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Origen and Apokatstasis

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  • Tom Saunders
    Hi Mike, We know that that word (apaokatastasis) is translated restoration in the text, but unfortunately, there s no explanation of what Heracleon might
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 1, 2004
      Hi Mike,

      "We know that that word (apaokatastasis) is translated 'restoration' in the text, but unfortunately, there's no
      explanation of what Heracleon might have meant by his use of it."

      I have to take the stand that it is a reference to living resurrection as Phillip puts it and means anastasis through gnosis. Two concepts come to mind (from the Glossary) that explain this.....

      Metennoia: This is the "change of mind" or perspective that happens to the initiate in the process of Gnosis. (I don't have a reference for this, and would appreciate knowing more about the term)

      Epinoia: Means "insight" as it comes from the higher connections of spirit, portrayed as a pleromic emination . It can be translated as "wisdom" or 'sophia. Without it one cannot gain Gnosis. This 'insight' refers to, metanoia,(change of mind), and self-knowledge of the soul, which is merged with the 'light' or Sophia, in the act of Gnosis. (See the "Apocryphon of John")

      Neither of these terms are found in Smith's Bible Dictionary, so I am going to take a stab at the idea they are not orthodox terms, used in orthodox Christianity. If anyone knows Greek, Coptic, or Aramaic translations for these terms I am sure members would like to know them.

      I would think that the terms, epinoia, anastasis, apokatastasis, and gnosis could be interchangable, after mettenoia. That would be when one realizes that the Gnsotic works are in reference to the process and structure of those very terms. They speak of the process and goal of the Pneumatic to join with the Holy Spirit, the Light, the Word, Sophia, and the other interchangeable term for Gnosis, Wisdom. So yes I would indeed grasp the concept of apokatastasis from Heracleon and the GPhil as, "Gnostic."

      Somebody pointed out to me in another post that there are no definitions of words in the Gospel of Thomas in the Glossary. If the Gospel of Thomas is simply a 'list' Gospel or a "harmony' Gospel with Matthew and Luke, there is no point in looking for apokatastasis, anastasis, epinnoia, or the process of gnosis, the Orhtodoxy takes care of that for us. Or, there is real Gnosticism, the Gospel of Thomas is the central 'scripture' of that Christianity.

      My thoughts on Origen are that he was a Gnostic in every sense of the way his teachers were in Alexandria. He was in my opinion under a lot more 'heat' than even Clement. Origen was the product of not just Clement, but the lineage of Pantaenus, Basilides, Heracleon, Isadore, Carpocrates, and many others. He was in a different social era. The following is an explanation of apokatastasis, concerning Origen: (this is the information I have)

      Apokatastasis was condemned by the Fifth Ecumenical Council (of the Chalcedonians) in its first canon under the name of apokatastasis. "If anyone teaches the mythical doctrine of the pre-existence of the soul and the apocatastasis that follows from it, let him be anathema." ( (New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia) (What do we know about this?)

      The word "Apokatastisis," which means restoration, re-establishment, with the Latin equivalent restitutio, usually denotes the doctrine of the restoration of all things at the end of time, a doctrine attributed to Origen and to St. Gregory of Nyssa. It means the final restoration of the devil and all rational beings to God's happiness and friendship. The noun apokatastasis and the verb apokathistemi are used by Origen, not very often and in various senses, some of which can be taken to symbolize the final apokatastasis, others the return of the Israelites to their own country from exile." (New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia) I would like the groups comments on this decree.....

      What Haracleon describes is the process by which one becomes a 'spirit bearer,' or "Pneumatophoroi: One who has united his soul with the 'light' (Sophia, Wisdom) achieving Gnosis which is thought in Christian Gnosticism to be a union with the Holy Spirit. I could have said the perceding dozens of different ways, using other gnostic words with corresponding meanings. Heracleon and Phillip simply must have missed the "Sunday School" class on apokatastasis, being the restoration of the Devil.

      Here is Heracleon's statement again....

      Fragment 34, on John 4:36 (In John 4:36a, "The one who reaps receives a wage, and gathers fruit for eternal life.") The words, "The one who reaps receives a wage" are said because the Savior call himself "the one who reaps." And the wage of our Lord is the salvation and restoration (apokatastasis) of those who are harvested, brought about by his resting upon them. "And gathers fruit for eternal life," is stated either because what is gathered is the fruit of eternal life or because it is itself eternal life."

      I know there are far better than I to look at "Stromata" and see if and how the term is used. Clement is probably a good source to get the Gnostic perspective in the interpretation of terms in question, of which I hope there are many. I would not be surprised if we get more interchangeable words with what we already have, regarding the Gnostic structure and process.

      The Orthodox view is clear here. If we figure out apokatastasis we'll restore the Devil and put an end to all rational beings. "I'll be a "Trimorphic Gnostic Satan!"

      Tom Saunders
      Platter, OK

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