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Re: Criticism: Demiurgical and Higher

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  • pmcvflag
    Hey Mark I would just like to kind of restate part of what I think Lady Cari is saying in my own way. I think it is important to draw a line between historical
    Message 1 of 6 , Oct 25, 2009
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      Hey Mark

      I would just like to kind of restate part of what I think Lady Cari is saying in my own way. I think it is important to draw a line between historical and literary methodologies and where they touch vs where they may not. This relates very much to the difference between "sensibilities" of an era vs understanding that the era or movement attains.

      Let me put that another way. In ancient times (and even still in some other cultures) there were often different roles assumed for the sexes than the ones we have now (in this culture). While I will be the first to say I think we are right (or better) in our thinking now, this is not something we have really fully worked through in any kind of naturalistic way (though I think we should give our time to doing so). That is to say... it is a sensibility. On the other hand, our scientific method has given us the technological byproduct that isn't just a sensibility, it is a demonstration that the method is more accurate than earlier attempts at the same kind of method.

      Not to say what method is best, but it could be important to understand that just because a method grew within one culture and another method in another culture, does not imply that they are somehow just various equally relative methods. This is as true of philosophical stances as it is of science.

      If one person says that "God" came after the invention of water and floated over in a boat to meet humans, then another person says "but then where did the water come from?" then we are left with genuine issues of what we are talking about when we say "God" and the origin of things. This is not simply "sensibilities", it is a question of linguistics, logic, and philosophical/critical stance.

      PMCV

      --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, lady_caritas <no_reply@...> wrote:
      >
      > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "Mark" <larockpitts@> wrote:
      > >
      > > I am not sure this idea is fully formed, but it has been playing in my mind for a while and writing it out sometimes helps and I am curious what others think.
      > >
      > > One of the tenets of higher criticism, as applied to scripture in particular, is that a text reflects the culture of the time in which it is written. This includes cultural biases, mores, assumptions, agendas, etc. Thus, the Hebrew Bible (Tanach, OT) is a product of the ancient Near Eastern culture in which it is written. The "God" of this text is not so much revealed, but revealing of the cultural milieu in which it was written. This is the view of modern higher criticism.
      > >
      > > Now, the twist: Is historical Gnosticism an early form of higher criticism, but couched in the language of its day? In other words, in reading the Jewish Scripture they saw a "God" who did not fit their "modern" sensibilities (ex, "I am a jealous God"). Instead of recognizing this view of God as a product of a past historical period with its own agendas and concerns (as in current higher criticism), they called this "God" the Demiurge (a divine being less than the Source, and in some cases even evil).
      > >
      > > In short (and likely not to help), the hermeneutic is the same (they are trying to interpret the same dissonance in the text), but a different epistemology (the language of myth [the ancient language of criticism] as opposed to the language of modern textual criticism).
      > >
      > > Any thoughts?
      > >
      > > Mark
      > >
      >
      >
      > Mark, you bring up a very interesting comparison that I hadn't consciously considered before.
      >
      > When I think of modern higher textual criticism, I tend to think of a modern need to look at texts with a rational, objective, scientific, historical approach. This can meet with opposition from those who consider the Bible or other scriptures as literal, inerrant word of god. But in essence (at least theoretically), one type of academic textual criticism does not intend to judge one way or another about god or miracles or revelation, etc. It's just that it recognizes that humans have given varied meaning to events and that an objective investigation into identification of events, scriptural authorship, form, and tradition could be helpful as a tool to offer a balanced approach. I do wonder if this need is partly perceived because of a modern dichotomy between religious and secular life. Is modern religion or at least some modern religion perceived to be too irrational without enough rational basis or critical self-analysis or valid historical perspective (especially for those religions relying on historical "truths")?
      >
      > I don't see such mutually exclusive approaches with the Gnostics analyzing and interpreting or reinterpreting ancient texts. Although throughout history there have been those who read scripture more literally and those who interpret symbolically,... allegory and myth, of course, didn't begin with the Gnostics and were quite commonplace. Gnostics, however, did use esoteric language and meaning designed to be gradually understood by the initiate. And they did have a different spin on many of the same writings used by other religious sects, including those now found in the modern Bible. The Gnostics were highly philosophical; they acknowledged Reason, Intellect, and rational thought, at the same time recognizing spiritually revelatory understanding. In other words, the Gnostic criticism going on seems to center on interpretation of philosophy, scripture and what is really being spiritually revealed, not only historical concerns.
      >
      > Anyway, these are just some nascent thoughts, certainly subject to revision. *lol*
      >
      > Cari
      >
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