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Re: Lebanese Gnostics? Crispin's questions

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  • pmcvflag
    Widad, your posts bring up MANY possible topics. Notions of initiation and methodology, hermeneutics, cosmogeny, origins, and lots of things I think many here
    Message 1 of 44 , Apr 2, 2006
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      Widad, your posts bring up MANY possible topics. Notions of
      initiation and methodology, hermeneutics, cosmogeny, origins, and
      lots of things I think many here would love to delve. One, however,
      specifically seems to beg an answer.

      You write to Crispin....

      >>Well you certainly are in the minority to embrace this very
      unpopular understanding (almost as unpopular as the following
      subject you bring up). So, yes, for the teacher to design the
      teaching with strict regard to time, place and culture is a highly
      refined characteristic of authentic Sufic transmission. Yet I think
      there is some evidence that this was also a characteristic among
      some of the ancient Gnostics. Maybe someone will chime in here
      and let me know if I'm on the right track in this regard.<<

      This is a topic that has actually come up many times in less direct
      ways. At the heart of the issue is often a debate about exactly
      where the line of perennialism comes into play in the transmission
      of spiritual thought. Questions as to whether a text that is based
      on timeless spiritual truths could ever really become out-dated, vs
      whether a core could truely be passed on in a text without direct
      oral transmission of context, vs whether change over time could
      negate a spiritual truth (or at least the transmission of it in the
      old way).

      Do core ideas need to be repackaged now and again? IF so, how much
      of the package can be changed before the contents are changed to fit
      it? And at what point does something no longer relate to the
      original movement. Widad, you also state....

      >>>My mother thinks their creation entity is simply a toned down
      version of ancient demiurgic conceptions that might be considered
      detrimental formulations by the current teachers. That makes
      good sense to me, especially in light of how so much energy and
      attention appears to be misplaced on the ancient formulations by
      current Gnostic seekers, as opposed to those who are simply
      trying to understand the ancient Gnostics.<<<

      What makes this observation so fascinating, is just how much we have
      to deal with in order to even touch the question. For instance, how
      literal did the Gnostics of old assume the Demiurge to be? At what
      point, and in what way, could we judge a motif (assuming it is only
      a motif) to be "detrimental"? Then, of course, there is the question
      raised above about perennial thought and who can interperate (which
      could bring up the subject of origin as well).

      Do we open that can of worms? Well, I'm all for it *lol*. Perhaps
      then I should start by saying that I do have some doubts about how
      maleable the Gnostics intended their texts to be vs the "authentic
      Sufi" tradition that you all have mentioned. I am not saying there
      wasn't room for change, but I also think there were parts that were
      considered untouchable as well. Any thoughts?

      PMCV
    • 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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