Re: Limited reading, have questions
- Hello, again,
I still find these ideas fascinating, if somehow paradoxical, and am
not arguing just to be contentious. I am trying to sort out my own
beliefs with regard to Gnosticism, and I thank you for your
patience. With that:
I do not understand how the "Father's" substance should become
corrupt once separated from the original source or the "Pleroma", et
cetera. Surely, such is the mark of a being which does not
transcend, as you say, all qualities, but rather one who is subject
to change. The Gnostic's unknown "Father" seems to me to be just as
mutable as anything.
This all seems to me like violence against life, bad conscience
against the Earth, and hatred of the body. All decadent virtues.
Here are a few additional questions.
1) Let us use the metaphor of a "spider" to represent all pain,
agony, and suffering on the Earth. Why, then, should a spider's
bite be considered evil; why should it be said to represent
imperfection in the design of the Earth and the Universe, simply
because it causes us to feel pain? What is the relation between
pain, suffering, and imperfection? What, for that matter, is evil?
2) This one is less a question than a comment intended to stimulate
discussion and clarification of the Gnostic ideaology. I have
noticed that a lot of those who call themselves Gnostics discuss
Sartre and Camus as, somehow, quasi-Gnostic. But don't each of
these existentialists make a distinction that Gnosticism seems to
ignore? Both idealogoies agree, to be sure, that life is absurd,
but the Gnostics seem to believe that the Universe or those behind
it is/are actively cruel or imcompetent with regard to humanity,
while the existentialists seem to think the Universe, as Camus has
put it, has a "gentle indifference" towards humanity and "defies
explanation" -- an explanation which the Gnostics believe is not
denied us. There seem to be, then, two different definitions of
the "absurd" working here, the one belonging to the existentialists
and the other to the Gnostics.
Here is a link to a site which reproduces a section of
Nietzche's "Thus Spoke Zarathustra." While it does not directly
refer to Gnoticism, it clearly shows that, at one point, Zarathustra
almost became a Gnostic, of sorts, but considered otherwise. Do
know that I am not trying to convert any of you. Rather, I simply
believe that such arguments must be dealt with before a mature
conversion to Gnosticism, such as the one I am toying with. How
would a Gnostic, typically, refute them? I ask because I cannot
think of any valid arguments against them, though it would be nice
to do so. The translation on this site is not the best (Kaufmann's
translation is much better), but it will do:
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Mike Leavitt <ac998@l...> wrote:
> Hello flowjack11
> On 10/08/05, you wrote:
> > Hello, all,
> > I have been reading the online recources lately that define and
> > discuss religious Gnosticism. Namely, I have read through much
> > of "Gnosis.org" and a few other sites. As such, I wouldn't call
> > myself a particularly well-read persron with regards to Gnostic
> > Still, I think that I have a fairly decent idea of what
> > means today. As such, there are a few questions I would like to
> > Before asking them, however, I would like to clarify a few things
> > that define the nature and purpose of my inquiry: a) I am not a
> > Christian seeking to declaim against Gnosticism, call it heresy
> > any suchlike; b) I am not particularly religous at this moment,
> > am I, as the saying is, "spiritual"; I believe in God but do not
> > claim to have any knowledge about him/her/it. For all I know, God
> > either hates us, loves us, a combination of the two, or else he
> > completely indifferent to us; c) I am basically a fascinated
> > observer, intrigued by Gnosticism, perhaps considering a
> > yet remaining skeptical, as I am with religions of any kind.
> > 1) Is the "Unknown Father God" considered to be Absolutely
> > If so, what is the standard definition of "perfection" for
> > Gnosticism? Is the "Unknown Father God" at all like Descartes
> > of God as an "Ontological God", meaning the most perfect being
> > possible?
> God the Unknown Father is not perfect nor is he imperfect because
> transcends all qualities, indeed he transcends existance itself.
> > 2) Which is more perfect: A) A fruit seed which never whithers,
> > decays, or becomes unwholesome in any way, regardless of age, or
> > a fruit seed which decays after a few months and becomes
> From a Gnostic viewpoint neither, they are both part of the
> physical rhealm, in other words as a gnostic the question is
> irrelevant. From a physical perspective, the first would be more
> desirable, of course.
> > Those two questions will do for now. I'll wait and see what
> > with them, if anything, and then consider asking other questions.
> > Thanks,
> > Chuck
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> Mike Leavitt ac998_@_lafn._org remove -'s
- Hey David
>>>wow, your questions really sparked some thought in my head, Ineed to ask ya first. Did Early "Gnostics" really think and speak in
allegorical terms? Cause if so that may answer a lot but only open
more questions to debate. very good questions at that.<<<
Thanks, glad you liked the questions :) As Lady Cari states, there
is evidence in the original Gnostic writings for allegorical
hermeneutic. Part of the point I was trying to bring up was exactly
where this should be applied. In other words... Philip, the
Tripartite Tractate, and other texts state directly that there is
allegory (so there is no question on that front), but exactly where
and how it is applied is very open to discussion.
In this particular case, I was asking if you think that that
allegory extends to the notion of the Demiurge or not. Let me also
point out that the idea that something may literally be true does
not exclude the notion that it may have also been allegorical in
meaning. So.... where do you think this all fit in the original
intent of the Gnostic texts?