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Switch to Forum Live View Gnosticism Described
7 years ago  ::  Jan 19, 2008 - 8:58AM #1
BrightHopes
Posts: 203
During a 2003 interview, Dr. Stephan A. Hoeller, Regionary Bishop of Ecclesia Gnostica, describes Gnosticism as this:

"I think we could describe it as a very early form of Christianity, very different in many respects from what Christianity became later on. It is much more individualistic. It is much more orientated toward the personal, spiritual advancement and transformation of the individual, regarding figures such as Jesus as being helpers rather than sacrificial saviors. It is a form of religion that has a much more ecumenical and universal scope in terms of its relationship to spiritual, religious traditions other than the Christian.I would say that this appears to be, as far as Gnosticism is concerned, the time that the Greeks called the kairos, the time when the Gods are reborn. We live in an age, I think, when certain timeless ideas, which have been submerged and subdued for a long time, are making their appearance once again. In that respect we're living in very interesting times as the Chinese would say. Interesting times, spiritually powerful times, always cast a great shadow. There will also be great difficulties, but I think that Gnostic traditions, along with a number of kindred ideas, are being reborn at this time, and will have a significant influence in the future. Those of us who find ourselves working within that field are singularly blessed that we can do this work at this particular time. So I feel I'm at the right place and at the right time and I am profoundly grateful for all of that."

[from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephan_A._Hoeller]

From another source, a 2003 interview conducted by Robert Guffey:

"By                                  understanding the nature of embodied life in the                                  universe as possessing certain difficulties, which                                  ensue from the flawed nature of the universe rather                                  than from our own sinful condition, we are liberated                                  from one of the great curses of Christianity and                                  perhaps Judaism, namely the oppressive weight                                  of guilt."
                               
[COLOR=Black]"The                                  Gnostic approach to religion always represented                                  a serious challenge to ecclesiastical authority                                  and to the domination of people by the Church.                                  The motivation behind the suppression of Gnosticism                                  was rooted in the power complex of the Christian                                  Church." [/COLOR]

[from http://www.paranoiamagazine.com/hoeller.html]
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 20, 2008 - 7:27PM #2
SquirleyWurley
Posts: 1,970
Pretty good description.  I like the insight about the flawed nature of the universe being the issue rather than any sin (original or otherwise) of humanity.
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 20, 2008 - 9:43PM #3
SeraphimR
Posts: 10,128
[QUOTE=SquirleyWurley;227997]Pretty good description.  I like the insight about the flawed nature of the universe being the issue rather than any sin (original or otherwise) of humanity.[/QUOTE]

Hi ,SW!

What flaws do you find in the Universe?

Myself, I am opposed to friction, and have been since my father taught me about it.  He tried to convince me how useful friction actually was, like making it possible to walk, but I wasn't buying any of that.
People with a mission to save the earth want the earth to seem worse than it is so their mission will look more important.


P.J. O'Rourke
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 20, 2008 - 10:38PM #4
SquirleyWurley
Posts: 1,970

SeraphimR wrote:

Hi ,SW!

What flaws do you find in the Universe?



On the human part of the universe, I'm opposed to bad fiction, myself.  Friction I can get into.

Otherwise I guess my point was that limitations and flaws in our own brain structure/functioning, in our hormone balance, etc., account for an awful lot of unfortunate realities, as do natural disasters, various diseases, shortages of resources.

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7 years ago  ::  Jan 21, 2008 - 5:30PM #5
SeraphimR
Posts: 10,128
Thanks, SW, for your cogent response.

I never before understood the Gnostic's disdain for the body in such concrete terms before.

The Christian description of the body is diametrically opposed to the Gnostic description.  For the Christian, the body is(potentially) the Temple of the Holy Spirit.  For the Gnostic the body is a prison for the Divine Spark.

And I realized another difference between the Gnostic and Christian Gospels: the Gnostic Jesus doesn't heal anybody whereas the Christian Jesus is always cleansing lepers, giving sight to the blind, etc.

I googled "Gnostic Healing" and got quite a few hits, but the organizations that came up seemed to be using Gnostic as a maketing ploy and weren't seriously Gnostic in any sense.
People with a mission to save the earth want the earth to seem worse than it is so their mission will look more important.


P.J. O'Rourke
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 21, 2008 - 7:19PM #6
SquirleyWurley
Posts: 1,970

SeraphimR wrote:

Thanks, SW, for your cogent response.



Well, I try ;)

I never before understood the Gnostic's disdain for the body in such concrete terms before.



I would prefer another term to 'disdain' because the variety of gnostics is such, and the lack of a centralized dogmatizing presence is such, that there were in fact those who expressed a concern about issues re: bodily existence, material limitations as many NeoPlatonists and Christians did, along the full spectrum that you find among those traditions, but you also have those quirky texts and reports of meetings where individuals would expound a contradictory doctrine based on a vision.

The Christian description of the body is diametrically opposed to the Gnostic description.  For the Christian, the body is(potentially) the Temple of the Holy Spirit.  For the Gnostic the body is a prison for the Divine Spark.



It's hard to generalize about Gnostics and say there is "A Gnostic Description" especially as compared to "The Christian Description" (and even "THE" Christian description refers to a tradition that articulated a doctrine at a certain time and prior to that time had a wider range of interpretations however near to the official later doctrine they may have been)

So much for cogency in this post!  Ah but the subject!

The PROBLEM for the orthodox re: the body SEEMS to be 'worldliness' and especially 'the fall', and that PROBLEM it seems to me is based in a concern regarding disobedience (eating or not eating a fruit, obeying or not obeying the 613 commandments of Torah) of authority, and the PROBLEM of humans who decide to disobey.

So DISDAIN for the 'orthodox' generally involves depravity of some sort, original sin perhaps, or at least, some blood covenant or some oweing of blood to the deity.  Self-disdain means Isaac must be tied up for sacrifice or Jesus must die, that sort of thing.

But I think it was a DIFFERENT problem for gnostics.  In general the problems they saw re: human depravity, human evils, seemed to revolve around the issue of tyrants (large and small) emperors, religious fanatics of some other sect..., the sadism writ large over the Roman Empire.  So the problem they address is different.

Two different theodicy questions, answered differently, by people who insist that the formulation of the problem is different.  Thats what seems to be a big difference.  It's just a conjecture but I think it's a decent one.

And I realized another difference between the Gnostic and Christian Gospels: the Gnostic Jesus doesn't heal anybody whereas the Christian Jesus is always cleansing lepers, giving sight to the blind, etc.



That may indicate a big difference of some kind, but it may be incidental. We really only have a few texts and one library.  The oddities of the people who had those texts may explain the selection a bit but we could never tell without some evidence of what other texts might contain, and that would be rampant speculation without any hope to decide the issue.

I googled "Gnostic Healing" and got quite a few hits, but the organizations that came up seemed to be using Gnostic as a maketing ploy and weren't seriously Gnostic in any sense.



The Apocryphon of John DOES contain a huge list of names of archons/demons associated with the body, perception, etc., which seems to indicate a Gnostic interest in exorcism/healing.  In those days books that listed the demons associateed with different body parts or afflictions were common and in use in Palestine and elsewhere -- it wouldn't be odd for ANY healer/wonder worker in Palestine (including whatever reformer named Jesus may have been working wonders in the area) to be using such a list.  The Magi (who allegedly visited the birthplace of Jesus) would most certainly have had traditions of that kind, so it isn't at all odd to see a list for use in healing/exorcism among the texts in use by people associated with a wonder worker of Palestine.

Some Gnostics seemed to avoid the body like a plague, this seems accurate to me, but others (i.e., the 'Sethians' who valued the 'long version' of the Apocryphon of John) were interested in healing and insist on the beauty of the sparks that are WITHIN the prison of the body.  'Sethian texts' like the Trimorphic Protennoia insist that the Divine Forethought put on Jesus' body and participated in some way in the crucifixion.

There always seem to be some counter-examples to generalizations re: gnosticism.

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7 years ago  ::  Apr 15, 2008 - 12:58PM #7
ohknan
Posts: 1
I agree butt some times the simplist way to understand anything is to breakit down to the beginning like who started this tail anyway.. the man or the fishers of men E.G oh GEE's we say it like it sounds ###
Why do we try to make it so solumn  boring when in truth any religion should be could be lots of just fun and games...soul off  me can be good and plentiful. four all who are game.
This is from a jester who loves to injest all i read now where is did the die gest go  one tu..oh the Fool is loofen again he he
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7 years ago  ::  Mar 22, 2008 - 11:30PM #8
moksha8088
Posts: 5,024
Squirley, just wanted to wish you Happy Easter and hope the Easter Bunny can deliver eggs containing secret knowledge of various mysteries to all of you. ;)
Cry Heaven and let loose the Penguins of Peace
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7 years ago  ::  Mar 22, 2008 - 11:30PM #9
moksha8088
Posts: 5,024
Squirley, just wanted to wish you Happy Easter and hope the Easter Bunny can deliver eggs containing secret knowledge of various mysteries to all of you. ;)
Cry Heaven and let loose the Penguins of Peace
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7 years ago  ::  Mar 23, 2008 - 11:58AM #10
SquirleyWurley
Posts: 1,970

moksha8088 wrote:

hope the Easter Bunny can deliver eggs containing secret knowledge of various mysteries to all of you. ;)



Well at my mom's house there are these chocolate truffle eggs from Wockenfuss, and I intend to get first-hand knowledge of the mysteriously good stuff inside of them, a couple of times today.  Happy Easter to you, also.

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