7465Re: Nag Hammadi codexes
- Apr 5, 2003Ernst<<>>I don't like the term pistic Christians because of the same
reason for the word Gnosticism. There was no movement or
group that identified each other as "pistic". And as I stated there
was no uniform "pistic" theology just as there was no uniform
"Gnostic" theology. It is a misnormer to state that historically
there were two kinds of Christians, pistic and gnostic, like one
internet web sites falsely speading as the matter of fact.<<
Gerry<<If you don't like the term, Ernst, you're free to leave
There's really no point in you remaining to discuss Gnosticism if you
truly see no difference between those groups and the rest of
I agree with Ernst. This whole pistic gnostic heterodox orthodox
thread made me understand what exactly he's trying to say now. No
matter what neat box you try to fit things into you can still find
examples that contradict it. That's why, Gerry, I asked you what is
meant by heterodox versus orthodox when applied to gnosticism in post
Because then I could claim that those labeled Orthodox or Pistics
have various subgroups which have differences in texts and myth, some
subtle, others more pronounced, and that as a whole they are
heterodox. (thank you Ernst!).
If heterodox applies to beliefs of members within the specific
gnostic group, in that the group allowed a wide difference in
personal interpretation, that's another matter. But I see common
myths, common rituals, common teachings within each group.
You agree by your "if you see no difference". And it's also implied
by the overall tone of response here whenever someone strays off the
historical gnostic beaten path into personal interpretation that
isn't based on historical gnosticism.
You wrote <<I sought to point out that as black is not white, neither
might a mainstream definition be appropriately applied in a Gnostic
context.>> What does that mean? That any definition "they" used
automatically can't be what "we" use? I don't think you believe that,
but that's what the statement implies. And it may the case in some
points, it may also not be the case in others. What importance a
definition is attributed to *any religious system*, how it's defined
by that system, is examined by examining the specific religion
itself. That is, I believe, critical analysis. Not by examination of
another group and defining based on what they think
the "enemy" is. If that's not the case, then why don't we start
comparing Gnosticism to Hinduism?
The entire discussion should not have been about bickering. It should
have been about how do historical gnostic groups define faith based
on the evidence they left and deductions *based on that evidence*.
Has that been done in any depth? A claim was made here that faith was
viewed as negative by gnostics. I asked for evidence, where is it? My
reading of texts is that faith was high up in the hierarchy
importance to gnostics. Why not examine the written material and use
that to agree or disagree?
If "suposedly different historical definitions are not very
different at all, they are variations on a single theme." then what
is that definition and context for faith in historical gnosticism,
based on the evidence they left? Also written, "this club
is about historical Gnostic movements and that is non-negotiable".
Now we have a suggestion that the word faith be replaced by another
word, whereas historical gnostics did use it, and everyone's offering
a different definition "important to me". That indicates that there
*is* confusion on this point. And whereas personal interpretation is
important in gnosticism, IMHO, you can't have your cake and eat it
too. You can't claim that there's some objective analysis going on of
historical gnosticism, and then fall back into personal definition
with cries of heterodox whenever the literature doesn't agree with
personal view. Gnosticism is not "anyone's "personal path" of
psychological "spirituality", another comment posted here.
Cari asked me why, if I didn't believe in contrasting gnostics to
pistics to define aspects of gnosticism, then why did I do that? I
was actually shocked because I had no intention of doing that, and
realized I fell into it. The simple answer was that I was asked to
and the question intrigued me. I now realize it was a HUGE mistake
and why. I should have never diverted into that tangent. I'm still
holding to, now more than ever, that you do not define gnostic terms
as some kind of polar opposite to pistics, or in contrast to any
other religion. You define it based on itself.
Here's another irony. Why is the attempt to analyze faith is met with
suspicion? Is it a dirty word? The pistics are immediately dragged up
for comparison (see, lookee here what faith results in). The
term "critical reasoning" is bandied about as if it's contrary to
faith or mysticism. Mysticism is now not part of gnosis. No matter
that gnosticism is a _religion_ and not just merely a philosophy and
those elements are blatantly there in the literature. Pursuit of a
definition it is met with implied accusations of an orthodox
approach, and "gnostics aren't orthodox". Eventually, dead martyrs
are dug up, as I knew they'd be, as if to say "see what happens"!
What this has to do with pistics I don't know because had
the "faithful" been true to their own dogmatic doctrines than there
wouldn't have been any slaughter, instead much giving away of coats
and shirts, turning of cheeks, and loving the enemy, and avoidance of
judgement on others.
Conversely, "historical definitions are the important ones for you to
know in order to be a part of conversation here" is also brought up
the minute someone strays into new age lala land. So which is it?
So my "intent" has been questioned, and suspicions of orthodox
influence, or rather "baggage", for "zealously defending faith".
Now it's what could possibly be my religious influence. (if you're
getting p'ed at this too bad, you're not half as mad as I was when I
read all this, and you have no idea how I've restrained myself).
Snide accusations of past posting history, while at the
same time contradictorily stating that bringing up past posts is a no
no in debate. Now you write "thread had already dragged on to
inordinate length, and probably shouldn't have needed clarification
at a Gnostic site in the first place". Thanks a lot, here I thought
critical analysis was the point. Except nothings clear as far as the
posts go, everyone's falling back is individual interpretation, and
what word are we substituting for faith. Oh by the way, I've seen FAR
longer threads on this board.
This is the most depressing disillusioning experience because it's
exactly the kind of thing I experienced in my "orthodox" influence. I
know it when I see it.
--- In email@example.com, "Gerry" <gerryhsp@y...> wrote:
> --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, ernststrohregenmantelrad
> <no_reply@y...> wrote:
> >>I see that this all got started from a post by New Age pseudo-
> gnostic wannabee again confusing his new age "evolution of
> conscieous" crap as a pale rendering of Gnosticism. And then
> that turned into bickering on the definition of "pistis" (BTW,
> looking back at posts, I felt like reading Irenaeus because the
> posts were erased yet some quotes were cited to refute.)<<
> The only posts that were deleted had no purpose here. They were
> spam. There's actually another recent one I'm considering
> eliminating from the archives, but from now on, I'll be sure to
> forward all spam directly to your mailbox prior to deletion so you
> can lord over it as you please.
> >>Anyway, as stated in posts "Gnostic" Christians have varients
> and so one must also realize that so called "pistic" Christians
> have varients too. (BTW, I hate using that term for this particular
> group, more on that later) Including those of so called dogmatic,
> pistic, orthodox etc... (and you can put as many adjective as you
> want it won't make difference). I understand that what he meant
> by the term "pistic" or "orthodox" but my point here is his
> definition of "sin" for supposed "orthodox". As I stated it is only
> after Augestine that the original sin concept was adoptied by the
> "orthodox" church so "Sin = transgression; we're born with it,
> and can't escape it without someone else dying for us." needs
> revision. Also the statement, "Sin = ignorance of our divine
> a state akin to drunkenness from which we can be made sober."
> is much to be of misunderstanding. I don't know where but I think
> we got somewhere stuck in our heads that for Gnostics sin=
> ignorence. Maybe it was from the TV serie "Gnostics" or from
> Pagels' book "Gnostic Gospels". Well, I look back at the Pagels
> book and it doesn't say sin=ingorence. What it says is that for
> orthodox Christians suffering is the result of sin but for Gnostics
> suffering is the result of ignorence. (p.148-150) Then as such
> word "sin" is defined same for orthodox and Gnostics. For "sin'
> means as Pagels states on page 148-149, "the New Testement
> term for sin, _hamartia_, comes from the sport of archery;
> literally, it means "missing the mark" So the original meaning of
> "hamartia" didn't necessary mean "transgresion" per se.<<
> Thank you for your "clarification," but are you still somehow
> that my conceptual distinction was never intended to be a technical
> definition, even after two people have pointed that out? BTW, if
> stick to your literalist interpretation of "sin," then the only
> context we can allow for its discussion is on the field while
> aim at a bull's-eye. Furthermore, if you think I pulled the
> understanding of "sin" as "ignorance" out of a hat, you're again
> >>I don't like the term pistic Christians because of the same
> reason for the word Gnosticism. There was no movement or
> group that identified each other as "pistic". And as I stated there
> was no uniform "pistic" theology just as there was no uniform
> "Gnostic" theology. It is a misnormer to state that historically
> there were two kinds of Christians, pistic and gnostic, like one
> internet web sites falsely speading as the matter of fact.<<
> If you don't like the term, Ernst, you're free to leave anytime.
> There's really no point in you remaining to discuss Gnosticism if
> truly see no difference between those groups and the rest of
> Christianity. On the other hand, if you can remove your head from
> your definitions long enough to realize that certain
> can indeed be recognized, then the whole point of having
> a "Gnosticism" category at Yahoo might just be validated.
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