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Re: Valentinian Exegesis of Paul

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  • 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 1 of 10 , Aug 2, 2005
      --- 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 2 of 10 , Aug 4, 2005
        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 3 of 10 , Aug 10, 2005
          --- 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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