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Re: Gnostic beliefs on matter

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  • Verna Leigh Johnson
    I am familiar with Allogenes, but not so with Zostrianos, but I haven t read all the texts in their entirity, I have been digging thru the Pistis Sophia for
    Message 1 of 48 , Aug 18, 2007
      I am familiar with Allogenes, but not so with Zostrianos, but I
      haven't read all the texts in their entirity, I have been digging
      thru the Pistis Sophia for going on a year now.
      But my personal coorelation would be the fact that altho I grew up in
      the evangelical christian household all my life, and my father was a
      minister for the Disciples of Christ, I felt a pull from an early age
      to things other kids weren't concerned with. I still played and the
      like, but I was always different, and asked questions none could
      answer and they would reprimand me for even asking such things.
      Introduced to the Gospel of Thomas first, then later to the Apoch. of
      John taught me to relearn everything I thought; this was coupled with
      two seperate 'mystical' expereinces I had at the time I began
      studying these texts, and the imagry and the understanding became
      clearer, I had the 'ears to hear,' you might say.
      Learning later of Valentius, and reading the Hymn of the Pearl, a
      chord deep inside was struck. It 'rang' true, like something deep
      inside said it was so, and the experience I had (won't go into detail
      on that here) coincided with these 'studies'. That is why I say that
      while the studying of these texts will certainly 'set one up' or
      prime one for such experiences, it is the experience of gnosis as a
      mystical event (perhaps like Shaul(Paul) on the Rad to Damascus,
      where he got knocked of his horse and his life was changed - my life
      was forever changed by the experience, not the studying of the texts
      so much), and the KNOWING of it, that sets a gnostic spart. It is
      not a belief, it is not a faith, it is knowing- other beliefs and
      faiths tell stories, and worship beings that are as flawed as they,
      the gnostic's desire and purpose is to KNOW, all other
      faiths 'discuss' knowing OF, but the gnostic KNOWS. (Know being the
      root of KNOWLEDGE). Big difference in knowing and knowing of. But
      this is a personal definition of gnosis built from the experience of
      KNOWING the ground of being, or as mentioned in the texts, the
      Entirity, which is also mentioned in the Apoch. of John, and
      the 'father's house' alluded to in the Hymn of the Pearl, which I
      could find and site others, but those are the first to come to mind.
      blessings and peas
      DarkCHylde




      --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, lady_caritas <no_reply@...> wrote:
      >
      > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "Verna Leigh Johnson"
      > <imdarkchylde@> wrote:
      > >
      > > Much wisdom in that...
      > > It's not about knowing of (like texts and heresay) it's about
      > > knowing, like when you are in love or have to eat or sweat, it
      isn't
      > > soemthing you intellectualize, altho that helps to prime one for
      the
      > > experience, it is something you know, which I think be the root
      > > of 'knowledge'...
      > > Just chiming in.
      > > DarkCHylde
      > >
      >
      >
      > DarkChylde, how does your experience compare to some descriptions
      > written by historical Gnostics, such as in Allogenes or Zostrianos
      or
      > any other writings you wish to reference?
      >
      > Cari
      >
    • pmcvflag
      Hey Mark You state... ... interpreters, I often wonder to what degree an historical Gnostic practitioner might have presented, or appeared, as a modern day
      Message 48 of 48 , Sep 10, 2007
        Hey Mark

        You state...

        >>>At times when reading the Gnostic texts and some of their
        interpreters, I often wonder to what degree an "historical" Gnostic
        practitioner might have presented, or appeared, as a modern day
        charismatic.<<<

        Could you help me by telling me what you mean by "charismatic"? I am
        not sure if you mean this in the generic, or if you mean it in the
        modern evangelical sense, or if you mean it etymologically.

        >>>Thus, I think experience was important, maybe even critical, to
        Historical Gnosticism. But such an experience only helped to start
        them on the path, and it was not the whole of the path. If you want
        to find a person who has lost faith, then find a charismatic who can
        no longer experience the "Spirit." I think Historical Gnosticism
        would agree with the idea that faith may be initiated through an
        experience, but faith grows through an act of will. Experience is
        the proverbial icing on the cake. Without a doubt, beautiful and
        delicious, but without a substance that sustains and nurishes.<<<

        This could raise an interesting question for another thread. One may
        wonder exactly what function pistis, praxis, and gnosis have in the
        larger concept of Gnosis (with a capital "G") for historical (and
        traditional) practitioners. Is there a correct mix or specific
        interaction that one can find stated (or even implied) in the texts?

        >>>I am a fairly firm believer that every generation castrates
        the previous one in order to individuate themselves. Or to put it
        differently, each generation has the right or obligation to recast in
        their own terms/lingo that which their ancestors held as sacred.
        This is not the same as rejecting. Many, perhaps due to an
        intellectual laziness, find it easier simply to reject tradition,
        instead of re-interpreting it. Tradition, in its most meanigful
        sense, however, is this very process of re-interpretation through
        time.<<<

        Interesting point. I find I can't disagree.

        There is, as you point out, a move to reject all notion
        of "tradition" itself. I find it interesting that the rhetoric used
        in these cases are very often based on singular experience and a
        reaction against that experience (people who were raised with strict
        fundementalist backgrounds). This is then cast in a lingo that is
        very closely related to racist doctrins, i.e., all notion of
        tradition or structure of any sort must be spiritually dead (the
        proof being their personal experience with one single false claim)
        and need not be examined or understood before making such a
        judgement.

        More important to our subject is how shockingly many people who are
        interested in Gnosticism are very much using Gnosticism (and by this
        I mean the historical texts) as a weapon for this kind of reaction
        without really wanting to try and understand the texts in and of
        themselves (I am tempted to call it the Da Vinci code complex, but
        maybe there are better terms).

        >>>When it comes to the questions of what is outdated and what must
        be changed, I think we need to be careful to distinguish between
        the "form" of the Gnostic "truths" and the "content" of those
        truths. In other words, there were many social and political norms
        that "formed" the Gnostic content and we must account for these,
        which is the domain of hermeneutics. Nonetheless, I think there are
        some spiritual truths that worked then and that work now, regardless
        of the "forming" influence of culture. In this sense, these texts
        are not just "moldy old texts and docrines," but give "form" to a
        spiritual "content" that speaks to us today.<<<

        In the end, that may be key to the whole issue. When you state this,
        though, do you have any specific examples in mind? If not, could we
        impose upon you to find a couple? It seems to me that the point may
        be too core to the conversation to be left abstract.

        >>>What is the "truth" the texts intend?<<<

        Well, I guess I could counter by asking "what is truth", but I think
        Darkchylde already does this. Frankly, though, it isn't so much my
        point. Rather, I was trying to raise the question of whether the
        authors of the texts believed in a "truth" or whether they were
        relativists like the modern popular postmodernists (or maybe bits of
        both).

        To be fair, let me try to give my own perspective on the texts and
        some examples of what they may posit as "truths".

        For one, I think they intend their cosmology as a genuine
        functional "truth" (whether that cosmology is literal or allegorical
        may be a different question, but from the functional perspective it
        may not matter).

        I think they intend to offer a specific soteriology as a literal
        truth based directly on the functionality of the cosmology (again,
        whether that cosmology is literal or allegorical).

        I am open to debate on these points, as always, but I just wanted to
        offer what I think to be the intended function of many of these
        texts so that it doesn't seem like I am standing outside the issue.

        PMCV
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