13477Re: Sowing the spiritual seed
- May 6, 2008
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, pmcvflag <no_reply@...> wrote:
> Hey Mark
> You have a talent for asking the hard questions!
> >>>Up until Sophia's use of the Demiurge to sow secretly the
> seed, there were textual correspondences:
> "dust" = carnal or irrational soul (2:7a)
> "breath of life" = rational soul (2:7b)
> Question 1) What is the textual correspondence to which the
> Valentinians attach their interpretation of this secret sowing of the
> spirit? What is in the Hebrew text to suggest this?<<<
> I didn't get a chance to look into the situation further the way I
> usually try to before answering, so I am shooting from the hip... as
> it were. If I missed or forgot something then I am sure others here
> will chime in and correct me.
> My first inclination is that while there could be some Jewish
> textual suggestion that some Valentinians had in mind, there need
> not be. Since the Gnostic schools (including the Valentinians) were
> syncratic, we have to also consider what Greek philosophical sources
> they may have been inserting between the lines.
Spot-on observation, IMHO. (You should give your hip credit where credit is due, PMCV.) Syncretism is a possible key here, don't you think, Mark, unless someone can give us another valid suggestion from the Hebrew text.
This wouldn't be the first time Genesis was creatively interpreted. We need only look to the Sethians.
From Typologies of the Sethian Gnostic Treatises from Nag Hammadi by John D. Turner ~
Recently I. Culianu has sought to combine the preceding insights by emphasizing the relation between the Judaic and Platonic conceptual frameworks in the creation of Gnostic myths. Borrowing H. Bloom's characterization of Gnostic exegesis as a form of "misprision" (mis-taking), or "creative misunderstanding," he observes: "Indeed, Gnosticism is Platonic hermeneutics so suspicious of tradition that it is willing to break through the borders of tradition, any tradition, including its own. Conversely, regarded through the eyes of tradition, any tradition, it appears as `misprision'." Again: "Gnostic exegesis of Genesis admits a definition strikingly similar to Philonic exegesis: It is an interpretation of a Jewish text according to a set of rules derived from Platonism." Although it is odd to credit Platonists, normally quite confident of their own tradition stemming from Plato and Pythagoras, with such a "hermeneutics of suspicion," what occupies Culianu's interest is the delineation of a set of hermeneutical transformations produced by the application of Platonic philosophical principles to the interpretation of any established tradition. Whether Culianu believes the element of suspicion arose from a naturally Gnostic mind-set or from a philosophical preoccupation with exegetical aporiae is not immediately clear.
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