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Re: [Gnosticism2] Against the Gnostics

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  • 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 1 of 4 , Aug 10 7:29 AM
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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 2 of 4 , Aug 10 7:37 PM
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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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