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13043Re: [Gnosticism2] Re: Mysticism a Regressional Experience?

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  • Michael Leavitt
    Apr 5, 2007
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      Thomas Wycihowski wrote:
      > Ok. My take is that the authors intent was important, but that it
      > is a more nuanced subject then an either or decision.
      > First, the authors were at the very least aware and conversant
      > with the story of creation. However, they felt that it needed to b e
      > amended, or supplemented by additi9onal information and insights
      > provided by other thought and philisophical systems.
      > My guess would be that they were describing in mythological terms
      > the spiritual/mystical experiences they had when in contemplation, as
      > you can see was promoted by NeoPlatonic sages and theurgists. Plus,
      > you can't remove the social milieu that most of these texts were
      > found in Egypt.
      > So who were these written for? Well, first they'd need to be able
      > to read. Literacy was not as widespread as it is to day. Second, it
      > would be of interest to people who were spiritual seekers. Third, it
      > probably would appeal to people who understood, roughly at least, the
      > Biblical creation story, as there does not seem, in the text, to be a
      > lot of explanation. My assumption is the authors knew that it was
      > well known enough not to have to give a lot of background information
      > on the Creation story.
      > So..we have 1)literate 2) people who are spiritual seekers and are
      > 3) familiar with the Biblical story of creation. My guess, especially
      > with the Sethian material, is that were dealing with Hellenized Jews
      > who were familiar with the book of Bereshith, but were heavily
      > influenced by both NeoPlatonic philosophy and to some degree Stoic
      > ideas. They used these ideas to question and "correct" what they saw
      > was wrong with the story of creation, from their perspective.
      > So the answer to your question is both. I am sure they visualized
      > the structures and cosmologies they conceived as literal, in a sense.
      > But just as in the orthodox version of Creation, with the wordplays
      > on the name Adfam and others, it was meant to be taken figurative too.
      > Just like the Apostle Paul who said he spoke differently to the
      > spiritual, so too the Gnostic texts probably would mean different
      > things, depending where a person stood in their philisophical and
      > spiritual development.
      > Hence, the variety of texts. The constant textual and theological
      > criticism the Masters engaged in led to new systems of thoughts and
      > new ideas. It is a mistake to think this all happened in isolation
      > from each other and other systems of thought.
      > Thus, I have no problem in both beleiving the story of Creation
      > and using modern ideas of evolution, e.t.c to criticisize the
      > orthodox account and suggest a personal interpertation that includes
      > both literalism and allegorical views.
      > We need to be constantly aware of the nuanced nature of the
      > Gnostic scriptures.
      I think this is a vary balanced view of things.
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