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Re: Weekly Study Session #1: Definitions of Gnosis - "accepting one's lot"

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  • lady_caritas
    ... by accepting ... don t know ... man , it ... man . In ... the ... Whether or not all humans or just certain people eventually are capable of Gnosis, as
    Message 1 of 15 , May 31, 2005
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      --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "gich morgan" <gich2@b...> wrote:
      > Cari wrote
      >
      > >>>(2) I was wondering if you could expand on what you mean
      by "accepting
      > >>>one's lot and getting on with life."<<<
      >
      > Gnosis is the route to salvation and is a divine gift which is only
      > conferred on "spiritual man". But ... what is "spiritual man"? I
      don't know
      > exactly but, given that gnosis is conferred (by God) on "spiritual
      man", it
      > is clear that God decides when and if a person becomes "spiritual
      man". In
      > considering this it seems to me absurd to think that only mature and
      > educated people would be considered worthy (by God) of the gift of
      the
      > divine gnosis.


      Whether or not all humans or just certain people eventually are
      capable of Gnosis, as I've mentioned before, I don't view
      the "unknown" father ("father" used metaphorically) as a personified
      god entity meting out Gnosis on a merit basis. There could be other
      possibilities for "election," including random ones, even the
      physical ability to help process this knowledge. And I agree that
      higher education does not seem to be a requirement for Gnosis,
      although personal effort and stamina can help in the continuing
      process, at least according to accounts of not only the ancients but
      also modern people I meet.



      >
      > I recently watched a TV programme where some people with advanced
      leprosy
      > were briefly shown on the screen. The physical effects of the
      disease were
      > horrendous but I was struck by the fact that they were living their
      lives;
      > working together; preparing food; helping one another; they were a
      community
      > talking (and laughing) together despite their physical suffering.
      These
      > people were suffering through no fault of their own and I could not
      imagine
      > a people more spiritual or more deserving of salvation than this
      group. They
      > had ACCEPTED THEIR LOT AND WERE GETTING ON WITH THEIR LIVES and,
      almost
      > certainly, they know nothing about gnosticism.
      >
      > Gich


      Hmmm, okay. It seems from your description, Gich, that these people
      have accepted their lot in the sense of not letting physical
      conditions inhibit their spirit. So, perhaps they could be viewed as
      even transcending their lot in life, not becoming mired in
      materiality. And that certainly could be considered a step toward
      spiritual understanding for some, in my view.

      Cari
    • Gerry
      ... Let me stop you for a moment right there, Gich. Suppose we accept that what you re suggesting is in line with what the Gnostics posited. Can you tell us
      Message 2 of 15 , Jun 1, 2005
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        --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "gich morgan" <gich2@b...> wrote:
        >
        > For me, this sort of discussion comes down to whether you consider
        > that there is (literally) a god, or gods, that are responsible for
        > the creation of the universe, the Earth and mankind. Suppose we
        > accept the hypothesis as I think the ancient gnostics did. It then
        > seems to me logical to consider that the gods must have some
        > purpose, some reason for the creation, some PLAN;


        Let me stop you for a moment right there, Gich. Suppose we accept
        that what you're suggesting is in line with what the Gnostics
        posited. Can you tell us where they outline this grand
        strategy . . . the divine PLAN behind creation? Seems to me it is
        generally described in terms of "error." What do you make of that?


        > . . . otherwise, why bother; what's the point?


        Exactly. Is that too scary to consider?


        > Fundamental to gnosticism is the possibility of immortality via
        > gnosis but why didn't the gods create us immortal in the first
        > place?


        Besides questioning "the gods," Gich, perhaps you should question
        your premise that "immortality" is a fundamental goal of Gnosticism.


        > Why bother with the rigmarole of life on Earth? It again seems to
        > me that life on Earth is part of the PLAN; there is a
        > reason for it; it has a purpose;


        It may very well seem that way to you, Gich, but the Gnostics
        described it quite differently from what you propose.


        > . . . it must be some sort of preparation for what follows.


        What exactly is it that follows? [If it's gonna sound like the fuzzy
        promises of a tent revival, I'd rather not hear about it.]


        > . . . It seems to me that the idea of "a god entity meting out
        > Gnosis on a merit basis" [although this isn't the form of words I
        > would use] is a valid concept in gnosticism and follows logically
        > from the foregoing.
        >


        It seems to me that such an understanding would follow from looking
        at Gnostic concepts from a mainstream perspective. There is a very
        good reason that we repeatedly caution against this here.

        Gerry
      • Mike Leavitt
        Hello Gerry ... While for the Valentinians the universe had some redeming features as a training ground, even for them the universe was a mistake, a big
        Message 3 of 15 , Jun 1, 2005
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          Hello Gerry

          On 06/02/05, you wrote:

          > It seems to me that such an understanding would follow from looking
          > at Gnostic concepts from a mainstream perspective. There is a very
          > good reason that we repeatedly caution against this here.
          >
          > Gerry

          While for the Valentinians the universe had some redeming features as
          a training ground, even for them the universe was a mistake, a big
          mistake. Gich sounds more like a theosophist than a gnostic. I
          know, I have that background.

          Regards
          --
          Mike Leavitt ac998@...
        • David Wilson
          One thing I want to stress... becareful of taking a named group of individuals and placing them all into one direct narrow path. All Gnostics followed many
          Message 4 of 15 , Jun 2, 2005
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            One thing I want to stress... becareful of taking a named group of individuals and placing them all into one direct narrow path. All Gnostics followed many different paths, some were more open then others and some were close minded.
             
            David

            Gerry <gerryhsp@...> wrote:

            --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "gich morgan" <gich2@b...> wrote:
            >
            > For me, this sort of discussion comes down to whether you consider
            > that there is (literally) a god, or gods, that are responsible for
            > the creation of the universe, the Earth and mankind. Suppose we
            > accept the hypothesis as I think the ancient gnostics did. It then
            > seems to me logical to consider that the gods must have some
            > purpose, some reason for the creation, some PLAN;


            Let me stop you for a moment right there, Gich.  Suppose we accept
            that what you're suggesting is in line with what the Gnostics
            posited.  Can you tell us where they outline this grand
            strategy . . . the divine PLAN behind creation?  Seems to me it is
            generally described in terms of "error."  What do you make of that?


            > . . . otherwise, why bother; what's the point?


            Exactly.  Is that too scary to consider?


            > Fundamental to gnosticism is the possibility of immortality via
            > gnosis but why didn't the gods create us immortal in the first
            > place?


            Besides questioning "the gods," Gich, perhaps you should question
            your premise that "immortality" is a fundamental goal of Gnosticism.


            > Why bother with the rigmarole of life on Earth? It again seems to
            > me that life on Earth is part of the PLAN; there is a
            > reason for it; it has a purpose;


            It may very well seem that way to you, Gich, but the Gnostics
            described it quite differently from what you propose.


            > . . . it must be some sort of preparation for what follows.


            What exactly is it that follows?  [If it's gonna sound like the fuzzy
            promises of a tent revival, I'd rather not hear about it.]


            > . . . It seems to me that the idea of "a god entity meting out
            > Gnosis on a merit basis" [although this isn't the form of words I
            > would use] is a valid concept in gnosticism and follows logically
            > from the foregoing.
            >


            It seems to me that such an understanding would follow from looking
            at Gnostic concepts from a mainstream perspective.  There is a very
            good reason that we repeatedly caution against this here.

            Gerry


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          • Mike Leavitt
            Hello gich ... It is enough to say, that under Karma and the Divine Plan, they think perfect justice rules the world. I m sure Cari can provide you with some
            Message 5 of 15 , Jun 2, 2005
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              Hello gich

              On 06/02/05, you wrote:

              > What's a theosophist?
              > Gich
              >
              > ----- Original Message -----
              > From: "Mike Leavitt" <ac998@...>
              > To: <gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com>
              > Sent: Thursday, June 02, 2005 6:17 AM
              > Subject: [Gnosticism2] Re: "accepting one's lot"

              It is enough to say, that under Karma and the Divine Plan, they think
              perfect justice rules the world. I'm sure Cari can provide you with
              some earlier discourse on this.

              Regards
              --
              Mike Leavitt ac998@...
            • Mike Leavitt
              Hello gich ... There have been enough definitionss given, I won t add any, just read back a few messages. Regards -- Mike Leavitt ac998@lafn.org
              Message 6 of 15 , Jun 2, 2005
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                Hello gich

                On 06/02/05, you wrote:

                > Hey Mike!
                >>>> Gich sounds more like a theosophist than a gnostic.<<<
                > Would you please define exactly what you mean by "a gnostic"?
                > Many thanks
                > Gich

                There have been enough definitionss given, I won't add any, just read
                back a few messages.

                Regards
                --
                Mike Leavitt ac998@...
              • lady_caritas
                ... think ... You re kidding, right? :-D http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gnosticism2/message/10562 I don t know if this will help, but here are a few online
                Message 7 of 15 , Jun 3, 2005
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                  --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, Mike Leavitt <ac998@l...> wrote:
                  > Hello gich
                  >
                  > On 06/02/05, you wrote:
                  >
                  > > What's a theosophist?
                  > > Gich
                  > >
                  > > ----- Original Message -----
                  > > From: "Mike Leavitt" <ac998@l...>
                  > > To: <gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com>
                  > > Sent: Thursday, June 02, 2005 6:17 AM
                  > > Subject: [Gnosticism2] Re: "accepting one's lot"
                  >
                  > It is enough to say, that under Karma and the Divine Plan, they
                  think
                  > perfect justice rules the world. I'm sure Cari can provide you with
                  > some earlier discourse on this.
                  >
                  > Regards
                  > --
                  > Mike Leavitt ac998@l...


                  You're kidding, right? :-D
                  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gnosticism2/message/10562


                  I don't know if this will help, but here are a few online sites for
                  starters:
                  http://www.blavatsky.net/
                  http://theosophy.org/
                  http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/dp5/homepage.htm


                  Cari
                • Gerry
                  ... Thanks, Mike. That was my point exactly. We can appreciate the diversity of those early groups without losing sight of the fact that there actually were
                  Message 8 of 15 , Jun 5, 2005
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                    --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, Mike Leavitt <ac998@l...> wrote:
                    >
                    >
                    > While for the Valentinians the universe had some redeming features as
                    > a training ground, even for them the universe was a mistake, a big
                    > mistake. . . .
                    >
                    > Regards
                    > --
                    > Mike Leavitt




                    Thanks, Mike. That was my point exactly. We can appreciate the
                    diversity of those early groups without losing sight of the fact that
                    there actually were points of commonality between them——some very
                    important points.

                    To some of us, I suppose such considerations must seem like givens,
                    but they apparently need to be stated here from time to time . . .
                    to time . . . to time . . . to time.

                    Gerry
                  • Gerry
                    ... Honestly, Gich, you need to know. At the very least, it s something you need to consider, and given that Gnostic material is replete with such
                    Message 9 of 15 , Jun 5, 2005
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                      --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "gich morgan" <gich2@b...> wrote:
                      >
                      >
                      > >>> . . . Suppose we accept that what you're suggesting is in line
                      > >>> with what the Gnostics posited. Can you tell us where they
                      > >>> outline this grand strategy . . . the divine PLAN behind
                      > >>> creation? Seems to me it is generally described in terms of
                      > >>> "error." What do you make of that?<<<
                      >
                      > I don't know.
                      >



                      Honestly, Gich, you need to know. At the very least, it's something
                      you need to consider, and given that Gnostic material is replete with
                      such descriptions, I'm not sure how it has eluded you thus far.

                      I mentioned this quote from your "Harris" book back in April, but you
                      might have missed it:

                      >>>Gnostic cosmogony is noted for its elaborate cosmologies with
                      multi-storeyed heavens and spheres ..... The myths are not to be
                      interpreted in a literal way: the task is to penetrate the inner
                      meaning the myth enshrines and seek to comprehend the truth.<<<
                      ——http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gnosticism2/message/10919

                      [That is actually very similar to the advice that Nick just gave you
                      regarding the interpretation of "Thomas."]

                      In the case of Error, you don't seem to have picked up on even
                      the "literal" mention of it in the texts. I just don't see how you can
                      hope to explore the esoteric nature of this material when even the
                      exoteric isn't readily apparent.

                      In the end, if it really floats your boat to believe that there is some
                      comforting God up there (wherever you wish to compartmentalize him),
                      that Man has a quadripartite nature, and Creation is part of some
                      wonderful, perfect plan, then I hope it adds meaning to your life. If
                      you truly wish to pursue the writings of those early Gnostics though,
                      you may find it necessary to suspend some of your preconceptions.

                      Gerry
                    • marinas_snake
                      If you truly wish to pursue the writings of those early Gnostics though, you may find it necessary to suspend some of your preconceptions. ... Suspending
                      Message 10 of 15 , Jun 5, 2005
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                        "If you truly wish to pursue the writings of those early Gnostics
                        though, you may find it necessary to suspend some of your
                        preconceptions."
                        >
                        > Gerry


                        Suspending preconceptions is not an easy thing to do though, is it?
                        Anyone have any advice on how to accomplish that?
                      • pmcvflag
                        Marinas_snake ... Anyone have any advice on how to accomplish that?
                        Message 11 of 15 , Jun 5, 2005
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                          Marinas_snake

                          >>>"Suspending preconceptions is not an easy thing to do though, is it?
                          Anyone have any advice on how to accomplish that?"<<<

                          It IS hard... REALLY hard. I personally don't claim to completely
                          attain it, and I am on record for pointing out the flaws of nearly
                          every scholar on the subject for not attaining it. I think sometimes
                          people even get the impression that I am some kind of pessimist who is
                          overly ready to rip down everyone else's theories... but this is not
                          really my intent. I simply think that a self aware attempt to
                          understand this in and of itself is admirable, and that we should all
                          be willing to admit our own failings in this area (scholors even MORE
                          so).

                          I can even tell you my own eisigetic leanings, as I am very aware of
                          them. However, to some extent that is a subject for another group. My
                          advice is this; understand the history! THEN, Understand the
                          hermeneutics. And as you learn that history, continue to ask yourself
                          if you are simply looking at it from a personal perspective, or if you
                          are really understanding the intended communication. This is a double
                          check, since anyone can claim to understand it in spirit. I don't
                          agree with Gich that this "Gnosis" does not have an intellectual
                          function... as you know. I think that this intellectual function is a
                          ballance to the Sophia experience, and that they should work together.
                          The Sophia fell without the Logos, so it seems that dealing with this
                          subject on a logical and historical front is something that the
                          Gnostics of old would have supported. Don't get me wrong, I am not
                          saying that it is the only aspect... I am simply pointing out that it
                          can be a way of testing the communication against our own eisegesis.

                          So, the way to deal with the subject while suspending preconceptions
                          seems to me to be aboutbacking off on our personal needs, and trying
                          to understand if the message may have communicated something beyond
                          the desire to prove our own observations. How do you feel about that?

                          PMCV
                        • lady_caritas
                          ... or gods, ... and ... considered ... creation, some ... even the ... can hope to ... exoteric isn t ... over the ... itself. ... point ... Whether or not
                          Message 12 of 15 , Jun 7, 2005
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                            --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "gich morgan" <gich2@b...> wrote:
                            > Hey Gerry.
                            >
                            > (1) I don't think I've made myself clear. What I was trying to say
                            was this:
                            > if the ancient gnostics believed that there is (literally) a god,
                            or gods,
                            > that are responsible for the creation of the universe, the Earth
                            and
                            > mankind THEN it seems to me logical that the ancient gnostics
                            considered
                            > that the gods must have some purpose, some reason for the
                            creation, some
                            > plan.
                            >
                            > (2) >>>In the case of Error, you don't seem to have picked up on
                            even the
                            > "literal" mention of it in the texts. I just don't see how you
                            can hope to
                            > explore the esoteric nature of this material when even the
                            exoteric isn't
                            > readily apparent.<<<
                            >
                            > I need you to help me here Gerry. The word "error" crops up all
                            over the
                            > place in Harris, but I don't recall reading of it as a "concept" in
                            itself.
                            > Could you please enlarge on your comments as I don't understand the
                            point
                            > your making. :-)



                            Whether or not Gerry expands on his point, in the meantime, Gich,
                            here are a few references to read for starters, if you'd like,
                            regarding various schools or groupings of Gnosticism (Valentinian and
                            Sethian), which might help address things
                            like "creation," "error," "god," "demiurge," etc.:

                            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                            Valentinian Gnosticism articles found in our "links" section I have
                            previously mentioned on this board (probably ad nauseum to people who
                            have been around a while) --

                            Sethians viewed demiurge as hostile, even evil, contrary to
                            Valentinians, who viewed demiurge as capricious, foolish, arrogant,
                            etc.:
                            http://www.gnosis.org/library/valentinus/Demiurge.htm

                            Brief summary of Valentinian theology:
                            http://www.gnosis.org/library/valentinus/Brief_Summary_Theology.htm

                            Valentinian theology in more detail:
                            http://www.gnosis.org/library/valentinus/Valentinian_Theology.htm

                            Discussion of Valentinian view of creation:
                            http://www.gnosis.org/library/valentinus/Valentinian_Creation.htm

                            Discussion of Sophia myth:
                            http://www.gnosis.org/library/valentinus/Sophia_Eve.htm

                            Discussion of "error" in Gospel of Truth:
                            http://www.gnosis.org/library/valentinus/Error_GTruth.htm

                            More articles, plus links to *actual source* writings from
                            Valentinian school.
                            http://www.gnosis.org/library/valentinus/index.html
                            http://www.gnosis.org/library/valentinus/Detailed_Articles.htm

                            IOW, articles and books give a view, but don't replace reading
                            original source material.

                            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                            Also, for Sethian Gnosticism, check out --

                            Sethian original source writings and related articles:
                            http://jdt.unl.edu/

                            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                            Cari
                          • marinas_snake
                            ... it? ... sometimes ... is ... not ... all ... MORE ... of ... My ... yourself ... you ... double ... a ... together. ... this ... it ... preconceptions ...
                            Message 13 of 15 , Jun 7, 2005
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                              --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                              > Marinas_snake
                              >
                              > >>>"Suspending preconceptions is not an easy thing to do though, is
                              it?
                              > Anyone have any advice on how to accomplish that?"<<<
                              >
                              > It IS hard... REALLY hard. I personally don't claim to completely
                              > attain it, and I am on record for pointing out the flaws of nearly
                              > every scholar on the subject for not attaining it. I think
                              sometimes
                              > people even get the impression that I am some kind of pessimist who
                              is
                              > overly ready to rip down everyone else's theories... but this is
                              not
                              > really my intent. I simply think that a self aware attempt to
                              > understand this in and of itself is admirable, and that we should
                              all
                              > be willing to admit our own failings in this area (scholors even
                              MORE
                              > so).
                              >
                              > I can even tell you my own eisigetic leanings, as I am very aware
                              of
                              > them. However, to some extent that is a subject for another group.
                              My
                              > advice is this; understand the history! THEN, Understand the
                              > hermeneutics. And as you learn that history, continue to ask
                              yourself
                              > if you are simply looking at it from a personal perspective, or if
                              you
                              > are really understanding the intended communication. This is a
                              double
                              > check, since anyone can claim to understand it in spirit. I don't
                              > agree with Gich that this "Gnosis" does not have an intellectual
                              > function... as you know. I think that this intellectual function is
                              a
                              > ballance to the Sophia experience, and that they should work
                              together.
                              > The Sophia fell without the Logos, so it seems that dealing with
                              this
                              > subject on a logical and historical front is something that the
                              > Gnostics of old would have supported. Don't get me wrong, I am not
                              > saying that it is the only aspect... I am simply pointing out that
                              it
                              > can be a way of testing the communication against our own eisegesis.
                              >
                              > So, the way to deal with the subject while suspending
                              preconceptions
                              > seems to me to be aboutbacking off on our personal needs, and
                              trying
                              > to understand if the message may have communicated something beyond
                              > the desire to prove our own observations. How do you feel about
                              that?
                              >
                              > PMCV
                            • marinas_snake
                              ... it? ... sometimes ... is ... not ... all ... MORE ... of ... My ... yourself ... you ... double ... a ... together. ... this ... it ... preconceptions ...
                              Message 14 of 15 , Jun 7, 2005
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                                --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                                > Marinas_snake
                                >
                                > >>>"Suspending preconceptions is not an easy thing to do though, is
                                it?
                                > Anyone have any advice on how to accomplish that?"<<<
                                >
                                > It IS hard... REALLY hard. I personally don't claim to completely
                                > attain it, and I am on record for pointing out the flaws of nearly
                                > every scholar on the subject for not attaining it. I think
                                sometimes
                                > people even get the impression that I am some kind of pessimist who
                                is
                                > overly ready to rip down everyone else's theories... but this is
                                not
                                > really my intent. I simply think that a self aware attempt to
                                > understand this in and of itself is admirable, and that we should
                                all
                                > be willing to admit our own failings in this area (scholors even
                                MORE
                                > so).
                                >
                                > I can even tell you my own eisigetic leanings, as I am very aware
                                of
                                > them. However, to some extent that is a subject for another group.
                                My
                                > advice is this; understand the history! THEN, Understand the
                                > hermeneutics. And as you learn that history, continue to ask
                                yourself
                                > if you are simply looking at it from a personal perspective, or if
                                you
                                > are really understanding the intended communication. This is a
                                double
                                > check, since anyone can claim to understand it in spirit. I don't
                                > agree with Gich that this "Gnosis" does not have an intellectual
                                > function... as you know. I think that this intellectual function is
                                a
                                > ballance to the Sophia experience, and that they should work
                                together.
                                > The Sophia fell without the Logos, so it seems that dealing with
                                this
                                > subject on a logical and historical front is something that the
                                > Gnostics of old would have supported. Don't get me wrong, I am not
                                > saying that it is the only aspect... I am simply pointing out that
                                it
                                > can be a way of testing the communication against our own eisegesis.
                                >
                                > So, the way to deal with the subject while suspending
                                preconceptions
                                > seems to me to be aboutbacking off on our personal needs, and
                                trying
                                > to understand if the message may have communicated something beyond
                                > the desire to prove our own observations. How do you feel about
                                that?
                                >
                                > PMCV


                                OOps, sorry I hit the "send" button before I even replied on the last
                                post.

                                Thanks for answering my question. I think it would be a real
                                challenge.

                                Marina
                              • Gerry
                                ... Honestly, Gich, it is apparent that you haven t understood many of the points made since you got here. What is truly tragic about the whole thing is that
                                Message 15 of 15 , Jun 10, 2005
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                                  --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "gich morgan" <gich2@b...> wrote:
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > I need you to help me here Gerry. The word "error" crops up all
                                  > over the place in Harris, but I don't recall reading of it as
                                  > a "concept" in itself. Could you please enlarge on your comments as
                                  > I don't understand the point your making. :-)


                                  Honestly, Gich, it is apparent that you haven't understood many of
                                  the points made since you got here. What is truly tragic about the
                                  whole thing is that your understanding of Gnosticism actually seems
                                  to have declined over recent months.

                                  If you understand the concept of the word "error," then you have a
                                  point of reference by which you might attempt to understand why the
                                  Gnostics might have depicted their creation myths in this way. You
                                  could say that it was the "opposite" of how the same story was
                                  portrayed by the orthodox. The latter maintained that God's creation
                                  was perfect from the start and that Man screwed it up, but the
                                  Gnostics posited that the physical creation was NOT the result
                                  of "God's" will——that it was, in fact, a mistake.

                                  Perhaps you can see how different these things are:

                                  • something done purposely and intentionally; a Divine plan.
                                  • something done accidentally——in error; an abomination.


                                  > I don't personally believe any of this Gerry. I've just been trying
                                  > to produce models that help me make sense of gnosticism.
                                  >
                                  > Gich



                                  I know you're trying to produce models, and you're looking at the
                                  entire phenomenon quite concretely while you do so. BTW, that is not
                                  a compliment. Of course, neither is it an attack; it is merely an
                                  observation of your tendencies to pick apart details in an extremely
                                  obsessive manner——to the point that you often miss the bigger picture.

                                  If you were able to step back far enough to actually see the subject
                                  of your focus, you might realize that there is probably a reason that
                                  those early Gnostics chose to represent the Creation story in the way
                                  that they did. If they believed that God had a purpose for Man and a
                                  place for us in this ostensibly perfect world (again, the belief of
                                  the orthodox already), then why would they have been at odds with
                                  those mainstream believers in the first place? Why create a story
                                  antithetical to theirs?

                                  While you may think you're trying to construct a model of Gnosticism,
                                  you are actually composing something that is at odds with the very
                                  system you are striving to represent.

                                  Gerry

                                  BTW, I'm well aware that you claim not to be an orthodox Christian,
                                  Gich. I heard you very plainly when you commented early on that you
                                  did NOT have a background in that tradition. And yet, you DO seem to
                                  have a propensity for viewing this material through the same
                                  mindset. Again, just an observation, but one that may have meaning
                                  to some.
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