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Re: [Gnosticism2] Digest Number 563

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  • Stephen
    ... Gerry, Thank you for a most interesting post. Erhman sounds like a typical modern scholar of Gnosticism and early Christianity - decent, intelligent and
    Message 1 of 14 , Mar 5, 2004
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      >Given everything I had heard and read from him up to that point, and
      >especially after hearing how religion had failed to bring him the
      >answers he needed, all I could think was, "the Father's kingdom is
      >spread out upon the earth, and people don't see it."


      Gerry,

      Thank you for a most interesting post.

      Erhman sounds like a typical modern scholar of Gnosticism and early
      Christianity - decent, intelligent and sympathetic to Gnosticism and yet
      ultimately a world away from being a Gnostic himself. It is amusing to see
      a new Jesus myth emerging among those inclined to the liberal humanist view
      which seems to include most scholars. In this new myth Jesus is no longer
      the son of god but a good philosopher of the Jewish Wisdom tradition. By a
      quirk of fate he ends up crucified. After his death his followers, and in
      particular Paul, turn him into a deity.

      One reason why the gospel of Thomas is beginning to win scholarly acceptance
      as 'early' is that it ties in well with this new myth - providing that one
      can ignore or talk down the 'gnostic' elements. In this humanist view of
      Thomas the acceptable non-Gnostic teachings indicate an early Christian
      philosophy that did not include the crucifixion.

      This new myth satisfies the modern craving for an ethical Jesus without the
      supernatural baggage. The only problem is that it is completely
      contradictory to the evidence which shows that Jesus was considered divine
      from the start. No wonder scholars operating within this new myth like
      Erhman tie themselves up in knots!

      Stephen Peter

      -----------------------------------------------
      Was Christianity founded by a woman?
      www.bridalchamber.com
    • Gerry
      ... and yet ... amusing to see ... humanist view ... longer ... tradition. By a ... and in ... I don t think I would go so far as to link him with scholars of
      Message 2 of 14 , Mar 5, 2004
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        --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "Stephen" <stephen@m...> wrote:
        >
        >
        > Erhman sounds like a typical modern scholar of Gnosticism and early
        > Christianity - decent, intelligent and sympathetic to Gnosticism
        and yet
        > ultimately a world away from being a Gnostic himself. It is
        amusing to see
        > a new Jesus myth emerging among those inclined to the liberal
        humanist view
        > which seems to include most scholars. In this new myth Jesus is no
        longer
        > the son of god but a good philosopher of the Jewish Wisdom
        tradition. By a
        > quirk of fate he ends up crucified. After his death his followers,
        and in
        > particular Paul, turn him into a deity.



        I don't think I would go so far as to link him with scholars of
        Gnosticism. While he may chair the Department of Religious Studies
        at my alma mater, his areas of specialization are basically the New
        Testament and Early Christianity. In that regard, I think his works
        could still be a valuable resource for someone simply interested in
        the diversity of thought that characterized the beginnings of
        Christianity.

        In retrospect, I suppose it was a poor assumption on my part to jump
        on reserving myself a place simply because "Nag Hammadi Manuscripts"
        was part of the seminar's title. At the same time, it was very poor
        planning on their part, as I've said, to advertise it as such while
        including only one work which is actually part of that collection,
        especially given that said work (GTh) has been appropriated these
        days by everyone under the sun——from the mainstream to newage.

        I mean, considering all the titles in the NHL, this barely represents
        two percent of the total. When you further factor in that of that
        slim fraction, the book is likely to be subject to orthodox (or even
        apocalyptic!) interpretation while a Gnostic understanding is almost
        relegated to a tangential aberration, then it's clear why anyone who
        associates the NHL with *some* sort of Gnostic relevance would find
        the description of the lectures misleading.



        > One reason why the gospel of Thomas is beginning to win scholarly
        acceptance
        > as 'early' is that it ties in well with this new myth - providing
        that one
        > can ignore or talk down the 'gnostic' elements. In this humanist
        view of
        > Thomas the acceptable non-Gnostic teachings indicate an early
        Christian
        > philosophy that did not include the crucifixion.



        From what I've seen, it is apparently quite easy for some people to
        ignore or diminish those Gnostic elements of Thomas. Recently, I've
        even observed at one site that the salvific knowledge advocated by
        that text is the awareness that God gave his only begotten son . . .
        yada, yada, yada. Go figure!

        I'm not sure whether logion 55 is one of those likely to be ignored
        in a non-Gnostic interpretation, but it still contains the notion
        of "carrying one's cross." Jesus could be seen as prescient in
        predicting his death, as deliberate in fulfilling his sacrifice, or
        simply as using an expression already common in the vernacular of his
        day due to how commonplace crucifixion had become. Even if it's
        ignored, though, you lose me with the part about not including the
        crucifixion since your previous description of the new Jesus myth
        still resulted in the same type of death.



        > This new myth satisfies the modern craving for an ethical Jesus
        without the
        > supernatural baggage. The only problem is that it is completely
        > contradictory to the evidence which shows that Jesus was considered
        divine
        > from the start. No wonder scholars operating within this new myth
        like
        > Erhman tie themselves up in knots!
        >
        > Stephen Peter



        Interesting point. I'm still not sure if the problem results
        strictly from eisegesis or if those authors aren't still going out of
        their way to sell books to the widest audience possible, even if the
        price of it ends up being self-contradiction.

        As for the divinity of Jesus, I wouldn't weigh in with a verdict one
        way or the other without getting a key to the evidence room and
        thoroughly examining exhibits Alpha through Omega. There are just
        too many possible scenarios regarding the nature of Jesus and/or
        Christ for me to put all my eggs in one basket. This flexibility is
        one of the things that attracted me to Gnosticism. Where accounts of
        the crucifixion exist, there are variations, but regardless of the
        differences from one text to another, there is still something
        vitally common to all of them which separates them from non-Gnostic
        traditions. Given that underlying similarity in the metaphorical
        meaning, I've always found the Gnostic message to be far more
        important than the messenger.

        A 1970's mini-series captured the problem I'm getting at. In _The
        Word_, the Christian faithful were faced with a newly discovered text
        which "proved" that Jesus didn't die on Golgotha. Avoiding spoilers
        for anyone interested in watching it, I'll simply say that it offers
        an interesting glimpse of how people can rationalize their faith, and
        where they will draw a line regarding what they're willing to
        believe . . . and disbelieve.

        While looking up a film with a related plot, I saw that one reviewer
        wondered why there should be such a fuss if Jesus were shown not to
        have been resurrected——dying as any other mortal man. According to
        him, cognitive dissonance theory should strengthen the followers'
        beliefs. At a personal level, that could still be the case, but
        given the Church's insistence for centuries that He *was* divine, it
        would be hard for someone not to feel duped. Maybe I'm simply not
        playing it out correctly in my head, but it seems like the majority
        of believers would be devastated; if there are any psychologists
        among us, feel free to chime in.

        At any rate, this gets to the heart of what I was feeling during
        those closing moments of the seminar. Having spoken with Ehrman and
        heard further elaboration on his personal views, I almost couldn't
        help but feel sorry for him. Here's someone whose life has very much
        been influenced by Christianity, and for him, it struck me as if it
        were no more than a counter-revolutionary Jewish movement that simply
        *died*——along with its leader——almost two thousand years ago. It's
        little wonder that religion seems to have failed him——that he would
        be agnostic when he witnesses the ongoing cruelty and injustice in
        the world around him, and that even the "benevolent God" of the
        apocalyptic sectarians is too impotent to do anything about it.

        On the other hand, I can't imagine how any new discoveries would
        unhinge my own beliefs. The religious "connection" I feel isn't tied
        to dogma, or faith, or a personal savior alleged to have existed
        exclusively in one form or another, if he existed at all.

        Gerry
      • eyeambetty
        Hi Gerry, i ve been following your blow by blow of the seminar you attended, YIKES! very disheartening, but it seems your keen sense of judgement and
        Message 3 of 14 , Mar 7, 2004
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          Hi Gerry,
          i've been following your blow by blow of the seminar you attended,
          YIKES! very disheartening, but it seems your keen sense of judgement
          and perception had already caught wind before you even arrived, eh?
          it seems to be expected these days, i can barely turn on NPR without
          hearing some interview, or story somehow(distantly or distastefully)
          related to these manuscripts, usually to incorporate into some
          already exhisting adgenda.



          >Gerry wrote:
          > I mean, considering all the titles in the NHL, this barely
          represents
          > two percent of the total. When you further factor in that of that
          > slim fraction, the book is likely to be subject to orthodox (or
          even
          > apocalyptic!) interpretation while a Gnostic understanding is
          almost
          > relegated to a tangential aberration, then it's clear why anyone
          who
          > associates the NHL with *some* sort of Gnostic relevance would find
          > the description of the lectures misleading.
          >


          no kidding, you would think they would have the good sense, if indeed
          they were considering a potential Gnostic interpretation, to compare
          and contrast it with the more obvious Gnostic texts included in the
          stated collections. but, it surely seems that the lectures were
          designed to promote this Ehrman fellows book centered around those
          particular manuscripts.





          > Gerry wrote:
          > As for the divinity of Jesus, I wouldn't weigh in with a verdict
          one
          > way or the other without getting a key to the evidence room and
          > thoroughly examining exhibits Alpha through Omega. There are just
          > too many possible scenarios regarding the nature of Jesus and/or
          > Christ for me to put all my eggs in one basket. This flexibility
          is
          > one of the things that attracted me to Gnosticism. Where accounts
          of
          > the crucifixion exist, there are variations, but regardless of the
          > differences from one text to another, there is still something
          > vitally common to all of them which separates them from non-Gnostic
          > traditions. Given that underlying similarity in the metaphorical
          > meaning, I've always found the Gnostic message to be far more
          > important than the messenger.


          Gerry, this reminded me of a passage i recently read, in the book i'm
          still plodding thru by G.R.S. Mead,"Fragments of a Faith Forgotten".

          first, let me say, in regards to a post recently from Terje about
          this author, whom he says "did not shy away from interposing the
          concepts of Karma, Dharma, "Reincarnation" and other concepts out of
          Hinduism/Buddhism without any consideration that not everyone knew
          that originally the terms he "translates" is connected to an entirely
          different worldview..."message 9232, to which i wholeheartedly agree.
          he certainly is liberal in using the concepts within
          Hinduism/Buddhism to assist in explaining Gnostic concepts. however,
          here is a very adept scholar, who with very little to work with
          besides fragments imbedded with Patristic writing, and i believe the
          Askew and Bruce Codice's quite beautifully breathes such life into
          Gnosticism. regardless of whether he is Gnostic himself, it's not
          apparent, but he has the utmost reverance for the tradition and
          the "Gnostic Doctors".
          anyway, the passage is at the end of a chapter on Valentinus, it says:

          "The Gnostics were ever changing their nomenclature; the god of one
          system might even be the devil of another! He who makes a
          concordance of names merely, in Gnosticism, may think himself lucky
          to escape a lunatic asylum; he, on the contrary, who seeks the idea
          behind the name will often find himself in a realm of great beauty
          and harmony of thought. Men like the Gnostics have ever had
          intuitions of a real state of being, of definite and precise realms
          of consciousness; yet each has caught a glimpse of the reality, as
          all men must so long as they are imprisioned in a body. If the
          Gnostics exhausted the philosophy and religion of their time in
          striving to find a decent vestment for the naked truth, as they
          thought they saw it, who shall blame them? Though they contradict one
          another, in the view of the word-hunter, they do not contradict
          themselves for the follower of ideas. the idea is the key which opens
          the mysteries of the Gnosis, and those who refuse to use this living
          key must be content to have the treasury closed against them."



          > Gerry wrote:
          > A 1970's mini-series captured the problem I'm getting at. In _The
          > Word_, the Christian faithful were faced with a newly discovered
          text
          > which "proved" that Jesus didn't die on Golgotha. Avoiding
          spoilers
          > for anyone interested in watching it, I'll simply say that it
          offers
          > an interesting glimpse of how people can rationalize their faith,
          and
          > where they will draw a line regarding what they're willing to
          > believe . . . and disbelieve.
          >
          > While looking up a film with a related plot, I saw that one
          reviewer
          > wondered why there should be such a fuss if Jesus were shown not to
          > have been resurrected——dying as any other mortal man.
          According to
          > him, cognitive dissonance theory should strengthen the followers'
          > beliefs. At a personal level, that could still be the case, but
          > given the Church's insistence for centuries that He *was* divine,
          it
          > would be hard for someone not to feel duped. Maybe I'm simply not
          > playing it out correctly in my head, but it seems like the majority
          > of believers would be devastated; if there are any psychologists
          > among us, feel free to chime in.



          28. Jesus said, "I took my stand in the midst of the world, and in
          flesh I appeared to them. I found them all drunk, and I did not find
          any of them thirsty. My soul ached for the children of humanity,
          because they are blind in their hearts and do not see, for they came
          into the world empty, and they also seek to depart from the world
          empty.

          But meanwhile they are drunk. When they shake off their wine, they
          will change their ways." Gospel of Thomas.

          one can only hope.


          > Gerry wrote:
          > At any rate, this gets to the heart of what I was feeling during
          > those closing moments of the seminar. Having spoken with Ehrman
          and
          > heard further elaboration on his personal views, I almost couldn't
          > help but feel sorry for him. Here's someone whose life has very
          much
          > been influenced by Christianity, and for him, it struck me as if it
          > were no more than a counter-revolutionary Jewish movement that
          simply
          > *died*——along with its leader——almost two thousand years
          ago. It's
          > little wonder that religion seems to have failed him——that he
          would
          > be agnostic when he witnesses the ongoing cruelty and injustice in
          > the world around him, and that even the "benevolent God" of the
          > apocalyptic sectarians is too impotent to do anything about it.
          >
          > On the other hand, I can't imagine how any new discoveries would
          > unhinge my own beliefs. The religious "connection" I feel isn't
          tied
          > to dogma, or faith, or a personal savior alleged to have existed
          > exclusively in one form or another, if he existed at all.
          >

          yes, the freedom to renegotiate from moment to moment ones concepts,
          without the safety net of set beliefs, allows for the seemingly death-
          defying flexiblity you spoke of earlier.

          betty
        • Mike Leavitt
          Hello eyeambetty ... It should be made clear, this was no hidden adjenda for Mead, he was Madam Blavadsky s secretary, and was merely viewing the gnostics
          Message 4 of 14 , Mar 7, 2004
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            Hello eyeambetty

            On 07-Mar-04, you wrote:

            > first, let me say, in regards to a post recently from Terje about
            > this author, whom he says "did not shy away from interposing the
            > concepts of Karma, Dharma, "Reincarnation" and other concepts out of
            > Hinduism/Buddhism without any consideration that not everyone knew
            > that originally the terms he "translates" is connected to an
            > entirely different worldview..."message 9232, to which i
            > wholeheartedly agree. he certainly is liberal in using the concepts
            > within Hinduism/Buddhism to assist in explaining Gnostic concepts.
            > however, here is a very adept scholar, who with very little to work
            > with besides fragments imbedded with Patristic writing, and i
            > believe the Askew and Bruce Codice's quite beautifully breathes such
            > life into Gnosticism. regardless of whether he is Gnostic himself,
            > it's not apparent, but he has the utmost reverance for the tradition
            > and the "Gnostic Doctors".
            > anyway, the passage is at the end of a chapter on Valentinus, it
            > says:

            It should be made clear, this was no hidden adjenda for Mead, he was
            Madam Blavadsky's secretary, and was merely viewing the gnostics
            unconsciously from a Theosophical world view.

            > "The Gnostics were ever changing their nomenclature; the god of one
            > system might even be the devil of another! He who makes a
            > concordance of names merely, in Gnosticism, may think himself lucky
            > to escape a lunatic asylum; he, on the contrary, who seeks the idea
            > behind the name will often find himself in a realm of great beauty
            > and harmony of thought. Men like the Gnostics have ever had
            > intuitions of a real state of being, of definite and precise realms
            > of consciousness; yet each has caught a glimpse of the reality, as
            > all men must so long as they are imprisioned in a body. If the
            > Gnostics exhausted the philosophy and religion of their time in
            > striving to find a decent vestment for the naked truth, as they
            > thought they saw it, who shall blame them? Though they contradict
            > one another, in the view of the word-hunter, they do not contradict
            > themselves for the follower of ideas. the idea is the key which
            > opens the mysteries of the Gnosis, and those who refuse to use this
            > living key must be content to have the treasury closed against
            > them."

            Despite this, he had real insight, and the book is valuable, this
            quote rests my case.

            Regards
            --
            Mike Leavitt ac998@...
          • floyd788@webtv.net
            Hi, Mike, I just finished reading your dissertation on knowledge of the many things you have gleaned. You really have done your homework. It was a long post,
            Message 5 of 14 , Mar 7, 2004
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              Hi,
              Mike, I just finished reading your dissertation on knowledge of the many
              things you have gleaned. You really have done your homework. It was a
              long post, but I enjoyed every bit of it. I am rather new to the
              internet. I bought a webtv because I am frugal. My wife calls it right,
              but it's like everything else <> garbage collector-sanitation engineer,
              janitor- custodian, etc. I hate to rush, but I've several more E-mails
              to return. Keep up the good work and we will all know a little more.
              Take care, my friend.

              Love floyd
            • Gerry
              ... judgement ... without ... distastefully) ... LOL I m still amazed that even a few people were able to read through those posts of mine. While I did
              Message 6 of 14 , Mar 7, 2004
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                --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "eyeambetty" <eyeambetty@y...>
                wrote:
                > Hi Gerry,
                > i've been following your blow by blow of the seminar you attended,
                > YIKES! very disheartening, but it seems your keen sense of
                judgement
                > and perception had already caught wind before you even arrived, eh?
                > it seems to be expected these days, i can barely turn on NPR
                without
                > hearing some interview, or story somehow(distantly or
                distastefully)
                > related to these manuscripts, usually to incorporate into some
                > already exhisting adgenda.



                LOL I'm still amazed that even a few people were able to read
                through those posts of mine. While I did strive to capture the mood
                of the experience along with the content, I hope the event wasn't as
                disheartening to you via my blow-by-blow reporting as I found it with
                my ringside seat.

                I'm not sure what to make of that NPR coverage; our reception down
                here is pretty spotty, so I usually only catch it when driving to
                Virginia. Ever since Cari mentioned those print articles and
                especially since the release of "The Passion," television has been
                saturated with supposed documentaries and specials. I'm curious (if
                you should recall any programs in particular) whether those on the
                radio impressed you as more of the liberal bias that Stephen
                mentioned. So far, that Fresh Air interview is the only thing I've
                heard, and other than his apocalyptic view supposedly supported by
                Thomas, Ehrman's background is of the mainstream persuasion. I
                suppose what I'm getting at is that it would be interesting to
                observe if both traditionally conservative and liberal media are
                witnessing a conventional Christian revival, even with regards to
                these non-canonical texts. Could be that orthodoxy makes strange
                bedfellows.



                > no kidding, you would think they would have the good sense, if
                indeed
                > they were considering a potential Gnostic interpretation, to
                compare
                > and contrast it with the more obvious Gnostic texts included in the
                > stated collections. but, it surely seems that the lectures were
                > designed to promote this Ehrman fellows book centered around those
                > particular manuscripts.



                Ya know, I had never read that _Time_ article until I got out there.
                Even though the lecture coordinators had sent out information packets
                beforehand, we each had some additional reading material waiting for
                us on arrival——the "Lost Gospels" article among them. Do you think
                it's some strange coincidence that it opens with a quote from the
                Gospel of Peter and ends with the Gospel of Thomas? A number of
                Ehrman's essays seem to focus on those two books, and that was also
                the same order in which he covered them in person. Bizarre. I think
                I smell a conspiracy brewin' somewhere. ;-)

                As for comparing and contrasting those texts, even that can get
                dicey. The woman who sat next to me was completely new to the
                subject, and it was evident that she was having some difficulty
                taking in any of this other than from her traditional point of
                reference. That just makes for a tough row to hoe. She had a book
                with her that she had checked out of the library, and was thinking
                about purchasing one of her own, but a lot of it just didn't make
                sense to her. Well, the book included only four texts, one of which
                was GTh. Nice enough for beginners, I figured, but the last of the
                four was the Apocryphon of John! I just couldn't believe that such a
                work had been included in something that looked like it was geared
                for novices. She was already struggling with the numerous angels
                mentioned therein which contributed in the creation of Man.
                Naturally——since *her* god didn't need any help in creating anything.

                She also pointed to the picture of Rosamonde Miller (donning robe and
                chalice) in that "Lost Gospels" article and questioned the fact that
                her group worships Sophia. Well, in truth, the article doesn't say
                anything about them "worshiping" anyone, but merely states that the
                Palo Alto group's "Sunday Eucharistic service honors Sophia." In my
                mind, there's a big difference, but as other people saw it, Miller
                might as well have had horns sprouting from her head.



                > Gerry, this reminded me of a passage i recently read, in the book
                i'm
                > still plodding thru by G.R.S. Mead,"Fragments of a Faith Forgotten".
                >
                > first, let me say, in regards to a post recently from Terje about
                > this author, whom he says "did not shy away from interposing the
                > concepts of Karma, Dharma, "Reincarnation" and other concepts out
                of
                > Hinduism/Buddhism without any consideration that not everyone knew
                > that originally the terms he "translates" is connected to an
                entirely
                > different worldview..."message 9232, to which i wholeheartedly
                agree.
                > he certainly is liberal in using the concepts within
                > Hinduism/Buddhism to assist in explaining Gnostic concepts.
                however,
                > here is a very adept scholar, who with very little to work with
                > besides fragments imbedded with Patristic writing, and i believe
                the
                > Askew and Bruce Codice's quite beautifully breathes such life into
                > Gnosticism. regardless of whether he is Gnostic himself, it's not
                > apparent, but he has the utmost reverance for the tradition and
                > the "Gnostic Doctors".
                > anyway, the passage is at the end of a chapter on Valentinus, it
                says:
                >
                > "The Gnostics were ever changing their nomenclature; the god of one
                > system might even be the devil of another! He who makes a
                > concordance of names merely, in Gnosticism, may think himself lucky
                > to escape a lunatic asylum; he, on the contrary, who seeks the idea
                > behind the name will often find himself in a realm of great beauty
                > and harmony of thought. Men like the Gnostics have ever had
                > intuitions of a real state of being, of definite and precise realms
                > of consciousness; yet each has caught a glimpse of the reality, as
                > all men must so long as they are imprisioned in a body. If the
                > Gnostics exhausted the philosophy and religion of their time in
                > striving to find a decent vestment for the naked truth, as they
                > thought they saw it, who shall blame them? Though they contradict
                one
                > another, in the view of the word-hunter, they do not contradict
                > themselves for the follower of ideas. the idea is the key which
                opens
                > the mysteries of the Gnosis, and those who refuse to use this
                living
                > key must be content to have the treasury closed against them."



                Thanks so much for sharing that, Betty. Not only had I not read it
                before, but I've been disappointed that I never did get a copy of
                Mead's take on the Pistis Sophia. As for the interpretation, I'm not
                at all opposed to exercising caution where warranted and appreciating
                value where we find it. I don't think I even need to second Mike's
                motion on closing that case——the above passage effectively pounds the
                gavel for us.



                > 28. Jesus said, "I took my stand in the midst of the world, and in
                > flesh I appeared to them. I found them all drunk, and I did not
                find
                > any of them thirsty. My soul ached for the children of humanity,
                > because they are blind in their hearts and do not see, for they
                came
                > into the world empty, and they also seek to depart from the world
                > empty.
                >
                > But meanwhile they are drunk. When they shake off their wine, they
                > will change their ways." Gospel of Thomas.
                >
                > one can only hope.



                Makes you want to brew up a world-sized pot of coffee with aspirin
                chasers, doesn't it?



                > yes, the freedom to renegotiate from moment to moment ones
                concepts,
                > without the safety net of set beliefs, allows for the seemingly
                death-
                > defying flexiblity you spoke of earlier.
                >
                > betty



                That's actually the part of the film _Dogma_ that I enjoyed the most——
                the Apostle's insistence that it's better to have ideas than
                beliefs. I'd hate to have someone be able to undermine the
                cornerstone of my philosophy——potentially bringing my whole world
                tumbling down around me.

                Gerry
              • Mike Leavitt
                Hello eyeambetty ... I mean he was not trying to theosophize the Gnostics, just that he was so embedded in Theosophy he looked at all Philosophy with
                Message 7 of 14 , Mar 7, 2004
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                  Hello eyeambetty

                  On 07-Mar-04, you wrote:

                  > Hello Mike,
                  >
                  >
                  >> Mike wrote:
                  >> It should be made clear, this was no hidden agenda for Mead, he
                  >> was Madam Blavadsky's secretary, and was merely viewing the
                  >> gnostics unconsciously from a Theosophical world view.
                  >>
                  >
                  > M. Blavadky's secretary? wow, that is a fascinating bit of
                  > information. Mike, may i ask, why you say "viewing the gnostics
                  > *unconsciously*..."?

                  I mean he was not trying to theosophize the Gnostics, just that he was
                  so embedded in Theosophy he looked at all Philosophy with Theosophical
                  specticles. It was unconscious, not some kind of not to well hidden
                  agenda. His book on the world soul shows the same perspective, for
                  instance. To him Theosophy was a universal philosophy, applicable to
                  everything, and this pervaded his approach to Gnosticism, but did not
                  blunt his insight into it.

                  Regards
                  --
                  Mike Leavitt ac998@...
                • eyeambetty
                  Hello Mike, ... M. Blavadky s secretary? wow, that is a fascinating bit of information. Mike, may i ask, why you say viewing the gnostics *unconsciously*... ?
                  Message 8 of 14 , Mar 7, 2004
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                    Hello Mike,


                    > Mike wrote:
                    > It should be made clear, this was no hidden adjenda for Mead, he was
                    > Madam Blavadsky's secretary, and was merely viewing the gnostics
                    > unconsciously from a Theosophical world view.
                    >

                    M. Blavadky's secretary? wow, that is a fascinating bit of
                    information. Mike, may i ask, why you say "viewing the gnostics
                    *unconsciously*..."?



                    > > "The Gnostics were ever changing their nomenclature; the god of
                    one
                    > > system might even be the devil of another! He who makes a
                    > > concordance of names merely, in Gnosticism, may think himself
                    lucky
                    > > to escape a lunatic asylum; he, on the contrary, who seeks the
                    idea
                    > > behind the name will often find himself in a realm of great beauty
                    > > and harmony of thought. Men like the Gnostics have ever had
                    > > intuitions of a real state of being, of definite and precise
                    realms
                    > > of consciousness; yet each has caught a glimpse of the reality, as
                    > > all men must so long as they are imprisioned in a body. If the
                    > > Gnostics exhausted the philosophy and religion of their time in
                    > > striving to find a decent vestment for the naked truth, as they
                    > > thought they saw it, who shall blame them? Though they contradict
                    > > one another, in the view of the word-hunter, they do not
                    contradict
                    > > themselves for the follower of ideas. the idea is the key which
                    > > opens the mysteries of the Gnosis, and those who refuse to use
                    this
                    > > living key must be content to have the treasury closed against
                    > > them."

                    Mike wrote:
                    > Despite this, he had real insight, and the book is valuable, this
                    > quote rests my case.


                    i completely agree, i am thoroughly enjoying, and devouring the book.
                    it has been very helpful in visually outlining, historically, the
                    stream of what Mead calls a "Living Tradition".

                    betty
                  • floyd788@webtv.net
                    Hi Betty, I hope you won t feel that I am butting into your E-mail conversation with Gerry, but that s exactly what I m doing. I ve been in this group about a
                    Message 9 of 14 , Mar 7, 2004
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                      Hi Betty,
                      I hope you won't feel that I am butting into your E-mail conversation
                      with Gerry, but that's exactly what I'm doing. I've been in this group
                      about a week now and I want to learn all I can from y'all. I'm getting a
                      good amount now as I read your post to Gerry. Y'all must have been doing
                      this for along time. I hope you won't think me rude for the
                      interruption. I was a Christian until recently, ( less than a year ).
                      I'm looking for people like you, who has had more experience than I have
                      Well. I've talked enough for now. Y'all take care and be safe.

                      Love, floyd
                    • eyeambetty
                      Hiya Gerry, ... (if ... alright, you caught me exaggerating a wee bit, shame on me... actually besides the Fresh Air interview, there was a panel discussion, i
                      Message 10 of 14 , Mar 9, 2004
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                        Hiya Gerry,


                        >
                        > I'm not sure what to make of that NPR coverage; our reception down
                        > here is pretty spotty, so I usually only catch it when driving to
                        > Virginia. Ever since Cari mentioned those print articles and
                        > especially since the release of "The Passion," television has been
                        > saturated with supposed documentaries and specials. I'm curious
                        (if
                        > you should recall any programs in particular) whether those on the
                        > radio impressed you as more of the liberal bias that Stephen
                        > mentioned. So far, that Fresh Air interview is the only thing I've
                        > heard, and other than his apocalyptic view supposedly supported by
                        > Thomas, Ehrman's background is of the mainstream persuasion. I
                        > suppose what I'm getting at is that it would be interesting to
                        > observe if both traditionally conservative and liberal media are
                        > witnessing a conventional Christian revival, even with regards to
                        > these non-canonical texts. Could be that orthodoxy makes strange
                        > bedfellows.

                        alright, you caught me exaggerating a wee bit, shame on me...
                        actually besides the Fresh Air interview, there was a panel
                        discussion, i think on Talk of the Nation. i also recall another
                        Fresh Air interview with a fellow who had just written a book, he was
                        talking about Jewish mythology and the Kabbala, unfortunately, i
                        rarely get a chance to sit still long enough to hear things at
                        length, only little snippets. all this was surrounding "The Passion",
                        NPR seemed to be leaning towards voicing the outrage, and profiling
                        the types of people whom this film would resonate with, and the
                        reasons why. all this against a backdrop of Haitian revolt, Gay
                        Marriages, and the jaw-dropping number of catholic priest who have
                        molested their congregations children, you know, real people
                        suffering and stuggling in the face of adversity, right now.
                        i think perhaps the importance or any understanding of the non-
                        canonical texts gets lost and swallowed up in the context of these
                        media driven soundbites, they are just seen as points of interest to
                        add to the bigger story, in this case, as one Jewish theologian put
                        it, a catholic snuff film. oohh stop me...


                        Gerry wrote:
                        Do you think
                        > it's some strange coincidence that it opens with a quote from the
                        > Gospel of Peter and ends with the Gospel of Thomas? A number of
                        > Ehrman's essays seem to focus on those two books, and that was also
                        > the same order in which he covered them in person. Bizarre. I
                        think
                        > I smell a conspiracy brewin' somewhere. ;-)



                        or very effective PR.


                        betty
                      • eyeambetty
                        ... was ... Theosophical ... to ... not ... thank you kindly, Mike. betty
                        Message 11 of 14 , Mar 9, 2004
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                          > Mike, may i ask, why you say "viewing the gnostics
                          > > *unconsciously*..."?
                          >

                          > I mean he was not trying to theosophize the Gnostics, just that he
                          was
                          > so embedded in Theosophy he looked at all Philosophy with
                          Theosophical
                          > specticles. It was unconscious, not some kind of not to well hidden
                          > agenda. His book on the world soul shows the same perspective, for
                          > instance. To him Theosophy was a universal philosophy, applicable
                          to
                          > everything, and this pervaded his approach to Gnosticism, but did
                          not
                          > blunt his insight into it.

                          thank you kindly, Mike.

                          betty
                        • eyeambetty
                          Well, Hello to you Floyd! ... conversation ... group ... getting a ... doing ... year ). ... have ... i am a newcomer myself, i listened for quite awhile and
                          Message 12 of 14 , Mar 9, 2004
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                            Well, Hello to you Floyd!


                            floyd wrote:
                            > Hi Betty,
                            > I hope you won't feel that I am butting into your E-mail
                            conversation
                            > with Gerry, but that's exactly what I'm doing. I've been in this
                            group
                            > about a week now and I want to learn all I can from y'all. I'm
                            getting a
                            > good amount now as I read your post to Gerry. Y'all must have been
                            doing
                            > this for along time. I hope you won't think me rude for the
                            > interruption. I was a Christian until recently, ( less than a
                            year ).
                            > I'm looking for people like you, who has had more experience than I
                            have
                            > Well. I've talked enough for now. Y'all take care and be safe.
                            >
                            > Love, floyd

                            i am a newcomer myself, i listened for quite awhile and only recently
                            have been participating in discussions. it's certainly not rude to
                            join in, gotta start somewhere, eh?
                            what has brought you here?

                            take care, as well.
                            betty
                          • Gerry
                            ... was ... Passion , ... to ... LMAO No, I m not about to stop you——I hadn t heard the snuff comment, either. Something like that really wakes me up
                            Message 13 of 14 , Mar 9, 2004
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                              --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "eyeambetty" <eyeambetty@y...>
                              wrote:
                              >
                              >
                              > alright, you caught me exaggerating a wee bit, shame on me...
                              > actually besides the Fresh Air interview, there was a panel
                              > discussion, i think on Talk of the Nation. i also recall another
                              > Fresh Air interview with a fellow who had just written a book, he
                              was
                              > talking about Jewish mythology and the Kabbala, unfortunately, i
                              > rarely get a chance to sit still long enough to hear things at
                              > length, only little snippets. all this was surrounding "The
                              Passion",
                              > NPR seemed to be leaning towards voicing the outrage, and profiling
                              > the types of people whom this film would resonate with, and the
                              > reasons why. all this against a backdrop of Haitian revolt, Gay
                              > Marriages, and the jaw-dropping number of catholic priest who have
                              > molested their congregations children, you know, real people
                              > suffering and stuggling in the face of adversity, right now.
                              > i think perhaps the importance or any understanding of the non-
                              > canonical texts gets lost and swallowed up in the context of these
                              > media driven soundbites, they are just seen as points of interest
                              to
                              > add to the bigger story, in this case, as one Jewish theologian put
                              > it, a catholic snuff film. oohh stop me...



                              LMAO No, I'm not about to stop you——I hadn't heard the "snuff"
                              comment, either. Something like that really wakes me up in the
                              morning. :-)

                              As for the exaggeration, no shame there. We'll just chalk it up to
                              hyperbole——an effective, rhetorical strategy! You're in good company
                              as far as wondering about how the profound continues to be lost amid
                              the profane of the current media hype. Rather than suggesting that
                              orthodoxy has made strange bedfellows then, maybe I'll contend that
                              the conservative and liberal obsession of late simply has to do with
                              extremism all around. Whether Mel Gibson is claiming to be a
                              mouthpiece for the Holy Spirit, or Tim Robbins acts as one for Susan
                              Sarandon, it amounts to little more than fundamentalist propaganda
                              being force-fed to the masses, who, evidently, can't make a decision
                              for ourselves.

                              Case in point, I just now had to tear myself away from the computer
                              when I heard Mary Magdalene mentioned on the TV in the other room.
                              Looks like the Today Show is running a special segment on Jesus this
                              week near the top of the second hour. Anyway, Ann Curry pointed out
                              two viewpoints currently in the popular spotlight: Gibson's
                              portrayal of Mary in "The Passion" (which basically minimizes the
                              connection between her and Jesus); and their overly speculated
                              relationship in _The Da Vinci Code_. Once again, Elaine Pagels was
                              brought in to represent the voice of reason, suggesting that the
                              truth might be found somewhere in the middle of those two extremes.
                              Unfortunately, that middle-of-the-road approach often lacks the
                              sensationalism of imagining either a harlot being stoned to death or
                              the Savior's offspring being spirited away to Europe.

                              People need to believe in something, though. Whether we believe in
                              the faith of our fathers, or believe it's time to have another beer,
                              or simply believe we've had enough of all this, this need to believe
                              may be our undoing if extremist distractions continue to saturate out
                              thoughts.



                              > Gerry wrote:
                              > Do you think
                              > > it's some strange coincidence that it opens with a quote from the
                              > > Gospel of Peter and ends with the Gospel of Thomas? A number of
                              > > Ehrman's essays seem to focus on those two books, and that was
                              also
                              > > the same order in which he covered them in person. Bizarre. I
                              > think
                              > > I smell a conspiracy brewin' somewhere. ;-)
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > or very effective PR.
                              >
                              >
                              > betty



                              "Very effective" indeed. It was pointed out that these professors
                              aren't paid for their participation in this program's lectures, but
                              it was certainly a grand opportunity to promote the sale of their
                              books.

                              Gerry
                            • lady_caritas
                              ... this ... out ... extremes. ... or ... beer, ... believe ... out ... Well, looks like someone else is tired of all the inaccuracies, too, Gerry: Jesus
                              Message 14 of 14 , Mar 9, 2004
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                                --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "Gerry" <gerryhsp@y...> wrote:
                                >
                                > Case in point, I just now had to tear myself away from the computer
                                > when I heard Mary Magdalene mentioned on the TV in the other room.
                                > Looks like the Today Show is running a special segment on Jesus
                                this
                                > week near the top of the second hour. Anyway, Ann Curry pointed
                                out
                                > two viewpoints currently in the popular spotlight: Gibson's
                                > portrayal of Mary in "The Passion" (which basically minimizes the
                                > connection between her and Jesus); and their overly speculated
                                > relationship in _The Da Vinci Code_. Once again, Elaine Pagels was
                                > brought in to represent the voice of reason, suggesting that the
                                > truth might be found somewhere in the middle of those two
                                extremes.
                                > Unfortunately, that middle-of-the-road approach often lacks the
                                > sensationalism of imagining either a harlot being stoned to death
                                or
                                > the Savior's offspring being spirited away to Europe.
                                >
                                > People need to believe in something, though. Whether we believe in
                                > the faith of our fathers, or believe it's time to have another
                                beer,
                                > or simply believe we've had enough of all this, this need to
                                believe
                                > may be our undoing if extremist distractions continue to saturate
                                out
                                > thoughts.


                                Well, looks like someone else is tired of all the inaccuracies, too,
                                Gerry:

                                "Jesus Demands Creative Control Over the Next Movie"
                                http://onion.com/news/


                                ;-)
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