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Re: The Corpus Hermeticum

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  • fred60471
    Garth Fowden is of the opinion that Hermetism represents a genuine strain of Egyptian thought, and that it is rooted in the so called Egyptian wisdom
    Message 1 of 5 , Mar 21, 2003
      Garth Fowden is of the opinion that Hermetism represents a genuine
      strain of Egyptian thought, and that it is rooted in the so called
      Egyptian "wisdom literature" and the Greek magical papyri, and that
      many other scholars are coming around to this way of thinking. The
      principles of sympathetic magic are described by Fowden as follows:

      "Among basic common denominators of the technical Hermetica - and an
      important element also in the philosophical texts - is the notion that
      all phenomena, in the divine and material realms alike are linked
      together by 'sympathetic' powers or energies into one 'pleroma.' This
      is an idea that anyone who reflects on what he sees around him - for
      example, the connection between the sun and the growth of plants - may
      quite easily arrive at; and it can be found in theological and
      philosophical systems both primitive and sophisticated. In ancient
      Egyptian religion it manifests itself in the magical power, 'heka,'
      that pervades the universe, and in the divine, especially solar,
      energies that enliven the whole world, and that were depicted in the
      time of Akhenaton as rays of the sun each ending in an outstretched
      hand clustering around the person of the Pharaoh himself." (Garth
      Fowden, "The Egyptian Hermes," Princeton University Press, 1993)

      In support of Fowden's argument, I can do no better than giving what
      Fowden himself cites:

      J. P. Mahé, "Hermès en Haute-Egypte," (Quebec 1978-82).
      J. P. Mahé, "Le sens des symboles sexuels dans quelques textes
      hermétiques et gnostiques," N.H.S. 7 (1975)
      H. Jackson, "Isis, Pupil of the Eye of the World," C.E. 61 (1986)
      116-35.
      J.P. Sorensen, 'Ancient Religious Thought and the XVIth Hermetic
      Tractate' in G. Englund, ed., "The Religion of the Ancient Egyptians:
      Cognitive Structures and Popular Expressions," (Uppsala 1987) 41-57.
      K. Alpers, "Untersuchungen zum griechischen Physiologus und den
      Kyraniden," Vestigia Bibliae 6 (1984) 17ff.
      D. Bain, "Treading Birds," (Cyranides I.10.27, I.19.90.) in E.M.
      Craik, ed., "'Owls to Athens.' Essays on classical subjects presented
      to Sir Kenneth Dover," (Oxford 1990).
      P, Derchain, "'L'authenticité de l'inspiration égyptienne dans le
      'Corpus Hermeticum'," R.H.R. 161 (1962) 175-98.
      J.P. Ponsing, "'L' orogine égyptienne de la formule: un-et-seul,"
      R.H.Ph.R. 60 (1980)
      F. Daumas, 'Le fonds égyptien de l'hermétisme,' in J. Ries, ed.,
      "Gnosticisme et monde hellénistique: Actes du Colloque de
      Louvain-la-Nueve" (11-14 mars 1980) (Louvain-la-Nueve 1982) 3-25.
      E. Iverson, "Egyptian and Hermetic Doctrine," (Copenhagen 1984).

      In an older work, Retzenstein maintains that "…the Hermetica were
      produced by a religious community whose members had a self-consciously
      Egyptian cast of mind." R. Retzenstein, "Poimandres: Studien zur
      griechisch-ägyptischen und frühchristlichen Literatur" (Leipzig 1904)

      And going back even further, among the Classical writers, there seems
      to have been little doubt as to the Egyptian origin of the Hermetica.
      Iamblichus displayed a more than a passing familiarity with the
      Hermetica and it seems that he took the idea that the Hermetica were
      translated from "the books of Thoth" for granted, as if it were common
      knowledge at the time. In fact Hermes was considered the Egyptian "par
      excellence" by many of the Classical writers. The Greek cast to the
      writing was explained as Egyptians trying to make Egyptian theology
      more palatable to a Greek mind by simplifying the confusing and alien
      mythology and putting it in to more familiar terms by giving the
      deities Greek equivalent names, and they "were not unfamiliar with
      Greek philosophical terms" also. Fowden states, quoting Crawford, that
      "there is generally more evidence …for the Egyptianization of Greeks
      than for the adoption of Greek beliefs and practices by the native
      Egyptians." (D.J. Crawford, "Kerkeosiris. An Egyptian Village in the
      Ptolemaic Period," Cambridge 1971).

      Now Mahé is of the position that the Hermetica should be placed firmly
      in the Egyptian milieu, as opposed to what has been the long standing
      opinion in Hermetic scholarship exemplified by Festugière, that they
      should be place in the Classical milieu in his "La révelation
      d'Hermès." (Paris 1944-54), but the discovery of Coptic translations
      of Hermetic treatises, and one undiscovered one, at Nag Hammadi caused
      scholars of Hermetica to reevaluate their positions. Fowden says that
      " Festugière was saved from immediate embarrassment by the malice and
      misfortune that delayed publication of the sensational Nag Hammadi
      documents until the 1970s. The Dominican scholar even thought he could
      afford a certain irony: how could the contents of 'une jarre d'Egypte'
      possibly undermine the immense edifice of his erudition?" Isaac
      Casaubon was saved the same embarrassment. In 1614, his dating of the
      Corpus Hermeticum to the late first centuries of the Christian era was
      the scholastic opinion for some time, but in a correspondence with W.
      Theaux, I was informed that he spoke to a Professor Trap at the
      Warburg Institute, who was a disciple of Dame Frances Yates, and he
      said that Dame Frances, shortly before her death, was of the opinion
      that the Nag Hammadi find invalidated Casaubon's invalidation. That it
      was a lost opportunity for the West, not of a rebirth, but of an
      awakening.

      A more extreme position for the Egyptian origin is staked out by
      Martin Bernal in "Black Athena" and "Black Athena Revisited: Martin
      Bernal Answers His Critics."

      In Hornung's new book, "The Secret Lore of Egypt : Its Impact on the
      West," (Cornell University Press, 2002), that takes a somewhat
      different approach to Hermetic studies. Hornung proposes what he calls
      the concept of "Egyptosophy," i.e., "the study of an imaginary Egypt
      viewed as the profound source of all esoteric lore. This Egypt is a
      timeless idea bearing only a loose relationship to the historical
      reality." To me, this is very similar to the concept of "mnemohistory"
      that Jan Assman proposes in "Moses the Egyptian: The Memory of Egypt
      in Western Monotheism," (Harvard University Press, 1998). Assman takes
      his cue from Freud's "Moses and Monotheism" and combines Freud's
      psychoanalytical perspective with an Egyptologist's perspective to
      examine the primal scene at Amarna as the source of a trauma
      associated with the birth of monotheism and its resultant repression
      in history. It is his controversial theory that an aversion to
      monotheism in the collective memory is the source for anti-Semitism
      which is a reaction to the perceived founder of monotheism, Akhenaten.
      This is a similar, with some differences, to a line of study that W.
      Theaux is also following. It also reminds me of a John Crowley's novel
      "Aegypt", in which there is a theme of there being two histories of
      the world, the real one, and a secret history. The underground
      remembered history is not exactly the same as the real history, but
      how this real history was remembered by the people who came into
      contact with Egypt. It was a memory of an Egypt that never really
      existed, a sort of dream history that became a part of the collective
      memory. Crowley uses the archaic spelling, "Aegypt," to differentiate
      this Egypt from the real Egypt, much the same way as in Lacan's
      philosophy when he speaks of the "object' and the "aobject" It is a
      fortuitous conjunction of Lacanian analysis, archaic, and then modern
      spelling.

      Fowden relates many reports of Greek speaking Egyptian priests who
      aided in the translation and interpretation of Egyptian texts for the
      Greeks. One example is the priest, Bitys, that Iamblichus mentions:

      "The Hermetists, while insisting that their compositions had indeed
      been written in Egyptian, and inscribed on stelae in hieroglyphic
      characters, were also well aware that they could not have been
      rendered into Greek without losing the authority that attached to
      sacred texts in the native language-'for the very quality of the
      sounds and the [intonation] of the Egyptian words contain in itself
      the force of the things said'. A translation would require, at the
      very least, the active assistance of the priestly guardians of the
      originals. Iamblichus, for example, records that an Egyptian priest
      named Bitys was supposed to have translated some of the hieroglyphic
      texts of Thoth into Greek, and had made use of Greek philosophical
      vocabulary in doing so. These texts Bitys had found 'in temples at
      Sais in Egypt', which of course is where Solon was supposed to have
      encountered Egyptian priests more learned in the history of Greece
      than any Greek, and to have translated parts of their archives.
      Iamblichus also tells us that Pythagoras and Plato, during their
      visits to Egypt, 'read through' the stelae of Hermes with the help of
      native priests." (Garth Fowden, "The Egyptian Hermes")

      And a less reliable report by pseudo-Mantho ("pseudo" because the
      authorship by Manetho is suspect among scholars) , is nevertheless
      supported by the testimony of Plato:

      "After referring to the hieroglyphic texts inscribed by Thoth, the
      first Hermes, pseudo-Manetho goes on to assert that 'after the Flood
      they were translated from the sacred language into Greek, and
      deposited in books in the sanctuaries of Egyptian temples by the
      second Hermes, the son of Agathos Daimon and father of Tat. That the
      Thoth-literature was believed to have been rendered into Greek at such
      an early date has struck modern scholars as so improbable that they
      have emended the passage. However, Plato had spoken of the translation
      of Greek records into Egyptian after the deluge; and anyway this was
      exactly the sort of claim that Hermetists had to make if they were to
      overcome the well-known inadequacies of translations from Egyptian
      into Greek." (Garth Fowden, "The Egyptian Hermes"

      I highly recommend the site of W.Theaux who calls Hermes Trismegistus
      the Triple Master, identified as Akhnaton, Moses, Oedipus; as
      described in:

      http://www.dnafoundation.com/members/akh

      and also the Yahoo group:

      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/akhnaton/

      Regards,
      Fred de Wit

      --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@y...> wrote:
      > Hello Ms Soulofdawne, pleased to meet you. You ask....
      >
      > > I have recently come across these writings as an example of non-
      > christian gnosis. They are inetresting, but I'm wondering if anyone
      > has any information regarding the origin and authenticity? Thanks.<
      >
      > In fact, I am very aware of these works. In fact, if you look at out
      > current club picture... it is "Hermes Trismagistos". THis picture is
      > used on the cover of Copenhaver's translation of the Corpus
      > Hermetica.
      >
      > Technically speaking, the C.H. is not a "Gnostic" work. "Gnosticism"
      > and Hermeticism (or as some like to say instead "Hermetism" to
      > seperate it from the Rennaisance category) are not the same thing...
      > though they are related.
      >
      > I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "Authenticity" since the word
      > has little relevence to these type of late antiquities mythological
      > writings. When the works were translated by Ficino in the early
      > rennaisance, they were thought to be contemporary to Moses
      > (something that he surmized on his own... the books themselves never
      > mention Moses). In fact, the books were most likely composed in the
      > 2nd century A.D. and grew out of a tradtion that probably began
      > around the 2nd century B.C.. I have heard literary commentators (as
      > oposed to historians) call them a "fraud" because they are not as
      > old as Moses, but that is because of a mistake on the part of Ficino
      > in the 1400s that has nothing to do with the books. Scholors
      > generally agree with the 2nd century date and origin.
      >
      > does that help?
      > PMCV
    • blackfire_al
      Fred Here is the scientific explanation of this empathy or sympathy argument. The world is made up of atoms, right, constantly interacting and exchanging
      Message 2 of 5 , Mar 21, 2003
        Fred

        Here is the "scientific" explanation of this empathy or sympathy
        argument.

        The world is made up of atoms, right, constantly interacting and
        exchanging parts(electrons, neutrons, protons, whatever). If I stand
        next to you and you stand next to me, guess what, our atoms will
        start interchanging on a physical level and there is NO WAY I can
        stop this from happening. You become part of me. I become part of
        you. If you stand next to a tree. You, your atoms, start
        interacting. You become part of that tree. The tree becomes part of
        you. (Somedays it takes all my will just to stand seperate and not
        become part of everything all around me, losing myself in the
        process!)

        I take back that "NO WAY" comment. I do believe you can control the
        extent you are taken up by what's around you by an act of will. i.e.
        I can stand next to a tree and not even notice it or I can stand next
        to a tree and concentrate and become one with it (feel its internal
        structures and activities as completely as I feel myself).

        What this has to do with gnosticism, I don't know. Should we, as
        Gnostics, will ourselves to stand seperate from the world, or should
        we attempt to 'take it all in'? Symbolically that is what Christ is
        reported to have done, "carried the world" with/in him. Of course,
        this might not be a prudent course of action if you remember what
        happened to Him!

        Blackfire

        --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, fred60471 <no_reply@y...> wrote:
        > Garth Fowden is of the opinion that Hermetism represents a genuine
        > strain of Egyptian thought, and that it is rooted in the so called
        > Egyptian "wisdom literature" and the Greek magical papyri, and that
        > many other scholars are coming around to this way of thinking. The
        > principles of sympathetic magic are described by Fowden as
        follows:
        >
        > "Among basic common denominators of the technical Hermetica - and
        an
        > important element also in the philosophical texts - is the notion
        that
        > all phenomena, in the divine and material realms alike are linked
        > together by 'sympathetic' powers or energies into one 'pleroma.'
        This
        > is an idea that anyone who reflects on what he sees around him -
        for
        > example, the connection between the sun and the growth of plants -
        may
        > quite easily arrive at; and it can be found in theological and
        > philosophical systems both primitive and sophisticated. In ancient
        > Egyptian religion it manifests itself in the magical power, 'heka,'
        > that pervades the universe, and in the divine, especially solar,
        > energies that enliven the whole world, and that were depicted in
        the
        > time of Akhenaton as rays of the sun each ending in an outstretched
        > hand clustering around the person of the Pharaoh himself." (Garth
        > Fowden, "The Egyptian Hermes," Princeton University Press, 1993)
        >
        > In support of Fowden's argument, I can do no better than giving
        what
        > Fowden himself cites:
        >
        > J. P. Mahé, "Hermès en Haute-Egypte," (Quebec 1978-82).
        > J. P. Mahé, "Le sens des symboles sexuels dans quelques textes
        > hermétiques et gnostiques," N.H.S. 7 (1975)
        > H. Jackson, "Isis, Pupil of the Eye of the World," C.E. 61 (1986)
        > 116-35.
        > J.P. Sorensen, 'Ancient Religious Thought and the XVIth Hermetic
        > Tractate' in G. Englund, ed., "The Religion of the Ancient
        Egyptians:
        > Cognitive Structures and Popular Expressions," (Uppsala 1987) 41-57.
        > K. Alpers, "Untersuchungen zum griechischen Physiologus und den
        > Kyraniden," Vestigia Bibliae 6 (1984) 17ff.
        > D. Bain, "Treading Birds," (Cyranides I.10.27, I.19.90.) in E.M.
        > Craik, ed., "'Owls to Athens.' Essays on classical subjects
        presented
        > to Sir Kenneth Dover," (Oxford 1990).
        > P, Derchain, "'L'authenticité de l'inspiration égyptienne
        dans le
        > 'Corpus Hermeticum'," R.H.R. 161 (1962) 175-98.
        > J.P. Ponsing, "'L' orogine égyptienne de la formule:
        un-et-seul,"
        > R.H.Ph.R. 60 (1980)
        > F. Daumas, 'Le fonds égyptien de l'hermétisme,' in J. Ries,
        ed.,
        > "Gnosticisme et monde hellénistique: Actes du Colloque de
        > Louvain-la-Nueve" (11-14 mars 1980) (Louvain-la-Nueve 1982) 3-25.
        > E. Iverson, "Egyptian and Hermetic Doctrine," (Copenhagen 1984).
        >
        > In an older work, Retzenstein maintains that "…the Hermetica
        were
        > produced by a religious community whose members had a self-
        consciously
        > Egyptian cast of mind." R. Retzenstein, "Poimandres: Studien zur
        > griechisch-ägyptischen und frühchristlichen Literatur"
        (Leipzig
        1904)
        >
        > And going back even further, among the Classical writers, there
        seems
        > to have been little doubt as to the Egyptian origin of the
        Hermetica.
        > Iamblichus displayed a more than a passing familiarity with the
        > Hermetica and it seems that he took the idea that the Hermetica
        were
        > translated from "the books of Thoth" for granted, as if it were
        common
        > knowledge at the time. In fact Hermes was considered the
        Egyptian "par
        > excellence" by many of the Classical writers. The Greek cast to the
        > writing was explained as Egyptians trying to make Egyptian theology
        > more palatable to a Greek mind by simplifying the confusing and
        alien
        > mythology and putting it in to more familiar terms by giving the
        > deities Greek equivalent names, and they "were not unfamiliar with
        > Greek philosophical terms" also. Fowden states, quoting Crawford,
        that
        > "there is generally more evidence …for the Egyptianization of
        Greeks
        > than for the adoption of Greek beliefs and practices by the native
        > Egyptians." (D.J. Crawford, "Kerkeosiris. An Egyptian Village in
        the
        > Ptolemaic Period," Cambridge 1971).
        >
        > Now Mahé is of the position that the Hermetica should be placed
        firmly
        > in the Egyptian milieu, as opposed to what has been the long
        standing
        > opinion in Hermetic scholarship exemplified by Festugière, that
        they
        > should be place in the Classical milieu in his "La révelation
        > d'Hermès." (Paris 1944-54), but the discovery of Coptic
        translations
        > of Hermetic treatises, and one undiscovered one, at Nag Hammadi
        caused
        > scholars of Hermetica to reevaluate their positions. Fowden says
        that
        > " Festugière was saved from immediate embarrassment by the
        malice
        and
        > misfortune that delayed publication of the sensational Nag Hammadi
        > documents until the 1970s. The Dominican scholar even thought he
        could
        > afford a certain irony: how could the contents of 'une jarre
        d'Egypte'
        > possibly undermine the immense edifice of his erudition?" Isaac
        > Casaubon was saved the same embarrassment. In 1614, his dating of
        the
        > Corpus Hermeticum to the late first centuries of the Christian era
        was
        > the scholastic opinion for some time, but in a correspondence with
        W.
        > Theaux, I was informed that he spoke to a Professor Trap at the
        > Warburg Institute, who was a disciple of Dame Frances Yates, and he
        > said that Dame Frances, shortly before her death, was of the
        opinion
        > that the Nag Hammadi find invalidated Casaubon's invalidation. That
        it
        > was a lost opportunity for the West, not of a rebirth, but of an
        > awakening.
        >
        > A more extreme position for the Egyptian origin is staked out by
        > Martin Bernal in "Black Athena" and "Black Athena Revisited: Martin
        > Bernal Answers His Critics."
        >
        > In Hornung's new book, "The Secret Lore of Egypt : Its Impact on
        the
        > West," (Cornell University Press, 2002), that takes a somewhat
        > different approach to Hermetic studies. Hornung proposes what he
        calls
        > the concept of "Egyptosophy," i.e., "the study of an imaginary
        Egypt
        > viewed as the profound source of all esoteric lore. This Egypt is a
        > timeless idea bearing only a loose relationship to the historical
        > reality." To me, this is very similar to the concept
        of "mnemohistory"
        > that Jan Assman proposes in "Moses the Egyptian: The Memory of
        Egypt
        > in Western Monotheism," (Harvard University Press, 1998). Assman
        takes
        > his cue from Freud's "Moses and Monotheism" and combines Freud's
        > psychoanalytical perspective with an Egyptologist's perspective to
        > examine the primal scene at Amarna as the source of a trauma
        > associated with the birth of monotheism and its resultant
        repression
        > in history. It is his controversial theory that an aversion to
        > monotheism in the collective memory is the source for anti-Semitism
        > which is a reaction to the perceived founder of monotheism,
        Akhenaten.
        > This is a similar, with some differences, to a line of study that
        W.
        > Theaux is also following. It also reminds me of a John Crowley's
        novel
        > "Aegypt", in which there is a theme of there being two histories of
        > the world, the real one, and a secret history. The underground
        > remembered history is not exactly the same as the real history, but
        > how this real history was remembered by the people who came into
        > contact with Egypt. It was a memory of an Egypt that never really
        > existed, a sort of dream history that became a part of the
        collective
        > memory. Crowley uses the archaic spelling, "Aegypt," to
        differentiate
        > this Egypt from the real Egypt, much the same way as in Lacan's
        > philosophy when he speaks of the "object' and the "aobject" It is a
        > fortuitous conjunction of Lacanian analysis, archaic, and then
        modern
        > spelling.
        >
        > Fowden relates many reports of Greek speaking Egyptian priests who
        > aided in the translation and interpretation of Egyptian texts for
        the
        > Greeks. One example is the priest, Bitys, that Iamblichus mentions:
        >
        > "The Hermetists, while insisting that their compositions had indeed
        > been written in Egyptian, and inscribed on stelae in hieroglyphic
        > characters, were also well aware that they could not have been
        > rendered into Greek without losing the authority that attached to
        > sacred texts in the native language-'for the very quality of the
        > sounds and the [intonation] of the Egyptian words contain in itself
        > the force of the things said'. A translation would require, at the
        > very least, the active assistance of the priestly guardians of the
        > originals. Iamblichus, for example, records that an Egyptian priest
        > named Bitys was supposed to have translated some of the
        hieroglyphic
        > texts of Thoth into Greek, and had made use of Greek philosophical
        > vocabulary in doing so. These texts Bitys had found 'in temples at
        > Sais in Egypt', which of course is where Solon was supposed to have
        > encountered Egyptian priests more learned in the history of Greece
        > than any Greek, and to have translated parts of their archives.
        > Iamblichus also tells us that Pythagoras and Plato, during their
        > visits to Egypt, 'read through' the stelae of Hermes with the help
        of
        > native priests." (Garth Fowden, "The Egyptian Hermes")
        >
        > And a less reliable report by pseudo-Mantho ("pseudo" because the
        > authorship by Manetho is suspect among scholars) , is nevertheless
        > supported by the testimony of Plato:
        >
        > "After referring to the hieroglyphic texts inscribed by Thoth, the
        > first Hermes, pseudo-Manetho goes on to assert that 'after the
        Flood
        > they were translated from the sacred language into Greek, and
        > deposited in books in the sanctuaries of Egyptian temples by the
        > second Hermes, the son of Agathos Daimon and father of Tat. That
        the
        > Thoth-literature was believed to have been rendered into Greek at
        such
        > an early date has struck modern scholars as so improbable that they
        > have emended the passage. However, Plato had spoken of the
        translation
        > of Greek records into Egyptian after the deluge; and anyway this
        was
        > exactly the sort of claim that Hermetists had to make if they were
        to
        > overcome the well-known inadequacies of translations from Egyptian
        > into Greek." (Garth Fowden, "The Egyptian Hermes"
        >
        > I highly recommend the site of W.Theaux who calls Hermes
        Trismegistus
        > the Triple Master, identified as Akhnaton, Moses, Oedipus; as
        > described in:
        >
        > http://www.dnafoundation.com/members/akh
        >
        > and also the Yahoo group:
        >
        > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/akhnaton/
        >
        > Regards,
        > Fred de Wit
        >
        > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@y...> wrote:
        > > Hello Ms Soulofdawne, pleased to meet you. You ask....
        > >
        > > > I have recently come across these writings as an example of non-
        > > christian gnosis. They are inetresting, but I'm wondering if
        anyone
        > > has any information regarding the origin and authenticity?
        Thanks.<
        > >
        > > In fact, I am very aware of these works. In fact, if you look at
        out
        > > current club picture... it is "Hermes Trismagistos". THis picture
        is
        > > used on the cover of Copenhaver's translation of the Corpus
        > > Hermetica.
        > >
        > > Technically speaking, the C.H. is not a "Gnostic"
        work. "Gnosticism"
        > > and Hermeticism (or as some like to say instead "Hermetism" to
        > > seperate it from the Rennaisance category) are not the same
        thing...
        > > though they are related.
        > >
        > > I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "Authenticity" since the
        word
        > > has little relevence to these type of late antiquities
        mythological
        > > writings. When the works were translated by Ficino in the early
        > > rennaisance, they were thought to be contemporary to Moses
        > > (something that he surmized on his own... the books themselves
        never
        > > mention Moses). In fact, the books were most likely composed in
        the
        > > 2nd century A.D. and grew out of a tradtion that probably began
        > > around the 2nd century B.C.. I have heard literary commentators
        (as
        > > oposed to historians) call them a "fraud" because they are not as
        > > old as Moses, but that is because of a mistake on the part of
        Ficino
        > > in the 1400s that has nothing to do with the books. Scholors
        > > generally agree with the 2nd century date and origin.
        > >
        > > does that help?
        > > PMCV
      • Janice Quinn
        Message 3 of 5 , Mar 21, 2003

          <From: Technically speaking, the C.H. is not a "Gnostic" work. "Gnosticism" and Hermeticism (or as some like to say instead "Hermetism" to seperate it from the Rennaisance category) are not the same thing... though they are related.  Scholors generally agree with the 2nd century date and origin.  does that help?>

          Hello, PMCV.  It helped a great deal.  I am glad you are familiar with the work, as I will probably have questions.  As to authenticity, you answered my question completely.  I look forward to reading it and having you field my questions (LOL) hope you don't mind.



          ________________________________________________________________________
          ________________________________________________________________________

          Message: 3
          Date: Thu, 20 Mar 2003 19:33:23 -0000
          From: "Wayne"
          Subject: Nag Hammadi codexes :pmcvflag


          The war has started.
          I stood lonely. Be passersby.

          Oh well, although i dont have the whole collection of Nag Hammadi
          codexes, however there are several translation of Gospel of Thomas.
          The Meyer Translation seems to minimize religious and fanatical
          interpretations ,although I have several translation of Gospel of
          Thomas by sseveral authors.

          I agreed that there are numberous historical 'definations' of
          gnosticism. All of them are quite confusing indeed.Most importantly,
          all the dictionaries relates gnostism with spiritual knowledge. You
          said, spiritual "knowledge" was intrinsic to the
          path of salvation.Salvation from WHAT? And what would I do NEXT?
          WHY?
          Can you explain to me....




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          Message: 4
          Date: Thu, 20 Mar 2003 21:02:45 +0100
          From: pessy@...
          Subject: Nag Hammadi codexes :pmcvflag

          Wayne writes:
          > path of salvation.Salvation from WHAT? And what would I do NEXT?
          > WHY?


          Salvation from the world which is the malevolent work of evil demons.

          Klaus Schilling


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          Message: 5
          Date: Thu, 20 Mar 2003 16:44:41 -0500
          From: "Gerry"
          Subject: Re:great book



          Reply to message #7298:



          >>Although, I agree that the name of the book is a bit strange.It is the very improtant finding. Do you know why so many spiritual people emphasis on Free-Will. Do they really understand free-will and why free-will is so important? I doubt very few people will understand.<<



          Actually, Wayne, I had already forgotten the title of that "book" when I wrote that post to you. Those "few comments by the author" which I referred to as prompting my impression of the book came near the end of the web page you cited-not from its title. As I alluded, there was very little at that site that would make me even remotely interested in reading the author's work.



          So there were a lot of referrals there-So what? Seriously. Even if there were scores of people telling me how much they loved or enjoyed it, it would convey absolutely nothing to me about what the book is about. If that were all it took, my shelves would be full of such "classics" as Dianetics and the complete works of Neale Donald Walsch!



          Instead of finding some sort of summary or other glimpse as to the book's content at that site, as I told you, I found only numerous questions raised. When I ask you directly for its relevance to Gnosticism, you raised more questions. That wasn't exactly helpful, Wayne-questions on top of questions-but seeing how you prefer to define Gnosticism in your reply to PMCV, I see how you might have perceived some sort of relationship.



          What I fail to see, Wayne, is why you felt a need to post a second message that included another link to that same site? Surely you could have referred to the book by its name. I figured it was a continuation of your previous response, but the entire message seemed oddly out of place. My question was answered when I eventually discovered that same message of yours posted at other sites between yesterday and this morning. Ya know, I could swear I recall discussion recently that spamming was frowned upon here. My tolerance is growing unbelievably low on this issue, and I'll expect you to respect that policy from now on. "Discussing" something here does not involve sending what might be regarded as junk mail or generic form letters. I truly appreciate that members occasionally run across something that greatly moves them, it happens to me as well, but when people are bombarded with the very same message, it strips it of the personal relevance it was meant to have in the first place-and that, on top of the already terribly impersonal medium of Internet communication.



          As for that particular post of yours (#7299), I see that PMCV has already noted some of his concerns; I'd like to point out one of my own:



          >>Look at these two statements.
          I believe God exists.
          I know God exists.
          They are different.<<



          Yes, they are indeed different. The problem is that the person who makes such claims is not always aware of that distinction. I've known faithful literalists, and even mainstream Christians who were not fundamentalists, who would be equally comfortable making either of those statements. Conversely, I've known atheists who would boldly assert the negative just as quickly. If you take a good look around the Internet, you'll encounter yet others who adamantly claim similar "knowledge" and "understanding" when, in fact, they are clearly schizophrenics suffering extreme paranoia and delusions of grandeur. Not to belittle the psychiatric profession, but sometimes it really doesn't take a DSM-IV and a Degree to make that assessment-just reading a few disturbing posts may be all that is necessary.



          IOW, using such simplistic criteria to demonstrate what IS or IS NOT Gnostic is hardly practical in a real-world application. People claim to "know" all sorts of things.



          Gerry






          [This message contained attachments]



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          Message: 6
          Date: Thu, 20 Mar 2003 21:47:17 -0000
          From: "Gerry"
          Subject: Re: Nag Hammadi codexes :pmcvflag

          --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pessy@c... wrote:
          > Wayne writes:
          > > path of salvation.Salvation from WHAT? And what would I do NEXT?
          > > WHY?
          >
          >
          > Salvation from the world which is the malevolent work of evil
          demons.
          >
          > Klaus Schilling




          "Ignorance," Klaus.

          Gerry






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          Message: 7
          Date: Fri, 21 Mar 2003 06:26:57 -0000
          From: pmcvflag
          Subject: Re: Nag Hammadi codexes :pmcvflag

          Wayne....

          > Oh well, although i dont have the whole collection of Nag Hammadi
          codexes, however there are several translation of Gospel of Thomas.
          The Meyer Translation seems to minimize religious and fanatical
          interpretations ,although I have several translation of Gospel of
          Thomas by sseveral authors.<

          Well, there is another aspect to this that I did not mention Wayne.
          The fact is, it is debated as to whether Thomas is in fact
          a "Gnostic" piece. While I wrote a thesis on why I think the Coptic
          version is Gnostic, we are on shakey ground here compared to a work
          like, say, the Tripartite Tractate or the Hypostasis of the Archons.

          > I agreed that there are numberous historical 'definations' of
          gnosticism. All of them are quite confusing indeed. Most
          importantly, all the dictionaries relates gnostism with spiritual
          knowledge.<

          Actually, Wayne, all those suposedly different historical
          definitions are not very different at all. They are variations on a
          single theme. Sure, there is some scholastic dispute about
          particulars, but they are quite minor disputes concerning subtle
          details that most laypeople need not worry about. Since a major part
          of the focus of this club IS in fact the history, historical
          definitions are the important ones for you to know in order to be a
          part of conversation here. They may have been confusing to you, but
          they are not to me. If you wish, I can maybe clerify them for you. I
          really don't mind doing so if that would be helpful to you.

          As for the dictionaries, well, I don't know what dictionaries you
          are using, but I just looked in my Oxford Dictionary of World
          Religions, and it does not agree with you.... so it certainly
          isn't "all the dictionaries". Besides, it really doesn't matter what
          some common usage or New Age dictionary or other says... this club
          is about historical Gnostic movements and that is non-negotiable.
          There are already plenty of clubs that deal with non-historical
          definitions, we need not simply be another one. If you are here, it
          is because you have some interest in learning about traditional
          Gnostic forms... the end.

          >You said, spiritual "knowledge" was intrinsic to the path of
          salvation.Salvation from WHAT? And what would I do NEXT? WHY? Can
          you explain to me....<

          Yes I can Wayne, thanks for asking. Gnosticism, is by definition,
          dependant on the notion that it is Gnosis, rather than pistis, that
          forms the primary impatus of the soteriological function. What that
          means is, Gnostics believed that it was some kind of knowledge that
          saved a person from some kind of fallen state. Another aspect to
          that definition then is what the fallen state is.... it
          is "ignorance". Different Gnostic groups had different ideas on how
          that may have played out in detail, but there is a certain amount of
          agreement on the basics. That is, that the world is in some way not
          perfect in the same way as the infinite Prime Source is, and that
          the desirable state is to be re-united with that Prime Source (which
          is NOT the creator God). Therefore, "salvation" is a matter of
          leaving the imperfect for the infinite. "Gnosis" is the recognition
          of ones spiritual connection to the Prime Source. Gnosis then is not
          the mystical experience, it is not ones belief that thier faith has
          gone beyond faith into believeing so solidly that one now "knows"
          the truth, and it is not a name for anyone's "personal path" of
          psychological "spirituality". "Gnosis" as far as the historical
          study of "Gnosticism" is concerned, is a specific set of
          realizations culminating in a religio/logical realization that has
          both experiential and philosophical aspects. Instead of the
          word "Gnostic" we could say "Platonized Mysteries of the late
          antiquities within a Judeo/Christian framework", but that does not
          role off the tongue ;)

          Hope that helps Wayne
          PMCV



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          Message: 8
          Date: Fri, 21 Mar 2003 10:52:51 -0000
          From: incognito_lightbringer
          Subject: Re: Nag Hammadi codexes :pmcvflag

          < dependant on the notion that it is Gnosis, rather than pistis, that
          forms the primary impatus of the soteriological function>>

          Says who? The Gnostics? I keep seeing the word Pistis in their texts.
          Along with Sophia, or wisdom. Here silly me thought they all go hand
          in hand. (I hate it when pistis gets pissed on due to dislike of the
          abuses of orthodoxy. Sue me.).
          You could also tell Wayne that the definition of gnosis and
          gnosticism is heavily debated and argued amongst scholars of
          gnosticism, and that it's best to read up and come to his own
          conclusions, because he won't find a consensus.

          < means is, Gnostics believed that it was some kind of knowledge that
          saved a person from some kind of fallen state.>>

          Knowledge is dependent on the dualistic material universe and is
          flawed. It's an image of the material world. I'm not happy with the
          word knowledge and neither is Layton. It's too narrow and limiting.
          Wayne should read the preface in Bentley Layton's "The Gnostic
          Scriptures", especially pg 9 "The meaning of gnosis" and the focus
          on 'acquaintance'.
          Gnosis as recognition and/or understanding and/or union transcends
          knowledge.
          Gnosis through revelation is dependent on both faith and wisdom to
          work. Otherwise, you won't believe what you experience.
          Eleleth, one of the four great angels, says he's understanding.

          <<"Gnosis" is the recognition
          of ones spiritual connection to the Prime Source. >>
          Agreed

          < the mystical experience, it is not ones belief that thier faith has
          gone beyond faith into believeing so solidly that one now "knows"
          the truth, and it is not a name for anyone's "personal path" of
          psychological "spirituality".>>
          Don't agree. If, as you just stated, it's a recognition of the
          connection to the Prime Source, than it's a mystical experience by
          definition.


          --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag wrote:

          === message truncated ===



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