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Re: Books to read on theGnostic gospels?

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  • Gerry
    ... On the one hand, you mention visiting your local bookstore, but you also appear to have pasted the above information from an on-line dealer. Either way,
    Message 1 of 27 , Jun 11, 2006
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      --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, eagleeyedwildwoman <no_reply@...> wrote:

      >
      > What books do you all recommend?, I want to read translations the
      > scriptures. I went to my local books store and found these books
      > possibilities:
      >
      > The Gospel of Thomas: The Gnostic Wisdom of Jesus
      >
      > by Jean-Yves Leloup, Jacob Needleman (Foreword)
      > Avg customer review:
      > Usually ships in 24 hours
      > Price: $9.72
      >
      >
      > The Gospel of Philip : Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and the Gnosis of
      > Sacred Union
      >
      > by Jean-Yves Leloup, Jacob Needleman (Foreword)
      > Avg customer review:
      > Usually ships in 24
      >
      >
      > The Gospel of Mary Magdalene
      >
      > by Jean-Yves Leloup, Jacob Needleman (Foreword)
      > Avg customer review:
      > Usually ships in 24 hours
      > Price: $9.72
      >
      > [ . . . ]
      >

       

      On the one hand, you mention visiting your local bookstore, but you also appear to have pasted the above information from an on-line dealer.  Either way, I'm curious as to how your searches were narrowed down to so many titles by Leloup? 

      Here's the thing.  In the past, I haven't minded being critical of various authors and editors on the subject of Gnosticism, but I have generally managed to find something positive to say about all of them, even if their works were not among my favorites.  I have to tell you (and everyone else here) that I have been particularly bothered over recent months by some of the pseudo-scholarship that is becoming increasingly available to the public.  I have even felt that certain instances deserved mentioning here, but the difficulty for me has been in figuring out how to go about basically trashing an author's work without it looking like a libelous attack.  At this point, my attitude is pretty much one of "appearances be damned"—I feel a need to get something off my chest.

      I have promised a number of times to wrap us some thoughts on a discussion on Critical Reading that began several months ago.  My new computer system is on order, so I'll hopefully have both the means and the time to get around to resuming that message thread over the next couple of weeks.  As it was, we looked at the ways in which one passage from a Gnostic text might be rendered by various translators.  Most were good translations, but, depending upon the criteria one might use to evaluate them, some could simply be deemed "better."  Personally, I wondered if it might be helpful to include some other versions that I found to be altogether bad.  And I don't mean that they simply are not my favorites, or that by comparison to certain others they simply weren't as good.  No, I mean BAD.

      Well, now that Leloup's name has been brought up, I have to say that from what I've seen of his work, anyone interested in a serious exploration of Gnosticism would do well to steer clear of that author.  He was, in fact, the worst offender I encountered.  The misrepresentations found in the commentaries of certain of these alleged "experts" in the field are bad enough, but when it comes to downright fabrications in their "translations" that are ostensibly based on the Coptic originals, I find myself left with no respect whatsoever for these individuals.  There's simply no reason for anyone to rely on such unscrupulous sources when one might just as easily choose to become acquainted with the work of reputable scholars.  Even among these genuine scholars, we may continue to question their work and the conclusions they've drawn, but if we limit ourselves to the works peddled by those other folks advocating one conspiracy theory after another, then we may as well be meeting at one of the numerous "Dan Brown" or "Holy Blood" sites that are available (ad nauseam) on the Internet.

      I'll try to jump back into the mix here as soon as I'm able, but as difficult as it is for me to keep my PC running at the moment, I still have some research to do this morning for a couple of friends who have no computer at all.

      Gerry

    • eagleeyedwildwoman
      Dearest Darkchylde, When I wrote my critique on the Da Vinci Code I was giving another point of view, my point of view. If you read Plato you will see the
      Message 2 of 27 , Jun 11, 2006
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        Dearest Darkchylde,

        When I wrote my critique on the Da Vinci Code I was giving another
        point of view, my point of view. If you read Plato you will see the
        Greek Intellectuals gathered at places like the Lyceum to debate
        ideas, this was stimulating to the brain function and thought
        processes, it can be described as a Mind Walk. This is why I am
        here. I was expressing my view point, this is all. I am hoping to
        find people to discuss ideas and to have cordial exchange of
        thoughts on the subject of Gnosis and transcendence, not just people
        taking sides but people who really do say something and think things
        through. I hope you will enjoy this type of thought process, where
        it is allowed even encouraged to have a dissenting point of view.
        One question to ask is why you think that way or try to find where
        someone is coming from. By the way, the Gnostics called the
        Literalists Babies or Children as they believed their approach
        towards spirituality to be undeveloped and childish, now would you
        want to debate that? With Love, Aleada


        --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@...> wrote:
        >
        > Hey Darkchylde
        >
        > >>>So I adamantly refuse to think of another's beliefs
        as "wrong".<<<
        >
        > I applaud your open-mindedness. I do think it is important to
        > understand, though, that the Gnostics were actually quite willing
        to
        > think of the beliefs of others as "wrong". Now, of course anyone
        is
        > welcome to disagree with the Gnostics here, but it is also to
        disagree
        > with the ancient meaning of the very word "Gnosis", since the
        whole
        > point of that word was to draw a line between what they viewed as
        a
        > right understanding vs a wrong one.
        >
        > >>>So how can we say someone is wrong because they do not see as
        we
        > do? Aren't we more enlightened than that?<<
        >
        > How do you logically justify the assumption that enlightenment
        equates
        > with un-critical acceptance of anything anyone says? I ask that
        > honestly and out of curiousity. Some would argue that if we were
        > enlightened we should accept the notion that WE can be wrong, and
        toss
        > things out for the sake of debate so that we can really test them
        (a
        > basic notion of the "Enlightenment Era").
        >
        > The reason I am curious about this is that is all seems so
        > inconsistant with the fact that you also talk about "Truth". If no
        one
        > can be wrong, then there can be no such thing as "Truth" other
        than
        > the one truth that no one is wrong. What I mean is, if everyone is
        > already right, then there is simply no need to look any further
        for
        > not only any kind of scientific "truth", but also for any
        spiritual
        > truth. It also means, that in thier own world even those who think
        > others are "wrong" are right to do so... and justified in whatever
        > action they take. What, then, would even be the point of
        questioning
        > the fact that anyone says others are wrong, since they would be
        right
        > to do so?
        >
        > If all that is true... what is the point of being interested in
        > Gnosticism other than for the sake of personal entertainment?
        >
        > PMCV
        >
      • bkimbell98
        Gerry, Please list some of the authors you recommend on Gnostic Gospels. Thanks, Barbara ... you also ... dealer. ... have ... them, ... you ... over ...
        Message 3 of 27 , Jun 11, 2006
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          Gerry,

          Please list some of the authors you recommend on Gnostic Gospels.

          Thanks,
          Barbara

          --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "Gerry" <gerryhsp@...> wrote:
          >
          >
          >
          > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, eagleeyedwildwoman <no_reply@>
          > wrote:
          > >
          > > What books do you all recommend?, I want to read translations the
          > > scriptures. I went to my local books store and found these books
          > > possibilities:
          > >
          > > The Gospel of Thomas: The Gnostic Wisdom of Jesus
          > >
          > > by Jean-Yves Leloup, Jacob Needleman (Foreword)
          > > Avg customer review:
          > > Usually ships in 24 hours
          > > Price: $9.72
          > >
          > >
          > > The Gospel of Philip : Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and the Gnosis of
          > > Sacred Union
          > >
          > > by Jean-Yves Leloup, Jacob Needleman (Foreword)
          > > Avg customer review:
          > > Usually ships in 24
          > >
          > >
          > > The Gospel of Mary Magdalene
          > >
          > > by Jean-Yves Leloup, Jacob Needleman (Foreword)
          > > Avg customer review:
          > > Usually ships in 24 hours
          > > Price: $9.72
          > >
          > > [ . . . ]
          > >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > On the one hand, you mention visiting your local bookstore, but
          you also
          > appear to have pasted the above information from an on-line
          dealer.
          > Either way, I'm curious as to how your searches were narrowed down
          > to so many titles by Leloup?
          >
          > Here's the thing. In the past, I haven't minded being critical
          > of various authors and editors on the subject of Gnosticism, but I
          have
          > generally managed to find something positive to say about all of
          them,
          > even if their works were not among my favorites. I have to tell
          you
          > (and everyone else here) that I have been particularly bothered
          over
          > recent months by some of the pseudo-scholarship that is becoming
          > increasingly available to the public. I have even felt that
          certain
          > instances deserved mentioning here, but the difficulty for me has
          been
          > in figuring out how to go about basically trashing an author's work
          > without it looking like a libelous attack. At this point, my
          attitude
          > is pretty much one of "appearances be damned"—I feel a need to
          > get something off my chest.
          >
          > I have promised a number of times to wrap us some thoughts on a
          > discussion on Critical Reading that began several months ago. My
          new
          > computer system is on order, so I'll hopefully have both the means
          > and the time to get around to resuming that message thread over
          the next
          > couple of weeks. As it was, we looked at the ways in which one
          passage
          > from a Gnostic text might be rendered by various translators.
          Most were
          > good translations, but, depending upon the criteria one might use
          to
          > evaluate them, some could simply be deemed "better."
          > Personally, I wondered if it might be helpful to include some other
          > versions that I found to be altogether bad. And I don't mean that
          > they simply are not my favorites, or that by comparison to certain
          > others they simply weren't as good. No, I mean BAD.
          >
          > Well, now that Leloup's name has been brought up, I have to say
          that
          > from what I've seen of his work, anyone interested in a serious
          > exploration of Gnosticism would do well to steer clear of that
          author.
          > He was, in fact, the worst offender I encountered. The
          > misrepresentations found in the commentaries of certain of these
          alleged
          > "experts" in the field are bad enough, but when it comes to
          > downright fabrications in their "translations" that are
          > ostensibly based on the Coptic originals, I find myself left with
          no
          > respect whatsoever for these individuals. There's simply no reason
          > for anyone to rely on such unscrupulous sources when one might
          just as
          > easily choose to become acquainted with the work of reputable
          scholars.
          > Even among these genuine scholars, we may continue to question
          their
          > work and the conclusions they've drawn, but if we limit ourselves
          to
          > the works peddled by those other folks advocating one conspiracy
          theory
          > after another, then we may as well be meeting at one of the
          numerous
          > "Dan Brown" or "Holy Blood" sites that are available (ad
          > nauseam) on the Internet.
          >
          > I'll try to jump back into the mix here as soon as I'm able, but
          > as difficult as it is for me to keep my PC running at the moment, I
          > still have some research to do this morning for a couple of
          friends who
          > have no computer at all.
          >
          > Gerry
          >
        • bkimbell98
          The older I get and the more I read, the more I understand that EVERYTHING is based on perception - and it follows that if everything is based on perception,
          Message 4 of 27 , Jun 11, 2006
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            The older I get and the more I read, the more I understand that
            EVERYTHING is based on perception - and it follows that if
            everything is based on perception, there is no absolute truth. What
            makes you think the ancient Gnostics had absoulte truth? It seems
            that if they had, they would have been the victors instead of the
            orthodox Christian group and the world would be an entirely
            different place!
            (I say all this as a point of argument - not as an attack) I see
            Gnostics as no different than any of those living today who are on a
            path to enlightenment. As a matter of fact, they had less info,
            because they did not have as complete an understanding of the world
            as we do today - we have explored the universe and know that heaven
            is not tiered - there is no such thing as heaven being 'up there' in
            the clouds - we have a better understanding of DNA, infection,
            mental illness, etc. than those who lived 2000 years ago. And yet,
            we understand so little of the world and the living beings who
            inhabit it!
            At best, we are viewing the world as a shadow-play on the walls of a
            darkened cave - as the ancient parable suggests. We seem to have
            progressed very little in 2000 years, largely, I believe, because we
            refused to let go of the idea that the ancients held the secret to
            knowing God.

            As Dorothy realized, in the end, that she had the ability all along
            to get out of Oz, we, also, have the ability to 'see God '- and we,
            too, have had it all along. It is our misguided beliefs that hold
            us back.

            Barbara

            --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, eagleeyedwildwoman
            <no_reply@...> wrote:
            >
            > Dearest Darkchylde,
            >
            > When I wrote my critique on the Da Vinci Code I was giving another
            > point of view, my point of view. If you read Plato you will see
            the
            > Greek Intellectuals gathered at places like the Lyceum to debate
            > ideas, this was stimulating to the brain function and thought
            > processes, it can be described as a Mind Walk. This is why I am
            > here. I was expressing my view point, this is all. I am hoping to
            > find people to discuss ideas and to have cordial exchange of
            > thoughts on the subject of Gnosis and transcendence, not just
            people
            > taking sides but people who really do say something and think
            things
            > through. I hope you will enjoy this type of thought process, where
            > it is allowed even encouraged to have a dissenting point of view.
            > One question to ask is why you think that way or try to find where
            > someone is coming from. By the way, the Gnostics called the
            > Literalists Babies or Children as they believed their approach
            > towards spirituality to be undeveloped and childish, now would you
            > want to debate that? With Love, Aleada
            >
            >
            > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@> wrote:
            > >
            > > Hey Darkchylde
            > >
            > > >>>So I adamantly refuse to think of another's beliefs
            > as "wrong".<<<
            > >
            > > I applaud your open-mindedness. I do think it is important to
            > > understand, though, that the Gnostics were actually quite
            willing
            > to
            > > think of the beliefs of others as "wrong". Now, of course anyone
            > is
            > > welcome to disagree with the Gnostics here, but it is also to
            > disagree
            > > with the ancient meaning of the very word "Gnosis", since the
            > whole
            > > point of that word was to draw a line between what they viewed
            as
            > a
            > > right understanding vs a wrong one.
            > >
            > > >>>So how can we say someone is wrong because they do not see as
            > we
            > > do? Aren't we more enlightened than that?<<
            > >
            > > How do you logically justify the assumption that enlightenment
            > equates
            > > with un-critical acceptance of anything anyone says? I ask that
            > > honestly and out of curiousity. Some would argue that if we were
            > > enlightened we should accept the notion that WE can be wrong,
            and
            > toss
            > > things out for the sake of debate so that we can really test
            them
            > (a
            > > basic notion of the "Enlightenment Era").
            > >
            > > The reason I am curious about this is that is all seems so
            > > inconsistant with the fact that you also talk about "Truth". If
            no
            > one
            > > can be wrong, then there can be no such thing as "Truth" other
            > than
            > > the one truth that no one is wrong. What I mean is, if everyone
            is
            > > already right, then there is simply no need to look any further
            > for
            > > not only any kind of scientific "truth", but also for any
            > spiritual
            > > truth. It also means, that in thier own world even those who
            think
            > > others are "wrong" are right to do so... and justified in
            whatever
            > > action they take. What, then, would even be the point of
            > questioning
            > > the fact that anyone says others are wrong, since they would be
            > right
            > > to do so?
            > >
            > > If all that is true... what is the point of being interested in
            > > Gnosticism other than for the sake of personal entertainment?
            > >
            > > PMCV
            > >
            >
          • eagleeyedwildwoman
            Thank you Mike, I want some boks that give interpetations of the Gnostic Gospels, I went to Barnes and Nobel and I tought these books seemed pretty good but it
            Message 5 of 27 , Jun 11, 2006
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              Thank you Mike, I want some boks that give interpetations of the
              Gnostic Gospels, I went to Barnes and Nobel and I tought these books
              seemed pretty good but it looks like I may be wrong and that's why I
              asked, I know different interpetations can affect meaning. After
              going to B & N I looked up the books on Amazon to read more, and
              then I put them on my wish list, I should of given only the title, ,
              sorry. I will look up the books you recomended, thanks again. AA

              --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, Michael Leavitt <ac998@...>
              wrote:
              >
              > eagleeyedwildwoman wrote:
              > > What books do you all recommend?, I want to read translations
              the
              > > scriptures. I went to my local books store and found these books
              > > possibilities:
              > >
              > > The Gospel of Thomas: The Gnostic Wisdom of Jesus
              > >
              > > by Jean-Yves Leloup, Jacob Needleman (Foreword)
              > > Avg customer review:
              > > Usually ships in 24 hours
              > > Price: $9.72
              > >
              > >
              > > The Gospel of Philip : Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and the Gnosis of
              > > Sacred Union
              > >
              > > by Jean-Yves Leloup, Jacob Needleman (Foreword)
              > > Avg customer review:
              > > Usually ships in 24
              > >
              > >
              > > The Gospel of Mary Magdalene
              > >
              > > by Jean-Yves Leloup, Jacob Needleman (Foreword)
              > > Avg customer review:
              > > Usually ships in 24 hours
              > > Price: $9.72
              > >
              > > Gnostic Gospel Of St. Thomas
              > >
              > > by Tau Malachi
              > > Avg customer review:
              > > Usually ships in 24 hours
              > > Price: $11.67
              > >
              > >
              > All of Stephan Hoeller's books on Gnosticism, if I may plug my
              Bishop.
              > The Nag Hammadi Library in English ed.by Robinson, The Gnostic
              Bible and
              > the Gnostic scriptures are good too. The Gnostic Paul and The
              Johanine
              > Gospel in Gnostic Exegesis by Pagels, etc. Kurt Rudolph's book
              on
              > Gnosticism is good too. Check out the bookstore at
              > <http://www.gnosis.org> for still other titles.
              >
              > --
              > Mike Leavitt
              >
            • imdarkchylde
              ... also ... have ... them, ... been ... attitude ... new ... next ... passage ... were ... author. ... alleged ... as ... scholars. ... theory ... who ... I
              Message 6 of 27 , Jun 11, 2006
              • 0 Attachment
                --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "Gerry" <gerryhsp@...> wrote:
                >
                >
                >
                > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, eagleeyedwildwoman <no_reply@>
                > wrote:
                > >
                > > What books do you all recommend?, I want to read translations the
                > > scriptures. I went to my local books store and found these books
                > > possibilities:
                > >
                > > The Gospel of Thomas: The Gnostic Wisdom of Jesus
                > >
                > > by Jean-Yves Leloup, Jacob Needleman (Foreword)
                > > Avg customer review:
                > > Usually ships in 24 hours
                > > Price: $9.72
                > >
                > >
                > > The Gospel of Philip : Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and the Gnosis of
                > > Sacred Union
                > >
                > > by Jean-Yves Leloup, Jacob Needleman (Foreword)
                > > Avg customer review:
                > > Usually ships in 24
                > >
                > >
                > > The Gospel of Mary Magdalene
                > >
                > > by Jean-Yves Leloup, Jacob Needleman (Foreword)
                > > Avg customer review:
                > > Usually ships in 24 hours
                > > Price: $9.72
                > >
                > > [ . . . ]
                > >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > On the one hand, you mention visiting your local bookstore, but you
                also
                > appear to have pasted the above information from an on-line dealer.
                > Either way, I'm curious as to how your searches were narrowed down
                > to so many titles by Leloup?
                >
                > Here's the thing. In the past, I haven't minded being critical
                > of various authors and editors on the subject of Gnosticism, but I
                have
                > generally managed to find something positive to say about all of
                them,
                > even if their works were not among my favorites. I have to tell you
                > (and everyone else here) that I have been particularly bothered over
                > recent months by some of the pseudo-scholarship that is becoming
                > increasingly available to the public. I have even felt that certain
                > instances deserved mentioning here, but the difficulty for me has
                been
                > in figuring out how to go about basically trashing an author's work
                > without it looking like a libelous attack. At this point, my
                attitude
                > is pretty much one of "appearances be damned"—I feel a need to
                > get something off my chest.
                >
                > I have promised a number of times to wrap us some thoughts on a
                > discussion on Critical Reading that began several months ago. My
                new
                > computer system is on order, so I'll hopefully have both the means
                > and the time to get around to resuming that message thread over the
                next
                > couple of weeks. As it was, we looked at the ways in which one
                passage
                > from a Gnostic text might be rendered by various translators. Most
                were
                > good translations, but, depending upon the criteria one might use to
                > evaluate them, some could simply be deemed "better."
                > Personally, I wondered if it might be helpful to include some other
                > versions that I found to be altogether bad. And I don't mean that
                > they simply are not my favorites, or that by comparison to certain
                > others they simply weren't as good. No, I mean BAD.
                >
                > Well, now that Leloup's name has been brought up, I have to say that
                > from what I've seen of his work, anyone interested in a serious
                > exploration of Gnosticism would do well to steer clear of that
                author.
                > He was, in fact, the worst offender I encountered. The
                > misrepresentations found in the commentaries of certain of these
                alleged
                > "experts" in the field are bad enough, but when it comes to
                > downright fabrications in their "translations" that are
                > ostensibly based on the Coptic originals, I find myself left with no
                > respect whatsoever for these individuals. There's simply no reason
                > for anyone to rely on such unscrupulous sources when one might just
                as
                > easily choose to become acquainted with the work of reputable
                scholars.
                > Even among these genuine scholars, we may continue to question their
                > work and the conclusions they've drawn, but if we limit ourselves to
                > the works peddled by those other folks advocating one conspiracy
                theory
                > after another, then we may as well be meeting at one of the numerous
                > "Dan Brown" or "Holy Blood" sites that are available (ad
                > nauseam) on the Internet.
                >
                > I'll try to jump back into the mix here as soon as I'm able, but
                > as difficult as it is for me to keep my PC running at the moment, I
                > still have some research to do this morning for a couple of friends
                who
                > have no computer at all.
                >
                > Gerry
                >






                I must recommend a few books myself. I keep rereading Tau Malachi's
                Gnosis of the Cosmic Christ. I was given it as a Christmas present,
                and I messed the cover up and will continue to wear the pages thin
                with rereading. It deals with Christian Gnostism, but the parallels
                drawn in from other beliefs are enhanced and even supported by the
                Kabbala. Much of the more enigmatic aspects of Kabbalistic reasoning
                and instruction are explained and there is much of practical
                application for daily life as well. I have read (and different
                translations still tend to impart the same message) everything from
                the Hymn of the Pearl (a personal favorite) to the Pistis Sophia.
                Bert Ehrman has an excellent compilation of texts in his Lost
                Scriptures, although he draws some conclusions from orthodox and
                gnostic gospels I don't agree with in Lost Christianities-but his
                research is good. I believe it does us no good to pigeonhole any
                translations being "good" or "bad". What you can't get from one
                translation you may get for another, for there is a reason for all
                things. I tend to brace when I hear that someone is "wrong" for
                their belief, interpretation, whatever. Perhaps it would be more
                enlightened of us to say "different". As I told my parents when I
                was accused of thinking the cannonized scripture as "incorrect" Not
                incorrect, I told them, but incomplete.

                Also, the Sophian Fellowship has wonderful thoughts and quotes from
                the 'gnostic' texts on their website, as well as a mentoring program
                I am getting involved in as soon as possible. I too have some
                technical problems.

                Love and peas
                Darkchylde
              • imdarkchylde
                ... What ... a ... in ... a ... we ... another ... where ... where ... you ... anyone ... as ... were ... Barbara Please forgive if I sounded as though I
                Message 7 of 27 , Jun 11, 2006
                • 0 Attachment
                  --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "bkimbell98" <bkimbell98@...>
                  wrote:
                  >
                  > The older I get and the more I read, the more I understand that
                  > EVERYTHING is based on perception - and it follows that if
                  > everything is based on perception, there is no absolute truth.
                  What
                  > makes you think the ancient Gnostics had absoulte truth? It seems
                  > that if they had, they would have been the victors instead of the
                  > orthodox Christian group and the world would be an entirely
                  > different place!
                  > (I say all this as a point of argument - not as an attack) I see
                  > Gnostics as no different than any of those living today who are on
                  a
                  > path to enlightenment. As a matter of fact, they had less info,
                  > because they did not have as complete an understanding of the world
                  > as we do today - we have explored the universe and know that heaven
                  > is not tiered - there is no such thing as heaven being 'up there'
                  in
                  > the clouds - we have a better understanding of DNA, infection,
                  > mental illness, etc. than those who lived 2000 years ago. And yet,
                  > we understand so little of the world and the living beings who
                  > inhabit it!
                  > At best, we are viewing the world as a shadow-play on the walls of
                  a
                  > darkened cave - as the ancient parable suggests. We seem to have
                  > progressed very little in 2000 years, largely, I believe, because
                  we
                  > refused to let go of the idea that the ancients held the secret to
                  > knowing God.
                  >
                  > As Dorothy realized, in the end, that she had the ability all along
                  > to get out of Oz, we, also, have the ability to 'see God '- and we,
                  > too, have had it all along. It is our misguided beliefs that hold
                  > us back.
                  >
                  > Barbara
                  >
                  > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, eagleeyedwildwoman
                  > <no_reply@> wrote:
                  > >
                  > > Dearest Darkchylde,
                  > >
                  > > When I wrote my critique on the Da Vinci Code I was giving
                  another
                  > > point of view, my point of view. If you read Plato you will see
                  > the
                  > > Greek Intellectuals gathered at places like the Lyceum to debate
                  > > ideas, this was stimulating to the brain function and thought
                  > > processes, it can be described as a Mind Walk. This is why I am
                  > > here. I was expressing my view point, this is all. I am hoping to
                  > > find people to discuss ideas and to have cordial exchange of
                  > > thoughts on the subject of Gnosis and transcendence, not just
                  > people
                  > > taking sides but people who really do say something and think
                  > things
                  > > through. I hope you will enjoy this type of thought process,
                  where
                  > > it is allowed even encouraged to have a dissenting point of view.
                  > > One question to ask is why you think that way or try to find
                  where
                  > > someone is coming from. By the way, the Gnostics called the
                  > > Literalists Babies or Children as they believed their approach
                  > > towards spirituality to be undeveloped and childish, now would
                  you
                  > > want to debate that? With Love, Aleada
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@> wrote:
                  > > >
                  > > > Hey Darkchylde
                  > > >
                  > > > >>>So I adamantly refuse to think of another's beliefs
                  > > as "wrong".<<<
                  > > >
                  > > > I applaud your open-mindedness. I do think it is important to
                  > > > understand, though, that the Gnostics were actually quite
                  > willing
                  > > to
                  > > > think of the beliefs of others as "wrong". Now, of course
                  anyone
                  > > is
                  > > > welcome to disagree with the Gnostics here, but it is also to
                  > > disagree
                  > > > with the ancient meaning of the very word "Gnosis", since the
                  > > whole
                  > > > point of that word was to draw a line between what they viewed
                  > as
                  > > a
                  > > > right understanding vs a wrong one.
                  > > >
                  > > > >>>So how can we say someone is wrong because they do not see
                  as
                  > > we
                  > > > do? Aren't we more enlightened than that?<<
                  > > >
                  > > > How do you logically justify the assumption that enlightenment
                  > > equates
                  > > > with un-critical acceptance of anything anyone says? I ask that
                  > > > honestly and out of curiousity. Some would argue that if we
                  were
                  > > > enlightened we should accept the notion that WE can be wrong,
                  > and
                  > > toss
                  > > > things out for the sake of debate so that we can really test
                  > them
                  > > (a
                  > > > basic notion of the "Enlightenment Era").
                  > > >
                  > > > The reason I am curious about this is that is all seems so
                  > > > inconsistant with the fact that you also talk about "Truth". If
                  > no
                  > > one
                  > > > can be wrong, then there can be no such thing as "Truth" other
                  > > than
                  > > > the one truth that no one is wrong. What I mean is, if everyone
                  > is
                  > > > already right, then there is simply no need to look any further
                  > > for
                  > > > not only any kind of scientific "truth", but also for any
                  > > spiritual
                  > > > truth. It also means, that in thier own world even those who
                  > think
                  > > > others are "wrong" are right to do so... and justified in
                  > whatever
                  > > > action they take. What, then, would even be the point of
                  > > questioning
                  > > > the fact that anyone says others are wrong, since they would be
                  > > right
                  > > > to do so?
                  > > >
                  > > > If all that is true... what is the point of being interested in
                  > > > Gnosticism other than for the sake of personal entertainment?
                  > > >
                  > > > PMCV
                  > > >
                  > >
                  >


                  Barbara
                  Please forgive if I sounded as though I didn't respect your opinion.
                  My heartfelt apologies. I cetainly did not mean that, and I must not
                  have communicated what I meant. When I am working with a horse I
                  know the horse technically doesn't do wrong- he (or she) is acting on
                  instinct and impulse and I inadvertantly triggered a response that is
                  detrimental to the training process. WHereas the horse would not be
                  considered wrong, I, as the human, being more enlightened and I AM
                  the one bothering him in the first place (they don't come in my
                  living room and run me off the couch on a whim to go for a run)I can
                  be wrong in that I would give into frustration and anger and
                  aggression and abuse an animal that wouldn't be doing anything but
                  grazing if it wasn't for me anyway. So instead I realise that the
                  horse is only being a horse and it is I who must evolve to get the
                  responce I seek. Those who do not understand there is no need for
                  fear and dominance and superiority would be drawn to religions that
                  promote such ideas. I feel gnostics rise above those tendencies (or
                  should) in order that there path make way for a spiritual
                  transformation that should be ever evolving and growing that becomes
                  apparent in their everday lives and with every person they meet and
                  every choice they make. Then they are like the good horse whisperer
                  that knows the animal he is working with is not on lis level of
                  rational or intellect, yet this is not from superiority or judgement
                  but rather by respect for the parameters that animal can function
                  in. Those who are not in "the know" are simply not there because
                  they are still burdened by superior thinking and judgement.
                  Rally, I beg forgiveness at any offense I gave.
                  Love and peas forever
                  Darkchylde


                  PMCV
                  So much to reply to. I do not see it as an attack (although it seems
                  my opinion might have been taken as one.) As a gnostic I avoid
                  anything that smacks of domination, and I believe the only absolute
                  truth is that we are all in this together. Have a problem with
                  dissention? Quite the contrary, my point is that we cannot judge
                  anothers beliefs to be wrong. That hardly sounds like there is no
                  room for dissention. And I do believe(this doesn't make it truth,
                  albeit MY truth) that enlightment will not come if there is not a
                  tolerance for ALL beliefs and faiths. I can only speak from my
                  person experience, but I have searched many faiths, and even put my
                  name to a few of them, and my present evolution has led me to
                  gnostism. I worshiped the Gad and the Goddess as a wiccan, and I now
                  understand that I was not 'wrong' but incomplete with my awareness
                  and knowledge now. And I might point out gnosis means knowledge, and
                  that can take many forms and have many names but you will know it to
                  be the truth when you FEEL it, as I do. Christ never told anyone
                  they were wrong, yet he imparted a belief that I believe brought
                  people around because of that fact. Perhaps you miss the point with
                  so much polartization and judgement on what is "wrong" and what
                  is "right". I do not even believe that you are wrong for casting
                  judgement. I do not believe I am right in my views that no jugement
                  should be cast. But I will remind that to dominate, to make oneslef
                  superior for what is believed or not is the very urges I seek to
                  eliminate on my effort to expand the Christ consciouness within me.
                  I was unaware that Gnosis meant "right" anything. I was under the
                  impression it meant knowledge and didn't make such constrictive and
                  human confines on ideas that extend beyond the physical realm.
                  Uncritical acceptance is not what I have for the traditions of
                  others, but rather a healthy respect and the true spirit of
                  compassion and acceptance for anyone - which cannot exist in my heart
                  while I harbor judgemnt and critism. I have enjoyed the postings by
                  Tau Malachi and have read the work of Bishop Hoeller on their
                  thoughts on Sufism, Islam and the like and never once was there a
                  judgement or accusation of the belief as wrong. And to think that I
                  excuse all behavior because I refuse to think another is wrong shows
                  you have made judgments on my rationallizing that are incomplete, as
                  you do not know me very well. If as a gnostic I seek to elimiate
                  cosmic ignorance then I would do well to steer away from judgements
                  or condemnations. My heart, which I have learned to listen to, tells
                  me that my head is right.
                  I do find it much more interesting with different points of view.
                  After all, aren't we just individual flames of a larger fire?
                  Love and peas and compassion
                  Darkchylde
                • pmcvflag
                  Barbara ... seems that if they had, they would have been the victors instead of the orthodox Christian group and the world would be an entirely different
                  Message 8 of 27 , Jun 11, 2006
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                    Barbara

                    >>>What makes you think the ancient Gnostics had absoulte truth? It
                    seems that if they had, they would have been the victors instead of
                    the orthodox Christian group and the world would be an entirely
                    different place!<<<

                    It is not my intent to state whether the Gnostics HAD the absolute
                    truth. You misunderstand my point there, Barbara. My point is that
                    the Gnostics of old BELIEVED there is an absolute truth (even if
                    sometimes they admitted that they didn't completely have it, they
                    believed it was there all the same). How do I know they believed
                    that? Because they tell us over and over that it is core to the very
                    function of thier system.

                    No one here can completely refute the notion of absolute relativism,
                    nor can they refute the notion of absolute truth. It is not my place
                    or intent to convince you either way, I am not here to be a
                    spiritual guru. That is a question you have to answer for yourself,
                    and let others answer for themselves. Instead we are simply here to
                    try and see how the Gnostics looked at the situation so that we can
                    understand what they believed accurately before we either agree or
                    disagree with them. After that it is your own business. And heck, in
                    the process of understanding them, they may even make us think about
                    it and help us define our own thinking a bit better.... even if we
                    disagree with them.

                    Now, if you wish to talk about it on a more philosophical level,
                    then we need not even drag the Gnostics into it... but then we
                    wouldn't really be talking about the focus of this group (which is
                    Gnosticism). However, talking about it that way would require some
                    smoothing out of what appears to be some serious core
                    inconsistancies in your points (or at least the way you communicated
                    those points). Not to say you are right or wrong, just that you seem
                    to be hopping over the fence and making points for both sides
                    without seeming to realize it. Or maybe you do realize and you are
                    just trying to confuse poor ol' befuddled minds like mine ;)

                    PMCV
                  • bkimbell98
                    PMCV I agree that it is facinating to try to understand what the Gnostics of old thought - but understanding at the same time, that this was not a homgeneous
                    Message 9 of 27 , Jun 11, 2006
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                      PMCV

                      I agree that it is facinating to try to understand what the Gnostics
                      of old thought - but understanding at the same time, that this was
                      not a homgeneous group, by any stretch. I do think it's very
                      curious that there were so many different groups of Christian
                      communities in the first few hundred years with so many disparate
                      views. There was much controversy. How could it be that Jesus left
                      so many different impressions among his followers? Surely what he
                      was teaching had a hidden meaning - some 'got it' or thought they
                      did and others took his teachings literally, interpreting it as best
                      they could... on and on throughout the millennia.

                      My whole point is this - it can only be informed speculation on our
                      part. Somewhere else in this website, someone made the comment that
                      personal experience is also necessary - not just special knoweldge
                      or understanding. That is the point I am trying to make (although
                      not clearly, as you point out). The only thing about which we can
                      be sure is our own personal experience. We can then interpret the
                      books in that light.

                      Barbara

                      In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Barbara
                      >
                      > >>>What makes you think the ancient Gnostics had absoulte truth?
                      It
                      > seems that if they had, they would have been the victors instead
                      of
                      > the orthodox Christian group and the world would be an entirely
                      > different place!<<<
                      >
                      > It is not my intent to state whether the Gnostics HAD the absolute
                      > truth. You misunderstand my point there, Barbara. My point is that
                      > the Gnostics of old BELIEVED there is an absolute truth (even if
                      > sometimes they admitted that they didn't completely have it, they
                      > believed it was there all the same). How do I know they believed
                      > that? Because they tell us over and over that it is core to the
                      very
                      > function of thier system.
                      >
                      > No one here can completely refute the notion of absolute
                      relativism,
                      > nor can they refute the notion of absolute truth. It is not my
                      place
                      > or intent to convince you either way, I am not here to be a
                      > spiritual guru. That is a question you have to answer for
                      yourself,
                      > and let others answer for themselves. Instead we are simply here
                      to
                      > try and see how the Gnostics looked at the situation so that we
                      can
                      > understand what they believed accurately before we either agree or
                      > disagree with them. After that it is your own business. And heck,
                      in
                      > the process of understanding them, they may even make us think
                      about
                      > it and help us define our own thinking a bit better.... even if we
                      > disagree with them.
                      >
                      > Now, if you wish to talk about it on a more philosophical level,
                      > then we need not even drag the Gnostics into it... but then we
                      > wouldn't really be talking about the focus of this group (which is
                      > Gnosticism). However, talking about it that way would require some
                      > smoothing out of what appears to be some serious core
                      > inconsistancies in your points (or at least the way you
                      communicated
                      > those points). Not to say you are right or wrong, just that you
                      seem
                      > to be hopping over the fence and making points for both sides
                      > without seeming to realize it. Or maybe you do realize and you are
                      > just trying to confuse poor ol' befuddled minds like mine ;)
                      >
                      > PMCV
                      >
                    • pmcvflag
                      Hey Darkchylde ... doesn t do wrong- he (or she) is acting on instinct and impulse and I inadvertantly triggered a response that is detrimental to the training
                      Message 10 of 27 , Jun 11, 2006
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                        Hey Darkchylde

                        >>>When I am working with a horse I know the horse technically
                        doesn't do wrong- he (or she) is acting on instinct and impulse and
                        I inadvertantly triggered a response that is detrimental to the
                        training process. WHereas the horse would not be considered wrong,
                        I, as the human, being more enlightened and I AM
                        the one bothering him in the first place (they don't come in my
                        living room and run me off the couch on a whim to go for a run)I can
                        be wrong in that I would give into frustration and anger and
                        aggression and abuse an animal that wouldn't be doing anything but
                        grazing if it wasn't for me anyway.<<<

                        I like that picture you paint. It allows for openness towards
                        other's beliefs without stating that we must throw out critical
                        perspective in the mix.

                        >>>So much to reply to. I do not see it as an attack (although it
                        seems my opinion might have been taken as one.)<<<

                        Don't worry, Darkchylde, most of us in this group actually respect
                        and enjoy a little bit of a friendly challenge ;) . Honestly, you
                        don't need to apologize. We test ideas and debate as friends here.
                        Not everyone is able to do that, and when they find this to be a
                        threat they write us off as "silly academics". You are welcome to
                        question my ideas, but expect me to question in return. Keep in mind
                        that this should always be brought back to the subject at hand....
                        not just our personal views (that rule applies to me as well).

                        >>>As a gnostic I avoid anything that smacks of domination, and I
                        believe the only absolute truth is that we are all in this
                        together.<<<

                        Very understandable, though I would question whether it is
                        indicative of being a Gnostic. Of course, the Gnostic was a rebel
                        against temporal authority, Yaldebaoth and maybe even the Roman
                        occupation, but on the other hand the Gnostic also believed in a
                        rightful cosmic order. Personally, I probably still have some of
                        that punk rock anarchism in me from my youth, but it would not be
                        right of me to foist that on to historical Gnostic thinking.

                        >>>Have a problem with dissention? Quite the contrary, my point is
                        that we cannot judge anothers beliefs to be wrong. That hardly
                        sounds like there is no room for dissention. And I do believe(this
                        doesn't make it truth, albeit MY truth) that enlightment will not
                        come if there is not a tolerance for ALL beliefs and faiths.<<<

                        I can certainly sympathize, but I am not so sure the Gnostics would.
                        Think about it another way, Yaldebaoth can be seen as an allegory
                        for the those very religions you say we should respect (and I
                        generally feel ambivalent for). In fact, that is actually partly
                        what his function is. It becomes very clear in the Gospel of Judas
                        that the Demiurge is intended as an attack on religious faith. This
                        is not what we can call tolerance of all beliefs and faiths, but
                        just the opposite... it is a rejection of blind faith and poorly
                        thought beliefs.

                        Now, I am not saying the Gnostics must be right about this. Once
                        again, that is for people figure out on their own. What I AM saying
                        is that no one can say that the Gnostics were particularly
                        relativist.

                        >>>I can only speak from my person experience, but I have searched
                        many faiths, and even put my name to a few of them, and my present
                        evolution has led me to gnostism.<<<

                        I'm sure nearly everyone here can sympathise with the growth process.

                        >>>And I might point out gnosis means knowledge, and that can take
                        many forms and have many names but you will know it to
                        be the truth when you FEEL it, as I do.<<<

                        Well, actually that isn't really an accurate meaning for the
                        word "Gnosis" as the Gnostics used it. This is a subject this forum
                        does tend to revisit pretty often.

                        >>>Christ never told anyone they were wrong, yet he imparted a
                        belief that I believe brought people around because of that fact.<<<

                        I guess that depends on who's version we are reading. ;) In the
                        Bible the "Christ" is quite direct in calling people hypocrites,
                        etc.. However, we don't have to take the Bible seriously here if we
                        don't want. There is no assumption of scriptural validity here.

                        >>>Perhaps you miss the point with so much polartization and
                        judgement on what is "wrong" and what is "right". I do not even
                        believe that you are wrong for casting judgement.<<<

                        I didn't cast any judgement, Darkchylde. I am simply trying to
                        present a historically acurate understanding of the Gnostic belief
                        system so people can think and talk about about them in an informed
                        way. Please don't assume that I am some kind of missionary for that
                        position.

                        >>>But I will remind that to dominate, to make oneslef superior for
                        what is believed or not is the very urges I seek to eliminate on my
                        effort to expand the Christ consciouness within me.<<<

                        No one is trying to dominate here, Darkchylde. This forum deals with
                        historical forms of Gnosticism, and all we want to do is make sure
                        that it is understood.... not agreed with.

                        >>>>I was unaware that Gnosis meant "right" anything. I was under the
                        impression it meant knowledge and didn't make such constrictive and
                        human confines on ideas that extend beyond the physical realm.<<<

                        Like I mentioned above, we do try to stick with the historical
                        Gnostic meaning of the word "Gnosis" in this group.... for the sake
                        of communication. I think you will find that Gnostic ideas were very
                        open in many ways that many people find very interesting today, but
                        maybe not in the ways that many would LIKE them to be open.

                        >>>Uncritical acceptance is not what I have for the traditions of
                        others, but rather a healthy respect and the true spirit of
                        compassion and acceptance for anyone - which cannot exist in my heart
                        while I harbor judgemnt and critism.<<<<

                        Respect and tolerence is not the same as agreement. Glad you pointed
                        that out.

                        >>>And to think that I excuse all behavior because I refuse to think
                        another is wrong shows you have made judgments on my rationallizing
                        that are incomplete, as you do not know me very well.<<<

                        Hmmmmm, maybe you are right. However, on what grounds do you NOT
                        excuse a behavior? How can you say something is not ok if you can't
                        say it is wrong? What is the arbitrary difference you assign?

                        >>>If as a gnostic I seek to elimiate cosmic ignorance then I would
                        do well to steer away from judgements or condemnations. My heart,
                        which I have learned to listen to, tells me that my head is right.<<<

                        You needn't defend your heart here (the head may be something a bit
                        more testable), thit is your own. Honestly, it simply isn't the
                        point of this forum. What we are talking about is Gnosticism.

                        >>>I do find it much more interesting with different points of view.
                        After all, aren't we just individual flames of a larger fire?<<<

                        I find various views interesting as well. After all, without the
                        challenge I would not have been able to test my own views. Sometimes
                        I have been wrong (yes, I can say "wrong"), but I think the trick
                        has been to accept that with humility rather than saying nobody can
                        be wrong therefore I must be right (Thanks Mike.... I think *lol*).

                        PMCV
                      • pmcvflag
                        Hey Barbara ... Gnostics of old thought - but understanding at the same time, that this was not a homgeneous group, by any stretch.
                        Message 11 of 27 , Jun 11, 2006
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                          Hey Barbara

                          >>>I agree that it is facinating to try to understand what the
                          Gnostics of old thought - but understanding at the same time, that
                          this was not a homgeneous group, by any stretch.<<<

                          Very true, and VERY good point. There are important differences we
                          really need to try and keep in mind. However, there are also things
                          that tie these groups together. When I attempt to outline systems of
                          Gnosticism I try to do my best and say things like "this is a
                          Sethian version" or "this is Valentinian" when they do differ. On
                          the other hand, there are important things that draw these groups
                          into a single category, and I think we should not foget that either.

                          >>>I do think it's very curious that there were so many different
                          groups of Christian communities in the first few hundred years with
                          so many disparate views. There was much controversy.<<<

                          I agree absolutely! In fact, it is the study of Gnosticism that has
                          really brought this realization to the academic community at large.
                          However, it doesn't only apply to Gnostic groups. There were many
                          non-Gnostic Christian groups as well. I don't find it curious in
                          that I don't think there was as much of a genuine "system" from the
                          very beginning. There is something called the "Eusebian Paradigm"
                          that says there was one original church. Scholars today generally
                          reject this "Eusebian Paradigm" because it just doesn't work with
                          the historical info we have right now.

                          >>>How could it be that Jesus left so many different impressions
                          among his followers? Surely what he was teaching had a hidden
                          meaning - some 'got it' or thought they did and others took his
                          teachings literally, interpreting it as best they could... on and on
                          throughout the millennia.<<<

                          Well, outside the question of whether Jesus ever actually
                          historically existed, I think it actually makes sense. The info we
                          have shows even the very first generation of Christians looking at
                          this message in many different ways. This is common for purely oral
                          teaching.

                          >>>My whole point is this - it can only be informed speculation on
                          our part.<<<

                          True. However, isn't informed speculation at least a little better
                          than uninformed speculation? What I find so common today is that
                          many people talking about "Gnosticism" do so in an uninformed way.
                          It is not about whether I am right or wrong, I have learned from
                          people less technically educated on the subject and I admit it up
                          front. But, instead it is about whether somebody has simply really
                          taken the time to stop and think about it critically rather than
                          just trying to make the "Gnostics" fit thier own preconcieved idea.

                          >>>>Somewhere else in this website, someone made the comment that
                          personal experience is also necessary - not just special knoweldge
                          or understanding.<<<

                          I have made that point myself. HOWEVER, I have also found myself
                          having to make the point that it is NOT JUST personal experience
                          either. BOTH must be there. Failure on EITHER side is failure to
                          gain Gnosis (at least according to the historical meaning we see in
                          the texts). There had been a common attempt today to equate "Gnosis"
                          with personal experience, and that simply is not what the word meant
                          in the Gnostic texts.

                          >>>That is the point I am trying to make (although not clearly, as
                          you point out). The only thing about which we can be sure is our own
                          personal experience. We can then interpret the books in that
                          light.<<<

                          So you don't believe in the notion of the "Logos"? Does that mean
                          you don't think the Sophia ever "fell"?

                          PMCV
                        • eagleeyedwildwoman
                          Darkchylde, I Never said certin Christians were wrong in my first post on this line. I was expressing a point of view that we all have God in our DNA and that
                          Message 12 of 27 , Jun 11, 2006
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                            Darkchylde, I Never said certin Christians were wrong in my first
                            post on this line. I was expressing a point of view that we all have
                            God in our DNA and that having the blood line of Jesus was, again in
                            my opinion, of no consequence nor should it be. Also, I want to
                            stress that the quest for Gnosis should be an individual matter with
                            teachers along the way; but ultimately between you and God. If you
                            read what I wrote this is it, so why the discussion about that I
                            said someone was wrong? Unless we are continuing an argument from
                            another group? Also consider dear Gnostics, that just because some
                            in a certain Royal line in Europe claim heredity to Jesus does not
                            make it so. It's a claim made by wealthy people that helps justify
                            their leadership, also something to consider. I really don't want to
                            be jumped all over when I try to make a point so please really
                            consider what I write and don't read other things into it and I will
                            try to do the same for you.

                            Quietly, Aleada



                            Hi I'm new here
                            Looks like I'm come across an intelligent group of thinkers. I know
                            I'm going to be a bit behind the times with this comment but perhaps
                            I have something different to say on the subject so, here goes: I
                            finally saw The Da Vinci Code at the movies Wednesday night. I will
                            not give a movie review. I did not read the book. I do like that
                            this movie and book get people interested in the alternative
                            scriptures and therefore Gnostic thinking. But the idea of this
                            woman descendant of Mary Magdalene and Jesus being the Holy Grail
                            becomes a road block to Gnosis which is a direct knowledge of God.
                            It is also a problem in the Omen which I know is pure fun but
                            unfortunately is what many people believe, that is the idea of the
                            big characters playing these big roles while we sit back a watch.
                            Many people do not realize they are the Hero of their own story and
                            have a direct connection to God or the Great Spirit. Our path is to
                            realize that connection and have direct experience of this.
                            Realization with direct experience of the Divine is Enlightenment or
                            Gnosis and it may be so individual that it is experienced or related
                            differently for each of us. Gnosis is an on going process, it is the
                            road traveled ever onward. Leader or teacher come into our life and
                            will help us on our way but it is we who decides and we who exert
                            the effort, I mean to say don't rely on the way showers, it is your
                            journey and all you really need is you. The blood line of Jesus was
                            said to be part of the royal family of the Hapsburgs, who's line
                            runs through most of the royal houses of Europe, this is another
                            form of Hierarchy which is anti Gnostic thinking. I see little
                            evidence of Jesus in the royal lines. I see more evidence among the
                            rich about power, selfishness, and oppression. I see evidence of
                            his teachings among those who relinquish power in favor of helping
                            humanity. Sacred words from my own countries constitution say, All
                            men are created equal and endowed by the Creator with unalienable
                            rights of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. I believe
                            Eve, our original Earth Mother chose Gnosis over obedience and
                            opened the door for Men to become Gods which was the Creators test
                            of our capacity to make our own way. We too become Gods and create
                            our own Universes as Great Spirit wills it so, ever onward. Yes
                            Barbara I too have visions and as the veil gets thinner it seems
                            more of us are doing so. Some of the visions I have had are not all
                            light and gold some are about being stripped naked of all beliefs
                            and ego, some were harsh from where I have sat but I am thankful for
                            all revelation which aids my souls growth. I am working each day to
                            simplify my soul and be open to the purest gold the soul has to
                            offer, Gnosis.

                            In Peace,
                            Your Sister,
                            Aleada Barbara Aine
                            --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > Hey Darkchylde
                            >
                            > >>>When I am working with a horse I know the horse technically
                            > doesn't do wrong- he (or she) is acting on instinct and impulse
                            and
                            > I inadvertantly triggered a response that is detrimental to the
                            > training process. WHereas the horse would not be considered wrong,
                            > I, as the human, being more enlightened and I AM
                            > the one bothering him in the first place (they don't come in my
                            > living room and run me off the couch on a whim to go for a run)I
                            can
                            > be wrong in that I would give into frustration and anger and
                            > aggression and abuse an animal that wouldn't be doing anything but
                            > grazing if it wasn't for me anyway.<<<
                            >
                            > I like that picture you paint. It allows for openness towards
                            > other's beliefs without stating that we must throw out critical
                            > perspective in the mix.
                            >
                            > >>>So much to reply to. I do not see it as an attack (although it
                            > seems my opinion might have been taken as one.)<<<
                            >
                            > Don't worry, Darkchylde, most of us in this group actually respect
                            > and enjoy a little bit of a friendly challenge ;) . Honestly, you
                            > don't need to apologize. We test ideas and debate as friends here.
                            > Not everyone is able to do that, and when they find this to be a
                            > threat they write us off as "silly academics". You are welcome to
                            > question my ideas, but expect me to question in return. Keep in
                            mind
                            > that this should always be brought back to the subject at hand....
                            > not just our personal views (that rule applies to me as well).
                            >
                            > >>>As a gnostic I avoid anything that smacks of domination, and I
                            > believe the only absolute truth is that we are all in this
                            > together.<<<
                            >
                            > Very understandable, though I would question whether it is
                            > indicative of being a Gnostic. Of course, the Gnostic was a rebel
                            > against temporal authority, Yaldebaoth and maybe even the Roman
                            > occupation, but on the other hand the Gnostic also believed in a
                            > rightful cosmic order. Personally, I probably still have some of
                            > that punk rock anarchism in me from my youth, but it would not be
                            > right of me to foist that on to historical Gnostic thinking.
                            >
                            > >>>Have a problem with dissention? Quite the contrary, my point is
                            > that we cannot judge anothers beliefs to be wrong. That hardly
                            > sounds like there is no room for dissention. And I do believe(this
                            > doesn't make it truth, albeit MY truth) that enlightment will not
                            > come if there is not a tolerance for ALL beliefs and faiths.<<<
                            >
                            > I can certainly sympathize, but I am not so sure the Gnostics
                            would.
                            > Think about it another way, Yaldebaoth can be seen as an allegory
                            > for the those very religions you say we should respect (and I
                            > generally feel ambivalent for). In fact, that is actually partly
                            > what his function is. It becomes very clear in the Gospel of Judas
                            > that the Demiurge is intended as an attack on religious faith.
                            This
                            > is not what we can call tolerance of all beliefs and faiths, but
                            > just the opposite... it is a rejection of blind faith and poorly
                            > thought beliefs.
                            >
                            > Now, I am not saying the Gnostics must be right about this. Once
                            > again, that is for people figure out on their own. What I AM
                            saying
                            > is that no one can say that the Gnostics were particularly
                            > relativist.
                            >
                            > >>>I can only speak from my person experience, but I have searched
                            > many faiths, and even put my name to a few of them, and my present
                            > evolution has led me to gnostism.<<<
                            >
                            > I'm sure nearly everyone here can sympathise with the growth
                            process.
                            >
                            > >>>And I might point out gnosis means knowledge, and that can take
                            > many forms and have many names but you will know it to
                            > be the truth when you FEEL it, as I do.<<<
                            >
                            > Well, actually that isn't really an accurate meaning for the
                            > word "Gnosis" as the Gnostics used it. This is a subject this
                            forum
                            > does tend to revisit pretty often.
                            >
                            > >>>Christ never told anyone they were wrong, yet he imparted a
                            > belief that I believe brought people around because of that
                            fact.<<<
                            >
                            > I guess that depends on who's version we are reading. ;) In the
                            > Bible the "Christ" is quite direct in calling people hypocrites,
                            > etc.. However, we don't have to take the Bible seriously here if
                            we
                            > don't want. There is no assumption of scriptural validity here.
                            >
                            > >>>Perhaps you miss the point with so much polartization and
                            > judgement on what is "wrong" and what is "right". I do not even
                            > believe that you are wrong for casting judgement.<<<
                            >
                            > I didn't cast any judgement, Darkchylde. I am simply trying to
                            > present a historically acurate understanding of the Gnostic belief
                            > system so people can think and talk about about them in an
                            informed
                            > way. Please don't assume that I am some kind of missionary for
                            that
                            > position.
                            >
                            > >>>But I will remind that to dominate, to make oneslef superior
                            for
                            > what is believed or not is the very urges I seek to eliminate on
                            my
                            > effort to expand the Christ consciouness within me.<<<
                            >
                            > No one is trying to dominate here, Darkchylde. This forum deals
                            with
                            > historical forms of Gnosticism, and all we want to do is make sure
                            > that it is understood.... not agreed with.
                            >
                            > >>>>I was unaware that Gnosis meant "right" anything. I was under
                            the
                            > impression it meant knowledge and didn't make such constrictive and
                            > human confines on ideas that extend beyond the physical realm.<<<
                            >
                            > Like I mentioned above, we do try to stick with the historical
                            > Gnostic meaning of the word "Gnosis" in this group.... for the
                            sake
                            > of communication. I think you will find that Gnostic ideas were
                            very
                            > open in many ways that many people find very interesting today,
                            but
                            > maybe not in the ways that many would LIKE them to be open.
                            >
                            > >>>Uncritical acceptance is not what I have for the traditions of
                            > others, but rather a healthy respect and the true spirit of
                            > compassion and acceptance for anyone - which cannot exist in my
                            heart
                            > while I harbor judgemnt and critism.<<<<
                            >
                            > Respect and tolerence is not the same as agreement. Glad you
                            pointed
                            > that out.
                            >
                            > >>>And to think that I excuse all behavior because I refuse to
                            think
                            > another is wrong shows you have made judgments on my
                            rationallizing
                            > that are incomplete, as you do not know me very well.<<<
                            >
                            > Hmmmmm, maybe you are right. However, on what grounds do you NOT
                            > excuse a behavior? How can you say something is not ok if you
                            can't
                            > say it is wrong? What is the arbitrary difference you assign?
                            >
                            > >>>If as a gnostic I seek to elimiate cosmic ignorance then I
                            would
                            > do well to steer away from judgements or condemnations. My heart,
                            > which I have learned to listen to, tells me that my head is
                            right.<<<
                            >
                            > You needn't defend your heart here (the head may be something a
                            bit
                            > more testable), thit is your own. Honestly, it simply isn't the
                            > point of this forum. What we are talking about is Gnosticism.
                            >
                            > >>>I do find it much more interesting with different points of
                            view.
                            > After all, aren't we just individual flames of a larger fire?<<<
                            >
                            > I find various views interesting as well. After all, without the
                            > challenge I would not have been able to test my own views.
                            Sometimes
                            > I have been wrong (yes, I can say "wrong"), but I think the trick
                            > has been to accept that with humility rather than saying nobody
                            can
                            > be wrong therefore I must be right (Thanks Mike.... I think *lol*).
                            >
                            > PMCV
                            >
                          • imdarkchylde
                            ... mind ... would. ... process. ... with ... the ... very ... heart ... pointed ... think ... right.
                            Message 13 of 27 , Jun 11, 2006
                            • 0 Attachment
                              --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > Hey Darkchylde
                              >
                              > >>>When I am working with a horse I know the horse technically
                              > doesn't do wrong- he (or she) is acting on instinct and impulse and
                              > I inadvertantly triggered a response that is detrimental to the
                              > training process. WHereas the horse would not be considered wrong,
                              > I, as the human, being more enlightened and I AM
                              > the one bothering him in the first place (they don't come in my
                              > living room and run me off the couch on a whim to go for a run)I can
                              > be wrong in that I would give into frustration and anger and
                              > aggression and abuse an animal that wouldn't be doing anything but
                              > grazing if it wasn't for me anyway.<<<
                              >
                              > I like that picture you paint. It allows for openness towards
                              > other's beliefs without stating that we must throw out critical
                              > perspective in the mix.
                              >
                              > >>>So much to reply to. I do not see it as an attack (although it
                              > seems my opinion might have been taken as one.)<<<
                              >
                              > Don't worry, Darkchylde, most of us in this group actually respect
                              > and enjoy a little bit of a friendly challenge ;) . Honestly, you
                              > don't need to apologize. We test ideas and debate as friends here.
                              > Not everyone is able to do that, and when they find this to be a
                              > threat they write us off as "silly academics". You are welcome to
                              > question my ideas, but expect me to question in return. Keep in
                              mind
                              > that this should always be brought back to the subject at hand....
                              > not just our personal views (that rule applies to me as well).
                              >
                              > >>>As a gnostic I avoid anything that smacks of domination, and I
                              > believe the only absolute truth is that we are all in this
                              > together.<<<
                              >
                              > Very understandable, though I would question whether it is
                              > indicative of being a Gnostic. Of course, the Gnostic was a rebel
                              > against temporal authority, Yaldebaoth and maybe even the Roman
                              > occupation, but on the other hand the Gnostic also believed in a
                              > rightful cosmic order. Personally, I probably still have some of
                              > that punk rock anarchism in me from my youth, but it would not be
                              > right of me to foist that on to historical Gnostic thinking.
                              >
                              > >>>Have a problem with dissention? Quite the contrary, my point is
                              > that we cannot judge anothers beliefs to be wrong. That hardly
                              > sounds like there is no room for dissention. And I do believe(this
                              > doesn't make it truth, albeit MY truth) that enlightment will not
                              > come if there is not a tolerance for ALL beliefs and faiths.<<<
                              >
                              > I can certainly sympathize, but I am not so sure the Gnostics
                              would.
                              > Think about it another way, Yaldebaoth can be seen as an allegory
                              > for the those very religions you say we should respect (and I
                              > generally feel ambivalent for). In fact, that is actually partly
                              > what his function is. It becomes very clear in the Gospel of Judas
                              > that the Demiurge is intended as an attack on religious faith. This
                              > is not what we can call tolerance of all beliefs and faiths, but
                              > just the opposite... it is a rejection of blind faith and poorly
                              > thought beliefs.
                              >
                              > Now, I am not saying the Gnostics must be right about this. Once
                              > again, that is for people figure out on their own. What I AM saying
                              > is that no one can say that the Gnostics were particularly
                              > relativist.
                              >
                              > >>>I can only speak from my person experience, but I have searched
                              > many faiths, and even put my name to a few of them, and my present
                              > evolution has led me to gnostism.<<<
                              >
                              > I'm sure nearly everyone here can sympathise with the growth
                              process.
                              >
                              > >>>And I might point out gnosis means knowledge, and that can take
                              > many forms and have many names but you will know it to
                              > be the truth when you FEEL it, as I do.<<<
                              >
                              > Well, actually that isn't really an accurate meaning for the
                              > word "Gnosis" as the Gnostics used it. This is a subject this forum
                              > does tend to revisit pretty often.
                              >
                              > >>>Christ never told anyone they were wrong, yet he imparted a
                              > belief that I believe brought people around because of that fact.<<<
                              >
                              > I guess that depends on who's version we are reading. ;) In the
                              > Bible the "Christ" is quite direct in calling people hypocrites,
                              > etc.. However, we don't have to take the Bible seriously here if we
                              > don't want. There is no assumption of scriptural validity here.
                              >
                              > >>>Perhaps you miss the point with so much polartization and
                              > judgement on what is "wrong" and what is "right". I do not even
                              > believe that you are wrong for casting judgement.<<<
                              >
                              > I didn't cast any judgement, Darkchylde. I am simply trying to
                              > present a historically acurate understanding of the Gnostic belief
                              > system so people can think and talk about about them in an informed
                              > way. Please don't assume that I am some kind of missionary for that
                              > position.
                              >
                              > >>>But I will remind that to dominate, to make oneslef superior for
                              > what is believed or not is the very urges I seek to eliminate on my
                              > effort to expand the Christ consciouness within me.<<<
                              >
                              > No one is trying to dominate here, Darkchylde. This forum deals
                              with
                              > historical forms of Gnosticism, and all we want to do is make sure
                              > that it is understood.... not agreed with.
                              >
                              > >>>>I was unaware that Gnosis meant "right" anything. I was under
                              the
                              > impression it meant knowledge and didn't make such constrictive and
                              > human confines on ideas that extend beyond the physical realm.<<<
                              >
                              > Like I mentioned above, we do try to stick with the historical
                              > Gnostic meaning of the word "Gnosis" in this group.... for the sake
                              > of communication. I think you will find that Gnostic ideas were
                              very
                              > open in many ways that many people find very interesting today, but
                              > maybe not in the ways that many would LIKE them to be open.
                              >
                              > >>>Uncritical acceptance is not what I have for the traditions of
                              > others, but rather a healthy respect and the true spirit of
                              > compassion and acceptance for anyone - which cannot exist in my
                              heart
                              > while I harbor judgemnt and critism.<<<<
                              >
                              > Respect and tolerence is not the same as agreement. Glad you
                              pointed
                              > that out.
                              >
                              > >>>And to think that I excuse all behavior because I refuse to
                              think
                              > another is wrong shows you have made judgments on my rationallizing
                              > that are incomplete, as you do not know me very well.<<<
                              >
                              > Hmmmmm, maybe you are right. However, on what grounds do you NOT
                              > excuse a behavior? How can you say something is not ok if you can't
                              > say it is wrong? What is the arbitrary difference you assign?
                              >
                              > >>>If as a gnostic I seek to elimiate cosmic ignorance then I would
                              > do well to steer away from judgements or condemnations. My heart,
                              > which I have learned to listen to, tells me that my head is
                              right.<<<
                              >
                              > You needn't defend your heart here (the head may be something a bit
                              > more testable), thit is your own. Honestly, it simply isn't the
                              > point of this forum. What we are talking about is Gnosticism.
                              >
                              > >>>I do find it much more interesting with different points of view.
                              > After all, aren't we just individual flames of a larger fire?<<<
                              >
                              > I find various views interesting as well. After all, without the
                              > challenge I would not have been able to test my own views.
                              Sometimes
                              > I have been wrong (yes, I can say "wrong"), but I think the trick
                              > has been to accept that with humility rather than saying nobody can
                              > be wrong therefore I must be right (Thanks Mike.... I think *lol*).
                              >
                              > PMCV
                              >




                              First I would like to respond to our earlier exchange where the
                              statement was made about why to get into gnostism. Well, I didn't
                              get into it for entertainment but I didn't get into it so I could be
                              right and everyone else be wrong. I could have stuck with most
                              orthodox beliefs had that been my motivation. I also feel that since
                              my beliefs are considered heresy by many in mainstream Christianity,
                              that to be intolerate towards another's beliefs is to go against one
                              of the main attractions that gnostism had for me, which is the
                              freedom to interpret as I wish. And do not get hung up on the fact
                              that I do not see a difference in what is good and what is evil. But
                              to judge and condemn and critize, reguardless of justification, would
                              I think expose one's cosmic ignorance, and align one to dark forces.
                              You made an excellent point about Yeshua pointing out to the
                              Pharisees and their hypocrisy, or his reaction to the temple
                              merchants. Still, this showed thier ignorance, and Christ didn't
                              tell the woman caught in adultry she was wrong. He also never told
                              anyone that they were wrong that I could find, and he kept a careful
                              balance of severity and mercy, the Middle Pillar concept of the
                              Kabala if you will, and rather than telling people they were wrong he
                              told them how to be right. As far as historical accuracy goes, we
                              seem to rewrite history on a daily basis as new evidence come to
                              light so I would warn against being to ridgid in what is believed to
                              be accurate, because what is seen as historically accurate now may be
                              seen to be inaccurate in the light of some future evidence. I
                              believe the gnostic perspective to be a bit more far reaching, even
                              with the ancients, as there were many factions then with differing
                              views and opinions that perhaps didn't jive on one plae but when all
                              are boiled down they come to the some conclusions. I am a Valentinian
                              myself, but there is much diversity out there and I for one
                              wholeheartedly embrace that. And I do not defend my heart or head,
                              and as you pointed out the forum is on Gnostism and my heart and my
                              head are gnostic so I believe I can include them in my discussion.
                              You ask how I can say something is not okay if I can't say it is
                              wrong. I do feel there are many things that are not "okay", such as
                              killing, domination, and the like but I assign no difference,
                              arbitrary or otherwise, that would make me jugde another because they
                              do not think as I do. The Cathars were quite tolerant and were wiped
                              out by a dominating presence that was not tolerant. When you truly
                              are superior in your thinking, then like Christ you won't need to
                              feel as you are superior and you would not communicate this
                              superiority to others. The need to feel superior dissentegrates when
                              your reasoning rises above it. Perhaps there are others who have
                              differnet ideas on what should be expressed in this forum. And what
                              you consider to be historically accurate might not be considered
                              historically accurate and it not be, hmm, wrong.

                              Love and peas
                              Darkchylde
                            • GP
                              Hello, I m not really new to Gnosticism. But I am struggling lately with some more or less obvious problems that I m sure others of you have run into. I am
                              Message 14 of 27 , Jun 11, 2006
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                                Hello,

                                I'm not really new to Gnosticism. But I am struggling lately with some more or less obvious problems that I'm sure others of you have run into. I am wondering how you dealt with them.
                                 
                                First, I realize that unlike Sophia, I don't know where I belong but I'm pretty sure it isn't "here." So, how do you find out where you belong? Do you wait until grace is offered from another plane much as Christ offered grace to Sophia because she prayed so fervently?
                                 
                                Second, it has occurred to me that perhaps this IS where I belong despite my dissatisfaction with where I am. I long for something more free -- less burdened by the heaviness of the physical, but is that really an indication that I belong somewhere else? Perhaps I could be of the world but not in it (as some religious groups advise) and simply be of service to what seems best in this Malcut of a place (sorry for the place name dropping!)
                                 
                                Finally, I ain't no intellectual. Most of what I know is um....empirical or has been taught me orally or by demonstration. How important is book learning to the pursuit of understanding ourselves? (I can't think how to phrase this without it sounding um....smartalecy.....not meant in that way!) I read lots but retain little from books. Thanks for your responses.
                                 
                                GP

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                              • Thomas Leavitt
                                I really like Bentley Layton s translations. http://www.yale.edu/religiousstudies/facultypages/cvbl.html
                                Message 15 of 27 , Jun 12, 2006
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                                  I really like Bentley Layton's translations.

                                  http://www.yale.edu/religiousstudies/facultypages/cvbl.html

                                  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0385478437/103-1005991-0341427?v=glance&n=283155

                                  Thomas

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                                  Encrypted public key at http://www.thomasleavitt.org/thomas.asc

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                                • bkimbell98
                                  So you don t believe in the notion of the Logos ? Does that mean you don t think the Sophia ever fell ? I do believe in Logos and I do believe in the myth
                                  Message 16 of 27 , Jun 13, 2006
                                  • 0 Attachment
                                    "So you don't believe in the notion of the "Logos"? Does that mean
                                    you don't think the Sophia ever "fell"?"

                                    I do believe in Logos and I do believe in the myth of Sophia. If
                                    that were not true, we'd not be searching for meaning in life,
                                    knowing that this physical world is not our true home. The problem
                                    is how to get back to paradise. Another problem is that 90% or
                                    greater of earth's population doesn't even question this human
                                    dilemma.

                                    I have often contemplated whether some of these 2000 year old
                                    writings are descriptions of personal mystical experience, which
                                    these individuals interpreted (rightly or wrongly, just as we do)
                                    based upon their own personal experience in a world of Roman
                                    occupation, Jewish law, poverty, etc. One also has to think about
                                    the fact that Jesus, if he was actually one person (as you point
                                    out), and his initial followers may have been illiterate - and all
                                    that is written is oral tradition changed a thousand times and
                                    passed through several generations before it was written by persons
                                    who never had 'gnosis'. And it certainly was used by the Roman
                                    empire for control of its population - it was then that it seemed to
                                    take on more and more pagan/mystery religion ideas and ritual - so
                                    it was more easily incorporated into Roman society. And gnosis got
                                    forgotten in the process . Sophia seems forever doomed!

                                    Although this type of forum is great to discuss ideas, it also is
                                    difficult to get ideas across!

                                    Thanks for your comments.

                                    Barbara

                                    --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@...> wrote:
                                    >
                                    > Hey Barbara
                                    >
                                    > >>>I agree that it is facinating to try to understand what the
                                    > Gnostics of old thought - but understanding at the same time, that
                                    > this was not a homgeneous group, by any stretch.<<<
                                    >
                                    > Very true, and VERY good point. There are important differences we
                                    > really need to try and keep in mind. However, there are also
                                    things
                                    > that tie these groups together. When I attempt to outline systems
                                    of
                                    > Gnosticism I try to do my best and say things like "this is a
                                    > Sethian version" or "this is Valentinian" when they do differ. On
                                    > the other hand, there are important things that draw these groups
                                    > into a single category, and I think we should not foget that
                                    either.
                                    >
                                    > >>>I do think it's very curious that there were so many different
                                    > groups of Christian communities in the first few hundred years
                                    with
                                    > so many disparate views. There was much controversy.<<<
                                    >
                                    > I agree absolutely! In fact, it is the study of Gnosticism that
                                    has
                                    > really brought this realization to the academic community at
                                    large.
                                    > However, it doesn't only apply to Gnostic groups. There were many
                                    > non-Gnostic Christian groups as well. I don't find it curious in
                                    > that I don't think there was as much of a genuine "system" from
                                    the
                                    > very beginning. There is something called the "Eusebian Paradigm"
                                    > that says there was one original church. Scholars today generally
                                    > reject this "Eusebian Paradigm" because it just doesn't work with
                                    > the historical info we have right now.
                                    >
                                    > >>>How could it be that Jesus left so many different impressions
                                    > among his followers? Surely what he was teaching had a hidden
                                    > meaning - some 'got it' or thought they did and others took his
                                    > teachings literally, interpreting it as best they could... on and
                                    on
                                    > throughout the millennia.<<<
                                    >
                                    > Well, outside the question of whether Jesus ever actually
                                    > historically existed, I think it actually makes sense. The info we
                                    > have shows even the very first generation of Christians looking at
                                    > this message in many different ways. This is common for purely
                                    oral
                                    > teaching.
                                    >
                                    > >>>My whole point is this - it can only be informed speculation on
                                    > our part.<<<
                                    >
                                    > True. However, isn't informed speculation at least a little better
                                    > than uninformed speculation? What I find so common today is that
                                    > many people talking about "Gnosticism" do so in an uninformed way.
                                    > It is not about whether I am right or wrong, I have learned from
                                    > people less technically educated on the subject and I admit it up
                                    > front. But, instead it is about whether somebody has simply really
                                    > taken the time to stop and think about it critically rather than
                                    > just trying to make the "Gnostics" fit thier own preconcieved idea.
                                    >
                                    > >>>>Somewhere else in this website, someone made the comment that
                                    > personal experience is also necessary - not just special knoweldge
                                    > or understanding.<<<
                                    >
                                    > I have made that point myself. HOWEVER, I have also found myself
                                    > having to make the point that it is NOT JUST personal experience
                                    > either. BOTH must be there. Failure on EITHER side is failure to
                                    > gain Gnosis (at least according to the historical meaning we see
                                    in
                                    > the texts). There had been a common attempt today to
                                    equate "Gnosis"
                                    > with personal experience, and that simply is not what the word
                                    meant
                                    > in the Gnostic texts.
                                    >
                                    > >>>That is the point I am trying to make (although not clearly, as
                                    > you point out). The only thing about which we can be sure is our
                                    own
                                    > personal experience. We can then interpret the books in that
                                    > light.<<<
                                    >
                                    > So you don't believe in the notion of the "Logos"? Does that mean
                                    > you don't think the Sophia ever "fell"?
                                    >
                                    > PMCV
                                    >
                                  • Michael Leavitt
                                    ... Clear as a bell. -- Mike Leavitt
                                    Message 17 of 27 , Jun 13, 2006
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                                      bkimbell98 wrote:
                                      > "So you don't believe in the notion of the "Logos"? Does that mean
                                      > you don't think the Sophia ever "fell"?"
                                      >
                                      > I do believe in Logos and I do believe in the myth of Sophia. If
                                      > that were not true, we'd not be searching for meaning in life,
                                      > knowing that this physical world is not our true home. The problem
                                      > is how to get back to paradise. Another problem is that 90% or
                                      > greater of earth's population doesn't even question this human
                                      > dilemma.
                                      >
                                      > I have often contemplated whether some of these 2000 year old
                                      > writings are descriptions of personal mystical experience, which
                                      > these individuals interpreted (rightly or wrongly, just as we do)
                                      > based upon their own personal experience in a world of Roman
                                      > occupation, Jewish law, poverty, etc. One also has to think about
                                      > the fact that Jesus, if he was actually one person (as you point
                                      > out), and his initial followers may have been illiterate - and all
                                      > that is written is oral tradition changed a thousand times and
                                      > passed through several generations before it was written by persons
                                      > who never had 'gnosis'. And it certainly was used by the Roman
                                      > empire for control of its population - it was then that it seemed to
                                      > take on more and more pagan/mystery religion ideas and ritual - so
                                      > it was more easily incorporated into Roman society. And gnosis got
                                      > forgotten in the process . Sophia seems forever doomed!
                                      >
                                      > Although this type of forum is great to discuss ideas, it also is
                                      > difficult to get ideas across!
                                      >
                                      > Thanks for your comments.
                                      >
                                      > Barbara
                                      >
                                      >
                                      Clear as a bell.

                                      --
                                      Mike Leavitt
                                    • pmcvflag
                                      Hey Barbara ... that were not true, we d not be searching for meaning in life, knowing that this physical world is not our true home. The problem is how to get
                                      Message 18 of 27 , Jun 13, 2006
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                                        Hey Barbara

                                        >>>I do believe in Logos and I do believe in the myth of Sophia. If
                                        that were not true, we'd not be searching for meaning in life,
                                        knowing that this physical world is not our true home. The problem
                                        is how to get back to paradise. Another problem is that 90% or
                                        greater of earth's population doesn't even question this human
                                        dilemma.<<<<

                                        I think you are right. However, I would also point out that without
                                        the ability to state the possibility that something is "wrong" we
                                        throw out the allegorical function of the Logos. This is why I
                                        thought perhaps you were against the notion. Gnostics never cared
                                        about "paradise", it was not the point of their notions of
                                        salvation. That is an idea connected to the religion of the very
                                        same common folk you just mentioned in a negative way.

                                        >>>>I have often contemplated whether some of these 2000 year old
                                        writings are descriptions of personal mystical experience, which
                                        these individuals interpreted (rightly or wrongly, just as we do)
                                        based upon their own personal experience in a world of Roman
                                        occupation, Jewish law, poverty, etc.<<<

                                        I really like the fact that you point out the interpative aspect of
                                        the mystical expeirence. Many people today deny such a thing exists
                                        while presenting the opposite view that everything is about personal
                                        experience. Whether or not I feel you have presented an over all
                                        consistant point, I have to give you kudos for doing so in this
                                        particular area. If everything is personal interpretation, then so
                                        too must be the mystical experience.

                                        However, in the end we have to remember that whether or not WE feel
                                        this way, the Gnostics of old did not. The function of the Logos in
                                        the liturature is pretty clearly presented as an external and
                                        objective force.

                                        The notion of objective and empirical truth vs falsehood is so
                                        deeply core to historical Gnosticism, that it is possible to
                                        genuinely say that modern relativism is anti-Gnostic on this front.
                                        To say that there can be no wrong, is to say that one does not agree
                                        with the myth of the Logos and the fall of Sophia. Now I am not
                                        saying THAT is right or wrong, just that it is a disagreement with
                                        the historical Gnostics.

                                        >>>One also has to think about the fact that Jesus, if he was
                                        actually one person (as you point out), and his initial followers
                                        may have been illiterate - and all that is written is oral tradition
                                        changed a thousand times and passed through several generations
                                        before it was written by persons who never had 'gnosis'. And it
                                        certainly was used by the Roman empire for control of its
                                        population - it was then that it seemed to take on more and more
                                        pagan/mystery religion ideas and ritual - so it was more easily
                                        incorporated into Roman society. And gnosis got forgotten in the
                                        process . Sophia seems forever doomed!<<<

                                        If we can't say something is right or wrong, we can't say if anyone
                                        genuinely had "Gnosis". I absolutely think the point
                                        that "Christian" beliefs became a tool for political aims is an
                                        historical fact, but I have to disagree that this is when "Pagan"
                                        (and I hate the word because it is already creating historical
                                        confusion) Mystery elements came into play. In fact, I can
                                        historically demonstrate otherwise if you are interested in the
                                        subject. Texts like Thomas demonstrate Mystery elements, Paul has
                                        Mystery elements, and if we accept Secret Mark then even the oldest
                                        existing Gospel has mystery elements. Jewish sources contemporary
                                        with Jesus demonstrate a Mystery element being introduced into
                                        Judism in opposition to Roman occupation. There is some reason to
                                        argue that perhaps from the very beginning, with Jesus himself (and
                                        even before Jesus, with John) there were some Mystery elements. I
                                        think it is important to consider that this may not have been a
                                        later addition.

                                        I would also say that it is not Sophia that has been left behind in
                                        recent thinking, but the Logos. Sure, the name of the Logos has been
                                        used more often, but the allegorical function of the Logos is far
                                        more lost.

                                        >>>Although this type of forum is great to discuss ideas, it also is
                                        difficult to get ideas across!<<<<

                                        Very true. However, anyone who is going to be part of a group
                                        dealing with Gnosticism, whether from an academic perspective or
                                        from an emic perspective, should be willing to put in the work...
                                        don't you think?

                                        PMCV
                                      • lady_caritas
                                        ... some more or less obvious problems that I m sure others of you have ... Hello, GP. I ve been thinking about your questions, and I ll just offer a few
                                        Message 19 of 27 , Jun 14, 2006
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                                          --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, GP <swtmeadow@...> wrote:
                                          >
                                          > Hello,
                                          >
                                          > I'm not really new to Gnosticism. But I am struggling lately with
                                          some more or less obvious problems that I'm sure others of you have
                                          >run into. I am wondering how you dealt with them.


                                          Hello, GP. I've been thinking about your questions, and I'll just
                                          offer a few ideas to kick around or throw out, whatever you decide.
                                          These are purely personal reflections of mine.




                                          > First, I realize that unlike Sophia, I don't know where I belong
                                          but I'm pretty sure it isn't "here." So, how do you find out where
                                          you belong? Do you wait until grace is offered from another plane
                                          much as Christ offered grace to Sophia because she prayed so
                                          fervently?
                                          >
                                          > Second, it has occurred to me that perhaps this IS where I belong
                                          despite my dissatisfaction with where I am. I long for something more
                                          free -- less burdened by the heaviness of the physical, but is that
                                          really an indication that I belong somewhere else? Perhaps I could be
                                          of the world but not in it (as some religious groups advise) and
                                          simply be of service to what seems best in this Malcut of a place
                                          (sorry for the place name dropping!)<<


                                          Or you could be in this world but not of it... The Gnostics did
                                          recognize the material world as real, even if corruptible. And
                                          that's where we all function right now. As far as "another
                                          plane,"... do you like to obediently "wait," GP? Does prayer have
                                          meaning for you? IOW, you need to be honest with yourself and
                                          continue to learn to know yourself.

                                          Saying 3 from The Gospel of Thomas says, "If those who lead you
                                          (plur.) say to you, `See, the kingdom is in heaven,' then the birds
                                          of heaven will precede you. If they say to you, `It is the sea,'
                                          then the fish will precede you. But the kingdom is inside you of
                                          you. And it is outside of you."

                                          Also, from Saying 6, "His disciples questioned him and said to
                                          him, `Do you want us to fast? And how shall we pray? Shall we give
                                          alms? And what kind of diet shall we follow?' Jesus said, `Do not
                                          lie, and do not do what you hate. For all things are disclosed
                                          before heaven. For there is nothing obscure that will not be shown
                                          forth, and there is nothing covered that will remain without being
                                          disclosed.'"



                                          > Finally, I ain't no intellectual. Most of what I know is
                                          um....empirical or has been taught me orally or by demonstration. How
                                          important is book learning to the pursuit of understanding ourselves?
                                          (I can't think how to phrase this without it sounding
                                          um....smartalecy.....not meant in that way!) I read lots but retain
                                          little from books. Thanks for your responses.
                                          >
                                          > GP


                                          GP, I'm thinking it might not be about being "intellectual" so much
                                          as that we all have different learning styles. If you're retaining
                                          little from reading books, have you considered making audiotapes of
                                          selected writings and listening to them? No matter how you "read"
                                          them, have you taken that empirical knowledge and those oral
                                          teachings you speak of and knocked them around against ideas from the
                                          ancient Gnostics or modern authors who talk about them? I find that
                                          getting involved and critically comparing to my own experience helps
                                          make the reading meaningful. And there are also times when I'm just
                                          swept up by the poetry of it all.

                                          In any case, our group is always available to discuss these readings
                                          if that is of any help to you. Maybe other members have further
                                          helpful ideas or suggestions.

                                          Cari
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