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6954Re: [Gnosticism2] Re: Answer to Plotinus?

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  • Terje Bergersen
    Jan 8, 2003
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      > pmcvflag writes:
      > >
      > > To boil that down, Plotinus and the Gnostics tend to be different
      > in > that they chose a different lingo, and that Plotinus hated the
      > body > in practice but not in theory, while Gnostics hated the body
      > in > theory but not in practice.

      > This is only valid for feable Gnosticists like Valentinus, Isidoros,
      > Simon the Mage, Herakleion, Ptolemaios, BarDaisanes.
      > True, strong Gnosticists like Satornil, J. Cassianus, and Severus
      > hate world and life in theory && practice.

      I think I can with a certain confidence state for the record that such
      weak gnosticists (sic!) are quite happy not be counted among such.

      That Plotin considers there exists a breach or chasm between a system
      wherein material existence is either considered a cause for ignorance, or
      caused by ignorance (which is, respectively, addressing either an
      individual,specific or a universal,general situation) and a view that all
      suffering and "evil" is caused by ignorance of the good (this would make
      Plotin an excellent source for apologetic of a basically Augustinian
      ethic, an argument for the Privatio Boni doctrine - that evil is the
      absence of good and repaired by being _informed_ of the existence and
      superiority of the good, whatever its definition or actual relevance in
      experience (sic!))
      . The "feeble" Gnosticists, almost contradistinct to the "true,strong"
      Gnosticists - would consider matter as _doketia_ or the appearance of
      reality, but in truth, nothing in and of itself - They would address
      "evil" as a condition caused by the interference of intermediary
      authorities who abuse conscious beings and entrap them on account of their
      affiliation/dependence on matter. I thought this was what the encratists
      were basing their doctrines and practices upon; the orthodox encratists in
      the Syrian tradition, for instance, focused on the condition of
      "translucency" and non-judgement - which meant that the
      adepts/practicioners sought to become as "clarified light",invisible to
      the authorities - by way of "fulfilling the commandments", not in order to
      be favoured, but in order not to be accounted for by the
      Inherent in this is a dual appreciation of the word "acquiantance" -
      either a man is acquianted with material and sensual concerns, and a
      material and sensual "world" - or else he is, by his renouncement of "the
      world and all the matter therein", acquianted with the spiritual and
      suprasensual "world" through his uniformity with the nature of that world,
      while still being "in" this world. As such, Matter does not matter, only
      if the archons which dwell within man (a view shared between a great
      variety of Gnoses, whether you consider them "true" or "false") or some
      exterior influence, be it embodied or disincarnate - confuses and
      confounds man to value either the physical or psychic as being
      divine,eternal,ultimate,absolute or of greater necessity than the soul
      itself. In that respect, man looses himself temporarily through his
      predicament _in_ Matter, just as he stands in danger of eternally loosing
      himself _in_ the "Outer darkness", these two are most clearly not
      identical, just as Chaos and emptiness are _distinct_ from eachother.

      As for Satornil, I am not sure if you are correct, to wit - if we consider
      the implications of Yahweh, the creator of the physical realm being an
      _angel_ or angelos in his cosmology, even subordinate to the Unknown God
      (i.e. employee/servant) - which in Marcion is demoted to ignorant
      lawgiver, demagogue _without_ ultimate authority, a view also reflected by
      Ptolemaus in his letter to Flora, Satornil appears to be closer to the
      Jewish Christian groups, such as the Ebionites and Elchesaities, as well
      as Menander. Also in terms of the Supreme Father himself breathing into
      Man the "breath" or "spirit" so that he might live, _in this particular
      setting_, to wit, the world.
      There is the distinction made between man in generic sense, as being
      passive containers of the spark (an evaluation close to the one possessed
      by Buddhists and Manichaeans, concerning _animals_)- and the disembodied
      and completely spiritual saviour. Like Marcion, Satornil is nevertheless
      positive in his view that such men, in generic, might be redeemed and
      transformed, by the mysteries.

      The terminology used by Simon Magus, according to the churchfathers, are
      quite negative in terms of the souls experience of incarnate existence, I
      see no evidence of an actual practical approach to this negative view of
      the world - appart from the assumed practice of Magic.
      Magic is defined by a manipulation of forms and the nature of containers
      and their relationship to eachother, in order to obtain control or
      influence upon powers which allow themselves to be found in such.

      Pax Pleromae
      Terje Dahl Bergersen
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