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Re: Gnostic Baptism

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  • pmcvflag
    Hey Cari ... Layton in _The Gnostic Scriptures_ regarding classic Gnostic baptism and its function. He even questions what relationship, if any, Gnostic
    Message 1 of 37 , Sep 7, 2006
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      Hey Cari

      >>>PMCV, your comments here reminded me of some commentary by Bentley
      Layton in _The Gnostic Scriptures_ regarding classic Gnostic baptism
      and its function. He even questions what relationship, if any,
      Gnostic baptism had to the non-Gnostic Christian ceremony, and also
      whether or not baptism was only metaphorical,... whether it took
      place on earth or only in the spiritual realm. In any case, the
      Gnostics did not appear to have considered the spiritual baptismal
      water to involve only an earthly ritual washing to remove impurities
      or sin.<<<

      I still have not ever gotton around to reading Layton.

      Anyway, I think your point brings back so many of the issues that no
      one else seems to really want to comment on or explore. Issues of
      meaning, ritual, and just what we can tell about them from the
      evidence we do have.

      I have to admit, though I agree with Layton that there seems to have
      been an important metaphorical intent I feel like he has not delt
      with some important textual evidences and that has allowed him to
      maybe take it a bit overly far.

      For instance, I read the parts of Testemony of Truth that are
      arguing against Baptism to be talking about a physical ritual, and I
      think the author is actually being pretty direct in that intent. In
      that sense we do have a Christian group (or person) that ONLY sees
      valid Baptism as a metaphor, but the author is making that point at
      the expense of people he observes using a physical ritual. Some of
      these groups the author is trying to level the polemic toward are
      Gnostics of various forms.

      To be fair, the author does read allegorical intents into the other
      baptisms as well, including that of John the Baptist, but that in no
      way implies lack of physicality in this case. Of course, since I'm
      not so sure the author of TT qualifies as a Gnostic this could imply
      quite a range of views both between Gnostics and non-Gnostic
      Christians, which I know is something both you and I have mentioned
      in this forum many a time.

      PMCV
    • lady_caritas
      ... it ... to ... Baptist ... Heh. Neither is the treatment of his mother, Elizabeth. The author writes, John was begotten by means of a womb worn with
      Message 37 of 37 , Sep 9, 2006
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        --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@...> wrote:
        > I'm glad to hear that Layton didn't include TT *lol*. BTW, I just
        > thought I would also add an interesting note for the group (maybe
        it
        > will come up in the Essene conversation as well) that in addition
        to
        > the sects you mention are attacked the treatment of John the
        Baptist
        > is not very sympathetic either.


        Heh. Neither is the treatment of his mother, Elizabeth. The author
        writes, "John was begotten by means of a womb worn with age."

        Ouch.



        >
        > Less obvious, but possibly still significant....
        >
        > "It is through water and fire that the whole place is purified -
        the
        > visible by the visible, the hidden by the hidden. There are some
        > things hidden through those visible. There is water in water, there
        > is fire in chrism."
        >
        > (side note.... considering the subject matter and the mention of
        one
        > of the rituals mentioned in other valentinian texts, along with
        > scribal errors elsewhere in Philip, one could reasonably wonder if
        > the second use of the word "water" in this passage may not have
        > originally been "baptism")


        That's possible. Sure. Yet,... talking about "things hidden
        through those visible" preceding "water in water" compels me to draw
        an immediate association of hidden water through visible water. I
        don't know if that is any less meaningful than spelling it out.

        Since "chrism" is mentioned, it even might be expected to think of
        the water in terms of baptism. Chrism and water are mentioned as
        *both* being necessary for baptism elsewhere in GPh:

        "We are reborn by the holy spirit. And we are born by the anointed
        (Christ) through two things. We are anointed by the spirit. When we
        were born we were joined. No one can see himself in the water or in
        a mirror without light. Nor, again, can you see by the light without
        water or a mirror. For this reason it is necessary to baptize with
        two things – light and water. And light mean chrism."

        Cari
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