Valentinus: A Gnostic for All Seasons ~ Stephan A Hoeller

VALENTINUS

A Gnostic for All Seasons

by Stephan A. Hoeller

Excerpt from the article:

The proposition that the human mind lives in a largely self-created world of illusion from whence only the enlightenment of a kind of Gnosis can rescue it finds powerful analogues in the two great religions of the East, i.e., Hinduism and Buddhism. The following statement from the Upanishads could easily have been written by Valentinus or another Gnostic: “This (world) is God’s Maya, through which he deceives himself.” According to the teachings of Buddha, the world of apparent reality consists of ignorance, impermanence, and the lack of authentic selfhood. Valentinus is in very good company indeed when he establishes the proposition of the wrong system of false reality that can be set aright by the human spirit.

Read full article here:

http://www.gnosis.org/valentinus.htm

Amazing Myths and Legends Blogspot – Archons

 

Archon (Gr. ἄρχων, pl. ἄρχοντες) is a Greek word that means “ruler” or “lord,” frequently used as the title of a specific public office. It is the masculine present participle of the verb stem ἀρχ-, meaning “to rule,” derived from the same root as monarch, hierarchy, and anarchy.

Ancient Greece
In ancient Greece the chief magistrate in various Greek city states was called Archon. The term was also used throughout Greek history in a more general sense, ranging from “club leader” to “master of the tables” at syssitia.
In Athens a system of nine concurrent Archons evolved, led by three respective remits over the civic, military, and religious affairs of the state: the three office holders being known as the Eponymos archon (Ἐπώνυμος ἄρχων; the “name” ruler, who gave his name to the year in which he held office), the Polemarch (“war ruler”), and the Archon Basileus (“king ruler”). The six others were the Thesmothétai, Judicial Officers. Originally these offices were filled from the wealthier classes by elections every ten years. During this period the eponymous Archon was the chief magistrate, the Polemarch was the head of the armed forces, and the Archon Basileus was responsible for some civic religious arrangements, and for the supervision of some major trials in the law courts. After 683 BC the offices were held for only a single year, and the year was named after the Archōn Epōnymos. (Many ancient calendar systems did not number their years consecutively.)
After 487 BC the archonships were assigned by lot to any citizen and the Polemarch’s military duties were taken over by new class of generals known as stratēgoí. The ten stratēgoí (one per tribe) were elected, and the office of Polemarch was rotated among them on a daily basis. The Polemarch thereafter had only minor religious duties, and the titular headship over the strategoi. The Archon Eponymos remained the titular head of state under democracy, though of much reduced political importance. The Archons were assisted by “junior” archons, called Thesmothétai (Θεσμοθέται “Institutors”). After 457 BC ex-archons were automatically enrolled as life members of the Areopagus, though that assembly was no longer extremely important politically at that time. (See Archons of Athens.)………cont’d at the link

Lots more fascinating stuff at that blog.

Genesis and Creation (Part 1) – M Heiser, PhD – YouTube

 

Published on Jan 22, 2014
Michael Heiser (Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible and Semitic Languages at the University of Wisconsin-Madison) walks through the first three verses of Genesis 1, and discusses biblically possible views of creation, especially focusing on Hebrew syntax. Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list…
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Creation of the Universe as in the Upnishads and Modern Physics

http://www.encyclopediaofauthentichinduism.org/creation_of_the_universe.htm

Aim of creation.
The aim of creation is to give a chance to all the souls to become human beings and then to realize God Who is absolute Bliss. They can realize God by doing absolute good actions and surrendering to Him. Souls are unlimited in number and are in an infinitesimal ‘life’ form, having a subtle mind of their own. When they receive human body during the creation they do good or bad actions according to the discrimination of their own mind. The record of these actions, called the sanskars or the karmas, are stored in a section of the mind. The consequences of these karmas have to be fructified otherwise there would be no meaning of classifying them as good or bad, and they do fructify. Thus, these collective karmas are like a subtle semi-dormant ‘force’ which reside in the mind of every soul and become the cause of its next incarnation; and the force of the collective karmas of all the unlimited souls works as one of the causal forces to create and maintain the universe.

Copyright © 1999 – 2001 H.D. Swami Prakashanand Saraswati

The Sibylline Oracles ~ pdf

THE SIBYLLINE ORACLES
TRANSLATED FROM THE GREEK INTO ENGLISH BLANK VERSE BY
MILTON S. TERRY

Available to read:  http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/sib/sib.pdf

As the translator notes, this collection should more properly titled ‘the Pseudo-Sibylline Oracles’. The original Sibylline Books were closely-guarded oracular scrolls written by prophetic priestesses (the Sibylls) in the Etruscan and early Roman Era as far back as the 6th Century B.C.E. These books were destroyed, partially in a fire in 83 B.C.E., and finally burned by order of the Roman General Flavius Stilicho (365-408 C.E.)

On the Origin of the World ~ NHL

Seeing that everybody, gods of the world and mankind, says that nothing existed prior to chaos, I, in distinction to them, shall demonstrate that they are all mistaken, because they are not acquainted with the origin of chaos, nor with its root. Here is the demonstration.

How well it suits all men, on the subject of chaos, to say that it is a kind of darkness! But in fact it comes from a shadow, which has been called by the name ‘darkness’. And the shadow comes from a product that has existed since the beginning. It is, moreover, clear that it existed before chaos came into being, and that the latter is posterior to the first product. Let us therefore concern ourselves with the facts of the matter; and furthermore, with the first product, from which chaos was projected. And in this way the truth will be clearly demonstrated.

After the natural structure of the immortal beings had completely developed out of the infinite, a likeness then emanated from Pistis (Faith); it is called Sophia (Wisdom). It exercised volition and became a product resembling the primeval light. And immediately her will manifested itself as a likeness of heaven, having an unimaginable magnitude; it was between the immortal beings and those things that came into being after them, like […]: she (Sophia) functioned as a veil dividing mankind from the things above.

Now the eternal realm (aeon) of truth has no shadow outside it, for the limitless light is everywhere within it. But its exterior is shadow, which has been called by the name ‘darkness’. From it, there appeared a force, presiding over the darkness. And the forces that came into being subsequent to them called the shadow ‘the limitless chaos’. From it, every kind of divinity sprouted up […] together with the entire place, so that also, shadow is posterior to the first product. It was the abyss that it (shadow) appeared, deriving from the aforementioned Pistis.

Then shadow perceived there was something mightier than it, and felt envy; and when it had become pregnant of its own accord, suddenly it engendered jealousy. Since that day, the principle of jealousy amongst all the eternal realms and their worlds has been apparent. Now as for that jealousy, it was found to be an abortion without any spirit in it. Like a shadow, it came into existence in a vast watery substance. Then the bile that had come into being out of the shadow was thrown into a part of chaos. Since that day, a watery substance has been apparent. And what sank within it flowed away, being visible in chaos: as with a woman giving birth to a child – all her superfluities flow out; just so, matter came into being out of shadow, and was projected apart. And it did not depart from chaos; rather, matter was in chaos, being in a part of it.

And when these things had come to pass, then Pistis came and appeared over the matter of chaos, which had been expelled like an aborted fetus – since there was no spirit in it. For all of it (chaos) was limitless darkness and bottomless water. Now when Pistis saw what had resulted from her defect, she became disturbed. And the disturbance appeared, as a fearful product; it rushed to her in the chaos. She turned to it and blew into its face in the abyss, which is below all the heavens.

And when Pistis Sophia desired to cause the thing that had no spirit to be formed into a likeness and to rule over matter and over all her forces, there appeared for the first time a ruler, out of the waters, lion-like in appearance, androgynous, having great authority within him, and ignorant of whence he had come into being. Now when Pistis Sophia saw him moving about in the depth of the waters, she said to him, “Child, pass through to here,” whose equivalent is ‘yalda baoth’.

Since that day, there appeared the principle of verbal expression, which reached the gods and the angels and mankind. And what came into being as a result of verbal expression, the gods and the angels and mankind finished. Now as for the ruler Yaltabaoth, he is ignorant of the force of Pistis: he did not see her face, rather he saw in the water the likeness that spoke with him. And because of that voice, he called himself ‘Yaldabaoth’. But ‘Ariael’ is what the perfect call him, for he was like a lion. Now when he had come to have authority over matter, Pistis Sophia withdrew up to her light.  Continued here:

http://gnosis.org/naghamm/origin.html

Translated by Hans-Gebhard Bethge and Bentley Layton

Original translation of this text was prepared by members of the
Coptic Gnostic Library Project of the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity, Claremont Graduate School.
The Coptic Gnostic Library Project was funded by UNESCO, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and other Institutions.
E. J. Brill has asserted copyright on texts published by the Coptic Gnostic Library Project.

Eden’s Eve, Her Pre-Biblical Origins: Mesopotamia P.1 ~ Youtube

Uploaded on Oct 1, 2009
Professional PhD Scholars since 1898 have proposed that Eve has several pre-biblical protagonists in earlier Mesopotamian myths: (1) Shamhat/Ukhat and (2) Inanna/Ishtar of the Epic of Gilgamesh, and (3) NinTi of the Sumerian Paradise called Dilmun. Click on the below urls for more information:
http://tinyurl.com/ya9vr99
http://tinyurl.com/ybfqrqm
http://tinyurl.com/ya2ct9y
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The Eddas

http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/poe/poe03.htm

THE POETIC EDDA

VOLUME I

LAYS OF THE GODS

VOLUSPO

The Wise-Woman’s Prophecy

INTRODUCTORY NOTE

At the beginning of the collection in the Codex Regius stands the Voluspo, the most famous and important, as it is likewise the most debated, of all the Eddic poems. Another version of it is found in a huge miscellaneous compilation of about the year 1300, the Hauksbok, and many stanzas are included in the Prose Edda of Snorri Sturluson. The order of the stanzas in the Hauksbok version differs materially from that in the Codex Regius, and in the published editions many experiments have been attempted in further rearrangements. On the whole, how ever, and allowing for certain interpolations, the order of the stanzas in the Codex Regius seems more logical than any of the wholesale “improvements” which have been undertaken.

The general plan of the Voluspo is fairly clear. Othin, chief of the gods, always conscious of impending disaster and eager for knowledge, calls on a certain “Volva,” or wise-woman, presumably bidding her rise from the grave. She first tells him of the past, of the creation of the world, the beginning of years, the origin of the dwarfs (at this point there is a clearly interpolated catalogue of dwarfs’ names, stanzas 10-16), of the first man and woman, of the world-ash Yggdrasil, and of the first war, between the gods and the Vanir, or, in Anglicized form, the Wanes. Then, in stanzas 27-29, as a further proof of her wisdom, she discloses some of Othin’s own secrets and the details of his search for knowledge. Rewarded by Othin for what she has thus far told (stanza 30), she then turns to the real prophesy, the disclosure of the final destruction of the gods. This final battle, in which fire and flood overwhelm heaven and earth as the gods fight with their enemies, is the great fact in Norse mythology; the phrase describing it, ragna rök, “the fate of the gods,” has become familiar, by confusion with the word rökkr, “twilight,” in the German Göterdämmerung. The wise-woman tells of the Valkyries who bring the slain warriors to support Othin and the other gods in the battle, of the slaying of Baldr, best and fairest of the gods, through the wiles of Loki, of the enemies of the gods, of the summons to battle on both sides, and of the mighty struggle, till Othin is slain, and “fire leaps high

p. 2

about heaven itself” (stanzas 31-58). But this is not all. A new and beautiful world is to rise on the ruins of the old; Baldr comes back, and “fields unsowed bear ripened fruit” (stanzas 59-66).

Comment by Think-and-Discern:  Bring it on!!! 🙂

Continued at the link above.

Mandaeans: The True Descendants of Ancient Babylonians and Chaldeans ~ Fred Aprim

Mandæans: The True Descendents of Ancient Babylonians and Chaldeans
by Fredrick Aprim

http://www.nineveh.com/Mandaeans%20The%20True%20Descendents%20of%20Ancient%20Babylonians%20and%20Chaldeans.html

…The religious ideas of the Mandæans show some remarkable similarities to the ancient doctrines, whether pagan or Christian. In the Ginza “Treasury”, perhaps the best known of the Mandaic sacred books, we find at least seven different accounts of the origins of the cosmos, each with features most difficult to reconcile. The Mandæans hold on the immense shoulders of Ur, an enormous serpent-like sea monster of the abyss. Most of the stories about the language and religion of the Mandæans were collected by Catholic missionaries, who acknowledged that great uncertainties surrounded them. First, the name; it is not certain what Mandæan means but it is thought that it came from their own claim of being Mandaiia, which is related to madda, meaning “knowledge”. The most sacred Mandæan ceremonies are performed by the priests, who are called tarmidia “disciple,” inside a fenced-off area called a mandi with a building inside this area called manda or bimanda (from bet manda, “house of knowledge”. Second, it is thought that the name came from Manda d-Hiia, meaning “Knowledge of Life”. What is certain is the name their Arab neighbors gave them: Subba, “baptizers,” “those who immerse [themselves in water]. Baptism and submersion in the flowing water of a river is the principle religious practice. For Mandæans, flowing water is considered life-creating force of the world…..

see also “The Ginza Rba” ~ Mandæan Scriptures

http://gnosis.org/library/ginzarba.htm  

 

The Demiurge in Valentinianism ~ from the Gnosis.org Library

http://www.gnosis.org/library/valentinus/Demiurge.htm

Introduction

Valentinus founded a school of speculative Christian theology in the second century AD. Because he and his followers drew a distinction between the true God and the creator of the world, they are classified by modern scholars as “Gnostics”. In common with other Gnostics, they believed that the material world was created by a lesser deity which they call the Demiurge (literally “public craftsman”).

However, the Demiurge in Valentinianism is quite different in character from the hostile creator figure familiar from other schools of Gnosticism. In the Sethian school, for example, the Demiurge is a hostile demonic force who creates the material world in order to trap the spiritual elements. In contrast, Valentinians “show a relatively positive attitude towards the craftsman of the world or god of Israel” (Layton 1987). Valentinians insisted that while the Demiurge may be a bit foolish, he certainly could not be considered evil. Instead, he has a role to play in the process of redemption.

The Valentinian teacher Ptolemy strongly criticizes non-Valentinian Gnostics who taught that the Demiurge was evil. In his view, those who view the creator as evil “do not comprehend what was said by the Savior…Only thoughtless people have this idea, people who do not recognize the providence of the creator and so are blind not only the eye of the soul but even in the eye of the body” (Letter to Flora 3:2-6). They are as “completely in error” as orthodox Christians who taught that the Demiurge was the highest God (Letter to Flora 3:2).

In contrast, he and other Valentinians steadfastly maintained that “the creation is not due to a god who corrupts but to one who is just and hates evil” (Letter to Flora 3:6). He carefully distinguished the Demiurge from both God and the Devil. According to Ptolemy, “he is essentially different from these two (God and the Devil) and is between them, he is rightly given the name, Middle” (Letter to Flora 7:4). He is “neither good nor evil and unjust, can properly be called just , since he is the arbitrator of the justice which depends on him” (Letter to Flora 7:5).

In his excellent book on Gnosticism, Giovanni Filoramo (1990) compares the negative portrayal of the Demiurge in the Sethian school with the more positive Valentinian view:

The image of Demiurge usually portrayed in the Sethian texts is negative. Apart from anti-Jewish and anti-Christian polemic there are some internal reasons for this, specifically the function of the psychic (soul) element represented by the Demiurge. This element is not, as for Valentinians and other Christian Gnostics, the seat of free will, but a moment (that of animation) in the hylic dimension and, like it, destined to perdition. This is the radical difference from the Valentinian Demiurge, the latter being a representative of the psychic element that is also called upon to participate in the work of salvation. Devoid of scarifying characteristics, Ptolemy’s Demiurge is simply the Creator of the Seven Heavens, who lives above them (Filoramo 1990)

Filoramo links the more positive view of the Demiurge in the Valentinianism to the relatively positive of the soul substance (psyche) of which he is formed. It would seem that in order to understand the teaching on the Demiurge, it is necessary to have at least a basic understanding of the Valentinian teaching on the soul (psyche) and its position within the overall structure of the cosmos.

 

(continue reading at the above link)

Content authored by David Brons