Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: what does it mean exactly

Expand Messages
  • pmcvflag
    Hey Doug, welcome to the group. You ask... ... months and it seems to be very interesting, but I cannot quite make out as yet what it means to be a gnostic
    Message 1 of 8 , Feb 19, 2007
    • 0 Attachment
      Hey Doug, welcome to the group. You ask...

      >>>Hi, I have read some websites on Gnosticism during the last few
      months and it seems to be very interesting, but I cannot quite make
      out as yet what it means to be a gnostic exactly for there does seem
      to be so many variations in what it does actualy mean. I know it
      means knowledge, but knowledge of what exactly. Excuse my ignorance,
      maybe a stupid question.<<<

      Part of the difficulty in answering the question is simply that not
      everyone uses the term "Gnostic" in the same way. In fact, the word
      has come to have so many meanings for so many different groups and
      people that it is sometimes a worthless word in casual conversation.
      What the word means will depend on who you are talking with.

      Since you have been in a number of groups, you likely noticed that
      many of them use the term gnostic as essentially a synonym
      for "mystic", and the "knowledge" that they refer to is the personal
      experience of the spirit.

      This forum, on the other hand, is a bit more technical. Here we try
      our best to use terms like Gnosis and Gnostic in the way that is
      informed by traditional (historic) Gnostic texts. While this meaning
      includes the personal experience mentioned above, it is a little
      more specific in that it also refers to a precise set of esoteric
      beliefs and practices that the ancient Gnostics believed would
      impart a kind of salvational knowledge of the spiritual world and
      how we relate to it. The "knowledge" in this case is about
      cosmology, anthropogeny, how we came to be in this world, and how we
      can leave it (salvation).

      PMCV
    • dougwilmer
      I see, thanks friend. So, some talk about the the experience of gnosis and some talk about the ancient beliefs regard to it in a more acadmic basis. Do you
      Message 2 of 8 , Feb 20, 2007
      • 0 Attachment
        I see, thanks friend. So, some talk about the the experience of
        gnosis and some talk about the ancient beliefs regard to it in a more
        acadmic basis. Do you happen to know which lists talk about the
        experience of it by any chance? I wonder what it is like.

        Much thanks in anticipation.
        Doug.

        --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@...> wrote:
        >
        > Hey Doug, welcome to the group. You ask...
        >
        > >>>Hi, I have read some websites on Gnosticism during the last few
        > months and it seems to be very interesting, but I cannot quite make
        > out as yet what it means to be a gnostic exactly for there does
        seem
        > to be so many variations in what it does actualy mean. I know it
        > means knowledge, but knowledge of what exactly. Excuse my
        ignorance,
        > maybe a stupid question.<<<
        >
        > Part of the difficulty in answering the question is simply that not
        > everyone uses the term "Gnostic" in the same way. In fact, the word
        > has come to have so many meanings for so many different groups and
        > people that it is sometimes a worthless word in casual
        conversation.
        > What the word means will depend on who you are talking with.
        >
        > Since you have been in a number of groups, you likely noticed that
        > many of them use the term gnostic as essentially a synonym
        > for "mystic", and the "knowledge" that they refer to is the
        personal
        > experience of the spirit.
        >
        > This forum, on the other hand, is a bit more technical. Here we try
        > our best to use terms like Gnosis and Gnostic in the way that is
        > informed by traditional (historic) Gnostic texts. While this
        meaning
        > includes the personal experience mentioned above, it is a little
        > more specific in that it also refers to a precise set of esoteric
        > beliefs and practices that the ancient Gnostics believed would
        > impart a kind of salvational knowledge of the spiritual world and
        > how we relate to it. The "knowledge" in this case is about
        > cosmology, anthropogeny, how we came to be in this world, and how
        we
        > can leave it (salvation).
        >
        > PMCV
        >
      • lady_caritas
        Hello, Doug. PMCV might have some specific suggestions, but you could also just browse through any active groups in the Yahoo Groups Gnosticism category and
        Message 3 of 8 , Feb 20, 2007
        • 0 Attachment

          Hello, Doug.  PMCV might have some specific suggestions, but you could also just browse through any active groups in the Yahoo Groups Gnosticism category and see many people talking about their personal mystical experiences.  Some do in our group, as well, which is fine.  As you and PMCV surmised, whether or not one would consider all these descriptions "gnosis" depends on one's meaning of "gnosis." 

           

          In our group, as PMCV mentioned, we use "gnosis" with an eye on working to discover what the ancients meant by this term.  And any discussion of personal experience in our group is done by comparing this to our focus of historical Gnosticism. 

           

          For the ancients, the mystical experience was interpreted within a defined context, philosophically, as PMCV described.  It wasn't only about subjective, emotional feelings.  If you're interested, here are a couple of examples of ancient writings describing the mystical ascent:

           

          http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/allogene.html

           

          http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/zostr.html

           

           

          Cari


          --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "dougwilmer" <dougwilmer@...> wrote:
          >
          > I see, thanks friend. So, some talk about the the experience of
          > gnosis and some talk about the ancient beliefs regard to it in a more
          > acadmic basis. Do you happen to know which lists talk about the
          > experience of it by any chance? I wonder what it is like.
          >
          > Much thanks in anticipation.
          > Doug.
          >
          > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag no_reply@ wrote:
          > >
          > > Hey Doug, welcome to the group. You ask...
          > >
          > > >>>Hi, I have read some websites on Gnosticism during the last few
          > > months and it seems to be very interesting, but I cannot quite make
          > > out as yet what it means to be a gnostic exactly for there does
          > seem
          > > to be so many variations in what it does actualy mean. I know it
          > > means knowledge, but knowledge of what exactly. Excuse my
          > ignorance,
          > > maybe a stupid question.<<<
          > >
          > > Part of the difficulty in answering the question is simply that not
          > > everyone uses the term "Gnostic" in the same way. In fact, the word
          > > has come to have so many meanings for so many different groups and
          > > people that it is sometimes a worthless word in casual
          > conversation.
          > > What the word means will depend on who you are talking with.
          > >
          > > Since you have been in a number of groups, you likely noticed that
          > > many of them use the term gnostic as essentially a synonym
          > > for "mystic", and the "knowledge" that they refer to is the
          > personal
          > > experience of the spirit.
          > >
          > > This forum, on the other hand, is a bit more technical. Here we try
          > > our best to use terms like Gnosis and Gnostic in the way that is
          > > informed by traditional (historic) Gnostic texts. While this
          > meaning
          > > includes the personal experience mentioned above, it is a little
          > > more specific in that it also refers to a precise set of esoteric
          > > beliefs and practices that the ancient Gnostics believed would
          > > impart a kind of salvational knowledge of the spiritual world and
          > > how we relate to it. The "knowledge" in this case is about
          > > cosmology, anthropogeny, how we came to be in this world, and how
          > we
          > > can leave it (salvation).
          > >
          > > PMCV
          > >
          >

        • dougwilmer
          OK, thanks, I will take a look when time allows. But, if this gnosis thing is a real experience then some folk must have experienced it, and if they did in the
          Message 4 of 8 , Feb 20, 2007
          • 0 Attachment
            OK, thanks, I will take a look when time allows. But, if this gnosis
            thing is a real experience then some folk must have experienced it,
            and if they did in the past then they still do today surely. So, what
            is it that is so fascinating about two to ten thousand years old
            accounts when such folk who one could perhaps talk to about it must
            be around today.

            History of course is fascinating in so far as one can get at it, but
            the winners write history as we all know well enough. But, if this
            gnosis thing is what they say, an experience, then no amount of
            reading is surely going to give anyone that experience, whatever it
            is said to be. It seems to be a bit like this so called
            enlightenment thing, everybody talks abut it yet nobody says what it
            is and what it is like. Strange business all this it seems to me.

            Doug.



            --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, lady_caritas <no_reply@...> wrote:
            >
            >
            > Hello, Doug. PMCV might have some specific suggestions, but you
            could
            > also just browse through any active groups in the Yahoo Groups
            > Gnosticism category and see many people talking about their personal
            > mystical experiences. Some do in our group, as well, which is
            fine. As
            > you and PMCV surmised, whether or not one would consider all these
            > descriptions "gnosis" depends on one's meaning of
            > "gnosis."
            > >
            >
            > In our group, as PMCV mentioned, we use "gnosis" with an eye on
            > working to discover what the ancients meant by this term. And any
            > discussion of personal experience in our group is done by comparing
            this
            > to our focus of historical Gnosticism.
            >
            >
            > For the ancients, the mystical experience was interpreted within a
            > defined context, philosophically, as PMCV described. It wasn't only
            > about subjective, emotional feelings. If you're interested, here
            > are a couple of examples of ancient writings describing the mystical
            > ascent:
            >
            >
          • pmcvflag
            Hi Doug You state ... gnosis and some talk about the ancient beliefs regard to it in a more acadmic basis. Do you happen to know which lists talk about the
            Message 5 of 8 , Feb 20, 2007
            • 0 Attachment
              Hi Doug

              You state

              >>>I see, thanks friend. So, some talk about the the experience of
              gnosis and some talk about the ancient beliefs regard to it in a more
              acadmic basis. Do you happen to know which lists talk about the
              experience of it by any chance? I wonder what it is like.<<<

              Actually, not exactly what I meant... though sometimes also true.
              The bigger problem isn't the line between the groups that deal with
              history vs those that deal with personal spirituality, but those
              that use the word "Gnosis" to mean essentially what it meant
              traditionally vs those who use the word "gnosis" to mean something
              entirely different. There are modern groups that use the
              word "gnostic" and "gnosis" to refer to things like ESP, drug
              experiences, experiences with aliens on UFO's, and even Nazi style
              racial purity. Obviously none of these have anything do to with the
              meaning of the word that we see in the Nag Hammadi and the
              traditional Gnostic thinking.

              In another letter you go on to say...

              >>>OK, thanks, I will take a look when time allows. But, if this
              gnosis thing is a real experience then some folk must have
              experienced it, and if they did in the past then they still do today
              surely. <<<

              The next misunderstanding that people often have about "Gnosis" in
              the traditional meaning of the word is to equate it with various
              mystical experiences. Many of the groups you will find out there
              will talk about an "experience" of Gnosis, and believe that they are
              talking about something in line with the traditional Gnostics.
              Generally speaking this is because they are confused about
              traditional Gnostic thinking. Gnosis, in the traditional meaning of
              the word, is not an experience.

              Are there people today that have various sorts of mystical
              experiences? Sure. Does that mean they have Gnosis? Not necessarily.

              >>>So, what is it that is so fascinating about two to ten thousand
              years old accounts when such folk who one could perhaps talk to
              about it must be around today.<<<

              Some would argue that if Gnosis was ever true, it would not matter
              if it was now or then... the accounts would be just as valid.
              However, there is actually something even more important. The
              word "Gnosis" in this traditional meant also implies a cognitive
              esoteric understanding of the text and the communication of the
              sect. Without that, one would not even technically know what the
              word "Gnosis" means. In this case, the personal spirituality and the
              esoteric function of the texts are difficult to extract from each
              other. This is NOT to imply some modern protestant Christian "sola
              schriptura" dogma, but instead to point out that there is more to
              Gnosis than an experience.... there is also an interpretation.

              >>>But, if this gnosis thing is what they say, an experience, then
              no amount of reading is surely going to give anyone that experience,
              whatever it is said to be.<<<

              I guess then it depends on whether one wants to use the
              word "Gnosis" to mean what it means in the traditional usage that we
              talk about here, or if they are looking for one of the various other
              things that some people call "gnosis". When we use the word here, we
              definately are not talking about the experience of Aliens or racial
              memory. Part of the reason we deal with history here is to keep a
              clear focus on the meaning of "Gnosis" as it is used in these
              traditional sources. We are then free to go on and talk about what
              it may imply in our personal lives, whether we have it or not, and
              if we do.. how.

              PMCV
            • dougwilmer
              Thanks for all that PMCV (sorry I do not know what the stands for) and for your time and effort there. So, in essence, what you are saying there is that this
              Message 6 of 8 , Feb 20, 2007
              • 0 Attachment
                Thanks for all that PMCV (sorry I do not know what the stands for)
                and for your time and effort there.

                So, in essence, what you are saying there is that this gnosis IS NOT
                an experience at all. Leastwise as it is seen to be on this group
                anyway. That of course does somewhat conflict with what most
                literature on gnosis and Gnosticism claims, but however and what
                ever, so be it. Now, could you refer me to the source which claims
                that gnosis is NOT an experience, for I sure would like to look that
                up.

                Also, could I be so bold (later) to offer a few quotes form the Nag
                Hammadi Codices and get your opinion as to whether they are genuine
                Gnostic sayings from people who had undergone what, in the Western
                World, became known as Gnosis. For presumably other people in other
                parts of the world have used different words for the same event.

                Thanks in anticipation.

                Doug.


                --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@...> wrote:
                >
                > Hi Doug
                >
                > You state
                >
                > >>>I see, thanks friend. So, some talk about the the experience of
                > gnosis and some talk about the ancient beliefs regard to it in a
                more
                > acadmic basis. Do you happen to know which lists talk about the
                > experience of it by any chance? I wonder what it is like.<<<
                >
                > Actually, not exactly what I meant... though sometimes also true.
                > The bigger problem isn't the line between the groups that deal with
                > history vs those that deal with personal spirituality, but those
                > that use the word "Gnosis" to mean essentially what it meant
                > traditionally vs those who use the word "gnosis" to mean something
                > entirely different. There are modern groups that use the
                > word "gnostic" and "gnosis" to refer to things like ESP, drug
                > experiences, experiences with aliens on UFO's, and even Nazi style
                > racial purity. Obviously none of these have anything do to with the
                > meaning of the word that we see in the Nag Hammadi and the
                > traditional Gnostic thinking.
                >
                > In another letter you go on to say...
                >
                > >>>OK, thanks, I will take a look when time allows. But, if this
                > gnosis thing is a real experience then some folk must have
                > experienced it, and if they did in the past then they still do
                today
                > surely. <<<
                >
                > The next misunderstanding that people often have about "Gnosis" in
                > the traditional meaning of the word is to equate it with various
                > mystical experiences. Many of the groups you will find out there
                > will talk about an "experience" of Gnosis, and believe that they
                are
                > talking about something in line with the traditional Gnostics.
                > Generally speaking this is because they are confused about
                > traditional Gnostic thinking. Gnosis, in the traditional meaning of
                > the word, is not an experience.
                >
                > Are there people today that have various sorts of mystical
                > experiences? Sure. Does that mean they have Gnosis? Not necessarily.
                >
                > >>>So, what is it that is so fascinating about two to ten thousand
                > years old accounts when such folk who one could perhaps talk to
                > about it must be around today.<<<
                >
                > Some would argue that if Gnosis was ever true, it would not matter
                > if it was now or then... the accounts would be just as valid.
                > However, there is actually something even more important. The
                > word "Gnosis" in this traditional meant also implies a cognitive
                > esoteric understanding of the text and the communication of the
                > sect. Without that, one would not even technically know what the
                > word "Gnosis" means. In this case, the personal spirituality and
                the
                > esoteric function of the texts are difficult to extract from each
                > other. This is NOT to imply some modern protestant Christian "sola
                > schriptura" dogma, but instead to point out that there is more to
                > Gnosis than an experience.... there is also an interpretation.
                >
                > >>>But, if this gnosis thing is what they say, an experience, then
                > no amount of reading is surely going to give anyone that
                experience,
                > whatever it is said to be.<<<
                >
                > I guess then it depends on whether one wants to use the
                > word "Gnosis" to mean what it means in the traditional usage that
                we
                > talk about here, or if they are looking for one of the various
                other
                > things that some people call "gnosis". When we use the word here,
                we
                > definately are not talking about the experience of Aliens or racial
                > memory. Part of the reason we deal with history here is to keep a
                > clear focus on the meaning of "Gnosis" as it is used in these
                > traditional sources. We are then free to go on and talk about what
                > it may imply in our personal lives, whether we have it or not, and
                > if we do.. how.
                >
                > PMCV
                >
              • Michael Leavitt
                ... Even a mystical experience is hard to describe, a gnostic one is wore. I was in the clouds when Sophia gave birth to Salas, but the vision is more than I
                Message 7 of 8 , Feb 20, 2007
                • 0 Attachment
                  dougwilmer wrote:
                  > OK, thanks, I will take a look when time allows. But, if this gnosis
                  > thing is a real experience then some folk must have experienced it,
                  > and if they did in the past then they still do today surely. So, what
                  > is it that is so fascinating about two to ten thousand years old
                  > accounts when such folk who one could perhaps talk to about it must
                  > be around today.
                  >
                  > History of course is fascinating in so far as one can get at it, but
                  > the winners write history as we all know well enough. But, if this
                  > gnosis thing is what they say, an experience, then no amount of
                  > reading is surely going to give anyone that experience, whatever it
                  > is said to be. It seems to be a bit like this so called
                  > enlightenment thing, everybody talks abut it yet nobody says what it
                  > is and what it is like. Strange business all this it seems to me.
                  >
                  > Doug.
                  >
                  >
                  Even a mystical experience is hard to describe, a gnostic one is wore.
                  I was in the clouds when Sophia gave birth to Salas, but the vision is
                  more than I can begin to describe. I actually saw what happened, but
                  only have an inkling of why. For the most part I stood there
                  dumbfounded. Maybe someday I will sort it out. I am very sure that
                  Salis is real, and more sethian than Vallentinian, though not intirely.
                  That is why I call him Saklas,
                Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.