8328Re: Spanish mystics
- Sep 22, 2003From PMCV's post:
"While it is true that a defining quality of Gnosis is experiential,
this does not imply that there is not also a rational element...when
most people think of the word "intuited" they think of some kind of
detatched premonition... I would challenge you to actually find this
idea in a Valintinian text, removed of any context. Gnosis is not a
mystical experience, but the mystical experience certainly could fit
into Gnosis, as a piece."
I think I see your point - with regard to Valentinianism. But given
the extent to which such rationalism co-habitates with a mythology
and a related desire for profound reunion with a divine source (not
to mention astral and dualistic elements), can we fail to see a
contemplative-mystic element under-pinning even Valentinianism? From
what I've ready so far, I feel as if the Valentinians are mystics
employing the tools of reason, not rationalists first and mystics
only on occasion. They are devoted to an eschatology and a first
principle of reunion with an extra-mundane (in Jonas' words)
divinity, though admittedly that reunion seems predicated upon the
individual's recognition of a 'reality' that more 'reasonably'
explains our present condition.
Form PMCV's post:
"Gnosis is not only the experience, it is the recognition of the a
meaning... the context. Perhpas context is not the best word either.
I think of it this way. It is possible for a person to have a
completely rational understanding of math... they know the steps but
they don't understand the why or what for. It is also possible to
jump to conclusions with out knowing how to add them up. But, to
truely comprehend the subject, one must connect those levels in what
one could call an "intuited" manner. I think that by "intuited" is
meant that famous cry of "eurika!", the sudden leap to
comprehension... but perhaps others here would disagree."
I like the example you offer, let me play with it a bit. Math is a
set of purely rational deductions and conclusions. Once I have
my 'eurika' moment - acheiving a fuller understanding of math - I can
still disect my understanding into a set of rational conclusions that
finally went 'snap!' in my mind. If gnostic inuition is comparable,
then I should be able to logically disect the 'eurika' moment. Is
there a set of rational ergo's to which the gnostic moment of
intuition can be reduced? If so, would that run contrary to a
grasping of 'inner meaning'?
From PMCV's post:
"Since pneumaticism is a state of being, a perspective, rather than
an experience (though it includes it surely), that implies a
spiritual drive within a context, I think we should take caution
before equating Teresa's experience with "pneumaticism"."
I suggest only that Teresa's way of contemplative prayer aims for a
state of being - and, yes, a perspective - other than that from which
she sets out, and that this process fits the definition the refernced
article offers for 'pneumatic'. For instance, in Interior Castle,
Teresa urges her sisters to pursue self-knowledge, and insists that
this self-knowledge will become more true the closer they come to
commuing with the Divine that is within them. If what you mean is
that Teresa's perspectrive - what she perceives by virtue of truer
self-knowledge and knowledge of the divine - is not consistant with
the 'perspective' of gnostic traditions, on balance I'd agree with
you, though as I understand it there are noteable sympathies.
Again, from your post: "Jesus himself did not equate with the divine,
so much as identifying with it via a sort of umbilical recognition."
Right before that, you say, "The Gnostic is able to repeat the
statement of Jesus, 'I and the Father are one'..."
If I understand you correctly, the Gnostic recognizes that the human
pneuma derives from a divine origin, the origin was also pneuma,
therefore that which is derived shares a profound similarity with
that from which it is derived. Would that be accurate?
It's interesting that you mention apophatic theology - since I was
first introduced to Catholic mysticism, I've been struck by the
conginitive disonence that seems to surround its apophatic
tendancies. Teresa and John often invoke God's infinite
absoluteness. Their way of prayer is markedly apophatic. Thanks to
Father Keating and others - I mentioned Escriva before - apophatic
prayer is even becoming something of a popular movement in the modern
Church. But let's face it, the Church has been and remains more
focussed on keeping the flock under the 'Big Tent' than explaining
how Catholic beliefs and ritual are compatible with apophatic
mysticism. Personally, I believe there's room enough for both the
katophatic and apophatic within the Church, but I can also understand
those who wonder if Catholic mystics are fooling themselves.
Anyways...back to work with me.
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