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Gnosticism vs. Orthodoxy

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  • elmoreb
    Im a bit confused as to the origens of gnosticism, and its heresy , so im interested on anyones input. The Orthodox Church has always claimed to believe in
    Message 1 of 20 , Dec 5, 2004
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      Im a bit confused as to the origens of gnosticism, and its "heresy",
      so im interested on anyones input.

      The Orthodox Church has always claimed to believe in one "holy and
      apostolic church" indicating that its beliefs are based on the
      beliefs of the apostles.

      Valentinus claims to have been influenced by Theodus in regards to
      gnosticism.

      Theodus was a disciple of Paul.

      So wouldnt it stand to reason that Valentinus' views were apostolic
      in origin?

      Also, what are the roots of gnosticism. I know there are the
      sethians who claim that its always been around since Adam, but what
      I want to know is who were the first historical gnostics.
    • lady_caritas
      ... its heresy , ... Hi, elmoreb. Your query in the last paragraph about the roots of Gnosticism seems directly related to the first of PMCV s issues ...
      Message 2 of 20 , Dec 5, 2004
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        --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "elmoreb" <elmoreb@y...> wrote:
        >
        >
        > Im a bit confused as to the origens of gnosticism, and
        its "heresy",
        > so im interested on anyones input.
        >
        > The Orthodox Church has always claimed to believe in one "holy and
        > apostolic church" indicating that its beliefs are based on the
        > beliefs of the apostles.
        >
        > Valentinus claims to have been influenced by Theodus in regards to
        > gnosticism.
        >
        > Theodus was a disciple of Paul.
        >
        > So wouldnt it stand to reason that Valentinus' views were apostolic
        > in origin?
        >
        > Also, what are the roots of gnosticism. I know there are the
        > sethians who claim that its always been around since Adam, but what
        > I want to know is who were the first historical gnostics.


        Hi, elmoreb. Your query in the last paragraph about the roots of
        Gnosticism seems directly related to the first of PMCV's issues
        listed in the post (#10377) previous to yours:

        >>>1) There is some debate as to whether Gnosticism is an outgrowth
        from Christianity with the Sethians being the farthest swing away
        (as A. Logan states), or whether Sethians are an original source and
        the Valentinians are more of an attempt to modify it towards
        Christianity (as B. Pearson outlines). Any comments?<<<

        I'm currently wading again through the following article on "Sethian
        Gnosticism: A Literary History" by John D. Turner ~
        http://jdt.unl.edu/lithist.html
        I don't know if you or other members have had a chance to skim or
        read this article. It might offer additional fodder for thought in
        connection with this discussion.

        The article expands from this outline in the Preface:

        "The result of the study suggests that Sethianism interacted with
        Christianity in five phases: (1) Sethianism as a non-Christian
        baptismal sect of the first centuries B.C.E. and C.E. which
        considered itself primordially enlightened by the divine wisdom
        revealed to Adam and Seth, yet expected a final visitation of Seth
        marked by his conferral of a saving baptism; (2) Sethianism as
        gradually Christianized in the later first century onward through an
        identification of the pre-existent Christ with Seth, or Adam, that
        emerged through contact with Christian baptismal groups; (3)
        Sethianism as increasingly estranged from a Christianity becoming
        more orthodox toward the end of the second century and beyond; (4)
        Sethianism as rejected by the Great Church but meanwhile increasingly
        attracted to the individualistic contemplative practices of third-
        century Platonism; and (5) Sethianism as estranged from the orthodox
        Platonists of the late third century and increasingly fragmented into
        various derivative and other sectarian gnostic groups, some surviving
        into the Middle Ages."

        I'm tempted at this early stage in conversation to say that
        Sethianism does not appear to be an outgrowth of Christianity. In
        any case, Platonism seems to have had a strong impact on both the
        Valentinians and Sethians.


        Cari
      • janahooks
        Well, that was fast! Thanks for the link, Cari. jana
        Message 3 of 20 , Dec 5, 2004
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          Well, that was fast! Thanks for the link, Cari. jana
        • lady_caritas
          ... LOL! Must be synchronicity, jana. I posted that before reading your request. The link came from this page, where you can find other interesting
          Message 4 of 20 , Dec 5, 2004
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            --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "janahooks" <janahooks@y...>
            wrote:
            >
            >
            > Well, that was fast! Thanks for the link, Cari. jana


            LOL! Must be synchronicity, jana. I posted that before reading your
            request. The link came from this page, where you can find other
            interesting articles:
            http://jdt.unl.edu/

            Actually, PMCV and others might be able to suggest further reading
            materials, too.


            Cari
          • Mike Leavitt
            Hello lady_caritas ... I think this quote really sums up what happened, it is excellant. ... I tend to agree with you. I might add, that on its face,
            Message 5 of 20 , Dec 5, 2004
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              Hello lady_caritas

              On 12/05/04, you wrote:
              >
              > I'm currently wading again through the following article on "Sethian
              > Gnosticism: A Literary History" by John D. Turner ~
              > http://jdt.unl.edu/lithist.html I don't know if you or other members
              > have had a chance to skim or read this article. It might offer
              > additional fodder for thought in connection with this discussion.
              >
              > The article expands from this outline in the Preface:
              >
              > "The result of the study suggests that Sethianism interacted with
              > Christianity in five phases: (1) Sethianism as a non-Christian
              > baptismal sect of the first centuries B.C.E. and C.E. which
              > considered itself primordially enlightened by the divine wisdom
              > revealed to Adam and Seth, yet expected a final visitation of Seth
              > marked by his conferral of a saving baptism; (2) Sethianism as
              > gradually Christianized in the later first century onward through an
              > identification of the pre-existent Christ with Seth, or Adam, that
              > emerged through contact with Christian baptismal groups; (3)
              > Sethianism as increasingly estranged from a Christianity becoming
              > more orthodox toward the end of the second century and beyond; (4)
              > Sethianism as rejected by the Great Church but meanwhile
              > increasingly attracted to the individualistic contemplative
              > practices of third- century Platonism; and (5) Sethianism as
              > estranged from the orthodox Platonists of the late third century and
              > increasingly fragmented into various derivative and other sectarian
              > gnostic groups, some surviving into the Middle Ages."

              I think this quote really sums up what happened, it is excellant.

              > I'm tempted at this early stage in conversation to say that
              > Sethianism does not appear to be an outgrowth of Christianity. In
              > any case, Platonism seems to have had a strong impact on both the
              > Valentinians and Sethians.

              I tend to agree with you. I might add, that on its face, Mandeanism
              looks a bit like early Sethianism. It may even be one of the
              branches he referrs to. It would be hard to establish though. In
              any case, like the Manacheans, it became a religion, more than pure
              gnosticism.

              Regards
              --
              Mike Leavitt ac998@...
            • eyeambetty
              Hi Cari, elmoreb, everyone, ... what ... on Sethian ... an ... increasingly ... orthodox ... into ... surviving ... Yes! thank you, Cari, for reposting this
              Message 6 of 20 , Dec 6, 2004
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                Hi Cari, elmoreb, everyone,


                elmoreb" wrote:
                > > Also, what are the roots of gnosticism. I know there are the
                > > sethians who claim that its always been around since Adam, but
                what
                > > I want to know is who were the first historical gnostics.
                >

                Cari wrote:
                > Hi, elmoreb. Your query in the last paragraph about the roots of
                > Gnosticism seems directly related to the first of PMCV's issues
                > listed in the post (#10377) previous to yours:
                >
                > >>>1) There is some debate as to whether Gnosticism is an outgrowth
                > from Christianity with the Sethians being the farthest swing away
                > (as A. Logan states), or whether Sethians are an original source and
                > the Valentinians are more of an attempt to modify it towards
                > Christianity (as B. Pearson outlines). Any comments?<<<
                >
                > I'm currently wading again through the following article
                on "Sethian
                > Gnosticism: A Literary History" by John D. Turner ~
                > http://jdt.unl.edu/lithist.html
                > I don't know if you or other members have had a chance to skim or
                > read this article. It might offer additional fodder for thought in
                > connection with this discussion.
                >
                > The article expands from this outline in the Preface:
                >
                > "The result of the study suggests that Sethianism interacted with
                > Christianity in five phases: (1) Sethianism as a non-Christian
                > baptismal sect of the first centuries B.C.E. and C.E. which
                > considered itself primordially enlightened by the divine wisdom
                > revealed to Adam and Seth, yet expected a final visitation of Seth
                > marked by his conferral of a saving baptism; (2) Sethianism as
                > gradually Christianized in the later first century onward through
                an
                > identification of the pre-existent Christ with Seth, or Adam, that
                > emerged through contact with Christian baptismal groups; (3)
                > Sethianism as increasingly estranged from a Christianity becoming
                > more orthodox toward the end of the second century and beyond; (4)
                > Sethianism as rejected by the Great Church but meanwhile
                increasingly
                > attracted to the individualistic contemplative practices of third-
                > century Platonism; and (5) Sethianism as estranged from the
                orthodox
                > Platonists of the late third century and increasingly fragmented
                into
                > various derivative and other sectarian gnostic groups, some
                surviving
                > into the Middle Ages."
                >
                > I'm tempted at this early stage in conversation to say that
                > Sethianism does not appear to be an outgrowth of Christianity. In
                > any case, Platonism seems to have had a strong impact on both the
                > Valentinians and Sethians.
                >


                Yes! thank you, Cari, for reposting this link awhile back. i've been
                engrossed in reading several articles there, including the one you've
                mentioned. "Sethian Gnosticism: A Literary History" is a very
                thorough investigation of the literary history of the Sethians and
                the diverse background of influences. a little further into the
                article, after mentioning a wealth of texts considered to be Sethian
                Gnosticism( which the author explores in detail throughout the
                article), under the heading of "The Sethian Themes" the author more
                specifically outlines the doctrinal influences:

                "So far as I can see, most of the Sethian documents cited above
                originated in the period 100-250 C.E. They seem to derive their
                content from five basic complexes of doctrines:(1)a fund of
                Hellenistic- Jewish speculation on the figure of Sophia, the divine
                wisdom;(2)midrashic interpretation of Genesis 1-6 together with
                assorted motifs from Jewish scripture and exegesis;(3)a doctine and
                practice of baptism;(4)the developing Christology of the early
                church; and(5)a religiously oriented Neopythagorean and Middle
                Platonic philosophical tradition of ontological and theological
                speculation."

                so, while the Sethians apparently continued to develop alongside
                Christianity, and even integrated aspects of the Christology, most
                importantly their identification of Christ/the Logos with Seth,or
                Adam, it seems to function very differently within the Sethian
                context.
                they really seem to distinguish themselves with their interpretation
                of Genesis 2-6, setting up the salvational history of the Sethians.
                Professor Turner goes on to describe this:

                "Given the existence of an upper(either undeclined or restored) and
                lower Sophia, conceived as Mother, and her upper and lower sond, the
                Logos and the Archon, the peculiar Sethian reinterpretation of
                Genesis 2-6 easily follows: the anthropogony; the inbreathing of the
                divine Spirit; the sending of Eve or her extraction from Adam; the
                eating from the tree of knowledge; expulsion from paradie; the birth
                of Cain,Abel,Norea,and Seth and his seed; the flood and intercourse
                between women and the angels, with the addition of the story of Sdom
                and Gemorrah; and a final judgement and salvation. These episodes
                are interpreted in terms of a series of moves and countermoves
                between the upper Mother and Son and the lower Son in a contest over
                the control of the divine Spirit in mankind. In a very early period,
                still within the context of a disaffected and heterodox Judaism( and
                working with Jewish materials and gnosticizing Hellenistic-Jewish
                principles of interpretation),the peculiar Sethian doctrines
                concerning the origins, incarnation, subsequent history and salvation
                of these Gnostics were worked out in terms of the upper and lower
                Adam, Seth and seed of Seth, in particular this involved the doctines
                of heavenly dwellings(the four Lights) for the exalted counterparts
                of the "historical" Sethians, and the tripartitioning of history into
                three basic epochs of salvation. These epochs could be delineated by
                events in the lower world, such as the flood, the conflagration, and
                the final overthrow of the Archons(as in the 'Apocalypse of Adam' and
                the 'Gospel of the Egyptians'). Or these epochs could be marked by
                the three descents from the upper world of a Savior(as Father,Mother
                and Son)involving (1) the inbreathing of the divine Spirit into Adam,
                (2) the arrival of the luminous Epinoia(a Sophia figure) in the form
                of Eve, and (3) the final appearance of Seth as the Logos(or
                Christ,cf. the "Apocryphon of John' and the 'Trimorphic Protennoia).
                Other schemes or combinations of these episodes were also worked out.
                If there is anything peculiarly Sethian in the tractates under
                discussion, it would show itself here, since these speculations in
                fact constitute the sacred history of the Sethian Gnostics."

                now, if that isn't enough to make your head spin, much later in the
                article the author is more specific in describing the contrast
                between Christianity and Sethianism, then mentions just where
                Valentinus is, in proximity to Christianity.

                "For Christianity, the period of Isreal was one only of preparation
                for the advent of salvation in Christ, while for the Sethians,
                salvation had been in principle already achieved in primordial times,
                with the raising of Seth and his seed into the Aeons. Thus the first
                and second descents of the redeemer had actually already performed
                the fundamental work of salvation in primordial times and left
                witnesses to it on inscribed steles and in books. The third descent
                of the redeemer is therefore only to remind the earthly Sethians of
                what had been accomplished for them in the past, and to grant them a
                means of realizing this in the present through the baptismal ascent
                ritual.
                That this third descent of the redeemer is identified with the
                preexistent Christ who brings salvation as gnosis rather that
                salvation through his death on the cross should occasion no suprise.
                There were tendencies toward such views in Johannine Christian
                circles as well. One should bear in mind that also during this period
                (140-160)Valentinus likewise developed the notion of a pneumatic
                Christ coming to waken the sleeping spirit in humankind, a notion
                which lies at the core of his system. Valentinus and his sucessors
                made Christ the focus of their system and thus were allied pricipally
                with Christianity.'rite Sethians, however, seemed to find their sense
                of uniqueness in opposition to the church on grounds just mentioned.
                Since various groups were not isolated from one another but freely
                made use of texts and ideas borrowed from other groups, the adoption
                of Christ into their system was only natural, but did not
                fundamentally change its basically non-Christian nature and inner
                cohesion."

                it's seems then, that fundementally, the Sethians and Valentinians
                idea of gnosis would logically differ? for Valentinians, Gnosis is a
                more vague notion of "knowledge" that one cultivates within, with the
                potential of salvation. while the Sethians, salvation has already
                occured in primordial times, and Gnosis is merely remembering one's
                spiritual past, inferred by a Heavenly counterpart through the
                practice of the baptismal ascent ritual.

                i know i have leaned quite heavily upon Professor Turner's article,
                but at the moment i have no other sources at hand, to draw from, that
                goes to such lengths, in discussing Sethian Gnostian.
                well, i'd like to comment more on the Platonic influences upon the
                Sethians and Valentinians,and more of PMCV questions, but i have to
                go eat dinner before i faint.

                very exciting discussion here!

                cheers everyone, betty
              • lady_caritas
                ... that ... Hi, Betty. It s so good to see you. Thank you for your very thoughtful post. Speaking of food, I m slowly digesting your wonderful analysis in
                Message 7 of 20 , Dec 7, 2004
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                  --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "eyeambetty" <eyeambetty@y...>
                  wrote:
                  >
                  > i know i have leaned quite heavily upon Professor Turner's article,
                  > but at the moment i have no other sources at hand, to draw from,
                  that
                  > goes to such lengths, in discussing Sethian Gnostian.
                  > well, i'd like to comment more on the Platonic influences upon the
                  > Sethians and Valentinians,and more of PMCV questions, but i have to
                  > go eat dinner before i faint.
                  >
                  > very exciting discussion here!
                  >
                  > cheers everyone, betty


                  Hi, Betty. It's so good to see you. Thank you for your very
                  thoughtful post. Speaking of food, I'm slowly digesting your
                  wonderful analysis in between holiday food preparations. I look
                  forward to your future comments, too. I'll be back soon!

                  Cari
                • Mike Leavitt
                  Hello pmcvflag ... Just one, the early Valentinians were in the church, the Sethians were not. Regards -- Mike Leavitt ac998@lafn.org
                  Message 8 of 20 , Dec 9, 2004
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                    Hello pmcvflag

                    On 12/10/04, you wrote:


                    > I would like to see what people think of the mythological structure
                    > itself. Are there reasons for the severe dramtic difference we see
                    > between the Valentinian and Sethian outlines? I ahve often dealt
                    > with this as a literary hermeneutic point, but I also brought up the
                    > question as to just how literal vs literary this should be
                    > understood. Why, then, with the Valentinian and Sethian cosmology
                    > being essentially related, is the emphasis so strikingly different?

                    Just one, the early Valentinians were in the church, the Sethians were
                    not.

                    Regards
                    --
                    Mike Leavitt ac998@...
                  • pmcvflag
                    Hey Betty, well I guess I need to get over and read Turner s pages too. I know he has some books on the subject of the specific relationship between Platonism
                    Message 9 of 20 , Dec 9, 2004
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                      Hey Betty, well I guess I need to get over and read Turner's pages
                      too. I know he has some books on the subject of the specific
                      relationship between Platonism and Sethiansim, perhaps I'll try to
                      pick one of those up at some point.

                      Unfortunately, some of the books I am more familiar with, such as
                      Pearson's "Gnosticism, Judasim, and Egyptian Christianity" are not
                      in print and quite hard to find I guess.

                      It seems to me from this short bit I have read, that Dr Turner
                      postulates a later origin for Sethianism, but not so late as some
                      believe.

                      In looking at this part of Turner's outline....

                      "So far as I can see, most of the Sethian documents cited above
                      originated in the period 100-250 C.E. They seem to derive their
                      content from five basic complexes of doctrines:(1)a fund of
                      Hellenistic- Jewish speculation on the figure of Sophia, the divine
                      wisdom;(2)midrashic interpretation of Genesis 1-6 together with
                      assorted motifs from Jewish scripture and exegesis;(3)a doctine and
                      practice of baptism;(4)the developing Christology of the early
                      church; and(5)a religiously oriented Neopythagorean and Middle
                      Platonic philosophical tradition of ontological and theological
                      speculation."

                      .... I was thinking that it would be interesting to deal a bit more
                      specifically with the influences. While I don't think anyone would
                      debate these influences (though other influences could possibly be
                      added), I am wondering if there is any significance to the ordering.

                      I found it interesting that the thing you point out as a difference
                      in the notion of "Gnosis" between the Valentinians and the Sethians
                      very directly implies that at least this one particular motif is
                      more directly related to the Platonic schools on the Sethian side,
                      and considering the continued degeneration of the Academies this
                      alone could give us cause to speculate on what order those
                      influences should be stated.

                      To be honest though, I am not completely convinced that this
                      destinction is necessarily accurate. Not to say I disagree either,
                      but it does seem to be that while the Valentinian texts do seem to
                      express the notion a bit more vaguely, they still attach it to the
                      ritual system and the cosmology that is implied in the system. And
                      remember, most of the Valentinian texts are also vague in dealing
                      with the cosmology, but we know it was there all the same. In other
                      words, I am not sure that this tendancy to be a bit less explicit
                      may not have more implications concerning the textual purpose (and
                      the "taste" of the sect) rather than the specifics of belief.

                      Something that threw me a little, is the way Dr Turner mentions the
                      Valentinian developement so obliquely that it almost seems to imply
                      that these thoughts popped up on thier own in both sects. While he
                      does mention sect interaction, I would wonder if he would list the
                      same influences, in the same order, for both sects.

                      One thought I have had is, the expression is Sethianism is so
                      dramatic, and on the surface it is hard to see interaction between
                      some of these Gnostic sects, as well as Neopythagorian and
                      Hermeticism. When I look at the early Hermetic texts, I see
                      something very easily in line with Valentinian thought.... the
                      Demiurge is not evil, just a tool.... etc. Some of the
                      Neopythagorian thought, on the other hand, seems to me to be more
                      inline with the Sethians. Still, I can see the interacction between
                      all of these groups as more intuitively obvious than the interaction
                      between the Sethians and Valentinians. And yet it did seem to
                      happen. SO, what does this imply?

                      I would like to see what people think of the mythological structure
                      itself. Are there reasons for the severe dramtic difference we see
                      between the Valentinian and Sethian outlines? I ahve often dealt
                      with this as a literary hermeneutic point, but I also brought up the
                      question as to just how literal vs literary this should be
                      understood. Why, then, with the Valentinian and Sethian cosmology
                      being essentially related, is the emphasis so strikingly different?

                      Thoughts?

                      PMCV
                    • lady_caritas
                      ... times, ... first ... a ... suprise. ... period ... pricipally ... sense ... mentioned. ... adoption ... a ... the ... Betty, you speak of the idea of
                      Message 10 of 20 , Dec 10, 2004
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                        --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "eyeambetty" <eyeambetty@y...>
                        wrote:

                        > now, if that isn't enough to make your head spin, much later in the
                        > article the author is more specific in describing the contrast
                        > between Christianity and Sethianism, then mentions just where
                        > Valentinus is, in proximity to Christianity.
                        >
                        > "For Christianity, the period of Isreal was one only of preparation
                        > for the advent of salvation in Christ, while for the Sethians,
                        > salvation had been in principle already achieved in primordial
                        times,
                        > with the raising of Seth and his seed into the Aeons. Thus the
                        first
                        > and second descents of the redeemer had actually already performed
                        > the fundamental work of salvation in primordial times and left
                        > witnesses to it on inscribed steles and in books. The third descent
                        > of the redeemer is therefore only to remind the earthly Sethians of
                        > what had been accomplished for them in the past, and to grant them
                        a
                        > means of realizing this in the present through the baptismal ascent
                        > ritual.
                        > That this third descent of the redeemer is identified with the
                        > preexistent Christ who brings salvation as gnosis rather that
                        > salvation through his death on the cross should occasion no
                        suprise.
                        > There were tendencies toward such views in Johannine Christian
                        > circles as well. One should bear in mind that also during this
                        period
                        > (140-160)Valentinus likewise developed the notion of a pneumatic
                        > Christ coming to waken the sleeping spirit in humankind, a notion
                        > which lies at the core of his system. Valentinus and his sucessors
                        > made Christ the focus of their system and thus were allied
                        pricipally
                        > with Christianity.'rite Sethians, however, seemed to find their
                        sense
                        > of uniqueness in opposition to the church on grounds just
                        mentioned.
                        > Since various groups were not isolated from one another but freely
                        > made use of texts and ideas borrowed from other groups, the
                        adoption
                        > of Christ into their system was only natural, but did not
                        > fundamentally change its basically non-Christian nature and inner
                        > cohesion."
                        >
                        > it's seems then, that fundementally, the Sethians and Valentinians
                        > idea of gnosis would logically differ? for Valentinians, Gnosis is
                        a
                        > more vague notion of "knowledge" that one cultivates within, with
                        the
                        > potential of salvation. while the Sethians, salvation has already
                        > occured in primordial times, and Gnosis is merely remembering one's
                        > spiritual past, inferred by a Heavenly counterpart through the
                        > practice of the baptismal ascent ritual.


                        Betty, you speak of the "idea" of Gnosis. Ideas may have differed
                        due to differing environments and cultural influences. There is
                        certainly that element, and yet I feel that this mental aspect, the
                        intellectual realization, was part of a larger common
                        cognitional/pneumatic _experience_ (not just emotional or magical or
                        mystical or rational) from whence came an abundance of differing
                        expressions, which in themselves changed in the first few centuries
                        as explained by John D. Turner in his article.

                        I'm reminded of "An Interview with Gilles Quispel" by Christopher
                        Farmer (p. 27-29) in the first issue _Gnosis Magazine_, (Fall/Winter
                        1985).
                        From the interview:
                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                        Farmer: I liked what you once said in an article about the Nag
                        Hammadi discovery, that whether or not these writings are true or not
                        there is certainly a sincere and authentic expression being
                        manifested in them.

                        Quispel: Yes, and that's what Jung once said to me. He said, "I
                        don't like the Neoplatonists, mainly because you don't find there so
                        much an experience but more of a rationalization of the experience,
                        but with the Gnostics you have the experience, and the proof that it
                        is all personal experience is that these systems are so different
                        from each other." I think that is a very valid observation from that
                        old fox.
                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                        Well, perhaps it is personal, but there is a cultural as well as a
                        personality component that could very well affect individual likes,
                        dislikes, and differences in general. I do agree with Jung's
                        observation about "a sincere and authentic expression." This could
                        very well stem from an origin of experience that transcends
                        nature/nurture considerations. In spite of Jung's observation about
                        different systems, the Neoplatonists and Valentinians and Sethians
                        had plenty in common. Their griping at each other was often about
                        emphasis and details. So human they were. The rationals didn't like
                        all the ecstatic incantations of others, etc. Humans are so
                        complex. That is why I appreciate what often seems like the
                        ridiculous intricacy of Gnostic cosmologies. Some things these
                        Gnostic groups did share were emanation systems from an unknown
                        source and an interest in cosmogony.

                        I think remembrance through an inner awakening was important for all
                        Gnostics, whether with the help of one or three descents of a
                        redeemer. As Mike pointed out, the Valentinians seemed to have a
                        more direct connection with a burgeoning Christianity than others.
                        Remembrance was the key, though, for Valentinians and Sethians
                        alike,... awakening "the sleeping spirit in humankind."

                        Regardless of when a salvation "in principle" had been achieved for
                        these groups, the inner realization wasn't always considered apparent
                        without the aid of ritual or an initiatory process, in some cases.
                        Various rituals were used and sometimes were even discarded by
                        various sects. I would imagine that Sethian and Valentinian groups
                        were comprised of members at various stages in the process of Gnosis,
                        just as we find today. Hence, the amount of emphasis on sacramental
                        aspects would vary.

                        IOW, to end my rambling here, there seemed to be a common emphasis on
                        a pneumatic remembrance, an awakening from ignorance common to these
                        groups, that was still apparent in spite of varying expressions,
                        cosmological details, and ritual emphasis in attaining Gnosis.


                        Cari
                      • lady_caritas
                        ... Hi, PMCV. Turner also does mention (near the end of III. Chronology and Redaction, A. Before 100 C.E.) earliest Sethian compositions that were written by
                        Message 11 of 20 , Dec 10, 2004
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                          --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                          >
                          > It seems to me from this short bit I have read, that Dr Turner
                          > postulates a later origin for Sethianism, but not so late as some
                          > believe.
                          >
                          > In looking at this part of Turner's outline....
                          >
                          > "So far as I can see, most of the Sethian documents cited above
                          > originated in the period 100-250 C.E.


                          Hi, PMCV. Turner also does mention (near the end of III. Chronology
                          and Redaction, A. Before 100 C.E.) earliest Sethian compositions that
                          were written by the end of the first century. I would copy and paste
                          here, but I can't seem to access the web page right now.

                          He basically shows an origin for Sethianism before 100 C.E in this
                          whole section. Are there sources that postulate a much earlier
                          origin?

                          Cari
                        • Mike Leavitt
                          Hello lady_caritas ... I have heard about 100 BCE. PMCV? Regards -- Mike Leavitt ac998@lafn.org
                          Message 12 of 20 , Dec 10, 2004
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                            Hello lady_caritas

                            On 12/10/04, you wrote:

                            >
                            >
                            > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                            >>
                            >> It seems to me from this short bit I have read, that Dr Turner
                            >> postulates a later origin for Sethianism, but not so late as some
                            >> believe.
                            >>
                            >> In looking at this part of Turner's outline....
                            >>
                            >> "So far as I can see, most of the Sethian documents cited above
                            >> originated in the period 100-250 C.E.
                            >
                            >
                            > Hi, PMCV. Turner also does mention (near the end of III. Chronology
                            > and Redaction, A. Before 100 C.E.) earliest Sethian compositions
                            > that were written by the end of the first century. I would copy and
                            > paste here, but I can't seem to access the web page right now.
                            >
                            > He basically shows an origin for Sethianism before 100 C.E in this
                            > whole section. Are there sources that postulate a much earlier
                            > origin?
                            >
                            > Cari

                            I have heard about 100 BCE. PMCV?

                            Regards
                            --
                            Mike Leavitt ac998@...
                          • Mike Leavitt
                            Hello lady_caritas ... We should remember that the late NeoPlatonists like Proclus were very theurgic, if not plain magical in their emphasis. Regards -- Mike
                            Message 13 of 20 , Dec 10, 2004
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                              Hello lady_caritas

                              On 12/10/04, you wrote:

                              > IOW, to end my rambling here, there seemed to be a common emphasis
                              > on a pneumatic remembrance, an awakening from ignorance common to
                              > these groups, that was still apparent in spite of varying
                              > expressions, cosmological details, and ritual emphasis in attaining
                              > Gnosis.

                              We should remember that the late NeoPlatonists like Proclus were very
                              theurgic, if not plain magical in their emphasis.

                              Regards
                              --
                              Mike Leavitt ac998@...
                            • lady_caritas
                              ... attaining ... very ... Yes, Mike, and I don t know if Jung felt the same dislike for Proclus as he did toward other Neoplatonists. Proclus was still the
                              Message 14 of 20 , Dec 11, 2004
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                                --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, Mike Leavitt <ac998@l...> wrote:
                                > Hello lady_caritas
                                >
                                > On 12/10/04, you wrote:
                                >
                                > > IOW, to end my rambling here, there seemed to be a common emphasis
                                > > on a pneumatic remembrance, an awakening from ignorance common to
                                > > these groups, that was still apparent in spite of varying
                                > > expressions, cosmological details, and ritual emphasis in
                                attaining
                                > > Gnosis.
                                >
                                > We should remember that the late NeoPlatonists like Proclus were
                                very
                                > theurgic, if not plain magical in their emphasis.
                                >
                                > Regards
                                > --
                                > Mike Leavitt ac998@l...


                                Yes, Mike, and I don't know if Jung felt the same dislike for Proclus
                                as he did toward other Neoplatonists. Proclus was still the
                                philosopher, but certainly incorporated theurgy in his contemplation
                                of Forms.
                                http://www.kheper.net/topics/Neoplatonism/Proclus-theurgy.html


                                Cari
                              • lady_caritas
                                ... some ... Chronology ... and ... this ... Oh, yes, Mike. I checked back to a previous post of mine (#10379) in which I quoted from the preface of Turner s
                                Message 15 of 20 , Dec 11, 2004
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                                  --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, Mike Leavitt <ac998@l...> wrote:
                                  > Hello lady_caritas
                                  >
                                  > On 12/10/04, you wrote:
                                  >
                                  > >
                                  > >
                                  > > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@y...>
                                  wrote:
                                  > >>
                                  > >> It seems to me from this short bit I have read, that Dr Turner
                                  > >> postulates a later origin for Sethianism, but not so late as
                                  some
                                  > >> believe.
                                  > >>
                                  > >> In looking at this part of Turner's outline....
                                  > >>
                                  > >> "So far as I can see, most of the Sethian documents cited above
                                  > >> originated in the period 100-250 C.E.
                                  > >
                                  > >
                                  > > Hi, PMCV. Turner also does mention (near the end of III.
                                  Chronology
                                  > > and Redaction, A. Before 100 C.E.) earliest Sethian compositions
                                  > > that were written by the end of the first century. I would copy
                                  and
                                  > > paste here, but I can't seem to access the web page right now.
                                  > >
                                  > > He basically shows an origin for Sethianism before 100 C.E in
                                  this
                                  > > whole section. Are there sources that postulate a much earlier
                                  > > origin?
                                  > >
                                  > > Cari
                                  >
                                  > I have heard about 100 BCE. PMCV?
                                  >
                                  > Regards
                                  > --
                                  > Mike Leavitt ac998@l...


                                  Oh, yes, Mike. I checked back to a previous post of mine (#10379) in
                                  which I quoted from the preface of Turner's article, mentioning
                                  "Sethianism as a non-Christian
                                  baptismal sect of the first centuries B.C.E. and C.E. which
                                  considered itself primordially enlightened by the divine wisdom
                                  revealed to Adam and Seth,..."

                                  I don't know how much further back we could go, but even activity
                                  around 100 B.C.E. would exemplify non-Christian roots.

                                  Cari
                                • Mike Leavitt
                                  Hello lady_caritas ... I seem to remember Iamblicus On the Mysteries, which was very theurgic too. I don t have ready access to my library (long story) or I
                                  Message 16 of 20 , Dec 11, 2004
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                                    Hello lady_caritas

                                    On 12/11/04, you wrote:

                                    >
                                    >
                                    > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, Mike Leavitt <ac998@l...> wrote:
                                    >> Hello lady_caritas
                                    >>
                                    >> On 12/10/04, you wrote:
                                    >>
                                    >> IOW, to end my rambling here, there seemed to be a common emphasis
                                    >> on a pneumatic remembrance, an awakening from ignorance common to
                                    >> these groups, that was still apparent in spite of varying
                                    >> expressions, cosmological details, and ritual emphasis in
                                    > attaining
                                    >>> Gnosis.
                                    >>
                                    >> We should remember that the late NeoPlatonists like Proclus were
                                    > very
                                    >> theurgic, if not plain magical in their emphasis.
                                    >>
                                    >> Regards
                                    >> --
                                    >> Mike Leavitt ac998@l...
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > Yes, Mike, and I don't know if Jung felt the same dislike for
                                    > Proclus as he did toward other Neoplatonists. Proclus was still the
                                    > philosopher, but certainly incorporated theurgy in his contemplation
                                    > of Forms.
                                    > http://www.kheper.net/topics/Neoplatonism/Proclus-theurgy.html

                                    I seem to remember Iamblicus On the Mysteries, which was very theurgic
                                    too. I don't have ready access to my library (long story) or I would
                                    check.

                                    Regards
                                    --
                                    Mike Leavitt ac998@...
                                  • lady_caritas
                                    ... emphasis ... the ... contemplation ... theurgic ... would ... You must have some amazing library, Mike. Anyway, I was able to find this online:
                                    Message 17 of 20 , Dec 11, 2004
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                                      --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, Mike Leavitt <ac998@l...> wrote:
                                      > Hello lady_caritas
                                      >
                                      > On 12/11/04, you wrote:
                                      >
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, Mike Leavitt <ac998@l...>
                                      wrote:
                                      > >> Hello lady_caritas
                                      > >>
                                      > >> On 12/10/04, you wrote:
                                      > >>
                                      > >> IOW, to end my rambling here, there seemed to be a common
                                      emphasis
                                      > >> on a pneumatic remembrance, an awakening from ignorance common to
                                      > >> these groups, that was still apparent in spite of varying
                                      > >> expressions, cosmological details, and ritual emphasis in
                                      > > attaining
                                      > >>> Gnosis.
                                      > >>
                                      > >> We should remember that the late NeoPlatonists like Proclus were
                                      > > very
                                      > >> theurgic, if not plain magical in their emphasis.
                                      > >>
                                      > >> Regards
                                      > >> --
                                      > >> Mike Leavitt ac998@l...
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > > Yes, Mike, and I don't know if Jung felt the same dislike for
                                      > > Proclus as he did toward other Neoplatonists. Proclus was still
                                      the
                                      > > philosopher, but certainly incorporated theurgy in his
                                      contemplation
                                      > > of Forms.
                                      > > http://www.kheper.net/topics/Neoplatonism/Proclus-theurgy.html
                                      >
                                      > I seem to remember Iamblicus On the Mysteries, which was very
                                      theurgic
                                      > too. I don't have ready access to my library (long story) or I
                                      would
                                      > check.
                                      >
                                      > Regards
                                      > --
                                      > Mike Leavitt ac998@l...


                                      You must have some amazing library, Mike. Anyway, I was able to find
                                      this online:
                                      http://www.esotericarchives.com/oracle/iambl_th.htm


                                      Cari
                                    • Mike Leavitt
                                      Hello lady_caritas ... This appears to be the work in question. The style makes it a bit hard to read, I m afraid. Regards -- Mike Leavitt ac998@lafn.org
                                      Message 18 of 20 , Dec 11, 2004
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                                        Hello lady_caritas

                                        On 12/11/04, you wrote:

                                        >
                                        >
                                        > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, Mike Leavitt <ac998@l...> wrote:
                                        >> Hello lady_caritas
                                        >>
                                        >> On 12/11/04, you wrote:
                                        >>
                                        >>>
                                        >>>
                                        >>> --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, Mike Leavitt <ac998@l...>
                                        > wrote:
                                        >>>> Hello lady_caritas
                                        >>>>
                                        >>>> On 12/10/04, you wrote:
                                        >>>>
                                        >>>> IOW, to end my rambling here, there seemed to be a common
                                        > emphasis
                                        >> >> on a pneumatic remembrance, an awakening from ignorance common
                                        >> >> to these groups, that was still apparent in spite of varying
                                        >> >> expressions, cosmological details, and ritual emphasis in
                                        >>> attaining
                                        >>>>> Gnosis.
                                        >> >>
                                        >> >> We should remember that the late NeoPlatonists like Proclus were
                                        >>> very
                                        >>>> theurgic, if not plain magical in their emphasis.
                                        >>>>
                                        >>>> Regards
                                        >>>> --
                                        >>>> Mike Leavitt ac998@l...
                                        >>>
                                        >>>
                                        >>> Yes, Mike, and I don't know if Jung felt the same dislike for
                                        >>> Proclus as he did toward other Neoplatonists. Proclus was still
                                        > the
                                        >>> philosopher, but certainly incorporated theurgy in his
                                        > contemplation
                                        >>> of Forms.
                                        >>> http://www.kheper.net/topics/Neoplatonism/Proclus-theurgy.html
                                        >>
                                        >> I seem to remember Iamblicus On the Mysteries, which was very
                                        > theurgic
                                        >> too. I don't have ready access to my library (long story) or I
                                        > would
                                        >> check.
                                        >>
                                        >> Regards
                                        >> --
                                        >> Mike Leavitt ac998@l...
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > You must have some amazing library, Mike. Anyway, I was able to find
                                        > this online:
                                        > http://www.esotericarchives.com/oracle/iambl_th.htm

                                        This appears to be the work in question. The style makes it a bit
                                        hard to read, I'm afraid.

                                        Regards
                                        --
                                        Mike Leavitt ac998@...
                                      • pmcvflag
                                        In my memory I seem to recall that Pearson pushes back even farther, a little into the second century B.C.. To be honest though, I can t recall what evidence
                                        Message 19 of 20 , Dec 11, 2004
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                                          In my memory I seem to recall that Pearson pushes back even farther,
                                          a little into the second century B.C.. To be honest though, I can't
                                          recall what evidence he presents for that.... and I can't think of
                                          any myself. I also was just noticing that Turner and Pearson seem to
                                          have many parallel studies, such as the specific connection between
                                          Gnosticism and Platonism. From what I am reading they seem very much
                                          in agrement. Perhaps Turner is a good replacement (and maybe a bit
                                          updated) for the fact that Pearson seems pretty hard to find. It
                                          would be helpful to have more books on this perticular subject to be
                                          able to recomend to people. Expect my review within a year ;) *lol*

                                          PMCV

                                          --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, lady_caritas <no_reply@y...>
                                          wrote:
                                          >
                                          > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, Mike Leavitt <ac998@l...>
                                          wrote:
                                          > > Hello lady_caritas
                                          > >
                                          > > On 12/10/04, you wrote:
                                          > >
                                          > > >
                                          > > >
                                          > > > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@y...>
                                          > wrote:
                                          > > >>
                                          > > >> It seems to me from this short bit I have read, that Dr
                                          Turner
                                          > > >> postulates a later origin for Sethianism, but not so late as
                                          > some
                                          > > >> believe.
                                          > > >>
                                          > > >> In looking at this part of Turner's outline....
                                          > > >>
                                          > > >> "So far as I can see, most of the Sethian documents cited
                                          above
                                          > > >> originated in the period 100-250 C.E.
                                          > > >
                                          > > >
                                          > > > Hi, PMCV. Turner also does mention (near the end of III.
                                          > Chronology
                                          > > > and Redaction, A. Before 100 C.E.) earliest Sethian
                                          compositions
                                          > > > that were written by the end of the first century. I would
                                          copy
                                          > and
                                          > > > paste here, but I can't seem to access the web page right now.
                                          > > >
                                          > > > He basically shows an origin for Sethianism before 100 C.E in
                                          > this
                                          > > > whole section. Are there sources that postulate a much
                                          earlier
                                          > > > origin?
                                          > > >
                                          > > > Cari
                                          > >
                                          > > I have heard about 100 BCE. PMCV?
                                          > >
                                          > > Regards
                                          > > --
                                          > > Mike Leavitt ac998@l...
                                          >
                                          >
                                          > Oh, yes, Mike. I checked back to a previous post of mine (#10379)
                                          in
                                          > which I quoted from the preface of Turner's article, mentioning
                                          > "Sethianism as a non-Christian
                                          > baptismal sect of the first centuries B.C.E. and C.E. which
                                          > considered itself primordially enlightened by the divine wisdom
                                          > revealed to Adam and Seth,..."
                                          >
                                          > I don't know how much further back we could go, but even activity
                                          > around 100 B.C.E. would exemplify non-Christian roots.
                                          >
                                          > Cari
                                        • pmcvflag
                                          Hey Mike... ... Sethians were not.
                                          Message 20 of 20 , Dec 11, 2004
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                                            Hey Mike...

                                            >>>"Just one, the early Valentinians were in the church, the
                                            Sethians were not."<<<

                                            Perhaps, but what about the synagogue? Also, I am not so sure that
                                            the Christinized "Sethian" tracts were not originally used in the
                                            church. On the other hand, they are hard to reconcile with what we
                                            know of the earliest Christian texts. I think this question is very
                                            difficult to be positive about, either way.

                                            PMCV
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