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Re: Gospel of Thomas not Gnostic???

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  • lady_caritas
    ... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Hi, PMCV. :-) Book report? Uh, gosh, it s been a long week. How about just a few comments?
    Message 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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 11 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 12 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 13 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 14 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 15 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 16 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 17 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 18 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 19 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 20 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 21 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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