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Re: [Gnosticism] Define the term for me

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  • AJRoberti@aol.com
    Hello,
    Message 1 of 8 , Jul 27, 2002
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      Hello,

      << encratite
      libertine
      acetic
      antinomian

      I don't think encratite = acetic and libertine = antinomian. >>

      You are correct.

      Encratite is specifically someone who avoids meat, sex, and wine.  I think there are other particular rules and restrictions too.  "Ascetic" is a more general term, because it can include extreme as well as moderates.

      "Antinomian" refers to the argument that Christians are not required to observe the Law of Moses.  In Protestant usage there is the further assertion that salvation is by grace alone, with no regard to conduct.  Antinomianism is scriptural, but Jesus, Paul, James, and others (who were all antinomian) make it clear that this does NOT mean that people can behave any way they like.  The scriptural support for the "grace alone" position taken by Martin Luther, Anne Hutchinson, et al, is weak and falls apart under examination.  Christians are still bound by the rules of ethics, by the "two great commandments," and further by the fact that one's "fruits" are a perfect indication of their level of spiritual attainment.  If anything, restrictions on behavior and speech are even stronger without the Law of Moses.


      << I think in some literature and some one might take encratite and acetic interchangebly and also libertine and antinomian. Are they same or different? >>

      They are different, and using them interchangably is an error.


      << Anyway I want to make sure that definitions are clear because I would like to get on with Gilles Quispel stating that Gospel of Thomas is not Gnostic document but Encratite Christians. >>

      Quispel is correct.  While GTh shows evidence of having been altered by a Gnostic author, the original document itself is Encratite.  The only Gnostic element in GTh is dualism.  None of the other points of Gnostic teaching (the Pleroma, the Aions, the Archons, the fall of Sophia, the redemption of Sophia, etc.) are mentioned or even hinted at in GTh.


      << Also as mentioned the 'libertine' of Borborbites and discuss what is so libertine or antinomian about them and Carp >>

      The Carpocratians reportedly taught that the only way to be free of sin is to experience it all.  IOW, it is our duty to experience everything that can be experienced, and only then will we be free.  From what I read, they pointed to Matthew 5:25-26 as scriptural evidence that one does not get out of "prison" until one has paid "the utmost farthing."

      There is a parallel in some versions of Tantrism that teach one must indulge all the kleshas to be free of their influence.  It is not a path for the weak hearted.

      Modern esotericism has a similar teaching in the "Oath of the Abyss" where one swears to experience all things, do all things, and be all things.  However, I'm convinced that this is a mystical, metaphorical statement, and not an exortation to hedonistic indulgence.

      Ethphatah!
      Tony Roberti
      ---
      Gulf Coast Gnostics: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/GCGnostics/

      "A person desperately searching for God is like a fish desperately searching for water."

    • ernststrohregenmantelrad
      The frustrating thing is this won t get posted for 24 hours in which time all the thinking would be lost on some. ... Thank you. That is what I also thought.
      Message 2 of 8 , Jul 27, 2002
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        The frustrating thing is this won't get posted for 24 hours in which
        time all the thinking would be lost on some.

        --- In gnosticism2@y..., AJRoberti@a... wrote:
        > Hello,
        >
        > << encratite
        > libertine
        > acetic
        > antinomian
        >
        > I don't think encratite = acetic and libertine = antinomian. >>
        >
        > You are correct.
        >
        >
        > They are different, and using them interchangably is an error.
        >
        >

        Thank you. That is what I also thought.

        > << Anyway I want to make sure that definitions are clear because I
        would like
        > to get on with Gilles Quispel stating that Gospel of Thomas is not
        Gnostic
        > document but Encratite Christians. >>
        >
        > Quispel is correct. While GTh shows evidence of having been altered
        by a
        > Gnostic author, the original document itself is Encratite. The only
        Gnostic
        > element in GTh is dualism. None of the other points of Gnostic
        teaching (the
        > Pleroma, the Aions, the Archons, the fall of Sophia, the redemption
        of
        > Sophia, etc.) are mentioned or even hinted at in GTh.
        >

        This is also what I thought too and I also think Quispell has a good
        arguemnt. I am not 100% sure and I need to study it more but I did
        bring this question up on whether Gospel of Thomas is 'gnostic' or not
        before. However, my post was vehemently oppsed by some in the group as
        no basis that Thomas does show Gnosticism. Well, projecting from point
        of view of Gnosticism some 'dualistic' feature might be interpreted as
        Gnosticism but that is projecting back. One could also project back
        Gnossticism in Merkabah literature but that doesn't mean Merkabah is
        Gnosticism per se. I opted for Esoteric adaptionalist because of
        duality and since Syriac Christianity in this case Thomas tradition
        are of Adaptionalists varity. Whether these adaptionalists were
        encratites? Maybe. More need for further study. In related area in the
        book "Paulician Heresy" the author states that Paulicians were off
        shoot of Syrian adaptionlists Christianity. It would be interesting to
        see whether Paulicians are comparable to Syriac Thomas tradition that
        used G of Th. In the light of alleged Bogomil origin as Paulicians it
        would be interesting.
        >
        > << Also as mentioned the 'libertine' of Borborbites and discuss what
        is so
        > libertine or antinomian about them and Carp >>
        >
        >
        > The Carpocratians reportedly taught that the only way to be free of
        sin is to
        > experience it all. IOW, it is our duty to experience everything
        that can be
        > experienced, and only then will we be free. From what I read, they
        pointed
        > to Matthew 5:25-26 as scriptural evidence that one does not get out
        of
        > "prison" until one has paid "the utmost farthing."
        >
        > There is a parallel in some versions of Tantrism that teach one must
        indulge
        > all the kleshas to be free of their influence. It is not a path for
        the weak
        > hearted.
        >
        > Modern esotericism has a similar teaching in the "Oath of the Abyss"
        where
        > one swears to experience all things, do all things, and be all
        things.
        > However, I'm convinced that this is a mystical, metaphorical
        statement, and
        > not an exortation to hedonistic indulgence.
        >

        could you comment that in conjuction with my post on Borborites? Again
        I don't think sex practice what the modern occultists let to believe.
        I think at least in the case of Borborites it was par taking og life
        stuff much akin to Manichaeans.


        > Ethphatah!
        > Tony Roberti
        > ---
        > Gulf Coast Gnostics: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/GCGnostics/
        >
        > "A person desperately searching for God is like a fish d
      • pessoa22000
        ... Antinomian includes both encratite and libertine. Both violate the Torah. ... It may still be encratite christian gnostic, e.g. satornilean or cassianite.
        Message 3 of 8 , Aug 8, 2002
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          --- In gnosticism2@y..., ernststrohregenmantelrad <no_reply@y...> wrote:
          > The frustrating thing is this won't get posted for 24 hours in which
          > time all the thinking would be lost on some.
          >
          > --- In gnosticism2@y..., AJRoberti@a... wrote:
          > > Hello,
          > >
          > > << encratite
          > > libertine
          > > acetic
          > > antinomian
          > >
          > > I don't think encratite = acetic and libertine = antinomian. >>
          > >

          Antinomian includes both encratite and libertine.
          Both violate the Torah.

          > > You are correct.
          > >
          > >
          > > They are different, and using them interchangably is an error.
          > >
          > >
          >
          > Thank you. That is what I also thought.
          >
          > > << Anyway I want to make sure that definitions are clear because I
          > > would like
          > > to get on with Gilles Quispel stating that Gospel of Thomas is not
          > > Gnostic
          > > document but Encratite Christians. >>

          It may still be encratite christian gnostic,
          e.g. satornilean or cassianite.

          > >
          > > Quispel is correct. While GTh shows evidence of having been altered
          > > by a
          > > Gnostic author, the original document itself is Encratite. The only
          > > Gnostic
          > > element in GTh is dualism.

          Gnostic Dualism is feebler than Marcionite or Manichean.

          > > None of the other points of Gnostic teaching
          > > (the Pleroma, the Aions, the Archons,
          > > the fall of Sophia, the redemption of
          > > Sophia, etc.)

          The Sophia myth is a valentinian thingy.
          Not all schools of gnosticism use it.
          Simo the mage doesn't, Menandros doesn't,
          Satornil doesn't, nor do Kainites, Archontics, Naassenes,
          Peratae, Sethites, Phibionites, Apellians, Severians,
          Hermogenians, Nicolaites, ...
          The sophia may be demythologized or considered insignificant
          for the particular purpose of the gospel.
          The destruction of Bin Ladn is not mentioned in each paper of
          Bush's policy, though it's an important goal of Bush.
          And what is so strikingly encratite in the Evangelion following Thomas?
          It even points out exceptions,
          like adaption to foreign cultures when travelling abroad.

          > > are mentioned or even hinted at in GTh.
          > >
          >
          > This is also what I thought too and I also think Quispell has a good
          > arguemnt. I am not 100% sure and I need to study it more but I did
          > bring this question up on whether Gospel of Thomas is 'gnostic' or not
          > before.

          One can't decide that from those formal arguments about its vocabulary.

          > However, my post was vehemently oppsed by some in the group as
          > no basis that Thomas does show Gnosticism. Well, projecting from point
          > of view of Gnosticism some 'dualistic' feature might be interpreted as
          > Gnosticism but that is projecting back. One could also project back
          > Gnossticism in Merkabah literature but that doesn't mean Merkabah is
          > Gnosticism per se. I opted for Esoteric adaptionalist because of
          > duality and since Syriac Christianity in this case Thomas tradition
          > are of Adaptionalists varity. Whether these adaptionalists were
          > encratites? Maybe.

          Not more than Brahmani.

          > More need for further study. In related area in the
          > book "Paulician Heresy" the author states that Paulicians were off
          > shoot of Syrian adaptionlists Christianity. It would be interesting to
          > see whether Paulicians are comparable to Syriac Thomas tradition that
          > used G of Th. In the light of alleged Bogomil origin as Paulicians it
          > would be interesting.

          Now, what is particularly adaptionist in the Evangelion of Thomas?

          > >
          > > << Also as mentioned the 'libertine' of Borborbites and discuss what
          > > is so
          > > libertine or antinomian about them and Carp >>
          > >
          > >
          > > The Carpocratians reportedly taught that the only way to be free of
          > > sin is to
          > > experience it all.

          This is an interpolation grown from a gross misunderstanding
          by the churchfathers, mixed with unfounded polemics.
          Already G. Mead unvealed the ridiculous errors of the patrists.

          > >IOW, it is our duty to experience everything
          > > that can be
          > > experienced, and only then will we be free. From what I read, they
          > pointed
          > > to Matthew 5:25-26 as scriptural evidence that one does not get out
          > > of
          > > "prison" until one has paid "the utmost farthing."

          A gross misunderstanding of Plato's or vedic karma theory by the
          churchfathers, nothing more.

          > >
          > > There is a parallel in some versions of Tantrism that teach one must

          only lefthanded (vama) tantra. righthanded (dakshina) doesn't.

          > >indulge
          > > all the kleshas to be free of their influence.
          > >It is not a path for
          > > the weak hearted.
          > >
          > > Modern esotericism has a similar teaching in the "Oath of the Abyss"
          > > where
          > > one swears to experience all things, do all things, and be all things.
          > > However, I'm convinced that this is a mystical, metaphorical
          > > statement, and
          > > not an exortation to hedonistic indulgence.

          hedonism means 'know your desires, for not getting controlled by them'.
          this was also taught by Epicure.

          Klaus Schilling
        • Terje Dahl Bergersen
          ... I beg to differ, and moreover, taking the clue from the post you replied to.. If I used that criteria I would find it difficult to make a writing
          Message 4 of 8 , Aug 8, 2002
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            [Gnosticism] Re: Define the term for me


            Ernst:
            > > None of the other points of Gnostic teaching
            > > (the  Pleroma, the Aions, the Archons,
            > > the fall of Sophia, the redemption  of
            > > Sophia, etc.)

            Klaus wrote:

            The Sophia myth is a valentinian thingy.


            I beg to differ, and moreover, taking the clue from the
            post you replied to.. If I used that criteria I would
            find it difficult to make a writing attributed to
            Valentinus himself, the Evangelion Veritatis, or
            "Gospel of Truth", to fit, moreover, in the Tripartite
            tractate - it is the Logos, in a sense, that "falls".
            However - the greatest volume of myths and accounts
            we possess first hand are *non-valentinian* and possibly
            non-christian in origin ; the Sethian and Barbeloite
            bulk of the Nag Hammadi find, the Codex Askew, Codex
            Bruce and Codex Berlin... they are almost exclusively
            concerned with Sophia and her redemption.
            The Encratite (Continence) teaching purports an anthropology
            of some *redeemable* part within Man, however he is defined
            and dissected in philosophical exegesis, which is pure
            were the envoirment and the outer "layers", or "skin", of
            Man is not pure. This purity is associated with light, but
            also with a "lower spiritual essence" - its corollaries
            in different systems has to do with The Virgin, who, although
            she became acquianted with matter,death,the world,desire &c
            (I think it is valid even in terms of Persephone, or Psyche
            for that matter) - but She is "not defiled"; rather she
            is confused,stupified,silenced and in a state of grief.



            Not all schools of gnosticism use it.
            Simo the mage doesn't,

            What do you propose Our Lady
            Helene were supposed to be?
            Oh..but she is not mentioned in the Megale Apophasis?
            Well, the MA were written over a century after Simon
            Magus and not by Simonians.. so no wonder, I would say.



             Menandros doesn't,

            We do not know. Why? Because we have no first hand account
            of Menandrist doctrine, moreover, the second hand account is
            very narrow in its choice of topics, probably the account of
            Menander`s semi-Christian "heresy" given by Ireneaus depends
            largely on the fact that Ireneaus were a Christological writer
            /thinker, and said Ireneaus were very disgruntled at the
            doctrines presented by Menander concerning just this.
            Ireneaus Menander leaves no particular place or role for
            Christ, apart from being a honorary even applicable to himself
            after his own Initiation - his Jesus is a magician like
            Simon Magus, whose magical practices he has inherited..
            The "primitives" went in pairs - The Irenite Carpocrates
            had his consorts, the Irenite Simon Magus had his consort - specifically
            Helen of Tyre who purportedly were the "First-Thought",
            a feminine Aeon which had emanated out of "The Great Power"
            - for the salvation and sanctification of a lost portion;
            because the lost portion came under the subservience and tyranny
            of servants who had rebelled in heaven and descended upon the earth,
            like the Nephilim in the Genesis, one among them, the god Jahve.



            Satornil doesn't, nor do Kainites,

            <This is all my very subjective opinion>
            Since the following is science fiction ;Kainite,Phibionite,
            Borborite,Nicolaitans ... I have no doubt they would not
            have mentioned her, moreover, they would not have mentioned
            anything.. Ireneaus,Ephiphanius of Salamis and a fair
            sprinkling of aspirants in the genre felt it necessary
            to do as the Medieaval authors of Bestiaries and good
            old Ambrose Bierce...  I do think there is a point to
            the mentioning of the litany, It has proven quite usefull
            in modern times, in sprinkling a lot of fictions and fables
            in a list which is basically an example of historical and chronological
            name-dropping, you can prove the continuity of one or another thingy..
            usefull for con-artists,pretenders and conspiracy theory architechts...
            oh, I meant - spiritualists,esoterists and historical researchers..
            sorry..:->
            And.. its literary method.. this is how you write for instance
            a Dictionary of the Khazars - the method is even discernable in
            Umberto Eco`s Foucaults Pendulum...



             Archontics, Naassenes,
            Peratae, Sethites, Phibionites, Apellians, Severians,
            Hermogenians, Nicolaites, ...

            .......The Naassene Hymn pertains specifically to Sophia
            and the Sophia myth, and Christ`s descent as Salvational Gnosis
            embodied... (see Hippolytus treatment of the Naassenes)
            The Sethians are several different directions - the
            "Sethian-Ophites" of Celsus/Origen does not have a Sophia
            Myth/element - whereas the Barbeloites had.. as for
            Apellians and Severians.. they were later Christological
            heresies which were not clustered among the metaphysical
            quibblers and Gnosis soteriologists which is usually
            associated with the phenomenon of Gnosticism..I have no
            doubt that the Severians and Apellians did not possess a smidgeon of
            Sophia, but they had no (salvational) Gnosis either..
            Nicolaitans are associated with the Book of Revelation,¨
            were a party belonging to the presbyter/deacon Nicolai, who
            scandalized his _orthodox_ community, just like Jezebel..
            did N and J necessarely need to exist for their appearance
            in the Revelation? Hermogenes were a "sophist" according
            to the accusation of his Christian contemporaries, he dabbled
            with metaphysics and ontology (arguing about first origins)
            but not with Sophia.. his sophistry relates to the Greek
            Philosophical school (and swearword) the Sophists and had
            nothing to do with Sophia as such, so there you are right..
            however, how he became a Gnostic, if you don`t become
            a Gnostic on account of being mentioned in the same book
            .. such as is the case in Ireneaus,Hippolytus and Epiphanius
            among others.. I have no idea..

            The sophia may be demythologized or considered insignificant
            for the particular purpose of the gospel.

            This is a strong argument in relationship to the topic of
            the "Gnosticity" of the Gospel of Thomas,
            not particularly against it being Gnostic, because some
            texts we have ,specifically  _The Exegesis on the Soul_ and
            _The Authoritative Teaching_  do not mention Sophia by Name,
            nor do they cite details of the Myth in Mythological language,
            Allegory is used from the Premise that the Soul has its origin
            before actual incarnation and that a recollection, restoration
            of origin is exhorted as a possible Salvation -
            the technical names and the sequential order is not necessary
            for those who are intelligent concerning the contents and
            meaning of the Myth. Another issue is the "Valentinianity" of
            another Nag Hammadi text, namely _The Gospel of Truth_ -
            if the Sophia Myth is a "valentinian thing", it is absolutely
            astounding that the one text which is attributed to the founder
            , Valentinus, himself, make no use whatsoever of any of the
            usual elements of the Myth.


            And what is so strikingly encratite in the Evangelion following Thomas?
            It even points out exceptions,
            like adaption to foreign cultures when travelling abroad.

            What goes into the mouth does not matter, rather what goes out of the mouth..
            in fact this is a dictum universally adapted in every monastic community
            I have encountered in my religious studies.. What do I mean: There
            is a continence of the flesh, and a continence of the mind - the Mind
            is not the solution in context with the Logiae of Gosp.Thomas.
            The ethical guidlines in Gosp.Thomas goes against the grain for
            being very specific where the traditional Logia of the Synoptics
            are vague - if you fast you may even bring sin upon yourself;
            concerns, either pro or con, concerning the body (which is a corpse
            at default, dead had it not been for the light given it from the
            "image" or "light-man" inside) and its trappings..is indulgences
            the seekers cannot afford. The discipline elevated above the purities
            of a superficial zeal is humility,compassion,continence of mind/heart,
            inquisitiveness(seek and you shall find),sobriety(seeing things as such
            they are, and in their due time, not planning or scheming to better tommorrow
            or secure positions) and a watchfullness.
            Everything is revealed to the heavens, and all is plain - yet here the perpetrator of mistakes in the parables, whoever he or she is, thinks he/she can somehow compromise their visibility and do things all of their own..




            Now, what is particularly adaptionist in the Evangelion of Thomas?

            No mention of the Incarnation....
            No emphasis on the genealogy of Jesus.
            However, that could also earn the Text another denigrating term,
            namely "Docetist".
            I am not so sure about the Adoptionalist doctrine being generically
            Gnostic, this would mean theologians participant in the 4th to 7th
            century Christological debates were Gnostic as well, despite the
            lack of a Gnosis Soteriology.


            > >
            > > << Also as mentioned the 'libertine' of Borborbites and discuss what
            > > is so
            > > libertine or antinomian about them and Carp >>

            None, since the Borborites didnt appreciate the Law at all.. in order to be Antinomian one has to believe that some event,dispensation,new prophecy or whatever replaces a Law which is recognized and appreciated.. with basical freedom from obligation.
            Libertine, well - its just laissez-faire, if some innovation or argument in theology or philosophy shoves the orthodoxist position of "either you abstain/either you observe.. or you will perish/get tortured/have God send you to a warm place after you are properly dead" out of the way for even an instant.. this and the other is both guilty of Antinomianism and Libertine appetites.. If I choose to light a cigarette outside, after attending some New Agey conference.. I most certainly will hear how Gaia/God/Goddess cries endless tears over my apostacy and fall into Nicotinism (or Libertinism), and it isnt even so much that I believe I possess such liberties, or even challenges their non-existence, I indulge in what is frowned upon...
            Concerning this, the strictest canon of do`s and don`ts I know of is found in the Torah...and even as it was, that the Lambs were slaughtered along with Turtledoves, and offered as scent unto the deity... the High Priests would still dine on the meat that were left over afterwards, with no concern or thought whatsoever about it containing Blood, having been sacrificed to Graven Images and not being prepared by a Kosher Butcher in advance..
            Marcion would oppose marriage.
            Now, Marcion had mass-appeal and attracted quite a lot of people who would never in their life take priestly vows or dedicate themselves to an hermitage.. they would actually live in the cities, and at that, more or less the urban lifestyle of any city-dweller... Marcion would speak of God as the Compassionate,Merciful and as Love itself, and his audience would listen to him, reflecting upon his exegesis as they were able to, and adapting it to their city-lives.
            What happens? Listen in on a conversation in the background at a public appearance
            1."Hey! What did that kid just say?"
            2"He says they should not pay Tithes.. He says there is no need for martyrdom for the Gospel,"
            1.He just said; "God does not thirst for blood" He said..He says none is perfect nor perfected before the Day...(this is the non-gnostic portion of his gospel of course)...So basically, the Commandments of Our Fathers is of no use? God wont be pleased? The Torah is a load of hooey?
            2. Basically..yes, now then.. what does he say? We should not Marry?
            1. Why?
            2. Because it is instituted so as to procreate and strenghten the grip of the God of Justice, the Lawgiver, Judge in the Sky - who he says isn`t the real God at all, and that Jesus came with the Holy Spirit to clear up the misunderstanding..
            1. So if I werent married and a Christian in good standing, and I were to follow his doctrine.. I could basically do as I pleased, since the True God doesnt care about the Law nor Justice, but rather is Good and Compassionate and pardons everything, only if I did believe... I could have relations with whomsoever I pleased without thinking of it..
            2. He says you could, or should...
            1. Lynch the poor sod! He´s deranged and dangerous.
            There´s a few more detailed accounts which suggest to me that one thing might be said from the chair in the auditorium and something quite different settling in the minds of those who attend...
            Marcion took Paul´s letters at their word, and might have misheard or taken a quite dramatic leap into some conclusion or another.. but he proposed that companionship of some certain intimate quality (but not generative) or the fellowship in Agape itself, would replace the old order of marriage and domestic lifestyles established before the coming of the Dispensation.
            He didn`t instruct people to become fornicators, and those who stayed long enough were not disturbed by such suggestions as he did give, because their minds where something else than witnesses 1 and 2.
            Libertine is well and good as a title for some kind of encyclopedia article, I am just worried that whats stamped with that label, I mean what it is and what it means gets obscured by the label.
            Encratite isn´t consistently used among the scholars, Ascetic isn`t always the term which covers best the topic/phenomenon and Libertine is an hopelessly modern or modernized term which could mean everything...
            If I  go bathing without my drawers on, I am sure someone would call me promiscuous, even an exhibitionist.. or perhaps a bit of libertine or pervert.. and I could be labeled a Nudist as well.. however, even if this is the case, what I do is go bathing without my drawers on..I could be a Nudist..
            but not necessarely...

            One accusation against the Gnostics were that they ate of food offered
            to goods.. and participated in pagan rites.. this is all, after the event, considered quite unchristian of them to do.. but we are not certain, today, whether or not it was uncommon or even deemed morally reprehensible to participate in Mandatory Celeberations under the Roman Aegis On Pain of Death..
            and we have only the word of some rather suspect characters (who are ideologically suicidial...lusting for martyrdom) that it was immoral and unchristian to behave as such.
            Where those who "broke" whatever norm which instituted you shouldnt participate libertine? They could be hungry, or they could just hold their lives a little more precious than some of the later Churchfathers...
          • rwr
            [Gnosticism] Re: Define the term for meHello all, I AM new here. The so called Sophia Myth is not really a myth at all, nor symbolic as are orthodox
            Message 5 of 8 , Aug 8, 2002
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              [Gnosticism] Re: Define the term for me

              Hello all, I AM new here.

              The so called 'Sophia Myth' is not really a myth at all, nor symbolic as are orthodox religions (constructed by priestcraft and for social political purposes). Sophia is simply another word for wisdom (we use too many different words for the same thing - hence mystification and seeming paradoxes at times - to say nothing of unnecessary confusion)

              Humanity has known these experiences – the mystical transcendent event which brings the mystical gnosis – since we lived in caves. At the root of all minds (our ground of being where we {MIND} started from) consciousness resides in a realm of divine eternal love, beauty, wisdom and understanding. The wisdom aspect of it was simply called ‘Sophia’ buy some tribes – illumination by others, the divine gnosis by others, revelation by others. And so it goes. They are all talking about the same thing. Unfortunately those who have never encountered it cannot make head nor tail of it from the diatribe of academic human dialogue. It is a bit like describing light and colour to somebody who has lived a dark cave all their life.

              In all truth it is best not to think in terms of gnosticism at all (for like all other isms it is a camel constructed by a committee – who have never seen a camel) but rather better to simply concentrate on the phenomenon of gnosis – the mystical event of returning home to from whence we came and knowing what we are in primordial essence – divine consciousness.

              As it has correctly been said…. Those who have not known their self (the transcendent bit that is) have known nothing; but those who have come to know their self have simultaneously achieved knowledge of the deepest depths of the all. Tis true, by direct human conscious experience - albeit rare it would seem. Tis a bit like a near death experience which forgets to stop, and goes all the way home. That is all. Simple really. They make such a fuss about things in this world do they not.

              Richard.

            • AJRoberti@aol.com
              Hello Klaus Schilling, Me: ...
              Message 6 of 8 , Aug 9, 2002
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                Hello Klaus Schilling,

                Me: <snip>
                > bring this question up on whether Gospel of Thomas is
                > 'gnostic' or not before.

                << One can't decide that from those formal arguments about its vocabulary. >>

                That depends on how you define "Gnostic."

                Big-G "Gnosticism" is a specific teaching tradition with specific earmarks, many of which have their roots in Judaism, and many of which have their roots in Hellenic philosophy.

                There are no earmarks of Hellenic influence on the Gospel of Thomas -- with the possible exception of one or two verses which were clearly added by later Gnostic redactors.

                In the sense of little-g gnosticism, which isn't so dependent on scholarly definitions and covers a wider range, sure, the Gospel of Thomas is gnostic or has strong gnostic affinity -- because it is a mystical text that describes our starting condition as one of "poverty" and the world as a "corpse."


                << hedonism means 'know your desires, for not getting controlled by them'.
                this was also taught by Epicure. >>

                No disagreement from me, I am not a left-hand pather.


                Ethphatah!
                Tony Roberti
                ---
                http://members.aol.com/AJRoberti/rg/index.htm
                Gulf Coast Gnostics: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/GCGnostics/

                Look at this window: it is nothing but a hole in the wall, but because of it the whole room is full of light. So when the faculties are empty, the heart is full of light.
                --Chuang Tzu
              • pmcvflag
                Weclome new members... ... earmarks, many of which have their roots in Judaism, and many of which have their roots in Hellenic philosophy.
                Message 7 of 8 , Aug 9, 2002
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                  Weclome new members...

                  >Big-G "Gnosticism" is a specific teaching tradition with specific
                  earmarks,
                  many of which have their roots in Judaism, and many of which have
                  their roots
                  in Hellenic philosophy.<

                  And for the record, this club deals specifically with Big-G
                  Gnosticism, not the wider definitions.

                  PMCV
                • pmcvflag
                  Ditto to Terje s post. There are plenty of instances where non- Valintinian sources meantion Sophia, and in grand mythological fashion. PMCV ... specifically
                  Message 8 of 8 , Aug 9, 2002
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                    Ditto to Terje's post. There are plenty of instances where non-
                    Valintinian sources meantion Sophia, and in grand mythological
                    fashion.

                    PMCV

                    --- In gnosticism2@y..., Terje Dahl Bergersen <terje@b...> wrote:
                    >
                    >
                    > Ernst:
                    > > > > None of the other points of Gnostic teaching
                    > >> > (the Pleroma, the Aions, the Archons,
                    > >> > the fall of Sophia, the redemption of
                    > >> > Sophia, etc.)
                    >
                    > Klaus wrote:
                    >
                    > >The Sophia myth is a valentinian thingy.
                    >
                    >
                    > I beg to differ, and moreover, taking the clue from the
                    > post you replied to.. If I used that criteria I would
                    > find it difficult to make a writing attributed to
                    > Valentinus himself, the Evangelion Veritatis, or
                    > "Gospel of Truth", to fit, moreover, in the Tripartite
                    > tractate - it is the Logos, in a sense, that "falls".
                    > However - the greatest volume of myths and accounts
                    > we possess first hand are *non-valentinian* and possibly
                    > non-christian in origin ; the Sethian and Barbeloite
                    > bulk of the Nag Hammadi find, the Codex Askew, Codex
                    > Bruce and Codex Berlin... they are almost exclusively
                    > concerned with Sophia and her redemption.
                    > The Encratite (Continence) teaching purports an anthropology
                    > of some *redeemable* part within Man, however he is defined
                    > and dissected in philosophical exegesis, which is pure
                    > were the envoirment and the outer "layers", or "skin", of
                    > Man is not pure. This purity is associated with light, but
                    > also with a "lower spiritual essence" - its corollaries
                    > in different systems has to do with The Virgin, who, although
                    > she became acquianted with matter,death,the world,desire &c
                    > (I think it is valid even in terms of Persephone, or Psyche
                    > for that matter) - but She is "not defiled"; rather she
                    > is confused,stupified,silenced and in a state of grief.
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > >Not all schools of gnosticism use it.
                    > >Simo the mage doesn't,
                    >
                    > What do you propose Our Lady
                    > Helene were supposed to be?
                    > Oh..but she is not mentioned in the Megale Apophasis?
                    > Well, the MA were written over a century after Simon
                    > Magus and not by Simonians.. so no wonder, I would say.
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > > Menandros doesn't,
                    >
                    > We do not know. Why? Because we have no first hand account
                    > of Menandrist doctrine, moreover, the second hand account is
                    > very narrow in its choice of topics, probably the account of
                    > Menander`s semi-Christian "heresy" given by Ireneaus depends
                    > largely on the fact that Ireneaus were a Christological writer
                    > /thinker, and said Ireneaus were very disgruntled at the
                    > doctrines presented by Menander concerning just this.
                    > Ireneaus Menander leaves no particular place or role for
                    > Christ, apart from being a honorary even applicable to himself
                    > after his own Initiation - his Jesus is a magician like
                    > Simon Magus, whose magical practices he has inherited..
                    > The "primitives" went in pairs - The Irenite Carpocrates
                    > had his consorts, the Irenite Simon Magus had his consort -
                    specifically
                    > Helen of Tyre who purportedly were the "First-Thought",
                    > a feminine Aeon which had emanated out of "The Great Power"
                    > - for the salvation and sanctification of a lost portion;
                    > because the lost portion came under the subservience and tyranny
                    > of servants who had rebelled in heaven and descended upon the earth,
                    > like the Nephilim in the Genesis, one among them, the god Jahve.
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > >Satornil doesn't, nor do Kainites,
                    >
                    > <This is all my very subjective opinion>
                    > Since the following is science fiction ;Kainite,Phibionite,
                    > Borborite,Nicolaitans ... I have no doubt they would not
                    > have mentioned her, moreover, they would not have mentioned
                    > anything.. Ireneaus,Ephiphanius of Salamis and a fair
                    > sprinkling of aspirants in the genre felt it necessary
                    > to do as the Medieaval authors of Bestiaries and good
                    > old Ambrose Bierce... I do think there is a point to
                    > the mentioning of the litany, It has proven quite usefull
                    > in modern times, in sprinkling a lot of fictions and fables
                    > in a list which is basically an example of historical and
                    chronological
                    > name-dropping, you can prove the continuity of one or another
                    thingy..
                    > usefull for con-artists,pretenders and conspiracy theory
                    architechts...
                    > oh, I meant - spiritualists,esoterists and historical researchers..
                    > sorry..:->
                    > And.. its literary method.. this is how you write for instance
                    > a Dictionary of the Khazars - the method is even discernable in
                    > Umberto Eco`s Foucaults Pendulum...
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > > Archontics, Naassenes,
                    > >Peratae, Sethites, Phibionites, Apellians, Severians,
                    > >Hermogenians, Nicolaites, ...
                    >
                    > .......The Naassene Hymn pertains specifically to Sophia
                    > and the Sophia myth, and Christ`s descent as Salvational Gnosis
                    > embodied... (see Hippolytus treatment of the Naassenes)
                    > The Sethians are several different directions - the
                    > "Sethian-Ophites" of Celsus/Origen does not have a Sophia
                    > Myth/element - whereas the Barbeloites had.. as for
                    > Apellians and Severians.. they were later Christological
                    > heresies which were not clustered among the metaphysical
                    > quibblers and Gnosis soteriologists which is usually
                    > associated with the phenomenon of Gnosticism..I have no
                    > doubt that the Severians and Apellians did not possess a smidgeon of
                    > Sophia, but they had no (salvational) Gnosis either..
                    > Nicolaitans are associated with the Book of Revelation,¨
                    > were a party belonging to the presbyter/deacon Nicolai, who
                    > scandalized his _orthodox_ community, just like Jezebel..
                    > did N and J necessarely need to exist for their appearance
                    > in the Revelation? Hermogenes were a "sophist" according
                    > to the accusation of his Christian contemporaries, he dabbled
                    > with metaphysics and ontology (arguing about first origins)
                    > but not with Sophia.. his sophistry relates to the Greek
                    > Philosophical school (and swearword) the Sophists and had
                    > nothing to do with Sophia as such, so there you are right..
                    > however, how he became a Gnostic, if you don`t become
                    > a Gnostic on account of being mentioned in the same book
                    > .. such as is the case in Ireneaus,Hippolytus and Epiphanius
                    > among others.. I have no idea..
                    >
                    > >The sophia may be demythologized or considered insignificant
                    > >for the particular purpose of the gospel.
                    >
                    > This is a strong argument in relationship to the topic of
                    > the "Gnosticity" of the Gospel of Thomas,
                    > not particularly against it being Gnostic, because some
                    > texts we have ,specifically _The Exegesis on the Soul_ and
                    > _The Authoritative Teaching_ do not mention Sophia by Name,
                    > nor do they cite details of the Myth in Mythological language,
                    > Allegory is used from the Premise that the Soul has its origin
                    > before actual incarnation and that a recollection, restoration
                    > of origin is exhorted as a possible Salvation -
                    > the technical names and the sequential order is not necessary
                    > for those who are intelligent concerning the contents and
                    > meaning of the Myth. Another issue is the "Valentinianity" of
                    > another Nag Hammadi text, namely _The Gospel of Truth_ -
                    > if the Sophia Myth is a "valentinian thing", it is absolutely
                    > astounding that the one text which is attributed to the founder
                    > , Valentinus, himself, make no use whatsoever of any of the
                    > usual elements of the Myth.
                    >
                    >
                    > >And what is so strikingly encratite in the Evangelion following
                    Thomas?
                    > >It even points out exceptions,
                    > >like adaption to foreign cultures when travelling abroad.
                    >
                    > What goes into the mouth does not matter, rather what goes out of
                    the mouth..
                    > in fact this is a dictum universally adapted in every monastic
                    community
                    > I have encountered in my religious studies.. What do I mean: There
                    > is a continence of the flesh, and a continence of the mind - the
                    Mind
                    > is not the solution in context with the Logiae of Gosp.Thomas.
                    > The ethical guidlines in Gosp.Thomas goes against the grain for
                    > being very specific where the traditional Logia of the Synoptics
                    > are vague - if you fast you may even bring sin upon yourself;
                    > concerns, either pro or con, concerning the body (which is a corpse
                    > at default, dead had it not been for the light given it from the
                    > "image" or "light-man" inside) and its trappings..is indulgences
                    > the seekers cannot afford. The discipline elevated above the
                    purities
                    > of a superficial zeal is humility,compassion,continence of
                    mind/heart,
                    > inquisitiveness(seek and you shall find),sobriety(seeing things as
                    such
                    > they are, and in their due time, not planning or scheming to better
                    tommorrow
                    > or secure positions) and a watchfullness.
                    > Everything is revealed to the heavens, and all is plain - yet here
                    > the perpetrator of mistakes in the parables, whoever he or she is,
                    > thinks he/she can somehow compromise their visibility and do things
                    > all of their own..
                    >
                    >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >Now, what is particularly adaptionist in the Evangelion of Thomas?
                    >
                    > No mention of the Incarnation....
                    > No emphasis on the genealogy of Jesus.
                    > However, that could also earn the Text another denigrating term,
                    > namely "Docetist".
                    > I am not so sure about the Adoptionalist doctrine being generically
                    > Gnostic, this would mean theologians participant in the 4th to 7th
                    > century Christological debates were Gnostic as well, despite the
                    > lack of a Gnosis Soteriology.
                    >
                    >
                    > > > >
                    > >> > << Also as mentioned the 'libertine' of Borborbites and
                    discuss what
                    > >> > is so
                    > > > > libertine or antinomian about them and Carp >>
                    >
                    > None, since the Borborites didnt appreciate the Law at all.. in
                    order
                    > to be Antinomian one has to believe that some
                    event,dispensation,new
                    > prophecy or whatever replaces a Law which is recognized and
                    > appreciated.. with basical freedom from obligation.
                    > Libertine, well - its just laissez-faire, if some innovation or
                    > argument in theology or philosophy shoves the orthodoxist position
                    of
                    > "either you abstain/either you observe.. or you will perish/get
                    > tortured/have God send you to a warm place after you are properly
                    > dead" out of the way for even an instant.. this and the other is
                    both
                    > guilty of Antinomianism and Libertine appetites.. If I choose to
                    > light a cigarette outside, after attending some New Agey
                    conference..
                    > I most certainly will hear how Gaia/God/Goddess cries endless tears
                    > over my apostacy and fall into Nicotinism (or Libertinism), and it
                    > isnt even so much that I believe I possess such liberties, or even
                    > challenges their non-existence, I indulge in what is frowned upon...
                    > Concerning this, the strictest canon of do`s and don`ts I know of
                    is
                    > found in the Torah...and even as it was, that the Lambs were
                    > slaughtered along with Turtledoves, and offered as scent unto the
                    > deity... the High Priests would still dine on the meat that were
                    left
                    > over afterwards, with no concern or thought whatsoever about it
                    > containing Blood, having been sacrificed to Graven Images and not
                    > being prepared by a Kosher Butcher in advance..
                    > Marcion would oppose marriage.
                    > Now, Marcion had mass-appeal and attracted quite a lot of people
                    who
                    > would never in their life take priestly vows or dedicate themselves
                    > to an hermitage.. they would actually live in the cities, and at
                    > that, more or less the urban lifestyle of any city-dweller...
                    Marcion
                    > would speak of God as the Compassionate,Merciful and as Love
                    itself,
                    > and his audience would listen to him, reflecting upon his exegesis
                    as
                    > they were able to, and adapting it to their city-lives.
                    > What happens? Listen in on a conversation in the background at a
                    > public appearance
                    > 1."Hey! What did that kid just say?"
                    > 2"He says they should not pay Tithes.. He says there is no need for
                    > martyrdom for the Gospel,"
                    > 1.He just said; "God does not thirst for blood" He said..He says
                    none
                    > is perfect nor perfected before the Day...(this is the non-gnostic
                    > portion of his gospel of course)...So basically, the Commandments
                    of
                    > Our Fathers is of no use? God wont be pleased? The Torah is a load
                    of
                    > hooey?
                    > 2. Basically..yes, now then.. what does he say? We should not Marry?
                    > 1. Why?
                    > 2. Because it is instituted so as to procreate and strenghten the
                    > grip of the God of Justice, the Lawgiver, Judge in the Sky - who he
                    > says isn`t the real God at all, and that Jesus came with the Holy
                    > Spirit to clear up the misunderstanding..
                    > 1. So if I werent married and a Christian in good standing, and I
                    > were to follow his doctrine.. I could basically do as I pleased,
                    > since the True God doesnt care about the Law nor Justice, but
                    rather
                    > is Good and Compassionate and pardons everything, only if I did
                    > believe... I could have relations with whomsoever I pleased without
                    > thinking of it..
                    > 2. He says you could, or should...
                    > 1. Lynch the poor sod! He´s deranged and dangerous.
                    > There´s a few more detailed accounts which suggest to me that one
                    > thing might be said from the chair in the auditorium and something
                    > quite different settling in the minds of those who attend...
                    > Marcion took Paul´s letters at their word, and might have misheard
                    or
                    > taken a quite dramatic leap into some conclusion or another.. but
                    he
                    > proposed that companionship of some certain intimate quality (but
                    not
                    > generative) or the fellowship in Agape itself, would replace the
                    old
                    > order of marriage and domestic lifestyles established before the
                    > coming of the Dispensation.
                    > He didn`t instruct people to become fornicators, and those who
                    stayed
                    > long enough were not disturbed by such suggestions as he did give,
                    > because their minds where something else than witnesses 1 and 2.
                    > Libertine is well and good as a title for some kind of encyclopedia
                    > article, I am just worried that whats stamped with that label, I
                    mean
                    > what it is and what it means gets obscured by the label.
                    > Encratite isn´t consistently used among the scholars, Ascetic isn`t
                    > always the term which covers best the topic/phenomenon and
                    Libertine
                    > is an hopelessly modern or modernized term which could mean
                    > everything...
                    > If I go bathing without my drawers on, I am sure someone would
                    call
                    > me promiscuous, even an exhibitionist.. or perhaps a bit of
                    libertine
                    > or pervert.. and I could be labeled a Nudist as well.. however,
                    even
                    > if this is the case, what I do is go bathing without my drawers
                    on..I
                    > could be a Nudist..
                    > but not necessarely...
                    >
                    > One accusation against the Gnostics were that they ate of food
                    offered
                    > to goods.. and participated in pagan rites.. this is all, after the
                    > event, considered quite unchristian of them to do.. but we are not
                    > certain, today, whether or not it was uncommon or even deemed
                    morally
                    > reprehensible to participate in Mandatory Celeberations under the
                    > Roman Aegis On Pain of Death..
                    > and we have only the word of some rather suspect characters (who
                    are
                    > ideologically suicidial...lusting for martyrdom) that it was
                    immoral
                    > and unchristian to behave as such.
                    > Where those who "broke" whatever norm which instituted you shouldnt
                    > participate libertine? They could be hungry, or they could just
                    hold
                    > their lives a little more precious than some of the later
                    > Churchfathers...
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