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A serpentine Christ?

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  • blackfire_al <blackfire_al@yahoo.com>
    Hi all, Last night I listened to a radio show and the interviewee, William Henry, said something that floored me. Mr. Henry is into a hash of illuminatee/the
    Message 1 of 6 , Jan 31, 2003
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      Hi all,

      Last night I listened to a radio show and the interviewee, William
      Henry, said something that floored me. Mr. Henry is into a hash of
      illuminatee/the Grail/stargate. (www.williamhenry.net).

      The statement that he made that got my attention was:

      "Gnostic-Christians depicted Christ as a serpent or a bearded man's
      head on a serpent's body." ( Say what!)

      I have been in this group for awhile now and I don't recall anybody
      here descibing or alluding to Christ as a serpent. Did I miss
      something?

      So my first question is;

      Is the above statement by Mr. Henry true?

      My second question refers to pictorial refernces and sources.

      Are there visual artifacts (drawings on scrolls, wall frescos, cave
      paintings) that come from the gnostic time period?

      The fact that we have so very few completed tests, due to time's
      erosion or the zeal of the ortodox church to burn all heretical
      texts from that period makes me wonder how much , if any, pictorial
      information has been uncovered.

      Blackfire
    • Terje Dahl Bergersen
      Alexis ... You have some weird characters in America..even on talk radio.. or perhaps especially there. ... Mr.Henry refers to the well-known conundrum of a
      Message 2 of 6 , Jan 31, 2003
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        Re: [Gnosticism2] A serpentine Christ?


        Alexis

        Last night I listened to a radio show and the interviewee, William
        Henry, said something that floored me.  Mr. Henry is into a hash of
        illuminatee/the Grail/stargate. (www.williamhenry.net).

        You have some weird characters in America..even on talk radio..
        or perhaps especially there.



        The statement that he made that got my attention was:

        "Gnostic-Christians depicted Christ as a serpent or a bearded man's
        head on a serpent's body." ( Say what!)

        I have been in this group for awhile now and I don't recall anybody
        here descibing or alluding to Christ as a serpent.  Did I miss
        something?

        Mr.Henry refers to the well-known conundrum of a early reference to
        Christ as the serpent in the garden of Eden. While there exists
        one explicit reference to an idea, in the writings of the Churchfathers,
        wouldn´t you know it - it is not as common and commonly agreed upon
        idea as it is beefed up to be.

        Among the early gnostics, and in their scriptures, such as can be found
        in the Nag Hammadi library and the Askew (Pistis Sophia) and Bruce
        Codexes (Books of Ieu, untitled text etc.) - it was a common concept
        that although an actual descent into the world of man occurs "late"
        in human history, he - or his spirit, has informed and instructed
        earlier generations of the secrets of being and the Gnosis of the
        indestructible Aeon. The Mandaean gnose (and in a sense also the
        Sethian, by extension of Adam into his son, Seth - as we can find
        in the Apocalypse of Adam for instance) Adam is the first Gnostic, in that
        he is instructed by an Uthra (divine being) named Hibil-Ziwa, who
        initiates him in the mysteries neccessary for the purification of
        his current condition, which isnt pure or high, lofty and spiritual
        at default - which is the gospel of all newagers today - he becomes
        the first adept and practicioner of the man - and world - transforming
        mysteries, a magician, a thaumaturg, a priest - and through acquiantance
        with the true dominion, the true jurisidiction over reality - the first
        King..... At this "space" in time, myth and memory - in this pre-historical
        dimnension, we find a lot of things happening in the different gnoses,
        and as luck would have it for Mr.Henry , since Mr.Henry avails himself
        of the term "Gnostic-Christians" and a view of things, part one of
        his assertion is substantiated by a few references in the Churchfathers
        account of the Gnostics interpretation of the "fall story" in Genesis.

        The occurances of the snake as revealer:

        In Ireneaus Adversus Haereses Book 1.

        we find these sections:

        chapter 30.5
        ..Ialdabaoth became sad and filled with despair: and, observing the dregs
        of matter that lay below, fixed its desire thereupon.Hence, they say,
        an offspring was born. This offspring is the letter _nun_ (hebrew),
        which is twisted in the form of a snake. From it derive spirit, soul
        and all worldly things; from it was generated all forgetfulness, evil,
        jealousy, envy and death. Moreover, they say, while this serpent-like
        twisted _nun_ of theirs was with its parent in heaven and in the garden,
        it subverted its parent even more by its crookedness.

        30.7

        ..their mother (wisdom) cunningly led Eve and Adam astray by the agency of the snake, so that they transgressed the commandment of Ialdabaoth. And Eve was easily persuaded, as if she was listening to the offspring of god.
        And she persuaded Adam to eat from the tree from which god had said not to eat. Moreover - they say - when they ate they became acquianted with that power which is superior to all, and they revolted from those who had made them.

        30.9

        Adam and Eve previously had light, and clear, and as it were spiritual bodies, such as they were  at their creation; but when they came to this world, these changed into bodies more opaque, and gross,  and sluggish. Their soul also was feeble and languid, inasmuch as they had received from their creator
        a merely mundane inspiration. This continued until Prunicus, moved with compassion towards them,  restored to them the sweet savour of the besprinkling of  light, by means of which they came to a  remembrance of themselves, and knew that they were naked, as well as that the body was a material
        substance, and thus recognised that they bore death about with them. They thereupon became patient,  knowing that only for a time they would be enveloped in the body. They also found out food, through
        the guidance of Sophia; and when they were satisfied, they had carnal knowledge of each other, and  begat Cain, whom the serpent, that had been cast down along with his sons, immediately laid hold of
        and destroyed by filling him with mundane oblivion, and urging into folly and audacity, so that, by  slaying his brother Abel, he was the first to bring to light envy and death. After these, they affirm that,
        by the forethought of Prunicus, Seth was begotten, and then Norea,(3) from whom they represent all  the rest of mankind as being descended. They were urged on to all kinds of wickedness by the inferior
        Hebdomad, and to apostasy, idolatry, and a general contempt for everything by the superior holy  Hebdomad,(4) since the mother was always secretly opposed to them, and carefully preserved what was  peculiarly her own, that is, the besprinkling of light. They maintain, moreover, that the holy  Hebdomad is the seven stars which they call planets; and they affirm that the serpent cast down has  two names, Michael and Samael.

         ---

        If we except the reference to the Hebrew letter nun as prinsciple... you will find that the actual actions and qualities projected upon the snake in this account is somewhat resemblant of the one you could find in Kabbalistical literature, such as the Sefer Ha-Zohar, where Samael the snake  _engenders_
        Cain with an unconscious Eve. The motif is also in the Apocryphon of John, except here Ialdabaoth conceives _two_ sons; Cain _and_ Abel, only the third, Seth.. is the actual offspring of Adam and Eve.


        The story of Cain being fathered or corrupted by the snake is echoed in the Gospel of Philip:

        He who has been created is beautiful, but you would <not> find his sons noble
        creations. If he were not created, but begotten, you would find that his seed was noble. But  now he was created (and) he begot. What nobility is this? First, adultery came into being,  afterward murder. And he was begotten in adultery, for he was the child of the Serpent. So  he became a murderer, just like his father, and he killed his brother. Indeed, every act of  sexual intercourse which has occurred between those unlike one another is adultery.


        -- What escapes the attention of the latter-day apologists for or against Opiolatry is that the snake thing here is used without its own knowledge, in breaking the bond of loyalty between man and the demiurge.. this is also referred to in different Gnostic scriptures, in the Gospel of Philip, we hear that the Holy Spirit takes command over the evil spirits (archons?) and make them serve man while thinking they mislead or corrupt him..

        :The rulers thought that it was by their own power and will that they were doing what they did, but the Holy Spirit in secret was accomplishing everything through them as it wished. Truth, which existed since the  beginning, is sown everywhere. And many see it being sown, but few are they who see it  being reaped.

        and:

        The saints are served by evil powers, for they are blinded by the Holy Spirit into thinking that they are serving an (ordinary) man whenever they do so for the saints. Because of this,  a disciple asked the Lord one day for something of this world. He said to him, "Ask your  mother, and she will give you of the things which are another's."
        Concerning 30.5-30.7 - we have a simile in the following from the Apocryphon of John: http://www.webcom.com/gnosis/naghamm/apocjn.html

        "And to I said to the savior, "Lord, was it not the serpent that taught Adam to eat?" The  savior smiled and said, "The serpent taught them to eat from wickedness of begetting, lust, (and) destruction, that he (Adam) might be useful to him. And he (Adam) knew that he was disobedient to him (the chief archon) due to light of the Epinoia which is in him,  which made him more correct in his thinking than the chief archon. And (the latter) wanted  to bring about the power which he himself had given him. And he brought a forgetfulness  over Adam."





        Concerning another group, or a dissenting variety of the former, Ireneaus reports in

        1.30.15

        Some asserts that it was wisdom (Sophia) herself who became the snake;
        accordinly she remained hostile to the creator of Adam, and introduced acquiantance into humankind. For this reason the snake was said to be
        more prudent than all the others.

        ---
        It is indeed ironical that the word acquaintance and intercourse, in the Latin language, signify either "coming to know" in the sense a mind with an object, or "coming to know" in the sense of a subject with a subject, getting to know, in terms of sexual intimacy. This wasnt lost on Ireneaus, nor were it lost on the gnostics he derided , or so I suspect.

        ---


        Sophia as snake is also somehow hinted at in the first-hand accounts; but Sophia in that capacity, even as revealer, does not readily metamorphose into Christ readily.

        In the Hypostasis of the Archons  http://www.webcom.com/gnosis/naghamm/hypostas.html

         we find:

        "Then the female spiritual principle came in the snake, the instructor; and it taught them, saying, "What did he say to you? Was it, 'From every tree in the garden shall you  eat; yet - from the tree of recognizing good and evil do not eat'?"

        The carnal woman said, "Not only did he say 'Do not eat', but even 'Do not touch
        it; for the day you eat from it, with death you are going to die.'"
        And the snake, the instructor, said, "With death you shall not die; for it was out of jealousy that he said this to you. Rather your eyes shall open and you shall come to be  like gods, recognizing evil and good." And the female instructing principle was taken  away from the snake, and she left it behind, merely a thing of the earth.And the carnal woman took from the tree and ate; and she gave to her husband as  well as herself; and these beings that possessed only a soul, ate. And their imperfection  became apparent in their lack of knowledge; and they recognized that they were  naked of the spiritual element, and took fig leaves and bound them upon their loins."

        --

        In Tertullian`s Against all Heresies -  http://www.webcom.com/gnosis/library/ter_appendix.htm we find a whimsical account of the ophiolatry of the Ophites, which demostrates to me how obscure the reference actually is:

        CHAP. II.--OPHITES, CAINITES, SETHITES.
        To these are added those heretics likewise who are called
         Ophites: for they magnify the serpent to such a degree, that they
         prefer him even to Christ Himself; for it was he, they say, who gave
         us the origin of the knowledge of good and of evil. His power and
         majesty (they say) Moses perceiving, set up the brazen serpent; and
         whoever gazed upon him obtained health. Christ Himself (they say
         further) in His gospel imitates Moses' serpent's sacred power, in saying: "And as Moses upreared the serpent in the desert, so it
         behoveth the Son of man to be upreared." Him they introduce to bless
         their eucharistic (elements).
        ...
        and further down:

        That Aeon, however, out of which Ialdaboath had
         proceeded, moved to the heart with envy, had injected into man as he
         lay a certain spark; excited whereby, he was through prudence to
         grow wise, and be able to understand the things above. So, again,
         the Ialdaboath aforesaid, turning indignant, had emitted out of
         himself the Virtue and similitude of the serpent; and this had been
         the Virtue in paradise--that is, this had been the serpent--whom
         Eve had believed as if he had been God the Son. He plucked, say
         they, from the fruit of the tree, and thus conferred on mankind the
         knowledge of things good and evil. Christ, moreover, existed not in
         substance of flesh: salvation of the flesh is not to be hoped for at
         all.

        --

        ... Christ is mentioned twice. But look closer, they prefer Nacash, the snake in the paradise story, Tertullian accuses them, to Christ himself - the serpent gave the origin to knowledge of good and evil; Tertullian also says that such power and majesty as can be inferred to him - is found with Moses and the brazen serpent, whosoever gazed upon him obtained health.. and Christ imitates Moses`s serpent in his healing.. What Tertullian complains about is actually the demoting of Christ over this mythical and ambivalent reptile.. he does not accuse them of actually worshipping it _as_ Christ.

        It is peculiar also that in the Testimony of the Truth (NHL)  We find a
        similar passage:

        It is written in the Law concerning this, when God gave a command to Adam, "From every
        tree you may eat, but from the tree which is in the midst of Paradise do not eat, for on the
        day that you eat from it, you will surely die." But the serpent was wiser than all the
        animals that were in Paradise, and he persuaded Eve, saying, "On the day when you eat
        from the tree which is in the midst of Paradise, the eyes of your mind will be opened."
        And Eve obeyed, and she stretched forth her hand; she took from the tree and ate; she
        also gave to her husband with her. And immediately they knew that they were naked,
        and they took some fig-leaves (and) put them on as girdles.

        But God came at the time of evening, walking in the midst of Paradise. When Adam saw
        him, he hid himself. And he said, "Adam, where are you?" He answered (and) said, "I have
        come under the fig tree." And at that very moment, God knew that he had eaten from the
        tree of which he had commanded him, "Do not eat of it." And he said to him, "Who is it who
        has instructed you?" And Adam answered, "The woman whom you have given me." And
        the woman said, "It is the serpent who instructed me." And he (God) cursed the serpent,
        and called him "devil." And he said, "Behold, Adam has become like one of us, knowing
        evil and good." Then he said, "Let us cast him out of paradise, lest he take from the tree
        of life, and eat, and live forever."
        But what sort is this God? First he maliciously refused Adam from eating of the tree of knowledge, and, secondly, he said "Adam, where are you?" God does not have  foreknowledge? Would he not know from the beginning? And afterwards, he said, "Let us  cast him out of this place, lest he eat of the tree of life and live forever." Surely, he has shown himself to be a malicious grudger! And what kind of God is this? For great is the  blindness of those who read, and they did not know him. And he said, "I am the jealous  God; I will bring the sins of the fathers upon the children until three (and) four generations."
        And he said, "I will make their heart thick, and I will cause their mind to become blind, that  they might not know nor comprehend the things that are said." But these things he has said to those who believe in him and serve him!
        And in one place, Moses writes, "He made the devil a serpent <for> those whom he
        has in his generation." Also, in the book which is called "Exodus," it is written thus: "He contended against the magicians, when the place was full of serpents according to their wickedness; and the rod which was in the hand of Moses became a serpent, (and) it swallowed the serpents of the magicians."
        Again it is written (Nm 21:9), "He made a serpent of bronze (and) hung it upon a pole [...] which [...] for the one who will gaze upon this bronze serpent, none will destroy him,  and the one who will believe in this bronze serpent will be saved." For this is Christ;  those who believed in him have received life. Those who did not believe will die.
        --
        It is not implicit, although it is in all fairness possible to conjecture it - that Christ _is_ the serpent in the first instance.  The text discusses "manner" and "role" for the agent; he imparts something to those who beseech him - to those who received it, it is life - to those who have not, it is death; it is the reverse of a real-world poisonous snake encounter...
        However seeing how it resembles the group Tertullian addresses, as well as the Naasseni and the Peratae - is it impossible Julius Cassanius (the author of this polemical tract), a contemporary of Hippolytus, might not have commented upon this theme - rather than it being his direct inference - possibly, is it not, drawn from what he has read in either their own writings or that of Hippolytus?




        --
        In Hippolytus, Refutation of all heresies a similar account is given for the Naassenes:

        Bk 5. Ch1

        "The priests, then, and champions of the system, have been first
        those who have been called Naasseni, being so denominated from the Hebrew language, for the serpent is called naas (in Hebrew). Subsequently, however, they have styled themselves Gnostics, alleging that they alone have sounded the depths of knowledge. Now, from the system of these (speculators), many, detaching parts, have constructed a heresy which, though with several subdivisions, is essentially one, and they explain precisely the same
        (tenets); though conveyed under the guise of different opinions, as the following discussion, according as it progresses, will prove.

        ..And they do not worship any other object but Naas, (from thence) being styled Naasseni. But Naas is the serpent from whom, i.e., from the word Naas, (the Naassene) says, are all that  under heaven are denominated temples (Naous). And (he states) that to him alone--that is, Naas--is dedicated every shrine and every initiatory rite, and every mystery; and, in general, that a religious ceremony could not be discovered under heaven, in which a temple (Naos) has no existence; and in the temple itself is Naas, from whom it has received its
        denomination of temple (Naos). And these affirm that the serpent is a moist substance, just as Thales also, the Milesian, (spoke of water as an originating principle,) and that nothing of existing things, immortal or mortal, animate or inanimate, could consist at all without him. And that all things are subject unto him, and that he is good, and that he has all things in himself, as in the horn of the one-horned bull; so as that he imparts beauty and bloom to all things that exist according to their own nature and peculiarity, as if passing through all, just as ("the river) proceeding forth from Edem, and dividing itself into four heads."


        In Ch21 , the Peratae is again associated with the specific Serpent; the brazen serpent...

        Now, he says, the stars are the gods of destruction, which impose upon existent things the necessity of alterable generation. These, he says, Moses denominated serpents of the wilderness, which gnaw and utterly ruin those who imagined that they had crossed the Red Sea. To those, then, he says, who of the children of Israel were bitten in the wilderness, Moses exhibited the real and perfect serpent; and they who believed on this serpent were not bitten in the wilderness, that is, (were not assailed) by (evil) powers. No one therefore, he says, is there who is able to save and deliver those that come forth from
        Egypt, that is, from the body and from this world, unless alone the serpent that is perfect and replete with fulness. Upon this (serpent), he says, he who fixes his hope is not destroyed by the snakes of the wilderness, that is, by the gods of generation. (This statement) is written, he says, in a book of Moses. This serpent, he says, is the power that attended Moses, the rod that was turned into a serpent.
        This, he says, is that which has been declared: "In the same manner as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so also must the Son of man be lifted up." According to the likeness of this was made in the desert the brazen serpent which Moses set up.

        .. Further on we are referred to a cosmic "serpentlike" power, which is in motion while the Father is unmoved.. it is associated with the crown of the head and the nervous system by the Peratae, and also the Jordan river which has two directions.. what is clear here is that this serpent is figurated in a way which _support_  a curious jewish and hebrew language, the Christ is being likened to Moses and his serpent in a very clearly allegorical way - this removes it from the Snake in Eden quite far...

        Anyways, the purpouse of this part of the reply is mainly to make clear how difficult and ambivalent the Serpent is within the different early gnostic systems.. however, as in Test.Verit. and Ap.Joh. etc. we can see that the ancient Gnostics pursued an interpretation of Genesis, the story of Man´s creation and fall, in order to make conscious and evident the presence of the transcendent good, but also of immanent evil; we could take hold of, rather than the Torah and the faith of our fathers, in the sense, that if we are not jews ourselves, we do not possess either (!) - our own substance, of folly and wisdom (measures of both is to be found in the Hebrew portion of the "Bible"; for which reason Ptolemy for instance adviced everyone who pursue studies in that material to take care.. for it is not (!) one piece from one source) - and see how the "touch" of transgressions,regret,penance  and a growing awareness of death and evil, informs us and makes us intelligent of what it means to be human beings and what it means to be present in this present predicament. I am not saying the Adam/Eve/serpent story can exclusively only be made sense from in a psychological or "internalized" way; but the Gnoses have always been most intense and powerful in their unveiling at the crossroads.. at a time of crisis, of a world dissolving, dying, succumbing to either chaos of war, or decadence of forgetting and neglect...

        The Apocryphon of John, cited here, among other sources.. begins with these words...

        "And it happened one day, when John, the brother of James - who are the sons of
        Zebedee - had come up to the temple, that a Pharisee named Arimanius approached him and said to him, "Where is your master whom you followed?" And he said to him, "He  has gone to the place from which he came." The Pharisee said to him, "With deception  did this Nazarene deceive you (pl.), and he filled your ears with lies, and closed your  hearts (and) turned you from the traditions of your fathers."
        When I, John, heard these things I turned away from the temple to a desert place.  And I grieved greatly in my heart, saying, "How then was the savior appointed, and why was he sent into the world by his Father, and who is his Father who sent him, and  of what sort is that aeon to which we shall go? For what did he mean when he said to us, 'This aeon to which you will go is of the type of the imperishable aeon, but he did  not teach us concerning the latter, of what sort it is."
        Straightway, while I was contemplating these things, behold, the heavens opened and the whole creation which is below heaven shone, and the world was shaken. I was  afraid, and behold I saw in the light a youth who stood by me."



        Pt.2 of your question: William Henry talks about Christ the Bearded Serpent..



        With regards to the bearded man`s head on a serpents body;
        this is not the Christ in any capacity - Mr.Henry has either seen
        a coin with this motif or heard it described, or a description from
        someone who was informed about the motif without having heard of its
        origin or even having available any source of information than his own
        imagination.
        What you might have seen discussed at some stage in here, is the reference
        to Ialdabaoth and the identification of him with a "Lion-Faced Serpent Power";
        there exists an ambigious claim to pre-christian and "pre-gnostic" origin
        for the motif, a chaldean or possibly mesopotamian devil hellenized into
        the word Xnoubis or Xnoumnis on coins which _might_ be older than the
        "gnostic" gemstones, the Abraxes or Abraxoids.
        The Serapion gems also show a human head (profile greek style), and hardly "bearded" therefore my best guess is that Mr.Henry intends to talk about
        a figure/representation of the aforementioned Lion-faced serpent



        So my first question is;

        Is the above statement by Mr. Henry true?

        My second question refers to pictorial refernces and sources.

        Are there visual artifacts (drawings on scrolls, wall frescos, cave
        paintings) that come from the gnostic time period?

        The artifacts we have originate several centuries after
        the disappearance of the gnostics who explicitly refered to this motif
        ;5th century CE at the earliest.

        The Roman Gnostics and Christians alike made murals in the underground caverns/tunnels  of the ancient imperial capital; it is very difficult
        to distinguish between which is which, or for that matter what has
        ceremonial and mundane purpouse.
        The Bruce Codex is full of complex diagrams and sigils.
        The Manichaeans have a iconographical school in the orient and
        in the far east - the Mandaeans also employ symbolic representations.
        The Cathars and Bogomils, especially in relation to masonry and memorials,
        inscribed symbols.
        From the time of the Hellenic reviver of the Great Art, Zosimos of  Panopolis
        (2nd century CE) - and onwards, Alchemists of different kinds have availed themselves of inherently Gnostic and mystagogical themes.
        Even the mainstream have been "contaminated", which we can find demonstrated by the coherence of themes and symbols to Gnostic precursors rather than traditional or canonical theological foundations which the "Orthodox" themselves possess independently.
        In Uighur, if someone hasnt got wise to it and destroyed it (remembering what the Taliban did to their (to Afghanistans) Buddha statues once their superiors from Saudi-Arabia saw it and advised a purge.. which also included illumninated manuscripts and scrolls) - a Sanctuary/Temple was raised for the five faiths:
        for the Nestorians, for the Buddhists, for the Jews (sic!), for the Zoroastrians .. and the Manichaeans. Mani, the founder of Manichaeism,  was  himself a painter, his example were followed extensively. Hans Joachim-Klimkeit, before he compiled "Gnosis on the Silk Road" wrote a large paper on Manichaean iconography...


        The fact that we have so very few completed tests, due to time's
        erosion or the zeal of the ortodox church to burn all heretical
        texts from that period makes me wonder how much , if any, pictorial
        information has been uncovered.


        Before archeological became any lasting preoccupation for our civilization, it was actually Roman Catholic clergymen who _preserved_ and catalogued a goodly amount of the aforementioned artifacts. The  reason remains still a mystery.
        Some of the talismans were made upon or with precious metals and gems, so avarice and a wish not to dispose of wealth, however fleeting it might have been, has been speculated upon.
        Anyways, in 1721,London,  Abbe Mountfacòn published a large volume
        called Antiquity Explained, which has a huge register of very peculiar representations and illustrations meticulously copying their originals.
        When you see a drawing of the Abraxas today it is most probably lifted from
        this source.

        You can find information about these matters in _The Wisdom of the Knowing Ones: Gnosticism: The Key to Esoteric Christianity_ by Manly Palmer Hall, published by the Philosophical Research Society, Los Angeles, 2000 - ISBN 0-89314- 427-4
        , especially Chapter 5: The Symbolism of the Gnostic gems.
        Also C.W.King: The Gnostics and their remains - devote especial attention to these stones.


        The Church didnt burn and destroy everything of the ancients, be they Gnostics or otherwise.. this demonstrates perhaps that the task of purification which they sought to accomplish in purgation of _exterior_ elements,persons and ideas.. might only, in any cultural milieu, be approached and accomplished from within. Out of Historical Imperative, Our man in the vatican... John Paul II
        consented to the admittance and "repentance" of past errors, these related all to ethical and moral sides of the Church, historically, acting as one and with authority it had secured secularly.. it is a very dimminuitive step in terms of what obviously has been a process of degeneration and fragmentation and decadence within the culture-in-culture which the Orthodox christian institutions always have been.. just as our civilization in general has suffered...


        The Peace of the Fullness and the Fullness of Peace be with us.

        Pax Pleromae

        -- 
        
        Terje Dahl Bergersen
        terje@...
        http://terje.bergersen.net



      • midnightq2
        In some Gnostic Genesis stories, such as The Hypostasis of the Archons found in _The Nag Hammadi Library_, the serpent in the garden is depicted as a
        Message 3 of 6 , Jan 31, 2003
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          In some Gnostic Genesis stories, such as "The Hypostasis of the
          Archons" found in _The Nag Hammadi Library_, the serpent in the
          garden is depicted as a benevolent spirit of instruction, but not
          specificly Christ, though possibly related. Kurt Rudolph's _Gnosis_
          shows some ancient depictions of apparent serpent worship, possibly
          of a Gnostic or Orphic character. Also, the image of the serpent
          biting its own tale, Ouroboros, also depicted in _Gnosis_, is
          sometimes associated with the Gnostics. Hope this is usefull.


          --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "blackfire_al
          <blackfire_al@y...>" <blackfire_al@y...> wrote:
          > Hi all,
          >
          > Last night I listened to a radio show and the interviewee, William
          > Henry, said something that floored me. Mr. Henry is into a hash of
          > illuminatee/the Grail/stargate. (www.williamhenry.net).
          >
          > The statement that he made that got my attention was:
          >
          > "Gnostic-Christians depicted Christ as a serpent or a bearded man's
          > head on a serpent's body." ( Say what!)
          >
          > I have been in this group for awhile now and I don't recall anybody
          > here descibing or alluding to Christ as a serpent. Did I miss
          > something?
          >
          > So my first question is;
          >
          > Is the above statement by Mr. Henry true?
          >
          > My second question refers to pictorial refernces and sources.
          >
          > Are there visual artifacts (drawings on scrolls, wall frescos, cave
          > paintings) that come from the gnostic time period?
          >
          > The fact that we have so very few completed tests, due to time's
          > erosion or the zeal of the ortodox church to burn all heretical
          > texts from that period makes me wonder how much , if any, pictorial
          > information has been uncovered.
          >
          > Blackfire
        • Terje Dahl Bergersen
          ... I sent a large compilation of sources and references to the list, however, I think I need to emphasize one thing in particular: Whereas the agent in Eden,
          Message 4 of 6 , Feb 1 8:15 AM
          • 0 Attachment
            Re: [Gnosticism2] Re: A serpentine Christ?
            In some Gnostic Genesis stories, such as "The Hypostasis of the
            Archons" found in _The Nag Hammadi Library_, the serpent in the
            garden is depicted as a benevolent spirit of instruction, but not
            specificly Christ, though possibly related. Kurt Rudolph's _Gnosis_
            shows some ancient depictions of apparent serpent worship, possibly
            of a Gnostic or Orphic character. Also, the image of the serpent
            biting its own tale, Ouroboros, also depicted in _Gnosis_, is
            sometimes associated with the Gnostics. Hope this is usefull.



            I sent a large compilation of sources and references to the list,
            however, I think I need to emphasize one thing in particular:
            Whereas the agent in Eden, undercover or just outmaneuvred - could
            have some great symbolic worth for Gnostics, there are on no
            occasion, not even - as you could see from the _churchfather_ report,
            any _Serpent worship_ among the early Gnostic groups.
            Whereas the churchfathers may accuse some of the Gnostics for advocating
            a lenient, non-militant and seemingly "subservient" attitude towards
            the antics and peccadilloes of the state religion and its object of
            worship.. the emperor himself (Witness the coming of Constantine.. *Nothing changed*, so one might ask why thousands of christians went to their grave because of their virtuous "rejection" of non-christian emperors...)
            - "worship", cult, is something entirely different.
            Rudolph´s or his editors choice of illustration is entirely unrelated in time and geography to the group, the Ophites, which the image is loosely associated with.. it is evident that it isn`t "Orphic" in origin either.. so the text should say "Late Hellenic Bowl from Asia Minor, notice neat motif of people congregated with a snake..reminds me of.." rather than the obscure and misleading footer it received, at least in the english translation.

            Anyways, the Brazen Serpent of Moses mentioned as "supreme symbol" of divine intervention and healing - can be encountered today, in Kurdistan, where the serpent, now blackened, greets the visitors to the Yezidi sanctuary/temple.

            The tail-biter is curious, indeed it is a so-called "gnostic" symbol, but it is misunderstood in most occasions it is "held up"... you see, Ouroboros is the image of the self-polluting and self-destroying Kosmos; it is symbolic of mankind when she has not received assistance and received the mysteries; closed in on herself, her senses detoriate and eventually becomes useless to her.. but also of the earth, of Gaia, of the big white cloud of gas and debris which is the physical universe, of which so many are awed..and so forth. In short..
            It is omnious and generally a mental mark/signpost about the finitude of this place and the apparent order of things....

            Oh, I employed the Ouroboros motif, really meaning to depict the Middle-Earth-Worm in Norse mythology - in the emblem/logo for the Gnostic Society in Norway - firstly in 1994...with an ankh in the middle as contrast..
            A few years later someone employed this symbol as some kind of icon for "Gnosticism" just as you have the David Star for Judaism, Crescent for Islam, Cross for Christianity, Aum symbol for Hinduism &c.... well in 2001 when a load of gnostic scriptures were published together in norwegian translation for the first time... wouldnt you know it, they used that motif.
            Now a lot of people get the impression that the old Wyrm is sacred to us gnostics... whereas the snake on the cross and on the tree could have some important symbolical message to us, the self-devouring crowned serpent, I feel.. falls short of it...

            Pax Pleromae

            -- 
            
            Terje Dahl Bergersen
            terje@...
            http://terje.bergersen.net



          • blackfire_al <blackfire_al@yahoo.com>
            Thank you Terje and midnight, Your information has been most enlightening. Terje, you are always so complete in your answers. Again, Thank you for taking the
            Message 5 of 6 , Feb 1 11:43 AM
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              Thank you Terje and midnight,
              Your information has been most enlightening. Terje, you are always
              so complete in your answers. Again,
              Thank you for taking the time.

              Blackfire

              --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, Terje Dahl Bergersen <terje@b...>
              wrote:
              > >In some Gnostic Genesis stories, such as "The Hypostasis of the
              > >Archons" found in _The Nag Hammadi Library_, the serpent in the
              > >garden is depicted as a benevolent spirit of instruction, but not
              > >specificly Christ, though possibly related. Kurt Rudolph's _Gnosis_
              > >shows some ancient depictions of apparent serpent worship, possibly
              > >of a Gnostic or Orphic character. Also, the image of the serpent
              > >biting its own tale, Ouroboros, also depicted in _Gnosis_, is
              > >sometimes associated with the Gnostics. Hope this is usefull.
              > >
              >
              >
              > I sent a large compilation of sources and references to the list,
              > however, I think I need to emphasize one thing in particular:
              >
              > Whereas the agent in Eden, undercover or just outmaneuvred - could
              > have some great symbolic worth for Gnostics, there are on no
              > occasion, not even - as you could see from the _churchfather_
              report,
              > any _Serpent worship_ among the early Gnostic groups.
              > Whereas the churchfathers may accuse some of the Gnostics for
              advocating
              > a lenient, non-militant and seemingly "subservient" attitude towards
              > the antics and peccadilloes of the state religion and its object of
              > worship.. the emperor himself (Witness the coming of Constantine..
              > *Nothing changed*, so one might ask why thousands of christians
              went
              > to their grave because of their virtuous "rejection" of non-
              christian
              > emperors...)
              > - "worship", cult, is something entirely different.
              > Rudolph´s or his editors choice of illustration is entirely
              unrelated
              > in time and geography to the group, the Ophites, which the image is
              > loosely associated with.. it is evident that it isn`t "Orphic" in
              > origin either.. so the text should say "Late Hellenic Bowl from
              Asia
              > Minor, notice neat motif of people congregated with a
              snake..reminds
              > me of.." rather than the obscure and misleading footer it received,
              > at least in the english translation.
              >
              > Anyways, the Brazen Serpent of Moses mentioned as "supreme symbol"
              of
              > divine intervention and healing - can be encountered today, in
              > Kurdistan, where the serpent, now blackened, greets the visitors to
              > the Yezidi sanctuary/temple.
              >
              > The tail-biter is curious, indeed it is a so-called "gnostic"
              symbol,
              > but it is misunderstood in most occasions it is "held up"... you
              see,
              > Ouroboros is the image of the self-polluting and self-destroying
              > Kosmos; it is symbolic of mankind when she has not received
              > assistance and received the mysteries; closed in on herself, her
              > senses detoriate and eventually becomes useless to her.. but also
              of
              > the earth, of Gaia, of the big white cloud of gas and debris which
              is
              > the physical universe, of which so many are awed..and so forth. In
              > short..
              > It is omnious and generally a mental mark/signpost about the
              finitude
              > of this place and the apparent order of things....
              >
              > Oh, I employed the Ouroboros motif, really meaning to depict the
              > Middle-Earth-Worm in Norse mythology - in the emblem/logo for the
              > Gnostic Society in Norway - firstly in 1994...with an ankh in the
              > middle as contrast..
              > A few years later someone employed this symbol as some kind of icon
              > for "Gnosticism" just as you have the David Star for Judaism,
              > Crescent for Islam, Cross for Christianity, Aum symbol for Hinduism
              > &c.... well in 2001 when a load of gnostic scriptures were
              published
              > together in norwegian translation for the first time... wouldnt you
              > know it, they used that motif.
              > Now a lot of people get the impression that the old Wyrm is sacred
              to
              > us gnostics... whereas the snake on the cross and on the tree could
              > have some important symbolical message to us, the self-devouring
              > crowned serpent, I feel.. falls short of it...
              >
              > Pax Pleromae
              >
              > --
              > Terje Dahl Bergersen
              > terje@b...
              > http://terje.bergersen.net
            • pmcvflag
              Just thought I would add to what you and Terje have stated on the subject by pointing out that there is surprisingly little agreement on the positive or
              Message 6 of 6 , Feb 2 1:40 PM
              • 0 Attachment
                Just thought I would add to what you and Terje have stated on the
                subject by pointing out that there is surprisingly little agreement
                on the positive or negative value of the serpent in various Gnostic
                texts. Here is a table that Dr Willimas created outlining this
                observation.... ("/" means ambivalence)


                Naassenes +??
                Peratae +?
                Testim. truth +?
                Orig. world +
                Phibionites +
                Hyp. Archons /
                Ap. John -
                Ophites /
                Sethians -?
                Justin Baruch -
                Tri. Trac -
                Gos Phil -

                Obviously we cannot say "Gnostics believe _______ about the serpent
                in the garden."

                PMCV


                --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "blackfire_al
                <blackfire_al@y...>" <blackfire_al@y...> wrote:
                > Thank you Terje and midnight,
                > Your information has been most enlightening. Terje, you are always
                > so complete in your answers. Again,
                > Thank you for taking the time.
                >
                > Blackfire
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