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Re: Gnosticism RE: [GTh] McGrath Review in RBL

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  • sarban
    Hi Judy I agree about the importance of the esoteric tradition in early Judaism. eg the Hekhalot material. However, if we wish to define Gnosticism more
    Message 1 of 13 , Sep 18, 2011
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      Hi Judy
       
      I agree about the importance of the esoteric tradition in early Judaism. eg the Hekhalot material.
       
      However, if we wish to define Gnosticism more specifically than something like 'esoteric teachings about the divine realm', I'm not sure how far this type of esotericism can really be considered Gnosticism.
       
      Andrew Criddle 
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Friday, September 16, 2011 3:06 AM
      Subject: RE: Gnosticism RE: [GTh] McGrath Review in RBL

       

      Bob asks:

      What about Jewish Gnosticism?

      and this is, of course, a very good question. In the circles to which I was referring (which are not what you’d call well informed) Gnosticism is viewed as a Christian heresy which teaches that you get into heaven by knowing stuff rather than by faith in Christ –there is no knowledge of Jewish Gnosticism at all. J  I would therefore be very happy with a succinct way of explaining the complexities of Gnosticism to the politely interested so their eyes don’t glaze over during a short lecture on gnostic cosmologies. J

      Judy

      --

      Judy Redman
      PhD Candidate, School of Humanities
      University of New England
      Armidale 2351 Australia
      ph:  +61 2 6773 3401
      mob: 0437 044 579
      web: 
       http://judyredman.wordpress.com/
      email: 
       jredman2@...
       

    • E Bruce Brooks
      To: GThos On: Definition of Gnostic From: Bruce I still like the idea of letting people define themselves. Let me therefore repeat an earlier question: What is
      Message 2 of 13 , Sep 18, 2011
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        To: GThos

        On: Definition of Gnostic

        From: Bruce

         

        I still like the idea of letting people define themselves. Let me therefore repeat an earlier question:

         

        What is the earliest text that uses the term gnosis or its derivatives in a way that seems to be theologically definitional? Or less carefully worded, what is the oldest self-labeled Gnostic text?

         

        E Bruce Brooks / University of Massachusetts at Amherst

      • smithandp
        ... I don t think there is a Gnostic text in which there is a self- designation as Gnostic, or even as Valentinian. There are Sethian texts in which the seed
        Message 3 of 13 , Sep 19, 2011
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          --- "E Bruce Brooks" <brooks@...> wrote:
          > What is the earliest text that uses the term gnosis or its
          > derivatives in a way that seems to be theologically definitional?
          > Or less carefully worded, what is the oldest self-labeled Gnostic
          > text?

          I don't think there is a Gnostic text in which there is a self-
          designation as Gnostic, or even as Valentinian. There are Sethian
          texts in which "the seed of Seth" and similar terms are important. Identification of Gnostic writings depends on the extensive
          similarities between these writings and the myths and doctrines
          described by Irenaeus as Gnostic or Valentinian.

          Best Wishes,

          Andrew

          Andrew Phillip Smith
          Dublin, Ireland
          http://www.andrewphillipsmith.com
        • smithandp
          Why not describe the sources and thought processes through which we come to identify the Gnostics? Irenaeus refers to Gnostics, Valentinians, Sethians and
          Message 4 of 13 , Sep 19, 2011
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            Why not describe the sources and thought processes through which we come to identify the Gnostics? Irenaeus refers to Gnostics, Valentinians, Sethians and others. The Nag Hammadi library contains texts which may be grouped according to their features and which generally match Irenaeus' categories of Sethians and Valentinians (plus some less easily categorisable texts.) Historically scholarship has picked features more-or-less common to Sethians, Valentinians and other writings, groups and individuals described by Irenaeus or in the NHL and other codices and created the category of Gnostcism.

            Brakke argues that Gnostic was a self-designation for the Sethians, based on analysis of Irenaeus' use of the term, but doesn't believe that the term should be applied to the Valentinians. Incidentally, no Valentinian text refers to itself as such, or even refers to Valentinus.

            Best Wishes,

            Andrew

            Andrew Phillip Smith
            Dublin, Ireland
            http://www.andrewphillipsmith.com
          • Stephen Carlson
            While I am very much in favor of the principle of self-identification, we do have to recognize that we have a number of texts in the Nag Hammadi library about
            Message 5 of 13 , Sep 19, 2011
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              While I am very much in favor of the principle of self-identification, we do have to recognize that we have a number of texts in the Nag Hammadi library about which we have almost no (reliable) information as to which person or group of people produced, transmitted, and/or used them.  The only thing to go on is their contents.

              Stephen
              --
              Stephen C. Carlson
              Graduate Program in Religion
              Duke University
            • Bob Schacht
              ... What would be the result of applying this rule to the New Testament? Would any of it be considered Christian ? Bob Schacht Northern Arizona University
              Message 6 of 13 , Sep 19, 2011
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                At 08:43 AM 9/18/2011, E Bruce Brooks wrote:


                To: GThos
                On: Definition of Gnostic
                From: Bruce
                 
                I still like the idea of letting people define themselves. Let me therefore repeat an earlier question:
                 
                What is the earliest text that uses the term gnosis or its derivatives in a way that seems to be theologically definitional? Or less carefully worded, what is the oldest self-labeled Gnostic text?

                What would be the result of applying this rule to the New Testament? Would any of it be considered "Christian"?

                Bob Schacht
                Northern Arizona University
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