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Re: Gnosticism Does Not Posess Passwords To Heaven

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  • lady_caritas
    Hi, Des. I m not sure if you re actually interested in a historical Jesus or whether you re just tracing the character in stories. It seems that much of
    Message 1 of 15 , Apr 14, 2010
      Hi, Des. I'm not sure if you're actually interested in a historical Jesus or whether you're just tracing the character in stories. It seems that much of mainstream Christian scholarship spends a lot of time and energy on a historical Jesus when historicity of Jesus is not a certainty, especially as portrayed in various gospels. There are no reliable controls outside gospel accounts to corroborate his existence, even though everyone has a right to belief or faith in such a person, if that is their interest.

      The ancient Gnostics seemed more concerned in Jesus as part of their theology, and finding esoteric meaning within the mythology, rather than as a character in a solely historical account.

      Cari


      --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "kurt31416" <kurt31416@...> wrote:
      >
      >
      >
      > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "Des Adams" <sirdesmond1@> wrote:
      > >
      > > From Des, I’ve read the Gnostic Bible and have been meditating and reading postings on Gnosticism for a few months now. What I am inquiring about and may be someone out there knows. Was Jesus and Paul
      >
      > Jesus and Paul were mortal enemies. Paul slaughtered most of the followers of Jesus according to Acts and the letters of Paul. It's as likely as not that Paul was involved in killing Jesus too.
      >
      > > the apostle of the north Israel group of the Essences or were they of another group,
      >
      > Virtually nothing is known of the Essenes. The Christians and Jews never mention them in their writings. They had nothing to do with Qumran or the Dead Sea Scrolls. They pin it on the Essenes, since it's inconvenient for Christians and Jews. Turns out, for instance, the Dead Sea Scrolls are as close or closer to the Samaritan version of the Torah than the Masoretic the Jews use.
      >
      > > which went back to the Buddha to which Paul Christianised “The Way” which is in the book of Acts?
      >
      > Jesus and apparently Paul were totally oblivious to the Buddha. Not a single solitary parallel. Lots to the Greeks including the Cynics, but not Buddha.
      >
      > >
      > > ----- Original Message -----
      > > From: brownbagprd@
      > > To: gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com
      > > Sent: Tuesday, April 13, 2010 5:16 PM
      > > Subject: Re: [Gnosticism2] Gnosticism Does Not Posess Passwords To Heaven
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > I am quite sure this Gnostic doesn't know what an "Ennead" is.
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > Neal
      > >
      > > Gnostic and other Judeo-Christian materials/ subjects at
      > > http://iontruth.blogspot.com/
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > -----Original Message-----
      > > From: Chester <chesterelders28@>
      > > To: gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com
      > > Sent: Mon, Apr 12, 2010 6:46 pm
      > > Subject: [Gnosticism2] Gnosticism Does Not Posess Passwords To Heaven
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > Orthodoxy assumes the great gnostic texts were written during the halcyon years of the church. According to the official line, they were composed as a direct challenge to the authority of the nascent Christian faith. We know, now that orthodoxy is an anachronism; at most, there was only a proto-orthodoxy in the early to middle second century. Elaine Pagels has persuasively argued that orthodoxy was primarily a political attempt at control over the various recalcitrant churches. So; the question arises: Why do we search the gnostic scriptures, now? At most, they have an historical and antiquarian value. Why do we presume, though that these ancient writings conceal hidden wisdom? I dearsay that few, if any new-age gnostics know of, or care about the Enneads by Plotinus. Yet, straightforward philosophical works contain more truth than obtuse speculations embellished with religious trappings.
      > >
      > > Of course; The Hypostasis of the archons contains legitimate attempts at understanding intractable questions, perhaps even the most intractable question, of all: What is our role in the cosmos? I don't object to appreciating what, say the Gospel of Judas alleges about the nature of God. What I do object to is mining the gnostic texts for passwords to heaven. The cosmologies and cosmogonies of the gnostics are long exploded. I'm incredulous at those who actually believe they can descern the geography of heaven from 2000 years old writings; and yet, would scoff at anyone who claims Jesus is the son of God by appealing to Holy Scripture.
      > >
      > > What I'm inveighing against is the shallow supposition that history colluded with Christian orthodoxy to conceal truth which can now be had by tabloid-crazed new-age zealots. I put them on the same intellectual level as those sad street people who wear tinfoil hats to protect themselves from alien rays. Of course, if burning incense and chanting passages from a Mandean text gives you the illusion of being closer to the divine, then have at it. After all, that is your constitutional right. But, if you want to be a serious student of gnosticism, then reconcile yourself to this truth: God is not to be found in some yellowing palimpsest. The divine can only be gleaned in our efforts to discern the law behind the law.
      > >
      > > Chester
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > No virus found in this incoming message.
      > > Checked by AVG - www.avg.com
      > > Version: 9.0.791 / Virus Database: 271.1.1/2809 - Release Date: 04/14/10 06:22:00
      > >
      >
    • Tom Urash
      Hello Chester, ... From: Chester Subject: [Gnosticism2] Gnosticism Does Not Posess Passwords To Heaven To:
      Message 2 of 15 , Apr 15, 2010
        Hello Chester,

        --- On Mon, 4/12/10, Chester <chesterelders28@...> wrote:

        From: Chester <chesterelders28@...>
        Subject: [Gnosticism2] Gnosticism Does Not Posess Passwords To Heaven
        To: gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Monday, April 12, 2010, 10:37 PM

         
        Orthodoxy assumes the great gnostic texts were written during the halcyon years of the church. According to the official line, they were composed as a direct challenge to the authority of the nascent Christian faith. We know, now that orthodoxy is an anachronism; at most, there was only a proto-orthodoxy in the early to middle second century. Elaine Pagels has persuasively argued that orthodoxy was primarily a political attempt at control over the various recalcitrant churches. So; the question arises: Why do we search the gnostic scriptures, now? At most, they have an historical and antiquarian value. Why do we presume, though that these ancient writings conceal hidden wisdom? I dearsay that few, if any new-age gnostics know of, or care about the Enneads by Plotinus. Yet, straightforward philosophical works contain more truth than obtuse speculations embellished with religious trappings.
        *******************************************************************************************
        T-- 
        I'd say the presumption you speak of can come from several quarters. While I mostly agree with you questioning the presumption that truth or wisdom can always be gleaned from these texts (I'm intentionally skeptical most of the time), it's equally valid, imo, to question anybody's presumptions as they approach any given text, even those orthodox philosophies handed down to us from the ancients.
        *******************************************************************************************

        Of course; The Hypostasis of the archons contains legitimate attempts at understanding intractable questions, perhaps even the most intractable question, of all: What is our role in the cosmos? I don't object to appreciating what, say the Gospel of Judas alleges about the nature of God. What I do object to is mining the gnostic texts for passwords to heaven. The cosmologies and cosmogonies of the gnostics are long exploded. I'm incredulous at those who actually believe they can descern the geography of heaven from 2000 years old writings; and yet, would scoff at anyone who claims Jesus is the son of God by appealing to Holy Scripture.
        *******************************************************************************************
        T-- 
        That's a great turn of phrase there, "mining the gnostic texts for passwords to heaven." Not to mention I think you make a really good point about the "discerners" who are also "scoffers." Makes me think about the recent
        New Age "fluffy bunnies" posting.
         
        The Sufis have maintained for centuries that the transmission of "truth," shall we say, depends entirely on time, place and location; that there are a scant few in the world at any one time who can decipher anything of value from the ossified remains of your "yellowed palimpsests." In other words, it takes one who has already arrived to make the determination of what, if anything, from such traditions can or should be retransmitted in some form or another. Otherwise the emotion and entertainment seekers are not unlike an unlearned music enthusiast trying, for one thing, to decipher an uncredited score of a Mahler or Bach from the
        uncredited score of a 1950's era "B" monster film; and then, for another thing, imaging they can make either score come alive in their hearts and imagination without an orchestra playing it for them.
        *******************************************************************************************

        What I'm inveighing against is the shallow supposition that history colluded with Christian orthodoxy to conceal truth which can now be had by tabloid-crazed new-age zealots.
        *******************************************************************************************
        T-- 
        "Inveighing" was the right adjective here. But before I go on, this little ditty from Hafiz:
         

        I know a thousand brilliant lies
        For the question
        "What is God."
         
        I know a thousand brilliant lies
        For the question
        "How are you."
         
        If you think you can find Truth from words
         
        If you think the sun and the ocean
         
        Can pass through that tiny opening
        Called the Mouth,
         
        O someone should start laughing,
        Someone should start wildly laughing --
        Now!
         

        We have no real knowledge of what kinds of "truth" (of the internalized, self-realized gnosis variety) some gnostic authors possessed or came into, nor any definitive knowledge of the processes and techniques used to attain it, only the knowledge that some early Xians tried to suppress their writings and, soon enough, their very person.
         
        We don't really know how to read their words. We don't know whether or not they were designed by their authors to be taken as literal or encrypted (the "obtuse speculations embellished with religious trappings" ) for the benefit of the initiated or the ripening, so to speak, of the catechumen  To take their cosmogonies and other unique ideas as expressed in their writings literally may be very much a mistake. We just can't know. And those heresy hunters and suppressors probably never saw themselves as working to conceal esoteric truths. I think it more likely they had a heart felt belief that they were doing the right thing for the sake of their flock's salvation. They feared. Or, to paraphrase Virginia Wolfe, maybe they, being human, sought to do violence to those who held low the things they held so high.
         
        Looking back at the comic tragedy wrought so large by Arius, Athanasius, Constantine, his issue, literally hundreds of bishops, numerous cities and thousands of lay people (the hoi poloi) over the whole homoousis vs homoiousis arguments is a great historical personification of Wolfe's observation. 
        *******************************************************************************************
         
        I put them on the same intellectual level as those sad street people who wear tinfoil hats to protect themselves from alien rays. Of course, if burning incense and chanting passages from a Mandean text gives you the illusion of being closer to the divine, then have at it. After all, that is your constitutional right. But, if you want to be a serious student of gnosticism, then reconcile yourself to this truth: God is not to be found in some yellowing palimpsest. The divine can only be gleaned in our efforts to discern the law behind the law.

        Chester
        *******************************************************************************************
        T--
        Again, at the risk of coming across as overly strident, your example of the Mandean chanter might very well place a person's very being closer to "the
        divine." After all, couldn't that work as a form of meditation that might, just maybe, quiet someone's mind enough to allow them some new insight; even a gleaning of the "law behind the law?"  I could see that happening.I certainly wouldn't rule it out.

         Tom U.

      • kurt31416
        There s more evidence for a historical Jesus than for Socrates. Other than kings that wrote it on walls, it s all hearsay. We have actual physical scraps of
        Message 3 of 15 , Apr 15, 2010
          There's more evidence for a historical Jesus than for Socrates. Other than kings that wrote it on walls, it's all hearsay. We have actual physical scraps of things said by Jesus within about 100 years of his death. We have nothing Socrates said within about 1000 years of his death.

          --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, lady_caritas <no_reply@...> wrote:
          >
          > Hi, Des. I'm not sure if you're actually interested in a historical Jesus or whether you're just tracing the character in stories. It seems that much of mainstream Christian scholarship spends a lot of time and energy on a historical Jesus when historicity of Jesus is not a certainty, especially as portrayed in various gospels. There are no reliable controls outside gospel accounts to corroborate his existence, even though everyone has a right to belief or faith in such a person, if that is their interest.
          >
          > The ancient Gnostics seemed more concerned in Jesus as part of their theology, and finding esoteric meaning within the mythology, rather than as a character in a solely historical account.
          >
          > Cari
          >
          >
          > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "kurt31416" <kurt31416@> wrote:
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "Des Adams" <sirdesmond1@> wrote:
          > > >
          > > > From Des, I’ve read the Gnostic Bible and have been meditating and reading postings on Gnosticism for a few months now. What I am inquiring about and may be someone out there knows. Was Jesus and Paul
          > >
          > > Jesus and Paul were mortal enemies. Paul slaughtered most of the followers of Jesus according to Acts and the letters of Paul. It's as likely as not that Paul was involved in killing Jesus too.
          > >
          > > > the apostle of the north Israel group of the Essences or were they of another group,
          > >
          > > Virtually nothing is known of the Essenes. The Christians and Jews never mention them in their writings. They had nothing to do with Qumran or the Dead Sea Scrolls. They pin it on the Essenes, since it's inconvenient for Christians and Jews. Turns out, for instance, the Dead Sea Scrolls are as close or closer to the Samaritan version of the Torah than the Masoretic the Jews use.
          > >
          > > > which went back to the Buddha to which Paul Christianised “The Way” which is in the book of Acts?
          > >
          > > Jesus and apparently Paul were totally oblivious to the Buddha. Not a single solitary parallel. Lots to the Greeks including the Cynics, but not Buddha.
          > >
          > > >
          > > > ----- Original Message -----
          > > > From: brownbagprd@
          > > > To: gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com
          > > > Sent: Tuesday, April 13, 2010 5:16 PM
          > > > Subject: Re: [Gnosticism2] Gnosticism Does Not Posess Passwords To Heaven
          > > >
          > > >
          > > >
          > > >
          > > > I am quite sure this Gnostic doesn't know what an "Ennead" is.
          > > >
          > > >
          > > >
          > > > Neal
          > > >
          > > > Gnostic and other Judeo-Christian materials/ subjects at
          > > > http://iontruth.blogspot.com/
          > > >
          > > >
          > > >
          > > >
          > > > -----Original Message-----
          > > > From: Chester <chesterelders28@>
          > > > To: gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com
          > > > Sent: Mon, Apr 12, 2010 6:46 pm
          > > > Subject: [Gnosticism2] Gnosticism Does Not Posess Passwords To Heaven
          > > >
          > > >
          > > >
          > > > Orthodoxy assumes the great gnostic texts were written during the halcyon years of the church. According to the official line, they were composed as a direct challenge to the authority of the nascent Christian faith. We know, now that orthodoxy is an anachronism; at most, there was only a proto-orthodoxy in the early to middle second century. Elaine Pagels has persuasively argued that orthodoxy was primarily a political attempt at control over the various recalcitrant churches. So; the question arises: Why do we search the gnostic scriptures, now? At most, they have an historical and antiquarian value. Why do we presume, though that these ancient writings conceal hidden wisdom? I dearsay that few, if any new-age gnostics know of, or care about the Enneads by Plotinus. Yet, straightforward philosophical works contain more truth than obtuse speculations embellished with religious trappings.
          > > >
          > > > Of course; The Hypostasis of the archons contains legitimate attempts at understanding intractable questions, perhaps even the most intractable question, of all: What is our role in the cosmos? I don't object to appreciating what, say the Gospel of Judas alleges about the nature of God. What I do object to is mining the gnostic texts for passwords to heaven. The cosmologies and cosmogonies of the gnostics are long exploded. I'm incredulous at those who actually believe they can descern the geography of heaven from 2000 years old writings; and yet, would scoff at anyone who claims Jesus is the son of God by appealing to Holy Scripture.
          > > >
          > > > What I'm inveighing against is the shallow supposition that history colluded with Christian orthodoxy to conceal truth which can now be had by tabloid-crazed new-age zealots. I put them on the same intellectual level as those sad street people who wear tinfoil hats to protect themselves from alien rays. Of course, if burning incense and chanting passages from a Mandean text gives you the illusion of being closer to the divine, then have at it. After all, that is your constitutional right. But, if you want to be a serious student of gnosticism, then reconcile yourself to this truth: God is not to be found in some yellowing palimpsest. The divine can only be gleaned in our efforts to discern the law behind the law.
          > > >
          > > > Chester
          > > >
          > > >
          > > >
          > > >
          > > >
          > > >
          > > >
          > > > ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
          > > >
          > > >
          > > >
          > > > No virus found in this incoming message.
          > > > Checked by AVG - www.avg.com
          > > > Version: 9.0.791 / Virus Database: 271.1.1/2809 - Release Date: 04/14/10 06:22:00
          > > >
          > >
          >
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