Re: [GTh] Pre- Christian Gnosticism
----- Original Message -----
From: "Steve" <dermarc@...>
Sent: Sunday, April 18, 2004 6:07 PM
Subject: Re: [GTh] Pre- Christian Gnosticism
> --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "sarban" <sarban@s...> wrote:
> > .....................
> > IMO, however, the Mandaeans as a group were formed in the 2nd
> > century CE, on the basis of ideas from early Gnostics and early
> > Jewish baptist groups, by people who knew of and borrowed from
> > early Christianity while rejecting Jesus himself.
> > Andrew Criddle
> Who where these early Jewish baptist groups? What did they believe?
> Where were they geographically? Could they have embraced to some
> extent mystic and/or gnostic concepts. Did Merkabah mysticism yet
> exist by then?
> Steve Allison
There appear to have been a number of Jewish/Jewish-Christian
baptist groups in the 2nd century in Mesopotamia (Iraq).
We know a reasonable amount about the Elkesaites, a
Jewish-Christian group because of an account by Hippolytus.
(Refutation of All Heresies Book 9)
The Elkesaites appeared to follow many Jewish ritual ordinances
combined with repeated baptisms for the purpose of purification.
They gave great emphasis to speculations about angels and
identified Christ and the Holy Spirit as angelic beings.
It is probable that developed Merkabah mysticism does not
arise till around the 4th century, but there are important
similarities between the Shiur Qomah speculations in Merkabah
mysticism (the dimensions of God) and speculations about angelic
dimensions among the Elkesaites. Indicating both go back to a
very ancient tradition.