12999Re: Jewish Gnostics
- Feb 21, 2007Blessings, 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
**Love thy enemies. Messes with their heads!**
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, pmcvflag <no_reply@...> wrote:
> Hello Celeste
> In response to your post I would like to reiterate some of what
> 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
> Jewish mysticism, such as Merkabah, feeding into it. In this sense,
> Gnosticism predates Kabbalah, and exists at roughly the same time
> 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
> and Gnosticism simply have the same roots may be up in the air, but
> in spite of the distaste that some Kabbalists practitioners may
> 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
> 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
> we see in the Tripartite Tractate is frankly a bit fuzzy. When is
> no longer "Gnostic"? Philo has been placed on both sides of the
> 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,
> would then have to explain another origin for Sethianism or accept
> as Jewish but not Gnostic. To me that makes their argument look
> it comes more from passion than from historical criticism.
> >>>However, as a person who was once a mainstream Christian, I
> 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
> 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
> a way). Instead, I would say that Hermetism, Merkabah, and
> are three very closely related movements that fit a larger category
> of mythological Platonism.
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