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Re: Valentinian Exegesis of Paul

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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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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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