Gnosticism

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Gnosticism

Postby Zos » Sat Jan 14, 2012 4:05 am

It seems that every time I talk about Gnosticism with a different person, I come away with a different definition of gnosticism.
Can the Temple lay the controversial issue of gnosticism to rest?
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Re: Gnosticism

Postby Jim Eshelman » Sat Jan 14, 2012 7:54 am

Zos wrote:It seems that every time I talk about Gnosticism with a different person, I come away with a different definition of gnosticism.
Can the Temple lay the controversial issue of gnosticism to rest?

You have done that already. You've correctly discerned the true picture: "Gnosticism" means something different to each person you ask.

... As I wrote that sentence, I realized it was even truer than I'd first intended. :lol: That is, one of the prevailing usages of "gnosticism" is to reference a spiritual approach which is entirely individual. Of necessity, such a thing would sound different when described by different people.

But the sense in which I originally meant the first paragraph is that the word "gnostic" is used in highly diverse ways. This is partly a result of ignorance [great word in this context!], and partly a knowing [ha!] diversity of its use. For starters, there's a broad difference in whether you are talking about the formal, structured set of highly precise Eastern Mediterranean religious from two millennia ago that are academically called "gnostic," or the populist sense of an unstructured, individual, asystemmatic "spirit of inward discovery" journey to which the word is unacademically applied.

So, when it comes to a definitive definition (and, I agree, definitive definitions are the best kind), I must remain highly agnostic.
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Re: Gnosticism

Postby Zazazas214 » Fri Jun 01, 2012 3:14 pm

For a Gnostic Adventure I highly reccommend the acquisition, and playing of the ancient clay-mation game Neverwhere. it's in there, the whole emanation thing, with modern irreverance towards it all.
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Re: Gnosticism

Postby Laura Marx » Wed Sep 11, 2013 3:01 pm

So, when it comes to a definitive definition (and, I agree, definitive definitions are the best kind), I must remain highly agnostic.


I'm dying!

This might be a few aeons late, but. There was a SUMMIT held in Greece a few years ago that tried to declare the correct definitions of these words. They decided thus: Gnosticism refers to specific religious practices, such as those taught by Valentinus, etc., as Jim says, 'the formal, structured set of highly precise Eastern Mediterranean religious from two millennia ago' - this is Gnosticism, as a period of thought, as a philosophy, as a religion of some kind. Gnostic, however, refers to a type of religion or 'religious experience' that is characterized as a personal grappling with the heavens, or suchlike, in order to attain absolute knowledge. Essentially, personal mysticism. So, that encompasses everything from Evelyn Underhill to any Swami that ever lived, to Timothy Leary, to our own Thelema.

I usually go with: an emphasis on 'gnosis' & a belief in Sophia (not necessarily as deity). So, the Russian Christian Existentialists were very gnostic, Thelema is very gnostic, William Blake was very gnostic (see Blake's Visionary Universe), even Eastern Orthodox Christianity is very gnostic, though they'd consider that a slur.
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