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Re: Gospel of Thomas not Gnostic???

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  • lady_caritas
    Okay, Ernst ~ 1. Yes, I do now and did before understand the difference between docetic and adoptionist theories. 2. Yes, thank you for
    Message 1 of 27 , Mar 11, 2002
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      Okay, Ernst ~<br><br>1. Yes, I do now and did
      before understand the difference between docetic and
      adoptionist theories.<br><br>2. Yes, thank you for explaining
      what you meant by �_the_ redeemer.�<br><br>3. Hey,
      I�ve even heard it posited that GPh might be
      Carpocratian. Whadayathink, Ernst?
      ;-)<br><br>4. �>>>So, Ernst, should we now only accept the docetic
      passages from GPh as being truly Gnostic, since the
      adoptionist view required �no
      crucifixion�?<<<<br><br>Again, you are mistaking with that either adaptionalists
      or docetic kind of thinking. You are stuck in the
      OLD thinking if you think docetic=Gnostics. That is
      premature as much as thinking the GTh=Gnostics. Let me make
      my point clear; all I am saying is Gnosticism
      CONSITS of the elements of BOTH adationalists and
      docetists.� <br><br>Uh, . . my turn to clarify, Ernst. I do
      NOT think only �docetic=Gnostics.� I was merely
      quoting the adoptionist view requiring �no crucifixion�
      as a view of YOURS, so IOW why bother with the
      adoptionist parts if they aren�t up to �full-blown� status.
      Please excuse the sarcasm in my
      line.<br><br>5. �Congenial does not mean they are same. You must admit that
      the GTh is much earlier document then the
      GTr.�<br><br>Well, of course GTh is an earlier document. So what? My
      point was that IF you consider the GTr to be �Gnostic,�
      then it�s apparent that the GTh has in common the very
      important theme of salvation by acquaintance, which is a
      very strong indication of something that might be
      considered Gnostic.<br><br>6. �And if you read what I wrote,
      I am not talking about the present Coptic version
      found in Nag Hammadi specially. I did state clearly
      that that version has "Gnostic redaction" or something
      like "redaction by a Gnostic scribe" You see, I was
      looking at the GTh as the list of sayings along with
      other "lost" sayings which the scholars called
      Q.�<br><br>And if you read what Terje and I both wrote, the
      Coptic version is the only full version we have and what
      exactly any other full version in Greek might contain is
      only speculation. And even if we agree that there
      might have been a �Gnostic redaction,� how can we know
      that the original would have been? And, Ernst, even if
      it did indeed very likely exist, the �Q� source is
      exactly as you say, �lost.� Then again there is even
      speculation that the GTh could be the �Q� source
      itself.<br><br>7. So, Ernst, after all this clarification on both sides
      ~ I do understand that you and I BOTH consider
      �full-blown� Gnosticism of the second century to include both
      docetic and adoptionist theories. But my argument isn�t
      about top to bottom or bottom to top.<br><br>It�s about
      a house and its built-on addition to accommodate
      everybody. <br><br>The Gospel of Thomas might not have a
      full-blown, added-on Christology which includes a death and
      resurrection theme. BUT, is it entirely possible that the main
      home, the theme of acquaintance, might be enough to
      deem this work �Gnostic�? Isn�t Gnosis what it's all
      about?<br><br>Yes, I totally agree that Christology is important if
      a figure of Christ is in a group�s soteriology. But
      is the issue of Christ as THE redeemer vs. Jesus as
      A redeemer important if the basic salvific message
      of Gnosis is evident?
    • ernststrohregenmantelrad
      ... In my opinion, I think Heresiologists went over board with libertine groups. I don t think these libertine groups are sex maniac as heresiologists claim.
      Message 2 of 27 , Mar 20, 2002
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        --- In gnosticism2@y..., lady_caritas wrote:
        > Hey,
        > I’ve even heard it posited that GPh might be
        > Carpocratian. Whadayathink, Ernst?
        > ;-)

        In my opinion, I think Heresiologists went over board with
        "libertine" groups. I don't think these libertine groups are sex
        maniac as heresiologists claim. Again, claiming the GPh to this
        group or that is premature. The secret gospel of Mark is
        definitely used by Carpocratian so is it also a Carpocratian
        document?

        >Uh, . . my turn to clarify, Ernst. I do
        > NOT think only "docetic=Gnostics." I was merely
        > quoting the adoptionist view requiring "no crucifixion"
        > as a view of YOURS, so IOW why bother with the
        > adoptionist parts if they aren’t up to "full-blown" status.

        Because that will lead up to "full-blown" status. Because my
        opinion is that adaptionalists and docetists together formed the
        nexus of Christianity/Gnosticism. Nevertheless, I will not venture
        to call it as such unless it is in the nexus. Until then, I would
        much prefer to call it pre- or proto-Gnosticism/Christianity

        >"Congenial does not mean they are same. You must admit that
        > the GTh is much earlier document then the
        > GTr." Well, of course GTh is an earlier document. So what? My
        > point was that IF you consider the GTr to be 'Gnostic,'
        > then it's apparent that the GTh has in common the very
        > important theme of salvation by acquaintance, which is a
        > very strong indication of something that might be
        > considered Gnostic.

        More on this later but.... Are the criteria for Gnosticism ONLY
        includes "salvation by acquaintance"? I don't think so. If that is
        the ONLY criteria then we must include the whole gamut of
        religions as such. Is Hermetism Gnostic? Is Kabbalah Gnostic?
        Is Buddhism Gnostic? Again, we discuss this before on the
        definition of Gnosticism and on the delimiting factors

        >And if you read what Terje and I both wrote, the
        > Coptic version is the only full version we have and what
        > exactly any other full version in Greek might contain is
        > only speculation. And even if we agree that there
        > might have been a 'Gnostic redaction,' how can we know
        > that the original would have been? And, Ernst, even if
        > it did indeed very likely exist, the 'Q' source is
        > exactly as you say, 'lost.' Then again there is even
        > speculation that the GTh could be the 'Q' source
        > itself.

        No original texts of any scriptures exist. Any scriptures are
        bounded to be redacted by a group that uses them. My point is
        the GTh is not originally written by Gnostics but rather "adopted"
        (sorry the pun) from the group the earlier group. It is like the "Old
        Testament" being a Christian scripture. But the OT is not really
        Christian original, right? It is the reworking of Tanakh. Is still the
        same thing yet it is different.

        >So, Ernst, after all this clarification on both sides
        > ~ I do understand that you and I BOTH consider
        > "full-blown" Gnosticism of the second century to include both
        > docetic and adoptionist theories. But my argument isn't
        > about top to bottom or bottom to top. It's about
        > a house and its built-on addition to accommodate
        > everybody.

        If you make it all thing for all people then what is the point of
        initiation into a specific path?

        The Gospel of Thomas might not have a
        > full-blown, added-on Christology which includes a death and
        > resurrection theme. BUT, is it entirely possible that the main
        > home, the theme of acquaintance, might be enough to
        > deem this work "Gnostic"

        NO!

        > Isn't Gnosis what it's all
        > about?

        “Gnosis” not “Gnosticism”

        Yes, I totally agree that Christology is important if
        > a figure of Christ is in a group’s soteriology. But
        > is the issue of Christ as THE redeemer vs. Jesus as
        > A redeemer important if the basic salvific message
        > of Gnosis is evident?

        I am not stressing the difference in “a” vs. “the” but rather the
        ROLE of the redeemer in salvation. Again, top-down vs. bottom –
        up or rather better terms here would be descending vs.
        ascending. Did a redeemer ascended or descended to achieve
        the salvation?
      • lady_caritas
        ... wrote: The secret gospel of Mark is definitely used by Carpocratian so is it also a Carpocratian document? I think fragments we have of _The Secret
        Message 3 of 27 , Mar 20, 2002
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          --- In gnosticism2@y..., ernststrohregenmantelrad <no_reply@y...>
          wrote:
          "The secret gospel of Mark is definitely used by Carpocratian so is
          it also a Carpocratian document?"

          I think fragments we have of _The Secret Gospel of Mark_ illustrate
          that there were indeed different editions of the _Gospel of Mark_ ,
          the former possibly used in an esoteric setting, which may have
          included those Carpocratians. Clement stated that the Carpocratians
          used a different version of _The Secret Gospel of Mark_ than did his
          own church. The canonical _Gospel of Mark_ may have been an
          abbreviated version of _The Secret Gospel of Mark_ and certainly went
          through many revisions, including additions to the ending of the last
          chapter. Originally there was no big emphasis on the resurrection.

          All this goes to show the instability of gospel texts in the first
          couple centuries. For instance, should we now consider the Gospel of
          John to be the "property" of orthodox Christianity, just because they
          included it in their canon, and not of Gnostics, who were early
          interpreters of this gospel?

          My opinion is that there existed various editions of texts used by
          different groups, . . . which fits the profile of a very fluid period
          of a burgeoning "Christianity" that was later stunted in its growth
          by the orthodox institution. I don't believe a scripture necessarily
          should be labeled as "belonging" to only one religion or
          interpretation in every case.

          So, in respect to _The Gospel of Thomas_, of course we see redactions
          to fit whatever group might "claim" this collection of sayings.

          Should we also consider the gospels of Mark, John, and Thomas to be
          in your "pre" or "proto"-Gnostic category, Ernst? If you want to go
          to all that trouble with specific designations, be my guest.

          Also, my point was NOT that Buddhism, etc. should be considered
          Gnostic. Please note that I capitalized the "G" in Gnosis, Gnostic,
          Gnosticism for our discussion (although it really shouldn't be
          necessary). Please view my comments within this context.
          Nonetheless, I'll take full responsibility for not being clear that
          my discussion was intended to be within the milieu of the
          Judeo/Hellenic syncretistic phenomenon of the late antiquities. So,
          when I said, "salvation by acquaintance," I was referring to salvific
          Gnosis within this Gnostic setting.

          "My point is the GTh is not originally written by Gnostics but
          rather "adopted" (sorry the pun) from the group the earlier group."

          And my point remains, Ernst, what is this "earlier" group? Was
          this "group" at least within the Judeo/Hellenic syncretistic setting
          of the late antiquities?

          And then, how do we categorize works like _The Three Tablets of
          Seth_, _Zostrianos_, and _The Foreigner_? These works show Platonic
          roots, but some scholars remain in doubt as to definite ties to a
          Christology, let alone a "full-blown" Christology. Even so, Bentley
          Layton included these works in his Classic Gnostic Scripture section
          in the book _The Gnostic Scriptures_. Huh, go figure.

          I suppose, Ernst, with all the various versions of text and
          instability that characterized this setting in the late antiquities,
          I prefer to retain the mutability of this fluid period by NOT overly
          classifying Gnosticism, and thus not compromising its true
          distinctiveness of fluidity. HOWEVER, if specifying classifications,
          such as "pre" or "proto"- Gnosticism helps YOU to relate to this
          phenomenon, by all means go right ahead.

          And as far as direction (ascent, descent, top, bottom), Ernst, a good
          friend of mine recently said that considering the paradox that IS
          Gnosticism, it was not out of line to consider that the top WAS the
          bottom.

          So, Ernst, in true Gnostic fashion, per my friend's suggestion, I
          offer you a proper toast prior to your Gnostic beverage of
          choice, . . . "Bottoms up!"

          Cari
        • ernststrohregenmantelrad
          Now, on to you, my dear. ... no_reply@y... ... so is ... illustrate ... Mark_ , ... have ... Carpocratians ... did his ... an ... certainly went ... the last
          Message 4 of 27 , Mar 23, 2002
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            Now, on to you, my dear.

            --- In gnosticism2@y..., lady_caritas <no_reply@y...> wrote:
            > --- In gnosticism2@y..., ernststrohregenmantelrad <
            no_reply@y...>
            > wrote:
            > "The secret gospel of Mark is definitely used by Carpocratian
            so is
            > it also a Carpocratian document?"
            >
            > I think fragments we have of _The Secret Gospel of Mark_
            illustrate
            > that there were indeed different editions of the _Gospel of
            Mark_ ,
            > the former possibly used in an esoteric setting, which may
            have
            > included those Carpocratians. Clement stated that the
            Carpocratians
            > used a different version of _The Secret Gospel of Mark_ than
            did his
            > own church. The canonical _Gospel of Mark_ may have been
            an
            > abbreviated version of _The Secret Gospel of Mark_ and
            certainly went
            > through many revisions, including additions to the ending of
            the last
            > chapter. Originally there was no big emphasis on the
            resurrection.
            >

            Hmmm... "no big emphasis on the resurrection" I wonder..... And
            there is no Birth narative on Mark and John either.... What is all
            this mean? Is it that my position on Adaptionalism might be
            correct? Who knows.

            > All this goes to show the instability of gospel texts in the first
            > couple centuries. For instance, should we now consider the
            Gospel of
            > John to be the "property" of orthodox Christianity, just because
            they
            > included it in their canon, and not of Gnostics, who were early
            > interpreters of this gospel?
            >

            Sure, but who originally wrote it? Some claim the GJn was
            written by Cerinthus.

            > My opinion is that there existed various editions of texts used
            by
            > different groups, . . . which fits the profile of a very fluid period
            > of a burgeoning "Christianity" that was later stunted in its
            growth
            > by the orthodox institution. I don't believe a scripture
            necessarily
            > should be labeled as "belonging" to only one religion or
            > interpretation in every case.

            Then why are you claiming the GTh as Gnostic?

            >
            > So, in respect to _The Gospel of Thomas_, of course we see
            redactions
            > to fit whatever group might "claim" this collection of sayings.
            >

            So... what's the point here?

            > Should we also consider the gospels of Mark, John, and
            Thomas to be
            > in your "pre" or "proto"-Gnostic category, Ernst?

            Sure, why not?

            >If you want to go to all that trouble with specific designations,
            be my guest.

            And if you want name everything on this world as "Gnostic" go
            right ahead.

            >
            > Also, my point was NOT that Buddhism, etc. should be
            considered
            > Gnostic. Please note that I capitalized the "G" in Gnosis,
            Gnostic,
            > Gnosticism for our discussion (although it really shouldn't be
            > necessary). Please view my comments within this context.
            > Nonetheless, I'll take full responsibility for not being clear that
            > my discussion was intended to be within the milieu of the
            > Judeo/Hellenic syncretistic phenomenon of the late antiquities.
            So,
            > when I said, "salvation by acquaintance," I was referring to
            salvific
            > Gnosis within this Gnostic setting.

            You know by now (as with my post with Hey_Market) that I don't
            use this capital convention. And I did in the statement mention
            Hermetism and Merkabah. That is Judeo/Hellenistic setting.
            Buddhaism, I took as the extreme case.

            >
            > "My point is the GTh is not originally written by Gnostics but
            > rather "adopted" (sorry the pun) from the group the earlier
            group."
            >
            > And my point remains, Ernst, what is this "earlier" group? Was
            > this "group" at least within the Judeo/Hellenic syncretistic
            setting
            > of the late antiquities?

            Of course they are within that. But that alone make them
            "Gnostic"?

            >
            > And then, how do we categorize works like _The Three Tablets
            of
            > Seth_, _Zostrianos_, and _The Foreigner_? These works
            show Platonic
            > roots, but some scholars remain in doubt as to definite ties to
            a
            > Christology, let alone a "full-blown" Christology. Even so,
            Bentley
            > Layton included these works in his Classic Gnostic Scripture
            section
            > in the book _The Gnostic Scriptures_. Huh, go figure.
            >

            Everyone has his own interpretation of Gnostcism. Why ask me
            what Layton did. Go ask him. But again, I think, those are not
            Gnostic but included and adopted because they are congeneal
            to Gnostics?

            > I suppose, Ernst, with all the various versions of text and
            > instability that characterized this setting in the late antiquities,
            > I prefer to retain the mutability of this fluid period by NOT overly
            > classifying Gnosticism, and thus not compromising its true
            > distinctiveness of fluidity.

            That is the thing isn't it. If you really mean what you wrote then the
            question of whether this scripture belongs to such and such is
            irrelevent. If Valentinians see the GTh as their scripture, fine.
            Nothing wrong with that. If "orthodox" sees the GJn as their, fine.
            But I'm not talking about that. Again, is the OT Christian
            scripture? YES. It is it is different from Tanakh..... but it is the work
            of same people. How is different then? Because Christian
            adopted to suit their own need by rearrenging the order. BUT, the
            text of the OT was written by whom? Christians?

            > HOWEVER, if specifying classifications,
            > such as "pre" or "proto"- Gnosticism helps YOU to relate to this
            > phenomenon, by all means go right ahead.

            Again, just tell me your delimitation on the term? Does it
            includes Clement of Alexandria as Gnostic? Does it includes
            Merkabah? Hermetism? How about Mainchaeism or the
            Cathars? I know where I draw the line. And that line is not arbatry
            like others.

            >
            > And as far as direction (ascent, descent, top, bottom), Ernst, a
            good
            > friend of mine recently said that considering the paradox that IS
            > Gnosticism, it was not out of line to consider that the top WAS
            the
            > bottom.
            >
            > So, Ernst, in true Gnostic fashion, per my friend's suggestion, I
            > offer you a proper toast prior to your Gnostic beverage of
            > choice, . . . "Bottoms up!"
            >
            > Cari

            Do you really understand my use of the terms or you are just
            mocking it due to not understanding it?
          • jjstroebel
            Hello. I have been quietly following along for a few months now and wish to join this discussion. You have asked many questions and I have a few of my own. Why
            Message 5 of 27 , Mar 23, 2002
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              Hello. I have been quietly following along for a few months now and
              wish to join this discussion. You have asked many questions and I
              have a few of my own. Why are you bombarding this group with your
              posts? I look back and see the number you have sent in a short time.
              Maybe you can research them and take a count. It is many. That isn't
              necessarily a problem, but here is the next question; why are you
              berating and argueing with anyone who gives an opinion not inline
              with yours?
              This group has been a place conducive to discussion and discourse
              since I joined. Many of the members have stated contradictory ideas,
              but until now there has been no vailed attacks, disections of posts
              with the aim of 'disproving' them, no 'expert opinions'. Look, this
              isn't a court room, and certainly not a debate. For the sake of the
              members here willing to offer opinion and information, back off
              please. You have been bullying these folks for a little too long now.
              If you disagree, fine. Just stop the attacks. And can you possible
              combine some of those posts for the sake of those who actually choose
              to read them?
              (did I come on too strong? ;-) )
              --- In gnosticism2@y..., ernststrohregenmantelrad <no_reply@y...>
              wrote:
              > Now, on to you, my dear.
              >
              > --- In gnosticism2@y..., lady_caritas <no_reply@y...> wrote:
              > > --- In gnosticism2@y..., ernststrohregenmantelrad <
              > no_reply@y...>
              > > wrote:
              > > "The secret gospel of Mark is definitely used by Carpocratian
              > so is
              > > it also a Carpocratian document?"
              > >
              > > I think fragments we have of _The Secret Gospel of Mark_
              > illustrate
              > > that there were indeed different editions of the _Gospel of
              > Mark_ ,
              > > the former possibly used in an esoteric setting, which may
              > have
              > > included those Carpocratians. Clement stated that the
              > Carpocratians
              > > used a different version of _The Secret Gospel of Mark_ than
              > did his
              > > own church. The canonical _Gospel of Mark_ may have been
              > an
              > > abbreviated version of _The Secret Gospel of Mark_ and
              > certainly went
              > > through many revisions, including additions to the ending of
              > the last
              > > chapter. Originally there was no big emphasis on the
              > resurrection.
              > >
              >
              > Hmmm... "no big emphasis on the resurrection" I wonder..... And
              > there is no Birth narative on Mark and John either.... What is all
              > this mean? Is it that my position on Adaptionalism might be
              > correct? Who knows.
              >
              > > All this goes to show the instability of gospel texts in the
              first
              > > couple centuries. For instance, should we now consider the
              > Gospel of
              > > John to be the "property" of orthodox Christianity, just because
              > they
              > > included it in their canon, and not of Gnostics, who were early
              > > interpreters of this gospel?
              > >
              >
              > Sure, but who originally wrote it? Some claim the GJn was
              > written by Cerinthus.
              >
              > > My opinion is that there existed various editions of texts used
              > by
              > > different groups, . . . which fits the profile of a very fluid
              period
              > > of a burgeoning "Christianity" that was later stunted in its
              > growth
              > > by the orthodox institution. I don't believe a scripture
              > necessarily
              > > should be labeled as "belonging" to only one religion or
              > > interpretation in every case.
              >
              > Then why are you claiming the GTh as Gnostic?
              >
              > >
              > > So, in respect to _The Gospel of Thomas_, of course we see
              > redactions
              > > to fit whatever group might "claim" this collection of sayings.
              > >
              >
              > So... what's the point here?
              >
              > > Should we also consider the gospels of Mark, John, and
              > Thomas to be
              > > in your "pre" or "proto"-Gnostic category, Ernst?
              >
              > Sure, why not?
              >
              > >If you want to go to all that trouble with specific designations,
              > be my guest.
              >
              > And if you want name everything on this world as "Gnostic" go
              > right ahead.
              >
              > >
              > > Also, my point was NOT that Buddhism, etc. should be
              > considered
              > > Gnostic. Please note that I capitalized the "G" in Gnosis,
              > Gnostic,
              > > Gnosticism for our discussion (although it really shouldn't be
              > > necessary). Please view my comments within this context.
              > > Nonetheless, I'll take full responsibility for not being clear
              that
              > > my discussion was intended to be within the milieu of the
              > > Judeo/Hellenic syncretistic phenomenon of the late antiquities.
              > So,
              > > when I said, "salvation by acquaintance," I was referring to
              > salvific
              > > Gnosis within this Gnostic setting.
              >
              > You know by now (as with my post with Hey_Market) that I don't
              > use this capital convention. And I did in the statement mention
              > Hermetism and Merkabah. That is Judeo/Hellenistic setting.
              > Buddhaism, I took as the extreme case.
              >
              > >
              > > "My point is the GTh is not originally written by Gnostics but
              > > rather "adopted" (sorry the pun) from the group the earlier
              > group."
              > >
              > > And my point remains, Ernst, what is this "earlier" group? Was
              > > this "group" at least within the Judeo/Hellenic syncretistic
              > setting
              > > of the late antiquities?
              >
              > Of course they are within that. But that alone make them
              > "Gnostic"?
              >
              > >
              > > And then, how do we categorize works like _The Three Tablets
              > of
              > > Seth_, _Zostrianos_, and _The Foreigner_? These works
              > show Platonic
              > > roots, but some scholars remain in doubt as to definite ties to
              > a
              > > Christology, let alone a "full-blown" Christology. Even so,
              > Bentley
              > > Layton included these works in his Classic Gnostic Scripture
              > section
              > > in the book _The Gnostic Scriptures_. Huh, go figure.
              > >
              >
              > Everyone has his own interpretation of Gnostcism. Why ask me
              > what Layton did. Go ask him. But again, I think, those are not
              > Gnostic but included and adopted because they are congeneal
              > to Gnostics?
              >
              > > I suppose, Ernst, with all the various versions of text and
              > > instability that characterized this setting in the late
              antiquities,
              > > I prefer to retain the mutability of this fluid period by NOT
              overly
              > > classifying Gnosticism, and thus not compromising its true
              > > distinctiveness of fluidity.
              >
              > That is the thing isn't it. If you really mean what you wrote then
              the
              > question of whether this scripture belongs to such and such is
              > irrelevent. If Valentinians see the GTh as their scripture, fine.
              > Nothing wrong with that. If "orthodox" sees the GJn as their, fine.
              > But I'm not talking about that. Again, is the OT Christian
              > scripture? YES. It is it is different from Tanakh..... but it is
              the work
              > of same people. How is different then? Because Christian
              > adopted to suit their own need by rearrenging the order. BUT, the
              > text of the OT was written by whom? Christians?
              >
              > > HOWEVER, if specifying classifications,
              > > such as "pre" or "proto"- Gnosticism helps YOU to relate to this
              > > phenomenon, by all means go right ahead.
              >
              > Again, just tell me your delimitation on the term? Does it
              > includes Clement of Alexandria as Gnostic? Does it includes
              > Merkabah? Hermetism? How about Mainchaeism or the
              > Cathars? I know where I draw the line. And that line is not arbatry
              > like others.
              >
              > >
              > > And as far as direction (ascent, descent, top, bottom), Ernst, a
              > good
              > > friend of mine recently said that considering the paradox that IS
              > > Gnosticism, it was not out of line to consider that the top WAS
              > the
              > > bottom.
              > >
              > > So, Ernst, in true Gnostic fashion, per my friend's suggestion, I
              > > offer you a proper toast prior to your Gnostic beverage of
              > > choice, . . . "Bottoms up!"
              > >
              > > Cari
              >
              > Do you really understand my use of the terms or you are just
              > mocking it due to not understanding it?
            • pmcvflag
              Sheesh, I come back after a hiatus only to find an altercation in progress! Well, that just means that you all will be forced to hear my opinion on the subject
              Message 6 of 27 , Mar 23, 2002
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                Sheesh, I come back after a hiatus only to find an altercation in
                progress! Well, that just means that you all will be forced to hear
                my opinion on the subject of Thomas, and I WILL be expecting book
                reports! Here is a reproduction of a paper I did on where I think
                Thomas fits into the spectrum of "Gnosticism". (this is a cut and
                paste from rtf, so I don't know if the format will cary over that
                well)

                The Gospel of Thomas, a Gnostic Document

                It is my intent with this thesis to argue that the Gospel of
                Thomas is in fact a Gnostic document, despite the assertions by some
                in the academia to the contrary, as well as to outline why it may not
                have been used by "orthodox" Christianity.

                First, due to the two theories we have been discussing (ino
                et, Williams and Rudolf) I feel it necessary to define what I mean by
                the word "Gnostic". I would like to take a stance that is somewhere
                in-between the two, which will disagree with the Messina definition
                as well. It has become common amongst the laity to use the arbitrary
                distinctions of a lowercase "g" in the word "gnostic" when referring
                to any religious order that places it's soteriological functioning in
                a knowledge. Gnosticism spelled with a capital "G" on the other hand
                refers to the neo-Platonist syncratism of the late antiquities as
                well as later groups that seem related in structure, world view, and
                religious ideals (this is in addition to the soteriology mentioned in
                the first definition). While this definition may seem less stringent
                in some ways to the Messina definition, in other ways it is much more
                clear, and accurate to the literal meaning of the word "Gnostic".
                Rather than placing emphasis on a cosmological conception as in Dr
                Williams' "Biblical Demiurgy", it refers to something that is more
                central to defining a religion, its soteriology, and its cultural
                source.

                Before it should sound as if this definition is overly loose,
                let me point out that while it is looser in some ways-as it would
                obviously come to include such groups as the Cathars, Hermeticism,
                and Kabbalah-it is also tighter in some ways, in that it would no
                longer include Marcion and some others that have been commonly
                included in the category "Gnosticism". Also, because it has a
                different focus as a category, it would allow "biblical demiurgy" or
                another definition like it to function at the same time in reference
                to another aspect in comparative religious studies. Because this
                definition, and arbitrary distinction, has been used by scholars such
                as Dr Scholem, it will not be completely unknown, or specific to this
                paper.

                I would like to make a distinction within Christianity as
                well. In order to make my distinction I will point out three forms of
                speculation that will hopefully seem familiar and apparent. It is
                recognized that most Christian groups will have more than one of
                these functions going on at once, and that, while I am personally
                unaware of any, there are surely some that fit none of these. Most
                sects however can readily be seen to have chosen one of three things
                as the focus for their salvation speculation. They are: apocalyptic,
                pistic (based on faith), and gnostic. By apocalyptic I am referring
                primarily to those groups that maintained the more familiar Jewish
                ideal of the Messiah as a king, only taking on the Second Coming
                ideas of Christianity, and placing emphasis on keeping the Law and
                culture of Judaism in order to be part of the coming kingdom.
                By "pistic" I am referring to those sects that would place an
                emphasis on the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins as a wage, in other
                words faith in Jesus alone saves. Our last one, gnostic, has already
                been outlined. The Christian canon has elements of all these, but the
                traditional hermeneutic emphasis is in the apocalyptic, and the
                pistic.

                Now, to outline how the Gospel itself fits into the paradigm I
                have just constructed-It is not difficult to demonstrate where this
                gospel doesn't fit. Eusebius mentions the Gospel of Thomas as one
                that is rejected (History of the church 3:25) as "published by
                heretics", so unlike some of the other Nag Hammadi codecis we don't
                have to wonder if they would have found it theologically viable; they
                didn't.

                When looking through this document, what becomes clear is that
                there are no grandiose cosmologies, and yet there is a stated
                personal connection to the cosmos. For example, saying 3:
                " . . . If those who lead you say to you `See, the kingdom is in the
                sky' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say `it is
                in the sea' then the fish will precede you. Rather it is inside you,
                and it is outside you. When you come to know yourself then you will
                become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of
                the living father. But if you do not know yourself then you will
                dwell in poverty, and it is you who are that poverty."

                Obviously this does not provide for ideas to be dictated by a
                social structure such as a church government.

                There is no cosmic eschatology stated and yet there are
                personal eschatologies. Saying 113: "his disciples said to
                him "When will the kingdom come?". Jesus said "It will not come by
                waiting for it. It will not be a matter of saying `here it is'
                or `there it is'. Rather the kingdom of the father is spread out upon
                the earth, and men do not see it". Once again, this verse does not
                establish a need for intermediaries beyond teachers. In fact, point
                after point within this book places emphasis on the need of the
                individual to find divinity away from the presupposed religious
                structure, whether in subtle differences to sayings from the
                canonical Gospels, or in sayings that exist nowhere else (sayings #
                14, 19, 24, 39, 46, 49 to name a few). Now, this is not to say that
                these ideas don't exist in canon, but that here we have an emphasis
                on the person, with none on cosmic eschatology, or faith in Jesus as
                a sacrifice. Still, if taken in the context of a canon this could
                have been offset, so this alone does not imply that it could not have
                been used by "orthodoxy".

                Lets move on to soteriological speculations. In saying number 3
                (previously outlined) one can already see an impetus toward some form
                of internal knowledge as a means to salvation. This alone places it
                well within the definition of "Gnostic" previously outlined, but
                because some canon texts fit within this definition, it doesn't
                explain why it should be Gnostic to the point of "heresy", as opposed
                to simply having Gnostic elements.

                The truth is, there is so little in this book that would deny
                outright any of the doctrinal points of belief that are outlined by
                the orthodox church. What is instead apparent is that this Gnostic
                ideal exists to the exclusion of the tenants of faith, blood
                sacrifice, and literalism that the church required. Without these
                things it falls wholly into the Gnostic category.

                Lastly, to concern our selves with the categories of "Sethian"
                vs "Valintinian" as has been outlined in class-we cannot do so with
                absolute certainty. We can say that it is most likely not Sethian,
                due to its lack of cosmology, and Biblical exegesis. But it is
                difficult to place it definitively within the ideal of
                Valintinianism. There are some similarities such as the direct
                Christian element, the universalism, the psychological (or personal)
                elements etc., but no direct initiatory or linguistic items make this
                distinction positive. On top of this is the notion forwarded by some
                scholars of the possible pre-Valintinus existence of this gospel.
                Because of these considerations I would say that instead of
                Valintinian, the Gospel of Thomas is either proto-Valintinian, semi-
                Valintinian (a related group).

                Because of the lack of ritual application, and the personal humanism
                stated in this gospel, I believe that it is indeed a valuable
                philosophical treatise even for the non-Christian. Its message, while
                occasionally abstract, is understandable, applicable, and socially
                acceptable.


                PMCV
              • lady_caritas
                ... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Hi, PMCV. :-) Book report? Uh, gosh, it s been a long week. How about just a few comments?
                Message 7 of 27 , Mar 23, 2002
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                  --- In gnosticism2@y..., pmcvflag <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                  > Well, that just means that you all will be forced to hear
                  > my opinion on the subject of Thomas, and I WILL be expecting book
                  > reports! Here is a reproduction of a paper I did on where I think
                  > Thomas fits into the spectrum of "Gnosticism". ~ Message #5692

                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                  Hi, PMCV. :-)

                  Book report? Uh, gosh, it's been a long week. How about just a few
                  comments?

                  First, . . . I truly enjoyed your paper and your comprehensive, fair,
                  critical analysis.

                  In relation to our current discussion:

                  I more readily relate to your definition of Gnosticism than the more
                  restrictive definition proposed by Ernst, which includes a need for a
                  full-blown, "elaborate" Christology including death and
                  resurrection.

                  This said, I believe we would all agree that the GTh might not be
                  representative of full-blown Valentinianism. Based on your broader
                  definition of Gnosticism, I would more readily agree that GTh is more
                  proto- or semi-Valentinian. However, I would not go so far as to say
                  that it is only proto-Gnostic, based on Ernst's more restrictive
                  definition.

                  You stated, "What is instead apparent is that this Gnostic ideal
                  exists to the exclusion of the tenants of faith, blood sacrifice, and
                  literalism that the church required. Without these things it falls
                  wholly into the Gnostic category." Yes, I agree, and again, based on
                  your more inclusive definition, this does not mean only pre- or proto-
                  Gnostic. Gnosticism in my estimation is not just one religion or
                  group, be it Valentinianism or another. Therefore, we could very
                  well see this scripture "belonging" to various religions within a
                  Gnostic setting.

                  My reservations throughout this discussion have been centered on
                  whether or not the term "Gnosticism" should be as restrictive as the
                  one proposed by Ernst. On the other hand, I have no interest in
                  naming "everything on this world as `Gnostic'" as was misconstrued by
                  Ernst.

                  Thank you for sharing your paper with us, PMCV.

                  Cari
                • lady_caritas
                  ... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ jjstroebel, even though you were not addressing me in your post, I would like to offer my
                  Message 8 of 27 , Mar 23, 2002
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                    --- In gnosticism2@y..., jjstroebel <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                    > Hello. I have been quietly following along for a few months now and
                    > wish to join this discussion. (Message #5691)

                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                    jjstroebel, even though you were not addressing me in your post, I
                    would like to offer my apology for in any way contributing to
                    an "altercation" as described by PMCV. I realize now that Ernst is
                    determined to harangue me until I fall on my knees begging for mercy
                    and a "full-blown" Christology as necessary for "full-blown" Gnostic
                    labeling. So, instead of continuing to be an opportunity for his
                    line by line attacks, I have decided not to *directly* respond to his
                    last reply to me, line by line.

                    I hope Ernst realizes that I respect his right to his opinion, but
                    that I do not care to perpetuate an atmosphere of hostility in the
                    club. I hope you and others will feel comfortable to share your
                    opinions on this topic and others without fear of reprisal from other
                    members. And, I'll try to keep my unnecessary sarcastic comments
                    toward Ernst to a minimum.

                    Cari
                  • ernststrohregenmantelrad
                    Thank you for your comment. I can see that you just joined the group in Jan. which means you had no idea what transcribed in this club/group since its
                    Message 9 of 27 , Mar 24, 2002
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                      Thank you for your comment. I can see that you just joined the
                      group in Jan. which means you had no idea what transcribed in
                      this club/group since its conception. As for the huge amount of
                      posts that I post it is due to the fact that some were posted 2x or
                      3x due to yahoo error and some long posts before must be
                      broken into several posts in order to be posted because it was
                      too long. Still, I must say I am opionated and if I do post a lots
                      because no one else post anything. Now, you could say that I
                      intimidate people from not posting.... I don't think so because I
                      purposely didn't post anything from Dec till late Feb. Within that
                      time there were actually decline in posts. One time there were no
                      posting for about week. If you think I post a lots now you haven't
                      seen anything. Tooo bad yahoo screwed up everything that
                      achives are lost now. One time I posted 25 posts in a low.

                      As for argument or something like that. I am not beating anyone.
                      I am just saying that is what you think and here is what I think.
                      You don't have to agree with me. In fact I don't want you to agree
                      with me. As to dicecting thingy, I am just pointing out what I think
                      to be a flaw or unsubstantiated claim. (Etically, mind you) If what
                      you believe works for you great more power to you. I don't care.
                      But all too often those that cry freedom and everyone to believe
                      what ever they choose all too often offended when differenig
                      opinions are voiced. I am just stating thing as it is etically. Thing
                      as it is and thing as one peceive is different. Of course I am also
                      guity of injecting my own prejudges into things. No one is
                      emmune to that.

                      If you 've been reading carefully. There is not really arguement
                      between any of posts between others and me. In basic we are in
                      agreement. It is just that demarkation of the term "Gnostics"
                      makes it seems like there is disagreement. And you know why I
                      brought in this topic? Because of that very reason. I don't want
                      people to take granted what "Gnostics" means. When people
                      use that term I want people to know what exactly means and
                      implies and not just loose New Agey definition that I often see
                      being used. If you detest 'expert' opinion then this is not the place
                      for you because from the day one we have been talking about
                      scholars. There is really no attack; it is telling people to be more
                      solid.
                    • wherecar54
                      Thank You for asking this............. ... time. ... isn t ... ideas, ... now. ... choose ... all ... because ... sayings. ... designations, ... antiquities.
                      Message 10 of 27 , Mar 24, 2002
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                        Thank You for asking this.............

                        --- In gnosticism2@y..., jjstroebel <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                        > Hello. I have been quietly following along for a few months now and
                        > wish to join this discussion. You have asked many questions and I
                        > have a few of my own. Why are you bombarding this group with your
                        > posts? I look back and see the number you have sent in a short
                        time.
                        > Maybe you can research them and take a count. It is many. That
                        isn't
                        > necessarily a problem, but here is the next question; why are you
                        > berating and argueing with anyone who gives an opinion not inline
                        > with yours?
                        > This group has been a place conducive to discussion and discourse
                        > since I joined. Many of the members have stated contradictory
                        ideas,
                        > but until now there has been no vailed attacks, disections of posts
                        > with the aim of 'disproving' them, no 'expert opinions'. Look, this
                        > isn't a court room, and certainly not a debate. For the sake of the
                        > members here willing to offer opinion and information, back off
                        > please. You have been bullying these folks for a little too long
                        now.
                        > If you disagree, fine. Just stop the attacks. And can you possible
                        > combine some of those posts for the sake of those who actually
                        choose
                        > to read them?
                        > (did I come on too strong? ;-) )
                        > --- In gnosticism2@y..., ernststrohregenmantelrad <no_reply@y...>
                        > wrote:
                        > > Now, on to you, my dear.
                        > >
                        > > --- In gnosticism2@y..., lady_caritas <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                        > > > --- In gnosticism2@y..., ernststrohregenmantelrad <
                        > > no_reply@y...>
                        > > > wrote:
                        > > > "The secret gospel of Mark is definitely used by Carpocratian
                        > > so is
                        > > > it also a Carpocratian document?"
                        > > >
                        > > > I think fragments we have of _The Secret Gospel of Mark_
                        > > illustrate
                        > > > that there were indeed different editions of the _Gospel of
                        > > Mark_ ,
                        > > > the former possibly used in an esoteric setting, which may
                        > > have
                        > > > included those Carpocratians. Clement stated that the
                        > > Carpocratians
                        > > > used a different version of _The Secret Gospel of Mark_ than
                        > > did his
                        > > > own church. The canonical _Gospel of Mark_ may have been
                        > > an
                        > > > abbreviated version of _The Secret Gospel of Mark_ and
                        > > certainly went
                        > > > through many revisions, including additions to the ending of
                        > > the last
                        > > > chapter. Originally there was no big emphasis on the
                        > > resurrection.
                        > > >
                        > >
                        > > Hmmm... "no big emphasis on the resurrection" I wonder..... And
                        > > there is no Birth narative on Mark and John either.... What is
                        all
                        > > this mean? Is it that my position on Adaptionalism might be
                        > > correct? Who knows.
                        > >
                        > > > All this goes to show the instability of gospel texts in the
                        > first
                        > > > couple centuries. For instance, should we now consider the
                        > > Gospel of
                        > > > John to be the "property" of orthodox Christianity, just
                        because
                        > > they
                        > > > included it in their canon, and not of Gnostics, who were early
                        > > > interpreters of this gospel?
                        > > >
                        > >
                        > > Sure, but who originally wrote it? Some claim the GJn was
                        > > written by Cerinthus.
                        > >
                        > > > My opinion is that there existed various editions of texts used
                        > > by
                        > > > different groups, . . . which fits the profile of a very fluid
                        > period
                        > > > of a burgeoning "Christianity" that was later stunted in its
                        > > growth
                        > > > by the orthodox institution. I don't believe a scripture
                        > > necessarily
                        > > > should be labeled as "belonging" to only one religion or
                        > > > interpretation in every case.
                        > >
                        > > Then why are you claiming the GTh as Gnostic?
                        > >
                        > > >
                        > > > So, in respect to _The Gospel of Thomas_, of course we see
                        > > redactions
                        > > > to fit whatever group might "claim" this collection of
                        sayings.
                        > > >
                        > >
                        > > So... what's the point here?
                        > >
                        > > > Should we also consider the gospels of Mark, John, and
                        > > Thomas to be
                        > > > in your "pre" or "proto"-Gnostic category, Ernst?
                        > >
                        > > Sure, why not?
                        > >
                        > > >If you want to go to all that trouble with specific
                        designations,
                        > > be my guest.
                        > >
                        > > And if you want name everything on this world as "Gnostic" go
                        > > right ahead.
                        > >
                        > > >
                        > > > Also, my point was NOT that Buddhism, etc. should be
                        > > considered
                        > > > Gnostic. Please note that I capitalized the "G" in Gnosis,
                        > > Gnostic,
                        > > > Gnosticism for our discussion (although it really shouldn't be
                        > > > necessary). Please view my comments within this context.
                        > > > Nonetheless, I'll take full responsibility for not being clear
                        > that
                        > > > my discussion was intended to be within the milieu of the
                        > > > Judeo/Hellenic syncretistic phenomenon of the late
                        antiquities.
                        > > So,
                        > > > when I said, "salvation by acquaintance," I was referring to
                        > > salvific
                        > > > Gnosis within this Gnostic setting.
                        > >
                        > > You know by now (as with my post with Hey_Market) that I don't
                        > > use this capital convention. And I did in the statement mention
                        > > Hermetism and Merkabah. That is Judeo/Hellenistic setting.
                        > > Buddhaism, I took as the extreme case.
                        > >
                        > > >
                        > > > "My point is the GTh is not originally written by Gnostics but
                        > > > rather "adopted" (sorry the pun) from the group the earlier
                        > > group."
                        > > >
                        > > > And my point remains, Ernst, what is this "earlier" group? Was
                        > > > this "group" at least within the Judeo/Hellenic syncretistic
                        > > setting
                        > > > of the late antiquities?
                        > >
                        > > Of course they are within that. But that alone make them
                        > > "Gnostic"?
                        > >
                        > > >
                        > > > And then, how do we categorize works like _The Three Tablets
                        > > of
                        > > > Seth_, _Zostrianos_, and _The Foreigner_? These works
                        > > show Platonic
                        > > > roots, but some scholars remain in doubt as to definite ties to
                        > > a
                        > > > Christology, let alone a "full-blown" Christology. Even so,
                        > > Bentley
                        > > > Layton included these works in his Classic Gnostic Scripture
                        > > section
                        > > > in the book _The Gnostic Scriptures_. Huh, go figure.
                        > > >
                        > >
                        > > Everyone has his own interpretation of Gnostcism. Why ask me
                        > > what Layton did. Go ask him. But again, I think, those are not
                        > > Gnostic but included and adopted because they are congeneal
                        > > to Gnostics?
                        > >
                        > > > I suppose, Ernst, with all the various versions of text and
                        > > > instability that characterized this setting in the late
                        > antiquities,
                        > > > I prefer to retain the mutability of this fluid period by NOT
                        > overly
                        > > > classifying Gnosticism, and thus not compromising its true
                        > > > distinctiveness of fluidity.
                        > >
                        > > That is the thing isn't it. If you really mean what you wrote
                        then
                        > the
                        > > question of whether this scripture belongs to such and such is
                        > > irrelevent. If Valentinians see the GTh as their scripture, fine.
                        > > Nothing wrong with that. If "orthodox" sees the GJn as their,
                        fine.
                        > > But I'm not talking about that. Again, is the OT Christian
                        > > scripture? YES. It is it is different from Tanakh..... but it is
                        > the work
                        > > of same people. How is different then? Because Christian
                        > > adopted to suit their own need by rearrenging the order. BUT, the
                        > > text of the OT was written by whom? Christians?
                        > >
                        > > > HOWEVER, if specifying classifications,
                        > > > such as "pre" or "proto"- Gnosticism helps YOU to relate to
                        this
                        > > > phenomenon, by all means go right ahead.
                        > >
                        > > Again, just tell me your delimitation on the term? Does it
                        > > includes Clement of Alexandria as Gnostic? Does it includes
                        > > Merkabah? Hermetism? How about Mainchaeism or the
                        > > Cathars? I know where I draw the line. And that line is not
                        arbatry
                        > > like others.
                        > >
                        > > >
                        > > > And as far as direction (ascent, descent, top, bottom), Ernst,
                        a
                        > > good
                        > > > friend of mine recently said that considering the paradox that
                        IS
                        > > > Gnosticism, it was not out of line to consider that the top WAS
                        > > the
                        > > > bottom.
                        > > >
                        > > > So, Ernst, in true Gnostic fashion, per my friend's suggestion,
                        I
                        > > > offer you a proper toast prior to your Gnostic beverage of
                        > > > choice, . . . "Bottoms up!"
                        > > >
                        > > > Cari
                        > >
                        > > Do you really understand my use of the terms or you are just
                        > > mocking it due to not understanding it?
                      • jjstroebel
                        If you detest expert opinion then this is not the place ... more ... No, this hasn t been about free discussion. You have been berating others, using your
                        Message 11 of 27 , Mar 24, 2002
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                          If you detest 'expert' opinion then this is not the place
                          > for you because from the day one we have been talking about
                          > scholars. There is really no attack; it is telling people to be
                          more
                          > solid.
                          No, this hasn't been about free discussion. You have been berating
                          others, using your "expert" position as justifiication. This group
                          belongs to all of us, and I do not appreciate you inviting me to
                          leave. Please, chill out and back off. Your rudeness, guised
                          as "telling people to be more solid" is simply rudeness and as such
                          is unnecessary. Perhaps you are not in a position to "tell others"
                          here anything.
                          I have said that I have been following along quietly for some time.
                          Lady_Caritas, you have acted with dignity and have nothing to
                          appologize for. Just my obsetvation. Please keep writing; your posts
                          are quite informative and interesting.
                          That is all I have to say. I will return to my place of observation
                          and just follow along quietly.
                        • pmcvflag
                          ... that time there were actually decline in posts. One time there were no posting for about week.
                          Message 12 of 27 , Mar 24, 2002
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                            >>>I purposely didn't post anything from Dec till late Feb. Within
                            that time there were actually decline in posts. One time there were
                            no posting for about week.<<<<

                            But Ernst, there is a difference between the quality of posts, and
                            the quantity. The question is whether any one is gaining anything
                            from the posts. If we have a hundred posts a day, but no one is
                            walking away having learned something, feeling like they wish to
                            learn more, then we have a hundred useless posts. If we have one post
                            a month that sparks interest, we have done more than the 3,000 posts
                            we would have at the end of the month the other way. Problem is, no
                            one is going to read all those 3,000 posts to find the one. It is
                            better to *only* have the one. Bickering and Gnosis are not
                            compatible. When the large quantity of posts is nothing more than an
                            arguement, no one wins.

                            PMCV
                          • lady_caritas
                            ... time. ... posts ... I appreciate your kind words, John. Thank you. Even though I certainly respect your decision to just follow along quietly, I would
                            Message 13 of 27 , Mar 25, 2002
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                              --- In gnosticism2@y..., jjstroebel <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                              >> I have said that I have been following along quietly for some
                              time.
                              > Lady_Caritas, you have acted with dignity and have nothing to
                              > appologize for. Just my obsetvation. Please keep writing; your
                              posts
                              > are quite informative and interesting.
                              > That is all I have to say. I will return to my place of observation
                              > and just follow along quietly.<<

                              I appreciate your kind words, John. Thank you. Even though I
                              certainly respect your decision to "just follow along
                              quietly," I would also like to say that we would enjoy it if you and
                              others cared to stop by with comments once in a while, if you should
                              feel so inclined. Feel free to ask questions or begin a new thread
                              of your choice, too. For instance, Dan left a link in Message #5696
                              with some good articles on Valentinianism in case anyone should care
                              to investigate them for future discussion. :-)

                              Cari
                            • ernststrohregenmantelrad
                              There are several points I like to comment on this paper as pertains to the topic at hand and also to my point. First, pertaining to my post this paper does
                              Message 14 of 27 , Mar 25, 2002
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                                There are several points I like to comment on this paper as
                                pertains to the topic at hand and also to my point. First,
                                pertaining to my post this paper does not really contradict basic
                                notion I have written. It just states that the GTh is not used by
                                "Orthodox" and probably of pre-Valentinian in origin. The only
                                disagreement with my thinking is of course whether to call pre-
                                Valentinian as "Gnostics". As one can see, I opted to call it as
                                "esoteric" Adaptionalist. I did, however, stated that this term is
                                used for the lack of better term. Unlike others, I will refine and
                                redevelop my points when newer information becomes known.

                                Now, as to the fine point of demarcation, let me take the close
                                look at the points.

                                > The Gospel of Thomas, a Gnostic Document

                                Etic or emic? I say this because as I stated earlier, Gnostics,
                                themselves, considered the documents as their own but that
                                does not mean they originally wrote it.

                                > It is my intent with this thesis to argue that the Gospel of
                                > Thomas is in fact a Gnostic document, despite the assertions
                                by some
                                > in the academia to the contrary, as well as to outline why it may
                                not
                                > have been used by "orthodox" Christianity.

                                Some scholars think the GTh consists the sayings "pre-Gnostic"
                                due to their parallel in the synoptic gospels. These "wisdom"
                                sayings are used by "Orthodox" or rather a part of synoptic
                                Gospels which "Orthodox" came to deem as "Canonical"

                                > … It has become common amongst the laity to use the
                                arbitrary
                                > distinctions of a lowercase "g" in the word "gnostic" when
                                referring
                                > to any religious order that places it's soteriological functioning
                                in
                                > a knowledge.

                                laity? I think "laity" doesn't even know what "soteriological
                                functioning in a knowledge" is about let alone definition for
                                gnosis.

                                > Gnosticism spelled with a capital "G" on the other hand…
                                ….it refers to something >that is more central to defining a
                                religion, its soteriology, and its cultural
                                > source.

                                I have no argument here; however, in order to "tighten" up the
                                loose ends as it mentions in the next paragraph, I would also
                                add some aspect of "Demiurgic Tradition".

                                >Before it should sound as if this definition is overly loose,
                                > let me point out that while it is looser in some ways-as it would
                                > obviously come to include such groups as the Cathars,
                                Hermeticism,
                                > and Kabbalah-it is also tighter in some ways, in that it would
                                no
                                > longer include Marcion and some others that have been
                                commonly
                                > included in the category "Gnosticism".
                                The Cathars are not Gnostics under your definition. Did you
                                made over sight there? As for others Not only Hermet(ic)ism and
                                Kabbalah but also some aspect of Philo and to a certain extant
                                "schismatic Platonists" whom Plotinus was refuting which
                                Porphyry (wrongfully or rightfully) titled the work of his master as
                                "Against Gnostics". By the way, speaking of Kabbalah I would
                                NOT put it under this category due to the same reason I would
                                not put Sufism. The movement is so far removed from the
                                Hellenistic setting that you proposed. It is better to state proto-
                                Kabbalah or Merkabah as belonging to this category. ( Same
                                with Hermeticism. Hermetism is better suited here)

                                >Also, because it has a different focus as a category, it would
                                allow "biblical demiurgy" >or another definition like it to function
                                at the same time in reference
                                > to another aspect in comparative religious studies. Because
                                this
                                > definition, and arbitrary distinction, has been used by scholars
                                such
                                > as Dr Scholem, it will not be completely unknown, or specific to
                                this
                                > paper.
                                >
                                Ok, I agree, I found no trouble with this either. As for Scholem
                                many think that his use of the term "Jewish Gnosticism" for
                                "Merkabah" is pretty much unsubstantiated. But you knew that
                                from what you have written.

                                > I would like to make a distinction within Christianity as
                                > well. In order to make my distinction I will point out three
                                forms…
                                > ….They are: apocalyptic, pistic (based on faith), and gnostic.
                                … …The Christian canon has elements of all these, but the
                                traditional hermeneutic emphasis is in the apocalyptic, and the
                                pistic.

                                I would rather not make clear distinction between those three. As
                                you stated all three are within Christian canon (what ever that
                                means) and I see them as interacting on one another. Granted
                                some groups, as you stated, put the emphasis on faith
                                ("Orthodox") or apocalyptic (Montanism) but it is not right to say
                                this group has "faith" or "gnosis". Some group had combination
                                of these. In same vain, Quispel talks about the three
                                components of the Western Tradition: Faith, Reason and
                                Gnosis. In saying that traditionally the church represented faith,
                                science represented reason and esoterism as gnosis is bit
                                simplistic. Of course you are talking about what became as
                                "Orthodox" in which case isn't that self evident that their
                                orientation is faith rather then gnosis?

                                This is all for now. The rest of the paper simply states that it is
                                not "Orthodox" document, which I clearly agree. Nothing to
                                counter my notion of Esoteric Adaptionalists. In fact, if we take
                                the premises that paper gives about the GTh not having any
                                "blood sacrifice" as salvation. (frankly, I think, this notion came
                                much later in "orthodox" thinking. I think Irenaeus sees Christ as
                                more of "New" Adam – thus more of apocalyptic in nature) then it
                                fit right in because for adaptionalists, Virgin birth and death and
                                resurrection are irrelevant. In fact I didn't make myself clear and
                                thus the confusion. I don't think adaptionalists didn't have
                                elaborate cosmology like our Valentinians or Sethian period. I
                                think there were the different strains that produced the
                                cosmology and soteriology.

                                >We can say that it is most likely not Sethian,
                                > due to its lack of cosmology, and Biblical exegesis. But it is
                                > difficult to place it definitively within the ideal of
                                > Valintinianism… ….On top of this is the notion forwarded by
                                some
                                > scholars of the possible pre-Valintinus existence of this
                                gospel.
                                > Because of these considerations I would say that instead of
                                > Valintinian, the Gospel of Thomas is either proto-Valintinian,
                                semi-
                                > Valintinian (a related group).

                                So what is this proto-Valentinian or semi-Valentinian? Is there
                                existed such a group? Would it look very similar to esoteric
                                adaptionalists? And thus we are back to demarcation of
                                Gnosticism again

                                I don't think we ought to call anything Gnostic unless two strain
                                that I mentioned are properly married. Sethian (another falsely
                                labeled term, however) Valentinianism and Basilides do but I
                                think esoteric adaptionalists are not. Some may differ in opinion
                                but that is fine.
                              • ernststrohregenmantelrad
                                a Few comments here. ... more ... for a ... This is the mistaken notion. I didn t call for full-blown, elaborate Christology including death and
                                Message 15 of 27 , Mar 25, 2002
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                                  a Few comments here.
                                  >
                                  > I more readily relate to your definition of Gnosticism than the
                                  more
                                  > restrictive definition proposed by Ernst, which includes a need
                                  for a
                                  > full-blown, "elaborate" Christology including death and
                                  > resurrection.
                                  >

                                  This is the mistaken notion. I didn't call for 'full-blown, "elaborate"
                                  Christology including death and resurrection.' to be Gnosticism.
                                  ALL I HINTED WAS A CERTIAN SOTERIOLGICAL SETTING.
                                  Which is expressed as the certain cosmological speculation on
                                  the part of Gnostics. Which some what hinted the role of Christ in
                                  soteriology thus Christology BUT not neccessary. Let me make
                                  clear that I won't put death and ressurrection as the prerequisite
                                  for Gnostics soteriology; however, place some kind of "Christ"
                                  centered soteriological speculation in cosmology. (Granted
                                  death and ressurection could be subset of that cosmology and
                                  ONLY that. And I am not saying that must be there.) My axion is
                                  this Gnosis needs setting without it it is irreleveant. Just have
                                  gnosis doesn't make Gnostics because as I stated one will ask
                                  "knwledge as salvation but salvation from what?" What is where
                                  the worldview comes in


                                  "belonging" to various religions within a
                                  > Gnostic setting.

                                  Then what is of Manichaeism? Is Manichaeism Gnostics?


                                  >
                                  > My reservations throughout this discussion have been
                                  centered on
                                  > whether or not the term "Gnosticism" should be as restrictive
                                  as the
                                  > one proposed by Ernst.

                                  It is not restictive as you might think.

                                  > On the other hand, I have no interest in
                                  > naming "everything on this world as `Gnostic'" as was
                                  misconstrued by
                                  > Ernst.
                                  >

                                  That is just extreme position not to be taken literary. But Am I
                                  curious to know WHERE your demarcation lies? Which I've been
                                  hinting at you to state.
                                • ernststrohregenmantelrad
                                  ... berating ... I don t know I m just stating my position. Again and again I wrote you can believe anything you like. I won t come into anyone s home and beat
                                  Message 16 of 27 , Mar 25, 2002
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                                    --- In gnosticism2@y..., jjstroebel <no_reply@y...> wrote:

                                    > No, this hasn't been about free discussion. You have been
                                    berating
                                    > others, using your "expert" position as justifiication.

                                    I don't know I'm just stating my position. Again and again I wrote
                                    you can believe anything you like. I won't come into anyone's
                                    home and beat up until that person agree with me. I don't care
                                    what YOU or anyone believe. I am just stating my position based
                                    upon the data. I am just defending my position. From the looks of
                                    it, it looks like I am being attacked for not holding similar
                                    position. Why people are mad if I have the opinion that the GTh is
                                    not Gnostics or be annoyed when I choose my demarcation of
                                    the term Gnostics. (as too narrow-again why you should be
                                    concerned as to its narrowness unless you think that YOUR
                                    definition is the norm and MINE is derivation from the norm) Just
                                    let it be. Why I am look upon as the attacker when I pointed out
                                    the hole in other's definition of Gnosticism?(IMO) I am just
                                    saying this definition FOR ME doesn't work and I am not
                                    conviced. If they work for you great more power to you.

                                    > This group belongs to all of us, and I do not appreciate you
                                    inviting me to leave.

                                    No, I didn't invite. I suggested if using of scholarship is not for
                                    you then there are other groups which ignores scholarship. (By
                                    the way group is not ment to be public place if it were yahoo
                                    shouldn't have devised iwth moderator function where what is
                                    being posted can be edited and controled.)

                                    >Please, chill out and back off. Your rudeness, guised
                                    > as "telling people to be more solid" is simply rudeness and as
                                    such
                                    > is unnecessary.

                                    I think, you need to chill off and look at the content of what is
                                    being discussed. Plese do you have comments or opinion the
                                    subject at hand? I would like to hear it. That is why I put the topic
                                    on the board.

                                    > Perhaps you are not in a position to "tell others"
                                    > here anything.
                                    > I have said that I have been following along quietly for some
                                    time.

                                    Perhaps not but I'm ot telling (ie commanding) others anything.
                                    Just defending my position as I stated. I think, you haven't been
                                    in here long enough then you might think.
                                  • ernststrohregenmantelrad
                                    Since yahooie ate up everyone s post (not just in here but all the groups) I will post this again. If the missing post turn up, I apolize for the redundency.
                                    Message 17 of 27 , Mar 26, 2002
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                                      Since yahooie ate up everyone's post (not just in here but all the
                                      groups) I will post this again. If the missing post turn up, I apolize
                                      for the redundency.

                                      There are several points I like to comment on this paper as
                                      pertains to the topic at hand and also to my point. First,
                                      pertaining to my post this paper does not really contradict basic
                                      notion I have written. It just states that the GTh is not used by
                                      "Orthodox" and probably of pre-Valentinian in origin. The only
                                      disagreement with my thinking is of course whether to call pre-
                                      Valentinian as "Gnostics". As one can see, I opted to call it as
                                      "esoteric" Adaptionalist. I did, however, stated that this term is
                                      used for the lack of better term. Unlike others, I will refine and
                                      redevelop my points when newer information becomes known.

                                      Now, as to the fine point of demarcation, let me take the close
                                      look at the points.

                                      > The Gospel of Thomas, a Gnostic Document

                                      Etic or emic? I say this because as I stated earlier, Gnostics,
                                      themselves, considered the documents as their own but that
                                      does not mean they originally wrote it.

                                      > It is my intent with this thesis to argue that the Gospel of
                                      > Thomas is in fact a Gnostic document, despite the assertions
                                      by some
                                      > in the academia to the contrary, as well as to outline why it may
                                      not
                                      > have been used by "orthodox" Christianity.

                                      Some scholars think the GTh consists the sayings "pre-Gnostic"
                                      due to their parallel in the synoptic gospels. These "wisdom"
                                      sayings are used by "Orthodox" or rather a part of synoptic
                                      Gospels which "Orthodox" came to deem as "Canonical"

                                      > … It has become common amongst the laity to use the
                                      arbitrary
                                      > distinctions of a lowercase "g" in the word "gnostic" when
                                      referring
                                      > to any religious order that places it's soteriological functioning
                                      in
                                      > a knowledge.

                                      laity? I think "laity" doesn't even know what "soteriological
                                      functioning in a knowledge" is about let alone definition for
                                      gnosis.

                                      > Gnosticism spelled with a capital "G" on the other hand…
                                      ….it refers to something >that is more central to defining a
                                      religion, its soteriology, and its cultural
                                      > source.

                                      I have no argument here; however, in order to "tighten" up the
                                      loose ends as it mentions in the next paragraph, I would also
                                      add some aspect of "Demiurgic Tradition".

                                      >Before it should sound as if this definition is overly loose,
                                      > let me point out that while it is looser in some ways-as it would
                                      > obviously come to include such groups as the Cathars,
                                      Hermeticism,
                                      > and Kabbalah-it is also tighter in some ways, in that it would
                                      no
                                      > longer include Marcion and some others that have been
                                      commonly
                                      > included in the category "Gnosticism".
                                      The Cathars are not Gnostics under your definition. Did you
                                      made over sight there? As for others Not only Hermet(ic)ism and
                                      Kabbalah but also some aspect of Philo and to a certain extant
                                      "schismatic Platonists" whom Plotinus was refuting which
                                      Porphyry (wrongfully or rightfully) titled the work of his master as
                                      "Against Gnostics". By the way, speaking of Kabbalah I would
                                      NOT put it under this category due to the same reason I would
                                      not put Sufism. The movement is so far removed from the
                                      Hellenistic setting that you proposed. It is better to state proto-
                                      Kabbalah or Merkabah as belonging to this category. ( Same
                                      with Hermeticism. Hermetism is better suited here)

                                      >Also, because it has a different focus as a category, it would
                                      allow "biblical demiurgy" >or another definition like it to function
                                      at the same time in reference
                                      > to another aspect in comparative religious studies. Because
                                      this
                                      > definition, and arbitrary distinction, has been used by scholars
                                      such
                                      > as Dr Scholem, it will not be completely unknown, or specific to
                                      this
                                      > paper.
                                      >
                                      Ok, I agree, I found no trouble with this either. As for Scholem
                                      many think that his use of the term "Jewish Gnosticism" for
                                      "Merkabah" is pretty much unsubstantiated. But you knew that
                                      from what you have written.

                                      > I would like to make a distinction within Christianity as
                                      > well. In order to make my distinction I will point out three
                                      forms…
                                      > ….They are: apocalyptic, pistic (based on faith), and gnostic.
                                      … …The Christian canon has elements of all these, but the
                                      traditional hermeneutic emphasis is in the apocalyptic, and the
                                      pistic.

                                      I would rather not make clear distinction between those three. As
                                      you stated all three are within Christian canon (what ever that
                                      means) and I see them as interacting on one another. Granted
                                      some groups, as you stated, put the emphasis on faith
                                      ("Orthodox") or apocalyptic (Montanism) but it is not right to say
                                      this group has "faith" or "gnosis". Some group had combination
                                      of these. In same vain, Quispel talks about the three
                                      components of the Western Tradition: Faith, Reason and
                                      Gnosis. In saying that traditionally the church represented faith,
                                      science represented reason and esoterism as gnosis is bit
                                      simplistic. Of course you are talking about what became as
                                      "Orthodox" in which case isn't that self evident that their
                                      orientation is faith rather then gnosis?

                                      This is all for now. The rest of the paper simply states that it is
                                      not "Orthodox" document, which I clearly agree. Nothing to
                                      counter my notion of Esoteric Adaptionalists. In fact, if we take
                                      the premises that paper gives about the GTh not having any
                                      "blood sacrifice" as salvation. (frankly, I think, this notion came
                                      much later in "orthodox" thinking. I think Irenaeus sees Christ as
                                      more of "New" Adam – thus more of apocalyptic in nature) then it
                                      fit right in because for adaptionalists, Virgin birth and death and
                                      resurrection are irrelevant. In fact I didn't make myself clear and
                                      thus the confusion. I don't think adaptionalists didn't have
                                      elaborate cosmology like our Valentinians or Sethian period. I
                                      think there were the different strains that produced the
                                      cosmology and soteriology.

                                      >We can say that it is most likely not Sethian,
                                      > due to its lack of cosmology, and Biblical exegesis. But it is
                                      > difficult to place it definitively within the ideal of
                                      > Valintinianism… ….On top of this is the notion forwarded by
                                      some
                                      > scholars of the possible pre-Valintinus existence of this
                                      gospel.
                                      > Because of these considerations I would say that instead of
                                      > Valintinian, the Gospel of Thomas is either proto-Valintinian,
                                      semi-
                                      > Valintinian (a related group).

                                      So what is this proto-Valentinian or semi-Valentinian? Is there
                                      existed such a group? Would it look very similar to esoteric
                                      adaptionalists? And thus we are back to demarcation of
                                      Gnosticism again

                                      I don't think we ought to call anything Gnostic unless two strain
                                      that I mentioned are properly married. Sethian (another falsely
                                      labeled term, however) Valentinianism and Basilides do but I
                                      think esoteric adaptionalists are not. Some may differ in opinion
                                      but that is fine.
                                    • lady_caritas
                                      So, that Yahoo archon is playing games again I see. LOL I ll resend the short post below that I attempted to send yesterday. Actually, a message I sent in
                                      Message 18 of 27 , Mar 26, 2002
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                                        So, that Yahoo archon is playing games again I see. LOL I'll resend
                                        the short post below that I attempted to send yesterday. Actually, a
                                        message I sent in another club did show up finally *only* over 12
                                        hours later, but I've been waiting over 24 hours for this one. If
                                        yesterday's message should *magically* appear at some point, feel
                                        free to break with tradition, and go ahead and delete it. . . .

                                        --- In gnosticism2@y..., jjstroebel <no_reply@y...> wrote (Message
                                        #5698):
                                        "I have said that I have been following along quietly for some time.
                                        Lady_Caritas, you have acted with dignity and have nothing to
                                        appologize for. Just my obsetvation. Please keep writing; your posts
                                        are quite informative and interesting.
                                        That is all I have to say. I will return to my place of observation
                                        and just follow along quietly."

                                        I appreciate your kind words, John. Even though I certainly respect
                                        your decision to "just follow along quietly," I would also like to
                                        say that we would enjoy it if you and others cared to stop by with
                                        comments once in a while, if you should feel so inclined. Feel free
                                        to ask questions or begin a new thread of your choice, too. For
                                        instance, Dan left a link in Message #5696 with some good articles on
                                        Valentinianism in case anyone should care to investigate them for
                                        future discussion. :-)

                                        Cari
                                      • pmcvflag
                                        Hey Ernst, up late and going to post anyways lol. You state .... First, pertaining to my post this paper does not really contradict basic notion I have
                                        Message 19 of 27 , Mar 27, 2002
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                                          Hey Ernst, up late and going to post anyways lol. You state ....

                                          "First, pertaining to my post this paper does not really contradict
                                          basic notion I have written."

                                          Well, actually I wrote this paper more than a year ago. I didn't post
                                          it to rebut anyones points, but simply to give an overview of my
                                          opinnion on the subject. It is also interesting to see where my own
                                          thoughts have changed in that time, thought I chose not to fix this
                                          in the post.

                                          "Etic or emic?"

                                          Good point, however I have doubts that the Valintinians thimeselves
                                          were emically "Gnostic". This means that it is difficult to apply
                                          this standard to the subject at hand. Of course I can fairly easily
                                          make the etic point, but that isn't really the gist of my paper. You
                                          may notice that I concentrate on the soterological function within
                                          the Gospel to make my point, and thus would say that the authors
                                          believed in the function of Gnosis in a capacity that we have come to
                                          think of as "Gnostic".

                                          "laity? I think "laity" doesn't even know what "soteriological
                                          functioning in a knowledge" is about let alone definition for gnosis."

                                          But Ernst, you and I and the members of this club are the laity. It
                                          is us I was refering to. I had however meant to say "some of the
                                          laity" rather than make a general statement.

                                          "The Cathars are not Gnostics under your definition. Did you made
                                          over sight there?"

                                          No, nor do I consider them to be (though they are one of the groups
                                          that I know less about... so I could be wrong). I'm not sure what you
                                          mean by "over sight" though, as it would have been impractical to
                                          mention every group that has a relation to Gnosticism and where I
                                          felt they fit in the spectrum.

                                          "Some group had combination of these." (gnosis pistis etc)

                                          And indeed I stated that as well.

                                          "So what is this proto-Valentinian or semi-Valentinian? Is there
                                          existed such a group?"

                                          Not necessarily a "group" (though in likelyhood it was a group), I
                                          was refering to an ideological trend. After all, Valintinus certainly
                                          had his teachers from whom he deviated in some way... just as his
                                          students did in turn with him. The point then being that Thomas seems
                                          to be closely related to the basic Valintinian system even if it
                                          predates it (which is currently in debate in the scholastic realm). I
                                          tend to think it does in fact predate Valintinus, but then again I
                                          also tend to speculate that Jesus, and even John the Baptist, was
                                          Gnostic.

                                          PMCV
                                        • pmcvflag
                                          Oh yes, thank you for bringing that up Lady Cari, I had intended to respond to that as well and had forgotton. John, whatever you feel about any individual in
                                          Message 20 of 27 , Mar 27, 2002
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                                            Oh yes, thank you for bringing that up Lady Cari, I had intended to
                                            respond to that as well and had forgotton.

                                            John, whatever you feel about any individual in this club... be it
                                            Ernst, or me, or anyone... don't feel that you should not post. We
                                            don't always get along, and it is not necessary that we do. Sure
                                            there are different styles here, and I myself don't always agree with
                                            how others speak (just as they have not always agreed with my
                                            manners), but there are other people here to talk to as well. If you
                                            don't like Ernst, talk to me instead. If you don't like me, talk to
                                            Lady Cari, or Gerry. Don't be affraid to simply state that you do not
                                            wish to talk to some of us, but do wish to talk to others. We have a
                                            very open policy here. We do not delete posts (except spam, or on
                                            accident I have deleted posts), and we only kick out members who
                                            outright flame others,(and we have sometimes run off, without
                                            acutally deleting, evengelists who pretend to be interested, but
                                            aren't).

                                            The down side is that the posts are not always completely friendly,
                                            though one would hope that in a Gnostic forum we would all do our
                                            best to be amicable where possible. I do wish people to feel welcome
                                            here, and know that it is my intent to deal with all conversation in
                                            as open an atmosephere as possible.

                                            PMCV
                                          • hey_market
                                            Well, as you can see John, we do welcome all GNOSTIC-related posts, but as my last response to the goofy Sufi indicates, we tend not to welcome off-the-topic
                                            Message 21 of 27 , Mar 28, 2002
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                                              Well, as you can see John, we do welcome all GNOSTIC-related posts,
                                              but as my last response to the goofy Sufi indicates, we tend not to
                                              welcome off-the-topic posts with their own agendas.

                                              --- In gnosticism2@y..., pmcvflag <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                                              > Oh yes, thank you for bringing that up Lady Cari, I had intended to
                                              > respond to that as well and had forgotton.
                                              >
                                              > John, whatever you feel about any individual in this club... be it
                                              > Ernst, or me, or anyone... don't feel that you should not post. We
                                              > don't always get along, and it is not necessary that we do. Sure
                                              > there are different styles here, and I myself don't always agree
                                              with
                                              > how others speak (just as they have not always agreed with my
                                              > manners), but there are other people here to talk to as well. If
                                              you
                                              > don't like Ernst, talk to me instead. If you don't like me, talk to
                                              > Lady Cari, or Gerry. Don't be affraid to simply state that you do
                                              not
                                              > wish to talk to some of us, but do wish to talk to others. We have
                                              a
                                              > very open policy here. We do not delete posts (except spam, or on
                                              > accident I have deleted posts), and we only kick out members who
                                              > outright flame others,(and we have sometimes run off, without
                                              > acutally deleting, evengelists who pretend to be interested, but
                                              > aren't).
                                              >
                                              > The down side is that the posts are not always completely friendly,
                                              > though one would hope that in a Gnostic forum we would all do our
                                              > best to be amicable where possible. I do wish people to feel
                                              welcome
                                              > here, and know that it is my intent to deal with all conversation
                                              in
                                              > as open an atmosephere as possible.
                                              >
                                              > PMCV
                                            • ernststrohregenmantelrad
                                              A few comments on this before evryone forgets about the topic. ... post ... own ... this ... Wel, please tell everyone how is your thoughts changed. I, myself,
                                              Message 22 of 27 , Mar 28, 2002
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                                                A few comments on this before evryone forgets about the topic.

                                                --- In gnosticism2@y..., pmcvflag <no_reply@y...> wrote:

                                                > Well, actually I wrote this paper more than a year ago. I didn't
                                                post
                                                > it to rebut anyones points, but simply to give an overview of my
                                                > opinnion on the subject. It is also interesting to see where my
                                                own
                                                > thoughts have changed in that time, thought I chose not to fix
                                                this
                                                > in the post.

                                                Wel, please tell everyone how is your thoughts changed. I,
                                                myself, keep revising my thinking. Nothing is etched in a stone.
                                                And I think that is good. Even 3 or so years ago I would asked no
                                                question and agreed completly with everyone that the Gth is a
                                                Gnostic document but we all change some aspect. Even the
                                                "Messina final document" is WORKING HYPOTHESIS. If I
                                                seemed to harsh it is because I am harsh on myself. Even now, I
                                                see many holes in what I've have written.

                                                >
                                                > "Etic or emic?"
                                                >
                                                > Good point, however I have doubts that the Valintinians
                                                thimeselves
                                                > were emically "Gnostic".

                                                Yes, I think they considered themselves as Christians. And so is
                                                the most of "Gnostics".


                                                This means that it is difficult to apply
                                                > this standard to the subject at hand. Of course I can fairly easily
                                                > make the etic point, but that isn't really the gist of my paper. You
                                                > may notice that I concentrate on the soterological function
                                                within
                                                > the Gospel to make my point, and thus would say that the
                                                authors
                                                > believed in the function of Gnosis in a capacity that we have
                                                come to
                                                > think of as "Gnostic".


                                                Underline please "in a capacity that we have come to think as
                                                "Gnostic"" Again, this seemed to me that you are working
                                                backwards from present. (thus projecting the present thought
                                                back). IMO

                                                >
                                                > "laity? I think "laity" doesn't even know what "soteriological
                                                > functioning in a knowledge" is about let alone definition for
                                                gnosis."
                                                >
                                                > But Ernst, you and I and the members of this club are the laity.
                                                It
                                                > is us I was refering to. I had however meant to say "some of
                                                the
                                                > laity" rather than make a general statement.

                                                You mean laity as in case of priests and such or laity in case of
                                                scholars? For the latter I'm not laity but rather semi-laity. I don't
                                                have just a passing interest in the subject but try to be as my job.
                                                For the formar, who knows I might become a priest some day.

                                                >
                                                > "The Cathars are not Gnostics under your definition. Did you
                                                made
                                                > over sight there?"
                                                >
                                                > No, nor do I consider them to be (though they are one of the
                                                groups
                                                > that I know less about... so I could be wrong). I'm not sure what
                                                you
                                                > mean by "over sight" though, as it would have been impractical
                                                to
                                                > mention every group that has a relation to Gnosticism and
                                                where I
                                                > felt they fit in the spectrum.

                                                Oversight are due to the fact that according to you proposed
                                                criteria the Cathars are not "Gnostics" (If the criteria is based
                                                upon the biblical Demiurgy then they are). I was wondering why
                                                then you included in the list of Gnostics in the paper.
                                                (Unless I misunderstood what you wrote.)

                                                > I tend to think it does in fact predate Valintinus, but then again I
                                                > also tend to speculate that Jesus, and even John the Baptist,
                                                was
                                                > Gnostic.
                                                >

                                                Well, that is because you are a "Gnostic", lol. Of course if we are
                                                to take a document like "Pistis Sophia" in ernest (not literary of
                                                course) then Jesus himself taught the "full-blown Sophia
                                                "Gnostic" speculation". But here is my point, though. In looking
                                                at different facts and different opinions, why we must separate
                                                between Gnostics vs. "Orthodox". US and them. If we are to look
                                                at the idealogical trends as you said then there would be no
                                                need for such and such group against each other. In one web
                                                pages discribing "Gnostics" it states that there exists a group of
                                                "Gnostic" and "Pistis" Christians like they are setting them
                                                against each other from the beginning. I am not of that opinion
                                                and I think you are not either. Why do I meet with such a violent
                                                opposion if I express that Gnosticism is varient of esoteric
                                                Christianity when it is evident from a document like the secret
                                                Gospel of Mark or even the Gth points in that direction.. We can't
                                                cut off esoteric part from exoteric and say that is Gnosticism
                                                which many are doing. We must take everything in a whole. I got
                                                criticized some time for not seeing forest for tree but isn't people
                                                who ignore the exoteric aspect doing exactly that ?(the same
                                                people who criticize me). Valentinius almost became a Pope. So
                                                we know for a fact that he, at least had the notion of exoteric and
                                                esoteric. So is Clement of Alexandria if we are to believe the
                                                Secret Mark. Well, back to the main point if we are to identify such
                                                and such as "Gnostics" I feel I am doing a disservice to the
                                                totallity of initiatory system that came to us as the Christianity. We
                                                can't box off one aspect of the whole initiatory system and call it
                                                "Gnostic" as if it is distinct entity. Of course you might say the
                                                scholars who penned "Messina working hypothesis" are doing
                                                exactly that. Well, then again they are working in etic sense but
                                                that is true in a way but so is people who thinks there were
                                                Gnostics as if there were such a difinate group as opposed to
                                                "pistis". No I think there were those who followed certain
                                                apocalyptic Jewish notion who begun to use the myth and figur
                                                of Jesus Messiah as motif in the soteriolgy and that in turn had
                                                different degree of initiation (thus exoteric and esoteric). Thus
                                                "pistis" and "gnostic" are in same group with just different level of
                                                initiatin or same ideology trends but just different point in it. That
                                                is why I choose the term "esoteric" adaptionalists because that
                                                is the part of general adaptionalists. The later "orthodox" vs.
                                                "Gnostics" happened when "orthodox" started to view exoteric as
                                                the final and the ONLY stage in the initiation and and tried to get
                                                rid of the esoteric part of the initiation. All religions have "gnosis",
                                                the esoteric core. Christianity is no different. If we identified that
                                                as a particular group or ideological trend with in a certin group
                                                then what is the difference between "Gnostics" and "gnosis"?
                                                Thus I was asking for demarcation. So you can't have both ways I
                                                guess. For me when I say Gnosticism or Gnostics, I am ONLY
                                                discribing a certain phenomenon within the esoteric Christianity
                                                in particular time and place. NOt a general discription of a certain
                                                group or certain ideological trends.
                                              • lady_caritas
                                                Ernst, it looks like you still insist on conversing with me, even though sometimes sideways while addressing other members and sometimes responding to my line
                                                Message 23 of 27 , Mar 29, 2002
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                                                  Ernst, it looks like you still insist on conversing with me, even
                                                  though sometimes sideways while addressing other members and
                                                  sometimes responding to my line by line comments that I made to other
                                                  members, despite the fact that I specifically said I wasn't going to
                                                  respond to your last post to me to avoid just that.

                                                  I find it very difficult to communicate with you, Ernst. You
                                                  occasionally tend to patronize me by assuming I don't understand you
                                                  or that I'm confused, when I might just be disagreeing with you. You
                                                  also tend to retract comments you've made by saying that you were
                                                  exaggerating or didn't really mean them and shouldn't be taken
                                                  literally. Sounds mighty slippery to me, Ernst. I certainly don't
                                                  mind you changing your mind after careful thought by any means. But
                                                  how is one to effectively communicate with someone who capriciously
                                                  changes his tune for convenience?

                                                  Case in point:

                                                  "I didn't call for 'full-blown, "elaborate" Christology including
                                                  death and resurrection.' to be Gnosticism." (Message #5714)

                                                  vs.

                                                  "In addition, the writing mentions no passion or resurrection of
                                                  Christ thus they played no significance. In comparing with other
                                                  writing founded in Hag Hammadi (excluding Plato and Hermetic text, of
                                                  course) and other Gnostic writings such as Pistis Sophia the GTh has
                                                  no elaborate Christological speculation as soteriology." (#5624)

                                                  and

                                                  "My feeling is that we ought to reserve the term "Gnostics" to those
                                                  of full blown
                                                  cosmological speculation in the 2nd century. […]Of course, the GTh
                                                  fits right in with the later Gnostic thought because I believe that
                                                  later Gnostics like Valentinus are the synthesis of this "esoteric"
                                                  adaptionalists with (non-Judaic) Hellenistic mystery religion (thus
                                                  the death and resurrection motif and other cosmological speculations
                                                  were added)." (#5628)

                                                  So, Ernst, in any case ~ in previous posts I referred to your
                                                  term "elaborate" Christology with death and resurrection several
                                                  times, and you never chose to correct my understanding of your
                                                  position. Now, certainly you can change your mind during the course
                                                  of discussion, but was there a change in your position or was I just
                                                  confused ~ yet again? You were only "hinting"? ;-)

                                                  As far as my position regarding a definition of Gnosticism, I prefer
                                                  to keep it loose, Ernst. A definition regarding this modern term has
                                                  always been up for debate by scholars and laity alike. I have
                                                  previously stated in our discussion that elements involve salvation
                                                  through Gnosis, plus a setting of this Judeo/Hellenic syncretistic
                                                  phenomenon in the late antiquities. It's been posited that Gnostic
                                                  writers drew from Iranian, Egyptian, and Babylonian, as well as
                                                  Jewish and Greek sources. You ask "salvation from what"? Well, as
                                                  in most religions, Ernst, salvation is deemed necessary due to a
                                                  worldview recognizing that we live in an imperfect world. Depending
                                                  on the religion, one can blame humans or not. Salvation through
                                                  Gnosis implies salvation from ignorance. And, as you know, Gnostic
                                                  mythology is full of references to "error" and a "demiurge,"
                                                  symbolically representing this ignorance, lack of "acquaintance."

                                                  You ask, what of Manichaeism, for instance? Well, whether or not one
                                                  considers Mani to be Gnostic (a different question), the offshoot
                                                  religion was one heavily reliant on praxis. Manicheans sought to
                                                  release light from repugnant matter and were even very careful not
                                                  to "damage" the light in other animals, plants, etc. Was Gnosis
                                                  indeed at the basis of this austere practice? One might wonder if
                                                  this was salvation through Gnosis or salvation through Praxis. If
                                                  anyone should be interested in discussing this subject, I would
                                                  suggest starting a new thread.

                                                  You see, Ernst, I would rather discuss these various religions
                                                  stemming from this fluid setting of the late antiquities described
                                                  above in a context of Gnosis, . . . not only whether or not they had
                                                  a specific Christology.

                                                  But then, that is just my opinion. And I respect your right to have
                                                  your opinion, . . as I've stated before.

                                                  To conclude, Ernst, I wonder why you are even interested in feedback
                                                  from other members, if you are here only to state your position and
                                                  you "don't care" what "anyone believes." Why do you and others
                                                  continue getting their undies in a bundle during discussions in which
                                                  you participate? Perhaps we should all reflect on what we need to do
                                                  to promote open discussion, allowing differences of opinion without
                                                  disagreeable, unproductive arguing. What's wrong with sharing ideas
                                                  instead of portraying defensive or offensive postures?

                                                  Cari
                                                • jjstroebel
                                                  That was so very informative AND beautifully worded, Cari. I stick around for posts like this. You have answered many questions I, as novice, have about Gnosis
                                                  Message 24 of 27 , Mar 29, 2002
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                                                    That was so very informative AND beautifully worded, Cari. I stick
                                                    around for posts like this. You have answered many questions I, as
                                                    novice, have about Gnosis and Gnosticism here. Your efforts to bring
                                                    these discussions from a point of arguement/attack/debate to open
                                                    sharing of ideas without the need for judgement is intrepid. Thank
                                                    you.
                                                    John
                                                    --- In gnosticism2@y..., lady_caritas <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                                                    > Ernst, it looks like you still insist on conversing with me, even
                                                    > though sometimes sideways while addressing other members and
                                                    > sometimes responding to my line by line comments that I made to
                                                    other
                                                    > members, despite the fact that I specifically said I wasn't going
                                                    to
                                                    > respond to your last post to me to avoid just that.
                                                    >
                                                    > I find it very difficult to communicate with you, Ernst. You
                                                    > occasionally tend to patronize me by assuming I don't understand
                                                    you
                                                    > or that I'm confused, when I might just be disagreeing with you.
                                                    You
                                                    > also tend to retract comments you've made by saying that you were
                                                    > exaggerating or didn't really mean them and shouldn't be taken
                                                    > literally. Sounds mighty slippery to me, Ernst. I certainly don't
                                                    > mind you changing your mind after careful thought by any means.
                                                    But
                                                    > how is one to effectively communicate with someone who capriciously
                                                    > changes his tune for convenience?
                                                    >
                                                    > Case in point:
                                                    >
                                                    > "I didn't call for 'full-blown, "elaborate" Christology including
                                                    > death and resurrection.' to be Gnosticism." (Message #5714)
                                                    >
                                                    > vs.
                                                    >
                                                    > "In addition, the writing mentions no passion or resurrection of
                                                    > Christ thus they played no significance. In comparing with other
                                                    > writing founded in Hag Hammadi (excluding Plato and Hermetic text,
                                                    of
                                                    > course) and other Gnostic writings such as Pistis Sophia the GTh
                                                    has
                                                    > no elaborate Christological speculation as soteriology." (#5624)
                                                    >
                                                    > and
                                                    >
                                                    > "My feeling is that we ought to reserve the term "Gnostics" to
                                                    those
                                                    > of full blown
                                                    > cosmological speculation in the 2nd century. […]Of course, the GTh
                                                    > fits right in with the later Gnostic thought because I believe that
                                                    > later Gnostics like Valentinus are the synthesis of this "esoteric"
                                                    > adaptionalists with (non-Judaic) Hellenistic mystery religion (thus
                                                    > the death and resurrection motif and other cosmological
                                                    speculations
                                                    > were added)." (#5628)
                                                    >
                                                    > So, Ernst, in any case ~ in previous posts I referred to your
                                                    > term "elaborate" Christology with death and resurrection several
                                                    > times, and you never chose to correct my understanding of your
                                                    > position. Now, certainly you can change your mind during the
                                                    course
                                                    > of discussion, but was there a change in your position or was I
                                                    just
                                                    > confused ~ yet again? You were only "hinting"? ;-)
                                                    >
                                                    > As far as my position regarding a definition of Gnosticism, I
                                                    prefer
                                                    > to keep it loose, Ernst. A definition regarding this modern term
                                                    has
                                                    > always been up for debate by scholars and laity alike. I have
                                                    > previously stated in our discussion that elements involve salvation
                                                    > through Gnosis, plus a setting of this Judeo/Hellenic syncretistic
                                                    > phenomenon in the late antiquities. It's been posited that Gnostic
                                                    > writers drew from Iranian, Egyptian, and Babylonian, as well as
                                                    > Jewish and Greek sources. You ask "salvation from what"? Well, as
                                                    > in most religions, Ernst, salvation is deemed necessary due to a
                                                    > worldview recognizing that we live in an imperfect world.
                                                    Depending
                                                    > on the religion, one can blame humans or not. Salvation through
                                                    > Gnosis implies salvation from ignorance. And, as you know, Gnostic
                                                    > mythology is full of references to "error" and a "demiurge,"
                                                    > symbolically representing this ignorance, lack of "acquaintance."
                                                    >
                                                    > You ask, what of Manichaeism, for instance? Well, whether or not
                                                    one
                                                    > considers Mani to be Gnostic (a different question), the offshoot
                                                    > religion was one heavily reliant on praxis. Manicheans sought to
                                                    > release light from repugnant matter and were even very careful not
                                                    > to "damage" the light in other animals, plants, etc. Was Gnosis
                                                    > indeed at the basis of this austere practice? One might wonder if
                                                    > this was salvation through Gnosis or salvation through Praxis. If
                                                    > anyone should be interested in discussing this subject, I would
                                                    > suggest starting a new thread.
                                                    >
                                                    > You see, Ernst, I would rather discuss these various religions
                                                    > stemming from this fluid setting of the late antiquities described
                                                    > above in a context of Gnosis, . . . not only whether or not they
                                                    had
                                                    > a specific Christology.
                                                    >
                                                    > But then, that is just my opinion. And I respect your right to
                                                    have
                                                    > your opinion, . . as I've stated before.
                                                    >
                                                    > To conclude, Ernst, I wonder why you are even interested in
                                                    feedback
                                                    > from other members, if you are here only to state your position and
                                                    > you "don't care" what "anyone believes." Why do you and others
                                                    > continue getting their undies in a bundle during discussions in
                                                    which
                                                    > you participate? Perhaps we should all reflect on what we need to
                                                    do
                                                    > to promote open discussion, allowing differences of opinion without
                                                    > disagreeable, unproductive arguing. What's wrong with sharing
                                                    ideas
                                                    > instead of portraying defensive or offensive postures?
                                                    >
                                                    > Cari
                                                  • jjstroebel
                                                    Whatever you say, Ernst. I bow to your superior intellect and wisdome. There must not be a need to converse with dignity or consideration of others when a
                                                    Message 25 of 27 , Mar 29, 2002
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                                                      Whatever you say, Ernst. I bow to your superior intellect and
                                                      wisdome. There must not be a need to converse with dignity or
                                                      consideration of others when a higher level of knowledge has been
                                                      achieved, as you so clearly display. Forgive my lesser nature, I
                                                      understand the need to keep my voice silent after you have gifted me
                                                      with your 'opinion'. I will, from this point, accept your dissonant
                                                      remarks as gems from on high, pearls of wisdome. Forgive my audacity
                                                      also; I am rightfully awed by your chastisement.
                                                      Here in New Jersey, we have many ways to honor such reason as yours.
                                                      We might honor you with the title of 'Horses derriere' or 'blowhard',
                                                      but I will know you only by your screen name. I am thrilled to be so
                                                      graced, because I can, from this point, simply identify and delete
                                                      your posts and move on to those lesses ones I may be capable of
                                                      contemplating.
                                                      One last question; do you really BELIEVE that nonsence you write?
                                                      (was that too sarcastic? ;-) )
                                                      --- In gnosticism2@y..., ernststrohregenmantelrad <no_reply@y...>
                                                      wrote:
                                                      > --- In gnosticism2@y..., jjstroebel <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                                                      >
                                                      > > No, this hasn't been about free discussion. You have been
                                                      > berating
                                                      > > others, using your "expert" position as justifiication.
                                                      >
                                                      > I don't know I'm just stating my position. Again and again I wrote
                                                      > you can believe anything you like. I won't come into anyone's
                                                      > home and beat up until that person agree with me. I don't care
                                                      > what YOU or anyone believe. I am just stating my position based
                                                      > upon the data. I am just defending my position. From the looks of
                                                      > it, it looks like I am being attacked for not holding similar
                                                      > position. Why people are mad if I have the opinion that the GTh is
                                                      > not Gnostics or be annoyed when I choose my demarcation of
                                                      > the term Gnostics. (as too narrow-again why you should be
                                                      > concerned as to its narrowness unless you think that YOUR
                                                      > definition is the norm and MINE is derivation from the norm) Just
                                                      > let it be. Why I am look upon as the attacker when I pointed out
                                                      > the hole in other's definition of Gnosticism?(IMO) I am just
                                                      > saying this definition FOR ME doesn't work and I am not
                                                      > conviced. If they work for you great more power to you.
                                                      >
                                                      > > This group belongs to all of us, and I do not appreciate you
                                                      > inviting me to leave.
                                                      >
                                                      > No, I didn't invite. I suggested if using of scholarship is not for
                                                      > you then there are other groups which ignores scholarship. (By
                                                      > the way group is not ment to be public place if it were yahoo
                                                      > shouldn't have devised iwth moderator function where what is
                                                      > being posted can be edited and controled.)
                                                      >
                                                      > >Please, chill out and back off. Your rudeness, guised
                                                      > > as "telling people to be more solid" is simply rudeness and as
                                                      > such
                                                      > > is unnecessary.
                                                      >
                                                      > I think, you need to chill off and look at the content of what is
                                                      > being discussed. Plese do you have comments or opinion the
                                                      > subject at hand? I would like to hear it. That is why I put the
                                                      topic
                                                      > on the board.
                                                      >
                                                      > > Perhaps you are not in a position to "tell others"
                                                      > > here anything.
                                                      > > I have said that I have been following along quietly for some
                                                      > time.
                                                      >
                                                      > Perhaps not but I'm ot telling (ie commanding) others anything.
                                                      > Just defending my position as I stated. I think, you haven't been
                                                      > in here long enough then you might think.
                                                    • lady_caritas
                                                      ... bring ... Thank you again, John. Say, I ll bet you also have many questions that haven t been answered, . . am I right? Feel free to bring them to the
                                                      Message 26 of 27 , Mar 30, 2002
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                                                        ---(Message 5718) In gnosticism2@y..., jjstroebel <no_reply@y...>
                                                        wrote:
                                                        > That was so very informative AND beautifully worded, Cari. I stick
                                                        > around for posts like this. You have answered many questions I, as
                                                        > novice, have about Gnosis and Gnosticism here. Your efforts to
                                                        bring
                                                        > these discussions from a point of arguement/attack/debate to open
                                                        > sharing of ideas without the need for judgement is intrepid. Thank
                                                        > you.
                                                        > John


                                                        Thank you again, John. Say, I'll bet you also have many questions
                                                        that haven't been answered, . . am I right? Feel free to bring them
                                                        to the forum. Many of us might want to explore them, too. :-)

                                                        Cari
                                                      • pmcvflag
                                                        ... Well Ernst, there are things concerning my own leanings that I said for the sake of controversy (more or less) when I first joined this club, that around
                                                        Message 27 of 27 , Mar 31, 2002
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                                                          >>Wel, please tell everyone how is your thoughts changed.<<<

                                                          Well Ernst, there are things concerning my own leanings that I said
                                                          for the sake of controversy (more or less) when I first joined this
                                                          club, that around the time of writing this paper I said more for the
                                                          sake of categorization, and I now say _almost_ completely seriously.
                                                          I have become more convinced of a genuine traditional Gnostic
                                                          relation exhibited by some later groups, and far less convinced of
                                                          the same in other groups that I once assumed to be Gnostic (like the
                                                          Cathars, which I assume answers you other question as well). The list
                                                          goes on, but it seems too much to outline in a single post.

                                                          >>>Underline please "in a capacity that we have come to think as
                                                          > "Gnostic"" Again, this seemed to me that you are working
                                                          > backwards from present. (thus projecting the present thought
                                                          > back). IMO<<<

                                                          Oh, you are correct there. That is what all study of historical
                                                          Gnosticism is, so I'm not sure why the statement would surprise you.
                                                          IF we were talking about the past _from_ the past, we would be
                                                          talking about the present. It is you who have insisted on the
                                                          importance of the historical perspective, so when I talk to you I
                                                          aknowledge that view.

                                                          >>>You mean laity as in case of priests and such or laity in case of
                                                          > scholars? For the latter I'm not laity but rather semi-laity. I
                                                          don't
                                                          > have just a passing interest in the subject but try to be as my job.
                                                          > For the formar, who knows I might become a priest some day.<<<

                                                          Niether do you have a degree specifically dealing with the subject,
                                                          and work on it as a profession. You and I are still laity. There is
                                                          also lay clergy, so holding that position does not guarentee
                                                          expertise in ones profession. However, while it could happen Ernst, I
                                                          have a hard time seeing you as a priest ;)

                                                          The rest of your post deals with the relation between exoteric and
                                                          esoteric. You already know my view on all that, so it seems
                                                          unnecessary to repeat.

                                                          PMCV
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