Re: Anthropomorphic mistakes
- Hello lady_caritas
On 05-Nov-03, you wrote:
> --- In email@example.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
>> (who is not always such a critical source) behind and take a look
>> something a bit better corroborated and less popular in it's
>> (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
> 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
> 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?
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@...
> Interesting to hear it put that way - I haven't read Bauer (yet), soAs far as I can see, Walter Bauer is considered somewhat of a pioneer
> 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.
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
Terje Dahl Bergersen
Deacon,Ecclesia Gnostica Norvegia