moiracn.com/index/article.php/318 Thanks, Caio
    Message 1 of 24 , May 2, 2005
      Hello,

      I wonder if you have read this text and what's your position:

      http://www.moiracn.com/index/article.php/318

      Thanks,

      Caio
    • Larry Chappell
      Quite unimpressive. A few comments. 1) The point that later work on the Nag Hammandi texts (as well as the gnostic texts found among the Egyptian papyrus
      Message 2 of 24 , May 2, 2005
        Quite unimpressive. A few comments.

        1) The point that later work on the Nag Hammandi texts (as well as the gnostic texts found among the Egyptian papyrus texts recently ridiculed on this list for some odd reason) require us to revise our view of ancient gnosticism is fair enough. Whether recent discoveries require us to jettison Jonas' picture of a war in the godhead that resulted in a fall into an evil cosmos is less plausible. The portrayal of a fundamental dualism between a good godhead to which the enlightened one's will return after overcoming the fall into an evil cosmos is not simply a distorted product of Christian orthodoxy. Enough of the texts now available were available to Jonas and Voegelin to avoid a totally distorted view of gnostic symbols and doctrines. One can find perhaps rich spiritual significance in Gnostic texts. That hardly means that there are no nihilistic and dogmatic aspects to the movement, and these are worth analyzing.

        2) The view that Voegelin is out to defend Catholicism against the Reformation is a bit silly. Voegelin could be quite harsh in his judgments of Catholics including powerful figures like Aquinas and Augustine.

        3) Voegelin knew quite well that a temporalized and immanentized version of Gnosticism differs from the acosmic doctrines of ancient Gnostics. He insisted on it. Voegelin associates the destructive tendencies the article cites primarily with the modern, immanentized version of Gnostic symbols and doctrines. To say that a gnosticism that temporalizes the beyond (that is known by a gnostic elite) is not to say that the temporalized version is no longer essentially gnostic. An analogy would be Arthur Lovejoy's exploration (in "The Great Chain of Being") that much modern evolutionary thought is a temporalization of Neo-Platonism. That it is different does not limit the continuity.

        4) That Voegelin came to realize that there is more than one transfigurative pattern in modern thought hardly means that he was hiding the inadequacy of his initial analysis. It just means that he found material that did not fit his analysis. That is hardly the sign of intellectual dishonesty the article ascribes to Voegelin. Just the opposite.

        Larry Chappell
        larchap@...



        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Caio Rossi
        To: evforum@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: 5/2/2005 3:14:45 PM
        Subject: [evforum] Voegelin's antignosticism and the origins of totalitarianism


        Hello,

        I wonder if you have read this text and what's your position:

        http://www.moiracn.com/index/article.php/318

        Thanks,

        Caio


        In consideratione creaturarum non est vana
        et peritura curiositas exercenda; sed gradus
        ad immortalia et semper manentia faciendus.
        �St Augustine De vera religione




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      • Caio Rossi
        Hello, Larry I m really trying to make sense out of certain assertions Voegelin made, so please don t take my questions and statements as if I were disputing
        Message 3 of 24 , May 2, 2005
          Hello, Larry

          I'm really trying to make sense out of certain assertions Voegelin
          made, so please don't take my questions and statements as if I were
          disputing your arguments.

          You wrote:

          …"One can find perhaps rich spiritual significance in Gnostic texts.
          That hardly means that there are no nihilistic and dogmatic aspects to
          the movement, and these are worth analyzing."

          But according to what I've read, Nag Hammadi texts are leading
          researchers to conclude that there's never been something as a
          movement, but many perspectives that were mislabeled (or even better:
          misunderstood) as if a single one by Christian apologists.


          " The view that Voegelin is out to defend Catholicism against the
          Reformation is a bit silly.

          To me, that was Voegelin's agenda but it was never hidden: he makes it
          clear that placing Catholicism as a higher standard is what he's doing
          in the Introduction to the New Science of Politics, doesn't he? There
          he says Weber reintroduced value judgement in political science by
          means of his "legitimating beliefs" and that it then gave birth to a
          "new science of politics" (or represented the death of the old,
          positivist one) where metaphysical systems are ranked and the
          Christian one, more specifically catholic, lies in the uppermost
          layer. He doesn't make a secret of it.

          "…Voegelin could be quite harsh in his judgments of Catholics
          including powerful figures like Aquinas and Augustine."

          But isn't it still what the new CATHOLIC thelogy was doing and from
          which Voegelin fed himself- and so did Ratzinger? That's the criticism
          traditionalist theologians and intellectuals make of his Christianism
          and of those who influenced him (who gathered to create the Communio
          magazine) and can be summarized in the term "religious experience" or
          Giussani's "presence". A good example:

          http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/arch/god.html

          "Cognitive realism, both so-called naive realism and critical realism,
          agrees that "nihil est in intellectu, quod prius non fuerit in sensu"
          ("nothing is in the intellect that was not first in the senses").
          Nevertheless, the limits of these "senses" are not exclusively sen-
          sory. We know, in fact, that man not only knows colors, tones, and
          forms; he also knows objects globally--for example, not only all the
          parts that com- prise the object "man" but also man in himself (yes,
          man as a person). He knows, therefore, extrasensory truths, or, in
          other words, the transempirical. In addition, it is not possible to
          affirm that when something is transempirical it ceases to be
          empirical.

          It is therefore possible to speak from a solid foundation about human
          experience, moral experience, or religious experience. And if it is
          possible to speak of such experiences, it is difficult to deny that,
          in the realm of human experience, one also finds good and evil, truth
          and beauty, and God. God Himself certainly is not an object of human
          empiricism; the Sacred Scripture, in its own way, emphasizes this: "No
          one has ever seen God" (cf. Jn 1:18). If God is a knowable object--as
          both the Book of Wisdom and the Letter to the Romans teach--He is such
          on the basis of man's expe- rience both of the visible world and of
          his interior world. This is the point of departure for Immanuel Kant's
          study of ethical experience in which he aban- dons the old approach
          found in the writings of the Bible and of Saint Thomas Aquinas…"

          So it seems to me that Voegelin's departure from traditional Catholic
          theology doesn't make his agenda, though not hidden, not a Catholic
          agenda. BTW, that theology has just made a new Pope!

          "Voegelin knew quite well that a temporalized and immanentized version
          of Gnosticism differs from the acosmic doctrines of ancient Gnostics.
          He insisted on it. Voegelin associates the destructive tendencies the
          article cites primarily with the modern, immanentized version of
          Gnostic symbols and doctrines. To say that a gnosticism that
          temporalizes the beyond (that is known by a gnostic elite) is not to
          say that the temporalized version is no longer essentially gnostic. An
          analogy would be Arthur Lovejoy's exploration (in "The Great Chain of
          Being") that much modern evolutionary thought is a temporalization of
          Neo-Platonism. That it is different does not limit the continuity"
          Great! I liked your comparison. That's the biggest issue to me here
          because I still fail to see the link Voegelin made between them.
          Please, give me a helping hand:

          1. I can see how neo-Platonism may have led to immanentist
          evolutionism, but I can't see that continuity between ancient
          gnosticism and its modern version. Voegelin says both put an emphasis
          on individual efforts to reach that beyond, while Christianism relies
          on God's Grace. A very good point in the article is that it's not true
          that ancient gnostics disregarded God's Grace, and I add something:
          it's not true that Christians are not supposed to make any efforts
          whatsoever. Actually, in both you see an internal struggle to allow
          yourself to give in to a "higher Self", so you see both God's
          intervention and individual efforts.

          2. I don't believe one would label Hegel's, Darwin's or Marx's systems
          as modern Neoplatonism, even if they agreed to see that continuity.
          You probably wouldn't right a book saying Fidel Castro is or Lenin was
          a neo-platonist. Nevertheless, that's what Voegelin did with
          gnosticism. Another comparison: American liberalism is a continuation
          of classical liberalism, "just" that the latter was restrained to
          negative rights while the former is willing to sacrifice those same
          rights in order to achieve positive ones. So, even if there is a
          continuity, that doesn't mean you can give them a single label.

          Thanks,

          Caio
        • stromthy4
          Thanks to Mr. Rossi for calling attention to that essay. The writer of that essay is, for all his ostensible intelligence, remarkably simple-minded and obtuse
          Message 4 of 24 , May 3, 2005
            Thanks to Mr. Rossi for calling attention to that essay. The writer
            of that essay is, for all his ostensible intelligence, remarkably
            simple-minded and obtuse (and historically illiterate, as when for
            example he implies that ancient Gnosticism was typified by a
            Christocentric soteriology). I could substantiate that with more
            specific analysis of that essay, but I'm not sure I want to waste the
            time to do so.

            D. Simlik

            --- In evforum@yahoogroups.com, Caio Rossi <caiorossi@g...> wrote:
            > Hello,
            >
            > I wonder if you have read this text and what's your position:
            >
            > http://www.moiracn.com/index/article.php/318
            >
            > Thanks,
            >
            > Caio
          • stromthy4
            PS, I would respond on a general level to Mr. Rossi s questions that the crux of Voegelin s typology of Gnosticism hinges not so much the grace/will axis,
            Message 5 of 24 , May 3, 2005
              PS, I would respond on a general level to Mr. Rossi's questions that
              the crux of Voegelin's typology of "Gnosticism" hinges not so much
              the grace/will axis, but rather on the Tension/Impatience axis.

              I.e., what distinguishes the Gnostic (Ancient, Medieval and Modern)
              from the non-Gnostic is the former's impatience with the ongoing
              mystery of the Tension of Existence. The tension and mystery would
              collapse and mean nothing, were one to be endowed with a knowledge
              (gnosis) of what it all means, where it is all going, and more
              pertinently, how one's own salvation fits in as an assured event.
              And that is precisely the point of Gnosticism: as an antidote and
              relief for the pain and frustration that attend the tensional mystery
              of life, one finds a way, or key, whereby the tension and mystery
              collapse, and the Cosmos (that reality whereby the pain & frustration
              of the mysterious tension find their raison d'être) must no longer
              be
              abided in patience and humility, but may soon be left behind as the
              odious way-station that it really is, on the way to transfiguration.

              For all Gnostics, the Cosmos is a horrible mistake. For non-
              Gnostics, the Cosmos is strangely, disturbingly, annoyingly, even
              painfully, yet also wondrously and happily, NOT a mistake.

              D. Simlik

              --- In evforum@yahoogroups.com, "stromthy4" <stromthy4@y...> wrote:
              > Thanks to Mr. Rossi for calling attention to that essay. The
              writer
              > of that essay is, for all his ostensible intelligence, remarkably
              > simple-minded and obtuse (and historically illiterate, as when for
              > example he implies that ancient Gnosticism was typified by a
              > Christocentric soteriology). I could substantiate that with more
              > specific analysis of that essay, but I'm not sure I want to waste
              the
              > time to do so.
              >
              > D. Simlik
              >
              > --- In evforum@yahoogroups.com, Caio Rossi <caiorossi@g...> wrote:
              > > Hello,
              > >
              > > I wonder if you have read this text and what's your position:
              > >
              > > http://www.moiracn.com/index/article.php/318
              > >
              > > Thanks,
              > >
              > > Caio
            • Owen Jones
              Regarding the passage below, Voegelin does not define gnosticism in terms of its dogmatic statements. He performs an experiential exegesis of the gnostic as
              Message 6 of 24 , May 3, 2005
                Regarding the passage below, Voegelin does not define gnosticism in terms of its dogmatic statements. He performs an experiential exegesis of the gnostic as one who is alienated, and then shows the different ways in which that alienation is manifested. Once atheism became socially acceptable, gnostic deformation of reality takes place in the ideological mass movements and intellectual movements since the 18th Century. There are only a limited number of these types, because of the structure of the metaxy, the structure of consciousness, and the relationship between intellect, will, passions are constants. He is not interested, as was Karl Friedrich, in making superficial comparisons, or arriving at definitions based on outward manifestations. He understood, as Friedrich did not, that totalitarianism is a pathology, not a system. The system is merely a presenting symptom.

                Caio Rossi <caiorossi@...> wrote:
                "Voegelin knew quite well that a temporalized and immanentized version
                of Gnosticism differs from the acosmic doctrines of ancient Gnostics.
                He insisted on it. Voegelin associates the destructive tendencies the
                article cites primarily with the modern, immanentized version of
                Gnostic symbols and doctrines. To say that a gnosticism that
                temporalizes the beyond (that is known by a gnostic elite) is not to
                say that the temporalized version is no longer essentially gnostic. An
                analogy would be Arthur Lovejoy's exploration (in "The Great Chain of
                Being") that much modern evolutionary thought is a temporalization of
                Neo-Platonism. That it is different does not limit the continuity"
                Great! I liked your comparison. That's the biggest issue to me here
                because I still fail to see the link Voegelin made between them.
                Please, give me a helping hand:

                --------------------------------------------------------------------~->

                In consideratione creaturarum non est vana
                et peritura curiositas exercenda; sed gradus
                ad immortalia et semper manentia faciendus.
                �St Augustine De vera religione
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              • Caio Rossi
                Hello, D. Simlik You wrote: For all Gnostics, the Cosmos is a horrible mistake. For non- Gnostics, the Cosmos is strangely, disturbingly, annoyingly, even
                Message 7 of 24 , May 3, 2005
                  Hello, D. Simlik

                  You wrote:

                  "For all Gnostics, the Cosmos is a horrible mistake. For non-
                  Gnostics, the Cosmos is strangely, disturbingly, annoyingly, even
                  painfully, yet also wondrously and happily, NOT a mistake."

                  Thank you for your comments. But let's try to put that into practice
                  studying some real cases: what to say of gnostics that do not develop
                  that pessimistic view of the Cosmos as a horrible mistake? I can
                  recall the Buddha, who says the opportunity of being born as a human
                  is a privilege, or sufis reading in Creation symbols of God and using
                  that as a way to transcend the very Cosmos they're contemplating.

                  Buddhists and sufis, to take just two Gnostic "groups", are engaged in
                  practices that supposedly will lead them to gnosis, but I wouldn't say
                  the Cosmos is a horrible mistake to them. Some things they say may be
                  interpreted as such, but no more than what's suggested by Adam, Eve
                  and the original sin. I notice that much of the pessimism toward the
                  Cosmos purportedly found in Gnostics is read into many of them but a
                  closer look at what they claim or a five-minute interview with them (I
                  just happen to have had a thirty-minute interview with a sufi) will
                  generally not confirm that or the exclusive "individual efforts" as a
                  way toward the Beyond.

                  BTW, one of the things about gnosis that annoyed Christian apologists
                  was their alleged access to a higher Truth that is not accessible to
                  the average man. That's what you meant when you referred to their
                  "Impatience" But doesn't Voegelin give his approval to Averrois's
                  elitist gnosticism in chapter 5 of his NSP? What makes Averrois's
                  overt profession of sufi gnostic elitism acceptable to Voegelin?

                  And isn't "Impatience" only a psychological state, one which I've
                  never seen advised (much on the contrary) by any Gnostic "master"? The
                  usual piece of advice is actually that their disciples should let go
                  of expectations and not surrender to psychological states such as
                  impatience, fear, etc.

                  Best wishes,

                  Caio
                • Larry Chappell
                  These are good questions. Indeed, the most important difference between this post and the article is its genuine questing spirit as opposed to the know-it-all
                  Message 8 of 24 , May 3, 2005
                    These are good questions. Indeed, the most important difference between
                    this post and the article is its genuine questing spirit as opposed to the
                    know-it-all dismissiveness of the article that initiated the thread. They
                    are also big questions for which some quick responses on a listserv could
                    never suffice. Unfortunately, all that the imminence of reading a stack of
                    finals will permit are a few elliptical comments.

                    1) Why group any batch of texts together? Of course, the mere discovery of
                    some texts in jars does not give them their commonality. Attributing unity
                    to Gnostic texts is not a unique problem. What connects "The Song of
                    Solomon" "The Book of Ecclesiastes" Paul's letters and "The Book of
                    Revelation" other than the process of canonization? Any answer is likely to
                    be contentious (especially considering the differences between Catholic and
                    Protestant canons). That does not mean that the hermeneutical task is
                    impossible.Diversity among texts does not preclude unity. The question is
                    this: Which texts discovered or corrected after Jonas and Voegelin reached
                    their tentative empirical conclusions would force a fundamental
                    reevaluation of their original conclusions? The mere fact that new stuff
                    has been found and scholars have arrived at different interpretations
                    should not necessarily impress anyone.

                    Unless we totally discount Christian polemics, I see no reason to stop
                    thinking of early Gnosticism as a "movement." St. Epiphanius may have lied
                    about Barbello Gnostics crushing fetuses and eating them (mixed with honey)
                    to prevent birth into an evil world. Would that mean that there are no
                    Gnostic churches with dogmas and rituals? And are we to doubt that one
                    variety of Gnosticism could teach birth into a wicked cosmos? And isn't
                    this consistent with a whole bunch of Gnostic texts we have in hand?

                    2) The issue of continuity is difficult. Continuity can be of two sorts:
                    ontic and historical. Historically, Voegelin claims that Joachim exerted
                    continuing influence that manifested itself throughout "modern" symbology.
                    That is an empirical question that has to be debated empirically. At the
                    ontic level, there can be gnostic movements that work out of central
                    (corrupted) experiences (e,g., alienation as Mr. Jones suggests) so that
                    structural patterns of expression (e.g., the three stages of history stuff
                    that appears in Husserl and Dewey) independent of any traceable reception
                    history. The question here is: Are there repeated symbolic structures that
                    recur with predictable consequences. Note that modern Gnosticism cannot be
                    explained exclusively by universal experiences. There must be historical
                    events that shape the expression of existential anxiety. Voegelin argues
                    that the eschatological form that these expressions of alienation or
                    overeagerness (in Simlik's version) rely on the historical advent of
                    Christianity. Exploring symbolic structures is a matter for empirical
                    inquiry as well -- not dismissive articles that rely on bold assertion more
                    than careful documentation and argument.

                    3) Voegelin's compatibility Catholicism and his critique of Protestant
                    theologies also involves big questions. He certainly resists the radical
                    individualism of Luther and the cloying dogmatism of Calvin. All to the
                    good. His insistence on philosophical independence does not seem a good
                    candidate for handmaiden for Catholic theology though. Aside from his
                    dogged insistence on philosophical independence, we might ponder the
                    following remark: "One can have the spirit of Christianity without being a
                    church member." (CW 33, 85).

                    Larry Chappell
                    larchap@...



                    > [Original Message]
                    > From: Caio Rossi <caiorossi@...>
                    > To: <evforum@yahoogroups.com>
                    > Date: 5/2/2005 9:32:09 PM
                    > Subject: Re: [evforum] Voegelin's antignosticism and the origins of
                    totalitarianism
                    >
                    > Hello, Larry

                    I'm really trying to make sense out of certain assertions Voegelin
                    made, so please don't take my questions and statements as if I were
                    disputing your arguments.

                    You wrote:

                    �"One can find perhaps rich spiritual significance in Gnostic texts.
                    That hardly means that there are no nihilistic and dogmatic aspects to
                    the movement, and these are worth analyzing."

                    But according to what I've read, Nag Hammadi texts are leading
                    researchers to conclude that there's never been something as a
                    movement, but many perspectives that were mislabeled (or even better:
                    misunderstood) as if a single one by Christian apologists.


                    " The view that Voegelin is out to defend Catholicism against the
                    Reformation is a bit silly.

                    To me, that was Voegelin's agenda but it was never hidden: he makes it
                    clear that placing Catholicism as a higher standard is what he's doing
                    in the Introduction to the New Science of Politics, doesn't he? There
                    he says Weber reintroduced value judgement in political science by
                    means of his "legitimating beliefs" and that it then gave birth to a
                    "new science of politics" (or represented the death of the old,
                    positivist one) where metaphysical systems are ranked and the
                    Christian one, more specifically catholic, lies in the uppermost
                    layer. He doesn't make a secret of it.

                    "�Voegelin could be quite harsh in his judgments of Catholics
                    including powerful figures like Aquinas and Augustine."

                    But isn't it still what the new CATHOLIC thelogy was doing and from
                    which Voegelin fed himself- and so did Ratzinger? That's the criticism
                    traditionalist theologians and intellectuals make of his Christianism
                    and of those who influenced him (who gathered to create the Communio
                    magazine) and can be summarized in the term "religious experience" or
                    Giussani's "presence". A good example:

                    http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/arch/god.html

                    "Cognitive realism, both so-called naive realism and critical realism,
                    agrees that "nihil est in intellectu, quod prius non fuerit in sensu"
                    ("nothing is in the intellect that was not first in the senses").
                    Nevertheless, the limits of these "senses" are not exclusively sen-
                    sory. We know, in fact, that man not only knows colors, tones, and
                    forms; he also knows objects globally--for example, not only all the
                    parts that com- prise the object "man" but also man in himself (yes,
                    man as a person). He knows, therefore, extrasensory truths, or, in
                    other words, the transempirical. In addition, it is not possible to
                    affirm that when something is transempirical it ceases to be
                    empirical.

                    It is therefore possible to speak from a solid foundation about human
                    experience, moral experience, or religious experience. And if it is
                    possible to speak of such experiences, it is difficult to deny that,
                    in the realm of human experience, one also finds good and evil, truth
                    and beauty, and God. God Himself certainly is not an object of human
                    empiricism; the Sacred Scripture, in its own way, emphasizes this: "No
                    one has ever seen God" (cf. Jn 1:18). If God is a knowable object--as
                    both the Book of Wisdom and the Letter to the Romans teach--He is such
                    on the basis of man's expe- rience both of the visible world and of
                    his interior world. This is the point of departure for Immanuel Kant's
                    study of ethical experience in which he aban- dons the old approach
                    found in the writings of the Bible and of Saint Thomas Aquinas�"

                    So it seems to me that Voegelin's departure from traditional Catholic
                    theology doesn't make his agenda, though not hidden, not a Catholic
                    agenda. BTW, that theology has just made a new Pope!

                    "Voegelin knew quite well that a temporalized and immanentized version
                    of Gnosticism differs from the acosmic doctrines of ancient Gnostics.
                    He insisted on it. Voegelin associates the destructive tendencies the
                    article cites primarily with the modern, immanentized version of
                    Gnostic symbols and doctrines. To say that a gnosticism that
                    temporalizes the beyond (that is known by a gnostic elite) is not to
                    say that the temporalized version is no longer essentially gnostic. An
                    analogy would be Arthur Lovejoy's exploration (in "The Great Chain of
                    Being") that much modern evolutionary thought is a temporalization of
                    Neo-Platonism. That it is different does not limit the continuity"
                    Great! I liked your comparison. That's the biggest issue to me here
                    because I still fail to see the link Voegelin made between them.
                    Please, give me a helping hand:

                    1. I can see how neo-Platonism may have led to immanentist
                    evolutionism, but I can't see that continuity between ancient
                    gnosticism and its modern version. Voegelin says both put an emphasis
                    on individual efforts to reach that beyond, while Christianism relies
                    on God's Grace. A very good point in the article is that it's not true
                    that ancient gnostics disregarded God's Grace, and I add something:
                    it's not true that Christians are not supposed to make any efforts
                    whatsoever. Actually, in both you see an internal struggle to allow
                    yourself to give in to a "higher Self", so you see both God's
                    intervention and individual efforts.

                    2. I don't believe one would label Hegel's, Darwin's or Marx's systems
                    as modern Neoplatonism, even if they agreed to see that continuity.
                    You probably wouldn't right a book saying Fidel Castro is or Lenin was
                    a neo-platonist. Nevertheless, that's what Voegelin did with
                    gnosticism. Another comparison: American liberalism is a continuation
                    of classical liberalism, "just" that the latter was restrained to
                    negative rights while the former is willing to sacrifice those same
                    rights in order to achieve positive ones. So, even if there is a
                    continuity, that doesn't mean you can give them a single label.

                    Thanks,

                    Caio
                  • Caio Rossi
                    Hello, Larry wrote: The question is this: Which texts discovered or corrected after Jonas and Voegelin reached their tentative empirical conclusions would
                    Message 9 of 24 , May 3, 2005
                      Hello,

                      Larry wrote:

                      "The question is
                      this: Which texts discovered or corrected after Jonas and Voegelin
                      reached their tentative empirical conclusions would force a
                      fundamental
                      reevaluation of their original conclusions?"

                      Ireaneus' description of what he labeled as
                      gnostic(http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103.htm) was taken at face
                      value until then (the Demiurge, Sophia, dualism, self-centered
                      elitism, etc). What they found out with Nag Hammadi texts was that it
                      was not a proper description. The Gospel of Thomas
                      (www.gospelthomas.com), for instance, has nothing to do with that
                      description and brings to mind Buddhist or Sufi gnosis.

                      You asked why they were placed together: Athanasius, then Bishop of
                      Alexandria, imposed Ireaneus' list of canonical texts in the region,
                      what would have led Egyptian monks to hide them. It doesn't mean they
                      had anything in common except the fact that they didn't belong to the
                      list. Texts that conformed to Ireaneus' depiction and texts that
                      didn't were all excluded.

                      "Unless we totally discount Christian polemics, I see no reason to
                      stop thinking of early Gnosticism as a "movement."

                      But it wasn't, actually. Back then you had christians in general
                      spread all over the place but not united under a Church with official
                      texts, etc. Those Ireaneus called gnostics and those he didn't would
                      even go to the same church, although gnostics seemed to have esoteric
                      interpretations and some extra practices, not much different from
                      sufis in Islam.

                      What made it possible for them to start building a "canonical"
                      Christianity was the growing political power of organized churches in
                      the regions where most people had been converted, what culminated in
                      Constantine's conversion.

                      So it's hard to say it was a "movement" like cathars in the Middle
                      Ages. Christianism was not so well-defined back then to allow that
                      comparison.

                      "... The question here is: Are there repeated symbolic structures that
                      recur with predictable consequences...?

                      Has anyone bothered to look for symbolic structures present in the Nag
                      Hammadi texts, for example, that seemed to be present in what EV
                      called modern gnosticism? If not, any volunteers? :-) That may be a
                      good thesis for a post-graduation program.

                      "... Aside from his dogged insistence on philosophical independence,
                      we might ponder the following remark: "One can have the spirit of
                      Christianity without being a church member." (CW 33, 85)."

                      Versus "No salvation outside the Church". That's why I say his
                      theological sources (Balthasar, de Lubac), which happen to be the same
                      as Ratzinger's, don't really conform to the pre-Vatican II predominant
                      theology. I can't help concluding that EV and Vatican II shared the
                      same (German) craddle.

                      Thanks a lot,

                      Caio Rossi
                    • Caio Rossi
                      Hello, ... Thank you for you considerations. Once again, I d like to try to understand that in practical terms (when I refer to gnostics below, I m referring
                      Message 10 of 24 , May 4, 2005
                        Hello,

                        Owen wrote:

                        > Regarding the passage below, Voegelin does not define gnosticism in terms of its dogmatic statements. He performs an experiential exegesis of the gnostic as one who is alienated, and then shows the different ways in which that alienation is manifested.<

                        Thank you for you considerations. Once again, I'd like to try to
                        understand that in practical terms (when I refer to gnostics below,
                        I'm referring to the transcendalist type, not the modern one, except
                        for number 5):

                        1. You picture gnosticism as alienation from reality. Gnostics
                        metaphysical experience may lead them to believe there's a reality
                        that's more real than the one we already know (like in Plato's cave).
                        Who's alienated from reality then?

                        2. A friend of mine, who must be a member of this list, says although
                        Buddhism has gnostic features, the fact that it was able to build a
                        civilization shows it can cope with reality as it is. Would you agree
                        that it very much depends on what gnostics do of their gnosticism?

                        3. From the average man's perspective, an intellectual (who takes part
                        in EVforum and stuff like that) may seem to be alienated from reality,
                        while we know that, in fact, what intellectuals, at least those who
                        resist relativism, are trying to do is find the unity of apparently
                        disconnected events and things in the "real world". Likewise, but more
                        radically, gnostics are trying to realize the Supreme Unity, from
                        Which all relative "unities" reason can find stem. So, when
                        intellectuals see gnostics as alienated from reality, aren't they just
                        reproducing an upgraded misjudgement of what the average man says of
                        them?

                        4. You said alienation. Someone else here said "impatience". Others
                        say pessimism. Is there a standard definition of gnosis/gnosticism?
                        Unless EV changed his definition, what I recall is that gnostics to
                        him were those who wanted to make an effort to reach God instead of
                        placing their confidence in God's Grace (ancient Gnosis) and/or wanted
                        to, as was said here, "temporalize" the whole thing and build God's
                        kingdom on earth (modern ones). It seems to me that pessimism and
                        impatience are only acccidental psychological traits gnostics might
                        have, that might be developed or not in their writings, but they
                        wouldn't be a core characteristic of a gnostic. Otherwise self-help
                        books would automatically be excluded from the gnostic label, and so
                        would the "You-can-do-it" New Age literature crap.

                        5. Last, but not least: is any kind of millennialism gnostic (now, of
                        the modern type)? LaHaye's Left Behind, for instance? If you're not
                        trying to actively build God's kingdom on earth, but only expecting it
                        to come whenever God wills, can you be considered a gnostic?

                        Ok, now you can kick me off the list! :-)

                        Best wishes,

                        Caio
                      • Owen Jones
                        There is gnosis, there are gnostics and there is gnosticism. Gnosticism implies some kind of system or movement or a combination of the two, I should think.
                        Message 11 of 24 , May 4, 2005
                          There is gnosis, there are gnostics and there is gnosticism. Gnosticism implies some kind of system or movement or a combination of the two, I should think. Some program. In addition to having some common experience of reality (or unreality). There are gnostics who do not fall into the trap of some dream world, either immanent or transcendent, when gnostic is used in a more generic sense of just desiring knowledge of God or having obtained some degree of knowledge of God. In this sense, every Orthodox Christian is a gnostic, but in our tradition, the term gnostic is usually reserved for ascetics and hesychasts who have acquired some gift of prophecy -- which, in turn, in our tradition, does not necessarily mean predicting the future, but refers to some transformation of perception so that God's purpose is seen more clearly. And of course gnosis simply means knowledge, but in its general usage typically refers to a higher knowledge of spiritual things than what most of us crass
                          materialists have obtained.

                          To conflate all of these as meaning the same thing is the error that is made of the offending article in question.

                          Yes, LeHaye most certainly falls into the gnosticism category. virtually any fundamentalist millenarian does.

                          Regarding alienation, Voegelin allows for the fact that Christians per se, would have something wrong with them if they weren't alienated from the world in some way. But I remember interviewing a college professor for a job once, and he told me point blank that he believed he lived in a prison. That's going well beyond normal alienation. It's a clinical pathology. That's the problem that Voegelin has keyed in on: that of mass alienation on a pathological level. You won't find any of the Desert Fathers who claim the title of gnostic saying that they feal like they are living in a prison. Just the opposite. God has already set them free from the domination of their passions -- at least as long as they continue the struggle.

                          My tradition teaches that the reason why God became Man was so that men could become God. The Incarnation is therefore a symbol for the restoration of all of creation to its intended purpose, and to its health, as it were. This path toward deification (immortalizing as Voegelin and Plato would say) is not undertaken at the expense of Reason, or by claiming that the in-between nature of reality has been overcome. Not of the desert Fathers claimed that they had become immortal, or had become deified, or perfected. They all acknowledged that they still were limited by the bodily senses and other material limitations and noetic limitations, that they were still sinful (actually, especially so, seeing the threat of the sin of pride being greater among clergy and ascetics) and that there is no end to their ascetic quest, no end to the search.

                          So I think we can make a number of common sense distinctions between the claim of some interior spiritual knowledge and gnosticism per se, whether religious or secularized. Without such distinctions, we all lapse into the solipsist fallacy. Which is exactly what Voegelin does (make distinctions that is). Do I suffer from gnostic temptations? Sure. All the time. In my personal life and in the social sphere. I want a Supreme Court and a Congress that will protect the unborn. Now! But at least I have a minimal awareness of when that creeps in and I know what to do about it. Pray for patience! All in God's time. He's in charge.

                          One of the main ingredients in gnosticism, whether of the immantized or transcendet type, is that there is a human controller. The idea that we can call down God whenever we want. No allowance for spiritual dryness, for example.

                          There is an interesting segment at the opening of the Symposium. Socrates appears at the doorstep and then disappears. Agathon sends the servant to find him. He returns to report that Socrates is meditating on the porch and seems unapproachable. Agathon says wait, Socrates cannot be summoned. He will make his appearance when he is ready. Plato's way of representing Socrates as a man having the qualities of God?



                          Caio Rossi <caiorossi@...> wrote:
                          Hello,

                          Owen wrote:

                          > Regarding the passage below, Voegelin does not define gnosticism in terms of its dogmatic statements. He performs an experiential exegesis of the gnostic as one who is alienated, and then shows the different ways in which that alienation is manifested.<

                          Thank you for you considerations. Once again, I'd like to try to
                          understand that in practical terms (when I refer to gnostics below,
                          I'm referring to the transcendalist type, not the modern one, except
                          for number 5):

                          1. You picture gnosticism as alienation from reality. Gnostics
                          metaphysical experience may lead them to believe there's a reality
                          that's more real than the one we already know (like in Plato's cave).
                          Who's alienated from reality then?



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                          et peritura curiositas exercenda; sed gradus
                          ad immortalia et semper manentia faciendus.
                          �St Augustine De vera religione



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                        • Caio Rossi
                          Hello, Owen Thanks a lot for taking the time and trouble to reply to me. You said: … There are gnostics who do not fall into the trap of some dream world,
                          Message 12 of 24 , May 4, 2005
                            Hello, Owen

                            Thanks a lot for taking the time and trouble to reply to me.


                            You said:

                            "… There are gnostics who do not fall into the trap of some dream
                            world, either immanent or transcendent, when gnostic is used in a more
                            generic sense of just desiring knowledge of God or having obtained
                            some degree of knowledge of God…"


                            I know there are those who profess one should differentiate gnosis
                            from gnosticism (and therefore gnostics from "gnosticists"), but is
                            that a differentiation EV explicitly makes (even if using other
                            terms)? I couldn't find anything like that in the NSP, although it
                            was something I was looking for while I read it.


                            " In this sense, every Orthodox Christian is a gnostic,…"


                            You mean their theosis (deification), I suppose. There's this
                            interesting article on an Orthodox Christian website:
                            http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/frag_salv.aspx where you can find an
                            analysis of the concept of theosis in the Western tradition (scroll
                            down to Theosis Used in the Western Church).
                            Anyway, I can remember EV mentions Gregory of Palamas when he's
                            describing the influence of gnosis in Christianism but not as
                            something positive. Therefore, I have the impression he wouldn't share
                            your view on Orthodox Christianity's gnosis if by that you mean their
                            "theosis".

                            "…To conflate all of these as meaning the same thing is the error that
                            is made of the offending article in question."

                            But that's the very point to me: doesn't EV himself conflate them? It
                            may be to ask for too much, but can you refer to his own words when
                            you say they shouldn't be conflated?

                            "Regarding alienation, Voegelin allows for the fact that Christians
                            per se, would have something wrong with them if they weren't alienated
                            from the world in some way. But I remember interviewing a college
                            professor for a job once, and he told me point blank that he believed
                            he lived in a prison. That's going well beyond normal alienation.
                            It's a clinical pathology. That's the problem that Voegelin has keyed
                            in on: that of mass alienation on a pathological level. You won't
                            find any of the Desert Fathers who claim the title of gnostic saying
                            that they feal like they are living in a prison. Just the opposite.
                            God has already set them free from the domination of their passions --
                            at least as long as they continue the struggle."

                            This text http://ministries.tliquest.net/theology/apocryphas/nt/mystic.htm
                            brings a discussion about that, although it contradicts itself when,
                            after explaining that, differently from early christians influenced by
                            platonism ("…The Platonic view of man as a soul IMPRISONED within a
                            body was for a time incorporated into Christian speculative thought
                            through the writing of Evagrius of Pontus (d. 399) and Origen of
                            Alexandria (d. 253 or 254), but it was later ignored…"), they didn't
                            "refuse" their bodies (or material life as such), the Philokalia is
                            quoted as an example of the spirituality of the Desert Fathers:
                            ""Oppressed by this life, as by a PRISON, how irresistible was the
                            striving towards God of those whose soul was touched by Divine
                            yearning. Owing to their insatiable desire to contemplate Divine
                            beauty, they prayed that the sight of God's beauty should last for all
                            eternity...."
                            Neither can I agree that "This unique mind-body philosophy of the
                            Eastern Christians is also important to note, for it played a large
                            part in their practice of mysticism" is that unique. Hasn't its author
                            ever heard of yoga?

                            "… Not of the desert Fathers claimed that they had become immortal,
                            or had become deified, or perfected. They all acknowledged that they
                            still were limited by the bodily senses and other material limitations
                            and noetic limitations, that they were still sinful (actually,
                            especially so, seeing the threat of the sin of pride being greater
                            among clergy and ascetics) and that there is no end to their ascetic
                            quest, no end to the search."

                            But is that purported by ancient gnostics at large, or even
                            non-Christians gnostics, like buddhists and sufis? You said: "
                            One of the main ingredients in gnosticism, whether of the immantized
                            or transcendet type, is that there is a human controller. The idea
                            that we can call down God whenever we want. No allowance for
                            spiritual dryness, for example", but I fail to see that in
                            transcendent gnostic literature and people I've been in contact with.
                            I can understand the concept but I just can't find a single historical
                            example. And EV does something very strange to me: he reserves good
                            words for the Buddha but not for Gregory of Palamas, so I see no logic
                            behind his choices.


                            Hugs,

                            Caio
                          • Owen Jones
                            And EV does something very strange to me: he reserves good words for the Buddha but not for Gregory of Palamas, so I see no logic behind his choices. If this
                            Message 13 of 24 , May 4, 2005
                              And EV does something very strange to me: he reserves good
                              words for the Buddha but not for Gregory of Palamas, so I see no logic
                              behind his choices.




                              If this is accurate, then I agree with you on this one point.

                              On the point of alienation, Voegelin makes the distinction between a healthy alienation in Christianity, and a pathological one. I cannot quote you chapter and verse. I think the gnostics of the Philokalia have a healthy view of it. Voegelin might disagree. So be it.

                              The Palamite Controversy is extremely interesting. Also the Catholic Encyclopedia's take on it, which is churlish at best. But Palamas is consistent with Orthodox asceticism from the earliest period. That a transformation of sense perception is the key to knowledge of God and divine things. That this is a superior form of gnosis than understanding.

                              Barlaam is wedded to a kind of hyper-Aristotelianism in contrast. Voegelin surely seems to be more in the Aristotelian tradition. Here is an area where I think he could have been more appreciative. Hesychast practice -- taken on its own -- is not unlike Buddhist practice. One might say it is a Christian form of nihilism -- against the world. But surely a part of every Christian's life. The dogma of the experience is, of course, radically different than Buddhism.

                              Let's not forget that Voegelin characterized Origen as the greatest speculative theologian. Christianity has always been, in some sense, at war with the world, and with the physical body. Let's not forget what Christ did voluntarily to his own body. But that does not in and of itself express a gnosticism. Gnosticism usually involves the claim of spiritual perfection, and such gnostics usually claim to have transcended the law. Jesus's statement that he has not changed the law one jot or tittle is an anti-gnostic statement. thank you for the quote from the Philokalia, but taken in context, one has to understand that there is no claim that the struggle against bodily passions has ended, or that the symbol of a "prison" is to be taken to literally, or that the metaxy has been overcome. There is always a context to what otherwise appear to be extreme statements by the hesychasts. One might just as well quote Christ as saying that we should all hate our parents. It is employed as
                              a device to get our attention and get serious about our priorities. for gnosticism, such statements are intended to be literal.

                              Caio Rossi <caiorossi@...> wrote:
                              And EV does something very strange to me: he reserves good
                              words for the Buddha but not for Gregory of Palamas, so I see no logic
                              behind his choices.


                              Hugs,

                              Caio



                              In consideratione creaturarum non est vana
                              et peritura curiositas exercenda; sed gradus
                              ad immortalia et semper manentia faciendus.
                              �St Augustine De vera religione
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                            • stromthy4
                              I think some of the sincere questions and confusion expressed by Mr. Rossi (I hope he will forgive me for not responding specifically to his previous
                              Message 14 of 24 , May 4, 2005
                                I think some of the sincere questions and confusion expressed by Mr.
                                Rossi (I hope he will forgive me for not responding specifically to
                                his previous questions) stem from an impression that the
                                identification & categorization of Gnosticism is a simplex
                                Either/Or. When I offered my previous answer that the Gnostic thinks
                                the Cosmos is a terrible mistake while the non-Gnostic does not think
                                so, I didn't mean to imply that there is not a rich, complex world of
                                gradations in between these two postures. There obviously are many
                                degrees, such that for example Voegelin could (following others) note
                                that there are "Gnostic tendencies" in the Gospel of John.

                                E.g., Mr. Rossi (understandably) seized on Owen Jones' comment that
                                the pathos of feeling imprisoned in existence is peculiarly Gnostic,
                                by pointing out that this pathos can also be found in Plato himself
                                (there is Plato's famous "soma (body)/sema (prison)" pun, as well as
                                his characterization of existence as "submarine", cited by Voegelin
                                somewhere, as well as numerous others explored by Simone Petrement
                                whose book Voegelin approved of). The point is not that such
                                instances of alienation in Plato must prove he is a Gnostic; but
                                rather that Plato indeed had Gnostic tendencies, whose fascination he
                                nevertheless resisted. That is the eminent point Voegelin makes in
                                his essay "Wisdom: The Magic of the Extreme" -- namely, that the
                                philosopher shares virtually everything with the disordered soul (aka
                                the Gnostic), except that he doesn't succumb to the temptation to
                                close himself off from the mysteriously imperfect structure of
                                existence.

                                Also, Mr. Masingill correctly reminded us of the
                                perfection/imperfection tension: the Gnostic shares with the non-
                                Gnostic an aversion to imperfection and a longing for perfection; but
                                where the Gnostic crosses the line is where he becomes so obsessed
                                with his aversion and longing that he closes himself off from the
                                fact that he cannot escape the mixture of perfection/imperfection.
                                And there are gradations of non-Gnostic pathos, too: one of the
                                higher levels (as Voegelin implies in his essay "Reason: the Classic
                                Experience") is to experience positive (not perfect) joy in the
                                mysteriously messy "full catastrophe" of life.

                                D. Simlik
                              • S. Barret Dolph
                                ... Which civilization did Buddhism build? Can a religion build a civilization? Cordially, S. Barret Dolph Taipei Taiwan
                                Message 15 of 24 , May 5, 2005
                                  On Wednesday 04 May 2005 11:19, Caio Rossi wrote:

                                  >
                                  > 2. A friend of mine, who must be a member of this list, says although
                                  > Buddhism has gnostic features, the fact that it was able to build a
                                  > civilization shows it can cope with reality as it is. Would you agree
                                  > that it very much depends on what gnostics do of their gnosticism?
                                  >

                                  Which civilization did Buddhism build? Can a religion build a civilization?

                                  Cordially,
                                  S. Barret Dolph
                                  Taipei Taiwan
                                • Caio Rossi
                                  Hello, ...Christianity has always been, in some sense, at war with the world, and with the physical body. Let s not forget what Christ did voluntarily to his
                                  Message 16 of 24 , May 5, 2005
                                    Hello,

                                    "...Christianity has always been, in some sense, at war with the
                                    world, and with the physical body. Let's not forget what Christ did
                                    voluntarily to his own body. But that does not in and of itself
                                    express a gnosticism. Gnosticism usually involves the claim of
                                    spiritual perfection, and such gnostics usually claim to have
                                    transcended the law. Jesus's statement that he has not changed the
                                    law one jot or tittle is an anti-gnostic statement..."

                                    But Jesus was God (spiritual perfection) and he eventually was not so
                                    diplomatic and made it clear: "OK, guys, you know Ol' Moses 10
                                    commandments, right? Let's make'm something more practical...". Not
                                    exactly in those words, but the point is that Law is Law and Grace is
                                    Grace.

                                    When gnostics say they have transcended the law they're referring to
                                    the religious social law. Jesus claimed to be going to the heart of
                                    the matter when he said the real core of those laws was that they
                                    should love God and their neighbors. That's reading an eSoteric
                                    meaning behind the form of the law. Sufis did the same in the Islamic
                                    world, and they happened to be accused of being disguised Christians
                                    by regular Muslims.

                                    So it's not so difficult to portray Christianism and Christ Himself as
                                    gnostics mostly if you take into consideration the Desert Fathers and
                                    monasticism, supposedly purer, not yet influenced by the Roman
                                    paganism and unavoidable pharisaism of the officialized Church.

                                    "...the quote from the Philokalia, but taken in context, one has to
                                    understand that there is no claim that the struggle against bodily
                                    passions has ended, or that the symbol of a "prison" is to be taken to
                                    literally, or that the metaxy has been overcome. There is always a
                                    context to what otherwise appear to be extreme statements by the
                                    hesychasts..."

                                    In fact, I knew you would say that and I couldn't agree more, but what
                                    I notice is that, when people want to categorize a certain movement or
                                    person as gnostic, that "prison" may be taken more literally than the
                                    movement or that person mean it (that's why I said people may be
                                    reading Ireaneus' depiction of gnosticism into texts and movements
                                    that just wouldn't agree with them. JPII's controversial depiction of
                                    buddhism rings the bell. He proved he's completely clueless about it
                                    and ignored all the advancement in mutual comprehension by the
                                    Inter-Monastical Dialogues).

                                    The first thing a gnostic will tell you not to do is take words
                                    literally, like anyone who studies metaphysics should know. Take
                                    Plato's ideas, for instance, which don't actually exist in time and
                                    space. Even Plato himself said there were greater truths that he just
                                    couldn't put down in words and were better suited for oral
                                    communication between master and disciple. And take what you said
                                    about Christ's recommendation to hate our parents. So I just can't
                                    agree with you when you say "for gnosticism, such statements are
                                    intended to be literal'. Quite the contrary.

                                    One of the reasons why Christians in the pagan Roman Empire were
                                    chased, imprisoned and murdered was that they met secretly, their
                                    priests performed rituals that were also secretive even to catechumens
                                    (and still are in part in the Eastern Church) and were said to make a
                                    human sacrifice and then eat the victim's flesh and blood. Wasn't
                                    Ireaneus too literal when he depicted those gnostics too?

                                    Hugs,

                                    Caio Rossi
                                  • stromthy4
                                    At the risk of reiteration, I would suggest that Mr. Rossi is focusing too intently on an Either/Or categorization of Gnostic/non- Gnostic, rather than a
                                    Message 17 of 24 , May 5, 2005
                                      At the risk of reiteration, I would suggest that Mr. Rossi is
                                      focusing too intently on an Either/Or categorization of Gnostic/non-
                                      Gnostic, rather than a spectrum of gradations.

                                      Without an appreciation for a spectrum, one would have to conclude
                                      that a person who demonstrated simply a degree of Gnostic tendencies
                                      is a Gnostic. With a context of a spectrum, we are not forced to
                                      conclude that a Jesus or a Plato are Gnostics; only that, insofar as
                                      they were human, they shared some of the Gnostic pathos (though never
                                      succumbed to the pathology).

                                      D. Simlik

                                      --- In evforum@yahoogroups.com, Caio Rossi <caiorossi@g...> wrote:
                                      > Hello,
                                      >
                                      > "...Christianity has always been, in some sense, at war with the
                                      > world, and with the physical body. Let's not forget what Christ did
                                      > voluntarily to his own body. But that does not in and of itself
                                      > express a gnosticism. Gnosticism usually involves the claim of
                                      > spiritual perfection, and such gnostics usually claim to have
                                      > transcended the law. Jesus's statement that he has not changed the
                                      > law one jot or tittle is an anti-gnostic statement..."
                                      >
                                      > But Jesus was God (spiritual perfection) and he eventually was not
                                      so
                                      > diplomatic and made it clear: "OK, guys, you know Ol' Moses 10
                                      > commandments, right? Let's make'm something more practical...". Not
                                      > exactly in those words, but the point is that Law is Law and Grace
                                      is
                                      > Grace.
                                      >
                                      > When gnostics say they have transcended the law they're referring to
                                      > the religious social law. Jesus claimed to be going to the heart of
                                      > the matter when he said the real core of those laws was that they
                                      > should love God and their neighbors. That's reading an eSoteric
                                      > meaning behind the form of the law. Sufis did the same in the
                                      Islamic
                                      > world, and they happened to be accused of being disguised Christians
                                      > by regular Muslims.
                                      >
                                      > So it's not so difficult to portray Christianism and Christ Himself
                                      as
                                      > gnostics mostly if you take into consideration the Desert Fathers
                                      and
                                      > monasticism, supposedly purer, not yet influenced by the Roman
                                      > paganism and unavoidable pharisaism of the officialized Church.
                                      >
                                      > "...the quote from the Philokalia, but taken in context, one has to
                                      > understand that there is no claim that the struggle against bodily
                                      > passions has ended, or that the symbol of a "prison" is to be taken
                                      to
                                      > literally, or that the metaxy has been overcome. There is always a
                                      > context to what otherwise appear to be extreme statements by the
                                      > hesychasts..."
                                      >
                                      > In fact, I knew you would say that and I couldn't agree more, but
                                      what
                                      > I notice is that, when people want to categorize a certain movement
                                      or
                                      > person as gnostic, that "prison" may be taken more literally than
                                      the
                                      > movement or that person mean it (that's why I said people may be
                                      > reading Ireaneus' depiction of gnosticism into texts and movements
                                      > that just wouldn't agree with them. JPII's controversial depiction
                                      of
                                      > buddhism rings the bell. He proved he's completely clueless about it
                                      > and ignored all the advancement in mutual comprehension by the
                                      > Inter-Monastical Dialogues).
                                      >
                                      > The first thing a gnostic will tell you not to do is take words
                                      > literally, like anyone who studies metaphysics should know. Take
                                      > Plato's ideas, for instance, which don't actually exist in time and
                                      > space. Even Plato himself said there were greater truths that he
                                      just
                                      > couldn't put down in words and were better suited for oral
                                      > communication between master and disciple. And take what you said
                                      > about Christ's recommendation to hate our parents. So I just can't
                                      > agree with you when you say "for gnosticism, such statements are
                                      > intended to be literal'. Quite the contrary.
                                      >
                                      > One of the reasons why Christians in the pagan Roman Empire were
                                      > chased, imprisoned and murdered was that they met secretly, their
                                      > priests performed rituals that were also secretive even to
                                      catechumens
                                      > (and still are in part in the Eastern Church) and were said to make
                                      a
                                      > human sacrifice and then eat the victim's flesh and blood. Wasn't
                                      > Ireaneus too literal when he depicted those gnostics too?
                                      >
                                      > Hugs,
                                      >
                                      > Caio Rossi
                                    • Martin Pagnan
                                      I believe that Victor Frankl had made the same point. Hans Jonas made the same point in his televised documentary on Gnosticism. My reaction when I met with
                                      Message 18 of 24 , May 5, 2005
                                        I believe that Victor Frankl had made the same point. Hans Jonas made
                                        the same point in his televised documentary on Gnosticism. My reaction
                                        when I met with this view was and remains that it gives excessive
                                        importance to Gnosticism, as if there were but two alternatives possible
                                        for philosophical thought, Gnosticism and traditional theism. I would
                                        not give Gnosticism such stature. Rather, I see it as one of billions
                                        and billions (with apologies to Carl Segan) erroneous points of light
                                        (with apologies to Bush 1) that can misguide thought.

                                        stromthy4 wrote:

                                        > insofar as
                                        > they were human, they shared some of the Gnostic pathos
                                        >


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                                      • Caio Rossi
                                        Hello, Simlik I tried to be as truthful to where I stand as I could below. It may sound too harsh, but it s the crudest expression of my conclusions, though I
                                        Message 19 of 24 , May 5, 2005
                                          Hello, Simlik

                                          I tried to be as truthful to where I stand as I could below. It may
                                          sound too harsh, but it's the crudest expression of my conclusions,
                                          though I wouldn't say I'm so convinced I'm right as it may suggest.

                                          You wrote:

                                          "I think some of the sincere questions and confusion expressed by Mr.
                                          Rossi (I hope he will forgive me for not responding specifically to
                                          his previous questions) stem from an impression that the
                                          identification & categorization of Gnosticism is a simplex
                                          Either/Or."


                                          Not really, but the point is that that identification & categorization
                                          must be in accordance with a model of what gnosticism is or isn't,
                                          otherwise that identity and category doesn't have any academic
                                          validity and will vary subjectively. I've noticed different people
                                          here gave different descriptions of what they considered to be
                                          gnostic, although I had asked for how EV would define it. As you know
                                          EV much better than I do, it's my impression (and I may well be dead
                                          wrong) that reading all his stuff hasn't contributed for you to have
                                          at least a single dictionary definition of gnosis to EV. I also didn't
                                          notice much coherence when EV himself applied that label to an
                                          individual, group, movement, etc. Is that essential definition, as it
                                          appears to me, an issue in voegelian studies?

                                          You seem to be suggesting that it's because one can find gnostic
                                          elements in individuals, groups, movements, etc, which makes a lot of
                                          sense, but isn't that a reductionism that besides being outdated in
                                          hard sciences, should have never been applied to a study like EV's?
                                          There's oxygen both in water (H2O) and O2 but it you can breathe in
                                          the latter but not in the former, although you can easily point at
                                          similarities between O2 and ozone (O3).

                                          Maybe referring to identifiable "gnostic elements" is meaningless. It
                                          may be like the role of O in water: there's no property identifiable
                                          in O that's transfered to H2O. That is, "oxygen elements" don't mean
                                          "oxygen properties", although O2 and O3 retain properties of a sole O
                                          atom (being gases).

                                          If comparable to that, gnosticism or gnostic elements might not even
                                          be the point. If what you want to do is seal water in vacuum, O-based
                                          gases are not the only ones you have to get rid of (and that may be
                                          what EV noticed when, according to a co-lister and some texts I've
                                          read, he said neoplatonism, etc are other elements identifiable in
                                          Modernity), and in fact you have to keep the O in water to have water
                                          (Lux Oriens?).

                                          What exactly is the difference between a Catholic priest who struggles
                                          not to break his celibacy vow and a gnostic who spends hours sitting?
                                          Isn't the priest denying his bodily human nature? Isn't the gnostic
                                          trying to aprehend the "actual reality" when he sits? Who's rejecting
                                          the real world here? Aren't all priests, supposing they don't break
                                          their vows, being gnostic, living a life that's against their bodily
                                          nature? Ideal catholics, differently from the usual "Cafeteria
                                          Catholics", are supposed to live or better aim at, with the help of
                                          God's Grace, a saintly life. Catholics who get divorced, wear a
                                          condom, use contraceptives, etc, are "doing their best" because, as
                                          you know, "the flesh is weak" (mmm… I smell gnostic dualism here). So
                                          can't one say the saintly goal of Catholic life is nothing but a
                                          gnostic aim at perfection, a rejection of HUMAN nature, etc? But does
                                          that make it H2O or O3 and, most important, WHY or WHY NOT?

                                          "… There obviously are many
                                          degrees, such that for example Voegelin could (following others) note
                                          that there are "Gnostic tendencies" in the Gospel of John."

                                          I know that. The very gospel that identifies Christ with the Logos, I
                                          should remark.


                                          "… but
                                          rather that Plato indeed had Gnostic tendencies, whose fascination he
                                          nevertheless resisted…"

                                          H20 or O3, that's the question. :-)

                                          "…That is the eminent point Voegelin makes in
                                          his essay "Wisdom: The Magic of the Extreme" -- namely, that the
                                          philosopher shares virtually everything with the disordered soul (aka
                                          the Gnostic), except that he doesn't succumb to the temptation to
                                          close himself off from the mysteriously imperfect structure of
                                          existence.…where the Gnostic crosses the line is where he becomes so obsessed
                                          with his aversion and longing that he closes himself off from the
                                          fact that he cannot escape the mixture of perfection/imperfection…""

                                          Wouldn't you say that Plato's refusal to give in to his sexual desire
                                          for men is "clos[ing] himself off from the mysteriously imperfect
                                          structure of existence"? Where exactly is that borderline?

                                          "…And there are gradations of non-Gnostic pathos, too: one of the
                                          higher levels (as Voegelin implies in his essay "Reason: the Classic
                                          Experience") is to experience positive (not perfect) joy in the
                                          mysteriously messy "full catastrophe" of life…"

                                          Once again, where exactly is the borderline (if any) between that and
                                          a pious old Catholic lady being raped and "experiencing positive joy
                                          in the mysteriously messy 'full catastrophe' of life"? Am I wrong to
                                          say that this one of the higher levels of non-Gnostic pathos denies
                                          human nature, demands the escapism EV rules out as gnostic?

                                          Puzzled hugs,

                                          Caio
                                        • Frederick Wagner
                                          Before we move on to a new topic, I would like to sum up EV s relationship to the subject of gnosticism: 1.  Voegelin s thinking on the subject was formed by
                                          Message 20 of 24 , May 5, 2005
                                            Before we move on to a new topic, I would like to sum up EV's
                                            relationship to the subject of gnosticism:

                                            1.  Voegelin's thinking on the subject was formed by Hans Urs von
                                            Balthazar's _Prometheus_ (ca. 1947).   EV also read Ferdinand
                                            Christian Baur, who  as early as 1835 undertook to describe the
                                            pneumopathological disorder which he termed "gnosticism" in _Die
                                            christliche Gnosis, oder die Religionsphilosophie in ihrer
                                            geschichtlichen Entwicklung_.  The use of the term to describe
                                            the disorder thus was not started by Voegelin.

                                            2. The exploration of modern gnosticism  ("Gnosticism: The Nature
                                            of Modernity") was the centerpiece of _The New Science of
                                            Politics_ (1952), Voegelin's first book in English and the book
                                            that made him famous.

                                            3. Voegelin clearly understood the difference between early
                                            Christian gnosticism and post-enlightenment gnosticism and
                                            discussed both. He was not especially interested in the former.
                                            He was trying to understand the murderous modern mass ideological
                                            movements. Yet in later years he regretted having relied on the
                                            term as (developed by others) because of the confusion it caused
                                            in the minds of those who thought there ought to be an  identity
                                            between early and modern gnosticism.

                                            4. EV explained the permutations of the phenomenon:
                                            "The three possible varieties of immanentization—teleolgical,
                                            axiological, and activist—are not merely three co-ordinated types
                                            but are related to one another dynamically.  In every wave of the
                                            Gnostic movement the progressivist and utopian varieties will
                                            tend to form a political right wing, leaving a good deal of the
                                            ultimate perfection to gradual evolution and compromising on a
                                            tension between achievement and ideal, while the activist variety
                                            will tend to form a political left wing, taking violent action
                                            toward the complete realization of the perfect realm.  The
                                            distribution of the faithful from right to left will in part be
                                            determined by such personal equations as enthusiasm, temperament,
                                            and consistency; to another, and perhaps the more important part,
                                            however, it will be determined by their relation to the
                                            civilizational environment in which the Gnostic revolution takes
                                            place." NSP, U. Chicago Ed (1952).175-176.

                                            5.  Although he was originally concerned with the
                                            "immanentization of the eschaton" as the central problem of
                                            modern politics.  He later added to that other contributing
                                            factors, including neo-platonism, hermeticism, and magic, so
                                            that gnosticism became one of several contributors— perhaps the
                                            most important, though he didn't rank them—to the problem of
                                            modern politics.

                                            6.  Even in the NSP there were many qualifications to the
                                            development of the topic.  For instance:
                                            ". . .gnosis does not by inner necessity lead to the fallacious
                                            construction of history which characterizes modernity since
                                            Joachim.  Hence, in the drive for certainty there must be
                                            contained a further component which bends gnosis specifically
                                            toward historical speculation.  This further component is the
                                            civilizational expansiveness of Western society in the high
                                            Middle Ages." Ibid., p. 126 .


                                            6. Those who have not read _The New Science of Politics_
                                            should try to do so since, in addition its being of great importance, it
                                            also contains hints of Voegelin's later thinking.

                                            7. I hope people will not think of the evforum as simply a
                                            convenient place to throw anything on the table that interests them.
                                            It is not! It is about the thought of Eric Voegelin. Just a reminder!

                                            Fritz Wagner
                                          • Owen Jones
                                            This is interesting, but I think I have lost the point. Voegelin s work does not depend on the historical accuracy of Ireneaus s depiction of contemporary
                                            Message 21 of 24 , May 5, 2005
                                              This is interesting, but I think I have lost the point. Voegelin's work does not depend on the historical accuracy of Ireneaus's depiction of contemporary gnostics.

                                              The key element in Voegelin's thought is the recovery of the classical expeirence of Reason in the tension of existence (i.e. metaxy reality). Without that appreciation, attempts to understand Voegelin's "concepts" fall into the same error that he devoted himself to fight against -- the error of treating concepts topically or as objective things or opinions that either have factual validity or do not, etc..

                                              Now, to my own worthless opinion. Voegelin said that the pneumatic differentiation in Christianity came at the expense of the noetic differentiation achieved in classical reason. He further argued that this made it possible for certain sectarian movements, holy spirit movements, etc. to claim some special privileged experience that has overcome the metaxy. That's always the key to understanding Voegelin's use of the terms gnosticism, immanentization, etc. The claim that the metaxy structure of reality has been overcome.

                                              And that the modern ideological mass movements are, in some sense, to some degree, the price everyone has paid for the spiritual leap in being that took place in Christianity, that subordinated Reason. Now this is a summary in my own clumsy language, of my own clumsy reading of Voegelin, and surely it does not begin to address all of Voegelin's contributions.

                                              In volume 5, we see his mature work on gnosticism, but not so much in a historical context. What we see is an examination of the paradoxic structure of consciousness and its relation to reality. In examining that paradoxic structure, Voegelin appears to have identified the metaxy, not only in the relationships and processes in between things and non-things, in-between immanence and transcendence, in the conventional sense in which we think of those things, but also there is a metaxic structure inherent in consciousness itself. Voegelin seems to identify the "cause" of such historical and intellectual mistakes that he has analysed in his earlier works as a constituent part of consciousness. So treating gnosticism as a topical issue, absent an appreciation for Voegelin's mature work on the structure of consciousness, is perhaps in itself a flawed approach.

                                              He says some interesting things.

                                              "[in the face of political disaster] the metastic type of speculation gives way to the apocalyptic type, which expects disorder of catastrophic magnitude to be ended by divine intervention. And when the divine intervention does not occur, the apocalyptic is paralleled and followed by the gnostic type, which construes the genesis of the cosmos with its catastrophes of ecumenic-imperial domination as the consequence of a psychodramatic fall in the Beyond, now to be reversed by the gnostic's action on the basis of their pneumatic understanding (gnosis) of the drama. The Beginning was a mistake to begin with and the end of the gnostic story will bring it to its End."

                                              I think this description sums up Voegelin's theory of gnosticism beautifully, and also suggests that there must be some historical speculation attached to it to distinguish from the Orthodox gnosis of the hesychast, or Buddhist ascetic or the more conventional believer who prays.

                                              Regarding some of the comments in this thread, here is an interesting quote also from Vol 5

                                              "Since the resisters [to truth] do not disagree with the truth they resist, the experientially cardinal issue comes into focus: why do they resist a truth they neither deny nor can change? and what are the experiential sources that endow resistance with such strength of meaning that it becomes a constant force in history?

                                              The motives of resistance have a surface of obviousness: The resisters are dissatisfied with the want of an order they experience in their personal and social existence."

                                              BUT

                                              "In the depth of the quest, formative truth and deformative untruth are more closely related than the language of "truth" and the "resistance" would suggest."

                                              And so Voegelin continues to anaylse this problem in the rest of Volume 5. There is not just one factor. It's interesting that there is a key section on Bonaventure.

                                              Vol 5 remains unfinished. Which is perhaps fitting. Since it is only the middle of the story.
                                              Caio Rossi <caiorossi@...> wrote:
                                              Hello,

                                              One of the reasons why Christians in the pagan Roman Empire were
                                              chased, imprisoned and murdered was that they met secretly, their
                                              priests performed rituals that were also secretive even to catechumens
                                              (and still are in part in the Eastern Church) and were said to make a
                                              human sacrifice and then eat the victim's flesh and blood. Wasn't
                                              Ireaneus too literal when he depicted those gnostics too?

                                              Hugs,

                                              Caio Rossi


                                              In consideratione creaturarum non est vana
                                              et peritura curiositas exercenda; sed gradus
                                              ad immortalia et semper manentia faciendus.
                                              �St Augustine De vera religione



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                                            • Tudor
                                              ... [...] ... cave). ... The pathological myth-makers. Those who attempt to picture or create a second reality after reality manifested itself in its
                                              Message 22 of 24 , May 5, 2005
                                                --- In evforum@yahoogroups.com, Caio Rossi <caiorossi@g...> wrote:
                                                > Hello,
                                                [...]
                                                >
                                                > 1. You picture gnosticism as alienation from reality. Gnostics
                                                > metaphysical experience may lead them to believe there's a reality
                                                > that's more real than the one we already know (like in Plato's
                                                cave).
                                                > Who's alienated from reality then?


                                                The pathological myth-makers. Those who attempt to picture or create a
                                                second reality after reality manifested itself in its plenitude,
                                                and/or pick and choose only the symbols and interpretations that fit
                                                their tendencies.


                                                > 2. A friend of mine, who must be a member of this list, says
                                                although
                                                > Buddhism has gnostic features, the fact that it was able to build a
                                                > civilization shows it can cope with reality as it is. Would you
                                                agree
                                                > that it very much depends on what gnostics do of their gnosticism?
                                                >

                                                No - and the question does not really make sense. Anyway, talking
                                                about gnostic tendencies or features is anachronistic, but I would
                                                propose an observation: in any type of gnosticism, and in Buddhism
                                                there is a philosophical core, while the various religious elements
                                                have a strongly mythical character and change from one sect to
                                                another.


                                                > 3. From the average man's perspective, an intellectual (who takes
                                                part
                                                > in EVforum and stuff like that) may seem to be alienated from
                                                reality,
                                                > while we know that, in fact, what intellectuals, at least those who
                                                > resist relativism, are trying to do is find the unity of apparently
                                                > disconnected events and things in the "real world". Likewise, but
                                                more
                                                > radically, gnostics are trying to realize the Supreme Unity, from
                                                > Which all relative "unities" reason can find stem. So, when
                                                > intellectuals see gnostics as alienated from reality, aren't they
                                                just
                                                > reproducing an upgraded misjudgement of what the average man says
                                                of
                                                > them?

                                                Gnosticism is an eclectic form of esoteric spirituality that became
                                                manifest as such, in an organized manner, only in the historical
                                                context of the first century A.D. It might be similar or compatible
                                                with many forms of philosophy, esp. the more eclectic. However,
                                                gnosticism is incompatible with Christianity for many reasons - one
                                                being a strange, mythical concept of reality and its origin after
                                                mythology had been discredited by the revealed truth of christianity.
                                                Several gnostic attempts to hijack christian beliefs haven't helped,
                                                either.

                                                Perhaps an intellectual would attempt to put gnosticism in its proper
                                                context.


                                                >
                                                > 4. You said alienation. Someone else here said "impatience". Others
                                                > say pessimism. Is there a standard definition of gnosis/gnosticism?
                                                > Unless EV changed his definition, what I recall is that gnostics to
                                                > him were those who wanted to make an effort to reach God instead of
                                                > placing their confidence in God's Grace (ancient Gnosis) and/or
                                                wanted
                                                > to, as was said here, "temporalize" the whole thing and build God's
                                                > kingdom on earth (modern ones). It seems to me that pessimism and
                                                > impatience are only acccidental psychological traits gnostics might
                                                > have, that might be developed or not in their writings, but they
                                                > wouldn't be a core characteristic of a gnostic. Otherwise self-help
                                                > books would automatically be excluded from the gnostic label, and so
                                                > would the "You-can-do-it" New Age literature crap.


                                                There is no standard definition of anything we don't make ourselves,
                                                and even then... Well, there are many characteristics of gnosticism,
                                                one of them being the willingness to believe myth can lead to
                                                knowledge.

                                                >
                                                > 5. Last, but not least: is any kind of millennialism gnostic (now,
                                                of
                                                > the modern type)? LaHaye's Left Behind, for instance? If you're not
                                                > trying to actively build God's kingdom on earth, but only expecting
                                                it
                                                > to come whenever God wills, can you be considered a gnostic?
                                                >
                                                > Ok, now you can kick me off the list! :-)
                                                >
                                                > Best wishes,
                                                >
                                                > Caio


                                                An obsession with the apocalypse betrays desperation with God's will
                                                and all manner of temptation might follow. Nevermind the naive
                                                political interpretation of the book of Revelation...

                                                Regards,

                                                Tudor
                                              • stromthy4
                                                In addition to the sources for Voegelin s understanding of modern Gnosticism cited by Mr. Wagner, I would also add that in a couple of informal places,
                                                Message 23 of 24 , May 5, 2005
                                                  In addition to the sources for Voegelin's understanding of modern
                                                  Gnosticism cited by Mr. Wagner, I would also add that in a couple of
                                                  informal places, Voegelin professed an unalloyed admiration for the
                                                  French novelist Gustave Flaubert's grasp of the pathology of
                                                  Gnosticism as he depicted it in his novel "The Temptation of Saint
                                                  Anthony". Here was Flaubert researching and writing and intuitively
                                                  grasping the essence of the Gnostic pathology in the mid-19th
                                                  century, without the benefit of Nag Hammadi let alone the following
                                                  150 years of scholarship. While Voegelin appropriately appreciated
                                                  the value of archeological data, he also knew it was worthless
                                                  without a perceptive interpreter.

                                                  D. Simlik
                                                • Juergen Gebhardt
                                                  A note on the note: Voegelin came across gnosticism after he got hold of Balthasar s rather small selection of Irenaeus writings published in 1943. In his
                                                  Message 24 of 24 , May 6, 2005
                                                    A note on the note: Voegelin came across gnosticism after he got hold of Balthasar's rather small selection of Irenaeus' writings published in 1943. In his introduction Balthasar spoke of gnosis as self-redemption (Selbsterlösung). Voegelin fitted the substance of Balthasar's interpretation into the revisid version of the 'People of God'. Only later he read the 'Prometheus' (1949), first published under the title ' Apocalypse' der deutschen Seele' in 1937. Voegelin did not know this earlier 3 vol. edition at that time.J.Gebhardt ----- Original Message -----
                                                    From: Frederick Wagner
                                                    To: evforum@yahoogroups.com
                                                    Sent: Thursday, May 05, 2005 5:51 PM
                                                    Subject: [evforum] Note on Topic: Voegelin's antignosticism


                                                    Before we move on to a new topic, I would like to sum up EV's
                                                    relationship to the subject of gnosticism:

                                                    1. Voegelin's thinking on the subject was formed by Hans Urs von
                                                    Balthazar's _Prometheus_ (ca. 1947). EV also read Ferdinand
                                                    Christian Baur, who as early as 1835 undertook to describe the
                                                    pneumopathological disorder which he termed "gnosticism" in _Die
                                                    christliche Gnosis, oder die Religionsphilosophie in ihrer
                                                    geschichtlichen Entwicklung_. The use of the term to describe
                                                    the disorder thus was not started by Voegelin.

                                                    2. The exploration of modern gnosticism ("Gnosticism: The Nature
                                                    of Modernity") was the centerpiece of _The New Science of
                                                    Politics_ (1952), Voegelin's first book in English and the book
                                                    that made him famous.

                                                    3. Voegelin clearly understood the difference between early
                                                    Christian gnosticism and post-enlightenment gnosticism and
                                                    discussed both. He was not especially interested in the former.
                                                    He was trying to understand the murderous modern mass ideological
                                                    movements. Yet in later years he regretted having relied on the
                                                    term as (developed by others) because of the confusion it caused
                                                    in the minds of those who thought there ought to be an identity
                                                    between early and modern gnosticism.

                                                    4. EV explained the permutations of the phenomenon:
                                                    "The three possible varieties of immanentization-teleolgical,
                                                    axiological, and activist-are not merely three co-ordinated types
                                                    but are related to one another dynamically. In every wave of the
                                                    Gnostic movement the progressivist and utopian varieties will
                                                    tend to form a political right wing, leaving a good deal of the
                                                    ultimate perfection to gradual evolution and compromising on a
                                                    tension between achievement and ideal, while the activist variety
                                                    will tend to form a political left wing, taking violent action
                                                    toward the complete realization of the perfect realm. The
                                                    distribution of the faithful from right to left will in part be
                                                    determined by such personal equations as enthusiasm, temperament,
                                                    and consistency; to another, and perhaps the more important part,
                                                    however, it will be determined by their relation to the
                                                    civilizational environment in which the Gnostic revolution takes
                                                    place." NSP, U. Chicago Ed (1952).175-176.

                                                    5. Although he was originally concerned with the
                                                    "immanentization of the eschaton" as the central problem of
                                                    modern politics. He later added to that other contributing
                                                    factors, including neo-platonism, hermeticism, and magic, so
                                                    that gnosticism became one of several contributors- perhaps the
                                                    most important, though he didn't rank them-to the problem of
                                                    modern politics.

                                                    6. Even in the NSP there were many qualifications to the
                                                    development of the topic. For instance:
                                                    ". . .gnosis does not by inner necessity lead to the fallacious
                                                    construction of history which characterizes modernity since
                                                    Joachim. Hence, in the drive for certainty there must be
                                                    contained a further component which bends gnosis specifically
                                                    toward historical speculation. This further component is the
                                                    civilizational expansiveness of Western society in the high
                                                    Middle Ages." Ibid., p. 126 .


                                                    6. Those who have not read _The New Science of Politics_
                                                    should try to do so since, in addition its being of great importance, it
                                                    also contains hints of Voegelin's later thinking.

                                                    7. I hope people will not think of the evforum as simply a
                                                    convenient place to throw anything on the table that interests them.
                                                    It is not! It is about the thought of Eric Voegelin. Just a reminder!

                                                    Fritz Wagner



                                                    In consideratione creaturarum non est vana
                                                    et peritura curiositas exercenda; sed gradus
                                                    ad immortalia et semper manentia faciendus.
                                                    -St Augustine De vera religione



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