The Origins of Gnosticism

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posted on Feb, 10 2014 @ 12:34 PM
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Recently in the course of our online discussions, some mention of Gnosticism has come up. It appears that some think Gnosticism arose during or after the life of Jesus....
where others believe the practice goes back to way, way (6000 years or more) before he was born.

The Origins of the Gnostic Movement

One the most daunting problems posed by the Gnostic Coptic materials is the question of origins. Who wrote these documents, and where did the authors came from? It is exasperating to delve into this material with no concrete idea of its human origin in cultural, historical, or geographic terms.

Even assuming that the Egyptian codices are translations of “original writings” by Gnostics who belonged to cults scattered around Egypt and the Near East, we are left in bafflement as to where the Gnostic movement originated in the first place.

So - there is argument about it. But some historians definitely relate it back to the pre-Jesus pagan religions.


In his elegant little book on the Gnostics, Jacques Lacarriere asserts that Gnosis was a path of illumination based upon ancient star-wisdom.

The Jewish historian Josephus says that the Children of Seth were widely revered as celestial seers who “discovered the sciences of the heavenly bodies and their patterns” (Antiquities, I.68-72).


Josephus is often used as a source on this forum. Apparently some of his writings are alleged to have been forged, incomplete and inaccurate, but nevertheless; the Children of Seth .....(see above)....


All through the Near East and into Europa, the astronomer-priests of the Magian Order was known in late times as "Chaldeans," a rather misleading nickname. This term is a derivation of the Sumerian Kasdim, related to the Hebrew Chesed (a sepiroth of the Tree of Life) and Chassidim, "the pious," an ultra-conservative sect linked to the Zaddikim.

The tendency of Biblical editing is to conflate Chaldean motifs with the Magian Order, conferring legitimacy on the patriarchs by way of association. Abraham's father, Terah, was a priest of the temple of the lunar god, Sin, in the city of Ur. There is a great deal of astro-mythological lore encoded in the Old Testament — evidence of Magian and Sethian influences. And, of course, the Magi figure vividly in the New Testament fable of the birth of the savior.


As far as I can tell (and I certainly don't know everything!), gnosticism is an ancient, even pre-historic, practice....
And it is my "lay-student" opinion that it has heavily influenced modern Abrahamic religious doctrine.


A hundred years ago, half a century before the Nag Hammadi find, scholars working on the Berlin, Askew and Ahkmin codices, and the paraphrases of Gnostic teaching found in the polemics of the Church Fathers (that is, the dossier of the prosecution), took a deep interest in the pre-Christian origins of the movement.

When Doresse published The Secret Books of the Egyptian Gnostics: (this link is a review of it) in 1958, there was still some debate over where the Gnostic movement originated. Amazingly, Doresse, a Catholic archeologist who was overtly hostile to the Gnostics, was the only post-Nag Hammadi scholar to cite what the Gnostics themselves had to say about the sources of their movement.

And thereby hangs a long and tangled tale.


A long and tangled tale indeed. Will we ever get to the bottom of it?


“Children of Seth” is the legendary name that Gnostics assigned to a sacred lineage of phosters, or revealers. The name Seth occurs in the Bible, in Genesis 4:25: “And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son, and called his name Seth. For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Adam slew.”

Significantly, this is the only time it occurs. Seth belongs to “another seed,” a lineage set apart from the Judeo-Christian narrative of “sacred history.” From the inception of their story, Gnostics are situated outside the conventional narrative of Western spiritual life.


But, why?


By the Sethians' own account, a tradition of secret knowledge concerning divine matters was transmitted from remote times by a succession of men and women who had mastered the illuminist method, Gnosis. The Revealers were an elite corps operating within a unique cultural and spiritual complex that emerged in prehistoric Iran: the Magian Order (MAY-gee-un).

German scholars such as Gustav Widengren, Richard Reitzenstein, and M. H. Schraeder, who are largely ignored today, delved deeply into the prehistoric roots of Iranian religion known as Zurvan.

This is the germ of the doctrine of cosmic duality attributed to the Persian prophet, Zoroaster, and spread throughout the world by the members of his religious order, the Magi. Reitzenstein in particular intuited that Gnostic ideas were influenced by Persian duality, or Zurvanism, but he was unable to work out how. No one since his time has done any better. The investigation is complicated by the remoteness of Iranian religion, dating to the 6th millennium BCE.

(Emphases are mine.)

Would anyone else like to share what they have learned about this practice?




posted on Feb, 10 2014 @ 12:45 PM
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Gnosticism (to me) first meant Masonic religion, so I looked into and it was just mystery within mystery, designed to keep those intrigued enough, intrigued.

Then I heard it meant Crowley, so I looked into it and he just wanted an excuse to rape and kill little boys.

Then I heard it was all about the Old Testament and the Metatron, but that God was a ruthless guy who just gave a bunch of blood thirsty people some rules no one has ever actually obeyed.

More recently I heard it meant the missing gospels of Jesus, so I looked into it and Thomas had a parable for everything, that meant nothing, and once again just seemed to create mystery within mystery, with no actual answers to anything.

The word just means knowledge and so far no body who claims to have it seems to be sharing anything worth taking on board!
edit on 10-2-2014 by Beavers because: (no reason given)
edit on 10-2-2014 by Beavers because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 10 2014 @ 01:07 PM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 


Much of Gnostic teachings can get tied to the mazeroth, through seth, etc.

Astrology, takes is basis there.

The Jewish mazeroth, was supposed to be Gods method for telling signs in the sky, events in the stars would map to certain holy days ETC.

Some seem the growth of Gnostic teaching, branch through to Astrology and the "perversion" of the orginal purpose of the Mazeroth.

But again, Gnostic teachings, always claim a path of "illumination" through Secret knowledge not revealed to the rest...

Something that starts leading to other "interesting" facets of those beliefs in general.



posted on Feb, 10 2014 @ 01:16 PM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 


According to WIKIPEDIA - Agnosticism is the view that the truth values of certain claims—especially claims about the existence or non-existence of any deity, as well as other religious and metaphysical claims, are unknown or unknowable.Agnosticism sometimes indicates doubt or a skeptical approach to questions. In the popular sense, an agnostic is someone who neither believes nor disbelieves in the existence of a deity or deities, whereas a theist and an atheist believe and disbelieve, respectively.

Thomas Henry Huxley, an English biologist, coined the word agnostic in 1869. However, earlier thinkers have written works that promoted agnostic points of view.



posted on Feb, 10 2014 @ 02:02 PM
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Sorry to nit-pick but just wanted to clear this up to satisfy my OCD.
“And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son, and called his name Seth. For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Adam slew.”
Adam didn't slay Abel, Cain did.
Carry on.



posted on Feb, 10 2014 @ 02:49 PM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 


This is the first I've heard of "Sethian Gnostics". I'll have to do a bit more research on that. All I'm getting so far is the supposed channeled sessions from Seth by Jane Roberts. Although I"m a big fan of her fictional books, I'm not sure I'd take her channelings as historical fact.

My experience with Gnosticism is with the Platonic Hellenistic and Alexandria Therapeutic flavors. Plato believed that all of creation is a shoddy copy of the perfect ideas that exists in heaven. Once the cognitive light is personally realized it can't be retold without distortion, which is what the physical world is, a distorted, imperfect copy of the perfect idea that exists in the realm of God.




This knowledge is not something that can be put into words like other sciences; but after long-continued intercourse between teacher and pupil, in joint pursuit of the subject, suddenly, like light flashing forth when a fire is kindled, it is born in the soul and straightway nourishes itself.
Plato



“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.”
Plutarch



posted on Feb, 10 2014 @ 03:14 PM
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posted on Feb, 10 2014 @ 04:42 PM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 

I guess it depends on which tradition one wants to adhere to. I would say it came down through Adam, Seth, and finally to Enoch, who refined it, and also refined the Mazzaroth. So Enoch might be considered the first gnostic, hence his popularity with the secret societies. Just my little farthing, fwiw.

S&F Wild.

edit on 2/10/2014 by Klassified because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 10 2014 @ 04:55 PM
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reply to post by whitewave
 


For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Adam slew.”
Adam didn't slay Abel, Cain did.

You are entirely correct, whitewave.
Thanks for your edit -- it drives me nuts to see oversights like that.



posted on Feb, 10 2014 @ 04:58 PM
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reply to post by Jesuslives4u
 


Right. Yes. So....
this thread is about gnosticism, not agnosticism.

edit on 2/10/14 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)


Oh, BTW: star for participation.

edit on 2/10/14 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 10 2014 @ 05:04 PM
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reply to post by benrl
 



But again, Gnostic teachings, always claim a path of "illumination" through Secret knowledge not revealed to the rest...

Something that starts leading to other "interesting" facets of those beliefs in general.

Exactly what I'm seeing.

Thanks, benrl! Yes, it seems that throughout the aeons, there have been 'masters' and 'novices'; 'pupils' and 'disciples'....and clearly not everyone is cut out to get to the highest degree attainable.....

for example, I was in accelerated education as a kid, languages and other subjects were fine: but when I got to 'calculus' at age 16, I totally knew I was in over my head. I'd struggled in 7th grade to get 'algebra' - then did fine through 'geometry' and 'trig' - but, calculus?
Physics? Ermmmm.....nope! Dont' get it!


edit on 2/10/14 by wildtimes because: sp



posted on Feb, 10 2014 @ 06:15 PM
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reply to post by wildtimes

Gnostism originates out of the Order of Melchisedek (way back machine) and the Essenes sect Qumran; (70AD destroyed by the romans) then passed to the Rosicusions; Templars/freemasons; mans origins and his reason for an existence. Esoteric hidden spiritual teachings regarding our creators (who they were) and why they felt the need to uplift the specie of Mankind. This was an oral tradition.

Major tenent is: "life manifested as the being we know as homo sapiens did not originate on this planet, but was implanted here by more advanced spiritual beings who came from elsewere". Jesus was an Essene and had this knowledge.

edit on 10-2-2014 by vethumanbeing because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 10 2014 @ 06:16 PM
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reply to post by Klassified
 



I would say it came down through Adam, Seth, and finally to Enoch, who refined it, and also refined the Mazzaroth. So Enoch might be considered the first gnostic, hence his popularity with the secret societies. Just my little farthing, fwiw.

Hey, Klass.

I'd be so obliged if you'd expound on this some! There is a lot of confusion here; and I acknowledge that you are an expert in how this all works, from the 'insider's side' (behinder's side?) of the pulpit. If you don't mind.

(But, of course, if you don't wanna, well, ya know.... That's cool, too. No pressure.)
Thx.

edit on 2/10/14 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 10 2014 @ 06:19 PM
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reply to post by vethumanbeing
 



Jesus was an Essene had this knowledge.

Yes, that is what I have discovered/learned also.

The Essenes were well known as healers and mystics. Yup, he was one of them according to what I have read so far.

Thx.



posted on Feb, 10 2014 @ 07:00 PM
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reply to post by Klassified
 




I guess it depends on which tradition one wants to adhere to. I would say it came down through Adam, Seth, and finally to Enoch, who refined it, and also refined the Mazzaroth.


Except that Adam and Seth never existed, in my opinion. Enoch? I don't know, his book did bring us a lot of true cosmology.

All of the bible stories are gnostic allegorical and metaphoric lessons about ourselves, our purpose, our goals and our future. IMHO, of course.


I believe that middle eastern/Mediterranean Gnosticism first came out of Egypt. Even Abraham was led to Egypt, by god, because of "famine", which I believe to be metaphor for an empty soul, a lack of knowledge of the true God/self.



posted on Feb, 10 2014 @ 07:13 PM
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windword

All of the bible stories are gnostic allegorical and metaphoric lessons about ourselves, our purpose, our goals and our future. IMHO, of course.



This makes me think you haven't read most of the Old Testament?



posted on Feb, 10 2014 @ 07:33 PM
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reply to post by Beavers
 


My dear, where I grew up, one read their Bible, and knew their Bible. I assure you, I have read the Old Testament several times over. You are welcome to you opinion of me and my opinions, but you are not welcome to your own facts!



posted on Feb, 10 2014 @ 07:35 PM
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Beavers
windword


windwordAll of the bible stories are gnostic allegorical and metaphoric lessons about ourselves, our purpose, our goals and our future. IMHO, of course.




BeaversThis makes me think you haven't read most of the Old Testament?


Not if King James was the one referenced; it was not, (meanist bible written other than Mein Kampf); and in continuance, what if the scriptures were supposed/intended to be allegorical in the first place and someone decided this was "LAW". How do you interpret 'poetry' as LAW? Unless you have blowhard theologians telling you what the meaning of verse upon verse means? Youd have to have a doctorate in Ancient languages and history to understand this MESS of a text that HAS NO BASIS IN FACT whatsoever. Its a curiousity is all. I look at it as information only, an oddity that for some reason continues to YOLK the human into strange hypnotic submission (why). Herodotus was a better historian; not so much conjecture there.
edit on 10-2-2014 by vethumanbeing because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 10 2014 @ 08:04 PM
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Beavers
Gnosticism (to me) first meant Masonic religion, so I looked into and it was just mystery within mystery, designed to keep those intrigued enough, intrigued.
Then I heard it meant Crowley, so I looked into it and he just wanted an excuse to rape and kill little boys.


Thats just wrong (the guy was an opium addicted failed alchemist); and John Dee in any century would not help him. He had knowledge, but failed to write cohesively about it "Majick without tears"; "the book of the law" are too obtuse and only meant for adepts or initiates.


BeaversMore recently I heard it meant the missing gospels of Jesus, so I looked into it and Thomas had a parable for everything, that meant nothing, and once again just seemed to create mystery within mystery, with no actual answers to anything.


I would suppose there are no easy answers; and you have to seek them for yourself.
Its esoteric knowledge; and being such would not be believed anyway as to the matter of your true creation/your gross matter body formaters; and subsequent existance now.



posted on Feb, 10 2014 @ 08:13 PM
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reply to post by windword
 


I meant no disrespect from assumption and apologies in any offence was taken!

I just found lots of the OT to be completely un-allegorical in parts.

Numbers for example and the constant family tree updates and duties of the Levites just seemed a (completely unnecessary) historical account.

It's almost feels too boring to be fiction





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