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Thread: Gnosticism

  1. #1
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    Gnosticism

    I would like to start a discussion about Gnosticism. It signifies 'higher knowledge' in the sense of mystical enlightenment. It is taken from the Greek noun for 'knowledge' γνῶσις Gnosis. In researching I find that it was Irenaeus that first used ("learned", "intellectual") the school of thought and writtings of Valentinus as heresies. Irenaeus used the term gnostikos in reference to the work of Valentinus as '"knowledge falsely so-called'.

    So I take the reason Irenaeus called Valentinus writtings as Gnosticism as being heresies is that it goes against the common teachings. There are some scholars that consider that Irenaeus sometimes uses gnostikos to simply mean "intellectual". What then was the overall differences? Christianity uses knowledge and Jesus himself called to the people to come and learn of him. Matt 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me...

    I also found out that there is different types of orgins of Gnosticism: (Persian Gnosticism,Syrian-Egyptian Gnosticism and Greco-Roman Gnosticism) and different subsets of thoughts such as Jewish Kabbalah.

    Could we then say that there is good knowledge and evil knowledge? What I'm trying to determine is what actually where the EFC and even the disciples calling heresy? Is their agrument against knowledge or against anything that was against their way of thinking? For instance if they where teaching againts the pagan religions why then do they imploy so much of the pagan myths into their teachings? Why would the teach and hope to cast off the old body of death and put on a new body and to claim that there body was a temple....seems to be some of the same things taught by the Gnostics.

    What to make of it.....
    Beck

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    Here's something...Wasn't the teaching of the trinity a teaching by Valentinus (that he got from Plato) the same one that where labeled an heretic? If his teaching was considered to be gnostic and a heretic than why later accept some of his teachings into the christain religion? The whole idea seems to be against the marriage of Greek philosophy into Christian religion, but yet I see that very thing happening.
    Beck

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beck View Post
    I would like to start a discussion about Gnosticism. It signifies 'higher knowledge' in the sense of mystical enlightenment. It is taken from the Greek noun for 'knowledge' γνῶσις Gnosis. In researching I find that it was Irenaeus that first used ("learned", "intellectual") the school of thought and writtings of Valentinus as heresies. Irenaeus used the term gnostikos in reference to the work of Valentinus as '"knowledge falsely so-called'.

    So I take the reason Irenaeus called Valentinus writtings as Gnosticism as being heresies is that it goes against the common teachings. There are some scholars that consider that Irenaeus sometimes uses gnostikos to simply mean "intellectual". What then was the overall differences? Christianity uses knowledge and Jesus himself called to the people to come and learn of him. Matt 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me...

    I also found out that there is different types of orgins of Gnosticism: (Persian Gnosticism,Syrian-Egyptian Gnosticism and Greco-Roman Gnosticism) and different subsets of thoughts such as Jewish Kabbalah.

    Could we then say that there is good knowledge and evil knowledge? What I'm trying to determine is what actually where the EFC and even the disciples calling heresy? Is their agrument against knowledge or against anything that was against their way of thinking? For instance if they where teaching againts the pagan religions why then do they imploy so much of the pagan myths into their teachings? Why would the teach and hope to cast off the old body of death and put on a new body and to claim that there body was a temple....seems to be some of the same things taught by the Gnostics.

    What to make of it.....
    Fascinating topic Beck. The first thing to note is that the Bible frequently uses the word gnosis (and epignosis) to speak of the knowledge of Christ and God.

    There is a curious contradiction that is often overlooked in the Bible. All problems in this world are traced back to the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam was forbidden to eat from it. But from that point on, the Bible praises the acquisition of knowledge as one of the highest values. It's very strange. In the beginning knowledge is presented as something deadly that must be avoided, and then everything after that says we should seek it first and foremost!

    Religion would be a lot more interesting if folks could think freely about what the Bible really states. If you really think it's from God, then treat it like the most intelligent "puzzle" you have ever seen, which means that you would never seek to make up the kinds of idiotic arguments use by apologists to support their ludicrous doctrines. On the contrary, you would understand that God made Biblical fundamentalism absolutely impossible by filling the Bible with errors, contradictions, and moral abominations attributed to himself! (That's if you believe the Bible really is from God, that is.) In other words, the HIGHEST VIEW of Scripture is to accept it as given, which means that you never try to cover up or explain away what it plainly states. Excuse the rant ...

    Now back to your topic - what did the ECF really mean by "Gnostic"? That's a great question. I'd have to look at their writings again to find out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
    Fascinating topic Beck. The first thing to note is that the Bible frequently uses the word gnosis (and epignosis) to speak of the knowledge of Christ and God.

    There is a curious contradiction that is often overlooked in the Bible. All problems in this world are traced back to the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam was forbidden to eat from it. But from that point on, the Bible praises the acquisition of knowledge as one of the highest values. It's very strange. In the beginning knowledge is presented as something deadly that must be avoided, and then everything after that says we should seek it first and foremost!
    I know what you mean. That is something I thought about, but don't know what to make of it. It's as if one should be able to know the good knowledge apart from the evil knowledge. That's where it gets hard to understand. It's as I mentioned about the ECF and Valentinus they called him a heretic and taught Gnosticism, but later accepted one of his principle teaching of the trinity.

    As I understand it in the early centuries philosophers, scientists and astronomers where taken and beaten or even killed becasue the church was under the impression that the people would follow them more than the church. If that is the case then anyone that taught something opposite to the church where considered a heretic and possible excommunicated and even death. So the wrong 'opinion' could cause you you're life.


    Religion would be a lot more interesting if folks could think freely about what the Bible really states. If you really think it's from God, then treat it like the most intelligent "puzzle" you have ever seen, which means that you would never seek to make up the kinds of idiotic arguments use by apologists to support their ludicrous doctrines. On the contrary, you would understand that God made Biblical fundamentalism absolutely impossible by filling the Bible with errors, contradictions, and moral abominations attributed to himself! (That's if you believe the Bible really is from God, that is.) In other words, the HIGHEST VIEW of Scripture is to accept it as given, which means that you never try to cover up or explain away what it plainly states. Excuse the rant ...
    Excused.

    Now back to your topic - what did the ECF really mean by "Gnostic"? That's a great question. I'd have to look at their writings again to find out.
    I haven't drove into this only skimming the surface. I would be glad to hear what you find out.
    Last edited by Beck; 05-02-2012 at 04:21 PM.
    Beck

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