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Re: Jewish Gnostics

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  • pmcvflag
    Hey Imdarkchilde ... amazed at the connections I see in Kabbalah and Gnosticism as well. But I was to understand that Merkavah Mysticism had its origins with
    Message 1 of 14 , Feb 21, 2007
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      Hey Imdarkchilde

      >>>I too am a student of Kabbalah, altho I am a beginner, and I am
      amazed at the connections I see in Kabbalah and Gnosticism as well.
      But I was to understand that Merkavah Mysticism had its origins with
      Elijah, being teachings he left his student Elisha with. Merkavah
      means 'chariot' if I am not mistaken, hence the connection with
      Elijah and the fiery chariot thing. However, Sethianism claims back
      to Seth's teachings, and I guess it would be harder to get older
      than that.<<<

      These are legendary origins, Darkchilde, not historical accounts. I
      understand there are people who take them at face value just as
      there are people who take the Genesis creation or the idea that
      Freemasons date back to the building of the first temple at face
      value. But, just as the quantum physicist would not see Genesis as a
      literally accurate creation of the universe, the historical evidence
      is against these legendary accounts as literally accurate.

      Take, for instance, Kaplan's origin of the Sefer Yetzirah in the
      introduction to his translation. He states that Abraham wrote it, or
      at least part of it. Scholem, on the other hand, points out in
      his "Origins of Kabbalah" that while historians have not agreed on a
      date, they DO agree that it is somewhere between the 2nd and 6th
      century C.E.. This is obviously LONG after Abraham. Kaplan's
      interest and perspective is theological, Scholem's is historical.

      >>>But wouldn't gnosticism be older than Plato, or the Kabbalah for
      that matter? I am sure how they are catagorized, but what is the
      historical data on the sources?<<<

      It is very unlikely that Gnosticism would predate Plato unless we
      expand the term "Gnosticism" overly far (though no doubt Doug/Dick
      Richardson would likely argue otherwise if he had not left once
      again). The earliest date I have ever seen any scholar date
      Gnosticism is in the second century B.C.E.. More often it is dated
      to about the first or second century C.E..

      PMCV
    • gnostic_ken
      ... Hi PMCV, That is interesting. Much earlier than anything I have ever found. You don t happen to have a reference for that do you? I would like to look it
      Message 2 of 14 , Feb 22, 2007
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        --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@...> wrote:
        >
        > again). The earliest date I have ever seen any scholar date
        > Gnosticism is in the second century B.C.E..
        >
        > PMCV

        Hi PMCV,
        That is interesting. Much earlier than anything I have ever found. You
        don't happen to have a reference for that do you? I would like to look
        it up.

        Ken
      • pmcvflag
        Hey Ken If I recall correctly, that would be Birger Pearson in his book Gnosticism, Judaism, and Egyptian Christianity . His outline is similar to that of
        Message 3 of 14 , Feb 22, 2007
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          Hey Ken

          If I recall correctly, that would be Birger Pearson in his
          book "Gnosticism, Judaism, and Egyptian Christianity". His outline
          is similar to that of Turner in that he presents a preChristian
          Sethianism that would have to come from the first or second century
          (since that is the only way it could be "pre Christian" I guess
          *lol*). Of course, most scholars feel that is too early. However, I
          think that Petrement's date that seems to influence scholars like
          Davies simply doesn't work either, and is far too late (not to
          mention the fact that it is presented for the wrong reasons).

          Without speculating on the real date of Gnostic origins, if we do
          accept a relationship between Philo and Gnostic thinking then at the
          very least we can prove Jewish Platonism as early as the first
          century.

          PMCV

          --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "gnostic_ken" <gnostic_ken@...>
          wrote:
          >
          > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@> wrote:
          > >
          > > again). The earliest date I have ever seen any scholar date
          > > Gnosticism is in the second century B.C.E..
          > >
          > > PMCV
          >
          > Hi PMCV,
          > That is interesting. Much earlier than anything I have ever found.
          You
          > don't happen to have a reference for that do you? I would like to
          look
          > it up.
          >
          > Ken
          >
        • pmcvflag
          Oh, Ken.... I probably should have added that this was Dr Scholem s theory as well, though you probably already gathered that from the previous conversation
          Message 4 of 14 , Feb 22, 2007
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            Oh, Ken.... I probably should have added that this was Dr Scholem's
            theory as well, though you probably already gathered that from the
            previous conversation about him and his belief that Merkabah is an
            offshoot of Gnosticism. Since Philo was born in the first century
            B.C.E., this would place Gnosticism in the first century at the
            latest. This can be found in his "Origins of Kabbalah" that we were
            talking about previously.

            Questions have been raised over whether Dr Scholem was using the
            term "Gnosticism" correctly. Pearson countered on behalf of Scholem
            that while he agreed Dr Scholem's usage of the term "Gnosticism" was
            not quite accurate, his basic historical outline still held. As one
            would expect, other scholars disagree.

            Anyway we look at it, we are looking at a date between the second
            century B.C. to the second century A.D., likely not quite so early
            and definately no later.

            PMCV

            --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@...> wrote:
            >
            > Hey Ken
            >
            > If I recall correctly, that would be Birger Pearson in his
            > book "Gnosticism, Judaism, and Egyptian Christianity". His outline
            > is similar to that of Turner in that he presents a preChristian
            > Sethianism that would have to come from the first or second century
            > (since that is the only way it could be "pre Christian" I guess
            > *lol*). Of course, most scholars feel that is too early. However, I
            > think that Petrement's date that seems to influence scholars like
            > Davies simply doesn't work either, and is far too late (not to
            > mention the fact that it is presented for the wrong reasons).
            >
            > Without speculating on the real date of Gnostic origins, if we do
            > accept a relationship between Philo and Gnostic thinking then at
            the
            > very least we can prove Jewish Platonism as early as the first
            > century.
            >
            > PMCV
            >
            > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "gnostic_ken" <gnostic_ken@>
            > wrote:
            > >
            > > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@> wrote:
            > > >
            > > > again). The earliest date I have ever seen any scholar date
            > > > Gnosticism is in the second century B.C.E..
            > > >
            > > > PMCV
            > >
            > > Hi PMCV,
            > > That is interesting. Much earlier than anything I have ever
            found.
            > You
            > > don't happen to have a reference for that do you? I would like to
            > look
            > > it up.
            > >
            > > Ken
            > >
            >
          • gnostic_ken
            ... century ... I ... the ... Hi PMCV, Thank you. Freke and Gandy throw out a 300 BCE date, but they didn t give good references. IMO they were more interested
            Message 5 of 14 , Feb 22, 2007
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              --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@...> wrote:
              >
              > Hey Ken
              >
              > If I recall correctly, that would be Birger Pearson in his
              > book "Gnosticism, Judaism, and Egyptian Christianity". His outline
              > is similar to that of Turner in that he presents a preChristian
              > Sethianism that would have to come from the first or second
              century
              > (since that is the only way it could be "pre Christian" I guess
              > *lol*). Of course, most scholars feel that is too early. However,
              I
              > think that Petrement's date that seems to influence scholars like
              > Davies simply doesn't work either, and is far too late (not to
              > mention the fact that it is presented for the wrong reasons).
              >
              > Without speculating on the real date of Gnostic origins, if we do
              > accept a relationship between Philo and Gnostic thinking then at
              the
              > very least we can prove Jewish Platonism as early as the first
              > century.
              >
              > PMCV

              Hi PMCV,
              Thank you.
              Freke and Gandy throw out a 300 BCE date, but they didn't give good
              references. IMO they were more interested in building their own myth
              than in history. Which BYW is fine with me. I like their myth. I
              just don't confuse it with historical fact where I can't find
              evidence other than their word.

              Ken
            • pmcvflag
              Hey Ken ... good references. IMO they were more interested in building their own myth than in history. Which BYW is fine with me. I like their myth. I just
              Message 6 of 14 , Feb 25, 2007
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                Hey Ken

                >>>Freke and Gandy throw out a 300 BCE date, but they didn't give
                good references. IMO they were more interested in building their own
                myth than in history. Which BYW is fine with me. I like their myth. I
                just don't confuse it with historical fact where I can't find
                evidence other than their word.<<<

                Completely agreed. Freke and Gandy offer a good introduction to to a
                sort of Gnostic allegorical style, offset by a nightmare
                historiography. Unfortunately, unlike you many people are not
                informed enough to tell the difference.

                The good side of that is that it makes people stop to think about
                the mythological aspect. I think it is very important to do so when
                talking about Gnosticism. There are SO many people who try very hard
                to understand Gnostic texts as if they were talking about Jesus,
                Judas, Seth, Thomas, Adam, Eve, etc., as historical people. Even Dr
                Ehrman recently gave a talk dealing with the Gospel of Judas and the
                supposed "historical" Judas. Why?

                The bad side is that because critical perspective is also an aspect
                of hermeneutics, and therefore Gnosis, presenting such a flawed
                historical perspective about Gnostics actually works against the
                principle of "Gnosis" itself (besides the fact that I think flawed
                historical thinking is a disservice to humanity, just as flawed
                scientific thinking is). It is one thing to deal with Jesus as a
                myth, and completely another thing to misinform about what that
                means in traditional Gnostic thinking.... and Gnosis.

                PMCV
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