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12369Re: The Yezidis

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  • pmcvflag
    May 1, 2006
      Hey Mer248lina

      >>>I would welcome a lengthier response please to the highlighted
      line. Could you please elucidate why neither the mandaeans nor the
      Yezidis are 'technically' gnostic groups.<<<

      Well, perhaps it is easier to raise the question of what exactly
      would make them "Gnostic" in the more technical sense. I know that
      right now it is a vogue to talk about everything esoteric
      as "Gnostic", and any kind of lesser known middle eastern religion
      gets thrown in, and anything mystical as well.

      I am not trying to be a "focus fascist" here *lol*, I think some of
      these groups certainly have enough in common to make them of interest
      here. For instance, even though the Sufis are not technically
      Gnostics, the conversation about them certainly was of interest here.
      Instead I am trying to keep the issue of categorization in the
      conversation here so that people do understand that this forum is
      much more specific than the other two hundred or so Yahoo groups on

      A number of recent scholarly works, including "Rethinking Gnosticism"
      by Williams, and "What is Gnosticism?" by King have raised important
      issues with just what the historical category of "Gnosticism"
      technically is. Many groups that used to be lumped into the category,
      such as Manichaeans, Mandaeans, Marcionites and Cathars don't
      actually fit.

      The Mandaeans were thrown in the category of "Gnosticism" initially
      by E. Drower, who said she did so based on the influence of a friend.
      She stated that at the time she didn't know much about Gnosticism
      (her specialty was the Mid East, not Gnosticism), and after more
      study she realized that this categorization was false. Much of the
      categorization was based on the name "Mandaean", which was actually
      not even a name these people used for themselves. There was also a
      bit of a hasty generalization of thier soteriology that turned out to
      not be completely accurate. The initial categorization was then
      repeated by people like Robinson who specialized in Gnosticism, but
      not necessarily clear on the Mandaean belief system.

      I have heard that as they have been in diaspora, many of the Mandaean
      youth have taken up the "Gnostic" label and have actually become
      closer to Gnostic thinking by mixing the religions a little.

      Initially though, Mandaeans are not Platonists, and they don't
      believe that "Gnosis" is salvation (a critical attribute for
      something to be "Gnostic"). In the absence of such a defining
      attribute, the question would be why would we categorize them
      as "Gnostic" at all? The answer is that now scholars of this subject
      generally don't.

      Yezidis were never categorized as "Gnostic" in the first place. Why
      would they be?

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