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Re: Clement & Origin say they are gnostics?

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  • George
    PMCV, I regret that I do not understand your answer to my two questions. ... I asked you for a citation of one or both references. You provided this citation:
    Message 1 of 30 , Jul 25, 2006
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      PMCV,

      I regret that I do not understand your answer to my
      two questions.

      You originally wrote:

      > "Clement and Origin both refer to themselves as gnostic,
      > pointing out that the others are only false pretenders
      > to the term."

      I asked you for a citation of one or both references.

      You provided this citation:

      "CHAP. XI.--THE KNOWLEDGE WHICH COMES THROUGH FAITH
      THE SUREST OF ALL.
      [From Clement's St. Book ii ch xi (possibly from the R. Donaldson
      translation]

      From this material or from your discussion of it did I observe
      anything that approximated your statement: "Clement ... refer[s]
      to [himself] ... as gnostic..."

      Are we quibling? Did Clement say that gnostics didn't have
      TRUE knowledge, so they were imposters? Or did he mean that
      his form of Christianity was actually the true form of
      gnostic Christianity?

      Regards,

      George
    • pmcvflag
      Hey Darkchylde ... There has been some question, historically, as to whether that accusation is true. That is what some sources tell us. PMCV
      Message 2 of 30 , Jul 27, 2006
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        Hey Darkchylde

        >>>Is it true that Origen castrated himself?<<<<

        There has been some question, historically, as to whether that
        accusation is true. That is what some sources tell us.

        PMCV
      • Michael Leavitt
        ... It is said that his castration, however done, was what kept him from rising from the rank of Deacon. FYI.
        Message 3 of 30 , Jul 27, 2006
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          pmcvflag wrote:
          > Hey Darkchylde
          >
          >
          >>>> Is it true that Origen castrated himself?<<<<
          >>>>
          >
          > There has been some question, historically, as to whether that
          > accusation is true. That is what some sources tell us.
          >
          > PMCV
          >
          >
          >
          It is said that his castration, however done, was what kept him from
          rising from the rank of Deacon. FYI.
        • lady_caritas
          ... Most likely his views didn t help either since he was considered anathema by many. Cari
          Message 4 of 30 , Jul 27, 2006
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            --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, Michael Leavitt <ac998@...> wrote:
            >
            > pmcvflag wrote:
            > > Hey Darkchylde
            > >
            > >
            > >>>> Is it true that Origen castrated himself?<<<<
            > >>>>
            > >
            > > There has been some question, historically, as to whether that
            > > accusation is true. That is what some sources tell us.
            > >
            > > PMCV
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > It is said that his castration, however done, was what kept him from
            > rising from the rank of Deacon. FYI.
            >


            Most likely his views didn't help either since he was considered
            anathema by many.

            Cari
          • pmcvflag
            George ... two questions. From this material or from your discussion of it did I observe anything that approximated your statement: Clement ... refer[s] to
            Message 5 of 30 , Jul 28, 2006
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              George

              >>>I regret that I do not understand your answer to my
              two questions.

              From this material or from your discussion of it did I observe
              anything that approximated your statement: "Clement ... refer[s]
              to [himself] ... as gnostic..."<<<

              I'm sorry about that, George. To be honest, and with no disrespect
              intended, I am not sure how to make it more clear. Clement states
              that the pistic Christians are the true "Gnostics", while the other
              people called "Gnostics" are only pretenders. Since he includes
              himself in that pistic category, the point is pretty glaring.... he
              is calling himself a true Gnostic and the "Gnostics" have just stolen
              the name. Could you take one more gander at the post and if you still
              don't see it then I will try to help further?

              >>>Are we quibling? Did Clement say that gnostics didn't have
              TRUE knowledge, so they were imposters? Or did he mean that
              his form of Christianity was actually the true form of
              gnostic Christianity?<<<

              He states both.

              PMCV
            • George
              PMCV, To make it more clear is simple. Instead of quoting many paragraphs of ancient text, followed by several paragraphs of interpretation, simply quote the
              Message 6 of 30 , Jul 29, 2006
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                PMCV,

                To make it more clear is simple. Instead of quoting many paragraphs
                of ancient text, followed by several paragraphs of interpretation,
                simply quote the sentence or two (or three of four), that asserts
                your premise that Clement said that he (or Christians) had the
                true gnosis.

                Because of the florid nature of Clement's writing, I could
                not discern which sentences were the key ones.

                Thanks!

                Regards,

                George

                --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@...> wrote:
                >
                > George
                >
                > >>>I regret that I do not understand your answer to my
                > two questions.
                >
                > From this material or from your discussion of it did I observe
                > anything that approximated your statement: "Clement ... refer[s]
                > to [himself] ... as gnostic..."<<<
                >
                > I'm sorry about that, George. To be honest, and with no disrespect
                > intended, I am not sure how to make it more clear. Clement states
                > that the pistic Christians are the true "Gnostics", while the other
                > people called "Gnostics" are only pretenders. Since he includes
                > himself in that pistic category, the point is pretty glaring.... he
                > is calling himself a true Gnostic and the "Gnostics" have just
                stolen
                > the name. Could you take one more gander at the post and if you
                still
                > don't see it then I will try to help further?
                >
                > >>>Are we quibling? Did Clement say that gnostics didn't have
                > TRUE knowledge, so they were imposters? Or did he mean that
                > his form of Christianity was actually the true form of
                > gnostic Christianity?<<<
                >
                > He states both.
                >
                > PMCV
                >
              • pmcvflag
                Hey George ... of ancient text, followed by several paragraphs of interpretation, simply quote the sentence or two (or three of four), that asserts your
                Message 7 of 30 , Jul 29, 2006
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                  Hey George

                  >>>To make it more clear is simple. Instead of quoting many paragraphs

                  of ancient text, followed by several paragraphs of interpretation,
                  simply quote the sentence or two (or three of four), that asserts
                  your premise that Clement said that he (or Christians) had the
                  true gnosis.

                  Because of the florid nature of Clement's writing, I could
                  not discern which sentences were the key ones.<<<

                  Understood. While I do think the over all context is important, I do think I can pick out some of the more obvious bits for you.

                  Here is where he says that the true salvational knowledge (gnosis) rests on faith, rather than the other way around...

                  "But that knowledge, which is the scientific demonstration of what is delivered according to the true philosophy, is rounded on faith."

                  And again here...

                  "The Gnostic is therefore fixed by faith; but the man who thinks
                  himself wise touches not what pertains to the truth, moved as he is
                  by unstable and wavering impulses. "

                  And he states essentially the same thing again in a slightly different way here....

                  "For the highest demonstration, to which we have alluded, produces intelligent faith by the adducing and opening up of the Scriptures to the souls of those who desire to learn; the result of which is knowledge (gnosis). "

                  He also contrasts his notion of what "gnosis" is with the other version here...

                  "But the knowledge of those who think themselves wise, whether the
                  barbarian sects or the philosophers among the Greeks, according to
                  the apostle, " puffeth up."

                  And after he has established his notion of true "gnosis", being an element of faith he goes on with the description of the pistic Christian as the "true Gnostic"....

                  "The Gnostic, therefore, will abstain from errors in speech, and thought, and sensation, and action, having heard "that he that looks so as to lust hath committed adultery;"........."

                  And finally...

                  "Well, then, if the Lord is the truth, and wisdom, and power of God, as in truth He is, it is shown that the real Gnostic is he that knows Him, and His Father by Him." (by way of faith)

                  Those are direct references to what Clement considers the Gnostic to be, against those other people who call themselves Gnostics. In the context of the over all piece I provided, it becomes very clear that Clement is identifying himself as part of the former (which would be common sense anyway since we don't usually argue against our own beliefs, and this is obviously an Apology and a polemic). His category of "Gnostic" would, from a more categorical perspective, more directly fit the "Pistic" type of Christianity rather than "Gnosticism".

                  PMCV

                • George
                  PMCV, Thank you for the concise summary of Clement s comments! I think there would be some who argue about certain sentences regarding whether the word
                  Message 8 of 30 , Jul 29, 2006
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                    PMCV,

                    Thank you for the concise summary of Clement's comments!

                    I think there would be some who argue about certain sentences
                    regarding whether the word "knowledge/gnosis" is being used
                    in the ordinary sense or in the gnostic sense. But I won't
                    go there. It's too fuzzy for my liking.

                    Instead, I think it is sufficient to focus on just one
                    sentence that seems more clear than the others:

                    "For the highest demonstration, to which we have alluded,
                    produces intelligent faith by the adducing and opening up
                    of the Scriptures to the souls of those who desire to learn;
                    the result of which is knowledge (gnosis)."


                    I would agree that this pretty much puts Christianity
                    into a category of gnosticism from Clement's viewpoint.
                    And, in fact, I agree!

                    But you comment:
                    "Here is where he says that the true salvational knowledge
                    (gnosis) rests on faith, rather than the other way around..."

                    I'm not sure that such a distinction really matters.

                    The experience of gnosis is obtaining the "knowledge" of
                    contact with the divine. Whether this is accomplished by
                    faith first, or by study first, or by a combination of
                    these and even other practices, does it really matter?

                    Since we have made quite an effort to understand Clement's
                    thoughts about the gnostic aspect of Christianity, are we
                    now safe to view Christianity in its starkest form, as a
                    religion/school/philosophy that:

                    A) has the adherent seek a knowledge of the divine, and

                    B) that knowledge of the ineffable divine makes it more
                    likely that the anherent will let loose his or her bonds
                    to the mortal world, in order to liberate the soul from
                    the taint of fleshly existence.

                    Regards,

                    George
                  • pmcvflag
                    George ... regarding whether the word knowledge/gnosis is being used in the ordinary sense or in the gnostic sense. But I won t go there. It s too fuzzy for
                    Message 9 of 30 , Jul 29, 2006
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                      George

                      >>>I think there would be some who argue about certain sentences
                      regarding whether the word "knowledge/gnosis" is being used
                      in the ordinary sense or in the gnostic sense. But I won't
                      go there. It's too fuzzy for my liking.<<<

                      Then you admit that the historical Gnostics had a special meaning of
                      the word that is not the same as the regular Greek, right? If so we
                      are agreed. In fact, part of my point is that NONE of Clement's
                      usages of the word "gnosis" is in full agreement with the usage of
                      historical Gnosticism, and Clement is trying to say exactly that.

                      The one thing I think you may misunderstand, though, is exactly what
                      that word means in the different usages.

                      >>>I would agree that this pretty much puts Christianity
                      into a category of gnosticism from Clement's viewpoint.
                      And, in fact, I agree!<<<

                      That isn't what Clement said, George. Clement never heard of the
                      cateogry of "Gnosticism" because it wasn't invented yet. However,
                      taking the category into account he is actually saying almost the
                      opposite of what you just stated.

                      >>>I'm not sure that such a distinction really matters. (pistis vs
                      Gnosis<<<

                      Well, since the very function of the cateogry of "Gnosticism" and
                      the Gnostic meaning of the word "Gnosis" is in contrast to this, it
                      matters quite a bit actually. This comes down to the function of
                      category and definitions of the words again.

                      >>>The experience of gnosis is obtaining the "knowledge" of
                      contact with the divine.<<<

                      That is not technically an accurate definition, when talking about
                      historical Gnosticism. Perhaps that confusion is part of the
                      misunderstanding here, George.

                      >>>Whether this is accomplished by faith first, or by study first,
                      or by a combination of these and even other practices, does it
                      really matter?<<<

                      Yes, when talking about the function of the category of "Gnosticism"
                      from the historical perspective it matters alot. The reason is that
                      it is one of the defining qualities of "Gnosis" in the category
                      of "Gnosticism" that it is the FINAL operative in salvation, rather
                      than faith (pistis) or good deeds (praxis). This is so core to the
                      function of the category that we simply cannot gloss past it.

                      The last part of your post simply can't be delt with until the prior
                      points are worked out. Otherwise the whole last segment of the post
                      would just be "begging the question". We can get back to it if you
                      wish after we deal with the category and word usages.

                      PMCV
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