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Re: Anthropomorphic mistakes

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  • Mike Leavitt
    Hello lady_caritas ... None other than to say that you have summed up my good Bishop s position on Jung and Gnosis better than I could have. Regards -- Mike
    Message 1 of 97 , Nov 5 4:54 PM
      Hello lady_caritas

      On 05-Nov-03, you wrote:

      > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@y...> wrote:
      >> 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").
      > In reference to your Post #8566, I'd agree that one might not want
      > to rely solely on one author as authoritative, but I don't see a
      > need to leave Dr. Pagels behind, PMCV. :-) To her credit I found her
      > books about Valentinian exegesis of Paul and John to be geared to an
      > informed audience and quite scholarly.
      > Pagels offers a look at early Christianity with information and a
      > perspective that are new to many people in her general audience, and
      > I believe that lots of people can relate to her personal
      > experiences. In _Beyond Belief_ she includes many pages of notes
      > mentioning source materials that those inclined can pursue. On page
      > 29, Pagels self-effacingly admits that she has grown in her
      > understanding of the Nag Hammadi discovered writings: "As we shall
      > see in the following chapters, we are now beginning to understand
      > these `gospels' much better than we did when I first wrote about
      > them twenty years ago."
      > Actually _Beyond Belief_ offers much to corroborate some of your
      > excellent points, PMCV. You already do mention her relating the
      > differences between John and Thomas and how "she considers John to
      > have been written for the purpose of gaining political (Church
      > politics.. not secular government) ground over Thomas." I'll give a
      > few more examples below.
      > First, _Beyond Belief_ is not a book about Gnosticism; it's a book
      > about early Christianity. In fact I appreciate that she chooses to
      > refrain from using the generic term, "Gnostic," very often and
      > instead refers to various people's teachings, like Thomas, Marcus or
      > Valentinus. The word "heretics" is more often seen as a name used by
      > Irenaueus when mentioning groups that differed from his vision of
      > correct scriptural interpretation. So, as you note, "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." Schism was perpetuated by church fathers such as
      > Irenaeus.
      > As you also point out, PMCV, "Two rungs on a ladder would be a
      > better description than two sides of the coin." On page 163, Pagels
      > writes, "While Irenaeus sought to clarify basic convictions about
      > God and Jesus Christ in theological statements that would become the
      > framework of the fourth-century creeds, Valentinian Christians
      > accorded such theological propositions a much less important role.
      > Instead of regarding these as the essential and certain basis for
      > spiritual understanding -- and instead of rejecting them -- they
      > treated them as elementary teachings and emphasized instead what
      > Irenaeus mentions only in passing -- how far God surpasses human
      > comprehension." (In my view, beliefs such as atonement theology and
      > full literal acceptance of Jesus, a man, as God incarnate don't
      > speak to this incomprehensible Unknown.)
      > As far as Jung goes, there is an interesting letter from Jungian
      > scholar Stephan A. Hoeller in the second issue of _Gnosis_ magazine
      > (Spring/Summer 1986), page 4. Dr. Hoeller addresses a couple of
      > other letters in the "Forum" questioning the emphasis of Gnosticism
      > in the first issue. He begins his response, "The mounting interest
      > in Gnosticism evinced by scholars and the public is due less to
      > romantic fascination with a philosophy of radical world-denying
      > dualism than it is to certain imbalances and repressions in
      > traditional Western spirituality, which shortcomings Gnosticism is
      > uniquely suited to rectify."
      > IOW, Hoeller doesn't see "Gnostic and Orthodox Christianity as two
      > sides of the same coin." He talks about rectifying imbalances of
      > traditional Western spirituality, not "reconciling" beliefs. In
      > fact, he uses an example of two sides of a coin; however, in this
      > case he is referring to his character being shaped *both* by his
      > study of Gnosticism and by his involvement in the work of C.G. Jung.
      > I know there are those (*ahem*) who, at this point, might be
      > gritting their teeth, ready to emit warnings about psychologizing
      > Gnosticism. ;-)
      > But consider...
      > I personally don't believe Gnosticism should at all be relegated
      > solely as a branch of psychology. However, the ancient Gnostics
      > recognized that we *interpret* the unknowable through images. And,
      > Hoeller comments on this, *not* saying that Gnosticism is
      > psychology, but rather that there is a psychological *orientation* ~
      > "It was Jung's view, as it is of numerous experts on Gnosticism,
      > such as H. C. Puech, G. Quispel and others, that Gnosticism differs
      > from almost all other religions in that its orientation is
      > psychological rather than theological and metaphysical. Its basis is
      > personal spiritual experience that -- unlike in most traditions --
      > is not turned into belief and commandment but into myth. This myth
      > in turn becomes a stimulus for similarly toned personal spiritual
      > experience." Hoeller further states later in his letter, "Like their
      > latter day exponent, Jung, the Gnostics were practical and empirical
      > technicians of the spirit, and not quibblers over philosophic maxims
      > and theological dogma. It also goes without saying that a Gnostic
      > process of personal alchemy has no need or use for a traditional
      > `guru'-like teacher, although it may utilize myth and ritual for its
      > purposes."
      > Whether or not one agrees with *anything* Hoeller believes or Jung
      > states, I don't see Jung talking about a reconciliation of disparate
      > viewpoints so much as Gnosticism, in his words, providing "a bridge
      > to a more living appreciation of Christian tradition." (_Collected
      > Writings_, Vol. 11, par. 444).
      > This could also be a point of contention. Any thoughts here?
      > Cari

      None other than to say that you have summed up my good Bishop's
      position on Jung and Gnosis better than I could have.

      Mike Leavitt ac998@...
    • 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
        > 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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