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Re: Limited reading, have questions

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  • pmcvflag
    Hey Chuck ... 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
    Message 1 of 82 , Oct 9, 2005
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      Hey Chuck

      >>>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 Lit.

      Still, I think that I have a fairly decent idea of what Gnosticism
      means today. As such, there are a few questions I would like to
      ask.<<<

      I just want to take a moment to point out that Gnosis.org is a very
      useful site.... BUT, it does not claim to present the views
      of "Gnosticism". This group, on the other hand, is meant to deal
      with historical perspectives a bit more directly.

      >>>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 or
      any suchlike; b) I am not particularly religous at this moment, nor
      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 is
      completely indifferent to us; c) I am basically a fascinated
      observer, intrigued by Gnosticism, perhaps considering a conversion,
      yet remaining skeptical, as I am with religions of any kind.<<<

      Actually, it would be perfectly fine if you were a Christian wanting
      to put Gnosticism down... as long as it took place on your own time.
      There are many people here for many different reasons. From the
      technical perspective, none of them are part of the historical
      cateogry of "Gnosticism". There are Christians here, historians,
      linguists, philosophers, and even some modern people who feel
      sympatico with the historical Gnostics and have come to agree with
      them. I personally have no concern with what the members here
      believe in their personal spiritual lives.

      >>>1) Is the "Unknown Father God" considered to be Absolutely
      Perfect? If so, what is the standard definition of "perfection" for
      Gnosticism? Is the "Unknown Father God" at all like Descartes idea
      of God as an "Ontological God", meaning the most perfect being
      possible?<<<

      I see that others here have already answered this, but I just wanted
      to repeat and throw in my 2 pesos. No, the Gnostic conception of
      spirituality is not like Decartes'. In fact, one could very rightly
      question whether some Gnostics had a "God" at all. Yes, they use the
      term, but they qualify it. There is a lower thing, a "Second Father"
      that perhaps could be something a little more like various mystical
      notions of "God", and that could, in some ways, be compared to the
      Cartesian view... or more directly it would be Plato's "Unmoved
      Mover". The high spiritual source, on the other hand, is not exactly
      a being and can't be accurately talked about using any language...
      including "Perfection".

      >>>2) Which is more perfect: A) A fruit seed which never whithers,
      decays, or becomes unwholesome in any way, regardless of age, or B)
      a fruit seed which decays after a few months and becomes infertile?
      <<<

      Is that meant to evoke a personal response? or does it have
      something to do with your question concerning the Gnostic
      cosmoconception? I think what you may have seen from the more
      Gnostic perspective is that a seed is not perfect either way.
      Assuming you are using the seed as an analogy with the Gnostic
      spiritual source, I would point out that it isn't a helpful analogy
      in this case. I think it would serve more to confuse the issue than
      to clarify it.

      The Gnostic mythology deals with a philosophical problem that has
      not been answered to this very day. The Gnostics used a late
      Platonist model that is finding a bit of a revitalization in modern
      times because a number of mathmaticians and physicists have been
      influenced by it. The problem is this... how does one move from
      higher forms of infinity to lesser forms, and what does this concept
      imply about us humans here on earth?

      In some of the most important examples of the Gnostic text, the
      Gnostic spiritual source is not represented as connected directly
      with the lesser infinities, and those lesser infinite sources are
      not directly connected with the universe. So, neither of the
      two "Fathers" are the source of creation, in these cases. Other
      texts deal with the subject a little differently.

      I don't know if that is what you were looking for conversation
      about. Feel free to put the question another way if I misunderstand.

      PMCV
    • pmcvflag
      Hey David ... need 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
      Message 82 of 82 , Oct 27, 2005
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        Hey David

        >>>wow, your questions really sparked some thought in my head, I
        need 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?

        PMCV
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