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Weekly Study Session #1: Definitions of Gnosis

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  • lady_caritas
    For our first ever weekly study session, Gich has offered a topic. (Also, members, keep suggesting topics for future sessions. You can post them in messages
    Message 1 of 4 , May 27, 2005
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      For our first ever "weekly study session," Gich has offered a topic.
      (Also, members, keep suggesting topics for future sessions. You can
      post them in messages or email the moderators. Thanks.)

      Gich is looking for definitions of "gnosis." Since our group focus is
      historical Gnosticism, let's not forget to compare/contrast any
      definitions with how the ancients might have perceived "gnosis." Feel
      free to quote scripture or scholarly commentary, if you'd like.

      I'll begin by posting a description from our group's homepage:

      "Gnosis" means "knowledge"-- not simply the number of facts held in
      one's head, but a conjunction of knowledge with wisdom and perspective
      that culminates in spiritual insight.


      Cari
    • Nick Lawrance
      What is Gnosis? ........................................... Gnosis is the direct perception of the divine its knowledge beyond belief or intellectual
      Message 2 of 4 , May 28, 2005
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        What is Gnosis?
        ...........................................
        Gnosis is the direct perception of the divine its knowledge beyond belief or intellectual theorizing. Elaine Pagels notes in her book Gnostic Gospels" wrote "The Gnostic could not
        accept on faith what others said, except as a provisional measure, until one found one's own path, for, as the Gnostic teacher Heracleon say, 'people are at first led to believe in the savior through others' but, when they become mature 'they no longer rely on human testimony' but discover instead there own immediate relationship with 'the truth itself'.

        "The gospel of truth is joy to those who have received from the Father of
        truth the gift of knowing him by the power of the Logos, .....And as for
        him, them he found in himself, and him they found in themselves, that
        illimitable, inconceivable one, that perfect Father who made the
        all."(Gospel of Truth).
        Gnosis is not given by grace alone, it requires diligent work upon ones self.
         Jesus said: "......When you know yourselves, then shall you become known,
        and you shall realise that you are the sons of the living Father. But if you will not know
        yourselves, then you dwell in poverty, and you are that poverty. "
        (Thomas 3)
         
        Gnosis reminds me of the film 'The Matrix' ; Neo asks to be shown what the matrix is but Morpheus responds that it is not possible. To know what the matrix is one has to experience it for themselves.
         
        "Names given to the worldly are very deceptive, for they divert our thoughts from what is correct to what is incorrect. Thus one who hears the word "God" does not perceive what is correct, but perceives what is incorrect. So also with "the Father" and "the Son" and "the Holy Spirit" and "life" and "light" and "resurrection" and "the Church (Ekklesia)" and all the rest - people do not perceive what is correct but they perceive what is incorrect, unless they have come to know what is correct. The names which are heard are in the world [...] deceive. If they were in the Aeon (eternal realm), they would at no time be used as names in the world."
        "It is not possible for anyone to see anything of the things that actually exist unless he becomes like them. This is not the way with man in the world: he sees the sun without being a sun; and he sees the heaven and the earth and all other things, but he is not these things. This is quite in keeping with the truth. But you saw something of that place, and you became those things. You saw the Spirit, you became spirit. You saw Christ, you became Christ. You saw the Father, you shall become Father. So in this place you see everything and do not see yourself, but in that place you do see yourself - and what you see you shall become."
        (Gospel of Philip)
         
        Nick
         

        ----- Original Message -----
        Sent: Friday, May 27, 2005 3:25 PM
        Subject: [Gnosticism2] Weekly Study Session #1: Definitions of Gnosis

        For our first ever "weekly study session," Gich has offered a topic. 
        (Also, members, keep suggesting topics for future sessions.  You can
        post them in messages or email the moderators.  Thanks.)

        Gich is looking for definitions of "gnosis."  Since our group focus is
        historical Gnosticism, let's not forget to compare/contrast any
        definitions with how the ancients might have perceived "gnosis."  Feel
        free to quote scripture or scholarly commentary, if you'd like.

        I'll begin by posting a description from our group's homepage:

        "Gnosis" means "knowledge"-- not simply the number of facts held in
        one's head, but a conjunction of knowledge with wisdom and perspective
        that culminates in spiritual insight.


        Cari



      • lady_caritas
        ... my ... but ... intellectual ... revelation and is ... knowledge ... in ... the self ... soul s divine ... on faith ; we ... gnostics ... which would ...
        Message 3 of 4 , May 29, 2005
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          --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "gich morgan" <gich2@b...> wrote:
          > Hey Cari!
          >
          > My view of gnosis is evolving but, from my studies so far, this is
          my
          > present perception:
          >
          > (1) "Gnosis" is not discursive, analytical or abstract knowledge
          but
          > "insight" into reality that is beyond the reach of normal
          intellectual
          > understanding. "Gnosis" is knowledge received from divine
          revelation and is
          > God's prerogative alone; it equips the soul with the necessary
          knowledge
          > required to transcend the obstructive barriers that would keep it
          in
          > captivity [knowledge of the path of redemption]; it is knowledge of
          the self
          > in its relation to God ... which leads to ... knowledge of the
          soul's divine
          > origin ... knowledge of the transcendent God.
          >
          > (2) The route to the divine "gnosis" is "spirituality"; "gnosis" is
          > conferred on "spiritual man". We should not focus our life
          on "faith"; we
          > should focus on "knowledge" and on spirituality. The ancient
          gnostics
          > believed that people could become more spiritual by initiation
          which would
          > include: contemplation and meditation, study, dealing with "the
          evil
          > within", self-examination, prayer, and the like. This greater
          spirituality
          > would make it more likely [but not guarantee] that they would
          receive the
          > gift of the divine "gnosis". "Spirituality" includes accepting
          one's lot and
          > getting on with life. The pursuit of gnosticism is an attempt to
          become
          > sufficiently "spiritual" so that we may receive the
          divine "gnosis"; if not
          > during our lifetime, then at least at the point of our death.
          > (3) Man was created by the demiurge and made ignorant of his true
          nature.
          > The function of the divine "gnosis" is to free him from
          this "ignorance" and
          > allow him to be aware of his true nature.
          >
          > Gich



          Hi, Gich. Thank you for your contribution.

          (1) "God's prerogative..." -- That seems to indicate a god with
          intent. Do you view that god as a separate, existent entity?

          Consider this passage from the Gospel of Philip quote that Nick
          offers in his reply. --

          http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gnosticism2/message/11049
          "Names given to the worldly are very deceptive, for they divert our
          thoughts from what is correct to what is incorrect. Thus one who
          hears the word "God" does not perceive what is correct, but perceives
          what is incorrect. So also with "the Father" and "the Son" and "the
          Holy Spirit" and "life" and "light" and "resurrection" and "the
          Church (Ekklesia)" and all the rest - people do not perceive what is
          correct but they perceive what is incorrect, unless they have come to
          know what is correct. The names which are heard are in the world
          [...] deceive. If they were in the Aeon (eternal realm), they would
          at no time be used as names in the world."

          (2) I was wondering if you could expand on what you mean
          by "accepting one's lot and getting on with life."

          Thanks,

          Cari
        • lady_caritas
          ... belief or intellectual theorizing. Elaine Pagels notes in her book Gnostic Gospels wrote The Gnostic could not ... until one found one s own path, for,
          Message 4 of 4 , May 31, 2005
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            --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "Nick Lawrance"
            <nicholson2000r@c...> wrote:
            > What is Gnosis?
            > ...........................................
            > Gnosis is the direct perception of the divine its knowledge beyond
            belief or intellectual theorizing. Elaine Pagels notes in her book
            Gnostic Gospels" wrote "The Gnostic could not
            > accept on faith what others said, except as a provisional measure,
            until one found one's own path, for, as the Gnostic teacher Heracleon
            say, 'people are at first led to believe in the savior through
            others' but, when they become mature 'they no longer rely on human
            testimony' but discover instead there own immediate relationship
            with 'the truth itself'.
            >
            > "The gospel of truth is joy to those who have received from the
            Father of
            > truth the gift of knowing him by the power of the Logos, .....And
            as for
            > him, them he found in himself, and him they found in themselves,
            that
            > illimitable, inconceivable one, that perfect Father who made the
            > all."(Gospel of Truth).
            >
            > Gnosis is not given by grace alone, it requires diligent work upon
            ones self.
            >
            > Jesus said: "......When you know yourselves, then shall you become
            known,
            > and you shall realise that you are the sons of the living Father.
            But if you will not know
            > yourselves, then you dwell in poverty, and you are that poverty. "
            > (Thomas 3)
            >
            > Gnosis reminds me of the film 'The Matrix' ; Neo asks to be shown
            what the matrix is but Morpheus responds that it is not possible. To
            know what the matrix is one has to experience it for themselves.
            >
            > "Names given to the worldly are very deceptive, for they divert our
            thoughts from what is correct to what is incorrect. Thus one who
            hears the word "God" does not perceive what is correct, but perceives
            what is incorrect. So also with "the Father" and "the Son" and "the
            Holy Spirit" and "life" and "light" and "resurrection" and "the
            Church (Ekklesia)" and all the rest - people do not perceive what is
            correct but they perceive what is incorrect, unless they have come to
            know what is correct. The names which are heard are in the world
            [...] deceive. If they were in the Aeon (eternal realm), they would
            at no time be used as names in the world."
            > "It is not possible for anyone to see anything of the things that
            actually exist unless he becomes like them. This is not the way with
            man in the world: he sees the sun without being a sun; and he sees
            the heaven and the earth and all other things, but he is not these
            things. This is quite in keeping with the truth. But you saw
            something of that place, and you became those things. You saw the
            Spirit, you became spirit. You saw Christ, you became Christ. You saw
            the Father, you shall become Father. So in this place you see
            everything and do not see yourself, but in that place you do see
            yourself - and what you see you shall become."
            > (Gospel of Philip)
            >
            > Nick



            Nick, thank you for all of your quotes from Thomas and Valentinian
            sources, plus your comment on `The Matrix.' I've already used one of
            your quotes in conversation with Gich.

            Do you or others have any further comments regarding your quotes?

            Also, does anyone have any more observations on Sethian writings
            pertaining to this subject? I believe Gich mentioned The Apocalypse
            of Adam briefly.

            Cari
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