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9948Re: [Gnosticism2] Re: First Line of Questions, :)>

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  • Gavin Riggott
    Aug 3, 2004

      Hrmm, you are really making me think :P

      > Well, now, before you take my point... or leave it... maybe we should
      > talk about it a bit further to make sure it is understood. You are
      > very right to point out that "Gnosticism" was not a single group, or
      > even a close nit one, but I do not feel you are accurate to say that
      > it is not a "defined philosophy".

      By "single, defined philosophy" I meant one with no variation. Obviously
      though, Gnosticism is not like this; it is not uniform. I'll get to why I
      mentioned this next...

      > While I am now the one to say "I take your point", let me point out
      > that the focus of this club is not simply specified "for the purpose
      > of discussion". You and I can both be seekers of truth, as you put
      > it, but unless you really do wish to go back to the notion
      > that "truth" is subjective (in which case, what is there to seek?),
      > then we do have to understand the intent of communications via which
      > we find our interest in truth piqued.
      > If we can't define what the word "Gnosis" means, we cant communicate
      > it... so once again the search be becomes a sham if we even take the
      > time to look at ANY ancient liturature or assume any communication.
      > What is the point of having a club dealing with the subject then?

      Well, I'm glad that I don't have to limit myself to purely academic
      discussions. However, I'm not for one minute suggesting that truth is
      subjective. On the contrary, that's why I'm interested in this line of
      questioning. I don't accept that all texts that can be placed under the
      (defined!) umbrella as "Gnostic" necessarily contain the truth. The fact
      that Gnoisis is defined as a _particular_ type of intuitive, spiritual
      knowledge does not mean that every text displaying Gnostic cosmology and all
      the right typological criteria is a genuine expression of Gnosis... does it?
      (Note the emphasis on "particular" there - I realise that Gnosis does not
      refer to spiritual intuition in general. You wondered if my definition of
      Gnosis is a little unsure. Well, I think Gnosis must be truth - in the same
      sense that the equation 2+2=4 is true. Maybe this isn't the proper
      definition? If so, my entire line of questioning is misguided, hehe.)

      I'm not sure that I agree with what you say using the example of the Divine
      Comedy. The fact that you are capable of disagreeing with the
      interpretations of some modern authors does not necessarily relate to
      Gnostic scriptures. Afterall, not all Gnostic texts agree with one another.
      If a man in Germany decided to do some spring cleaning and found a Gnostic
      text in a dusty old cabinet somewhere, it would no doubt add yet another
      myth or idea to the collection. It might be obviously Gnostic in character,
      but it certainly won't literally 100% agree with all the other texts. (Not
      that they are meant to be read literally, but bear with me...) What if,
      several years later, it was discovered that this was a fake? The author,
      sufficiently qualified--a writer himself, expert in ancient languages and
      familiar with the other texts, etc--wrote it fairly recently. He had no
      Gnostic experience; he just wrote it to make money.

      How would we know whether it was a genuine expression of Gnosis or not? Is
      there any way to tell? Is the question even relevant? A historian might
      not care about this question of real Gnosis, but I do, and it's nagging at
      me. When I open a book and start reading a particular Gnostic scripture,
      that part of me says, "that's great, but how do you know it's really
      Gnosis?" Please realise that I'm not questioning whether Gnostic texts as a
      whole express Gnosis. As you pointed out, that really would be nonsensical.
      But within the tradition, the question for certain texts... well, then I
      think it's open for debate. Consider that I start my own school, Gavinism.
      Within time, my students set up different sects which in turn experience
      schisms, and more and more diversity enters into it. To a historian, they
      would all be different schools of Gavinism. But within that tradition,
      there would be room for debate as to whether certain sects or authors have
      really understood and expressed Gnavos. See what I'm trying to get at?

      (By the way, I wasn't suggesting that Jung was a Gnostic, I just used him as
      an example. I should probably have used a metaphorical example, like Mr.
      Joe Smith or some other made-up name.)

      Gavin Riggott
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