apocalypse of the alien god platonism and the exile of sethian gnosticism

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Apocalypse Of The Alien God

Author : Dylan M. Burns
ISBN : 9780812245790
Genre : Religion
File Size : 33. 19 MB
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In the second century, Platonist and Judeo-Christian thought were sufficiently friendly that a Greek philosopher could declare, "What is Plato but Moses speaking Greek?" Four hundred years later, a Christian emperor had ended the public teaching of subversive Platonic thought. When and how did this philosophical rupture occur? Dylan M. Burns argues that the fundamental break occurred in Rome, ca. 263, in the circle of the great mystic Plotinus, author of the Enneads. Groups of controversial Christian metaphysicians called Gnostics ("knowers") frequented his seminars, disputed his views, and then disappeared from the history of philosophy—until the 1945 discovery, at Nag Hammadi, Egypt, of codices containing Gnostic literature, including versions of the books circulated by Plotinus's Christian opponents. Blending state-of-the-art Greek metaphysics and ecstatic Jewish mysticism, these texts describe techniques for entering celestial realms, participating in the angelic liturgy, confronting the transcendent God, and even becoming a divine being oneself. They also describe the revelation of an alien God to his elect, a race of "foreigners" under the protection of the patriarch Seth, whose interventions will ultimately culminate in the end of the world. Apocalypse of the Alien God proposes a radical interpretation of these long-lost apocalypses, placing them firmly in the context of Judeo-Christian authorship rather than ascribing them to a pagan offshoot of Gnosticism. According to Burns, this Sethian literature emerged along the fault lines between Judaism and Christianity, drew on traditions known to scholars from the Dead Sea Scrolls and Enochic texts, and ultimately catalyzed the rivalry of Platonism with Christianity. Plunging the reader into the culture wars and classrooms of the high Empire, Apocalypse of the Alien God offers the most concrete social and historical description available of any group of Gnostic Christians as it explores the intersections of ancient Judaism, Christianity, Hellenism, myth, and philosophy.

A Story Of The Soul S Journey In The Nag Hammadi Library

Author : Ulla Tervahauta
ISBN : 3525540361
Genre : History
File Size : 74. 81 MB
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Authentikos Logos (NHC VI,3), also known as Authoritative Teaching, is a little studied story of a soul's descent and ascent in the Nag Hammadi library. With her book Ulla Tervahauta fills a gap in the scholarship and provides the first monograph-length study that has this writing as its primary focus. The aim is to find a place and context for Authentikos Logos within early Christianity, but Tervahauta also adds new insight into the scholarship of the Nag Hammadi Library and study of early Christianity. Contrary to the usual discussion of the Nag Hammadi writings from the viewpoint of Gnostic studies, she argues that Authentikos Logos is best approached from the context of Christian traditions of late ancient Egypt between the third and the fifth centuries. Tervahauta discusses the story of the soul's journey in light of various Christian and Platonic writings. Also, she analyses the relationship of Authentikos Logos with the Valentinian Wisdom myth and suggests that no firm evidence connects the writing closely with Valentinian traditions. And although a Platonic mind-set can be assumed, the writing combines motifs in a unique manner. For example, the four epithets used in the writing - the "invisible soul," the "pneumatic soul," the "material soul," and the "rational soul" - are not found thus combined elsewhere. Discussion of matter (hyle) is connected with Christian scriptural allusions and the focus is on ethics and the evilness of matter. The body, on the other hand, is the soul's place of contest and progress. The Pauline term "pneumatic body" (1 Cor 15:44) is used allusively and from a Platonic perspective. With this book Ulla Tervahauta makes an important contribution to the study of early Christianity in late ancient Egypt by discussing a writing that shows knowledge and creative combination of literary traditions that circulated in late ancient Egypt.

From The Ashes Of Angels

Author : Andrew Collins
ISBN : 187918172X
Genre : Body, Mind & Spirit
File Size : 35. 23 MB
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Provides convincing evidence that angels, demons, and fallen angels were flesh-and-blood members of a giant race predating humanity, spoken of in the Bible as the Nephilim. • Indicates that the earthly paradise of Eden was a realm in the mountains of Kurdistan. • By the author of Gateway to Atlantis. Our mythology describes how beings of great beauty and intelligence, who served as messengers of gods, fell from grace through pride. These angels, also known as Watchers, are spoken of in the Bible and other religious texts as lusting after human women, who lay with them and gave birth to giant offspring called the Nephilim. These religious sources also record how these beings revealed forbidden arts and sciences to humanity--transgressions that led to their destruction in the Great Flood. Andrew Collins reveals that these angels, demons, and fallen angels were flesh-and-blood members of a race predating our own. He offers evidence that they lived in Egypt (prior to the ancient Egyptians), where they built the Sphinx and other megalithic monuments, before leaving the region for what is now eastern Turkey following the cataclysms that accompanied the last Ice Age. Here they lived in isolation before gradually establishing contact with the developing human societies of the Mesopotamian plains below. Humanity regarded these angels--described as tall, white-haired beings with viperlike faces and burning eyes--as gods and their realm the paradise wherein grew the tree of knowledge. Andrew Collins demonstrates how the legends behind the fall of the Watchers echo the faded memory of actual historical events and that the legacy they have left humanity is one we can afford to ignore only at our own peril.

The Gnostic Religion

Author : Hans Jonas
ISBN : 0807058017
Genre : Religion
File Size : 51. 23 MB
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The author, a noted philosopher, applies existentialist thought to the gnostic teachings in an attempt to understand core religious experience. Original.

The Word In The Desert

Author : Douglas Burton-Christie
ISBN : 0195359410
Genre : Religion
File Size : 86. 20 MB
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The growing scholarly attention in recent years to the religious world of late antiquity has focused new attention on the quest for holiness by the strange, compelling, often obscure early Christian monks known as the desert fathers. Yet until now, little attention has been given to one of the most vital dimensions of their spirituality: their astute, penetrating interpretation of Scripture. Rooted in solitude, cultivated in an atmosphere of silence, oriented toward the practical appropriation of the sacred texts, the desert fathers' hermeneutic profoundly shaped every aspect of their lives and became a significant part of their legacy. This book explores the setting within which the early monastic movement emerged, the interpretive process at the center of the desert fathers' quest for holiness, and the intricate patterns of meaning woven into their words and their lives.

Practicing Gnosis

Author : April DeConick
ISBN : 9789004248526
Genre : Religion
File Size : 23. 69 MB
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The essays in Practicing Gnosis demonstrate that the Gnostics were not necessarily trendy intellectuals seeking epistomological certainities. Instead, this book explores how Gnostics were seeking religious experiences that relied on practices including ritual, magic, liturgy, and theurgy. This book celebrates the career of Birger A. Pearson.

Rethinking Gnosticism

Author : Michael Allen Williams
ISBN : 1400822211
Genre : Religion
File Size : 43. 65 MB
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Most anyone interested in such topics as creation mythology, Jungian theory, or the idea of "secret teachings" in ancient Judaism and Christianity has found "gnosticism" compelling. Yet the term "gnosticism," which often connotes a single rebellious movement against the prevailing religions of late antiquity, gives the false impression of a monolithic religious phenomenon. Here Michael Williams challenges the validity of the widely invoked category of ancient "gnosticism" and the ways it has been described. Presenting such famous writings and movements as the Apocryphon of John and Valentinian Christianity, Williams uncovers the similarities and differences among some major traditions widely categorized as gnostic. He provides an eloquent, systematic argument for a more accurate way to discuss these interpretive approaches. The modern construct "gnosticism" is not justified by any ancient self-definition, and many of the most commonly cited religious features that supposedly define gnosticism phenomenologically turn out to be questionable. Exploring the sample sets of "gnostic" teachings, Williams refutes generalizations concerning asceticism and libertinism, attitudes toward the body and the created world, and alleged features of protest, parasitism, and elitism. He sketches a fresh model for understanding ancient innovations on more "mainstream" Judaism and Christianity, a model that is informed by modern research on dynamics in new religious movements and is freed from the false stereotypes from which the category "gnosticism" has been constructed.

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