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Re: Lebanese Gnostics? Crispin's questions

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  • pmcvflag
    Hey Steve ... acceptable degrees of variance in the mythological symbology would be to examine the avaliable texts in order to determine which motifs were
    Message 1 of 44 , Apr 3, 2006
      Hey Steve

      >>>Hi Karl. I imagine that the best procedure in regards to the
      acceptable degrees of variance in the mythological symbology would be
      to examine the avaliable texts in order to determine which motifs
      were retained in a more or less fixed form and which motifs show
      evidence of developmental modification over time. Of course, in order
      to do this we would need a variety of documents from related
      traditions that can be arranged in terms of estimated date of
      composition so as to get a general idea of the evolution of the
      mythological motifs. I'm not sure how practical that would be at this

      Yes, pretty daunting. Of course there are many who have tried exactly
      this, that we could rely on. Logan has a rather long book dealing
      primarily just with which version of the Secret Book of John is the
      oldest. But rather than get this technical maybe we can deal with the
      subject in a slightly more general way. In fact, being too specific
      could actually hurt us here, in that even if we had exact dates and
      causal relationships between texts, we are still only likely to get a
      general picture of a move from some more philosophical movements into
      the magic of the popular Roman cult (and maybe back again in some
      cases). It would take a million steps to travel nowhere, when I think
      the specifics of which Aeon came before another in this version or
      that one could just be a red herring for our question anyway.

      >>What methodology would you suggest?<<<

      I think in this case the only other option I can think of is to look
      at the basic structure itself, and what we can readily see did not
      change. Just a couple of the most definitive texts, new and old, that
      we can safely see the core elements in. Then, we can ask the more
      complex question as to WHY the text is the way it is, and what it
      means. What is in Secret Book of John, and the Tripartite Tractate or
      the Valentinian Exposition that even make them related? Is there
      something we can call the "Gnostic system" here? I think where we lack
      certain historical determinism, we still have a set range of
      difference that we can look at.... a structure.

      I know, Dr King would not approve *lol*. The methodology creates the
      category here... but we are already dealing with the artificial
      construct. And I think that the relation does exist, so, there is
      nothing wrong with having a name for it. If at some point we find a
      core element of that construct missing, or divergent, then it doesn't
      matter if it is earlier or later... it is still something different.

      Widad, I am sure you would point out here that this is just dealing
      with the forms of something that could change. That is exactly what we
      can hopefully gain some clarity on. Before we can say what it is ok to
      change while still retaining the same goal, we have to be sure what
      that goal is. When you state...

      >>>we would have to consider whether stubbornly holding on to a
      particular form and presenting it in times and communities different
      from the times and communities that necessitated the original design,
      this because it is assumed to be an essential, defining formulation --
      so that we can say "yes, this is clearly X, and not Y or Z" -- does
      not merely create immitations of X as opposed to reproducing the much
      more valuable transformative results X once had the capacity to

      ...it depends on what the function of the formulation is FOR, and what
      our goal is in using it. The scientist would have a different answer
      than the mystic. That seems like the best place to start.

    • 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
        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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