Plato, Plotinus, Valentinus etc.. all spoke of gnosticism and spoke of it as a means to illumination/enlightenment etc..
I'm more and more exploring these early writings because while I don't think they hold "the" key, they do hold many keys of language and interpreting some of the more obscure meanings behind more dificult passages.
In any case, would love to discuss any of this, I'm posting a few links for people who may care to read.
A snippet from Plato
"What is Love?" asks Socrates, "Is he mortal?"
"No," replies Diotima,
he is neither mortal nor immortal; . . . He is a great spirit, and like all spirits he is intermediate between the divine and the mortal, he is the mediator who spans the chasm which divides them, For God [theos] mingles not with man; but through Love all the intercourse and converse of god with man, whether awake or asleep, is carried on. The wisdom which understands this is spiritual; all other wisdom . . . is mean and vulgar. §202d
"Wisdom," Diotima continues, "is a most beautiful thing, and Love is of the Beautiful" (§204a). Therefore a man who would give birth to divine wisdom should begin in youth to visit beautiful ideas, and, if properly guided by his mentor, he will come to see that the beauty of one idea is akin to the beauty of all other beautiful ideas, and that beauty of the soul is more honorable than physical beauty. In progressive stages of awakening, the philosopher will proceed from the beauty of individual things to that of laws and institutions, and on to that of sciences, with each step enlarging his horizon of understanding. Then,
drawing towards and contemplating the vast sea of beauty, he will create many fair and noble thoughts and notions in boundless love of wisdom; until on that shore he grows and waxes strong. And at last the vision is revealed to him of a single science which is the science of beauty everywhere. -- §210d
http://www.theosophy-nw.org/theosnw/wor ... -wtst2.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.iep.utm.edu/gnostic/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;