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Against the Gnostics

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  • Steve
    Hello. I was wondering if anyone here who has studied the Enneads of Plotinus has anything to say about the polemical criticism that Plotinus wrote against the
    Message 1 of 4 , Aug 9, 2005
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      Hello. I was wondering if anyone here who has studied the Enneads of
      Plotinus has anything to say about the polemical criticism that
      Plotinus wrote against the gnostic groups he was familiar with. I find
      this interesting given the close similarities between Neo-Platonic
      thought and ancient Gnosticism. -Steve W.
    • Mike Leavitt
      Hello Steve ... He who is close to you, but not the same, if often perceived as your worst enemy, true of the Church fathers, as well. Regards -- Mike Leavitt
      Message 2 of 4 , Aug 9, 2005
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        Hello Steve

        On 08/09/05, you wrote:

        > Hello. I was wondering if anyone here who has studied the Enneads of
        > Plotinus has anything to say about the polemical criticism that
        > Plotinus wrote against the gnostic groups he was familiar with. I
        > find this interesting given the close similarities between
        > Neo-Platonic thought and ancient Gnosticism. -Steve W.

        He who is close to you, but not the same, if often perceived as your
        worst enemy, true of the Church fathers, as well.

        Regards
        --
        Mike Leavitt ac998_@_lafn._org remove -'s
      • Gavin
        Hi Steve, ... All of my knowledge of Plotinus comes from indirect sources, but my (limited) understanding is that he was not in favour of negative attitudes
        Message 3 of 4 , Aug 10, 2005
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          Hi Steve,


          > Hello. I was wondering if anyone here who has studied the Enneads of
          > Plotinus has anything to say about the polemical criticism that
          > Plotinus wrote against the gnostic groups he was familiar with. I find
          > this interesting given the close similarities between Neo-Platonic
          > thought and ancient Gnosticism. -Steve W.

          All of my knowledge of Plotinus comes from indirect sources, but my
          (limited) understanding is that he was not in favour of negative attitudes
          towards the world. I believe he thought that the world is ultimately part
          of God and therefore not evil. Exactly what type of Gnosticism he
          criticised, I don't recall.


          Best wishes,
          Gavin



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        • pmcvflag
          Hey Steve In addition to the specific observation that Gavin makes concerning what Plotinus seemed to have thought the difference is, I would like to add a
          Message 4 of 4 , Aug 10, 2005
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            Hey Steve

            In addition to the specific observation that Gavin makes concerning
            what Plotinus seemed to have thought the difference is, I would like
            to add a couple of observations.

            For one, Plotinus never actually mentions "Gnostics" directly, it is
            his biographer that added the term. However, it does seem that he was
            talking about a Gnostic group, and he even mentions some writings that
            we would generally call "Gnostic" in the technical meaning of the term.

            Interestingly, he takes the ideas of some of these Gnostic writings
            quite seriously... he does not simply write them off. Nor does it seem
            that he completely understood them, because in some cases he seems to
            be argreeing with them while only thinking he is in disagreement. It
            does appear that he was on a relatively friendly basis with them, and
            they were part of his Platonist circle.

            I don't think these are simply "similarities", but instead, literally
            part of the same movement. What I mean is, Gnosticism is not something
            LIKE a type of Platonism, it IS a type of Platonism. We see this in
            the polemic attacks of Christians and other Platonists alike
            (Plotinus, Calsus, Irenaeus, etc..) AND we see this in the writings of
            the Gnostics themselves. No one debates the fact that Allogenes (for
            instance) or the Tripartite Tractate is Platonic, as far as I know.

            PMCV

            --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "Steve" <eugnostos2000@y...> wrote:
            > Hello. I was wondering if anyone here who has studied the Enneads of
            > Plotinus has anything to say about the polemical criticism that
            > Plotinus wrote against the gnostic groups he was familiar with. I
            find
            > this interesting given the close similarities between Neo-Platonic
            > thought and ancient Gnosticism. -Steve W.
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