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12999Re: Jewish Gnostics

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  • imdarkchylde
    Feb 21, 2007
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      Blessings, All!
      I too am a student of Kabbalah, altho I am a beginner, and I am
      amazed at the connections I see in Kabbalah and Gnosticism as well.
      But I was to understand that Merkavah Mysticism had its origins with
      Elijah, being teachings he left his student Elisha with. Merkavah
      means 'chariot' if I am not mistaken, hence the connection with
      Elijah and the fiery chariot thing.
      However, Sethianism claims back to Seth's teachings, and I guess it
      would be harder to get older than that.
      But I too believe they had far more similairities than differnces,
      moreso than other 'traditions' or 'faiths'. I actually haven't found
      an instance where they don't agree, but as I noted, I am just a
      beginner in the Kabbalah.
      But wouldn't gnosticism be older than Plato, or the Kabbalah for that
      matter? I am sure how they are catagorized, but what is the
      historical data on the sources? I try not to raise issues of
      authenticity, altho I'd probably tend to trust the National
      Geographic Society and the like...
      whirled and inner peas
      DarkChylde


      Gnothi Seauton
      **Love thy enemies. Messes with their heads!**


      --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@...> wrote:
      >
      > Hello Celeste
      >
      > In response to your post I would like to reiterate some of what
      Cari
      > states and toss a couple of things in the mix. You state...
      >
      > >>>Almost across the board, I discovered an angry streak regarding
      > a "Jewish Gnosticism". A few of the books even made it clear that
      > they were intended only for Jewish readers and did not appreciate
      > being co-opted by Christians. After my initial shock, I ignored
      > these sentiments and continued with my study.<<<
      >
      > On top of Cari's point about this, I would like to add that in some
      > cases it may be ignorance on the part of the author about exactly
      > what Gnosticism is. In spite of the legendary history of Kabbalah
      > reaching back into the beginning of human existance, historians
      > generally trace it to the early medieval period, with other forms
      of
      > Jewish mysticism, such as Merkabah, feeding into it. In this sense,
      > Gnosticism predates Kabbalah, and exists at roughly the same time
      as
      > Merkabah. Dr Scholem talks about it this way in "Origin of the
      > Kabbalah", and considers Kabbalah to simply be a late form, an
      > offshoot of, Gnosticism.
      >
      > There ARE some important differences between the movements, but the
      > essential structure in both movements is still Platonism in a
      > Biblical lingo. Whether Kabbalah grew out of Gnosticism, or
      Kabbalah
      > and Gnosticism simply have the same roots may be up in the air, but
      > in spite of the distaste that some Kabbalists practitioners may
      have,
      > I am not aware of any scholars that don't agree that there is SOME
      > connection between the two movements.
      >
      > >>>I read a count by count list of the reasons why nothing Jewish
      can
      > be Gnostic, but I am not sold. I fully appreciate that to the Jewish
      > worshiper, Gnosticism can be construed as an afront to their
      > tradition. If we call Jehovah the demiurge, we are saying that the
      > basis for their beliefs are all lies, they are not worshipping the
      > true God.<<<
      >
      > I am not sold either. I think that the arguments of Dr Turner, and
      > others like Pearson, that trace Sethianism into a pre-Christian
      > Jewish origin need to be seriously considered. On top of that, the
      > line between the Merkabah of Philo, and the Valentinian thought
      that
      > we see in the Tripartite Tractate is frankly a bit fuzzy. When is
      it
      > no longer "Gnostic"? Philo has been placed on both sides of the
      line
      > by different people, and the Tripartite Tractate reminds me more of
      > him than it reminds me of what Jonas would call "Gnostic".
      >
      > If the only real line we wind up drawing between Merkabah and
      > Gnosticism is that one is Jewish and the other Christian, then the
      > Kabbalist authors you are talking about could just as easily try to
      > deny that Christianity has no Jewish origins. On the other hand,
      they
      > would then have to explain another origin for Sethianism or accept
      it
      > as Jewish but not Gnostic. To me that makes their argument look
      like
      > it comes more from passion than from historical criticism.
      >
      > >>>However, as a person who was once a mainstream Christian, I
      faced
      > the same issue, and I still think that there is a great deal of
      > Gnosticism in Kabbalah. This long post is my apologetic way of
      > saying that where I respect Jewish mysticism, I still think that
      > there is a Gnostic hand in it.<<<
      >
      > Having said what I just did I think we have to be careful to
      remember
      > that in spite of the commonalities we should not be overly quick to
      > lump them into one grouping. Even though Gnosticism likely grew
      > within a Jewish ethnic awareness, to some extent it rejects this
      > identity. They did indeed face the same issue that you did and I
      > believe their rejection has a philosophical base.
      >
      > Unlike Scholem, I would not call Kabbalah "Jewish Gnosticism". If I
      > used the term "Jewish Gnosticism" I would more likely mean a
      > theorhetic pre-Christian Sethianism. Likewise I don't think it is
      > accurate to call Hermetism "pagan Gnosticism" (in part because I
      > don't think an academic category should use the word "pagan" in
      such
      > a way). Instead, I would say that Hermetism, Merkabah, and
      Gnosticism
      > are three very closely related movements that fit a larger category
      > of mythological Platonism.
      >
      > PMCV
      >
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