>>>I, for one, would not even attempt to answer this, as who knows the
heart of another, and the Priests may be more Gnostic than the
average Mandean is. As to the effect of popularization of
Gnosticism, yes I see a danger, if it were to actually become a mass
movement, I am sure it would lose much of its purity. Look at what
the Thelemites do with it, if you want something under your nose.
With the best and most intellectual of them it is not so bad, but...
And frankly it is not fair to put a standard on them there is not on
us, no more is every Manden a gnostic, than every member of this list
is. Gnosis is of the individual, not of the group, and that includes
the Mandeans. To me, their cosmology is pretty much Gnostic, and
that is what defines them, and us as a list, for that matter.<<<
Hey Mike, I think you and I are of one mind on this one. There is
only one point in your whole post that I disagree with. I hate to
pick out the one thing we differ in oppinion on, since it seems
adversarial, but then again.... there seems little point in
discussing the things we are ABSOLUTELY in agreement with *lol*.
"their cosmology is pretty much Gnostic, and
that is what defines them, and us as a list, for that matter"
While it is certainly true that the cosmology in Gnosticism is highly
relevent to it's definition, I do not agree that it is definitive in
and of itself. Marcion is not Gnostic (and unlike my admittedly
ambiguous stance on the Mandaeans, willing to say maybe they are
Gnostic and maybe they are not.... I am confident in my exclusion of
the Marcionites) and yet thier cosmology is closely related.
Manichaeans also have a related cosmology, and just about any
neoplatonist movement does as well. Some neopythagorians are almost
identical. My point is, no matter how similar a cosmology looks on
the surface, if the function of Gnosis is removed then the very
quality from which "Gnosticism" gets it's name is missing. Without
that soteriological function of Gnosis, all we have is another
psychic or hylic belief system no matter how similar the cosmology is.
On the other hand, you really do effectively undermine part of my
arguement before I even started by pointing out the individual nature
of Gnosis. However, let me point out that there is a difference
between an individual pneumatic, and a religion that is conciously
set up to foment it within the individual. A Catholic can also find
Gnosis.... it does not make Catholicism "Gnostic".
I guess what I am trying to say is, even in my disagreement I am not
completely in disagreement. However, I do think it would be a mistake
to put too much emphasis on thier cosmology, to the poing of
discounting thier view of the definitive quality of the very