- Hi Mike,
Andrew did only mention one passage and I did stretch what he said into a generality, sorry. I think he would agree that there are more than a few flaws in Clement's work. So do you, and I.
To answer your question on where I am getting these 'fancy' terms..... Our unofficial secret glossary, that needs to become the 'Light in the Abyss' for the rest of this, and the other Thomas groups. Or, I'll have to keep the thing and do what Clement says with his Stromata, "The Stromata will contain the truth mixed up in the dogmas of philosophy, or rather covered over and hidden, as the edible part of the nut in the shell. For, in my opinion, it is fitting that the seeds of truth be kept for the husbandmen of faith, and no others."
"For I do not mention that the Stromata, forming a body of varied erudition, wish artfully to conceal the seeds of knowledge. As, then, he who is fond of hunting captures the game after seeking, tracking, scenting, hunting it down with dogs; so truth, when sought and got with toil, appears a delicious thing. Why, then, you will ask, did you think it fit that such an arrangement should be adopted in your memoranda? Because there is great danger in divulging the secret of the true philosophy to those, whose delight it is unsparingly to speak against everything, not justly; and who shout forth all kinds of names and words indecorously, deceiving themselves and beguiling those who adhere to them. "For the Hebrews seek signs," as the apostle says, "and the Greeks seek after wisdom." (Bk 1)
I'm trying to be amusing here, but if I am benefiting from the glossary, I am sure others will.
"....unless one wants to define a "Gnostic perspective" so wide that it includes virtually everything."
"Heck," that is one of the very prime aims of Gnosis.
Thank you for pointing out, "Look, you've got to establish first who you're going to include as having
this "Gnostic perspective", then you've got to show that this three-state
theory was unique to this group of folks. You haven't done either of those
One of the best assets of this group is that I can learn from some of the best, on exactly how to do that. Compared to some of the academic credentials in this group I am a mere, 'hylic plop' who lives in a cow pasture. I'm learning but I need a little more guidance in doing what you suggest above.
"And why do you use 'pleroma' and 'kenoma' for two of the three "states"? Wasn't it psychic, hylic, and pneumatic?"
Generally speaking in both the Valentinean, and Sethian schools of thought, using a different vocabulary, it is the pleroma (heaven), kenoma (earthly), and the abyss (hades). On earth, all are in the hylic state except the pneumatic who has through Gnosis risen above the trapping levels of the kenomic state. In the body all are still in the hylic state, as is the pneumatic as long as he/she lives.
The different schools, Sethian, and Valentinean see the kenoma or earthly state, as the imperfect realm of hylics. Hylics are classified as the saklas (fools and the agnosia), some are beasts, ("Contender"), and there are the choikas, sarkic, and the particularly distasteful apanoia.( Th 64,65) The station above this is the psychic. The pneumatic is one who has the ability to use his intellect (nous), i.e. psychic ability, to perform gnosis, and be one with the "Light," Sophia, the Logos, the Pleroma, WISDOM.
The Gnostic state (perspective) is to transcend by elevating yourself by realizing that all these places and things are in the same place and time, see Thomas sayings 3, and 77. The importance for the psychic state is referred to in Thomas 70. ("Know thy self," to paraphrase Th.) Somewhere after that are the psychic processes of "metanoia," "epinoia," and "Apolutrosis" practiced in different Gnostic sects to achieve Gnosis.
I am sure that Iranaeus is going to classify the above as Hylic Plop! Is it? Or, does it grasp the Gnostic perspective? Perhaps the above perspective is from my recently reading the "Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown, and I simply got too excited about what it is I think 'we' do.
Perhaps as I study Clement I am learning his kind of scholarship, and miss the mark entirely. Or, I spill the beans on his Gnostic secret to be kept away from unsavory types, no doubt like myself. ( He knew about Theophrastus. So, he knew about types, and that is what I see as the important aspect of the parables. Being able to see the hopelessness of the kenoma in the lower hylic states.) Then, this trimorphic perspective of the kenoma is to be somehow understood in terms of the pleroma, and I mean pleroma in terms of the "All." The Pleroma in the perspective of GThom sayings.
I would appreciate it if you could cite some of the material from the sources you mention on their version of the act and processes of Gnosis. I'm not done grasping Clement by the scruff of the neck and shaking the secrets out of his stuff.
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