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Venturing into gnosticism

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  • m.bockermann@t-online.de
    Hello everybody! I joined a couple of days ago and wanted to observe the list for a couple of days to get a feel for it. But now it is time to leave the
    Message 1 of 8 , Jun 5, 2003
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      Hello everybody!


      I joined a couple of days ago and wanted to observe the list for a couple of
      days to get a feel for it. But now it is time to leave the lurking mood. I'm
      not sure wether a newbie is expected to introduce him/herself in this
      newsgroup, so I thought I just give you a short intro of myself combined
      with my first post.

      I'm Barbara and I'm a teacher-in-training from Germany. My subjects are
      biology and chemistry.

      I was raised in Christian faith of Lutheran confession (so you know my
      background). But in recent years, I have developed a lot of problems with my
      faith and questions that remain unaswered.

      For example:

      Can we simply ignore "apocryphical" texts and simply trust that the people
      who chose the books of the New Testimony were inspired by God? And what
      about the texts *in* the Bible - how realiable are they. What is the reader
      to make of beings like "angels" and "giants" that are not really explained
      in the scripture but seem to draw on a longstanding, not-written tradition.

      Are people that have not grown up with a Christian tradition really destined
      for damnation? If not (and personally I believe so), then it follows that
      the Christian faith is not the only one that leads to wisdom and knowledge.
      Is it possible that there is some kind of "higher" truth of which the
      "traditional" religions give only a glimpse and that can be reached by
      following different kinds of paths to "enlightment"?

      I have always been interested in different kind of religions, including
      different point of views on Christianity. I guess if you'd demand an answer
      from me right now, I'd say that I believe that there was a wise man called
      Jesus who had a big influence on the world. Wether he did miracles or was
      the "Son of God"... right now I'm too confused to give an answer to that
      question.

      For some reason, maybe because my life has changed so much in the recent
      years, questions like these have risen up more and more inside of me, so
      that I've begun to look around and search for different answers.

      And I found a lot of ideas, reaching from different religions and traditions
      to New age ways. The first time I read about gnosticism (not to long ago) I
      felt for the first time in a long time that something was beginning to make
      sense to me. I do not claim that I've understood everything that gnostics
      wrote or said, but what I've read so far makes a lot of sense and resembles
      several ideas that I have thought of in the past. Currently I am studying
      what I can find on the net or in books about gnosticism, and texts like the
      Nag Hammadi or the Thomas evangelium. There is still a lot to learn, but I'm
      interested and eager.

      What I haven't really found out yet is what gnostics "do". It says that they
      strife to reach "gnosis" - but how does a gnostic do that? Thinking?
      Meditating? Doing good deeds? I'd love to hear your ideas on that.

      Well, I don't want to make this post too long. I hope that I can learn
      things here and offer to others what I have learned.

      Take care,
      Barbara
    • Mike Leavitt
      Hello m.bockermann@t-online.de ... Unapologetic plug for my chruch s website: check out http://www.gnosis.org/ for a ton of gnostic material and writings.
      Message 2 of 8 , Jun 5, 2003
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        Hello m.bockermann@...

        On 05-Jun-03, you wrote:

        > What I haven't really found out yet is what gnostics "do". It says
        > that they strife to reach "gnosis" - but how does a gnostic do that?
        > Thinking? Meditating? Doing good deeds? I'd love to hear your ideas
        > on that.
        >
        > Well, I don't want to make this post too long. I hope that I can
        > learn things here and offer to others what I have learned.

        Unapologetic plug for my chruch's website: check out
        http://www.gnosis.org/ for a ton of gnostic material and writings.

        Regards
        --
        Mike Leavitt ac998@...
      • walkinginclogs@aol.com
        I m the same way -- Mr. Curious Someone told me that the new Pope in Waiting made a comment that he though gnostism has a lot of truth in it. He also
        Message 3 of 8 , Jun 5, 2003
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          I'm the same way -- "Mr. Curious" Someone told me that the new "Pope in
          Waiting" made a comment that he though gnostism has a lot of truth in it. He also
          said that "There is a big difference between the historical Jesus and the
          biblical Jesus." Kind of makes you wonder if there is a revival of gnostism in
          the making.

          I have wondered the same thing as far as what was the real agenda on the part
          of those scholars who decided what books made it and which didn't. The more
          I think of it, the more it seems that they picked the ones that were the
          easiest to understand. They did a poor job in the new testiment I think. One book
          by Paul would be almost too much. One book on the birth of Jesus would have
          been adequate. The other two just plagerized Matthew's account anyway.
          Revelation almost didn't make it. It shouldn't have made it at all. It just
          confuses simple-minded TV evangelists. All it was anyway was an account of John's
          delarious halucinations.
        • Steve
          ... couple of ... mood. I m ... this ... combined ... subjects are ... know my ... problems with my ... the people ... what ... the reader ... explained ...
          Message 4 of 8 , Jun 5, 2003
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            --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, m.bockermann@t... wrote:
            > Hello everybody!
            >
            >
            > I joined a couple of days ago and wanted to observe the list for a
            couple of
            > days to get a feel for it. But now it is time to leave the lurking
            mood. I'm
            > not sure wether a newbie is expected to introduce him/herself in
            this
            > newsgroup, so I thought I just give you a short intro of myself
            combined
            > with my first post.
            >
            > I'm Barbara and I'm a teacher-in-training from Germany. My
            subjects are
            > biology and chemistry.
            >
            > I was raised in Christian faith of Lutheran confession (so you
            know my
            > background). But in recent years, I have developed a lot of
            problems with my
            > faith and questions that remain unaswered.
            >
            > For example:
            >
            > Can we simply ignore "apocryphical" texts and simply trust that
            the people
            > who chose the books of the New Testimony were inspired by God? And
            what
            > about the texts *in* the Bible - how realiable are they. What is
            the reader
            > to make of beings like "angels" and "giants" that are not really
            explained
            > in the scripture but seem to draw on a longstanding, not-written
            tradition.
            >
            > Are people that have not grown up with a Christian tradition
            really destined
            > for damnation? If not (and personally I believe so), then it
            follows that
            > the Christian faith is not the only one that leads to wisdom and
            knowledge.
            > Is it possible that there is some kind of "higher" truth of which
            the
            > "traditional" religions give only a glimpse and that can be
            reached by
            > following different kinds of paths to "enlightment"?
            >
            > I have always been interested in different kind of religions,
            including
            > different point of views on Christianity. I guess if you'd demand
            an answer
            > from me right now, I'd say that I believe that there was a wise
            man called
            > Jesus who had a big influence on the world. Wether he did miracles
            or was
            > the "Son of God"... right now I'm too confused to give an answer
            to that
            > question.
            >
            > For some reason, maybe because my life has changed so much in the
            recent
            > years, questions like these have risen up more and more inside of
            me, so
            > that I've begun to look around and search for different answers.
            >
            > And I found a lot of ideas, reaching from different religions and
            traditions
            > to New age ways. The first time I read about gnosticism (not to
            long ago) I
            > felt for the first time in a long time that something was
            beginning to make
            > sense to me. I do not claim that I've understood everything that
            gnostics
            > wrote or said, but what I've read so far makes a lot of sense and
            resembles
            > several ideas that I have thought of in the past. Currently I am
            studying
            > what I can find on the net or in books about gnosticism, and texts
            like the
            > Nag Hammadi or the Thomas evangelium. There is still a lot to
            learn, but I'm
            > interested and eager.
            >
            > What I haven't really found out yet is what gnostics "do". It says
            that they
            > strife to reach "gnosis" - but how does a gnostic do that?
            Thinking?
            > Meditating? Doing good deeds? I'd love to hear your ideas on that.
            >
            > Well, I don't want to make this post too long. I hope that I can
            learn
            > things here and offer to others what I have learned.
            >
            > Take care,
            > Barbara

            Hi, Barbara! It's the people who win who get to write the history
            books. In my opinion, our New Testament is a perfect example of
            this. I tend to believe that St.Paul was a Gnostic and the up-and-
            coming Institutional Church had to monkey with his letters and do
            some serious "damage control" in order to tame him for Catholicism.
            By the way, coming from a Lutheran background, you may be interested
            in the writings of the German Gnostic Jacob Boehme, who also started
            as a Lutheran. Yours, Steve
          • pessy@chez.com
            ... No, J. Boehme was no such thing as a Gnostic. Boehme failed to distinguish Demiurgos and Chrestos Theos. He just wrote some cool stuff like Satanael being
            Message 5 of 8 , Jun 6, 2003
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              Steve writes:
              > Gnostic Jacob Boehme

              No, J. Boehme was no such thing as a Gnostic.
              Boehme failed to distinguish Demiurgos and Chrestos Theos.
              He just wrote some cool stuff like Satanael being the chef of nature.

              Klaus Schilling
            • lady_caritas
              Greetings, Barbara, and welcome to the group. We look forward to your future thoughts and comments. Feel free to browse our message board and links section
              Message 6 of 8 , Jun 6, 2003
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                Greetings, Barbara, and welcome to the group. We look forward to
                your future thoughts and comments.

                Feel free to browse our message board and links section (Mike has
                already mentioned a good one ~ www.gnosis.org ). Regarding what
                material made it into the Bible and what didn't, Gerry left a link in
                his Post #7825 on how the canon was formed. I'll repost the link
                here:
                http://www.westarinstitute.org/Periodicals/4R_Articles/Canon/canon.htm
                l

                You wrote, "What I haven't really found out yet is what
                gnostics "do". It says that they strife to reach "gnosis" - but how
                does a gnostic do that? Thinking? Meditating? Doing good deeds? I'd
                love to hear your ideas on that."

                No doubt Gnostics think and some meditate and some do good deeds, but
                not because of any prescribed dogma. Good deeds won't get you
                to "heaven," but good deeds might be a result of Gnostic awareness.
                This awareness comes through life experience and self-examination and
                gaining acquaintance by means of both one's rational and nonrational
                natures. Many Gnostics place importance on critical thinking as well
                as spiritual experience during the process of Gnosis.

                From _The Gospel of Philip_:

                "Should not all people who possess all things know themselves
                utterly? Now, if some do not know themselves, they will not have the
                use of what they possess; but those who have learned about themselves
                will do so."


                From _The Gospel of Thomas_:

                Jesus said, "If those who lead you (plur.) say to you, `See, the
                kingdom is in heaven,' then the birds of heaven will precede you. If
                they say to you, `It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you.
                But the kingdom is inside of you. And it is outside of you.

                "When you become acquainted with yourselves, then you will be
                recognized. And you will understand that it is you who are children
                of the living father. But if you do not become acquainted with
                yourselves, then you are in poverty, and it is you who are the
                poverty."


                Cari
              • heywood38
                Hi Barbera! If you are interested in a very readable book on thie topic of the early Church and how the writings were affected etc. try reading The Jesus
                Message 7 of 8 , Jun 7, 2003
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                  Hi Barbera!

                  If you are interested in a very readable book on thie topic of the
                  early Church and how the writings were affected etc. try
                  reading 'The Jesus Mysteries' by Timothy Freke. this subject is
                  dealt with from a gnostic perspective, in a very readable format and
                  the book is widely available (Amazon.com etc).

                  I am also a newish Gnostic from a Lutheran background (I was a Deaon
                  of the Church) and struggled with there being 'something more' to my
                  faith - and that is that that one also needs to 'experience
                  Divinity' - that Faith alone is not enough for me anymore.

                  Hope this book choice helps!

                  Fiat Lux!

                  Daath40
                • pessy@chez.com
                  ... don t neglect co-author Gandy. Klaus Schilling
                  Message 8 of 8 , Jun 7, 2003
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                    heywood38 writes:
                    > Hi Barbera!
                    >
                    > If you are interested in a very readable book on thie topic of the
                    > early Church and how the writings were affected etc. try
                    > reading 'The Jesus Mysteries' by Timothy Freke.

                    don't neglect co-author Gandy.

                    Klaus Schilling
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