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Re: Who (or what) is "THE DEVIL"?/Great Fall of the Spirits

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  • lady_caritas
    ... and ... think ... and ... admit ... there? ... or ... that ... cosmos ... the ... Hello, Fred. Thought I d poke my nose in for a moment. :-) Even though
    Message 1 of 74 , Jun 1, 2004
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      --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, fred60471 <no_reply@y...> wrote:

      > Hi Mike,
      > Yeah, I may have got carried away with enumerating that list of
      > adjectives, for the sake of brevity I dropped docetic, encratic,
      > vegetarian from that list. It's a good thing I did or otherwise my
      > argument would have been further compromised by my being informed
      > that there were some Gnostics who had kids and ate meat. But, I
      > it is a fairly accurate list for the popular gnosis of the third
      > fourth centuries, of which the texts in the Nag Hammadi are an
      > example. I would think that the one adjective that would be
      > unassailable for all the texts in the library, whether Gnostic,
      > Hermetic, or Platonic would be "dualistic." I think you would be
      > going against the consensus of scholarly opinion if you didn't
      > that dualism is an essential characteristic of Gnosticism, at least
      > my Britannica says so. There are all kinds of dualisms aren't
      > We have dialectical dualism, eschatological dualism, and absolute
      > relative dualism. The Platonic texts are dualistic in that they
      > juxtapose the intelligential realm and the sensory realm. The same
      > goes for the Hermetic texts, although, I can't remember if it was
      > Fowden or Copenhaver who said that the Hermetic texts have
      > hierarchical levels of initiation, where the lower texts are of a
      > dualistic nature, and only when the initiate reached the higher
      > levels was a revelation made that was almost a type of Monism.
      > Popular Hellenistic astrology, allegedly fathered by the Egyptian,
      > Hermes Trismegistus, had influenced the vulgar gnosis of the second
      > century A.D. to such a point that the astrological dogma of klçroi
      > or "fortunes according to the planets," had been incorporated into
      > it and transformed into a real passage of the soul through the
      > planets, the soul assimilating increasingly material concretions
      > link it to the body and to the world here below. The Corpus
      > Hermeticum also relates the descent of primordial man into the
      > and the passage of the soul through the planets in its reentry to
      > heavenly homeland.
      > I often wonder if the dualism of Gnosticism, that is often cited as
      > being of Iranian dualistic influence, may in fact have an Egyptian
      > origin. It would make sense if we acknowledge that the translation
      > into Coptic was an evangelical effort to put an Egyptian face on
      > Gnosticism. The ancient Egyptians, while not technically dualistic,
      > did practice a dialectical dualism of the opposition of Osiris and
      > Seth, and also between the order presided over by Maat in Egypt as
      > opposed to the forces of chaos and the abyss outside of Egypt. And
      > also, while Hermes' reputation was murdered by philology for us
      > moderns, in that era of the Greco-Roman world in Egypt, he was the
      > Egyptian par excellence of great antiquity, a contemporary of Moses.
      > Regards,
      > fred.

      Hello, Fred. Thought I'd poke my nose in for a moment. :-)

      Even though I personally am not interested in a rehash of last year's
      thread trying to show all roads leading back to Egypt, I do recognize
      that syncretistic Gnostics shared motifs with other cultures. But
      that in and of itself does not make Gnosticism a later development of
      Egyptian thought. The coined word Gnosticism is first and foremost
      recognized as a phenomenon of the Late Antiquities centering around a
      very special realization of _salvific_ revealed knowledge or
      acquaintance: _Gnosis_, even though varied expressions used familiar
      cultural motifs of the times.

      As far as the relationship between loose categories of Gnosticism and
      Hermetism, most certainly one can expect to see similarities plus a
      bit of overlap between the two even when considering distinctions.
      But *generally* speaking, there do appear to be some differences that
      enable historians and laypeople alike to consider separate, broad
      categories of Gnosticism and Hermetism.

      Roelof van den Broek offers an analysis in _Gnosis and Hermeticism,
      From Antiquity to Modern Times_, Chapter 1, "Gnosticism and Hermetism
      in Antiquity, Two Roads to Salvation":

      "There is a difference, however, for the philosophers and some early
      Christian theologians as well said that, though it may be true that
      God is unknowable in his essence, he nevertheless can be comprehended
      by the human mind (_nous_), through philosophical reasoning and
      through contemplation of the cosmic order. This emphasis on the
      human nous as a useful, though imperfect, instrument for the
      knowledge of God is also found in the Hermetic texts, but never in
      those of the Gnostic: in their view, the supreme God was inaccessible
      to the human mind. (p. 7)


      "The Gnostics spoke the language of the philosophers only as long as
      they tried to describe God's absolute transcendence, but they
      switched over to the language of mythology as soon as they came to
      speak about the divine world, which they described as the self-
      realization of God." (p.8)

      Mike, of course, previously mentioned the emphasis on mythology in

      Roelof van den Broek also speaks of the Hermetic "mystical experience
      of falling together with the universe, that is to say with God
      himself. In CH XIII.11, the initiated pupil exclaims with a certain

      I am in heaven, in earth, in water, in air; I am in animals, in
      plants, in the womb, before the womb, after the womb, everywhere!

      "It is inconceivable that a Gnostic would have had this experience.
      For him the world was not transparent toward God and essentially
      divine..." (pages 10-11)

      I see quite a different type of dualism in Gnosticism, don't you,

    • George Harvey
      ... a ... Gnostic ... Hi Mike, Thank you. I suspected she was wrong but didn t know for sure. George
      Message 74 of 74 , Jun 16, 2004
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        --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, Mike Leavitt <ac998@l...> wrote:
        > Hello George
        > On 06/16/04, you wrote:
        > > Hi Mike,
        > > Someone on my list said modern Gnostic churches do not allow women
        > > to be priests. Is that true of your church?
        > >
        > > George
        > Stephan ordained Rosa Miller to the priesthood, and consecrated her
        > bishop. We currently have two active women priests, and an active
        > woman deacon or three, I can't keep up with it. The short answer is
        > no it is not true of our church, nor is it true of the French
        > Church, our confederate. It may be true of some more traditionally
        > Catholic Gnostic churches, milage may vary. Years ago I asked an
        > old Liberal Catholic Priest (they have no women in orders to this
        > day), "how can you deny one of the sacraments to half the human
        > race." He was stunned by the question, and said that was the only
        > thing anyone had said to him that gave him doubts about the all male
        > clergy.
        > Regards
        > --
        > Mike Leavitt ac998@l...

        Hi Mike,
        Thank you. I suspected she was wrong but didn't know for sure.

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