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Essenes

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  • Tom Saunders
    Thank you Steve, Philo mentions some Jewish folks in Alexandria who were called Therapeutae This Philo source to the Therapeutae is probably where Szekely
    Message 1 of 10 , Mar 21 1:50 AM
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      Thank you Steve,

      "Philo mentions some Jewish folks in Alexandria who were called "Therapeutae"

      This Philo source to the Therapeutae is probably where Szekely got his notion that Essenes adapted to Gnostic Christianity. Of course there is no telling what he made up and what could actually be valid, unless his contentions are traced and corrected. One of the things to try and clarify is if the Essenes actually practiced a form of Gnosticism that influenced the historic Jesus.

      Clement and others who use references to the Old Testament are either convoluting their perception to conform to Gnostic dogma of the time, or there are actual ties in Gnostic understanding to both the old (Jewish understanding) and that of the new Christian Gnosticism. If Essenes did prescribe to a form of Gnosticism then the adaptation to Christian Gnosticism might have been easy for some. It would also explain the pre-existing 'understanding' that Ehrman refers to in "Lost Christianities." He contends that the Gnostic texts are written for someone who has cultivated an understanding of Gnosticism.

      Tom Saunders
      Platter, OK



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    • jmgcormier
      ... snip, snip, snip ... ... What I am after here is to try and place the concepts of pre-Christian ideas of Gnosticism within the boundaries of secular
      Message 2 of 10 , Mar 21 2:31 PM
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        --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Tom Saunders" <tom@c...> wrote:

        snip, snip, snip ...


        ... What I am after here is to try and place the concepts of
        pre-Christian ideas of Gnosticism within the boundaries of secular
        Judaism ...

        Sincerely,

        Tom Saunders

        ------------------------

        Hello Tom "et alia" ...

        I really had to stop and re-read your above sentence several times
        to correctly grasp it. I understand what you are saying, although are
        we not a bit tainted by concepts of history when we try to define
        "pre-Christian" as a period .... indeed during the first few hundred
        years after Jesus' death were "Christians" not almost exclusively
        practising "Jews" who happened to have a (though serious) curiosity
        about Jesus's teachings, or again "Jews" who were prepared to emulate
        him in certain ways ?

        If not, at what precise date might have "Christians" (as we understand
        the term) come to exist? Keep in mind that Judaism was "tolerated" in
        the Roman Empire long before "Christianity" was ... at the time of
        Constantine's death in the 4th century. So, how are we to define the
        start of the Christian era ... immediately after Jesus' death, or at
        the dawn of the fourth century.

        Cheers !

        Maurice Cormier
      • Tom Saunders
        Hi All, As to the question of mysticism and Gnosticism, I would contend that a great deal of Gnosticism could be considered a type of mysticism. Consider the
        Message 3 of 10 , Mar 22 10:17 AM
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          Hi All,

          As to the question of mysticism and Gnosticism, I would contend that a great deal of Gnosticism could be considered a type of mysticism. Consider the following:

          The goal of mysticism is direct experiential communion with God. In this experience the mystic no longer exists as a separate individual but becomes one with Oneness. This vision can only arise when the mystic realizes that the ego-self is only an illusionary veil that masks the true divine Self, and that this Self is God, the being of all beings, the one true Self of All existence. God is not something 'other' but is our shared essential identity. Communion with God is experienced as freedom from suffering the separation of solitary confinement with the mortal self, and the blissful liberation into the expansive, all embracing nature of God. The human being is an animal who has received the vocation to become God." "Basil of Caesarea, Asia Minor 359-79"
          This description seems to fit both the perimeters of Gnosticism and what Basil calls mysticism. I am sorry that I do not have the exact source of the above yet. I got the quote from a friend and have asked about its source. If anyone knows I would appreciate the reference.

          Tom Saunders

          Platter, OK



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        • Tom Saunders
          Hi Maurice, So, how are we to define the start of the Christian era ... immediately after Jesus death, or at the dawn of the fourth century? I would put it
          Message 4 of 10 , Mar 22 10:18 AM
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            Hi Maurice,

            'So, how are we to define the
            start of the Christian era ... immediately after Jesus' death, or at
            the dawn of the fourth century?"


            I would put it at the dawn of the first Christian apokatastasis, described in Pistis Sophia. Karen King puts the work in the third century but I don't think it can be that late. There are several things that indicate to me that the work is very early (it's folksy style); and it has two fundamental purposes. One is to indicate those disciples known to have started Gnostic Christianity, and been handed 'special knowledge' by Jesus' teachings. The other is to indicate that Matthew, Thomas, and Phillip are bearers of that knowledge and wrote it down from the earliest time.

            As to a historical and archeological place of origin, the 'ground zero' would be the Apostle's Village, in Jerusalem. A connection to Essenes would show a propensity for some of the first converts to have been very literate. This suggests that there would have been scribes, who would have written some things down at the earliest part of the formation of the first Christian networks. Proto-Thomas & Matthew. Clement refers to Matthew and Paul, but would have had Pistis Sophia. If it was incorrect, in assuming the characters portrayed, and the texts written, it would have been an issue for the "Stromata," I'm sure.

            At this point Apostles were still alive and there would be no question to their rightful place as Christian Elders. But we know from Acts and other texts that communities had huge problems. Simply, not all new converts could grasp Plato's Republic, Philo, and related tenets of Gnosticism. From the earliest time of community, Gnostics and those that subscribed to the GThom and what it says it is, would probably be (a select) few. And like Ehrman suggests, among and amidst the 'others.'

            When the first Jewish convert could go through apolutrosis, in some form of cateshise of Gnostic training, then that is when I see the Christian era beginning, at least for the Gnostic. I am suggesting from the earliest times more than one Christianity developed. Not all of any large group could be expected to be equally adept at becoming enlightened. ( Pneumatic: One who identifies with the spirit (pneuma), beyond that of the physical (hylic) world and the intellect alone (psychic). The pneuma, described in the Gospel of Phillip as breath, refers to bonding with the internal spark (spinther) that came from and is drawn to reunite with the Father in some Gnostic schema. One who awakens it (the spinther) within the self does it through the process of gnosis.) And, apokatastasis, according to Haracleon.

            Regardless of the similarities in non-Christian concepts of Gnosis, the Christian era began when one reached Gnosis through Jesus. Other Christians didn't reach Gnosis.

            Tom Saunders
            Platter, OK













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          • jucci
            useful links The interdisciplinary seminar on the Jewish Roots of Eastern Christian Mysticism http://www.marquette.edu/maqom/ ... Elio Jucci SETH - Semitica
            Message 5 of 10 , Mar 22 10:23 AM
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              useful links
              "The interdisciplinary seminar on the Jewish Roots of Eastern Christian
              Mysticism"
              http://www.marquette.edu/maqom/


              At 10.17 22/03/04 -0800, you wrote:
              >Hi All,
              >As to the question of mysticism and Gnosticism,

              Elio Jucci

              SETH - Semitica et Theologica
              http://dobc.unipv.it/SETH/index.htm
              http://lettere.unipv.it/SETH/religioni.htm
              http://lettere.unipv.it/SETH/qumr_cav.htm
              "Ex magno amoris incendio tantus uirtutis decor in animo crescit ..."
              (Richard Rolle, Incendium Amoris)
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