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11296Re: Valentinian Exegesis of Paul

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  • pmcvflag
    Aug 4, 2005
      Hey Steve...

      >>>"I'm still not quite sure what to make of the Valentinian
      interpretations of Paul. Some of the interpretations that Pagels
      reports do strike me as being somewhat forced."<<<

      I can't say off the top of my head whether I personally think this
      is simply from Pagels' understanding, or if what you are talking
      about is from specific Valentinian attempts to deal with the
      subject. I do find some of the Valentinain attempts at John to be a
      little forced, and in fact I believe that John was a reaction
      against Gnosticism to some extent. To me, though (as with you), Paul
      is a differet story. (I do personally tend towards Sethian thought,
      though I can admit that 8 times out of 10 I am likely to point to
      Valentinian sources when making a point about "Gnosticism")

      >>>"But even just by reading a variety of English translations of
      Paul's epistles, I have come to the conclusion that he refers to the
      Demiurge myth, the Sophia myth, the triple division of hylic,
      psychic and pneumatic, and the docetic conception of Christ. He also
      hints that he had both an exoteric and an esoteric teaching."<<<

      Not only do I think you are right, I think your thinking is actually
      in the mainstream of objective scholasticism right now. The
      term "Biblical Scholors" is such a wide category for most people, so
      I am not talking about most theologians... but I think most
      HISTORIANS would agree with you.

      >>>"Scholars often refer to Paul as proto-gnostic because they
      hesitate to allow that the full-blown gnostic myth existed in the
      50s of the first century, but I suspect that, in fact, it did."<<<

      At the same time, many scholors like Dr Turner, Rudolph, Pearson,
      Scholem, all are unafraid to talk about very early expressions of a
      full blown Gnostic myth (and this is not even talking about VERY
      closely related movements). Even Dr Erhman, whom I know Gerry has
      had a personal run in with and we should be careful about because he
      has some traditional Christian misgivings, postulates an early date
      for Thomas, and believes it is dependant on a full Gnostic system.
      Scholors who support the Petrement dating have really fallen to the
      side as evidence has mounted against them. My own prof on the
      subject was conservative with dating, but still believed the
      likelyhood that the original "Gnostics" was quite early in Christian

      Platonizing influence certainly existed in Jewish sources even
      before the 50s of the first century b.c.. When we cut away certain
      groups, like the Manichaeans (for instance) and deal with Gnosticism
      in the more specific realm of Hellenized Judism... we actually set
      the date back a bit further. At this point Paul becomes not a "proto-
      Gnostic", but simply a part of a larger movement that predates him.

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