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Re: Lebanese Gnostics? Crispin's questions

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  • Steve
    ... the ... note, ... on ... modern ... model. ... That you went off-subject is quite alright, Karl. As you know, I have a personal interest in such matters.
    Message 1 of 44 , Apr 6, 2006
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      --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@...> wrote:
      > Steve
      > >>>Well, that makes sense. By focusing on the general function of
      > motifs it should be possible to address this. Of course, as you
      > we need to be reasonably sure of what that function is before
      > proceeding. Perhaps then we can account, for example, for why the
      > Logos, rather than Sophia, is blamed for the gnostic Fall in the
      > Tripartite Tractate in contradiction of other Valentinian works, and
      > so on and so forth. A bit of work, though, don't you think?<<<
      > Yes, still a bit of work... but at least more managable I think. I
      > am willing to put in the effort in that conversation if everyone
      > else is.
      > >>>The example of the Demiurge is instructive for me because
      > I'm always walking that fine line between reading the gnostic myths
      > as a coded reference to inner spiritual life and reading them as an
      > ontological explanation of existence. Of course, in all Platonic-
      > influenced systems of thought the two are not considered separate
      > from each other, the whole microcosm/macrocosm thing.<<<
      > And, again, you read my mind there. The macrocosm/microcosm element
      > was exactly where I was driving. The line is difficult, and maybe
      > purpose. I think you hit on the subject of meaning very nicely, and
      > why the Gnostics were so involved in the relation between the
      > philosophical, the literal, AND the mystical, rather than simply
      > concentrating on the mystical to the exclusion of all else (as some
      > other movements do). I think, PERHAPS, this could by why many
      > mystics want so badly to reform Gnosticism into the more open
      > Obviously, many would argue that the mystical is the
      > proverbial "baby" that needs to be preserved when the bathwater is
      > thrown out, and they may be right, but I am not so sure that the
      > Gnostics would agree. And I wonder if in some cases this reworking
      > may be coming at the expense of understanding other points the
      > Gnostic systems were trying to impart.
      > It would be a shame to only hold on to "THE baby" when there could
      > have been twins in this particular bathtub.
      > Well, I went off the subject a bit there.
      > PMCV

      That you went off-subject is quite alright, Karl. As you know, I
      have a personal interest in such matters. And yes, I have come to
      agree with you that it is a mistake to try to reduce everything to
      the common-denominator mystical unitive experience. Everything must
      be understood in a syzygistic way. But back to what we were
      discussing. It seems to me that all Platonic systems of thought,
      including what might be called gnostic, deliberately seek to maintain
      that tension between the literal/onological, the
      abstract/philosophical and the experiential/mystical. Since our
      inquiry is concerned with understanding the underlying function of
      the mythological motifs in order to determine whether or not the
      external form of the myth can be modified without sacrificing the
      integrity and internal self-consistency of meaning associated with
      that myth, it would seem to me advantageous to make constructive use
      of those documents, such as The Tripartite Tractate, which appear to
      depart from the 'standard model'. In the case of TTT, the author
      seems interested in putting a sort of positive spin on the
      Valentinian account of the origin of materiality. What, in your
      opinion, is the reason that the author departs from the apparently
      standard Valentinian emphasis on Sophia as the agent of rupture?
      -Steve W.
    • 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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