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Re: Anthropomorphic mistakes

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  • pmcvflag
    Understand, Pneumen, that it was not my intent to be condecending with my suggestion to step back for a moment... I simply meant to point out that some of your
    Message 1 of 97 , Nov 4 6:47 PM
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      Understand, Pneumen, that it was not my intent to be condecending
      with my suggestion to step back for a moment... I simply meant to
      point out that some of your assurtions are... well, not always
      SEEMING to be consistant with observable critical destinctions. I
      mearly meant that perhaps it would be a good idea to leave Dr Pagels
      (who is not always such a critical source) behind and take a look at
      something a bit better corroborated and less popular in it's purpose
      (some have even said "sensatinalist").

      >I simply find it hard to believe that a Christian, even a power-
      hungry one, who sincerely believed in Jesus would knowingly falsify
      his words. It seems that there are enough subsersive ideas in the
      canonical gospels that would have been taken out if someone was
      seriously interested in using Jesus as a means of defending
      established social orders.<

      And yet, it is generally accepted amongst academecians that the
      Gospel of Mark has been heavily edited, both adding and removing
      sections. The "Biblical" version of Jesus' saying concerning seeking
      and finding leaves out some pretty key elements when compared to
      Thomas, and Dr Pagels (whom I only point out because you seem to
      trust her), in her latest book, dedicates a great deal of attention
      to how diametrically opposed John and Thomas' understanding of Jesus
      is. The seeming subtle difference in his sayings have such profound
      implications that she considers John to have been written for the
      purpose of gaining political (Church politics.. not secular
      government) ground over Thomas.

      >Real evidence could negate anything written in canonical scriptures,
      and prove that certain claims have been falsified. None has ever been
      found. There is only skeptical speculation, which is in fine in
      scholarly debate if it is accepted as such.<

      How about the fact that the Geneologies in Matthew and Luke are not
      in accord? Appologists come up with a number of excuses, but the
      more cricital answer is that the purpose was political. Besides...
      the burden of proof lies on the claimants. Since Matthew is so
      obviously a rewriting of Exodus, there is good reason to demand
      proof of any literal validity. Otherwise there is simply better
      evidence behind the observation that we are seeing a mythological
      process... making the notion of "falsification" only relevent when
      the story line is intropolated with seeming historical claims (such
      as supposed geneologies, or attacks on Mary, or Thomas, Peter, etc.).

      >Well, lets be careful here. You ask me for evidence when I make
      claims, so it would only be fair to provide an example here
      (concerning my statement that Orthodox xources misrepresent

      Ok, how about this for evidence? Take a look at Clement's treatement
      of Carpocrates, and that of Irenaeus. They both agree that
      Carpocrates was a libertine (though Irenaeus admits that he is
      unsure if that is really true) but the simalarities end there. In
      fact, both sources cannot be true since the belief system they
      describe are at odds. This problem is pretty common knowledge.
      Unless you can reconcile these accounts... it is fair to say that
      the heresiologies can't always be trusted.

      Let's add to this the fact that the so called "Cainites" dealt with
      by a few heresiologists probably never existed. If they did, the
      charges against them were so contrived (and cliche' urban legend of
      the time) as to be very unlikely. In fact, Dr William questions if
      any of the charges of libertine behavior in the Gnostic sects in
      general are worth anything, and most scholors today agree that at
      least many of them are not. The orthodox heresiologists describe
      Abraxas as something completely different from what our surviving
      Gnostic sources do, and the list goes on.

      >As I said, there are plenty of things in the canonical gospels that
      would have been deleted if political power were all that was

      And as I said, there is evidince that some things were in fact
      deleted. Even if you do not believe in Mortin Smith's descovery of
      purged sections of Mark (though most do), the odd editing of the
      sections that would be filled are well known. And the theory of the
      addition of the last section is nearly universally accepted as fact.
      Your own home Bible is even likely to point it out.

      Early Christians seem to have had no qualms about creative
      redaction, just as the redacter of the J, E, P, D, segments of the
      Torah had none.

      >If one takes a Jungian view of ritual, one could say that
      Gnosticism is built right into the Mass and Communion, and that this
      is closer to the core of Gnosticism than any surviving theological
      or speculative text. As a matter of fact, it would be directly
      responsible for the power that the Catholic Church has exercised
      over the western mind.<

      Sure... IF one takes that eisegetic and anti-historical method of

      >I'm more interested in what is at the core of the Christian message.
      The way to tell if a religious message is valid is to examine the
      external "fruit" that these extrernal traditions bring: How do
      "believers" or "knowers" behave? Are the societies built on these
      religious traditions brutal or compassionate? Indeed, early Christian
      society was appealing because Christians were essentially nice people
      who were nice to each other. What is the spirit that such a community
      is built on?<

      There is one problem... if you believe that Orthodox sources about
      Gnosticism are accurate, as you have said you do, then some Gnostics
      believed they must commit every sin to gain salvation... murder,
      rape, child molestation... is that about love?

      >This was precisely what the Valentinians were doing. Their aim was
      to reconcile the Gnostic and Orthodox viewpoints. I think this
      attempt was noble. I believe that someone with the proper Gnosis
      would recognize Gnostic and Orthodox Christianity as two sides of
      the same coin.<

      Where ever you got the idea that Valintinians were trying to
      reconcile Orthodox and Gnostic beliefs.... throw that book away (or
      at least toss the bathwater portion). Valintinians did not view
      themselves as a different movement, there was no such thing as
      the "orthodox church" for them to try to reconcile with "Gnosticism"
      (a term that they probably never used either). Valintinians simply
      considered themselves good Christians who were participating in
      something a bit deeper than the as yet uninitiated other Christians.
      They thought of themselves as the true followers of Paul's secret
      teachings. Two rungs on a ladder would be a better description that
      two sides of the coin, and attempted reconciliation of two movements
      is something you will need to demonstrate (to put it as kindly as I

      >However, if one views early Christian debates as a Valentinian
      exercise in the reconciliation of opposites, one can overcome these

      Assuming one has understood the Valentinian belief system as well as
      they think they have. Does Dr Pagels or Jung? Well, I would
      certainly question using these sources without adding something more
      critical (not to say they have no value).

      And... I am STILL seeing a fatal flaw in the seeming need to stick
      to Valentinian thought, since it is not representative of GNosticism
      as a whole.

    • Terje Bergersen
      ... As far as I can see, Walter Bauer is considered somewhat of a pioneer in the investigative genre of Early Christian scholarship - especially with the
      Message 97 of 97 , Nov 17 3:50 AM
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        > Interesting to hear it put that way - I haven't read Bauer (yet), so
        > Gnostic Gospels felt like an historian exploring new ground. Based
        > on her bibliography and notes, I at least had a sense that Pagels was
        > leaning on Bauer.

        As far as I can see, Walter Bauer is considered somewhat of a pioneer
        in the investigative genre of "Early Christian" scholarship - especially
        with the Comittee to which Pagels belonged (the Coptic Gnostic Library
        Comittee of scholars).

        Anyways, I was just butting in to inform the readers of this list
        that they can make their own mind up, without much trouble and without
        parting with money - Bauer`s chief work is online

        Walter Bauer: Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity


        Pax Pleromae

        Terje Dahl Bergersen
        Deacon,Ecclesia Gnostica Norvegia
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