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Re: Tangential musing

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  • Gerry
    ... error ... modeled ... Thanks, Cari, for pulling out Layton s observations; I couldn t find his book while I was composing that post. Personally, I think
    Message 1 of 77 , Jul 6, 2004
      --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, lady_caritas <no_reply@y...>
      > To mix up the pot even more, Ger, let's look at Bentley Layton's
      > translation of this passage from the Gospel of Truth (_The Gnostic
      > Scriptures_, p. 253):
      > "... ignorance of the father caused agitation and fear. And the
      > agitation grew dense like fog, so that no one could see. Thus
      > found strength and labored at her matter in emptiness. Without
      > having learned to know the truth, she took up residence in a
      > form, preparing by means of the power, in beauty, a substitute for
      > truth.
      > Now, to the inconceivable uncontained this was not humiliating; for
      > the agitation and forgetfulness and the modeled form of deception
      > were as nothing, whereas established truth is unchangeable,
      > imperturbable, and cannot be beautified. For this reason despise
      > error, since she has no root."
      > Rootless, IOW, alienated from the "source"... don't take nomads
      > seriously;... spurn the drifter. If you put all your eggs in that
      > basket, you're bound to be disappointed... or worse.
      > "Be passersby." Don't get completely sucked into the -- *poof* --
      > rootless histrionics.
      > Footnote "c." to this passage reads: " `error': a feminine
      > personification corresponding to both wisdom and Ialdabaoth in
      > Gnostic myth. The present section (17.4-17f) is an allegorical
      > equivalent of the production of Ialdabaoth and the creation of the
      > universe and humankind in gnostic myth."

      Thanks, Cari, for pulling out Layton's observations; I couldn't find
      his book while I was composing that post.

      Personally, I think the Gospel of Truth's abbreviated version of this
      Gnostic myth is to everyone's benefit. Regardless of whether we take
      this text as a clearly exoteric work aimed at maximizing
      its "Christian" outreach, we are still left with a simplified telling
      of the creation story, as you point out, that jumps to the heart of
      the message.

      In that one brief passage, Sophia et al are lumped under the guise of
      Error (_plane_). It just seems to more clearly illustrate that the
      downfall of humanity is our alienation from our source, rather than
      risking confusion on the part of the reader who may get sidetracked
      by the characters normally depicted as taking part in the creation of
      the temporal universe. Also, it doesn't cast the world as simply an
      illusion, but as clearly solid and real——even dense——the very
      manifestation of ignorance——a mediocre substitute for the Truth. Not
      much to aspire to there!

    • pmcvflag
      Jana, Mike is in fact clergy in the EG, and we value his presence. As Cari states, the EG is a bit of a modern reworking of the Valentinians... with a slight
      Message 77 of 77 , Jul 19, 2004
        Jana, Mike is in fact clergy in the EG, and we value his presence. As
        Cari states, the EG is a bit of a modern reworking of the
        Valentinians... with a slight Jungian slant. So maybe I could make
        something a bit more clear about the historic Valentinians (and this
        is outside Mike's answers concerning his own church).

        The Valentinians were part of early Catholic/Orthodox church (before
        the schism between the two). Valentinians existed within that
        Catholic church but offered a continued "initiation" beyond
        that "orthodox" teaching. In other words, there were a
        true "esoteric" order that existed within an exoteric foundation.
        This should answer the question you had concerning bishops and
        priests, etc..

        You have to understand, even though it has been popular for modern
        sensationalist authors to build some kind of a fight between
        Gnosticism and religious orders, the fact is historically this is not
        something that happened until later.

        There were also other Gnostic groups that were NOT part of the
        Catholic (or even "Christian") outlines. For instance, Sethians were
        probably not originally Christian. Some scholors believe that John
        the Baptist was actually Sethian, but we can't know for sure
        (however, this could imply something about the teachings of Jesus if
        it is true... and if Jesus even ever historically existed. Gnosticism
        is not dependant on an actual historical Jesus though).

        However, let me point out to you that Gnostics were historically
        quite structured. In spite of the need by some New Age authors to
        make Gnostics some kind of spiritual anarchists, in fact these orders
        were initatory, and that means there was also a destinction made
        between levels of initation. One of the attacks that we see in the
        anti-Gnostic authors of the time was that Gnostics are a bit too
        elitist. I don't think that is completely true either, but that is
        not to say it is completely false.

        As we read historical Gnostic texts, such as those found in the Nag
        Hammadi library, we will see mention of those levels of initiation.
        If there are levels, there is structure... they simply go hand in

        Ok, finally, your question in this last post... do Gnostics pray for

        This is an arguement that I don't think can be completely resolved.
        Part of that may be in that it depends on the sect. Truth is, if you
        really look through the Gnostic texts, you would be hard pressed to
        find an example. On the other hand, the people who wrote against
        Gnostics accuse them of making love potions, stomach ointments, and
        spells (spells are simply prayers) etc.. If you think about it, it
        does not seem logical that a Gnostic would do such things, since some
        of the things mentioned would really be against Gnostic beliefs.

        So, you already conceded that Gnostics probably would not pray to the
        first father (since it does not think or hear or consider anything
        from the field of time... including prayers), so then who would a
        Gnostic pray too? The Second father? The Sophia? The Logos? It
        depends on whether you take these to be literal beings... otherwise
        you are praying to aspects of yourself that connect you to the second
        father. I am trying to pooint out that the question you ask is not
        cut and dry, balck vs white, but that it also may entirely depend on
        the practice of the sect invloved. Many Gnostics probably don't
        believe in prayer, but some may.


        --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "janahooks" <janahooks@y...>
        > > > I guess you could call us neo-Valenitnians. I am the senior
        > Priest
        > > of
        > > > the Ecclesia Gnostica, which along with the Gnostic Society, is
        > the
        > > > parent body of http://www.gnosis.org/. My Bishop is Stephan
        > > Höeller,
        > > > who has written a number of books on Gnosticism.
        > Mike, I had even told my husband that I thought you were a priest.
        > You have that patient air about you! I read about the sacraments
        > the site, but I need to look at them again. Are they necessary to
        > achieve gnosis or salvation?
        > Cari, Mike, pmcv, anyone,
        > Do gnostics believe that any being (I understand the First Father
        > does not) intervenes on our behalf? For instance, if one wanted to
        > pray for another's protection or health?
        > jana
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