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Re: Gnosticism vs. Orthodoxy

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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 11 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 12 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 13 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 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:
                                >
                                > >
                                > >
                                > > --- 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 15 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 16 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 17 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 18 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 19 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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