Gnosticism Then and Now
- Hi Frank,
You would know a great deal more about the ties Clement is making to his claims of Solomon, and the other wisdom of the 'gnostic Moses' he speaks of. My take on many of the statements he makes is that he is pointing out gnostic wisdom using the Old Testament characters. He may be correct in his analogies, or dead wrong. He points out more than once that the Gnostic is the 'pious' one above any other. He does not call himself Gnostic but praises the concept above any of the many philosophers he mentions.
"In essence, what Clement is claiming is that, Peter proclaimed, the Lord
(i.e., Jesus) had been Philo's Logos, who personifies the eternal and true
Law, incarnate on earth."
Perhaps, but I think he states its also Jesus' Logos, it meaning wisdom.......
If; then, we assert that Christ Himself is Wisdom, and that it was His working which showed itself in the prophets, by which the gnostic tradition may be learned, as He Himself taught the apostles during His presence; then it follows that the grinds, which is the knowledge and apprehension of things present, future, and past, which is sure and reliable, as being imparted and revealed by the Son of God, is wisdom.
....And the gnosis itself is that which has descended by transmission to a few, having been imparted unwritten by the apostles. Hence, then, knowledge or wisdom ought to be exercised up to the eternal and unchangeable habit of contemplation....." ("Stromata" Book 6)
Clement is tricky in his definition and meanings concerning philosophers from all over the place. He must have had a huge library. He acknowledges that some philosophers and even Barbarians are correct in certain assumptions. If logos is wisdom then true Gnosis comes about from Clement's admission......
"For we now dare aver (for here is the faith that is characterized by knowledge ) that such an one knows all things, and comprehends all things in the exercise of sure apprehension, respecting matters difficult for us, and really pertaining to the true gnosis such as were James, Peter, John, Paul, and the rest of the apostles. For prophecy is full of knowledge (gnosis), inasmuch as it was given by the Lord, and again explained by the Lord to the apostles. And is not knowledge (gnosis) an attribute of the rational soul, which trains itself for this, that by knowledge it may become entitled to immortality?"
How much of this idea can be attributed to Philo? Clement denounces some very gently, and others not, but he finds fault with everyone, including Basilides, Valentinus, and Marcion. When he points out something in anther's philosophy that is in agreement with the above he points it out, but he might use Samson or somebody in the past to help make his point. He mentions Philo, but I suspect if it is in terms of explaining the logos he would only agree to the points made by his statements concerning Jesus and Gnosis.
Below is a cut and paste from Book 3 where he uses the term 'gnositcum.' This book is the only one that I don't have a translation for and I suspect some 'whoppers...." I wonder if someone would translate........please:
"Joannis autem vitae institutum gnosticum quis imitabitur?"
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