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Re: First use of "Gnostic"

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  • lady_caritas
    ... to ... (emic) ... turn ... (etic), ... draw ... for ... Mark, are you referring to modern day Gnostic groups? Historically, scholars have found
    Message 1 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
      > read list. So it seems that at least one group self-identified
      > as "Gnostics"--according to Irenaeus (etic), a critic. This in
      > suggests that most other historical groups/writings that are today
      > called "Gnostic" are subject to the interpreter's categories
      > which, of course, can be debated. In such a situation "where to
      > 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
      > 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

      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

      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?

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