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Lebanese Gnostics? Crispin's questions

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  • Tsharpmin7@aol.com
    hi Widad.... questions and a few comments: as far as you know, are those being chosen to learn from a Christian background, or are there Druse and Moslem as
    Message 1 of 44 , Mar 31, 2006
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      hi Widad.... questions and a few comments:
      as far as you know, are those being chosen to learn from a Christian background, or are there Druse and Moslem as well?
      do you know any of the specific texts their teachers are drawing
      do you know if they describe God in any anthropomorphic
      do they see this material creator as a source of mental
      distortions?  as an obstacle?
      is there anything more you can add about their attitude
      towards Jesus, e.g., godhead, resurrection, etc.?  is there
      anything that might lead you to suspect that there might be a 
      latent esoteric -- possibly non-historical/allegorical --
      understanding of Jesus below the surface?
      was there anything about the dress or demeanor of the man
      you met that was particularly distinguishing?  did you ever
      witness him worrying beads or some such? 
      do you know if any of the adherents or teachers distinguish themselves by dress or demeanor?
      would you care to speculate what preparations might have
      been deemed as making a candidate suitable to the teachers?
      Widad wrote:
      "The main difference I see is that they are not using
      any of the complete Gnostic texts from ancient times, but 
      rather select passages and the commentaries of their two
      primary teachers."
      "When I asked him how they use the texts that's when he told
      me that they only use the parts that are suitable to his
      generation, and that is determined by the teachers."
      this is extremely interesting to me as this is virtually indistinguishable from authentic Sufic teaching, i.e., the
      materials presented must be appropriate to the times, the
      place and the culture where the transmission is to take place. 
      for instance, no Sufi worth her woolies (nyuk, nyuk) would ever 
      give The Parliament of the Birds as a study assignment to a
      would be student, rather only those very specific portions of
      the text that are appropriate to the student's current state and developmental needs, and which retain an affinity with the
      current times, place and culture.  to do otherwise is only to
      create pitiful little imitation 12th century Sufis; nothing even
      approximating the heights of an Attar.
      Widad wrote:
      "My impression from his answers is that they do not see
      themselves as forming a religion so much as constituting a
      discreet philosophical network of teachers and students whose purpose is to attain knowledge of self and God, and thus serve
      their fellow man as invisible agents and friends of God. This through a directed methodology of study (the edited texts and
      the accompanying commentaries), observation (paying close
      attention to behaviors and customs in the community), interpretation (this, I think, is giving feedback to the teacher's
      oral lessons), process (again I'm not certain but I think this has
      to do with directed exercises that are designed to affect specific states of being in their proper order, which sounds very much
      like Sufism to me), a form of ritual communion that celebrates
      the "Holy Breath of God which intoxicated Jesus and the Saints and Friends of God," and work within the community which is
      done anonymously in the sense that they don't do what they do under any banner or title, but just as ordinary citizens and neighbors; no proselytizing."
      "Their meetings are not public and are strictly restricted to
      those who have been invited to learn."
      right on, Widad, this smacks of Sufism as well as Gnosticism,
      of which some Sufis have said there is a direct lineage, though
      I'm unaware of any specifics having been given.
      you've previously discussed and demonstrated at Gnostic
      Thought the issue of states needing to be achieved in their
      proper order lest one lose the benefits of those states, so i'll
      leave it to others to decide if they want to pursue this avenue.  
      but i will say that this issue, in my view, is one of the greatest
      blind spots of New Age mysticism.
      Widad wrote:
      "They see Jesus as the first man to consciously seek and receive
      the Holy Breath of God and transmit Its secrets and ways to
      those who have prepared themselves, most often unknowingly,
      to receive It. Of course I asked him how one can prepare one's
      self for such a gift unknowingly. He said he didn't know the
      answer to that, but since he had been invited to learn how to receive it and never consciously prepared himself for it, and
      nobody in his group had consciously prepared for it, all he
      could do was speculate based on what he and his fellows
      seemed to have in common, and this he was unwilling to do for
      me. I asked if they were all as well educated as he and he
      reluctantly, it seemed, said yes, for his group anyway. He's had
      limited contact with any of the other groups."
      once again this smacks of Sufism and Gnosticism, specifically
      the utter contempt for ostentation, recognizing the value of
      annonimity -- or at least the wisdom of blending into society --
      and the need for the attainment of certain prerequisites in
      order to be brought into the teaching.
      "Per your earlier question, Crispin, other than getting
      confirmation that the movement has reached Sidon, there's little new to report save that we know that one of the southern groups has dispersed or disbanded. But you, of all people, well know that this can signify many things."
      i agree, and least of all would it signify a failure of the teaching.
      yours and your family history suggests you're in an enviable
      position to keep track of this movement from afar.  i should
      hope that you are also doing whatever is in your power to do to keep them safe, under the circumstances, from negative
      also, it's rumored that the U.N. is somewhat of a hotbed of
      Sufic activity and Idries Shah is suposedly a legendary figure 
      there.  were the two of you ever at UNESCO at the same time?
      many thanks to the moderators for allowing us to go with this
      subject.  as you can tell i find it fascinating.
      and many thanks to you, Widad, for taking the time to put this together and, i hope, taking the time to answer my questions if
      you don't find them too tedious.
      your friend,
      Crispin Sainte III
    • Michael Leavitt
      ... Doesn t seem necessary for the Quabalists and the breaking of the vessles. Might make it better though, if he were there. -- M. Leavitt
      Message 44 of 44 , Apr 30, 2006
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        Steve wrote:
        >> I'm curious what others think. Going back to Plato (as Steve did
        >> with his reference to Theaetetus), we see Plato's demiurge in
        >> Timaeus. How is a relational demiurge of some sort necessary
        >> functionally to a Gnostic system, and is this necessary to carry into
        >> a modern adaptation?
        >> Cari
        > Hi Cari. IMO, it's fascinating to see how, for example, the author of
        > The Apocryphon of John goes back and forth from the Timaeus to Genesis
        > and uses both as a point of departure for his/her own perspective. In
        > Timaeus Plato has the Demiurge using the Form of the Intelligible
        > Living Creature as a template for the Cosmos. As such, Plato seems to
        > be an early advocate for 'Intelligent Design'. For Plato, the world is
        > intelligible, hence modeled upon an intelligible pattern. In the
        > Apocryphon of John the Demiurge also seeks to work from an intelligible
        > pattern, but doesn't fully understand it. Consequently his handiwork is
        > flawed in ways that go beyond the inherent imperfection of a copy in
        > relation to the original. IMO, it might be possible to dispense with a
        > demiurgos in an Neo-Platonic emanationist system wherein the only
        > problem with materiality is the inherent inferiority of copy to
        > original and wherein the successive unfolding of emanations is simply
        > inevitable. However, it seems to me that the problem in the Apocryphon
        > of John goes deeper than this and is conceived as being an actual
        > rupture in the Great Chain of Being. As such, it would be difficult to
        > account for this apart from a Demiurgic figure, or at least a Sophia
        > figure driven by a desire which is contrary to the will of her Consort,
        > that is to say, unbalanced. What is your opinion on this? -Steve W.
        Doesn't seem necessary for the Quabalists and the breaking of the
        vessles. Might make it better though, if he were there.

        M. Leavitt
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