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Re: [Gnosticism2] Re: A serpentine Christ?

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  • 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 1 of 6 , Feb 1, 2003
      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 2 of 6 , Feb 1, 2003
        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 3 of 6 , Feb 2, 2003
          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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