An alternative theory of
The Essence of the Gnostics --- Bernard Simon (2004)
Web Publication by Mountain Man Graphics, Australia
'I am striving to give back
the Divine in myself
to the Divine in the All.'
--- Final words of Plotinus
to Eustochius (C.270 CE)
The Essence of the Gnostics --- Bernard Simon (2004)
The Essence of the Gnostics --- Bernard Simon (2004) Chapter 1: Gnosticism Defined "He who knows himself knows the All" --- Hermes Trismegistus Pagels points out that in the Canon there is "virtually no feminine imagery for God" p.111 "The most important fact in the history of Christian Doctrine was that the father of Christian Theology, Origen, was a Platonic philosopher at the school of Alexandria. He built into Christian Doctrine the whole cosmic drama of the soul, which he took from Plato." --- Harvard Theological Review (1959) p.17 "The core myth of Gnosticism turns on the belief that inside humans there is a spark of divinity which is put there from a Supreme divinity which is lodged in the hight heavens of outer space. The divinity within each can be awakened by and discovered only through a process of contemplation and self-knowledge. This process of internal enlightenment or illumination can be best accomplished with the assistance of a divine mediator or redemption figure, who has a passing interest in the fate of God's creatures. A human instructor can also sometimes help, but even when Gnostics combine in groups they seem anti-clerical ("bishops are dry canals"). Salvation is primarily the individual's own responsibility." -- Keith Hopkins, Cambridge Professor of Medieval History "A World Full of Gods" (1999) p.19 "The Gnostics are still commonly thought of as a body of Christian heretics. In reality there were Gnostic sects scattered over the Hellenistic world before Christianity, as well as after. They must have been established at Antioch and probably in Tarsus well befoe the days of Paul or Apollos. Their saviour, like the Jewish Messiah, was established in men's minds before the Saviour of the Christians." --- Gilbert Murray, Greek scholar and translator "If we look close the result emerges with great clearness, that the figure of the Redeemer as such did not wait for Christianity to force its way into the religion of Gnosis, but was already present there under various forms." --- Professor Bousset (Theologian) p.19 "There were Gnostics in Graeco-Roman academies, the (middle) Platonists, in the era BCE (ie: Fugulus, Eudorus of Alexandria, Thrasyllus). These are the Pythagorising Platonists who, before Plotinus, held that knowledge can be perfected when it communes wit the divine, the mysterious Divine. Cicero speaks of Figulus (45 BCE), "the spiritual one", who was a contemporary of Apollonius of Tyana, the miracle worker and spiritualist mystic, and also a Pythagorean." --- Paul Trejo, German scholar/author "The East still had a strong hold on many old Romans, just as it does on many new Californians. The main idea is the enmity between flash and spirit, and the need for a Mediator between them." --- Paul Trejo, German scholar/author p.34 HERESY "Gnostics have been accused of heresy right from the very beginning" p.27 DIVERSITY within GNOSTIC SECTS Simon Magus Menander Ebion Nicolaitanes Carpocrates Corinthus Saturnius Marcus Marcion Tatian Ophites --------- Sethians, Peratae, Naasseni Cainites Apelles Calistus Elchasaites Basilides Valentinus Then, byt the time the Christians were beginning to organise themselves .... Adoptionism Appollinarianism (Council of 381 CE) Docetism Nestorianism Mani and Manichaenism Hermeticism Arianism (not mentioned !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) p.79 "Panarion" or "Medicine Chest" --- Epiphanius Bishop of Salamis (374 - 377 CE) Three books in 7 volumes listing 80 heresies The first 20 were prior to the time of Jesus. The last 60 were related to the Christian doctrine. Epiphanius quotes from "The Gospel of Eve" ... "I stood upon a high mountain and sam a tall man, and another of a shorter stature, and heard something like the sound of thunder and went nearer in order to hear. Then he spoke to me and said" "I am thou and thou art I And wherever thou art, there am I and I am sown in all things; and whence thou wilt thou gatherest me. but when thou gatherest me, then gatherest thou thyself." p.144 The Apocryphon of John "And I asked to know it, and he said to me: "The Monad is a monarchy with nothing above it. It is he who exists as God and father of everything, who exists as incorruption, which is the pure light into which no eye can look/" p.128 "Like Buddhism, Gnosticism begins with the fundamental recohnition that earthly life is filled with suffering." --- Stephan A. Hoeller "Ignorance - where is meant ignorance of spiritual realities - is dispelled only by Gnosis." --- Stephan A. Hoeller p.229 Gnostic manuscripts that predate Nag Hammadi Askew Codex (1795) -- containing "The Books of the Saviour" also known as "Pistis Sophia" Bruce Codex (1769) -- translated by Carl Schmidt (1892) Coptic, Arabic and Ethiopian manuscripts Akhim Codex (1896) -- translated in 1955 (published) containing Gospel of Mary, Apocryphon of John, Sophia of Jesus Christ aka P.Berolinensis 8502 P.Oxy Fragments --- 1897 and 1903 - Greek fragments of gThomas?