Some more thoughts regarding Incognita's post #7789 (a lot of ideas
presented in one post :-) ) ~
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, incognito_lightbringer
> Gnostic myth has the fall of Sophia, who was a part of the Pleroma
> and a member of the Father, who is spirit himself.
> If Valentinian theology has a midway point between the Pleroma and
> actual matter, it still has a demiurge who uses Sophia's power. She
> is dimmed. Something of the original source is incorporated here.
> How, is still confusing to me.
> In Ptolemy's version (Ireneus 1.4.1 to 1.53 ) the anointed Christ
> takes pity on Acamoth and stretches out is his cross and forms her
> a "concrete formation". She emits the demiurge, Iao, who is the
> craftsman. He doesn't exactly form matter, rather organizes it.
> is meant by a "concrete formation" then? In 1.52 "and he became
> craftsman of material and animate things, of left and right, of
> and heavy, or upward tending and downward tending".
> We too are said to be made up of matter, soul, and spirit. How
> things coexist within us, what the mechanism is, is not clear. How
> the pneuma part of us? How is soul? Spirit is not compatible with
> matter, but here it is in us, and our bodies are matter. This is a
> major reason why I no longer pay attention to the
> docetic/adoptionist/trinitarian arguments. If I can't explain it
> within the human being, I see little point in speculating about the
> Christ. The gnostics themselves couldn't exactly agree on it either.
> Is our pneuma in the Pleroma, and the illusion is that it's here in
> our physical bodies? As in both GTr and TT, that the Father retains
> the perfection of the Pleroma within himself?
> <<I would agree, Incognita, that pantheism in gnosticism is
> questionable. Most of the definitions in this link tend to support
> that God=the Universe, and even the definition from the _Oxford
> Companion to Philosophy_ talks about every*thing* there is.
> Your quote above from GTr does not support pantheism in my mind. >>
> The quote I gave was meant to show what GTr views as illusion.
> The possibility of pantheism in gnosticism depends on "ifs". If
> matter is an illusion, if pantheism is defined as the presence of
> (rather than God equaling nature, which is the more common
> definition.) Gnostics are not tree huggers.
> <<_The Gospel of Truth_ talks about fragrances. The original cold
> fragrances "result from division." "And it is a soul-endowed
> form, being like a cold liquid that has sunk into some loose earth;
> and those who see it suppose that (only) earth is there." This
> illustrate a blind perception of only the material world.>>
> The confusing bit here is that the fragrance of the Father mixes
> itself in matter.
> The cold is the warm that's been separated, and when it's breathed
> back in it becomes warm again.
> The Attridge and Mcrae translation of GTr:
> "For the Father is sweet, and in his will is what is good. He has
> taken cognizance of the things that are yours, that you might find
> rest in them. For by the fruits does one take cognizance of the
> things that are yours, because the children of the Father are his
> fragrance, for they are from the grace of his countenance. For this
> reason, the Father loves his fragrance, and manifests it in every
> place. And if it mixes with matter, he gives his fragrance to the
> light, and in his repose, he causes it to surpass every form (and)
> every sound. For it is not the ears that smell the fragrance, but
> is) the breath that has the sense of smell and attracts the
> to itself, and is submerged in the fragrance of the Father, so that
> he thus shelters it, and takes it to the place where it came from,
> from the first fragrance, which is grown cold. It is something in a
> psychic form, being like cold water which has frozen (?), which is
> earth that is not solid, of which those who see it think it is
> afterwards, it dissolves again. If a breath draws it, it gets hot.
> The fragrances, therefore, that are cold are from the division. For
> this reason, faith came; it dissolved the division, and it brought
> the warm pleroma of love, in order that the cold should not come
> again, but (that) there should be the unity of perfect thought. "
"It mixes with matter,"... but it does not *become* matter.
From your quote:
"For this reason, the Father loves his fragrance, and manifests it in
every place. And if it mixes with matter, he gives his fragrance to
the light, and in his repose, he causes it to surpass every form
(and) every sound. For it is not the ears that smell the fragrance,
but (it is) the breath that has the sense of smell and attracts the
fragrance to itself,..."
Notice the material "ears" don't smell the fragrance. The "breath"
or "spirit" is only capable of smelling the Father's fragrance. So,
wait a minute; ears don't smell, right? That's the point. Ears
hear. The spirit is beyond sound, including all our words we use to
discuss all this perplexity. (i.e. "In his repose [or silence
Layton], he causes it to surpass every form (and) every sound.")
So, why mix the fragrance with matter? Matter is viewed by Gnostics
as temporary, most likely bound for destruction. Permanency of
matter would be seen as illusion. As you say, "Gnostics are not tree
This confusion is addressed by Gnostics using their typical mode of
expression, mythology and metaphor, as a means of reaching
the "nooks" and "crannies" of our unconscious, yanking to our
consciousness some understanding beyond that of our rational brains.
In that regard, I am reminded of a draft of an article, you may or
may not already be familiar with, Incognita,... part of a collection
of writings by David Brons which were rescued when he deleted his
site on Valentinianism. This essay addresses some of the issues you
bring up about the Valentinian view of creation (and also in
comparison to other Gnostic views) and how matter/soul/spirit work
together. The key for Valentinians is that the world plays a part in
the process of redemption. Humans were created to serve as vessels
in which the pneumatic seed could mature. And, therefore, the world
*also* serves as a mechanism for the destruction of ignorance and
matter. From the article, "Valentinians agreed with Plato that the
form of the created world preserved the image of the ideal realm (the
pleroma). For this reason they rarely criticisize the form of the
world. Instead most of their criticism is focused on the world's
material substance. In their view, the matter of which the world is
formed is condensed or solidified deficiency and suffering. Thus
while the world preserves the image of the pleroma, it is inevitably
deficient on account of its substance."
Anyway, it's best to read the article in its entirety to fully
understand Brons' interpretation: