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Sowing the spiritual seed

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  • Mark
    Using our links, I found the following at http://www.gnosis.org/library/valentinus/Demiurge.htm under The Creation of Human Beings. The Demiurge and his
    Message 1 of 4 , May 4 4:44 PM
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      Using our links, I found the following at
      http://www.gnosis.org/library/valentinus/Demiurge.htm under "The
      Creation of Human Beings."

      "The Demiurge and his angels created human beings in the image of the
      pre-existing Humanity (Against Heresies 1:5:2, Excerpts of Theodotus
      51:1). From "dust" (Genesis 2:7), that is, non-corporeal deficiency
      and suffering, they created the carnal or irrational soul. Into this
      the Demiurge breathed an animating rational soul deriving from
      pleading and conversion (i.e. from his own substance). This is
      the "breath of life" (Genesis 2:7). Lastly, Sophia (Wisdom) used the
      Demiurge to secretly sowed [sic] her spiritual seed into the human
      being (Against Heresies 1:5:6, Excerpts of Theodotus 53:2,
      Valentinian Exposition 37, Tripartite Tractate 105:29-35). The sowing
      of the spiritual seed into Adam caused him to utter things "superior
      to what his modeling justified" (Valentinus Fragment 1, cf. Gospel of
      Philip 70:26-29, Naasene Preaching 8:14)."

      Up until Sophia's use of the Demiurge to sow secretly the spiritual
      seed, there were textual correspondences:
      "dust" = carnal or irrational soul (2:7a)
      "breath of life" = rational soul (2:7b)

      Question 1) What is the textual correspondence to which the
      Valentinians attach their interpretation of this secret sowing of the
      spirit? What is in the Hebrew text to suggest this?

      Question 2) Are there two souls--the carnal and the rational, or does
      this account for the soul's free will to choose good and evil?

      Thanks,
      Mark
    • pmcvflag
      Hey Mark You have a talent for asking the hard questions! ... spiritual seed, there were textual correspondences: dust = carnal or irrational soul (2:7a)
      Message 2 of 4 , May 6 4:53 PM
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        Hey Mark

        You have a talent for asking the hard questions!

        >>>Up until Sophia's use of the Demiurge to sow secretly the
        spiritual
        seed, there were textual correspondences:
        "dust" = carnal or irrational soul (2:7a)
        "breath of life" = rational soul (2:7b)

        Question 1) What is the textual correspondence to which the
        Valentinians attach their interpretation of this secret sowing of the
        spirit? What is in the Hebrew text to suggest this?<<<

        I didn't get a chance to look into the situation further the way I
        usually try to before answering, so I am shooting from the hip... as
        it were. If I missed or forgot something then I am sure others here
        will chime in and correct me.

        My first inclination is that while there could be some Jewish
        textual suggestion that some Valentinians had in mind, there need
        not be. Since the Gnostic schools (including the Valentinians) were
        syncratic, we have to also consider what Greek philosophical sources
        they may have been inserting between the lines.

        Having said that, the first part of Sirach (after the prologue) is a
        strong possibility as a bridge between the Greek ideas and the
        Genesis creation story. Just to throw something not obviously
        related to your question into the mix, in the Valentinian category I
        see some debate as to whether the imperfection comes from the Logos
        or the Sophia.

        Anyway, back to the point... I would tend to look to latter Jewish
        and Greek sources for possible connections, not Genesis.

        >>>Question 2) Are there two souls--the carnal and the rational, or
        does this account for the soul's free will to choose good and evil?
        <<<

        Again... shooting from the hip. I don't recall any Gnostic texts
        that talk about a carnal "soul". In fact, the term that is usually
        translated as "soul", nous, means mind and is generally connected to
        the "psychic" part of the being. In most of the cases I can think of
        this rational "soul" is explicitly distinct from the material part
        of the tripartite individual. In other words, Brons seems to be
        taking the usual body, soul, spirit division and restating it
        slightly as carnal soul, rational soul, and spirit. In doing so I
        believe he may be confusing the issue rather than making it more
        clear.

        PMCV
      • lady_caritas
        ... Spot-on observation, IMHO. (You should give your hip credit where credit is due, PMCV.) Syncretism is a possible key here, don t you think, Mark, unless
        Message 3 of 4 , May 6 6:18 PM
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          --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@...> wrote:

          > Hey Mark
          >
          > You have a talent for asking the hard questions!
          >
          > >>>Up until Sophia's use of the Demiurge to sow secretly the
          > spiritual
          > seed, there were textual correspondences:
          > "dust" = carnal or irrational soul (2:7a)
          > "breath of life" = rational soul (2:7b)
          >
          > Question 1) What is the textual correspondence to which the
          > Valentinians attach their interpretation of this secret sowing of the
          > spirit? What is in the Hebrew text to suggest this?<<<
          >
          > I didn't get a chance to look into the situation further the way I
          > usually try to before answering, so I am shooting from the hip... as
          > it were. If I missed or forgot something then I am sure others here
          > will chime in and correct me.
          >
          > My first inclination is that while there could be some Jewish
          > textual suggestion that some Valentinians had in mind, there need
          > not be. Since the Gnostic schools (including the Valentinians) were
          > syncratic, we have to also consider what Greek philosophical sources
          > they may have been inserting between the lines.

           

          Spot-on observation, IMHO.  (You should give your hip credit where credit is due, PMCV.)  Syncretism is a possible key here, don't you think, Mark, unless someone can give us another valid suggestion from the Hebrew text.

          This wouldn't be the first time Genesis was creatively interpreted.  We need only look to the Sethians.

          From Typologies of the Sethian Gnostic Treatises from Nag Hammadi by John D. Turner ~

          Recently I. Culianu[17] has sought to combine the preceding insights by emphasizing the relation between the Judaic and Platonic conceptual frameworks in the creation of Gnostic myths. Borrowing H. Bloom's[18] characterization of Gnostic exegesis as a form of "misprision" (mis-taking), or "creative misunderstanding," he observes: "Indeed, Gnosticism is Platonic hermeneutics so suspicious of tradition that it is willing to break through the borders of tradition, any tradition, including its own. Conversely, regarded through the eyes of tradition, any tradition, it appears as `misprision'." Again: "Gnostic exegesis of Genesis admits a definition strikingly similar to Philonic exegesis: It is an interpretation of a Jewish text according to a set of rules derived from Platonism." Although it is odd to credit Platonists, normally quite confident of their own tradition stemming from Plato and Pythagoras, with such a "hermeneutics of suspicion," what occupies Culianu's interest is the delineation of a set of hermeneutical transformations produced by the application of Platonic philosophical principles to the interpretation of any established tradition. Whether Culianu believes the element of suspicion arose from a naturally Gnostic mind-set or from a philosophical preoccupation with exegetical aporiae is not immediately clear.
          http://www.unl.edu/classics/faculty/turner/lavalpap.shtml

          Cari

           

        • Mark
          PMCV, Your hip shots match what I was afraid to hear: that their exegesis is isogesis. Of course, there is nothing at all wrong with this, but I was hoping for
          Message 4 of 4 , May 7 3:53 PM
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            PMCV,

            Your hip shots match what I was afraid to hear: that their exegesis
            is isogesis. Of course, there is nothing at all wrong with this, but
            I was hoping for a textual referent (I have a touch of the purist in
            me!). I will let it remain an open question and perhaps one day I
            will stumble upon the "link." I have been doing some work on the
            understanding of spirit, spirituality and spiritual care in
            healthcare literature, so I am keen on gaining a deeper understanding
            of spirit, especially as it relates to the soul (psyche).

            Thanks for your hip shots!

            Mark

            --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@...> wrote:
            >
            > Hey Mark
            >
            > You have a talent for asking the hard questions!
            >
            > >>>Up until Sophia's use of the Demiurge to sow secretly the
            > spiritual
            > seed, there were textual correspondences:
            > "dust" = carnal or irrational soul (2:7a)
            > "breath of life" = rational soul (2:7b)
            >
            > Question 1) What is the textual correspondence to which the
            > Valentinians attach their interpretation of this secret sowing of
            the
            > spirit? What is in the Hebrew text to suggest this?<<<
            >
            > I didn't get a chance to look into the situation further the way I
            > usually try to before answering, so I am shooting from the hip...
            as
            > it were. If I missed or forgot something then I am sure others here
            > will chime in and correct me.
            >
            > My first inclination is that while there could be some Jewish
            > textual suggestion that some Valentinians had in mind, there need
            > not be. Since the Gnostic schools (including the Valentinians) were
            > syncratic, we have to also consider what Greek philosophical
            sources
            > they may have been inserting between the lines.
            >
            > Having said that, the first part of Sirach (after the prologue) is
            a
            > strong possibility as a bridge between the Greek ideas and the
            > Genesis creation story. Just to throw something not obviously
            > related to your question into the mix, in the Valentinian category
            I
            > see some debate as to whether the imperfection comes from the Logos
            > or the Sophia.
            >
            > Anyway, back to the point... I would tend to look to latter Jewish
            > and Greek sources for possible connections, not Genesis.
            >
            > >>>Question 2) Are there two souls--the carnal and the rational, or
            > does this account for the soul's free will to choose good and evil?
            > <<<
            >
            > Again... shooting from the hip. I don't recall any Gnostic texts
            > that talk about a carnal "soul". In fact, the term that is usually
            > translated as "soul", nous, means mind and is generally connected
            to
            > the "psychic" part of the being. In most of the cases I can think
            of
            > this rational "soul" is explicitly distinct from the material part
            > of the tripartite individual. In other words, Brons seems to be
            > taking the usual body, soul, spirit division and restating it
            > slightly as carnal soul, rational soul, and spirit. In doing so I
            > believe he may be confusing the issue rather than making it more
            > clear.
            >
            > PMCV
            >
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