Re: [Gnosticism] Valentinian Breakfast
- Ptolemy writes;
"Finally, there is the part translated and changed from the literal to the
spiritual, this symbolic legislation which is an image of transcendent
things. For the images and symbols which represent other things were good as
long as the Truth has not come; but since the Truth has come, we must
perform the actions of the Truth, not those of the image. "
Thus we find the translation from exoteric to esoteric, similar applications
are found among the Ismaili regard towards the fast and obligatory prayers
in modern Ismailism.
"Thus the Savior commaned us to make offerings not of irrational animals or
of the incense of this worldly sort, but of spiritual praise and
glorification and thanksgiving and of sharing and well-doing with our
neighbors. He wanted us to be circumcised, not in regard to our physical
foreskin but in regard to our spiritual heart; to keep the Sabbath, for he
wishes us to be idle in regard to evil works; to fast, not in physical
fasting but in spiritual, in which there is abstinence from everything evil.
By modern analogy, the ismailis likewise fast not only in Ramezan, but are
enjoined to abstain from all unrighteous speech and actions, the true
meaning of the fast.
So it would seem that Ptolemy is making esoteric interpretation of the Law,
enjoining Flora to ethics rather than obedience to exoteric code.
and again Ptolemy writes;
"And if the perfect God is good by nature, in fact he is, for our Savior
declared that there is only a single good God, his Father whom he
manifested; and if the one who is the opposite nature is evil and wicked,
characterized by injustice; then the one situatedbetween the two is neither
good nor evil or unjust, but can properly be called just, since he is the
arbitrator of the justice which is his.
On the one hand, this god will be inferior to the perfect God and the lower
than his justice, since he is generated and not ungenerated -- there is only
one ungenerated Father, from whom are all things [1 Cor 8:6], since all
things depend on him in their own ways. "
Ptolemy thus establishes the Law is only indirectly from the Father but is
the Law of the Craftsman.
The curious thing about Valentinian gnosticism is that it also obtains a
salvation for the Demiurge as well, Irenaeus recorded;
"But they relate that when the Saviour came, the Demiurge learned all things
from Him, and gladly with all, his power joined himself to Him. They
maintain that he is the centurion mentioned in the Gospel, who addressed the
Saviour in these words: "For I also am one having soldiers and servants
under my authority; and whatsoever I command they do." They further hold
that he will continue administering the affairs of the world as long as that
is fitting and needful, and specially that he may exercise a care over the
Church; while at the same time he is influenced by the knowledge of the
reward prepared for him, namely, that he may attain to the habitation of his
At least that is what I can see to resolve the Ptolemaic apologies in the
Again I bear in mind for my understanding is that the Florine Epistle is
basic catechism about the Law, a letter of psychic initiation perhaps, used
to assuage doubts regarding the Law and its relation to the Valentinian
school, sort of a "spin-doctoring" of Mosaic Law for new converts.
From: "s_e_k_h_m_e_t" <sekhmet@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Jun 2002 03:02:52 -0000
Subject: Re: [Gnosticism] Valentinian Breakfast
There is a quote:
"Since by Man came Death
By Man came also the resurrection of the Dead"
Unfortunately I only remember it from Handel's Messiah and am not
sure whether he lifted it from Psalms, Proverbs or somewhere in the
But the inference is that the Saviour is undoing something set in
motion by the first Adam.
On the other hand the sarcophagus brings up ideas of Essene (and
masonic and pyramidial) rites of rebirth (adolescent angst cliches
from Samuel beckett too).
Of course we have the cave like borrowed tomb (though apparently
without a sarcophagus in it - perhaps that had to wait for Houdini)
swallowing up the body - if there was one - taken down from the cross.
Again, in the Valentinian theology, the Son is seen to emit the Logos.
Now he is swallowing death. Let us hope that in his continence he
managed to burp quietly - all that festering and fermentation could
not be good for the digestion.
--- In gnosticism2@y..., "morphodyte" <morphodyte@y...> wrote:
> --- In gnosticism2@y..., "s_e_k_h_m_e_t" <sekhmet@z...> wrote:
> > I am still wondering about the saviour swallowing up death. Of
> > course it is a dramatic piece of rhetoric, in that death is
> > conventionally perceived as swallowing the individual and the
> > is seen to subvert this process.
> If we consider the greek term sarcophagus; body swallower,
> then I think you may be on to something.
> Would you care to expand on this further?
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