"What is a Gnostic?"

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"What is a Gnostic?" Empty "What is a Gnostic?"

Post  Khephra on Thu Aug 14, 2008 4:32 pm

From Stephan A. Hoeller's "What Is a Gnostic?":

To understand Gnosticism, said Hans Jonas, one needs something very much like a musical ear. Such a Gnostic "musical ear" is not come by easily. One person who seemingly possesses it is Professor Clark Emery of the University of Miami. In a small work on William Blake, Emery summarizes twelve points on which Gnostics tended to agree. Nowhere in the current literature have I found anything else so concise and accurate in describing the normative characteristics of the Gnostic mythos. Hence I shall present it here as a suggested collection of criteria that one might apply in determining what Gnosticism is. The following characteristics may be considered normative for all Gnostic teachers and groups in the era of classical Gnosticism; thus one who adheres to some or all of them today might properly be called a Gnostic:

  • The Gnostics posited an original spiritual unity that came to be split into a plurality.
  • As a result of the precosmic division the universe was created. This was done by a leader possessing inferior spiritual powers and who often resembled the Old Testament Jehovah.
  • A female emanation of God was involved in the cosmic creation (albeit in a much more positive role than the leader).
  • In the cosmos, space and time have a malevolent character and may be personified as demonic beings separating man from God.
  • For man, the universe is a vast prison. He is enslaved both by the physical laws of nature and by such moral laws as the Mosaic code.
  • Mankind may be personified as Adam, who lies in the deep sleep of ignorance, his powers of spiritual self-awareness stupefied by materiality.
  • Within each natural man is an "inner man," a fallen spark of the divine substance. Since this exists in each man, we have the possibility of awakening from our stupefaction.
  • What effects the awakening is not obedience, faith, or good works, but knowledge.
  • Before the awakening, men undergo troubled dreams.
  • Man does not attain the knowledge that awakens him from these dreams by cognition but through revelatory experience, and this knowledge is not information but a modification of the sensate being.
  • The awakening (i.e., the salvation) of any individual is a cosmic event.
  • Since the effort is to restore the wholeness and unity of the Godhead, active rebellion against the moral law of the Old Testament is enjoined upon every man.

Last edited by Khephra on Fri Aug 22, 2008 7:40 pm; edited 1 time in total

"Sacred Activism is the fusion of the mystic's passion for God with the activist's passion for justice, creating a third fire, which is the burning sacred heart that longs to help, preserve, and nurture every living thing." - Andrew Harvey

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"What is a Gnostic?" Empty scholasticism and gnosis are not the same

Post  rickyrick on Mon Aug 18, 2008 12:08 am

When we study texts (that may or may not be called gnostic, by whomever) we are not a gnostic. We could agree about the characteristics of a gnostic text or texts. But by definition, the term Gnosis is knowledge, knowledge gained through experience. Therefore a Gnostic is someone who experiences things. Who gains knowledge through experience and this experience is that of Objective Reality.

Because Objective Reality is often a shock to our subjective reality (conditioned by our senses and the manipulation thereof), scholars often talk about gnosis as something specific, saying it is this or that. They use scholarly terms and write books about theories and speculate regarding so-called gnostic texts. They do not realize or experience these things for themselves. What I mean is that they are missing the point of Gnosis.

Gnosis is to experience reality as it is (as it is in and of itself) AND to learn something from that experience. So gnosis is not book knowledge (although books can lead us to have an inner experience, an epiphany). Gnosis is practical spiritual knowledge, like spiritual 'life knowledge', that leads us closer to the understanding of Objective Reality.

A Gnostic is someone who seeks for that Knowledge and makes that the priority in their present existence.

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"What is a Gnostic?" Empty Re: "What is a Gnostic?"

Post  RChMI on Fri Oct 30, 2009 3:04 pm

rickyrick wrote:


A Gnostic is someone who seeks for that Knowledge and makes that the priority in their present existence.
I would say that the above definition is more akin to that of a Gnostist rather than a Gnostic. Gnostist is a term coined by (or attributed to) Pythagoras and means "One who Pursues Knowledge as a Religious Way of Life." A Gnostic might more aptly be defined as "One who is on their Path towards Gnosis."


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