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Re: [GTh] pantheism

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  • Paul Lanier
    ... this in Thomasine thought. ... I think so also. No mention of demiurge; God is referred to as Father. This seems consistent with Jewish thought rather
    Message 1 of 8 , Nov 2, 2006
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      > The idea is that God is "acosmic", ie, S/He is totally removed from the material world, which is regarded as evil. But you're right, there seems to be little of
      this in Thomasine thought.
      >

      I think so also. No mention of demiurge; God is referred to as "Father." This seems consistent with Jewish thought rather than the later Gnostic concept of the Jewish God as incomapetent or malicious.

      > Is your panentheism such as
      the acosmic void is the transcendent element which makes Thomas
      panentheistic? If so, why are the Gnostics not themselves panentheistic?

      I think the concept of emanations from the One prevent a panentheistic view. But again this seems not to be present in GTh.

      I am thinking a good way to identify pantheistic and panentheistic elements of GTh might be to use a list of generally accepted traits of both, then score each GTh saying using this. I will see if I can locate a list like this.

      > Also in Jonas we find Gnosticism defined as "the acute Hellenization of
      Oriental philosophy", & traces it to the Alexandrian Empire. Has this
      theory been refuted?
      >

      I'm not familiar with that, I'll look for it. But I would say in general the origin of Gnosticism (if that is a meaningful concept) and its relation to the earliest church has never been answered with confidence. It's difficult, for exampe, to identify a time when one existed without the other. There appear to be Gnostic references in Paul, so that's very early if those passages are authentic. Again the main difficulty is that the term is not a self-designation. If Hippolytus is correct in including Hindu concepts in Gnosticism, then Gnosticism would seem to be either an extremely diverse movement or else simply a misnomer.

      regards, Paul





      Jim Bauer <jbauer@...> wrote: ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Paul Lanier" <jpaullanier@...>
      To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Wednesday, November 01, 2006 1:51 PM
      Subject: Re: [GTh] pantheism

      > Someone (the reference is in the first chapter of
      > Hans Jonas' _The Gnostic Religion_) defined
      > Gnosticism as "acosmic dualism against a backdrop
      > of pantheism". How does your analysis of these
      > sayings differ from that?
      >
      > I wouldn't quarrel with the characterization,
      > 'acosmic dualism.' It's certainly dualistic and
      > lacks many cosmological features.

      It's not a matter of possessing or lacking "cosmic" concepts. The idea is
      that God is "acosmic", ie, S/He is totally removed from the material world,
      which is regarded as evil. But you're right, there seems to be little of
      this in Thomasine thought. While "acosmic dualism" perhaps doesn't fit
      Thomas, we're back to the issue of pantheism. Is your panentheism such as
      the acosmic void is the transcendent element which makes Thomas
      panentheistic? If so, why are the Gnostics not themselves panentheistic?
      Also in Jonas we find Gnosticism defined as "the acute Hellenization of
      Oriental philosophy", & traces it to the Alexandrian Empire. Has this
      theory been refuted?

      Jim Bauer






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