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Re: The Old & New Inquisition against the Gnostics this Sun on CCG!!!

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  • lady_caritas
    ... can ... particularly ... SO, ... (Orthodoxy) ... Inquisitional ... against ... the ... the ... there ... this ... would- ... people. ... PMCV, I think you
    Message 1 of 10 , Feb 17, 2007
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      --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@...> wrote:
      >
      > Well, I know that Miguel is aware that we try to open these topics
      > up to commentary, criticism, observation, and I guess that no one
      > here would be particularly shocked that this particular one would
      > cause me to raise my eyebrow a bit and feel the need to comment
      > *lol*.
      >
      > Unfortunately I was unable to catch the show (as I was with the
      > Turner interview, though I did hear at least part of the latter). I
      > did want to, but because I couldn't I am not able to comment on the
      > show itself... only the subject matter. I think the subject if VERY
      > important, though, because it raises the issue of a particular
      > misunderstanding that many modern readers have IMO.
      >
      > To start with, I do wish to make the disclaimer that I am not very
      > familiar with Dr Versluis' work. I have only thumbed through a
      > couple articles that he did, and he seemed to be a sober and
      > critical thinking... at least at a quick glance. I notice that his
      > specialty is a bit wider than Gnosticism, and covers many forms of
      > esotericism (including modern forms). My observations have nothing
      > to do with him in particular (since I don't know how he presented
      > the subject)... just the subject matter at hand.
      >
      > My only purpose is to offer a couple of counterpoints so that we
      can
      > look at the subject matter here from more than one angle...
      > hopefully eventually finding a critical middle. I don't
      particularly
      > LIKE defending the church fathers *lol*, but we don't want to
      > present the topic from ONLY a sensationalist perspective either.
      SO,
      > the devil's advocate.....
      >
      > >>>--How the Heresiologist's duality of `right thinking'
      (Orthodoxy)
      > and `wrong choice' (Heresy) were the foundation for the
      Inquisitional
      > pathology and Totalitarian mind set for centuries to come.
      > --How the crusades against the Cathars crystallized the Inquisition
      > and Totalitarian mind set by creating a system of victimology
      against
      > one's own population.
      > --Clear evidence that many of Totalitarian leaders of the Twentieth
      > Century were directly influenced by intellectuals who believed in
      the
      > Inquisitional model and the dangers of any Gnostic ideology.
      > --How Gnosticism, from the Classic Ages to modern times, has always
      > been one of the boogie men for those seeking strict order in their
      > societies.
      > --Even though religion went from the hunter to the hunted in modern
      > times, the Inquisitional model was still used with the Gnostics in
      > mind.
      > --Sifting through the terror of the `Satanic Panic' of the Eighties
      > and the secret Christian organizations that to this day are
      > attempting to quell Freethinkers and the Gnostic revival.
      > --A look into some Gnostic secret societies that are ensconced in
      the
      > Eastern Churches of the world that have avoided the eyes of the
      > heresy hunters for centuries..<<<
      >
      > I think no one can deny that the people in power have often misused
      > it. Before the Inquisition existed, Roman rulers tried to stamp out
      > the Greek mysteries. At times, factions of Christianity have been
      > far from blameless in this regard. Of course, on the other end
      there
      > is a spectrum of people who love to be misunderstood martyrs for
      > their cause (I will avoid speculation about the psychological
      > mechanics at this point). For example, consider how some (generally
      > younger) modern Wiccans seemed so keen to talk about the "Burning
      > Times". The whole idea that the "Catholic Inquisition" burned
      > millions of witches simply is not something that has turned out to
      > be true, and even more thoughtful Wiccans realize this.
      >
      > I don't think the ancient Gnostics thought of themselves via this
      > kind of victimology, but in the past we have had some others in
      this
      > forum who have seemed to feel this is the case (though I would
      > challenge it). Gnostic sources could be just as brutal in their
      > attack of what they viewed as heterodoxy. I think that we must be
      > careful not to make the mistake of setting up "Orthodoxy" as a
      > boogieman for for a construct of Gnosticism that never existed.
      >
      > I think another misunderstanding that is common with us modern
      would-
      > be Gnostics is the growing desire to paint the ancient Gnostics as
      > some kind of mystical anarchists in line with popular postmodernist
      > thinking. Just as I would debate Jonas for trying to make them the
      > ancient Existentialists, I think the attempt to make the Gnostics
      > into the ancient New Age movement is misguided.
      >
      > In opposition to this view, I would point out that in some ways the
      > ancient Gnostics were sometimes quite a bit MORE strict and
      > structured than the "Orthodox" church. At least some of them seemed
      > to view themselves as a HIGHLY intellectual movement in contrast to
      > the overly free UNthinking masses of pagan (and I mean "pagan" in
      > the literal usage) Christianity that we now often think of as
      > orthodox (or "Orthodox"). It is possible that the reason some of
      > them fizzled is because they were TOO structured and TOO exclusive,
      > while the "Orthodox" were frankly more open to a wider set of
      people.
      >
      > How many here think they would stick with a traditional Gnostic
      > system if they had the chance?
      >
      > Point, counterpoint?
      >
      > PMCV
      >


      PMCV, I think you have hit on a major reason why what eventually
      developed into mainstream, exoteric Christian orthodoxy was used as a
      weapon instead of more otherworldly, abstruse systems. It didn't
      necessarily matter who was swinging polemical barbs. What might have
      mattered more to those people throughout history who cared about
      political power could have been which group - whose ideas, whose
      earthly prominence - served their purposes better, whether this was
      done consciously or not. And surely, as you say, if "the `Orthodox'
      were frankly more open to a wider set of people," dredging out and
      citing the old polemics of Tertullian, such as Nazi Charles Schmitt
      did, would have appeal to those who were interested in old polemical
      fear tactics. It's very possible that not only the exoteric church
      and its polemics, but also its emphasis on Biblical religious figures
      as historical figures would more readily relate to mainstream groups
      and the worldly political arena than an otherworldly, metaphorical
      and mythological approach. Worldly political powers targeted
      heretics as enemies by which to define their ideologies.

      During the interview, Dr. Versluis noted that victimology changed by
      the time of the Cathars and into modernity from what was more of an
      emphasis on phobic rhetoric to what eventually involved more actual
      victims. Also, during times of chaos, there was concern about how to
      force order on society. Later, for example, Cortez would force
      Catholicism on society for order. In the 18th and 19th centuries, we
      would see the secular order using a religious model. And later, in
      cases where there was an antireligious sentiment, the state became
      the religion, the new orthodoxy, ideologically, as with Stalin.

      Regarding the term "gnostic," Dr. Versluis also noted how gradually
      the expression no longer always had historical meaning, and often
      became synonymous with "People that I don't like." The professor
      also mentioned Couliano's essay from the 1980s in which he made fun
      of everything being "gnostic" nowadays. "Gnostic" often became
      pejorative, where things were seen to be diminished if this word were
      used. He sees that as a throwback to ancient antiheresy rhetoric.

      Actually, part of the thrust of his interview was directed toward
      discussing roots of totalitarianism, pointing out the inquisitional
      dynamic throughout history and that we need to be aware of this
      dynamic instead of being subject to it.

      Cari
    • Miguel Conner
      Hi Cari, You expressed this better than I could have. In the end, as in the beginning, anything mainstream they don t like will be called Gnostic. In
      Message 2 of 10 , Feb 17, 2007
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        Hi Cari,

        You expressed this better than I could have.  In the end, as in the beginning, anything mainstream they don't like will be called Gnostic.  In Arthur's book he points out authors who have humorously accused Oprah Winfrey, Gloria Steimen, and even Louis Farrakan of being 'gnostic'.  And the list doesn't end there!

        I'm surprised the backlash has been rather tepid against 'The Gospel of Judas' and the real crumbs of 'The Da Vinci Code'; but let us hope that humanity is mature enough to understand that they have been robbed for centuries of other spiritual possibilities.  Either that, or Christian apologetics is still stuck on CS Lewis.

        Miguel

        lady_caritas <no_reply@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
        --- In gnosticism2@ yahoogroups. com, pmcvflag <no_reply@.. .> wrote:
        >
        > Well, I know that Miguel is aware that we try to open these topics
        > up to commentary, criticism, observation, and I guess that no one
        > here would be particularly shocked that this particular one would
        > cause me to raise my eyebrow a bit and feel the need to comment
        > *lol*.
        >
        > Unfortunately I was unable to catch the show (as I was with the
        > Turner interview, though I did hear at least part of the latter). I
        > did want to, but because I couldn't I am not able to comment on the
        > show itself... only the subject matter. I think the subject if VERY
        > important, though, because it raises the issue of a particular
        > misunderstanding that many modern readers have IMO.
        >
        > To start with, I do wish to make the disclaimer that I am not very
        > familiar with Dr Versluis' work. I have only thumbed through a
        > couple articles that he did, and he seemed to be a sober and
        > critical thinking... at least at a quick glance. I notice that his
        > specialty is a bit wider than Gnosticism, and covers many forms of
        > esotericism (including modern forms). My observations have nothing
        > to do with him in particular (since I don't know how he presented
        > the subject)... just the subject matter at hand.
        >
        > My only purpose is to offer a couple of counterpoints so that we
        can
        > look at the subject matter here from more than one angle...
        > hopefully eventually finding a critical middle. I don't
        particularly
        > LIKE defending the church fathers *lol*, but we don't want to
        > present the topic from ONLY a sensationalist perspective either.
        SO,
        > the devil's advocate.... .
        >
        > >>>--How the Heresiologist' s duality of `right thinking'
        (Orthodoxy)
        > and `wrong choice' (Heresy) were the foundation for the
        Inquisitional
        > pathology and Totalitarian mind set for centuries to come.
        > --How the crusades against the Cathars crystallized the Inquisition
        > and Totalitarian mind set by creating a system of victimology
        against
        > one's own population.
        > --Clear evidence that many of Totalitarian leaders of the Twentieth
        > Century were directly influenced by intellectuals who believed in
        the
        > Inquisitional model and the dangers of any Gnostic ideology.
        > --How Gnosticism, from the Classic Ages to modern times, has always
        > been one of the boogie men for those seeking strict order in their
        > societies.
        > --Even though religion went from the hunter to the hunted in modern
        > times, the Inquisitional model was still used with the Gnostics in
        > mind.
        > --Sifting through the terror of the `Satanic Panic' of the Eighties
        > and the secret Christian organizations that to this day are
        > attempting to quell Freethinkers and the Gnostic revival.
        > --A look into some Gnostic secret societies that are ensconced in
        the
        > Eastern Churches of the world that have avoided the eyes of the
        > heresy hunters for centuries..< <<
        >
        > I think no one can deny that the people in power have often misused
        > it. Before the Inquisition existed, Roman rulers tried to stamp out
        > the Greek mysteries. At times, factions of Christianity have been
        > far from blameless in this regard. Of course, on the other end
        there
        > is a spectrum of people who love to be misunderstood martyrs for
        > their cause (I will avoid speculation about the psychological
        > mechanics at this point). For example, consider how some (generally
        > younger) modern Wiccans seemed so keen to talk about the "Burning
        > Times". The whole idea that the "Catholic Inquisition" burned
        > millions of witches simply is not something that has turned out to
        > be true, and even more thoughtful Wiccans realize this.
        >
        > I don't think the ancient Gnostics thought of themselves via this
        > kind of victimology, but in the past we have had some others in
        this
        > forum who have seemed to feel this is the case (though I would
        > challenge it). Gnostic sources could be just as brutal in their
        > attack of what they viewed as heterodoxy. I think that we must be
        > careful not to make the mistake of setting up "Orthodoxy" as a
        > boogieman for for a construct of Gnosticism that never existed.
        >
        > I think another misunderstanding that is common with us modern
        would-
        > be Gnostics is the growing desire to paint the ancient Gnostics as
        > some kind of mystical anarchists in line with popular postmodernist
        > thinking. Just as I would debate Jonas for trying to make them the
        > ancient Existentialists, I think the attempt to make the Gnostics
        > into the ancient New Age movement is misguided.
        >
        > In opposition to this view, I would point out that in some ways the
        > ancient Gnostics were sometimes quite a bit MORE strict and
        > structured than the "Orthodox" church. At least some of them seemed
        > to view themselves as a HIGHLY intellectual movement in contrast to
        > the overly free UNthinking masses of pagan (and I mean "pagan" in
        > the literal usage) Christianity that we now often think of as
        > orthodox (or "Orthodox"). It is possible that the reason some of
        > them fizzled is because they were TOO structured and TOO exclusive,
        > while the "Orthodox" were frankly more open to a wider set of
        people.
        >
        > How many here think they would stick with a traditional Gnostic
        > system if they had the chance?
        >
        > Point, counterpoint?
        >
        > PMCV
        >

        PMCV, I think you have hit on a major reason why what eventually
        developed into mainstream, exoteric Christian orthodoxy was used as a
        weapon instead of more otherworldly, abstruse systems. It didn't
        necessarily matter who was swinging polemical barbs. What might have
        mattered more to those people throughout history who cared about
        political power could have been which group - whose ideas, whose
        earthly prominence - served their purposes better, whether this was
        done consciously or not. And surely, as you say, if "the `Orthodox'
        were frankly more open to a wider set of people," dredging out and
        citing the old polemics of Tertullian, such as Nazi Charles Schmitt
        did, would have appeal to those who were interested in old polemical
        fear tactics. It's very possible that not only the exoteric church
        and its polemics, but also its emphasis on Biblical religious figures
        as historical figures would more readily relate to mainstream groups
        and the worldly political arena than an otherworldly, metaphorical
        and mythological approach. Worldly political powers targeted
        heretics as enemies by which to define their ideologies.

        During the interview, Dr. Versluis noted that victimology changed by
        the time of the Cathars and into modernity from what was more of an
        emphasis on phobic rhetoric to what eventually involved more actual
        victims. Also, during times of chaos, there was concern about how to
        force order on society. Later, for example, Cortez would force
        Catholicism on society for order. In the 18th and 19th centuries, we
        would see the secular order using a religious model. And later, in
        cases where there was an antireligious sentiment, the state became
        the religion, the new orthodoxy, ideologically, as with Stalin.

        Regarding the term "gnostic," Dr. Versluis also noted how gradually
        the expression no longer always had historical meaning, and often
        became synonymous with "People that I don't like." The professor
        also mentioned Couliano's essay from the 1980s in which he made fun
        of everything being "gnostic" nowadays. "Gnostic" often became
        pejorative, where things were seen to be diminished if this word were
        used. He sees that as a throwback to ancient antiheresy rhetoric.

        Actually, part of the thrust of his interview was directed toward
        discussing roots of totalitarianism, pointing out the inquisitional
        dynamic throughout history and that we need to be aware of this
        dynamic instead of being subject to it.

        Cari




        Visit http://thegodabovegod.com/ and become part of the new Renaissance of Gnosticism and Truthseeking.


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      • pmcvflag
        Hey Lady Cari ... developed into mainstream, exoteric Christian orthodoxy was used as a weapon instead of more otherworldly, abstruse systems... .... It s
        Message 3 of 10 , Feb 19, 2007
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          Hey Lady Cari

          >>>PMCV, I think you have hit on a major reason why what eventually
          developed into mainstream, exoteric Christian orthodoxy was used as a
          weapon instead of more otherworldly, abstruse systems...<snip>....
          It's very possible that not only the exoteric church and its
          polemics, but also its emphasis on Biblical religious figures as
          historical figures would more readily relate to mainstream groups
          and the worldly political arena than an otherworldly, metaphorical
          and mythological approach. Worldly political powers targeted
          heretics as enemies by which to define their ideologies.<<<

          Exactly. The literalism and simple pistic soteriology is a double
          whammy in that it is easy to understand, but also plays well into
          political agendas since it lends itself readily to a sort of civil
          codification.

          The perfect tool for the power hungry.

          >>>Regarding the term "gnostic," Dr. Versluis also noted how
          gradually the expression no longer always had historical meaning,
          and often became synonymous with "People that I don't like." The
          professor also mentioned Couliano's essay from the 1980s in which he
          made fun of everything being "gnostic" nowadays. "Gnostic" often
          became pejorative, where things were seen to be diminished if this
          word were used. He sees that as a throwback to ancient antiheresy
          rhetoric.<<<

          It is always nice to hear somebody else point this out besides us,
          eh? *lol*

          PMCV
        • pmcvflag
          Hey Miguel ... the beginning, anything mainstream they don t like will be called Gnostic. In Arthur s book he points out authors who have humorously accused
          Message 4 of 10 , Feb 19, 2007
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            Hey Miguel

            >>You expressed this better than I could have. In the end, as in
            the beginning, anything mainstream they don't like will be called
            Gnostic. In Arthur's book he points out authors who have humorously
            accused Oprah Winfrey, Gloria Steimen, and even Louis Farrakan of
            being 'gnostic'. And the list doesn't end there!<<<

            Then again, this would be expected on the part of the polemicists.
            Critical perspective is not in their agenda. What I find even more
            strange is that the same thing is going on with many people who
            label THEMSELVES "Gnostic". Just as it was with the polemicists
            trying to connect heresies together, some modern self professed
            Gnostics often reduce the category to a specific attribute and
            extend the label accordingly. Things like egalitarianism, mysticism,
            some sort of spiritual anarchy or counterculture individualism, or
            simply not being "orthodox" becomes the idenity of "Gnostic".

            No wonder people often join the forum confused about what the
            heck "Gnosticism" actually is *lol*.

            PMCV
          • pmcvflag
            BTW Lady Cari, when you talked about Couliano being mentioned in the interview I meant to post this as the probable quote... Once I believed that Gnosticism
            Message 5 of 10 , Feb 20, 2007
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              BTW Lady Cari, when you talked about Couliano being mentioned in the
              interview I meant to post this as the probable quote...

              "Once I believed that Gnosticism was a well-defined phenomenon
              belonging to the religious history of Late Antiquity. Of course, I
              was ready to accept the idea of different prolongations of ancient
              Gnosis, and even that of spontaneous generation of views of the
              world in which, at different times, the distinctive features of
              Gnosticism occur again.

              I was soon to learn however, that I was a naïf indeed. Not only
              Gnosis was gnostic, but the Catholic authors were gnostic, the
              Neoplatonic too, Reformation was gnostic, Communism was gnostic,
              Nazism was gnostic, liberalism, existentialism and psychoanalysis
              were gnostic too, modern biology was gnostic, Blake, Yeats, Kafka
              were gnostic…. I learned further that science is gnostic and
              superstition is gnostic…Hegel is gnostic and Marx is gnostic; all
              things and their opposite are equally gnostic."

              The funny part is, I have had people actually use this quote to
              counter something I have said thinking that Couliano was being
              serious. They thought he was advocating an uncritical usage
              of "Gnosticism" and saying it really WAS all these things. I would
              like to dream that people don't abuse our words this way... but...
              *sigh*.

              PMCV

              --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@...> wrote:
              >
              > Hey Lady Cari
              >
              > >>>PMCV, I think you have hit on a major reason why what eventually
              > developed into mainstream, exoteric Christian orthodoxy was used
              as a
              > weapon instead of more otherworldly, abstruse systems...<snip>....
              > It's very possible that not only the exoteric church and its
              > polemics, but also its emphasis on Biblical religious figures as
              > historical figures would more readily relate to mainstream groups
              > and the worldly political arena than an otherworldly, metaphorical
              > and mythological approach. Worldly political powers targeted
              > heretics as enemies by which to define their ideologies.<<<
              >
              > Exactly. The literalism and simple pistic soteriology is a double
              > whammy in that it is easy to understand, but also plays well into
              > political agendas since it lends itself readily to a sort of civil
              > codification.
              >
              > The perfect tool for the power hungry.
              >
              > >>>Regarding the term "gnostic," Dr. Versluis also noted how
              > gradually the expression no longer always had historical meaning,
              > and often became synonymous with "People that I don't like." The
              > professor also mentioned Couliano's essay from the 1980s in which
              he
              > made fun of everything being "gnostic" nowadays. "Gnostic" often
              > became pejorative, where things were seen to be diminished if this
              > word were used. He sees that as a throwback to ancient antiheresy
              > rhetoric.<<<
              >
              > It is always nice to hear somebody else point this out besides us,
              > eh? *lol*
              >
              > PMCV
              >
            • lady_caritas
              ... the ... PMCV, I guess we need to utilize all those emoticons more, like winky faces, or something. ;-) Not only Gnosis was gnostic, but the Catholic
              Message 6 of 10 , Feb 20, 2007
              • 0 Attachment
                --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@...> wrote:
                >
                > BTW Lady Cari, when you talked about Couliano being mentioned in
                the
                > interview I meant to post this as the probable quote...
                >
                > "Once I believed that Gnosticism was a well-defined phenomenon
                > belonging to the religious history of Late Antiquity. Of course, I
                > was ready to accept the idea of different prolongations of ancient
                > Gnosis, and even that of spontaneous generation of views of the
                > world in which, at different times, the distinctive features of
                > Gnosticism occur again.
                >
                > I was soon to learn however, that I was a naïf indeed. Not only
                > Gnosis was gnostic, but the Catholic authors were gnostic, the
                > Neoplatonic too, Reformation was gnostic, Communism was gnostic,
                > Nazism was gnostic, liberalism, existentialism and psychoanalysis
                > were gnostic too, modern biology was gnostic, Blake, Yeats, Kafka
                > were gnostic…. I learned further that science is gnostic and
                > superstition is gnostic…Hegel is gnostic and Marx is gnostic; all
                > things and their opposite are equally gnostic."
                >
                > The funny part is, I have had people actually use this quote to
                > counter something I have said thinking that Couliano was being
                > serious. They thought he was advocating an uncritical usage
                > of "Gnosticism" and saying it really WAS all these things. I would
                > like to dream that people don't abuse our words this way... but...
                > *sigh*.
                >
                > PMCV
                >


                PMCV, I guess we need to utilize all those emoticons more, like winky
                faces, or something. ;-)


                "Not only Gnosis was gnostic, but the Catholic authors were gnostic
                [ :-0 ], the Neoplatonic too [ ;-> ], Reformation was gnostic
                [ :-S ], Communism was gnostic [ :-( ],"... etc.

                Cari
              • Michael Leavitt
                ... Cutsipoo gnosis, no less. :-)
                Message 7 of 10 , Feb 20, 2007
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                  > PMCV, I guess we need to utilize all those emoticons more, like winky
                  > faces, or something. ;-)
                  >
                  >
                  Cutsipoo gnosis, no less. :-)
                  >
                  >
                • Gerry
                  ... Yes, naïf indeed! Ya know, before our initial venturing into the Internet all those years ago, I m sure that I would NEVER have believed that people
                  Message 8 of 10 , Mar 1, 2007
                  • 0 Attachment


                    --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@...> wrote:

                    >
                    > BTW Lady Cari, when you talked about Couliano being mentioned in the
                    > interview I meant to post this as the probable quote...
                    >
                    > "Once I believed that Gnosticism was a well-defined phenomenon
                    > belonging to the religious history of Late Antiquity. Of course, I
                    > was ready to accept the idea of different prolongations of ancient
                    > Gnosis, and even that of spontaneous generation of views of the
                    > world in which, at different times, the distinctive features of
                    > Gnosticism occur again.
                    >
                    > I was soon to learn however, that I was a naïf indeed. Not only
                    > Gnosis was gnostic, but the Catholic authors were gnostic, the
                    > Neoplatonic too, Reformation was gnostic, Communism was gnostic,
                    > Nazism was gnostic, liberalism, existentialism and psychoanalysis
                    > were gnostic too, modern biology was gnostic, Blake, Yeats, Kafka
                    > were gnostic…. I learned further that science is gnostic and
                    > superstition is gnostic…Hegel is gnostic and Marx is gnostic; all
                    > things and their opposite are equally gnostic."
                    >
                    > The funny part is, I have had people actually use this quote to
                    > counter something I have said thinking that Couliano was being
                    > serious. They thought he was advocating an uncritical usage
                    > of "Gnosticism" and saying it really WAS all these things. I would
                    > like to dream that people don't abuse our words this way... but...
                    > *sigh*.
                    >
                    > PMCV
                    >

                     

                    Yes, naïf indeed!  Ya know, before our initial venturing into the Internet all those years ago, I'm sure that I would NEVER have believed that people could actually understand such a clear and reasonable statement as advocating the very opposite of what the author intended.  Unfortunately, we've seen it happen too many times.

                    Gerry

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