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12817Re: Mani & The Manicheans this Sunday on Coffee, Cigs & Gnosis!!!

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  • lady_caritas
    Oct 31, 2006
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      --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@...> wrote:
      >
      > Miguel and all
      >
      > >>>Hope you catch it. BeDuhn was a great interviewee.<<<
      >
      > SO, I did catch it... did anyone else here do so? Anyone have
      > thoughts or comments about the interview, or about the subject?
      > Questions? Criticisms? Debate points?
      >
      > I did notice a few things about the interview. I noticed how Dr
      > BeDuhn seemed to concede the term "Gnosticism" for the sake of the
      > interview, but vascilated between drawing the line and trying to
      make
      > a concerted effort to use the term in a more popular way.



      I'm not sure he actually conceded, PMCV, because he did point out
      differences and similarities between Manichaeans and earlier
      Gnostics, allowing the listener to at least begin a process of
      examining this subject of categorization. Possibly his primary focus
      of the interview could have been to give general information about
      Mani and the Manichaeans for an audience of varied backgrounds, as
      you point out, and not get too specific in an academic way about
      categorization. In fact I don't remember the actual
      word "Gnosticism" being used all that much in the interview. Yet use
      of terms like "gnostic movement" or "gnostics" or "antecedent
      gnostic" would seem to show a predilection for a specific category
      for comparison in his view.

      And Dr. BeDuhn (pronounced, if I understand correctly: "beh-doon")
      did say early on in the interview that how Manichaeism is related to
      the broader Gnostic movement is debatable. Even though he didn't get
      into depth about the actual function of gnosis, he did bring out the
      importance of this type of knowledge for both Manichaeans and earlier
      Gnostics, involving the true nature of god and soul. Even though we
      see syncretism, a few differences he pointed out included how in
      Manichaeism a good god created the world, which distinctly varied
      from the antecedent Gnostic world-maligned creation, and also the
      Manichaeans' belief that non-humans, i.e., plants and animals have
      souls, which is broader than most gnostic systems. We also see a
      pantheism in Manichaeism in that everything has god in it; everything
      is a mixture of good and evil, and there is a real affirmation of the
      natural world, quite different from other gnostic systems. PMCV, in
      this regard you also pointed out in a previous post (#12810) an
      important difference concerning cosmology:

      "Gnostic texts generally see the universal flaw as being caused by
      division and
      seperation from the spiritual source. In other words, duality is a bad
      thing. Manichaeans, on the other hand, describe a setting in which the
      flaw in the universe was caused not because of duality, but because of
      a mixing of the dual forces that should naturally be kept apart. In
      Manichaean thinking the world is a sort of machine for sorting out the
      dual elements back into their rightful opposites (the world having a
      positive function). Gnostics, on the other hand, present the world as
      a flawed creation by an ignorant Demiurge."

      All this said, there is still the issue of the function of Gnosis in
      the system, as you also mentioned. And one could examine whether
      Gnosis or rather Praxis is emphasized as the main soteriological
      force.



      > I was also aware of his considerably more diplomatic presentation
      of
      > various authors' method of popularizing Gnosticism, and the
      resulting
      > information as it really relates to subject at hand. The point
      about
      > accentuating certain popular attributes is a nice way of
      questioning
      > the validity of those attributes and reliability of the picture
      those
      > authors are presenting. If one wished to state that more simply
      they
      > could say that many popular efforts are unfortunately based on
      gloss
      > and spin.... but I am a bit more blunt than most ;)
      >
      > I was a little disappointed that Dr BeDuhn danced past the issue of
      > the funtion of gnosis in Manichaean thought vs the function in
      > Gnostic thinking, since it is so core to the issue of what the
      > category of "Gnostic" is meant to communicate. I do, however,
      > understand that simply going with the flow may have been easier
      > considering the shortness of the interview and perhaps the fact
      that
      > the audience was likely to be new to the subject. Of course, in
      this
      > forum we try to go a bit deeper into this kind of issue. Even in
      this
      > forum it has sometimes been difficult to convey for some people
      that
      > the Gnostic concept of "Gnosis" is different from the Catholic
      > concept of "gnosis", because when people see the word they tend to
      > automatically assume a whole host of connections.
      >
      > I have often argued that the Manichaean concept of "gnosis", is far
      > closer to the orthodox Christian (especially Catholic) usage than
      to
      > the Gnostic one. However, I leave that open to discussion and
      debate.
      >
      > PMCV
      >


      Would you care to share your views further on this subject, PMCV?

      One also could posit whether orthodox Christianity most likely
      derived its concept of gnosis at least in part from Manichaeism, due
      to the influence of Augustine. Apparently, Dr. BeDuhn currently is
      working on the figure of Augustine regarding his use of Manichaeism
      in Catholic material. Should be interesting.

      BTW, I know it's Halloween, but perhaps some more spirited members
      lurking in the shadows might want to question or comment more on the
      interview or Manichaeism in general?

      It appeared to me that Dr. BeDuhn really enjoyed this subject. He
      particularly seemed to light up when discussing the Manichaean
      positive view of world beauty (countering a reputation as "world
      haters") and part of their affirmation of beauty as manifested in the
      high value that Manichaeans placed on human art.


      Cari
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