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Re: Books to read on theGnostic gospels?

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  • bkimbell98
    Gerry, Please list some of the authors you recommend on Gnostic Gospels. Thanks, Barbara ... you also ... dealer. ... have ... them, ... you ... over ...
    Message 1 of 27 , Jun 11 8:36 AM
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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 2 of 27 , Jun 11 11:30 AM
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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 3 of 27 , Jun 11 12:30 PM
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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 4 of 27 , Jun 11 1:07 PM
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            --- 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 5 of 27 , Jun 11 3:20 PM
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              --- 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 6 of 27 , Jun 11 4:13 PM
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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 7 of 27 , Jun 11 5:35 PM
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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 8 of 27 , Jun 11 6:40 PM
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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 9 of 27 , Jun 11 7:04 PM
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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 10 of 27 , Jun 11 7:19 PM
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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 11 of 27 , Jun 11 7:48 PM
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                          --- 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 12 of 27 , Jun 11 8:56 PM
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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 13 of 27 , Jun 12 11:06 AM
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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

                              --
                              Thomas Leavitt <thomas@...> - 831-295-3917
                              Godmoma's Forge, LLC - www.godmomasforge.com
                              - Web and graphic design made spiffy -

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

                              Download GnuPG (including for Windows) at
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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 14 of 27 , Jun 13 5:57 AM
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                                "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 15 of 27 , Jun 13 5:50 PM
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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 16 of 27 , Jun 13 6:06 PM
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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 17 of 27 , Jun 14 8:22 AM
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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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