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4108Apocalypticism, Gnosis and Thomas

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  • Rick Hubbard
    Oct 7, 2001
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      The co-existence of apocalyptic and gnostic elements in GTh, to
      the extent that they can be demonstrated to exist at all, are not
      altogether contradictory of one another (in my opinion).

      Gnosis and apocalypticism share a common objective; each seeks to
      resolve the contradiction between ideal expectations and the
      actuality of experience. Both emanate from a profound sense of
      alienation. Each seeks deliverance from a fractured existence by
      locating ultimate meaning somewhere outside the sphere of the
      ordinary. A state of marginalization is their common heritage.
      Their shared destiny is the eschaton.

      There are, of course differences between the two, as well.
      Apocalyptic expectations presuppose that deliverance from the
      dissonant conditions of existence will derive from external
      intervention. Ordinarily, that intervention will be initiated and
      executed by some cosmic power, but, in its most radical
      expression, the authority of cosmic forces will be delegated to
      worldly agents.

      In contrast to apocalypticism, gnosis does not expect external
      soteriological intervention. Instead, the resolution to the
      crisis of existence originates and operates within the self and
      within the community. Deliverance from alienation depends on
      intensified modes of cognition through which one's essential
      unity with what is "really real" is actualized.

      The question is, where do any of the fundamental characteristics
      of apocalypticism manifest themselves in GTh 11, 57.4, or 79? It
      seems to me there are some vague allusions to eschatological
      concerns but I see nothing that presupposes salvation via divine
      inversion, conversion, or subversion of the conditions of
      existence.

      Rick Hubbard
      Humble Maine Woodsman
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