6473updated Hoeller list of gnostic criteria [was Re: Hi Flag]
- Aug 13, 2002On Tue, 13 Aug 2002, wilbro99 wrote:
> Hi Klaus, thanks for the reply. If I may enquire, which of the 12 dojust wanted to jump in here to say that Hoeller has an updated list of
> you personally subscribe to?
criteria towards a definition of what is "gnostic" from his new book
"Gnosticism: New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowing" (the
older list, to which a link was given in an earlier post was actually
taken from a certain Professor Clark Emory, and not from Hoeller himself).
Hoeller precedes his list with a discussion of how difficult it is to
define what gnosticism is, and how this list shouldn't be taken as an
authoritative dogma, but offers this as a pretty universal set of
1. There is an original and trancendental spiritual unity from which
emanated a vast manifestation of pluralities.
2. The manifest universe of matter and mind was created not by the
original spiritual unity but by spiritual beings possessing inferior
3. One of the objectives of these creators is the perpetual separation of
humans from the unity (God).
4. The human being is a composite: the outer aspect is the handiwork of
the inferior creators, while the inner aspect is a fallen spark of the
ultimate divine unity.
5. The sparks of transcendental holiness slumber in their material and
mental prison, their self-awareness stupified by the forces of materiality
6. The slumbering sparks have not been abandoned by the ultimate
unity; rather, a constant effort directed toward their awakening and
liberation comes forth from this unity.
7. The awakening of the inmost divine essence in humans comes through
salvific knowledge, called "gnosis".
8. Gnosis is not brought about by belief or by the performance of virtuous
deeds or by obedience to commandments; these at best serve to prepare one
for liberating knowledge.
9. Among those aiding the slumbering sparks, a particular position of
honor and importance belongs to a feminine emanation of the unity, Sophia
(Wisdom). She was involved in the creation of the world and ever since has
remained the guide of her orphaned human children.
10. From the earliest times of history, messengers of Light have been sent
forth from the ultimate reality for the purpose of advancing gnosis in the
souls of humans.
11. The greatest of these messengers in our historical and geographical
matrix was the descended Logos of God manifest in Jesus Christ.
12. Jesus exercised a twofold ministry; he was a teacher, imparting
instruction concerning the way of gnosis; and he was a hierophant,
13. The mysteries imparted by Jesus (which are also known as
sacraments) are mighty aids toward gnosis and have been entrusted by him
to his apostles and their successors.
14. Through the spiritual practice of the mysteries (sacraments) and a
relentless and uncompromising striving for gnosis, humans can steadily
advance toward liberation from all confinement, material and
otherwise. The ultimate objective of this process of liberation is the
achievement of salvific knowledge and with it, freedom from embodied
existence and return to the ultimate unity.
and a short explanation of these:
"Certainly, the fourteen points offered here have all been part of the
Gnostic tradition and have been espoused by Gnostics at one time or
another. At least the first ten of the fourteen points may be considered
wholly authoritative, even in a non-Christian Gnostic sense, and thus the
absence of any of them from a person's worldview might disqualify him or
her as a Gnostic. Gnostics, when they stand up to identify themselves,
would have to agree to the majority of these tenets, but whether the
interpretation of them would be literal, psychological, philosophical, or
other must be left to the individual" (Hoeller 189-90).
in this list, points 1 through 10 are considered the general gnostic
points, while 11 through 14 are the additions for more Christian varieties
of gnosticism. one of the reasons i like Holler is the last sentence
quoted, where he says that people can interpret these points in different
ways, that there is no "one true way" to interpret the teachings and myth
of the ancient gnostic groups. i'm sure some will disagree.
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