Here's a Present, Ish

The study of religious or heroic legends and tales. One constant rule of mythology is that whatever happens amongst the gods or other mythical beings was in one sense or another a reflection of events on earth. Recorded myths and legends, perhaps preserved in literature or folklore, have an immediate interest to archaeology in trying to unravel the nature and meaning of ancient events and traditions.

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Here's a Present, Ish

Postby Minimalist » Wed Sep 03, 2008 9:35 am

http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/gnostic.html

Ken Humphrey's discussion of the gnostic roots of xtianity.

For all his esoterics, Valentinus struck a chord with displaced Jews and pagans searching for the 'truth.' During a 15 year career in the east he attracted a large following in Egypt, Cyprus and Syria.

Soon after the ruin of the Bar Kochba war, in 136, Valentinus sought his fortune in Rome. He almost became its bishop, losing out to Hyginus (138-142). He continued to teach in Rome for at least ten more years. He probably died there around 155. The Valentinian 'school', however, continued and elaborated still further its theology.

God itself was said to be androgynous (with the feminine aspects of the deity identified as 'Silence', 'Grace' and 'Thought'). Reflecting this gender-parity women held positions of authority within the Valentinian church. Unlike the master/slave relationship of later Christianity, for the Valentinians, Christ was like a brother, and the Holy Spirit like a consort. There was no need for the Church to acquire earthly riches and temporal power.

All of which, of course, was most alarming for the State/Church hierarchs of Catholicism. Branded 'heretics', the Valentinians were expelled from the Church and hunted down. By 350 AD, the Valentinian 'intellectuals' were dead and monks in Egypt were hiding the 'heretical' writings. Valentinus's major work The Gospel of Truth provoked its own response from the ecclesiasta: the Gospel of St John.

Despite its condemnation by orthodoxy, Valentinian doctrines continued to influence medieval gnostic groups such as the Paulicians and the Cathars and something of an underground Valentinian church survived as late as the 9th century, notably in Syria.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

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Re: Here's a Present, Ish

Postby Ishtar » Wed Sep 03, 2008 10:00 am

Thank you, Min. :D

This to me has always been the key:

Minimalist wrote:
Soon after the ruin of the Bar Kochba war, in 136, Valentinus sought his fortune in Rome. He almost became its bishop, losing out to Hyginus (138-142).


Why was he passed over? Did he not toe the Literalist party line? They got rid of Marcion the following year.


God itself was said to be androgynous (with the feminine aspects of the deity identified as 'Silence', 'Grace' and 'Thought'). Reflecting this gender-parity women held positions of authority within the Valentinian church. Unlike the master/slave relationship of later Christianity, for the Valentinians, Christ was like a brother, and the Holy Spirit like a consort. There was no need for the Church to acquire earthly riches and temporal power.


This goes back to Sophia, who was God's co-creator (and not just someone to cook and wash up after God) until the misogynists Yahwehists go their hands on her. :wink:


All of which, of course, was most alarming for the State/Church hierarchs of Catholicism. Branded 'heretics', the Valentinians were expelled from the Church and hunted down. By 350 AD, the Valentinian 'intellectuals' were dead and monks in Egypt were hiding the 'heretical' writings. Valentinus's major work The Gospel of Truth provoked its own response from the ecclesiasta: the Gospel of St John.


Interesting ... does he have anything to back that up, about the Gospel of John being a reaction to the Gospel of Truth?
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Postby Minimalist » Wed Sep 03, 2008 10:38 am

I'll have to go look.

If I have one criticism of the way Ken writes these pages it is that he tends to have a million different links to follow.

It's one of the reasons I just bought the book...I'm hoping it will be easier to follow!
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin
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Postby Ishtar » Wed Sep 03, 2008 10:46 am

Let's hope so! Sometimes links are easier, because you can choose which bits you want to investigate more thoroughly, rather than having to plod through a whole book when some of it is stuff you already know.

I think - speaking with my professional communicator's hat on - that if Ken says something like that, he should make the whole phrase a hyperlink that automatically takes you to his note on that subject.

Perhaps you could pass that on ... and tell him, no charge! :lol:
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Postby Minimalist » Wed Sep 03, 2008 10:46 am

It took a little doing but:

http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/john.htm

"I'm not a Gnostic", says Jesus!

What better way to discredit the proponents of "gnosis" ("secret knowledge") than to have the godman himself declare that he had imparted no secret teaching. That's just what we have from the author of John:

"I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing."

– John 18.20.



We'll see you in a couple of days when you come up for air!
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin
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Postby Ishtar » Wed Sep 03, 2008 10:50 am

No fair! You are supposed to find me his attestation! :D
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Postby Minimalist » Wed Sep 03, 2008 11:06 am

Reading through all that I still come away with the impression that this whole battle between literalists and gnostics was little more than a power play. Like mafia dons stuggling to get a bigger slice of the pie they denounce their enemies and reward their friends. Religion was the opiate they were selling to the masses and each wanted their particular brand to be the one in use on the street!

Valentinus' crime might have been trying to muscle in on someone else's territory?
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin
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Postby Ishtar » Wed Sep 03, 2008 11:29 am

Minimalist wrote:Reading through all that I still come away with the impression that this whole battle between literalists and gnostics was little more than a power play. Like mafia dons stuggling to get a bigger slice of the pie they denounce their enemies and reward their friends. Religion was the opiate they were selling to the masses and each wanted their particular brand to be the one in use on the street!

Valentinus' crime might have been trying to muscle in on someone else's territory?


No... you shouldn't listen to Ken Humphries ...he doesn't know what he's talking about.

See, this is one reason why I don’t like Ken Humphries or enjoy reading him. As I read through that, I found myself shouting at my computer screen. The man has no understanding of Gnosticism, but will use it to further his own agenda. Also, no-one thinks that John of Gospel of John is John the Baptist – not even the Literalists.

I imagine that this is why you think it’s all about an equal-sided power struggle:

Despite the intrinsic elitism of Valentinus – he held that pagans were irredeemable, ‘psychics’ (ordinary Christians) capable of redemption, and ‘pneumatics’ (like himself!) without need for redemption – he built up a following in Egypt and Syria and, in 136, Valentinus tried his hand in Rome.

He remained in the city for at least a decade and in 143 was involved in a power struggle for the position of bishop.


This implies he was only after power because that’s all Ken could imagine anyone would be after. But consider this, from Wikipedia – not known for their Gnostic sympathies and mostly edited by Literalists:

Valentinus (c.100 - c.160CE) was the best known and for a time most successful early Christian gnostic theologian. He founded his school in Rome. Tertullian, in Adversus Valentinianos iv, said that Valentinus was a candidate for bishop - presumably of Rome (about the year 143 AD) - but that, when the choice fell instead on one who had been a confessor for the faith, Valentinus broke with the Church and developed his gnostic doctrine. However, few historians believe Tertullian's account. It is more likely that the break was initiated by the orthodox church rather than Valentinus as many of his teachings implicitly undermined the divine authority claimed by the orthodox clergy.


See, even they don’t believe Tertullian’s account that Valentinus went off in a fit of pique because he couldn’t be king of the castle. But Ken Humphrey’s does ... because that’s what he do if he were in Valentinus’s position.

The man is an arrogant idiot, imo- he just transposes himself and his enormous ego on to every situation and reads it from there.

Sorry .... :?

Anyway, with presents, it's the thought that counts! :D
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Postby seeker » Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:20 pm

Ironic that you are using the most Gnostic of the Gospels to argue against the Gnosticism of Jesus.

I think the power play analogy is right but i don't think the Gnostics were players, just victims. The whole thing was about central authority and control. If you were going to use the Christian brand then the proper authorities wanted their cut
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Postby Ishtar » Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:40 pm

seeker wrote:Ironic that you are using the most Gnostic of the Gospels to argue against the Gnosticism of Jesus.

I think the power play analogy is right but i don't think the Gnostics were players, just victims. The whole thing was about central authority and control. If you were going to use the Christian brand then the proper authorities wanted their cut


I agree with all that.

The Gnostic system is totally unlike the Literalist system in that the individual is encouraged to have their own experiences of 'the mystic' (for want of a better term) and to create their own mythologies - this is what the Nag Hammadi gospels are and it's why no two NH gospels are the same or even tell the same story.

So you could never use something that's whole ethos is anti centralised power and organised dogma as a power base - it wouldn't work.

Ken Humphries has misunderstood Valentinus talking about psychics. The psychic initiation is the first one, and the pneumatic is the advanced second one. But he wouldn't look down on 'psychics' as at one time he was one, and so were all the 'pneumatics'. It's like you wouldn't look down on the kindergarten maths class just because you now know calculus .. as you were once in that kindergarten class too.

I really think Ken Humphries should be asked to keep his views to himself. It's good of him to provide the JNE discussion forum, and there are some good people on there - not least Seeker and Neil Marr. But really Ken is not a patch on half the people on his board... often, they are much more knowledgeable than him.
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Postby Minimalist » Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:48 pm

The man has no understanding of Gnosticism,


Nor does he care...any more than I do. He is concerned with history. His point is that the gnostics provided the basis for the literalists later evolution ( a word they would hate ), which certainly contradicts the literalist position. It is not necessary to understand their doctrine to allow for the reality that they did exist AND they seem to have pre-dated the literalists....which is all that Humphreys is concerned about investigating. Neither he, nor I, think any of it is "real" so why bother?

Ask yourself this: If literalism had never formed what use would a disjointed collection of doctrines such as the gnostics put forward have been to Constantine? My answer is, not much. No control mechanisms are evident such as the literalists offered with their whole hierarchy that would appeal to a man like Constantine. Without this ready-made secondary bureaucracy Constantine might not have bothered giving anyone the sole-religious franchise for the whole empire. And what a glorious thing that would have been!
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin
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Postby Ishtar » Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:57 pm

Minimalist wrote:
The man has no understanding of Gnosticism,


Nor does he care...any more than I do. He is concerned with history. His point is that the gnostics provided the basis for the literalists later evolution ( a word they would hate ), which certainly contradicts the literalist position. It is not necessary to understand their doctrine to allow for the reality that they did exist AND they seem to have pre-dated the literalists....which is all that Humphreys is concerned about investigating. Neither he, nor I, think any of it is "real" so why bother?


Because by not understanding their beliefs, he has made a fatal mistake about how they think.


Ask yourself this: If literalism had never formed what use would a disjointed collection of doctrines such as the gnostics put forward have been to Constantine? My answer is, not much. No control mechanisms are evident such as the literalists offered with their whole hierarchy that would appeal to a man like Constantine. Without this ready-made secondary bureaucracy Constantine might not have bothered giving anyone the sole-religious franchise for the whole empire. And what a glorious thing that would have been!


Exactly! :lol: But that's not the Gnostics' fault! :lol:
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Postby Minimalist » Wed Sep 03, 2008 1:05 pm

Because by not understanding their beliefs, he has made a fatal mistake about how they think.


You are assigning your concerns to him. He DOESN'T CARE what they thought. All he cares about is, 1- that it was different from what the later powers-that-be thought and, 2- it was earlier than the literalist.

If I think that babies are brought by the stork and you think that babies are a gift from god does it matter what we think? We are both wrong.

Humphreys is not a champion of gnostic thought. He makes no such claim. All he is saying is that the jesus-story we've been spoon fed by the church is a load of crap and he is using the existence of the gnostics as evidence of the deceit.

That's enough for me.


Exactly! Laughing But that's not the Gnostics' fault! Laughing



Indeed not. But their crushed and burned bodies provide the evidence for the ruthlessness of the literalists.

Again, Ish, this is not a question of "belief." It's a question of fact... and the gnostics were crushed by a church which found their very existence to be an embarrassment.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin
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Postby Ishtar » Wed Sep 03, 2008 1:14 pm

OK - I'll try it another way.

You say Ken Humphries is only concerned with history.

But what is history?

History is about what people do.

Are we agreed so far?

OK, then why do people do what they do?

They do what they do because of how they think.

Ken Humphries, in not bothering to properly understand how Gnostics thought, has misunderstood their motives and thus misrepresented them.

Therefore, he has misrepresented history.

So he has worked against his only concern which is to present true history.
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Postby seeker » Wed Sep 03, 2008 1:25 pm

It seems to me Ken Humphries is looking at only the issue what happened. There is no point in trying to assign motivations that you can't really know.
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