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

Re: First use of "Gnostic"

Expand Messages
  • Mark
    Cari, Thanks for this reference. I may have to put Pearson s book on my to read list. So it seems that at least one group self-identified (emic) as
    Message 1 of 8 , Jan 15, 2009
      Cari,

      Thanks for this reference. I may have to put Pearson's book on my to
      read list. So it seems that at least one group self-identified (emic)
      as "Gnostics"--according to Irenaeus (etic), a critic. This in turn
      suggests that most other historical groups/writings that are today
      called "Gnostic" are subject to the interpreter's categories (etic),
      which, of course, can be debated. In such a situation "where to draw
      the line" can determine academic careers.

      I am wondering: would all "drawing of lines" at least include the
      self-identified (emic) groups within the Gnostic camp? If so, then
      self-identification as a Gnostic trumps all etic attempts at
      grouping. If such is true for historical groups, then why not so for
      present day groups?

      Mark

      --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, lady_caritas <no_reply@...> wrote:
      >
      >
      >
      > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "Mark" <larockpitts@> wrote:
      > >
      > > If I might ask a rather sophmoric question, who first used the
      > > term "Gnostic" to refer to a person, group, or doctrine? Was it
      > > a "believer," or was it a "critic"? The emic/etic comment from
      > > Unknown, plus this repeated question of "where to draw the line,"
      are
      > > the stimuli for this question.
      > >
      > > Thanks,
      > > Mark
      > >
      >
      >
      > Hi, Mark. Not at all a sophomoric question! Birger A. Pearson
      > addresses this nicely in his recent book, Ancient Gnosticism:
      Tradition
      > and Literature. Not all the groups we moderns label as
      > "Gnostic" referred to themselves with this name. However,
      > Irenaeus (Against Heresies) did refer to a group who called
      themselves
      > "Gnostikoi". And the Greek "gnostikos" goes back to
      > Plato. I was able to find a section from Dr. Pearson's book online.
      >
      >
      >
      > More here:
      >
      >
      > http://books.google.com/books?
      id=QPvQUPMtFgQC&pg=PA9&lpg=PA9&dq=term+gno\
      > stic&source=web&ots=2_ClmgIdHx&sig=XmSGHUP_5wx-
      JJIscth4HTXwLwY&hl=en&sa=\
      > X&oi=book_result&resnum=6&ct=result#PPA9,M1
      > <http://books.google.com/books?
      id=QPvQUPMtFgQC&pg=PA9&lpg=PA9&dq=term+gn\
      > ostic&source=web&ots=2_ClmgIdHx&sig=XmSGHUP_5wx-
      JJIscth4HTXwLwY&hl=en&sa\
      > =X&oi=book_result&resnum=6&ct=result#PPA9,M1>
      >
      >
      >
      > Hope this helps.
      >
      >
      >
      > Cari
      >
    • lady_caritas
      ... to ... (emic) ... turn ... (etic), ... draw ... for ... Mark, are you referring to modern day Gnostic groups? Historically, scholars have found
      Message 2 of 8 , Jan 19, 2009
        --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "Mark" <larockpitts@...> wrote:
        >
        > Cari,
        >
        > Thanks for this reference. I may have to put Pearson's book on my
        to
        > read list. So it seems that at least one group self-identified
        (emic)
        > as "Gnostics"--according to Irenaeus (etic), a critic. This in
        turn
        > suggests that most other historical groups/writings that are today
        > called "Gnostic" are subject to the interpreter's categories
        (etic),
        > which, of course, can be debated. In such a situation "where to
        draw
        > the line" can determine academic careers.
        >
        > I am wondering: would all "drawing of lines" at least include the
        > self-identified (emic) groups within the Gnostic camp? If so, then
        > self-identification as a Gnostic trumps all etic attempts at
        > grouping. If such is true for historical groups, then why not so
        for
        > present day groups?
        >
        > Mark


        Mark, are you referring to modern day "Gnostic" groups?

        Historically, scholars have found commonalities among groups that
        they call Gnostic, regardless of self-designation, which category, as
        you say, is open to debate. And it's my understanding that self-
        identified historical Gnostics are included, but correct me if I'm
        wrong.

        When it comes to modern groups, we likely have many more individuals
        and groups self-designated as "Gnostic." Anyone can call themselves
        whatever they want, I suppose. But at some point definition or
        categorization is useful, if communication is desired, in order to
        avoid utter confusion, should every self-identified group or
        individual trump a generally accepted modern etic understanding (open
        to debate). Then again, do we even have such a general understanding
        of modern self-identification? I admit to being confused about
        contemporary usage. Is it enough to say that a modern Gnostic is one
        who has an "inner experience" or some kind of spiritual "knowing"?
        Why not call themselves a Christian or a Buddhist or a heretic or
        whatever instead of a Gnostic? Or do they have more than one self-
        designation? How do they define gnosis? What about their
        understanding of cosmology, cosmogony, soteriology, etc.? Having
        some kind of etic understanding of "Gnostic" doesn't determine whose
        spiritual path or knowledge is more accurate, but it helps for
        clarification; otherwise, the term becomes subject to only personal
        bias.

        And then whether or not a modern "Gnostic" claims a tie to those who
        called themselves Gnostics in the past, it behooves modern people to
        attempt some kind of valid understanding as to the historical
        Gnostic's position and not merely superimpose one's own understanding
        when comparing.

        Mark, please let me know if I don't understand the gist of what
        you're saying. Anyone else want to weigh in?

        Cari
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.