Gnostic Apocrypha

Discussion in 'Sacred Scripture' started by Simon Magus, Mar 20, 2013.

  1. Simon Magus

    Simon Magus Member

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    I would be curious to know how Anglicans approach some of the heterodox literature of the Early Church, particularly the Gnostic gospels and the Nag Hammadi texts.

    Doctrinally speaking, it's obvious that these queer strains of Christianity aren't at all compatible with the formal Christology of the Church of England, as the Gnostics variously believed Christ to be a spirit, or a phantom, a prankster god, or some sort of gnomic Buddha figure. But I wonder, rather, about the underlying principles in the stream of Gnostic thought, which are basically not that different from the theosis of the Eastern Christians, or the mysticism of Latin contemplatives like Meister Eckhart or John Scotus Erigena.

    Leaving aside their wacky cosmologies, the core of what the Gnostics preached was monistic mysticism, which Aldous Huxley considered the universal & perennial philosophy of humankind. Do Anglicans ever consider that the Gnostic schools of Early Christianity could be reevaluated in a positive light? Could they help the modern church rediscover its contemplative tradition, much as non-Christian writers like Maimonides and Avicenna influenced Aquinas? Or are they just vile and worthless heresies worth not an ounce of anyone's time?

    It's worth mentioning that Plotinus (who dedicated an entire Ennead to castigating the Gnostics for mythologically over-complicating things) nevertheless saw them as being in a stream of philosophy close to his own, whereas he was considerably more hostile to the orthodox Christians, with whom he saw only irreconcilable differences. And yet the orthodox would come to be very dependent on his Neoplatonism.

    Gnostics. Yea or nay?

    P.S. I'm not a Gnostic.
     
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  2. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    I once read someone say that Gnosticism is the first and worst heresy and that every heresy that followed was, at its heart, an iteration of Gnosticism in one way or another. Gnosticism is always a very interesting subject, at least to me. As far as Anglicans go, in the 18th century, Archbishop William Wake compiled a number of Christian apocryphal books into an Anthology called the Forbidden Gospels and Epistles, which can still be read on Project Guttenberg or on Kindle for free. Archbishop Rowan has written a rather sympathetic book about Arius if I recall correctly. Gnostic principles has always been enjoyable by more liberal minded Anglicans like Marcus Borg.
     
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  3. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Gnosticism is the absolute anithesis to the entire Christian religion. It's almost the arch-enemy of our holy faith. Were it true, God almighty would not have taken flesh. Arianism, Docetism, and hundreds of other heresies all flow from what is basically a gnostic urge: deny Christ's manhood (for He is too divine to take our worthless flesh!) or deny Christ's divinity (for worthless flesh cannot have anything to do with divinity).

    I say that we not only make no attempt to understand Gnosticism better, but we make every attempt to oppose it and wipe its ideas out the moment they are born in any mind or heart. The essential perennial philosophy of all human hearts is The Other: that "Thing" which everyone tries to find, whether in a favourite poem, building, symphony, song, food, or other. Whether the person realizes it or not, that urge is the urge toward the One. That is the basis of all human desire... and it's fulfilled by an Incarnate God. Heaven and Earth... intertwine... :)
     
  4. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    I agree that the incarnational theology affirmed by Anglican theologians seems to be fully opposed to the hyper-spiritual emphasis of Gnosticism. But I also agree there are some rather gnostic-leaning passages in the bible, just as there are a number of passages refuting it.
     
  5. Old Christendom

    Old Christendom Well-Known Member

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    Consular already covered it.

    Gnosticism is antithetical to Christianity.
     
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  6. Simon Magus

    Simon Magus Member

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    To be fair, various forms of what might be called proto-Gnosticism were already making the rounds before Christianity came onto the scene, so although it can formally be classified as a heresy, it has its roots in Greek and oriental pagan philosophies. And many a Church Father and Christian mystic there is who drew their inspiration and theological grammar from pagan philosophy! If they had taken an "oppose this and wipe it out" approach to, say, Plotinus or Proclus, the Church would be that much more impoverished for it. There's been a good amount of loaning, borrowing, and cross-pollination going on. I think the Gnostics were viewed as problematic simply because they were appropriating Christian ideas, which was surely very irritating to the orthodox teachers of the day, who were trying hard to clarify Christian doctrine and did not wish to see it distorted. So when we read an Early Church father like Irenaeus rail against the Gnostics, it's understandable that he would have this bias.

    I think we probably disagree on what constitutes the perennial philosophy, although I respect that you're using it in St. Thomas Aquinas' sense of the term, and he certainly predates Aldous Huxley. Commonly, though, it's the notion that the core of religion is mystical experience, which is then interpreted into language, symbols, and rituals. If you have the time, there's a good essay on this by the Benedictine writer David Steindl-Rast called, appropriately, The Mystical Core of Organized Religion. Towards the end, he has this to say:


    Now we can take this or leave it. But is the Christian religion catholic in the best sense if it kicks everything else out, or is it distinguished by how well it can subsume the best aspects from all corners and distill them into something truly universal? I think this is the challenge for the modern Church. Is it just another religion that stridently insists on its own uniqueness, or is it bigger than that? I don't propose we all run off and become Gnostics and deny Christ's humanity or divinity, but that we take from Gnosticism what it managed to do better than our tradition; namely, to baptize pagan philosophy. Origen is sometimes accused of having Gnostic leanings (and indeed, he was even condemned) simply because he himself tried to do this so thoroughly.
     
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  7. Simon Magus

    Simon Magus Member

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    Was Plato?
     
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  8. Simon Magus

    Simon Magus Member

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    Good point. And it's an unpopular idea within scholarly circles (but it's there) that avers Gnosticism preceded orthodoxy, and that orthodoxy made literal & concrete what for the Gnostics had always been mythical and laissez-faire. I don't agree with this theory, but it's certainly provocative. There are warnings in St. Paul, I think it is, concerning heretical sects who deny Christ having come in the flesh and who discourage marriage. This would seem to indicate, at least, that the two strains were contemporaneous very early on.
     
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  9. Old Christendom

    Old Christendom Well-Known Member

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    I don't think anyone denies that gnosticism itself predated Christianity. So did all sorts of paganism for that matter. What does age have to do with anything? What we hold is that gnostic philosphy is incompatible with the religion revealed by Our Lord who alone is truth. Our Lord is a jealous God, it is Christ Himself who is strident about His uniqueness. The early Church battled very hard against the gnostics, we shouldn't despise their struggle or take the triumph of orthodoxy for granted. The catholicity of our faith does not mean it's an ecumenical tent that encompasses all kinds of philosophies and approaches to the divine known to man. That would be more proper to a U.N. religion or ethical chart. The catholicity of the Christian religion is rooted in the universality of the gospel, in its divine truth which knows no boundaries of time and space.

    Christian gnostics have tried to blend gnosticism with Christianity and it never works, it always ends up in some sort of heresy.
     
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  10. Simon Magus

    Simon Magus Member

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    Well, I guess it doesn't necessarily matter that it was older than Christianity. I was just trying to point out that there was much in pre-Christian pagan philosophy that the Church Fathers saw fit to draw from. The Christian Gnostics were simply drinking from the pagan well far more voraciously; I would agree with Plotinus that their fatal flaw was their over-eagerness to take in everything but the kitchen sink. As it happened, they ended up with a helter-skeleter cosmology crammed with all kinds of loony nonsense cribbed from the oriental mystery cults.

    This was very much Tertullian's position, as you probably know. "What has Athens to do with Jerusalem? What concord hath the Academy with the Church?" But this wasn't the majority consensus. More Church Fathers than not were willing to view Hellenistic philosophy favorably, and they were impressed enough that they worked out the idea of the "virtuous pagan." They even saw pagan myths as containing types analogous to the Old Testament prefigurings of Christ—St. Clement of Alexandria regarded Odysseus lashed to the mast as a foreshadowing of the crucifixion; and as St. Paul had used the idea of us being "crucified with Christ," St. Clement mixed it in with the notion of being tied like the mariner:

    Later Christians would see the same theme when they were confronted with Norse mythology and the story of Odin hanging himself on Yggdrasil: another foreshadowing of Christ, they reasoned. So at this point there appears to have been a healthy love affair with pagan lore going on. I see nothing wrong with that. There were even early Christians who managed to work it out that the Sybilline oracles had predicted Christ! I know you're not the world's fondest admirer of paganism, but the Church does seem to have allowed for a sober and measured indulgence in this regard.

    I don't think we need to minimize the efforts of the Early Church Fathers in combating the errors of Gnosticism; we can respect that. But we have a luxury that they could not afford during the heat of their controversy; we can examine the Gnostic literature with less prejudice and an even temper. I think an orthodox Christian could read something like the Gospel of Thomas and not be scandalized. I could be wrong, but I don't even remember there being anything explicitly heretical in it. A lot of the sayings overlap with the synoptic gospels.
     
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  11. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    In several ways, yes. Neither Platonism nor Aristotelianism should have been used for Christianity. A New Creation began on that Pascha Sunday so very long ago. We live in a Cosmos whose very metaphysical composition is changed. To talk about the old ways is to forget what happened on the Triduum. :)
     
  12. Old Christendom

    Old Christendom Well-Known Member

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    There's definitely gnostic heresy in it, Simon.

    (113) His disciples said to him, "When will the kingdom come?" Jesus said, "It will not come by waiting for it. It will not be a matter of saying 'here it is' or 'there it is.' Rather, the kingdom of the father is spread out upon the earth, and men do not see it."

    (114) Simon Peter said to him, "Let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of life." Jesus said, "I myself shall lead her in order to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every woman who will make herself male will enter the kingdom of heaven."

    But there's much more to it that any orthodox Christian would find objectionable and scandalous. In the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus is a wise teacher: but not necessarily human. In the New Testament, He is divine and human (Mt. 14:33; Mk. 2:5-10; Lk. 22:67-71; Jn. 1:1, 14). In the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus is not the Messiah predicted by the Jewish prophets (52). In the New Testament, Jesus is the Messiah predicted by the Old Testament prophets. In the Gospel of Thomas, salvation comes by learning secret knowledge (39) and looking inward (70). In the New Testament, salvation comes by looking outward in faith to Jesus (Mk. 5:34; Lk. 7:51; Jn. 6:47). In the Gospel of Thomas, there's many gods (30); possibly even some form of pantheism (77). In the New Testament there's but one God (Mk. 12:29). In the Gospel of Thomas, the physical body is bad, but the spiritual is good (114). In the New Testament, the physical body is not inherently evil since it will be resurrected (Lk. 24:39; Jn. 2:19-21). In the Gospel of Thomas, there's noo clear mention of a community context. In the New Testament, there's mention of community context and order (Mt. 18:15-20). In the Gospel of Thomas, death and resurrection are not central to the message. In the New Testament, they are (Mt. 12:39-40; Jn. 2:19-21). In the Gospel of Thomas, there are no references to the Old Testament and Jesus does not fulfill Scripture (52). In the New Testament, there are many references (Mt. 4:4; Mk. 14:27; Lk. 4:8; Jn. 10:35) and Jesus fulfills the Scriptures. In the Gospel of Thomas, Thomas himself receives a special place amongst the disciples by learning secret knowledge. In the New Testament, there's no evidence of Thomas receiving any special knowledge compared to the other disciples: Peter, James, and John are alone part of the inner circle (Mt. 17:1; Mk. 13:3; Lk. 8:51).

    In elaboration on these above points, it is remarkable that the Jesus of the Gospel of Thomas shows little acquaintance with first century Palestinian Judaism. He is much more of a sage, expositing Gnostic-like thinking by using phrases like "the all" (2, 77), "the undivided" (61), references to the "bridal chamber" (75), rather than a Jewish peasant immersed in Palestinian culture who had a great reverence for Jewish Scripture. The historical context in the Gospel of Thomas reflects mid to late second century Syrian influence or second century Gnostic tendencies.
     
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  13. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    This has nothing to do with the Fathers, at least for me. One fact stands firm: the Word became flesh. Gnosticism cannot stand as a Christian philosophy. Clement of Alexandria called Christians "true gnostics", distinguishing from the docetic illusionists. Gnosticism makes God into a liar: "The Word has become flesh, but not really".

    I do indeed enjoy Aquinas to a certain extent. When he starts picking apart the modes, operations, wills, utilities, and various microscopic facts of God, however, I become disgusted. Aristotelianism did not help us, but brought back the "wisdom" of pagans condemned in 1 Corinthians.

    You really know how to push my personal nuclear-launch buttons. :p Steindl-Rast is one of the synthetic theologians, blending everything together. I don't think it tends toward a healthy "common mysticism", but rather a blurring of truth. After all, if every human person generally gravitates to the same thing expressed differently, there's no point proclaiming the Gospel nor even being a Christian oneself, right?

    1. Yes, it is! 2. No, it isn't.

    My goodness, whence this fear of proclaiming the religion of Christ our God? I will stridently proclaim this as the only true religion & faith by which men can be saved. There is no other Name, there is no other Lord, nor Saviour, nor anything else that has been or can be humanity's ultimate life. It's all open for us. Why do you feel the need to keep exploring beyond that which is settled, glorious, and comforting to our fallen nature?

    Catholicity is based on the universal doctrine revealed, established, and expounded by the Catholic Church from the Apostles through their Scriptures and onward in the Fathers. To be Catholic surely isn't to embrace everything, even outside Christianity! If the Christians of A.D. 33 - A.D. 1800 had that conception of things, there'd be no Christianity left. The advent of Rosicrucianism, Masonry, Mormonism, Jehova's Witnesses, and Adventism have all tricked us into thinking that we can have a plurality of truth.

    By the way, your vigorous defense of Gnostic-studies and your username being that of the first gnostic heretic (according to many Fathers) does not make your claim to be non-gnostic very convincing. ;)
     
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  14. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    On the contrary, my friend: we are not under a different Truth than were the Fathers. We can and should put it down hard - just as much as the Fathers did. We can certainly examine the Gnostic literature with extreme prejudice, as we examine every bit of literature that contradicts the Holy Scriptures. I have a bad temper like Ambrose and Jerome, but sometimes it's necessary. The pseudo-Gospel of Thomas scandalizes me: the Good Creator denying one half of His own created human image... !

    Let me retract what I said yesterday: I am not against understanding Gnosticism, but rather incorporating any part of it, or even entertaining the idea. :) At any rate, intellectual chronological progress is not a good theory.
     
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  15. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Consular that there has never been a more controversial time for the faith than those fist few centuries after Christ's death. If anything we must be more focused on what exactly is and is not the Christian faith given how our culture is so inviting of relativism, syncretism, moral libertarianism, secularism, and an unhealthy celebration of every new heresy simply because it is new. Having said that, I think it is encumbent upon us to grab hold of whatever is right and good and true ans use it for God's glory. CSLewis said this was the main difference between the atheistic and Christian worldviews: the former thinks it is right and all religions are all wrong, the latter thinks it is right but doesn't see all other religions as all wrong all the way, but only insofar as it departs from the truth of Christ. This means there is a certain openness to Christian things so long as they aren't anti Christian. What is wrong with Gnosticism is clear it is dualistic, turns the creator into a source of evil, it often rejects either the humanity or divinity of Christ, it does not see the cross as redemptive, it does not see the resurrection as literal, and its emanationist theology runs against God's revelation of himself as trinity. But it does not follow that nothing good cannot be gleaned from it , especially as a tool for evangelism the way the church father used the Ulysses and Odin myths as a tool for relating the crucifixionto a pagan culture.
     
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  16. Simon Magus

    Simon Magus Member

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    We can agree on something, then! We both find Aquinas tiresome. I'm not big on Aristotelianism, either, but the pagan strain picked up by most of the theologians who preceded the Scholastics was Neoplatonism. I consider myself a Neoplatonist, and I think the Church would've greatly benefited had someone like John Scotus Erigena been given the prominence of St. Thomas Aquinas. Water under the bridge, though.

    The point in proclaiming the Gospel and in being a Christian would be that Christianity is the finest expression of the perennial philosophy; the fullness of truth. Origen, for example, formulated a doctrine of universal salvation, and the frequent complaint with this (and the reason Origen was condemned) is that if everyone is saved, why don't we just become pagans? Why should we even bother with Christianity? Yet (oddly enough, you might think) Origen continued to bother with it, and enthusiastically. He saw the faith as the sublime sum of its many aspects, not something that could be crudely reduced down to a fatal doctrinal flaw and dispensed with.

    If the latter point is not true, then I guess we're just Judaism 2.0, taking up the same old belligerent religious chauvinism. I can only re-iterate, though, that many of the Church Fathers didn't see it that way at all. One of the reasons the Jews were so disgusted by Christianity is because not only was it (in their view) a Jewish heresy, but that it absorbed so much from the Gentile philosophies. I believe there are portions of the Talmud that reflect this. Christianity was, in fact, open to outside influence.


    Of course—but I haven't said anywhere that Catholic Christianity ought to embrace everything. I've only said that our approach can mirror that of the Church Fathers who studied the pagan philosophies, which is to sift out the dross and keep the gold. We did not inherit Tertullian's absolutist view. Tertullian himself was a theologian. If everything was perfectly settled, there would really be no need for further commentary at all. But there is, of course. Ours is a living tradition, not something set in stone.

    Point taken. But I assure you I'm a non-Gnostic; nevertheless I do find them a fascinating bunch. A good part of it is probably an innate fondness for oriental exoticism on my part. I wonder what their liturgies were like. I imagine a lovely Syriac priestess with long black hair and silver anklets and copious eyeshadow, kneeling before an stone altar in a dark chapel with flickering candelabras, making graceful libations and chanting long prayers in some forgotten Semitic tongue. And I like their pronounced emphasis on asceticism, as well as their reluctance to sanction marriage. Also, as a vegetarian, I appreciate that the Gnostic Christians took up this ethical banner with far more enthusiasm than their orthodox counterparts did. So it's a combination of disparate factors, but I think they're intriguing. They seem to have done well by themselves in practice but failed miserably in their doctrines, with the striking exception of monism.
     
  17. Simon Magus

    Simon Magus Member

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    Thanks for refreshing my memory, Old Christendom. I was remembering the similarities better than the differences. I would only say that it should not necessarily be shocking, though, to see Platonic ideas in Christian literature. St. Paul, I think, when preaching in Athens, used the phrase "in whom we live and move and have our being" referring to God the Father—although the idea is not original to Paul, but rather to Epimenides, a Greek philosopher.
     
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  18. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    :)

    To call Christianity the finest expression of perennial truth is to allow other roads to God than Jesus Christ. Since Christ Himself said He is the only Royal Road to the Almighty, we must either make the incarnate Saviour a liar (by allowing Gnosticism) or hold firmly to His meaning. We must be precise & logical here.

    I mean no offense; rather, I welcome you to the Forum - might your mystical studies, however, not lead to something universalist & indifferent? Were salvation truly a universal gift, God would not have become incarnate, nor indeed would He have needed to create the world - we might just as easily have been made Angels. Gnostic fairy-tales deny that matter is even good at all. Were it evil, why would the Pleroma have allowed the Demiurge to create pure evil?

    The reason I believe there must be a non-universal salvation is simply the state of things: a physical cosmos, created matter, and the Longest Journey - which is going on right now. Some do fall by the wayside; some die forever, even in story-books...

    "Belligerent religious chauvinism" are words of doubt & fear. "Trust" is the word of faith. To assert the sole verity of Christianity is not to persecute or hate others, but it is to say that 2+2=4. You seem to be saying that we can just let people go about saying 2+2=5, and they can get away with such a misrepresentation of Truth. Please forgive me if this is not so!

    Christian theologians were definitely open to outside influences in explaining the specific doctrines, but they never allowed outside doctrines to enter into the holy faith. Do you see what I mean? :) Gnosticism takes platonic ideas that may be true, but it doesn't mean that we accept gnosticism or Platonism. Christianity can be the only Truth, because all the realities of creation, providence, plan, movements, and future of the universe proceed from and toward the WORD, the center of the Cosmos.

    You certainly have a point - Tertullian ended up outside the Church at the end of his life, the poor man. Absolutism against heresy often seems to make a man condemned as an heretic.

    At any rate, Living Tradition is something Irenaeus finds very suspicious in his "Against Heresies". He presents good reasons for disdaining the idea that all Truth comes "viva voce". Living Tradition has given us the relativism of popes and the ever-shifting opinions of Magisterium(s). If holy/sacred tradition is primarily living rather than written, anyone can have an ecstasy and make anything up.

    I suppose you're High Church then! :D

    As to eating: the Holy Spirit speaks through Paul in Romans 14 that every man has his conscience, and he eats & drinks unto the Lord. The same God, however, revealed to Peter in Acts that God has cleansed all things. I personally associate Vegetarianism with a denial of Man's stewardship & authority in the Earth... but never mind, that's not essentially linked to Gnosticism as such.
     
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  19. Simon Magus

    Simon Magus Member

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    I’m happy to be precise and logical, but at this point we’ve arrived at a problem that Christians have been wrestling with for centuries. Christ indeed said that “no man comes to the Father but through me,” and yet in that same gospel it’s explicitly stated that Christ is “the light which illuminates every man who comes into this world.” So this presents a tricky paradox to resolve. You’re welcome to a strict and exclusivist reading, of course, but I don’t think it’s necessarily incumbent on me to share it. Nicholas of Cusa certainly diverged from your interpretation when he wrote his De Pace Fidei, wherein he surmised that if all people were indeed afforded a glimpse of Christ the Logos, then those of good will were naturally groping towards that light even within their respective religions, in varying shades of darkness and with various degrees of ignorance. So he definitely took a generous view, but I don’t think he could be accused of calling Our Lord a liar.

    Thank you for the welcome. I do hew pretty closely to being a universalist (such is Neoplatonism), but I don’t consider myself indifferent. As to how the Gnostics would’ve answered your challenges, I doubt they would’ve been terribly interested in theodicy in the first place. Their doctrines just weren’t that important to them. Whereas in the orthodox tradition, salvation its very self rests upon holding the correct belief in one’s mind, the Gnostics didn’t set nearly as much stock in whether one literally believed in things like the Archons or “the unborn Kalyptos, or the great male Protophanes, the perfect child who is higher than god, and his eye, Pigeradamas.” It was absurdist stuff, for sure, as weirdly complex as modernist poetry, and it wasn’t set down to be taken as dogmatic fact. They saw these things as mythological pointers to self-realization or the ascent of the soul to the One—but as Plotinus pointed out, many of their silly multifarious doctrines could be considered entirely useless to that endeavor. Still, a lot of their views on nature, matter, and the cosmos were calculated to inspire a turning away from the world and encourage an inward movement towards contemplation.


    I do see what you mean, but I want to re-iterate that I’m not advocating for the Church to actually take up Gnostic doctrines or wholly sanctify the Gnostic literature. Just as the Church did not become pagan when she took in pagan philosophical ideas, she needn’t become Gnostic by dusting off the papyri and giving those cults a fresh look. Many of the Gnostic doctrines, as I even conceded in the OP, are absolutely not compatible with the faith. But some of their disciplines, and their emphasis on mysticism, are compelling.

    One thing the Gnostics did rather well was to emphasize the importance of the experiential aspect of Christianity—which Plotinus called “the flight of the alone to the Alone,” and what St. Paul said was “the peace that passes all understanding”: “I live, yet not I, but Christ within me.” If we reduce everything down to doctrine, then it becomes a temptation to get comfortable sitting around relying on scriptural or magisterial authorities. The Gnostics regarded mysticism as the pinnacle of Christianity. And they were shrewd in realizing the varying capabilities of humans for this endeavor, and they developed a sliding gray scale of initiation to accommodate people. But even those at the lowest grade were still expected to be ascetic to a good degree: “to whom much is given, much is required.” In orthodox circles, contrariwise, there developed a schizophrenic divide between the radical renunciations of the monastics and the insouciant worldliness of many laypeople. I consider it the great tragedy of Christianity’s growth that the worldly believer came to be coddled, and that from there a more or less bourgeois Church began to evolve. Even the first wave of the Reformation couldn’t correct this, and you’d have to wait for the Quakers to come along and stumble upon the recovery of righteousness almost by a happy accident of sola scriptura: their doctrine of the “inner light” was little different from the old-time gnosis, and their admirable minimalism & simplicity of life was highly reminiscent of the world-eschewing Gnostics. If only this particular Gnostic influence had taken firmer root in the Church early on, we may’ve had a more principled and peaceable Christendom.


    That’s true; but just as anyone can have an ecstasy, anyone else can have their own interpretation of a text. Irenaeus himself believed (and taught) that Jesus had to have been fifty years old when he died, because he read it in the gospel of St. John. So it cuts both ways.
     
  20. Simon Magus

    Simon Magus Member

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    Consular, I don't know why the forum software insists in cutting up some of your quotes into two separate pieces when I reply. This is the second time it's happened. I've quoted you in one piece, I swear, but every time I click on preview or submit, it doesn't seem to change. I'm doubtless doing something wrong, but I promise it's not intentional.