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5504The Gnostic/Christian Question of Roots?

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  • hey_market
    Jan 1, 2002
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      I'm curious as to how many here buy into the
      notion that much of Gnosticism, or what counted for
      early so-called Gnostic groups/cults, is rooted in
      other traditions, such as the Greek mystery
      tradition?<br><br>That is, for example, is Gnosticism the creation of
      ancient individuals who grafted the Greek mystery
      tradition and related initations and rituals onto the
      emerging Judaic cult of Christianity? <br><br>And if so,
      who did the grafting? Jesus himself? His followers?
      And did they do it consciously from the outset or did
      it happen bit by bit over time amidst the rather
      fluid and ever-evlolving milieu of the first few
      Christian centuries? <br><br>Or else, did early Gnosticism
      arise independently <br>as a RELATIVELY distinct
      phenomenon? <br><br>And "relatively" is the key word here,
      since even if an ancient tradition had no direct roots
      in the Greek Mystery tradition, Hermeticism,
      Zoroastrianism, Mithraism, Judaism, or even Hinduism, Buddhism,
      and so on, it obviously would still be influenced to
      some degree by any of those (or other traditions)
      simply because you couldn't be alive at this time
      without feeling at least SOME influence.<br><br>After
      all, (notwithstanding virgin birth) life itself is
      derivitive, which is to say we inherit language and culture
      and so on, and thus we may forever see connections if
      we so desire. <br><br>Of course, nobody would
      dispute that Christianity is something that has occurred
      within the bounds of history, and therefore, it would be
      impossible NOT to see at least some historical connections
      to it and from it. <br><br>That said, are Gnosticism
      and/or Christianity (yes, two questions here) events
      which may be failry described as truly radical and
      revolutionary departures from the past(events that may be
      fairly labeled as authentically NEW) or else is it MORE
      ACCURATE to describe them as evolutionary and
      characterized by historical continuity (i.e., syncretistic
      events, even if they may have turned into syncretistic
      revolutions), or even dognitive continuity (that is, if if
      individuals didn't directly hand down this "new" tradition,
      then it sprang from a logicfal succession of "ideas"
      transmitted in different times and places and eventually
      landing in ancient Israel as the so-called "new" cult of
      Christianity)? <br><br>In short, were the ancient Gnostic and/or
      Christian traditions <br><br>1) altogether new (again,
      relatively speaking); <br><br>2) directly transmitted
      through history from existing traditions (and if so,
      which ones?)and related individuals, and
      <br><br>3)indirectly transmitted or culled through an assortment of
      earlier IDEAS that collectively (and relatively
      unconsciously) aggregate and culminate in the new cults of
      Gnosticism and/or Christianity? <br><br>A logical related
      question would be to assess the significance of your
      answer vs. other answers.