Gnostic Doctrine

Saturday, 27 June 2020

The Valentinian and the Sefirot

The Valentinian and the Sefirot

I will speak my mystery to those who are mine and to those who will be mine. Moreover it is these who have known him who is, the Father, that is, the Root of the All, the Ineffable One who exists as Oneness. He dwells alone in silence, and silence is tranquility since, after all, he was in fact One and nothing existed before him. He also exists as Twoness and as a Pair, and his partner is Silence. And he possessed the All dwelling within him. And as for Intention and Persistence, Love and Permanence, they are indeed unbegotten. (The Nag Hammadi Library A Valentinian Exposition)

God came forth: the Son, Mind of the All, that is, it is from the Root of the All that even his Thought stems, since he had this one (the Son) in Mind. For on behalf of the All, he received an alien Thought since there were nothing before him. From that place it is he who moved [...] a gushing spring. Now this is the Root of the All and Oneness without any one before him. Now the second spring exists in silence and speaks with him alone. And the Fourth accordingly is he who restricted himself in the Fourth: while dwelling in the Three-hundred-sixtieth, he first brought himself (forth), and in the Second he revealed his will, and in the Fourth he spread himself out. (The Nag Hammadi Library A Valentinian Exposition)

This passage is taken to mean that the root of the All the Father first spreads himself out into Two and than Four. From Four he also extends himself as far as Three Hundred Sixty, representing the ultimate edge of the Pleroma although in a distinct dimension of his transcendent essence he keeps himself restricted to the primal Four.

The Four primal emanations maybe a symbol for the four worlds (Olam) in Kabbalah they could also stand as a symbol for 4 letters of the divine name YHWH or Tetragrammaton (meaning "consisting of four letters"). The Tetragrammaton was permutated into 72 angelic names by simply taking the yo da valve and mutating them

The Valentinians understood the four primal emanations as a refernce to the tetragrammaton which was permutated into 72 angelic names by simply taking the yo da valve and  permutating them, that was known as the Shemhamphorash.

The different names of God in the Jewish mysticism current at the time of Jesus the names of God were understood to be emanations or divine attributes of God they were hypostasis or emanations of Godhead manifesting into existence as the world's are coming into existence Jewish mysticism

In Jewish angelology, the angels and archangels are manifested as coming forth and emanating from Godhead and originally all the angels were personifications of these things and they were named with a suffix EL which means of God for example Micha-EL the loving kindness of God Rapha-EL the healing of God and so on. In the Kabbalah the Sephirot became the emanation of the more abstract moral qualities of God in the Valentinian Pleroma of the Aeons Godhead was manifested in pairs male/female pairs

The Valentinian Exposition from the Nag Hammadi Library 

That Tetrad projected the Tetrad which is the one consisting of Word and Life and Man and Church. Now the Uncreated One projected Word and Life. Word is for the glory of the Ineffable One while Life is for the glory of Silence, and Man is for his own glory, while Church is for the glory of Truth. This, then, is the Tetrad begotten according to the likeness of the Uncreated (Tetrad). And the Tetrad is begotten [... ] the Decad from Word and Life, and the Dodecad from Man, and Church became a Triacontad. Moreover, it is the one from the Triacontad of the Aeons who bear fruit from the Triacontrad. They enter jointly, but they come forth singly, fleeing from the Aeons and the Uncontainable Ones. And the Uncontainable Ones, once they had looked at him, glorified Mind since he is an Uncontainable One that exists in the Pleroma.
But the Decad from Word and Life brought forth decads so as to make the Pleroma become a hundred, and the Dodecad from Man and Church brought forth and made the Triacontad so as to make the three hundred sixty become the Pleroma of the year. (The Nag Hammadi Library A Valentinian Exposition)

The Decad is the Sefirot

God emanated himself in stages to create the universe. There are ten aeons, which are vessels or containers called the Sephirot (the word Sephirot means emanations). These emanations or attribute  that are manifested are powers and virtues, wisdom, knowledge, justice, mercy, and so on these are still referenced in attributions to the seven lights of the Jewish synagogue, which you will find on the altar in a synagogue with seven lights this seven lights will reference 10 Sefirot.

The seven lamps allude to the branches of human knowledge, represented by the six lamps inclined inwards towards, and symbolically guided by, the light of God represented by the central lamp.

There are 22 paths that connect these ten Sephirot and that makes 32 names of God. The root attributes of the powers and virtues of God were understood as a kind of tree like the tree of life. It was the image of God in mankind as the blind men said I see men as trees walking we find a lot of this tree language in this tree of life are ten Sefirot ten vessels

The tree of sefirot also has a numerological significance. Between the 10 sefirot run 22 channels or paths, which connect them, a number which can be associated with the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Together the spiritual forces of the 10 sefirot and the 22 connecting channels are called the "32 Paths of Wisdom".

Samuel Zinner writes: 

Morever the name Theudas is curiously reminiscent of Syrian Jewish-Christian tradition and this might explain the many Jewish (actually; Jewish-Christian) Kabbalistic elements in the Valentino an system. Traditional scholarship over-emphasizer traditional scholarship over-elements the Valentnian system.aspects of Valentine's thought we therefore now turn to an examination of the possible Jewish components found in his metaphysics.First in the Valentnian system Logos. and Zoe (word and Life) emit ten emanations whereas the celestial Son of man and Ecclesia (Church) emit twelve emanations.These number correspond precisely to the ten sefirot and the twelve tribes of Israel whi Kabbalists add together in order to arrive at the number of the 22 Letters of the Hebrew alphabet. (The Gospel of Thomas By Samuel Zinner)

In later Valentnian school of Ptolemy we encounter a doctrine of two Sophia's precisely paralleled in the Kabbalah Upper and lower shekhinah, the upper being wholy righteous, the lower being morally ambiguous. (The Gospel of Thomas By Samuel Zinner)

The Jewish-Christian Ebionite distinction between the celestial Saviour the earthly Jesus. also seems to be reflected in Valentnian thought. The Valentnian system reflected in Valentnian thought. The Valentinian systems references to concepts such as the Father measure size or extent are all reminiscent of the ancients shi'ur qomah traditions. For Valentinus Sophia is the last of the aeonic emanations precisely as Shekinah is the final sefirah in Kabbalah . (The Gospel of Thomas By Samuel Zinner)

According to Ptolemy all the aeons were Words which is exactly paralleled in the Kabbalah a teaching that the ten sefirot correspond to God's ten words of creative command in the Genesis creation account (nine explicit commands one implicit). (The Gospel of Thomas By Samuel Zinner)

The Valentinian use of gematria in the Greek name iesous is also indicative of typical Kabbalistic procedures. Although gematria was by no means confined to Jewish circles in light of the other extensive specifically Jewish parallels in Valentinus' thought it is more natural to associate his practice of gematria with Judaism than with Hellenism. (The Gospel of Thomas By Samuel Zinner)

As the Zohar teaches that Hokhmah made the emanation Elohim (Binah understanding) so the Valentnian Ptolemy teaches that Sophia is exalted above the Demiurge. Naturally qualifications must be made with regard to various details but the overall general paradigms seem sufficient to indicate a strong Jewish or better Jewish-Christian component within Valentinianism and we would suggest that the best candidate for transmission of these ideas to Valentinus would be Theudas. (The Gospel of Thomas By Samuel Zinner)

Since it is quite likely that the Nag Hammadi Gospel of Truth was written by Valentinus we should comment on it somewhat .Its Jewish Christian character is especially apparent in its divine Name Christology. We note that the word God occurs in this document only once and this is strongly suggestive of the traditional Jewish avoidance of the name God. There is a heavily Syrian Jewish-Christian complexion this text if this tendency had been mediated to Valentinus via Theudas this then might imply that the latter may have been of Syrian origin. (The Gospel of Thomas By Samuel Zinner)

According the Gospel of Truth 17 the obvious flaws in creation do not in actuality exist. For the mutable creation itself in contrast to the immutable Father can be said to be non_existent therefore the flaws in creation are no dishonor to God. In Folio 18 We find a point curiously Philo Oblivion did not emerg into existence from the Father even if it did come to because of him (The Gospel of Thomas By Samuel Zinner)

The image of the hypostatic Book in folios 19_23 is deeply Jewish-Christian in tone. 6In folio 23 we encounter a list of emanational attributes associat!ed with the supernal pleroma man of which curiously coincide to varying degrees with the Kabbalistic sefirot such as Wisdom Knowledge Forbearance. Crown Glory Love.Folio 24 reflects the Syrian Jewish-Christian idea that the feminine bosom of the Father is the Holy spirit Jewish-Christian as well is the Triad of Father Mother (=Holy Spirit) and Son ... into the Father into the Mother Jesus of the unending sweetness Folio 27 s lan_guage may indicate Knowledge of the traditions concerning pre-existence found in the Gospel of Thomas logion19 and this yet another Syrian feature of the Gospel of Truth...those come into existence... before they come into existence Fo-lios 38-39 present the Jewish-Christian doctrine of the Son as the Name of the Father.This passage implies that the Father essence is unnameable for his essence cannot be named there fore the Son is his name. (The Gospel of Thomas By Samuel Zinner)

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