Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: Evryone loves conspirecy

Expand Messages
  • apx0n
    ... Well put. Maybe I m still suffering from a Jonas hangover, but I can t help but see ties between gnostic revivalism and a sense of alienation and
    Message 1 of 79 , Dec 5, 2003
      --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, gnosticaww <no_reply@y...> wrote:
      > The popularity of a genre such as "Devinci Code", "The Bible
      > Code" and "The Holy Blood, Holy Grail" etc. ect is that people in
      > general are not satisfied with the general answer to realities
      > around them. People feel that something is not being told that
      > some how there is a big conspirecy . People are cynical about
      > things especially told by *authority* whether that authority is
      > church or government. Thing is not really seemed to be. People
      > sense that something is not right but they just can't put a finger
      > on it. For example, it is 40 years after the Kennedy assasination
      > yet doubt of people concerning it is greater. Some how people
      > feel that government is not telling everything.
      > And this doubt and feeling that that something is not right paved
      > the way for the Biblical Demurgic thinking.

      Well put. Maybe I'm still suffering from a Jonas hangover, but I
      can't help but see ties between "gnostic" revivalism and a sense of
      alienation and world-skepticism that permeates broad cross-sections
      of our modern society. Let's face it, the 20th century stank by most
      standards! We may have accomplished a good deal in the way of
      material gains, democracy, and human rights, but only at the cost of
      hundreds of millions of lives lost to war and genocide. For a good
      forty years the world faced a daily risk of self-extermination. Then
      add on top of that globalization - the first time since Alexander and
      Rome that a culture (read: Americanism/Europeanism) has supplanted
      indigenous customs and trappings with such vigor. Put all the
      resultant emotions together, and you have a context quite akin to
      that world-alienation in which gnostic movements first took root.

      Yet I suspect a big difference between the acosmism of the later-
      Hellenistic world and that of our own: its point of cultural &
      linguistic origin. World-skepticism flourished in the later-
      Hellenistic world because Near-eastern cultures – though (or
      because) ruled by pro-cosmic Rome and a Romanized, pro-cosmic ruling
      class – were still characterized at a popular level by their
      dualistic, acosmic tendencies. Christianity, Zorastrianism,
      Manicheaesm, and other world religions of the time grew out of
      fundamentally Near Eastern origins, world-skeptical outlooks, and
      with the eventual exception of Christianity, Near Eastern languages.
      And aside from Valentinianism, it seems that most "gnostic" movements
      also have Syrian, Egyptian, or Anatolian roots.

      But in our own day can't it be said that acosmic speculation and
      knowledge-based soteriologies are reviving "from the West" as opposed
      to "from the East"? Granted, West and East have different meanings
      than they did in later-hellenistic days, but the comparison still
      highlights an issue that's been bothering me about contemporary
      readings of Nag Hammadi and other gnostic literature, and gnostic
      revivalism in general. Since occidental pens so dominate
      contemporary assessments (academic, theological, and popular) of the
      source material, our hermeneutics are surely inhibited by more than
      our "modern" outlook. There's seems a more profound,
      assumption that later-hellenistic gnosticism can be
      "rediscovered" as
      a lost chapter in the history of our own (Western) philosophical and
      religious dialogues…any rate, it's not the first time
      I've voiced
      that complain in a post.

      Besides, even if I'm right and today's scholars and gnostic
      are not only modernizing, but also Westernizing, an antique, Near
      Eastern movement, who am I to complain? As I might say to a friend
      who installs modern plumbing in an old Victorian painted lady, I
      rather like what you've done with the place! Extreme dualism and
      acosmism can be truly dangerous when implemented on a societal
      scale. Both the neo-gnostics and those scholars whose hermaneutics
      seek to raise gnostic views for consideration by main line Christians
      seem unanimous in watering down those aspects of the religion that
      could be construed as anti-social (PMCV: if you're reading this
      this is what I really meant to say a few weeks back about Pagels).

      To bring this rather rambling post back to the comments by gnosticaww
      that prompted it, I don't think the popularity of Dan Brown's
      Vinchi Code is any accident. If it were just Catholic Church
      conspiracy theories that sold books, keep in mind that Angels &
      Daemons (his earlier, IMO far superior thriller) put up paltry sales
      ere he started writing about the "Holy Family" and gnostic
      Dan Brown hit on a nerve, and for better or worse, I suspect that
      Christian Gnosticism is a movement that's here to stay – a
      as far as I'm concerned, that should focus more on generating its
      wisdom than leaning too heavily on Near Eastern mystery texts from
      2nd through 5th Centuries.

    • lady_caritas
      ... Gospel of Thomas. And to be honest, I am not sure why the Church would choose to catagorize this as a heresy. ... Thomas, as Gerry pointed out, it becomes
      Message 79 of 79 , Dec 28, 2003
        --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, Thomas Norush II <tjnii@y...>
        > Hello Cari;

        > To this point the only thing that I have read at any length is the
        Gospel of Thomas. And to be honest, I am not sure why the Church
        would choose to catagorize this as a heresy.

        Thomas, as Gerry pointed out, it becomes a matter of view, doesn't
        it? Does heresy constitute merely opinions that are different,
        freely chosen,... or are they something false, even evil?

        > Maybe as I read more of what is available I will be able to
        discover such, but to this point, the Gospel of Thomas seems pretty
        inline with Church teaching. Mind you there are some things that
        would cause quite the conversation, but on the whole nothing that
        struck me as "heresy" in the evil terms that I have heard it.

        It may appear to be "inline" in some respects. In fact, in _The
        Gnostic Scriptures_ (which I highly recommend), Bentley Layton has
        cross-references for many, but not all, sayings to similar verses in
        Matthew, Mark, and Luke. And, whether or not _The Gospel of Thomas_
        was originally "Gnostic" or proto-Gnostic has been debated.

        Nonetheless, upon further inspection there are some major differences
        when compared to orthodox doctrine. How *any* of the sayings might
        be construed could vary from an orthodox interpretation when one
        considers heterodox elements. As Bentley Layton comments in the
        introduction to GTh (page 376):

        "Historical framework is irrelevant to the message of GTh, for the
        salvation that it proclaims is not the future reign of god on earth,
        to be ushered in by a messiah, but rather the recognition of one's
        true nature and acquaintance with oneself, leading to immediate
        repose and rendering `death' (i.e. the realm of human affairs)
        trivial. `The kingdom is inside of you. . . . When you become
        acquainted with yourselves . . . you will understand that it is you
        who are children of the living father.' Jesus' suffering, death, and
        resurrection are not discussed in GTh; his role here is purely that
        of a teacher of wisdom. GTh is thus a Christian gospel in which the
        crucifixion of Jesus has no importance."

        Self-acquaintance is definitely a Gnostic theme. Consider, Thomas,
        how dangerous, how threatening that approach would be to *any*
        political mechanism. How does one maintain hierarchical control when
        people are relying on their own experience, rather than on outside,
        dogmatic intermediaries? In the past, the governmental decisions
        were inextricably entrenched with religious considerations.

        > The Council of Trent I believe put it together in its current form
        and in theory there was a great deal of work for them to choose from
        before they Canonized the current Bible. What was left out and more
        importantly Why? If Thomas was around and available at that point,
        why wasn't it included in the Bible?

        You might be interested in a recent book by Elaine Pagels, _Beyond
        Belief_, that recounts this process, bringing in her ideas about _The
        Gospel of Thomas_ specifically.

        > Gnostic texts, the Dead Sea Scrolls, all offer me a chance to read
        what was available at the time. The chance to answer big questions
        for myself and maybe pass this on to others. Maybe Gnosticism is
        another step in the process for me. Not sure yet. Need to read and
        study more on the subjects.

        Thomas, I would recommend some suggestions in our "links" section:

        You might find the collection of introductory articles helpful. The
        Gnosis Archive at
        http://gnosis.org/ provides lots of information – articles, book
        suggestions, lectures, in addition to online source material, such as
        The Nag Hammadi Library. I would also recommend the book, _The Nag
        Hammadi Library_, by James M Robinson.

        > Thank you for your response. I look forward to any insight you may
        offer or conversation that it brought about.
        > Thomas

        Feel free to come back with comments and questions, Thomas, as you
        pursue your own queries.

      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.