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  • pmcvflag
    Oh yes, sorry Rodney, I don t think anyone meant to ignore you. I am willing to bet, along with Lady Cari, that your experience is fairly common here amongst
    Message 1 of 25 , Sep 11, 2003
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      Oh yes, sorry Rodney, I don't think anyone meant to ignore you. I am
      willing to bet, along with Lady Cari, that your experience is fairly
      common here amongst those who have come to sympathize with Gnosticism
      on a more personal level. My story may be a little bassackwards...

      I was raised in close proximity to several types of Christianity,
      without really being connected to any of them. My earliest school
      days were at a Baptist parochial school, but my family was in no way
      Baptist and I was never encouraged to practice the belief. I was also
      in a Catholic boy scout troup, and had in some way been around just
      about all the common Christian sects. I came across the
      name "Gnosticism" from very early, but mostly just incedental
      mentions.

      By my early teens I was heavily into Jungian type comparative
      mythology. By my late teens I was interested in history (started with
      Japanese history), and started checking these things I picked up from
      Dr Campbell against a more critical observation of the religions. In
      my early 20s I became interested in a specific form of esoteric
      thought, that later (my mid twenties) I found had some similarities
      with Gnosticism. I did not study it in earnest until I discovered
      similarities to what I was already doing.

      I have never been through that bitter seperation from "Orthodoxy"
      other than specific run-ins I have had with individuals. Most of my
      interaction has simply been a sort of external observation. On the
      other hand, my study of Gnosticism has been both internal and
      external. While I don't exactly think of myself as "Gnostic",
      technically speaking, I do have enough similarities that I have
      described myself as Gnostic for the sake of simplicity. In fact... I
      have even described myself as "Carpocration" *lol*, but understand,
      if you have been watching the conversatin so far it is obvious that I
      don't mean that seriously..... mostly ;) .

      PMCV

      --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, lady_caritas <no_reply@y...>
      wrote:
      > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "wvdog61" <wvdog61@7...> wrote:
      > > If what I'm about to ask is considered inappropriate for this
      group
      > > please let me know, or perhaps there are previous posts
      addressing
      > > this that I could be pointed to, or perhaps everyone could
      respond
      > > to my e-mail address so as not to "clutter up" the discussion.
      > >
      > > I would like to hear your stories; how you came to embrace
      > > Gnosticism, and I would especially like to hear about everyone's
      > > previous (or even current) realtionship with Orthodoxy. Perhaps
      > like
      > > me you were at one time in your lives deeply involved in the
      > > Orthodox faith and abandoned it, or simply considered it at one
      > time
      > > and were turned off by it, or have deep seated resentments
      against
      > > it. You don't have to include a lot of detail, in fact a brief
      > reply
      > > would be great.
      > >
      > > Take my story, for example. I "fell out" with Orthodoxy because I
      > > came to see after 16 years of intense involvement that all I had
      > > gained was none of the results (peace of mind, power over "sin",
      > > etc.) and twice the guilt. I didn't have any intellectual
      problems
      > > with the whole "ethos", but I had come to see that "the proof of
      > the
      > > pudding is in the eating". It just didn't work. Period. I was
      > > incredibly bitter about this for many years, but there was a
      hidden
      > > blessing in my disillusionment: whereas before I would have been
      > > terrified (literally) to explore heterodox beliefs I now felt
      > > complete freedom to do so and the payoff has been nothing short
      of
      > > remarkable.
      > >
      > > I could be expansive, but I'll spare everyone.
      > >
      > > Peace,
      > >
      > > Rodney
      >
      >
      > Hey, Rodney... looks like either people are responding privately
      or
      > else no one is responding and we have a lot of private people
      > here. ;-)
      >
      > No worry about clutter, as long as we're relating to historical
      > Gnosticism. And, in fact, you'd be able to trace some stories if
      we
      > hadn't mysteriously "lost" a large portion of our archives during
      the
      > switch from Yahoo clubs to groups a while back. Also, one thing to
      > remember is that we have quite a variety of members, many who
      > don't "embrace Gnosticism" so much as have an interest in the
      subject
      > for various reasons.
      >
      > I'm curious. You mention how bitter you were about orthodoxy.
      Were
      > you brought up in a very conservative environment by any chance?
      >
      > My own story is not too unusual, and there were no sirens and bells
      > involved. I was brought up in the United Methodist faith, but
      > couldn't (and still don't) relate to a personal god or atonement
      > theology. So, after high school, I became a self-designated
      agnostic
      > or nontheist and continued experiencing life for many years, not
      > worrying about anything spiritual. Very gradually though, my "gut"
      > or what might in hindsight have been a type of spiritual intuition
      or
      > mystical experience kept gnawing away; it became not enough just to
      > say, "I don't know or care."
      >
      > I decided to go back to my roots in my quest for some insight into
      > what this crazy world is all about. I immersed myself in the
      United
      > Methodist tradition and joined some study groups, all the while
      > retaining my skepticism. I just couldn't leave my brain in the
      > narthex and blindly swallow the orthodox teachings. But I knew
      that
      > ignoring my past might just catch up with me without additional
      > exploration. Plus I was interested in further investigation of
      other
      > traditions. I suppose that was all part of the self-discovery
      > process.
      >
      > Interestingly, one of the study groups I attended traced Christian
      > history, and, yes, those "heretical" Gnostics were mentioned. I
      > found them intriguing, and I joined a smaller, informal study group
      > that was delving a bit further into early Christianity, in addition
      > to other religious traditions. I picked up some books on
      Gnosticism
      > at a bookstore, found gnosis.org in an online search, and, well,
      the
      > rest is history. I had found ancient people with whom I could
      relate
      > and eventually also an online group.
      >
      > Cari :-)
    • Mike Leavitt
      Hello lady_caritas ... I guess I was lucky to have grown up in a household where Max Heindel, Rudolph Steiner, and Manley P. Hall were all revered (my mother
      Message 2 of 25 , Sep 11, 2003
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        Hello lady_caritas

        On 11-Sep-03, you wrote:

        > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "wvdog61" <wvdog61@7...> wrote:
        >> If what I'm about to ask is considered inappropriate for this group
        >> please let me know, or perhaps there are previous posts addressing
        >> this that I could be pointed to, or perhaps everyone could respond
        >> to my e-mail address so as not to "clutter up" the discussion.
        >>
        >> I would like to hear your stories; how you came to embrace
        >> Gnosticism, and I would especially like to hear about everyone's
        >> previous (or even current) realtionship with Orthodoxy. Perhaps
        > like
        >> me you were at one time in your lives deeply involved in the
        >> Orthodox faith and abandoned it, or simply considered it at one
        > time
        >> and were turned off by it, or have deep seated resentments against
        >> it. You don't have to include a lot of detail, in fact a brief
        > reply
        >> would be great.
        >>
        >> Take my story, for example. I "fell out" with Orthodoxy because I
        >> came to see after 16 years of intense involvement that all I had
        >> gained was none of the results (peace of mind, power over "sin",
        >> etc.) and twice the guilt. I didn't have any intellectual problems
        >> with the whole "ethos", but I had come to see that "the proof of
        > the
        >> pudding is in the eating". It just didn't work. Period. I was
        >> incredibly bitter about this for many years, but there was a hidden
        >> blessing in my disillusionment: whereas before I would have been
        >> terrified (literally) to explore heterodox beliefs I now felt
        >> complete freedom to do so and the payoff has been nothing short of
        >> remarkable.
        >>
        >> I could be expansive, but I'll spare everyone.
        >>
        >> Peace,
        >>
        >> Rodney
        >
        >
        > Hey, Rodney... looks like either people are responding privately or
        > else no one is responding and we have a lot of private people here.
        > ;-)
        >
        > No worry about clutter, as long as we're relating to historical
        > Gnosticism. And, in fact, you'd be able to trace some stories if we
        > hadn't mysteriously "lost" a large portion of our archives during
        > the switch from Yahoo clubs to groups a while back. Also, one thing
        > to remember is that we have quite a variety of members, many who
        > don't "embrace Gnosticism" so much as have an interest in the
        > subject for various reasons.
        >
        > I'm curious. You mention how bitter you were about orthodoxy. Were
        > you brought up in a very conservative environment by any chance?
        >
        > My own story is not too unusual, and there were no sirens and bells
        > involved. I was brought up in the United Methodist faith, but
        > couldn't (and still don't) relate to a personal god or atonement
        > theology. So, after high school, I became a self-designated agnostic
        > or nontheist and continued experiencing life for many years, not
        > worrying about anything spiritual. Very gradually though, my "gut"
        > or what might in hindsight have been a type of spiritual intuition
        > or mystical experience kept gnawing away; it became not enough just
        > to say, "I don't know or care."
        >
        > I decided to go back to my roots in my quest for some insight into
        > what this crazy world is all about. I immersed myself in the United
        > Methodist tradition and joined some study groups, all the while
        > retaining my skepticism. I just couldn't leave my brain in the
        > narthex and blindly swallow the orthodox teachings. But I knew that
        > ignoring my past might just catch up with me without additional
        > exploration. Plus I was interested in further investigation of other
        > traditions. I suppose that was all part of the self-discovery
        > process.
        >
        > Interestingly, one of the study groups I attended traced Christian
        > history, and, yes, those "heretical" Gnostics were mentioned. I
        > found them intriguing, and I joined a smaller, informal study group
        > that was delving a bit further into early Christianity, in addition
        > to other religious traditions. I picked up some books on Gnosticism
        > at a bookstore, found gnosis.org in an online search, and, well, the
        > rest is history. I had found ancient people with whom I could relate
        > and eventually also an online group.
        >
        > Cari :-)

        I guess I was lucky to have grown up in a household where Max Heindel,
        Rudolph Steiner, and Manley P. Hall were all revered (my mother knew
        Manley Hall and his mother). At least I had no Orthodox baggage to
        get rid of, and since I never bought Max Heindel's racism, he didn't
        mess me up too much either. First the Qabalah (I still love it) and
        then Gnosticism brought me where I am. I met Stephen Hoeller when I
        was 13, and we became fast friends, and have been ever since (44
        years now). Our friendship has even survived my being a Priest in
        his church (28 years). :-)

        Regards
        --
        Mike Leavitt ac998@...
      • apx0n
        I m new to the group, but it appears lively, informed, and I look forward to reading along. I m sure there ve been posts addressing what I m about to ask, but
        Message 3 of 25 , Sep 11, 2003
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          I'm new to the group, but it appears lively, informed, and I look
          forward to reading along. I'm sure there've been posts addressing
          what I'm about to ask, but I was wondering if anyone might sum up how
          the group sets bounds for what is 'gnostic' - or at least, in-bounds
          for the group's purposes?

          Personally, I'm most interested in Valentinus and gnostic writers
          that draw on John and Paul. I became interested in gnosticism in
          college, after hearing a lecture by Elaine Pagels. I am an observant
          Catholic, but enjoy reading Rumi and grew up in a Jewish home with ex-
          hippie parents :) explain that one

          Hope to gain much from you all.

          Josh
        • Gerry
          ... how ... bounds ... observant ... ex- ... Your background is probably not so different from others here as you may think, Josh. As for my own religious
          Message 4 of 25 , Sep 12, 2003
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            --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "apx0n" <apx0n@y...> wrote:
            > I'm new to the group, but it appears lively, informed, and I look
            > forward to reading along. I'm sure there've been posts addressing
            > what I'm about to ask, but I was wondering if anyone might sum up
            how
            > the group sets bounds for what is 'gnostic' - or at least, in-
            bounds
            > for the group's purposes?
            >
            > Personally, I'm most interested in Valentinus and gnostic writers
            > that draw on John and Paul. I became interested in gnosticism in
            > college, after hearing a lecture by Elaine Pagels. I am an
            observant
            > Catholic, but enjoy reading Rumi and grew up in a Jewish home with
            ex-
            > hippie parents :) explain that one
            >
            > Hope to gain much from you all.
            >
            > Josh




            Your background is probably not so different from others here as you
            may think, Josh.

            As for my own religious experience, it was very minimally as a
            Methodist. I gave up on attending church early on in my youth and
            tried it again several times as an adult, but simply always found
            something lacking in the God that was being portrayed compared with
            what I felt inside. The sacraments felt empty and the general focus
            misplaced.

            For as much as we tend to discount the popular "literature" of
            the "Holy BloodÂ…" types here, it was actually through such books that
            I first became familiar with such groups as the Cathars and
            Manichaeans. Suddenly, something was starting to resonate with me.
            The more I followed research back to traditional Gnosticism, the
            more "at home" I felt.

            When I finally took my exploration to the Internet, it didn't take
            long to encounter the same site that Cari already credited
            (www.gnosis.org), and I knew I was hooked. Having previously waded
            through many sites which had purloined Gnostic concepts and which
            asked money for books on this subject and that, what tickled me most
            about the Ecclesia Gnostica was not only that the information was
            simply "out" there, but that it didn't even deposit cookies in my PC
            (yeah, sometimes I tend to sweat the small stuff, but it can also be
            the little things that really appeal to me).

            All this was at a time when I was really just getting used to the
            Internet (2 computers ago), and it took me a while before I realized
            there might be "communities" of likeminded people already out there.
            Sure enough, I ended up here long before our host even offered
            a "Gnosticism" category, and while I am quick to bemoan the
            shortcomings of Yahoo, it is, after all, a free service, and it has
            been of immense benefit to me personally. In this instance, I guess
            I'd have to say that I got waaaaaay more than I paid for!

            Gerry
          • apx0n
            ... you ... Hi Gerry, Hope you re right - though my persepective may prove a bit eccentric. I ve been reading gnostic texsts *sporadically* for several years.
            Message 5 of 25 , Sep 12, 2003
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              > Your background is probably not so different from others here as
              you
              > may think, Josh.
              >
              >

              Hi Gerry,

              Hope you're right - though my persepective may prove a bit eccentric.

              I've been reading gnostic texsts *sporadically* for several years.
              Because I encountered gnosticism first in a Liberal college setting,
              you can imagine the diversity of motives that had drawn students to
              the subject matter. Some were interested because they were students
              of Late Antiquity. You would have found me taking coffee with those
              guys after lecture :) But there were others who were there because
              the gnostic teachings moved them spiritually. Still others were
              there that they might hone their refuations of heterodox teachings.

              Since I've left school, most of the people I've talked to about
              Gnosticism have told me they're seeking esoteric learning. A few
              have explained that gnosticism informs their meditation. Just about
              all have told me that they find the Gnostic understanding of God
              Father/Mother and its Christology easier to accept than orthodoxy.

              I say that I might prove a bit 'eccentric' here because I actually
              embrace orhtodox Christology, as well as its Sacraments and other
              mysteries. Why learn more about gnosticism then? Because orthodoxy -
              even the Catholic Church - is far from monolithic. Just read
              Spanish mystics like St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, or
              even the controversial 20th century St. Josemaria de Escriva.
              They're not gnostics - not in the sense of the Gospel of Truth or the
              Gospel of Thomas. But they were not satisfied with the
              way 'ordinary' Catholicism was practiced in their day, and they each
              sought to imbue their students with a desire to pursue Quiet through
              Union with the Divine. Josemaria went farther - he even told his
              students that they should think of themselves as Sons and Daughters
              of God committed to Co-Redemption (I'm told some clergy accused him
              of gnosticism, and that the charge was not taken seriously in Rome).

              I'm interested in Gnosticism for two reason. First, in my experience
              some (NOT all) of its teachings are flourishing in the modern
              Catholic Church. Second, I can't help but be impressed with the
              antiquity of its texts. Not that antiquity automatically lends
              authority, but I'm unable to fully discount gnostic claims (made in
              the first century AD no less!) that theirs is a tradition apostolic
              in origin. Their teachings may have been heterodox by the time they
              were written down, but an orthodox believe can well wonder - where
              did these teachings come from? Could they, in older iterations, have
              been compatible with orthodoxy? Or to be truly bold - could they
              hint at how some of the first apostles wanted us, as Christians, to
              experience our faith?

              Josh
            • lady_caritas
              ... how ... bounds ... observant ... ex- ... Hello, Josh. It sounds like your interests are in sync with the focus of our group (found in the description on
              Message 6 of 25 , Sep 12, 2003
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                --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "apx0n" <apx0n@y...> wrote:
                > I'm new to the group, but it appears lively, informed, and I look
                > forward to reading along. I'm sure there've been posts addressing
                > what I'm about to ask, but I was wondering if anyone might sum up
                how
                > the group sets bounds for what is 'gnostic' - or at least, in-
                bounds
                > for the group's purposes?
                >
                > Personally, I'm most interested in Valentinus and gnostic writers
                > that draw on John and Paul. I became interested in gnosticism in
                > college, after hearing a lecture by Elaine Pagels. I am an
                observant
                > Catholic, but enjoy reading Rumi and grew up in a Jewish home with
                ex-
                > hippie parents :) explain that one
                >
                > Hope to gain much from you all.
                >
                > Josh


                Hello, Josh. It sounds like your interests are in sync with the
                focus of our group (found in the description on the homepage). For
                our purposes, we focus on historical Gnosticism, those groups of the
                Late Antiquities that centered on a soteriology emphasizing
                Gnosis,... along with other related religious systems. This includes
                the relevance of these ancients to present-day interests and paths of
                our members.

                Do you happen to remember the topic of the Elaine Pagels lecture that
                you heard? I finally got around to buying her new book, _Beyond
                Belief_, which I just started reading. Considering your interest in
                John and Paul, she also wrote _The Gnostic Paul: Gnostic Exegesis of
                the Pauline Letters_ and _Johannine Gospel in Gnostic Exegesis:
                Heracleon's Commentary on John_, which you might find interesting if
                you're not already familiar with these books.

                There are many members who share your interest in Valentinus. Feel
                free to post regarding a topic that you'd like to pursue.

                Cari
              • apx0n
                ... that ... in ... of ... if ... Hi Cari, Just ordered Gnostic Paul and can t wait to get it. I hope you enjoy Beyond Belief, it s very personal and
                Message 7 of 25 , Sep 12, 2003
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                  >
                  > Do you happen to remember the topic of the Elaine Pagels lecture
                  that
                  > you heard? I finally got around to buying her new book, _Beyond
                  > Belief_, which I just started reading. Considering your interest
                  in
                  > John and Paul, she also wrote _The Gnostic Paul: Gnostic Exegesis
                  of
                  > the Pauline Letters_ and _Johannine Gospel in Gnostic Exegesis:
                  > Heracleon's Commentary on John_, which you might find interesting
                  if
                  > you're not already familiar with these books.
                  >
                  > There are many members who share your interest in Valentinus. Feel
                  > free to post regarding a topic that you'd like to pursue.
                  >
                  > Cari

                  Hi Cari,

                  Just ordered Gnostic Paul and can't wait to get it. I hope you enjoy
                  Beyond Belief, it's very personal and scholarly at the same time, an
                  unusual (and good!) work. As for the Pagels lecture, it was actually
                  a seminar (just didn't want to say that in my first post) on
                  gnosticism and other early Christian movements. One of the best
                  classes I ever took - though I now regret the weeks I came to class
                  with a hang over. Aaaah, how the young never realize their riches!

                  Josh
                • Mike Leavitt
                  Hello lady_caritas ... You know if he had gotten the few extra votes he needed to be elected Bishop of Rome (they didn t call him Pope then), history might
                  Message 8 of 25 , Sep 12, 2003
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                    Hello lady_caritas

                    On 12-Sep-03, you wrote:


                    > There are many members who share your interest in Valentinus. Feel
                    > free to post regarding a topic that you'd like to pursue.
                    >
                    > Cari

                    You know if he had gotten the few extra votes he needed to be elected
                    Bishop of Rome (they didn't call him Pope then), history might have
                    been rather different. At the very least, Papal Infalibility would
                    never have happened if the Orthodox party had still won. :-)

                    Regards
                    --
                    Mike Leavitt ac998@...
                  • Rodney Cecil
                    Lady, Thanks for telling me about your journey. As far as I know there aren t any Gnostics (at least none that I m aware of) in this area so its really great
                    Message 9 of 25 , Sep 13, 2003
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                      Lady,

                      Thanks for telling me about your journey. As far as I know
                      there aren't any Gnostics (at least none that I'm aware of)
                      in this area so its really great to be able to converse
                      with others with similar interests and sort of "compare
                      notes" as it were.
                      It has been entirely through personal study that I've drawn
                      the conclusions regarding Gnosis I now have.

                      >I'm curious. You mention how bitter you were about
                      orthodoxy. Were you brought up in a very conservative
                      environment by any chance?<

                      I live in southern West Virginia and the entire culture is
                      conservative, so church life and home life were like mirror
                      images of one another so far as values were concerned. I
                      was raised by my grandparents who weren't really
                      "churchgoers" but the same values inhered nonetheless.
                      However I really believe that the "disconnect" between
                      Theology and Experience in my own life was entirely due to
                      Orthodoxy itself and not just to my particular
                      environmental setting. I've really lightened up on the
                      "bitterness" thing by the way, and am now quite
                      grateful for all that has happened in the past. It was just
                      that I felt betrayed by the "promise" of orthodoxy and the
                      attendant results that I felt that failure produced in my
                      life.
                      After a long, long absence from all things spiritual I've
                      done what at one time would have been the unthinkable for
                      me: I've become a member of the Episcopal Church. The
                      particular parish I'm a part of is about as far left
                      theologically and politcally as you can get, but *what*
                      they are
                      far left of is orthodoxy. This is, in a very real sense,
                      what
                      defines them and other Episcopalians who are left of the
                      spectrum, e.g. Marcus Borg (The God We Never Knew), and
                      Bishop Jack Spong (Rescuing the Bible From Fundamentalism).
                      I haven't spoken to my parish priest yet about my Gnostic
                      inclinations but have no doubt that he will welcome the
                      whole idea, which is part of the reason why I love these
                      folks so much.

                      Have a great day Lady!

                      Rodney
                    • Rodney Cecil
                      On Fri, 12 Sep 2003 00:27:22 -0000 pmcvflag wrote: Hello PMCV, Thanks so much for your response. ... ignore you.
                      Message 10 of 25 , Sep 13, 2003
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                        On Fri, 12 Sep 2003 00:27:22 -0000
                        pmcvflag <no_reply@yahoogroups.com> wrote:


                        Hello PMCV,

                        Thanks so much for your response.

                        >>Oh yes, sorry Rodney, I don't think anyone meant to
                        ignore you.<<

                        Not a problem; trust me. I felt hesitant about posting
                        because of the very lively and interesting discussion that
                        was taking place and didn't want to appear to be intrusive.


                        >>"...bassackwards..."<<

                        A term much used by and very dear to my grandmother when I
                        was growing up!!

                        During my most ardent phase of adherence to "the faith once
                        delivered to the saints" I came across Irenaeus' tome
                        against the Gnositics. I tried to read it to hone my
                        anti-heretic apologetics but kept getting this enormous
                        knot on my forehead from falling asleep and striking my
                        head against the table as I tried to wade through it. A
                        couple days and several knots later I hung it up. From time
                        to time I would come across brief mentions of Gnosis and
                        Gnostics in works of systematic theology and biblical
                        commentaries and gathered that they were bad, bad, bad.
                        Other than that, I knew next to nothing about them. When I
                        finally felt the freedom to explore things outside the
                        accepted belief system I re-encountered Gnositcism and
                        almost literally, a light came on.
                        Like you, my work has been and continues to be both
                        "internal and external". I've always had a rather studious
                        bent, so broad reading and research come rather naturally
                        which has eased the exoteric work. However the esoteric has
                        been a little more difficult but no less rewarding for all
                        that.

                        PMCV, you mention the Carpocratians. I think that's funny.
                        Are you making the joke because they were often associated
                        with a more libertine attitude? If you watch my own life I
                        think you would say that there are times where
                        "Carpocratian" would describe me fairly well.
                        It seems that very little concrete information exists
                        concerning them. Could you point me to previous posts or
                        related materials that try to explore them a little more
                        fully?

                        Thanks again,

                        Peace

                        Rodney
                      • Rodney Cecil
                        Nice to hear from you Mike. I think its interesting that you mention Orthodox baggage . Oddly enough I m beginning to think that my previous experience, bad
                        Message 11 of 25 , Sep 13, 2003
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                          Nice to hear from you Mike.

                          I think its interesting that you mention "Orthodox
                          baggage".
                          Oddly enough I'm beginning to think that my previous
                          experience, bad as it turned out to be, is going to serve
                          as a real asset instead of a liability. I think my past is
                          also a reason why I've been so attracted to the
                          Valentinians. It's like stepping into a very familiar mold
                          that is filled with entirely different contents. I also
                          think it explains my interest in the various Gnostic
                          Churches (Ecclesia Gnostica, the L'eglse Gnostique
                          Apostolique, etc.).
                          I would love to write so much more but I don't have a
                          computer of my own and am at the local library. My kids are
                          with me and have been very patient with their dad but I
                          think they're ready to strangle me, so I've gotta run!

                          Peace Mike!

                          Rodney
                        • lady_caritas
                          ... Feel ... elected ... Now, that s a good one. Then again, could they annul a papacy just like they do marriages... ? ;-) Cari
                          Message 12 of 25 , Sep 13, 2003
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                            --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, Mike Leavitt <ac998@l...> wrote:
                            > Hello lady_caritas
                            >
                            > On 12-Sep-03, you wrote:
                            >
                            >
                            > > There are many members who share your interest in Valentinus.
                            Feel
                            > > free to post regarding a topic that you'd like to pursue.
                            > >
                            > > Cari
                            >
                            > You know if he had gotten the few extra votes he needed to be
                            elected
                            > Bishop of Rome (they didn't call him Pope then), history might have
                            > been rather different. At the very least, Papal Infalibility would
                            > never have happened if the Orthodox party had still won. :-)
                            >
                            > Regards
                            > --
                            > Mike Leavitt ac998@l...


                            Now, that's a good one. Then again, could they annul a papacy just
                            like they do marriages... ? ;-)

                            Cari
                          • lady_caritas
                            ... Thank you, Rodney. I ll be curious, if you care to share later, how your Gnostic inclinations are received by the Episcopal priest. Perhaps you could
                            Message 13 of 25 , Sep 13, 2003
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                              --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "Rodney Cecil" <wvdog61@7...>
                              wrote:
                              >
                              > Lady,
                              >
                              > Thanks for telling me about your journey. As far as I know
                              > there aren't any Gnostics (at least none that I'm aware of)
                              > in this area so its really great to be able to converse
                              > with others with similar interests and sort of "compare
                              > notes" as it were.
                              > It has been entirely through personal study that I've drawn
                              > the conclusions regarding Gnosis I now have.
                              >
                              > >I'm curious. You mention how bitter you were about
                              > orthodoxy. Were you brought up in a very conservative
                              > environment by any chance?<
                              >
                              > I live in southern West Virginia and the entire culture is
                              > conservative, so church life and home life were like mirror
                              > images of one another so far as values were concerned. I
                              > was raised by my grandparents who weren't really
                              > "churchgoers" but the same values inhered nonetheless.
                              > However I really believe that the "disconnect" between
                              > Theology and Experience in my own life was entirely due to
                              > Orthodoxy itself and not just to my particular
                              > environmental setting. I've really lightened up on the
                              > "bitterness" thing by the way, and am now quite
                              > grateful for all that has happened in the past. It was just
                              > that I felt betrayed by the "promise" of orthodoxy and the
                              > attendant results that I felt that failure produced in my
                              > life.
                              > After a long, long absence from all things spiritual I've
                              > done what at one time would have been the unthinkable for
                              > me: I've become a member of the Episcopal Church. The
                              > particular parish I'm a part of is about as far left
                              > theologically and politcally as you can get, but *what*
                              > they are
                              > far left of is orthodoxy. This is, in a very real sense,
                              > what
                              > defines them and other Episcopalians who are left of the
                              > spectrum, e.g. Marcus Borg (The God We Never Knew), and
                              > Bishop Jack Spong (Rescuing the Bible From Fundamentalism).
                              > I haven't spoken to my parish priest yet about my Gnostic
                              > inclinations but have no doubt that he will welcome the
                              > whole idea, which is part of the reason why I love these
                              > folks so much.
                              >
                              > Have a great day Lady!
                              >
                              > Rodney


                              Thank you, Rodney. I'll be curious, if you care to share later, how
                              your Gnostic inclinations are received by the Episcopal priest.
                              Perhaps you could expand on what you mean by "far left" of
                              orthodoxy? I've had the experience of knowing a few very liberal
                              Christians who have some knowledge of Gnosticism, yet they still
                              retain concepts of a monotheistic, all loving, all powerful, all
                              knowing God, not to mention adherence to atonement theology and a
                              system emphasizing pistis vs. Gnosis.


                              Cari
                            • Mike Leavitt
                              Hello lady_caritas ... Given some of the men who have been Pope (though their orthodoxy was never in question), I think they would have already done this if
                              Message 14 of 25 , Sep 13, 2003
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                                Hello lady_caritas

                                On 13-Sep-03, you wrote:

                                > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, Mike Leavitt <ac998@l...> wrote:
                                >> Hello lady_caritas
                                >>
                                >> On 12-Sep-03, you wrote:
                                >>
                                >>
                                >>> There are many members who share your interest in Valentinus.
                                > Feel
                                >>> free to post regarding a topic that you'd like to pursue.
                                >>>
                                >>> Cari
                                >>
                                >> You know if he had gotten the few extra votes he needed to be
                                >> elected
                                >> Bishop of Rome (they didn't call him Pope then), history might have
                                >> been rather different. At the very least, Papal Infalibility would
                                >> never have happened if the Orthodox party had still won. :-)
                                >>
                                >> Regards
                                >> --
                                >> Mike Leavitt ac998@l...
                                >
                                >
                                > Now, that's a good one. Then again, could they annul a papacy just
                                > like they do marriages... ? ;-)
                                >
                                > Cari

                                Given some of the men who have been Pope (though their orthodoxy was
                                never in question), I think they would have already done this if they
                                could. :-)

                                Regards
                                --
                                Mike Leavitt ac998@...
                              • Rodney Cecil
                                Hello Josh, I know this is way behind and a very late greeting but I would like to extend a welcome from another newbie . I m always playing catch-up with the
                                Message 15 of 25 , Sep 15, 2003
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                                  Hello Josh,

                                  I know this is way behind and a very late greeting but I
                                  would like to extend a welcome from another "newbie". I'm
                                  always playing catch-up with the list.
                                  Like you my primary interest would probably be more in
                                  Valentinus and his "school". When you first introduced
                                  yourself I thought of several sources to point you to, but
                                  it seems like everyone else has done a more than adequate
                                  job of this. However I would recommend Clement of
                                  Alexandria and his pupil Origen. They interacted constantly
                                  with the Valentinians and quoted from them at length.

                                  Rodney
                                • Rodney Cecil
                                  On Sat, 13 Sep 2003 18:08:43 -0000 lady_caritas wrote: Perhaps you could expand on what you mean by far left of orthodoxy? I ve
                                  Message 16 of 25 , Sep 15, 2003
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                                    On Sat, 13 Sep 2003 18:08:43 -0000
                                    lady_caritas <no_reply@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

                                    "Perhaps you could expand on what you mean by "far left" of

                                    orthodoxy? I've had the experience of knowing a few very
                                    liberal
                                    Christians who have some knowledge of Gnosticism, yet they
                                    still
                                    retain concepts of a monotheistic, all loving, all
                                    powerful, all
                                    knowing God, not to mention adherence to atonement theology
                                    and a
                                    system emphasizing pistis vs. Gnosis."

                                    Within Orthodoxy, just as within "Gnosticism" there are
                                    many variations. Historically the Orthodox accepted as
                                    written in stone the notion of absolute authority, whether
                                    that authority came via a person (the Pope), or persons
                                    (the Magisterium) or a book (the Bible), or some like
                                    combination. Those who would be considered "liberal" tend
                                    to reject or go beyond the aforementioned sources, calling
                                    in to question their validity in one way or another. In
                                    that repect it seems to me that they share much in common
                                    with the Chrisitian Gnostics of the first three to four
                                    centuries of the Christian movement (forgive me Lady if I
                                    sound as though I think you're ignorant of these things as
                                    I'm sure you're already aware of most of this and even know
                                    it better than I do, its just easier for me to answer this
                                    way :),). I was raised in a conservative, Protestant, even
                                    fundamentalist atsmosphere, where the Bible was the
                                    ultimate source of authority. So when I say that my parish
                                    is "left of the spectrum" I'm speaking from my own past
                                    background and perhaps forgetting that others may not have
                                    had a similar experience. The churches of my upbringing
                                    would have declared the Bible to be inerrant, homosexuality
                                    a sin worthy of death, abortion to be murder, Democrats in
                                    league with Satan (I kid you not!), Alcoholic beverages
                                    sinful, etc...the list goes on and on. Episcopalians could
                                    care less about most of these things and would even
                                    militate *for* many of them, such as Gay rights and
                                    abortion rights, a Bible subject to re-interpretation when
                                    necessary, etc. But, no matter how far they may have
                                    departed from previous beliefs, it is still *Orthodoxy*
                                    from which they've departed, and Orthodoxy still informs
                                    most of their beliefs, as you mentioned above. So while my
                                    parish priest may not believe that God is sitting on a
                                    throne "way up there somewhere", or believe in a literal
                                    virgin birth, or that the world was created in seven 24
                                    hour days, he would still think that the notion of sin and
                                    the resulting need for atonement and faith (as opposed to
                                    gnosis) in that atoning work as the best means of making
                                    sense of the human predicament, as well as resolving its
                                    attendent problems and conflicts.


                                    Rodney
                                  • apx0n
                                    ... Thanks Rodney, I m interested in Origen and Clement, especially because I ve been given such confused explanations of what should be considered origenism
                                    Message 17 of 25 , Sep 16, 2003
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                                      --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "Rodney Cecil" <wvdog61@7...>
                                      wrote:
                                      > Hello Josh,
                                      >
                                      > I know this is way behind and a very late greeting but I
                                      > would like to extend a welcome from another "newbie". I'm
                                      > always playing catch-up with the list.
                                      > Like you my primary interest would probably be more in
                                      > Valentinus and his "school". When you first introduced
                                      > yourself I thought of several sources to point you to, but
                                      > it seems like everyone else has done a more than adequate
                                      > job of this. However I would recommend Clement of
                                      > Alexandria and his pupil Origen. They interacted constantly
                                      > with the Valentinians and quoted from them at length.
                                      >
                                      > Rodney

                                      Thanks Rodney,

                                      I'm interested in Origen and Clement, especially because I've been
                                      given such confused explanations of what should be
                                      considered 'origenism' as opposed to Origen's own work and
                                      intentions. Is there a survey of his thought that you would
                                      recommend? In particular, I'm looking for a text that compares his
                                      teaching with that of his contemporaries in the Catechitical school
                                      of Alexandria, and highlights how he was influenced by Valentinianism.

                                      Josh
                                    • Rodney Cecil
                                      On Tue, 16 Sep 2003 12:54:20 -0000 ... I became interested, if not fascinated, with Origen over 20 years ago and found a book by a French fellow named Henri
                                      Message 18 of 25 , Sep 16, 2003
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                                        On Tue, 16 Sep 2003 12:54:20 -0000
                                        "apx0n" <apx0n@...> wrote:


                                        >Thanks Rodney,

                                        >I'm interested in Origen and Clement, especially because
                                        >I've been
                                        >given such confused explanations of what should be
                                        >considered 'origenism' as opposed to Origen's own work
                                        >and
                                        >intentions. Is there a survey of his thought that you
                                        >would
                                        >recommend? In particular, I'm looking for a text that
                                        >compares his
                                        >teaching with that of his contemporaries in the
                                        >Catechitical school
                                        >of Alexandria, and highlights how he was influenced by
                                        >Valentinianism.

                                        >Josh

                                        I became interested, if not fascinated, with Origen over 20
                                        years ago and found a book by a French fellow named Henri
                                        Crouzel, called "Origen", that was very interesting though
                                        I'm not sure that its still in print.
                                        However, at that time I didn't have a clue what Gnosticism
                                        was and can't recall whether Crouzel even mentioned
                                        Valentinus. I think several other books have been written
                                        about Origen since then, though I haven't read any of them.
                                        What I would really recommend is that you interact with the
                                        writings of Clement and Origen themselves despite how time
                                        consuming that would be. I think you'll find the effort to
                                        be rewarding.
                                        Reading Origen as opposed to writings about Origen was a
                                        real eye-opener for me Josh. Like you, I had read a lot of
                                        what actually amounted to accusations of what Origen
                                        supposedly taught which often turned out to be different
                                        from what he said (at least as his writings have come down
                                        to us).
                                        Only recently have I turned to Clement's works and enjoy
                                        reading him as much as I ever enjoyed Origen.
                                        I find it interesting to read passages from Irenaeus'
                                        "Against Heresies" and compare its tone to that of Clement
                                        and Origen as they dealt with the Valentinians.

                                        Rodney
                                      • apx0n
                                        ... I ll definitely go to Origen s own writings. When I m new to a literary/philosophical figure as important as an Origen, I like to have a good guide to the
                                        Message 19 of 25 , Sep 16, 2003
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                                          --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "Rodney Cecil" <wvdog61@7...>
                                          wrote:
                                          > On Tue, 16 Sep 2003 12:54:20 -0000
                                          > "apx0n" <apx0n@y...> wrote:
                                          >
                                          >
                                          > >Thanks Rodney,
                                          >
                                          > >I'm interested in Origen and Clement, especially because
                                          > >I've been
                                          > >given such confused explanations of what should be
                                          > >considered 'origenism' as opposed to Origen's own work
                                          > >and
                                          > >intentions. Is there a survey of his thought that you
                                          > >would
                                          > >recommend? In particular, I'm looking for a text that
                                          > >compares his
                                          > >teaching with that of his contemporaries in the
                                          > >Catechitical school
                                          > >of Alexandria, and highlights how he was influenced by
                                          > >Valentinianism.
                                          >
                                          > >Josh
                                          >
                                          > I became interested, if not fascinated, with Origen over 20
                                          > years ago and found a book by a French fellow named Henri
                                          > Crouzel, called "Origen", that was very interesting though
                                          > I'm not sure that its still in print.
                                          > However, at that time I didn't have a clue what Gnosticism
                                          > was and can't recall whether Crouzel even mentioned
                                          > Valentinus. I think several other books have been written
                                          > about Origen since then, though I haven't read any of them.
                                          > What I would really recommend is that you interact with the
                                          > writings of Clement and Origen themselves despite how time
                                          > consuming that would be. I think you'll find the effort to
                                          > be rewarding.
                                          > Reading Origen as opposed to writings about Origen was a
                                          > real eye-opener for me Josh. Like you, I had read a lot of
                                          > what actually amounted to accusations of what Origen
                                          > supposedly taught which often turned out to be different
                                          > from what he said (at least as his writings have come down
                                          > to us).
                                          > Only recently have I turned to Clement's works and enjoy
                                          > reading him as much as I ever enjoyed Origen.
                                          > I find it interesting to read passages from Irenaeus'
                                          > "Against Heresies" and compare its tone to that of Clement
                                          > and Origen as they dealt with the Valentinians.
                                          >
                                          > Rodney

                                          I'll definitely go to Origen's own writings. When I'm new to a
                                          literary/philosophical figure as important as an Origen, I like to
                                          have a good guide to the scholarship that's been done to date, like a
                                          bibliography. Lets me know what the range of interpretations have
                                          been, without me having to plow through multiple tomes. Just call it
                                          Ivory Tower Buffet!

                                          Actually, I can't wait to dig into Origen from what I've read on-line
                                          so far. You wouldn't believe how many people in my Church are going
                                          back to the old Fathers in this time of crisis. Many, myself
                                          included, are coming to the conclusion that the problem with the
                                          Catholic Church is that it tries to hard to be catholic - meaning, it
                                          sets out on an unrealistic mission to bring all believing Christians
                                          under its umbrella. The result: beautiful and powerful teachings
                                          like Origen's get diluted, simplified, misunderstood, and reduced to
                                          the drivel that passes for religious instruction in our Sunday
                                          schools.

                                          Rest assured Rodney, there are those in the orthodox faiths that have
                                          moved beyond the tired arguments of liberals and conservatives. Our
                                          culture is no longer a Christian one - it now reflects the mixed bag
                                          of paganism and materialism that was prevelent in Origen's own day.
                                          The conservative rants and raves against the change, the liberal gets
                                          drunk on revolutionary excess, but both through the worldliness of
                                          their endless debate take attention away from what actually matters -
                                          that some few men and women continue the traditions of Western
                                          spiritualism that have survived through many different times, all of
                                          which were more multi-cultural and multi-religious than either the
                                          liberal or the conservative wants to acknowledge.

                                          Maybe, just maybe, by reading the texts of Christians who lived in
                                          such a religiously diverse age as the second century, we can learn a
                                          little...at least, that's why you find a stodgy traditionalist like
                                          me, a guy who believes in 'silly things' like Virgin Births and
                                          Assumptions and Transubstantiation, here in a gnostic hang out
                                          seeking wisdom.

                                          Josh
                                        • Rodney Cecil
                                          On Tue, 16 Sep 2003 14:56:18 -0000 ... 20 ... though ... Gnosticism ... them. ... the ... time ... to ... of ... down ... Clement ... I ll definitely go to
                                          Message 20 of 25 , Sep 16, 2003
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                                            On Tue, 16 Sep 2003 14:56:18 -0000
                                            "apx0n" <apx0n@...> wrote:

                                            > On Tue, 16 Sep 2003 12:54:20 -0000
                                            > "apx0n" <apx0n@y...> wrote:
                                            >
                                            >
                                            > >Thanks Rodney,
                                            >
                                            > >I'm interested in Origen and Clement, especially because
                                            > >I've been
                                            > >given such confused explanations of what should be
                                            > >considered 'origenism' as opposed to Origen's own work
                                            > >and
                                            > >intentions. Is there a survey of his thought that you
                                            > >would
                                            > >recommend? In particular, I'm looking for a text that
                                            > >compares his
                                            > >teaching with that of his contemporaries in the
                                            > >Catechitical school
                                            > >of Alexandria, and highlights how he was influenced by
                                            > >Valentinianism.
                                            >
                                            > >Josh
                                            >
                                            > I became interested, if not fascinated, with Origen over
                                            20
                                            > years ago and found a book by a French fellow named Henri
                                            > Crouzel, called "Origen", that was very interesting
                                            though
                                            > I'm not sure that its still in print.
                                            > However, at that time I didn't have a clue what
                                            Gnosticism
                                            > was and can't recall whether Crouzel even mentioned
                                            > Valentinus. I think several other books have been written
                                            > about Origen since then, though I haven't read any of
                                            them.
                                            > What I would really recommend is that you interact with
                                            the
                                            > writings of Clement and Origen themselves despite how
                                            time
                                            > consuming that would be. I think you'll find the effort
                                            to
                                            > be rewarding.
                                            > Reading Origen as opposed to writings about Origen was a
                                            > real eye-opener for me Josh. Like you, I had read a lot
                                            of
                                            > what actually amounted to accusations of what Origen
                                            > supposedly taught which often turned out to be different
                                            > from what he said (at least as his writings have come
                                            down
                                            > to us).
                                            > Only recently have I turned to Clement's works and enjoy
                                            > reading him as much as I ever enjoyed Origen.
                                            > I find it interesting to read passages from Irenaeus'
                                            > "Against Heresies" and compare its tone to that of
                                            Clement
                                            > and Origen as they dealt with the Valentinians.
                                            >
                                            > Rodney

                                            I'll definitely go to Origen's own writings. When I'm new
                                            to a
                                            literary/philosophical figure as important as an Origen, I
                                            like to
                                            have a good guide to the scholarship that's been done to
                                            date, like a
                                            bibliography. Lets me know what the range of
                                            interpretations have
                                            been, without me having to plow through multiple tomes.
                                            Just call it
                                            Ivory Tower Buffet!

                                            Actually, I can't wait to dig into Origen from what I've
                                            read on-line
                                            so far. You wouldn't believe how many people in my Church
                                            are going
                                            back to the old Fathers in this time of crisis. Many,
                                            myself
                                            included, are coming to the conclusion that the problem
                                            with the
                                            Catholic Church is that it tries to hard to be catholic -
                                            meaning, it
                                            sets out on an unrealistic mission to bring all believing
                                            Christians
                                            under its umbrella. The result: beautiful and powerful
                                            teachings
                                            like Origen's get diluted, simplified, misunderstood, and
                                            reduced to
                                            the drivel that passes for religious instruction in our
                                            Sunday
                                            schools.

                                            Rest assured Rodney, there are those in the orthodox faiths
                                            that have
                                            moved beyond the tired arguments of liberals and
                                            conservatives. Our
                                            culture is no longer a Christian one - it now reflects the
                                            mixed bag
                                            of paganism and materialism that was prevelent in Origen's
                                            own day.
                                            The conservative rants and raves against the change, the
                                            liberal gets
                                            drunk on revolutionary excess, but both through the
                                            worldliness of
                                            their endless debate take attention away from what actually
                                            matters -
                                            that some few men and women continue the traditions of
                                            Western
                                            spiritualism that have survived through many different
                                            times, all of
                                            which were more multi-cultural and multi-religious than
                                            either the
                                            liberal or the conservative wants to acknowledge.

                                            Maybe, just maybe, by reading the texts of Christians who
                                            lived in
                                            such a religiously diverse age as the second century, we
                                            can learn a
                                            little...at least, that's why you find a stodgy
                                            traditionalist like
                                            me, a guy who believes in 'silly things' like Virgin Births
                                            and
                                            Assumptions and Transubstantiation, here in a gnostic hang
                                            out
                                            seeking wisdom.

                                            Josh


                                            Wow Josh! All I can say to that last post is AMEN!!

                                            BTW, "stodgy traditionalists who believe in 'silly things'
                                            like Virgin Births and
                                            Assumptions and Transubstantiation" are among the dearest
                                            friends I've ever had or will ever have so you're always
                                            welcome in my book!

                                            Rodney
                                          • lady_caritas
                                            ... Hmmm, there is another possibility that the Bible is still considered by some to be authoritative, but just not in a literal sense. Reinterpretation of a
                                            Message 21 of 25 , Sep 16, 2003
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                                              --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "Rodney Cecil" <wvdog61@7...>
                                              wrote:
                                              > On Sat, 13 Sep 2003 18:08:43 -0000
                                              > lady_caritas <no_reply@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                                              >
                                              > "Perhaps you could expand on what you mean by "far left" of
                                              >
                                              > orthodoxy? I've had the experience of knowing a few very
                                              > liberal
                                              > Christians who have some knowledge of Gnosticism, yet they
                                              > still
                                              > retain concepts of a monotheistic, all loving, all
                                              > powerful, all
                                              > knowing God, not to mention adherence to atonement theology
                                              > and a
                                              > system emphasizing pistis vs. Gnosis."
                                              >
                                              > Within Orthodoxy, just as within "Gnosticism" there are
                                              > many variations. Historically the Orthodox accepted as
                                              > written in stone the notion of absolute authority, whether
                                              > that authority came via a person (the Pope), or persons
                                              > (the Magisterium) or a book (the Bible), or some like
                                              > combination. Those who would be considered "liberal" tend
                                              > to reject or go beyond the aforementioned sources, calling
                                              > in to question their validity in one way or another. In
                                              > that repect it seems to me that they share much in common
                                              > with the Chrisitian Gnostics of the first three to four
                                              > centuries of the Christian movement (forgive me Lady if I
                                              > sound as though I think you're ignorant of these things as
                                              > I'm sure you're already aware of most of this and even know
                                              > it better than I do, its just easier for me to answer this
                                              > way :),). I was raised in a conservative, Protestant, even
                                              > fundamentalist atsmosphere, where the Bible was the
                                              > ultimate source of authority. So when I say that my parish
                                              > is "left of the spectrum" I'm speaking from my own past
                                              > background and perhaps forgetting that others may not have
                                              > had a similar experience. The churches of my upbringing
                                              > would have declared the Bible to be inerrant, homosexuality
                                              > a sin worthy of death, abortion to be murder, Democrats in
                                              > league with Satan (I kid you not!), Alcoholic beverages
                                              > sinful, etc...the list goes on and on. Episcopalians could
                                              > care less about most of these things and would even
                                              > militate *for* many of them, such as Gay rights and
                                              > abortion rights, a Bible subject to re-interpretation when
                                              > necessary, etc. But, no matter how far they may have
                                              > departed from previous beliefs, it is still *Orthodoxy*
                                              > from which they've departed, and Orthodoxy still informs
                                              > most of their beliefs, as you mentioned above. So while my
                                              > parish priest may not believe that God is sitting on a
                                              > throne "way up there somewhere", or believe in a literal
                                              > virgin birth, or that the world was created in seven 24
                                              > hour days, he would still think that the notion of sin and
                                              > the resulting need for atonement and faith (as opposed to
                                              > gnosis) in that atoning work as the best means of making
                                              > sense of the human predicament, as well as resolving its
                                              > attendent problems and conflicts.
                                              >
                                              >
                                              > Rodney


                                              Hmmm, there is another possibility that the Bible is still considered
                                              by some to be authoritative, but just not in a literal sense.
                                              Reinterpretation of a source that is still regarded as authoritative
                                              is not uncommon. Literal inerrancy is one thing, but the Bible could
                                              still be considered infallible by some using symbolic
                                              interpretations. Mythological/allegorical exegesis might even be
                                              more accurate in many cases. And, unfortunately there will always be
                                              those who write and/or interpret scripture to suit their own
                                              interests or polemical purposes.

                                              As far as going beyond the Bible to other sources, there undoubtedly
                                              are going to be those who will still interpret other literature
                                              through the eyes of orthodox-informed theology, whether it be liberal
                                              or conservative, as well as those who will attempt to separate from
                                              their own preconceptions in order to investigate what might be the
                                              intentions of the authors of this extracanonical literature.

                                              One example that has been brought up in past discussion is the
                                              concept of the Divine. Even though we see the term "god" in
                                              Valentinian scripture, for example, "Bythos" is not a being or the
                                              creator of our world, is not part of an orthodox concept of Trinity,
                                              and is infinite and ineffable. The "father" is indeed an image of
                                              this Unknown. But then, you appear quite well-read, Rodney, and I'm
                                              preaching to the choir... :-)


                                              Cari
                                            • Rodney Cecil
                                              On Tue, 16 Sep 2003 17:29:36 -0000 ... What you say is quite true Cari, about those who consider the Bible to be authoritative without it being inerrant in
                                              Message 22 of 25 , Sep 16, 2003
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                                                On Tue, 16 Sep 2003 17:29:36 -0000
                                                lady_caritas <no_reply@yahoogroups.com> wrote:


                                                >Hmmm, there is another possibility that the Bible is
                                                >still considered
                                                >by some to be authoritative, but just not in a literal
                                                >sense.


                                                What you say is quite true Cari, about those who consider
                                                the Bible to be authoritative without it being inerrant "in
                                                all its parts" as one confession puts it. Again, I know
                                                (too often after the fact) that I make a lot of statements
                                                from my own personal experiences, often forgetting that
                                                others with totally different backgrounds may not realize
                                                what I'm trying to convey.


                                                >As far as going beyond the Bible to other sources, there
                                                >undoubtedly
                                                >are going to be those who will still interpret other
                                                >literature
                                                >through the eyes of orthodox-informed theology

                                                When I first became aware of Gnositicism I tended to read
                                                things like the Nag Hammadi library in this very manner. I
                                                guess old habits sometimes die hard.

                                                A couple months ago I read Elaine Pagels' _Beyond Belief_
                                                and came across a passage where she was saying that we
                                                extol artists for creativity and imagination but abhor the
                                                same qualities in theologians, whereas the ancient Gnostics
                                                valued them (if I'm off a little regarding what she
                                                actually said, forgive me; my memory sucks). I thought that
                                                her statement was very exciting, at least for me
                                                personally. Now, when I read the Old or New Testaments, or
                                                the Gospel of Truth for instance, I consciously try to take
                                                a "creative and imaginative" approach. Its interesting.

                                                Rodney
                                              • pmcvflag
                                                It would actually be quite interesting to go into the difference between how Clement and Irenaeus deal with Gnosticism in thier polemics. Let s make no mistake
                                                Message 23 of 25 , Sep 16, 2003
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                                                  It would actually be quite interesting to go into the difference
                                                  between how Clement and Irenaeus deal with Gnosticism in thier
                                                  polemics. Let's make no mistake though, that Clement was as much a
                                                  polemicist as Irenaeus. Because of this, just as we notice a
                                                  difference between the polemic writings agains Origen and his actual
                                                  works, we do find that Clements understanding of his Gnostic targets
                                                  are often a bit off mark.

                                                  Actually, we just recently had a conversation concerning the
                                                  difference between Clement and Irenaeus' accounts of the
                                                  Carpocratians, and how much the disagree... perhaps you could start
                                                  that one, Rodney.

                                                  PMCV

                                                  --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "Rodney Cecil" <wvdog61@7...>
                                                  wrote:
                                                  > On Tue, 16 Sep 2003 12:54:20 -0000
                                                  > "apx0n" <apx0n@y...> wrote:
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > >Thanks Rodney,
                                                  >
                                                  > >I'm interested in Origen and Clement, especially because
                                                  > >I've been
                                                  > >given such confused explanations of what should be
                                                  > >considered 'origenism' as opposed to Origen's own work
                                                  > >and
                                                  > >intentions. Is there a survey of his thought that you
                                                  > >would
                                                  > >recommend? In particular, I'm looking for a text that
                                                  > >compares his
                                                  > >teaching with that of his contemporaries in the
                                                  > >Catechitical school
                                                  > >of Alexandria, and highlights how he was influenced by
                                                  > >Valentinianism.
                                                  >
                                                  > >Josh
                                                  >
                                                  > I became interested, if not fascinated, with Origen over 20
                                                  > years ago and found a book by a French fellow named Henri
                                                  > Crouzel, called "Origen", that was very interesting though
                                                  > I'm not sure that its still in print.
                                                  > However, at that time I didn't have a clue what Gnosticism
                                                  > was and can't recall whether Crouzel even mentioned
                                                  > Valentinus. I think several other books have been written
                                                  > about Origen since then, though I haven't read any of them.
                                                  > What I would really recommend is that you interact with the
                                                  > writings of Clement and Origen themselves despite how time
                                                  > consuming that would be. I think you'll find the effort to
                                                  > be rewarding.
                                                  > Reading Origen as opposed to writings about Origen was a
                                                  > real eye-opener for me Josh. Like you, I had read a lot of
                                                  > what actually amounted to accusations of what Origen
                                                  > supposedly taught which often turned out to be different
                                                  > from what he said (at least as his writings have come down
                                                  > to us).
                                                  > Only recently have I turned to Clement's works and enjoy
                                                  > reading him as much as I ever enjoyed Origen.
                                                  > I find it interesting to read passages from Irenaeus'
                                                  > "Against Heresies" and compare its tone to that of Clement
                                                  > and Origen as they dealt with the Valentinians.
                                                  >
                                                  > Rodney
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