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Re: [Gnosticism2] Valentinian Exegesis of Paul

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  • arlene anjum
    Hi Steve: I am in the middle of reading Pagel s Gnostic Gospels. Do you find St. Paul to be quite a misogynist or is it just me? Does the Paulis Corpus put
    Message 1 of 10 , Jul 31, 2005
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      Hi Steve:
       
      I am in the  middle of reading Pagel's Gnostic Gospels. Do you find St. Paul to be quite a misogynist or is it just me?
       
      Does the Paulis Corpus put Paul in  a different light?
       
      A. Anjum

      Steve <eugnostos2000@...> wrote:
      Hello. Does anyone here have any opinion concerning the Valentinian
      exegesis of the Pauline Corpus, as related by the heresiologists? I
      just finished Pagel's The Gnostic Paul, and I am curious if anyone
      here has anything to say about this topic. Thank you.
                                                  Yours, Steve W.


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    • Steve
      ... St. Paul to be quite a misogynist or is it just me? ... Hello. It s hard to say. Of the 13 letters attributed to Paul, most scholars only accept 7 as
      Message 2 of 10 , Aug 1, 2005
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        --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, arlene anjum <koalaKards@y...>
        wrote:
        > Hi Steve:
        >
        > I am in the middle of reading Pagel's Gnostic Gospels. Do you find
        St. Paul to be quite a misogynist or is it just me?
        >
        > Does the Paulis Corpus put Paul in a different light?
        >
        > A. Anjum

        Hello. It's hard to say. Of the 13 letters attributed to Paul, most
        scholars only accept 7 as having any claim to authenticity. And some
        of them are believed to have been edited and redacted in various ways.
        Also, in addition to this, at least some of the Valentinian exegetes,
        according to Pagels, believed that Paul was writing in a sort of code
        that could be read on two levels: a literal level for "psychics", and
        a non-literal level for "pneumatics". For example, the word "Jews" may
        refer to psychics while the word "Gentiles" may refer to pneumatics.
        In the same vein, Paul gives rather prosaic advice on the relationship
        between husbands and wives that was rather typical of both Jewish and
        Roman mores. Some of the Valentinians asserted that this really
        referred to the relationship between psychics and pneumatics in the
        church. Basically, what the Valentinians were asserting was that
        Paul's authentic letters were not intended to be understood by those
        not initiated into the inner Mystery of Christ. -Steve W.
        >
        >
        >
        >
      • Steve
        ... but ... Hi Mike. I used to agree with you on this, but since reading Pagel s book on Paul, I m no longer sure. The Valentinians apparently didn t regard
        Message 3 of 10 , Aug 1, 2005
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          --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, Mike Leavitt <ac998@l...> wrote:
          > Hello arlene
          >
          > On 08/01/05, you wrote:
          >
          > > Hi Steve:
          > >
          > > I am in the middle of reading Pagel's Gnostic Gospels. Do you find
          > > St. Paul to be quite a misogynist or is it just me?
          > >
          > > Does the Paulis Corpus put Paul in a different light?
          > >
          > > A. Anjum
          >
          > St Paul is an inconsistant figure, a great proto-Gnostic teacher,
          but
          > also a misogynist of the first order. Maybe it is his Jewish
          > background, but, I'll make no excuses for him.
          >
          > Regards
          > --
          > Mike Leavitt

          Hi Mike. I used to agree with you on this, but since reading
          Pagel's book on Paul, I'm no longer sure. The Valentinians apparently
          didn't regard him as a misogynist, and they claimed to trace their
          lineage back to him. If you haven't already read The Gnostic Paul by
          Pagels, I highly recommend that you do so.
          Yours, Steve W.
        • Mike Leavitt
          Hello arlene ... St Paul is an inconsistant figure, a great proto-Gnostic teacher, but also a misogynist of the first order. Maybe it is his Jewish
          Message 4 of 10 , Aug 1, 2005
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            Hello arlene

            On 08/01/05, you wrote:

            > Hi Steve:
            >
            > I am in the middle of reading Pagel's Gnostic Gospels. Do you find
            > St. Paul to be quite a misogynist or is it just me?
            >
            > Does the Paulis Corpus put Paul in a different light?
            >
            > A. Anjum

            St Paul is an inconsistant figure, a great proto-Gnostic teacher, but
            also a misogynist of the first order. Maybe it is his Jewish
            background, but, I'll make no excuses for him.

            Regards
            --
            Mike Leavitt ac998_@_lafn._org remove -'s
          • Mike Leavitt
            Hello Steve ... If I can find it out the the ash-heap of my library, I will. Long story, bad back, bad roof. Regards -- Mike Leavitt ac998_@_lafn._org
            Message 5 of 10 , Aug 1, 2005
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              Hello Steve

              On 08/01/05, you wrote:

              > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, Mike Leavitt <ac998@l...> wrote:
              >> Hello arlene
              >>
              >> On 08/01/05, you wrote:
              >>
              >> Hi Steve:
              >>
              >> I am in the middle of reading Pagel's Gnostic Gospels. Do you find
              >> St. Paul to be quite a misogynist or is it just me?
              >>
              >> Does the Paulis Corpus put Paul in a different light?
              >>
              >> A. Anjum
              >>
              >> St Paul is an inconsistant figure, a great proto-Gnostic teacher,
              > but
              >> also a misogynist of the first order. Maybe it is his Jewish
              >> background, but, I'll make no excuses for him.
              >>
              >> Regards
              >> --
              >> Mike Leavitt
              >
              > Hi Mike. I used to agree with you on this, but since reading
              > Pagel's book on Paul, I'm no longer sure. The Valentinians
              > apparently didn't regard him as a misogynist, and they claimed to
              > trace their lineage back to him. If you haven't already read The
              > Gnostic Paul by Pagels, I highly recommend that you do so.
              > Yours, Steve W.

              If I can find it out the the ash-heap of my library, I will. Long
              story, bad back, bad roof.

              Regards
              --
              Mike Leavitt ac998_@_lafn._org remove -'s
            • pmcvflag
              Hey Steve ... word Gentiles may refer to pneumatics.
              Message 6 of 10 , Aug 2, 2005
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                Hey Steve

                >>>"For example, the word "Jews" may refer to psychics while the
                word "Gentiles" may refer to pneumatics."<<<

                I find this version counterintuitive, in contrast to the version we
                see in Philip where it is....

                Hylic = Gentile
                Psychic = Jew
                Pneumatic = Christian

                I need to check out this pook sometime since it comes up so much.

                In any event, I tend to side with the arguement that outside the
                obvious convention of the time, most of what Paul gets blamed for is
                largely the invention (and insertions) of other authors.

                PMCV
              • Steve
                ... Hi Karl. I m still not quite sure what to make of the Valentinian interpretations of Paul. Some of the interpretations that Pagels reports do strike me as
                Message 7 of 10 , Aug 2, 2005
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                  --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                  > Hey Steve
                  >
                  > >>>"For example, the word "Jews" may refer to psychics while the
                  > word "Gentiles" may refer to pneumatics."<<<
                  >
                  > I find this version counterintuitive, in contrast to the version we
                  > see in Philip where it is....
                  >
                  > Hylic = Gentile
                  > Psychic = Jew
                  > Pneumatic = Christian
                  >
                  > I need to check out this pook sometime since it comes up so much.
                  >
                  > In any event, I tend to side with the arguement that outside the
                  > obvious convention of the time, most of what Paul gets blamed for is
                  > largely the invention (and insertions) of other authors.
                  >
                  > PMCV

                  Hi Karl. I'm still not quite sure what to make of the Valentinian
                  interpretations of Paul. Some of the interpretations that Pagels
                  reports do strike me as being somewhat forced. However, some of them
                  are quite intriguing. And yes, I agree that the interpolations in the
                  authentic letters, along with the outright forgeries of the pastorals
                  and the disputed status of Ephesians, Colossians and Hebrews, does
                  give a very distorted view of Paul. But even just by reading a variety
                  of English translations of Paul's epistles, I have come to the
                  conclusion that he refers to the Demiurge myth, the Sophia myth, the
                  triple division of hylic, psychic and pneumatic, and the docetic
                  conception of Christ. He also hints that he had both an exoteric and
                  an esoteric teaching. Scholars often refer to Paul as proto-gnostic
                  because they hesitate to allow that the full-blown gnostic myth
                  existed in the 50s of the first century, but I suspect that, in fact,
                  it did. -Steve W.
                • pmcvflag
                  Hey Steve... ... interpretations of Paul. Some of the interpretations that Pagels reports do strike me as being somewhat forced.
                  Message 8 of 10 , Aug 4, 2005
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                    Hey Steve...

                    >>>"I'm still not quite sure what to make of the Valentinian
                    interpretations of Paul. Some of the interpretations that Pagels
                    reports do strike me as being somewhat forced."<<<

                    I can't say off the top of my head whether I personally think this
                    is simply from Pagels' understanding, or if what you are talking
                    about is from specific Valentinian attempts to deal with the
                    subject. I do find some of the Valentinain attempts at John to be a
                    little forced, and in fact I believe that John was a reaction
                    against Gnosticism to some extent. To me, though (as with you), Paul
                    is a differet story. (I do personally tend towards Sethian thought,
                    though I can admit that 8 times out of 10 I am likely to point to
                    Valentinian sources when making a point about "Gnosticism")

                    >>>"But even just by reading a variety of English translations of
                    Paul's epistles, I have come to the conclusion that he refers to the
                    Demiurge myth, the Sophia myth, the triple division of hylic,
                    psychic and pneumatic, and the docetic conception of Christ. He also
                    hints that he had both an exoteric and an esoteric teaching."<<<

                    Not only do I think you are right, I think your thinking is actually
                    in the mainstream of objective scholasticism right now. The
                    term "Biblical Scholors" is such a wide category for most people, so
                    I am not talking about most theologians... but I think most
                    HISTORIANS would agree with you.

                    >>>"Scholars often refer to Paul as proto-gnostic because they
                    hesitate to allow that the full-blown gnostic myth existed in the
                    50s of the first century, but I suspect that, in fact, it did."<<<

                    At the same time, many scholors like Dr Turner, Rudolph, Pearson,
                    Scholem, all are unafraid to talk about very early expressions of a
                    full blown Gnostic myth (and this is not even talking about VERY
                    closely related movements). Even Dr Erhman, whom I know Gerry has
                    had a personal run in with and we should be careful about because he
                    has some traditional Christian misgivings, postulates an early date
                    for Thomas, and believes it is dependant on a full Gnostic system.
                    Scholors who support the Petrement dating have really fallen to the
                    side as evidence has mounted against them. My own prof on the
                    subject was conservative with dating, but still believed the
                    likelyhood that the original "Gnostics" was quite early in Christian
                    history.

                    Platonizing influence certainly existed in Jewish sources even
                    before the 50s of the first century b.c.. When we cut away certain
                    groups, like the Manichaeans (for instance) and deal with Gnosticism
                    in the more specific realm of Hellenized Judism... we actually set
                    the date back a bit further. At this point Paul becomes not a "proto-
                    Gnostic", but simply a part of a larger movement that predates him.

                    PMCV
                  • Gerry
                    ... Speaking of Dr. Ehrman, I picked up another of his books today. What can I say . . . it was my third full day off in over two months, so when I was
                    Message 9 of 10 , Aug 10, 2005
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                      --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                      >
                      > [...]
                      > At the same time, many scholors like Dr Turner, Rudolph, Pearson,
                      > Scholem, all are unafraid to talk about very early expressions of a
                      > full blown Gnostic myth (and this is not even talking about VERY
                      > closely related movements). Even Dr Erhman, whom I know Gerry has
                      > had a personal run in with and we should be careful about because
                      > he has some traditional Christian misgivings, postulates an early
                      > date for Thomas, and believes it is dependant on a full Gnostic
                      > system. Scholors who support the Petrement dating have really
                      > fallen to the side as evidence has mounted against them. My own
                      > prof on the subject was conservative with dating, but still
                      > believed the likelyhood that the original "Gnostics" was quite
                      > early in Christian history.
                      > [....]


                      Speaking of Dr. Ehrman, I picked up another of his books today. What
                      can I say . . . it was my third full day off in over two months, so
                      when I was finally able to make a trip to "civilization," I went crazy
                      by the time I hit Barnes & Noble. BTW, I was pleased (somewhat) to see
                      that they now feature a "Gnosis" section; it consisted of two shelves
                      at the particular location I visited, but I couldn't resist rolling my
                      eyes at some of the titles there.

                      Anyway, I grabbed Ehrman's _Truth and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code_.
                      Since I lent my copy of DVC to a friend, and recently heard reports of
                      the controversy surrounding the movie production, I wanted to refresh
                      my memory on some of the content, just to be prepared when the subject
                      inevitably makes its way to water-cooler discussions at work. Of
                      course, I'll also be interested to discover if I agree with the
                      professor's critical analysis for the same reasons he puts forward, or
                      if we would both tend to argue against the book's "factual" claims from
                      different perspectives. It may prove to be a challenging exercise in
                      historical objectivity.

                      Gerry
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