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12468Re: It's in our DNA

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  • pmcvflag
    Jun 11, 2006
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      Hey Barbara

      >>>I agree that it is facinating to try to understand what the
      Gnostics of old thought - but understanding at the same time, that
      this was not a homgeneous group, by any stretch.<<<

      Very true, and VERY good point. There are important differences we
      really need to try and keep in mind. However, there are also things
      that tie these groups together. When I attempt to outline systems of
      Gnosticism I try to do my best and say things like "this is a
      Sethian version" or "this is Valentinian" when they do differ. On
      the other hand, there are important things that draw these groups
      into a single category, and I think we should not foget that either.

      >>>I do think it's very curious that there were so many different
      groups of Christian communities in the first few hundred years with
      so many disparate views. There was much controversy.<<<

      I agree absolutely! In fact, it is the study of Gnosticism that has
      really brought this realization to the academic community at large.
      However, it doesn't only apply to Gnostic groups. There were many
      non-Gnostic Christian groups as well. I don't find it curious in
      that I don't think there was as much of a genuine "system" from the
      very beginning. There is something called the "Eusebian Paradigm"
      that says there was one original church. Scholars today generally
      reject this "Eusebian Paradigm" because it just doesn't work with
      the historical info we have right now.

      >>>How could it be that Jesus left so many different impressions
      among his followers? Surely what he was teaching had a hidden
      meaning - some 'got it' or thought they did and others took his
      teachings literally, interpreting it as best they could... on and on
      throughout the millennia.<<<

      Well, outside the question of whether Jesus ever actually
      historically existed, I think it actually makes sense. The info we
      have shows even the very first generation of Christians looking at
      this message in many different ways. This is common for purely oral
      teaching.

      >>>My whole point is this - it can only be informed speculation on
      our part.<<<

      True. However, isn't informed speculation at least a little better
      than uninformed speculation? What I find so common today is that
      many people talking about "Gnosticism" do so in an uninformed way.
      It is not about whether I am right or wrong, I have learned from
      people less technically educated on the subject and I admit it up
      front. But, instead it is about whether somebody has simply really
      taken the time to stop and think about it critically rather than
      just trying to make the "Gnostics" fit thier own preconcieved idea.

      >>>>Somewhere else in this website, someone made the comment that
      personal experience is also necessary - not just special knoweldge
      or understanding.<<<

      I have made that point myself. HOWEVER, I have also found myself
      having to make the point that it is NOT JUST personal experience
      either. BOTH must be there. Failure on EITHER side is failure to
      gain Gnosis (at least according to the historical meaning we see in
      the texts). There had been a common attempt today to equate "Gnosis"
      with personal experience, and that simply is not what the word meant
      in the Gnostic texts.

      >>>That is the point I am trying to make (although not clearly, as
      you point out). The only thing about which we can be sure is our own
      personal experience. We can then interpret the books in that
      light.<<<

      So you don't believe in the notion of the "Logos"? Does that mean
      you don't think the Sophia ever "fell"?

      PMCV
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