The Basics on Gnosticism

including those referred to as 'spiritual' by those concerned
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Neophyte
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The Basics on Gnosticism

Post by Neophyte » Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:04 am

Hello, friends of the forum.
Peace for all.
Sorry for my english, I'm brazilian and I'm using google translate. If some portions of the text are confusing, please let me know and I will look for a correct translation.

I started to study Gnosticism, but I still have some doubts ...
Because from what I have read, the Gnostics claim that the Hebrew God is a bad demiurge.
However, many Gnostic sources have a Hebrew Kabbalah content and, from what I read, Kabbalah is based on the Torah that Jehovah revealed to Moses.

In addition, I think that this conception, although some find solving the "problem of evil," is in fact a logically faulty reasoning ... For if there is a good god, why should he create or allow himself to be created Did one give evil and inflict evil on his creation?

Can you help me with these questions?

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Lúthien
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Re: The Basics on Gnosticism

Post by Lúthien » Thu Apr 26, 2018 6:26 am

Hi Neophyte,

I am not an expert in 'regular gnosticism' either, but to summarise my understanding:

The gnostic view is that Jehovah is indeed not the true God but a demiurge.
Here's a description of (one of the) the Gnostic creation myths, The Divine Sophia

A short summary of that would be:

In the beginning there was the Pleroma: the fullness of the spiritual world, uninfluenced by matter, energy or light. From the Pleroma came the Aeons (sacred powers), the last of which was Sophia (wisdom).
Sophia desperately wanted to comprehend the nature of all off creation, and she tried searching for an answer despite even though it cannot be comprehended in full. This caused a disharmony within her and with the other Aeons. At some point she realised that her striving for fully understanding creation was in vain, but by then that striving had acquired a life of its own, taking on a more substantive appearance of patterns of light, dimness and darkening matter - mixed with grief, fear, uncertainty and sorrow because of the separation with the fullness of the Pleroma.

Sophia was caught in this separation herself, with the assistance Christos and the Holy Spirit (two other Aeons) she could eventually reunite with her higher self and the other Aeons, but only by giving birth to the "Father of the Material Realm" (the Maker and creator of the Lower Visible Realms).

He then created the material universe and everything in it. But the Father God was vain and jealous, angry and forbidding, not knowing the power of the higher Aeons, nor of the Pleroma, nor even of his own Mother, the Divine Sophia, and refused to listen to her.
Yet, Sophia has given all people the gift of the Holy Spirit as a divine spark in their hearts, and it is possible for everyone to return to her.

So. in the Gnostic view, Jehova (and that goes for both the Hebrew as the Christian interpretation) is not the true god but a 'maker of the material world' only, and by his nature separated from the Holy Spirit. That's why there is evil and sorrow in this world.

It seems as if it is maybe an undesired by-product of gaining understanding and of the creation of the material world.

Hope this helps
Lúthien
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Meneldur Olvarion
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Re: The Basics on Gnosticism

Post by Meneldur Olvarion » Thu Apr 26, 2018 7:08 am

Neophyte wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:04 am
[...] In addition, I think that this conception, although some find solving the "problem of evil," is in fact a logically faulty reasoning ... For if there is a good god, why should he create or allow himself to be created Did one give evil and inflict evil on his creation?

Can you help me with these questions?
I am not an expert on Gnosticism either, so I shall answer your question from the perspective of a shaman -- something I do have considerable experience at. In my view, this is faulty reasoning. You see, humans in general tend to require explanations for their most important questions, and if their is no answer available, they tend to just make stuff up to fill the vacancy. It even happens in Science, where it is usually referred to as "data cooking". See, for example the fallacies of "cold fusion" [link] or that "vaccines cause autism" [link].

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Re: The Basics on Gnosticism

Post by Neophyte » Thu Apr 26, 2018 9:46 am

Thanks for the answers and interest.

When I say that there is no logical sense to the apparent resolution to the problem of evil, which affirms the creator of the world as a bad demiurge and so the world is corrupt ...
That's because if before the evil demiurge, there was the good god, who gave birth to that demiurge who slaves us, so the good god who allows it is not good ...

This only makes sense to me if the interpretation of these myths is similar to the conceptions of Eastern schools like Advaita Vedanta.
In this school there is the Maya goddess, who is responsible for creating the illusion of the material world as we know it ... to trance the illusion of Maya would be the apex of our spiritual evolution.
Maya, I think, would be the equivalent of the Gnostic demiurge, but in the Vedantic conception, such a goddess is not really a separate entity from the good God ... but only one of its manifestations. The illusion of Maya according to the Vedantics is part of God's play.

I found this text (http://gnosis.org/library/valentinus/Va ... Monism.htm), which states that Valentinus's Gnostic school professed not the dualism commonly understood in relation to the Gnostics, but a monism similar to the Advaita Vedanta school.
According to the text, our material reality is a play of light and shadow, caused mainly by our ignorance of the ineffable God.
This process of creating this faulty reality from ignorance could be represented by the figure of the demiurge ...

In this way I think that the Gnostics did not refer to the demiurge as an entity proper, but an allegorical representation of this process ...
I think schools like that of the Sethians who apparently subverted the Genesis narrative, putting the Hebrew god as a villain ... were actually trying to express that most people have a poor view of God and the scriptures. In the case of the Jewish scriptures, Kabbalah would provide the real understanding of these scriptures and of Jehovah God.

Psychologist Carl Jung, I think he had a similar view. In expressing great esteem by the Gnostics, he attributes the archetype of the demiurge to our ego.
However I still have doubts about whether Jung was resignifying the Gnostic myths or whether he concluded that the ancient Gnostics really thought that way.

I would like to know more opinions of you about it.
Thank you.

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Re: The Basics on Gnosticism

Post by Meneldur Olvarion » Thu Apr 26, 2018 11:13 am

Thank you very much for mentioning and giving a short explanation of the Advaita Vedanta school/practice, of which I had not heard before. I have been meaning to study the Four Vedas for some time (which is how I usually learn new material, by going to the primary sources). It has interested me ever since I saw the movie "The Life of Pi" back in 2012, and from which my indwelling Tiger-spirit, who was always with me, got his name (Richard Parker).

With regard to Valentinian Gnosticism and it's relation to the Legendarium, we used to have a site subsection of a treatise on that someone had made - I think on geocities - that I managed to preserve before that entire domain went belly up. I don't think I have it any more, but I will check for it in the next week or so when this test bed I'm finishing up on now gets transferred to the wife and daughter's laptops.

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Re: The Basics on Gnosticism

Post by Lúthien » Fri Apr 27, 2018 3:08 pm

Moderation note: I split off Mildir's posts about Mars to a separate topic in 'The Edge' [link] for being offtopic.
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