Gnostic Doctrine

Saturday, 12 September 2020

Did the Valentinians believe in Reincarnation?

Did the Valentinians believe in Reincarnation?

reincarnation soul

28 The followers of Basilides refer “God visiting the disobedient unto the third and fourth generation” to reincarnations, but the followers of Valentinus maintain that the three places mean those on the left, while the “fourth generation” is their own seed, and “showing mercy unto thousands,” refers to those on the right. (Extracts from the Works of Theodotus)

It seems from this quotation that the followers of Valentinus did not agree with the followers of Basilides about a biblical verses, the followers of Valentinus rejected the teaching of reincarnation and instead understood this verses to allude to "those on the left" a Valentinian term used to refer to the psychical 

According to April D. DeConick in her book The Gnostic New Age "most Gnostics thought that the psyche, or soul, was mortal." (The Gnostic New Age, Page 21 )

This is true for the Jewish-Christian Gnostics like the Valentinians however some pagan Gnostics believed in the immortal soul. This study will look at those Gnostic texts which believe the soul is moral.

The concept  of the immortality of the soul comes from Greek philosophy it is not an idea found in Jewish-Christian scriptures known as the Holy Bible

So what is a Christian Gnostic understanding of the soul?

According to the Extracts from the Works of Theodotus found in the works of Clement of Alexandria, the "soul is a body" (Extract 14) it was created from "dust from the earth" with which "he fashioned a soul, earthly and material" (Extract 50)
 Therefore according to Valentinian Christians he soul is a natural or physical body:

14 The demons are said to be incorporeal, not because they have no bodies (for they have even shape and are, therefore, capable of feeling punishment), but they are said to be incorporeal because, in comparison with the spiritual bodies which are saved, they are a shade. And the angels are bodies; at any rate they are seen. Why even the soul is a body, for the Apostle says, "It is sown a body of soul, it is raised a body of spirit." (1cor 15:44) And how can the souls which are being punished be sensible of it, if they are not bodies? Certainly he says, "Fear him who, after death, is able to cast soul and body into hell." () Now that which is visible is not purged by fire, but is dissolved into dust. But, from the story of Lazarus and Dives, the soul is directly shown by its possession of bodily limbs to be a body. (Extracts from the Works of Theodotus)

Here the Extracts from the Works of Theodotus is quoting from 1 Corinthians 15:44 this is to show the soul is a body notice it says "is a body" not "has a body"

1cor 15:44 It is sown a body of the soul (literally in Greek - a soulical body) , it is raised a body of the spirit; if there is a body of the soul, there is also of the spirit:— 

45 Thus, also, it is written—The first man, Adam, became, a living soul, the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 
46 Howbeit, not first, is the [body] of the spirit, but that, of the soul,—afterwards, that of the spirit. (Rotherham's Emphasized Bible)

Also  the Extracts from the Works of Theodotus shows that the soul can be destroyed in Gehenna

The Origin of the Soul
Do the Gnostic texts speak about the the origin of the soul?

Yes the gospel of Philip and the Extracts from the Works of Theodotus describe the creation of the soul:

50 “Taking dust from the earth”: not of the land but a portion of matter but of varied constitution and colour, he fashioned a soul, earthly and material, irrational and consubstantial with that of the beasts. (Extracts from the Works of Theodotus)

Adam’s soul came from a breath. The soul’s companion is spirit, and the spirit given to him is his mother. (Gospel of Philip).

hebrew soul

spirit soul

Is there a distinction between soul and spirit

Yes like the Bible the Gnostic texts or apocryphal gospels make a distinction between soul and spirit

Then Peter answered, “Look, three times you have told us, ‘Be filled,’ but we are filled.”
The savior answered and said, “For this reason I have told you, ‘Be filled,’ that you may not lack. Those who lack will not be saved. To be filled is good and to lack is bad. Yet since it is also good for you to lack but bad for you to be filled, whoever is filled also lacks. One who lacks is not filled in the way another who lacks is filled, but whoever is filled is brought to an appropriate end. So you should lack when you can fill yourselves and be filled when you lack, that you may be able to fill yourselves more. Be filled with spirit but lack in reason, for reason is of the soul. It is soul.” (The Apocryphon of James)

The Soul is Temporary

Some apocryphal text speak about the death of the soul 

“He  knows about desire and what the flesh needs. Does it not desire the soul? The body does not sin apart from the soul just as the soul is not saved apart from the spirit. But if the soul is saved from evil and the spirit too is saved, the body becomes sinless. The spirit animates the soul but the body kills it. The soul kills itself. (The Apocryphon of James)

Heracleon was a Valentinian Gnostic in his Commentary on the Gospel of John he rejects the doctrine of the immortal soul

Fragment 40, on John 4:46-53 (In John 4:46, “So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose child was ill.) The official was the Craftsman, for he himself ruled like a king over those under him. Because his domain is small and transitory, he was called an “official,” like a petty princeling who is set over a small kingdom by the universal king. The “child” “in Capernaun” is one who is in the lower part of the Middle (i.e. of animate substance), which lies near the sea, that is, which is linked with matter. The child’s proper person was sick, that is, in a condition not in accordance with the child’s proper nature, in ignorance and sins. (In John 4:47, “When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged him to come down and heal his child , for it was at the point of death.”) The words “from Judea to Galilee” mean ‘from the Judea above.’. . . By the words “it was at the point of death,” the teaching of those who claim that the soul is immortal is refuted. In agreement with this is the statement that “the body and soul are destoyed in Hell.” (Matthew 10:28) The soul is not immortal, but is possessed only of a disposition towards salvation, for it is the perishable which puts on imperishability and the mortal which puts on immortality when “its death is swallowed up in victory.” (1 Corinthians 15:54) [Heracleon: Fragments from his Commentary on the Gospel of John]

So some Gnostic teachers say that the soul is mortal and can be annihilated completely at death and does not reincarnate. This is in harmony with proto-orthodox teachings of the second century:

Then I answered, "I am not so miserable a fellow, Trypho, as to say one thing and think another. I admitted to you formerly, that I and many others are of this opinion, and[believe] that such will take place, as you assuredly are aware; but, on the other hand, I signified to you that many who belong to the pure and pious faith, and are true Christians, think otherwise. Moreover, I pointed out to you that some who are called Christians, but are godless, impious heretics, teach doctrines that are in every way blasphemous, atheistical, and foolish. But that you may know that I do not say this before you alone, I shall draw up a statement, so far as I can, of all the arguments which have passed between us; in which I shall record myself as admitting the very same things which I admit to you. For I choose to follow not men or men's doctrines, but God and the doctrines [delivered] by Him. For if you have fallen in with some who are called Christians, but who do not admit this [truth], and venture to blaspheme the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; who say there is no resurrection of the dead, and that their souls, when they die, are taken to heaven; do not imagine that they are Christians, even as one, if he would rightly consider it, would not admit that the Sadducees, or similar sects of Genist , Meristae,Gelilaeans, Hellenists, Pharisees, Baptists, are Jews (do not hear me impatiently when I tell you what I think), but are[only] called Jews and children of Abraham, worshipping God with the lips, as God Himself declared, but the heart was far from Him. But I and others, who are right-minded Christians on all points, are assured that there will be a resurrection of the dead, and a thousand years in Jerusalem, which will then be built, adorned, and enlarged, the prophets Ezekiel and Isaiah and others declare. (Justin Martyr: Dialogue with Trypho Chapter 80)

So both the Gnostic and orthodox Christians did not believe in the doctrine of immorality of the soul, reincarnation or going to heaven

The Gnostics thought that the human soul is limited by language, emotion, and ethics, leaving us with an inadequate and false sense of who we really are. (The Gnostic New Age,Page 177)

When we realize that Gnostic spirituality is not focused on the liberation of soul but on the spirit, we find an innovation that makes its way into Gnostic myth and ritual performance. If the gods of this world are false, then the spirit has to come from wherever the true God lives. So we see in Gnostic thought the emergence of a transcendent realm that houses the true God and the human spirit. It is this spirit that descends down through the spheres and takes on a soul and a body in the process. Its liberation means purgation of the soul’s negativity and the body’s inclinations so that the spirit can become lighter and fl y home
(The Gnostic New Age, Page)
sacrifice and redemption
The Gospel of Philip uses biblical terms like Resurrection ransom, redeem and sacrifice(s) if reincarnation is being taught in the gospel of philip than these terms would be meaning less

Christ came [53] to purchase some, to save some, to redeem some. He purchased strangers and made them his own, and he brought back his own whom he had laid down of his own will as a deposit. Not only when he appeared did he lay the soul of his own will as a deposit, but from the beginning of the world he laid down the soul, for the proper moment, according to his will. Then he came forth to take it back, since it had been laid down as a deposit. It had fallen into the hands of robbers and had been stolen, but he saved it. And he redeemed the good in the world, and the bad.

 is the sacrifice of [...], whom Death deceived. When he died, he bound them with the natures which are leading them astray. Yet he offered up offerings [...] cattle, saying, "I gave them to Death, and the angels, and the [...] demons [...] living offering [...]. I have offered up myself to you as an offering, together with those that are mine, to you yourself, (O) Father of the All, and those whom you love, who have come forth from you who are holy (and) living. And <according to> the perfect laws, I shall pronounce my name as I receive baptism now (and) forever, (as a name) among the living (and) holy names, and (now) in the waters. Amen."

 He included himself in the living offering, together with your offspring. He offered them up as an offering to the All. For it is not cattle that you will offer up for sin(s) of unbelief, and for the ignorances, and (for) all the wicked deeds which they will do [...]. And they do not reach the Father of the All [...] the faith ..

There are forces that do [favors] for people. They do not want people to come to [salvation], but they want their own existence to continue. For if people come to salvation, sacrifice will [stop]…and animals will not be offered up [55] to the forces. In fact, those to whom sacrifices were made were animals. The animals were offered up alive, and after being offered they died. But a human being was offered up to God dead, and the human being came alive. (Gospel of Philip)

The Resurrection

In the Gospel of Phillip, Philip makes a  great emphasis on resurrection of the body

Some people are afraid that they may arise from the dead naked, and so they want to arise in flesh. They do not know that it is those who wear the [flesh] who are naked. Those who are [able] to take it off are not naked.
“Flesh [and blood will] not inherit God’s kingdom.” What is this flesh that will not [57] inherit? It is what we are wearing. And what is this flesh that will inherit? It is the flesh and blood of Jesus.
For this reason he said, “One who does not eat my flesh and drink my blood does not have life within.” What does this mean? His flesh is the word and his blood is the holy spirit. Whoever has received these has food, drink, and clothing.
And I also disagree with others who say that the flesh will not arise. Both views are wrong. You say that the flesh will not arise? Then tell me what will arise, so we may salute you. You say it is the spirit in the flesh, and also the light in the flesh? But what is in the flesh is the word, and what you are talking about is nothing other than flesh. It is necessary to arise in this sort of flesh, since everything exists in it.
In this world those who wear clothes are superior to the clothes. In heaven’s kingdom the clothes are superior to those who wear them. (The Gospel of Philip)

The lord rose from the dead. He became as he was, but now his body was perfect. He possessed flesh, but this was true flesh. Our flesh isn’t true. Ours is only an image of the true. (The Gospel of Philip)

It is commonly said that the Gnostics denied the resurrection of the flesh on the ground that the flesh (being material) was evil and could have no part in the world of the spirit but Philip and the Treatise on the Resurrection addressed to Rheginus show that the situation is somewhat more complex.

the readers are warned in another saying in the Gospel of Philip "neither to fear nor to love the flesh" but at a distinction is apparently drawn between the true flesh and a flesh which is only an image of the true 

Flesh and blood are allegorized as the logos and the holy spirit. while literal flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom the word and holy spirit surely can

Ignatius identifies the flesh with faith and the blood with love (Trall 8 Ign Rom 8:3)

The exposition of john 6:53 forms the transition between the two parts of this saying and is possibly the link which connects them. The flesh and blood we now have will not inherit the kingdom but the flesh of Jesus is true flesh and will inherit.

"It is necessary to arise in this sort of flesh, since everything exists in it."

The idea is that the true believer must rise in this mortal flesh in order to put on immortality to be clothed with the heavenly garment

By the words “it was at the point of death,” the teaching of those who claim that the soul is immortal is refuted. In agreement with this is the statement that “the body and soul are destoyed in Hell.” (Matthew 10:28) The soul is not immortal, but is possessed only of a disposition towards salvation, for it is the perishable which puts on imperishability and the mortal which puts on immortality when “its death is swallowed up in victory.” [1 Corinthians 15:54] (Heracleon: Fragments from his Commentary on the Gospel of John)

As Christ rose from the grave and had his mortal body changed to an immortalized body, so the true believer will share his reward (Phil. 3:21). Through baptism we associate ourselves with Christ's death and resurrection, showing our belief that we, too, will share the reward which he received through his resurrection (Rom.6:3-5). Through sharing in his sufferings now, we will also share his reward: "Bearing about (now) in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body" (2 Cor. 4:10). "He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit" (Rom. 8:11). With this hope, we therefore wait for "the redemption of our body" (Rom. 8:23), through that body being immortalized.

For if you remember reading in the Gospel that Elijah appeared and Moses with him, do not think the resurrection is an illusion, but it is truth! Indeed it is more fitting to say that the world is an illusion, rather than the resurrection which came into being through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (From The Treatise on the Resurrection)

It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the author here is defending the doctrine of the resurrection.

Those who seek reincarnation as eternal life are destined to die over and over again, return as a tree or a bug, or a rock, they fail to understand soul is the pearl of great price and Jesus saves souls from man's ignorant darkness, this is the sin, the flesh he is in kept alive by the instinctual spirit.

Saturday, 5 September 2020

The Calendar of Enoch

The Calendar of Enoch

The greatest treasure of the book of Enoch is found in chapters 72-82. These are the calendar instructions that allow us to obey the Sabbath commands of the fourth commandment and Exodus 31:13. The calendar of Enoch is a solar only calendar that consists of twelve months of thirty days plus four days that divide the seasons of the year every 90 days.

Enoch 72:10 The day is slightly longer than the night. Enoch begins the new year with the spring equinox according to Israel Standard Time on March 20th. The spring equinox is a pin point of time when the sun crosses the equatorial plane of the earth at the intersection of the ecliptic of the stars, which are at a 23.4 degree angle to the equator. This agrees with Genesis 1:14, where we are told the lights of the heavens, the stars, are for signs, appointed times, days and years. This day is what Enoch refers to as the first leader of the seasons and should be regarded as a Sabbath. Jubilees 6 tells us the four leaders of the seasons are a remembrance to Noah and the flood for saving us from the terrible Nephilim. When counted correctly, the four leaders of the seasons will always fall on the weekly Sabbath of the thirteenth week of each season. However, per Enoch 82, the four leaders of the seasons are not counted in the days of the months, they stand alone to lead their respective season.

The day following the spring equinox, March 21st, is the first day of month one, when we begin a count of thirty days for each month. The count for each season looks like this, 1 + 30 + 30 + 30. Beginning with day one month one we count every seventh day as the weekly Sabbath. The appointed times are counted to per the instructions of Leviticus 23.

When referenced to the Roman calendar, the spring equinox will cycle through the days of the week as the years pass. This is due to the perpetual nature of the Roman calendar. However, the dates of the Sabbath and appointed times are always on the same date every year, this is why a universal time is needed. Unlike the calendars of man, the calendar of Enoch is self-adjusting, needing no involvement by man or his religions. This self-adjustment occurs on a four-year cycle to compensate for the .25 day of the solar 365.25 day year, according to the timing of the spring equinox at Israel standard Time.

Twice in the book of Jubilees, four times in the book of Enoch, we are commanded to make the year a count of 364 days "only". The 365th day is uncounted as we await the day of the spring equinox to begin a new count of days. However, the 365th day serves some purpose. First, the 365th day acts as a partition between the old year and the new year to stop the count of days. Second, the 365th day is a buffer that allows the whole earth to finish it's count of days and begin a new count all together.

The calendar of Enoch comes with an accuracy test. In astronomy circles it's known as "The Spring Phenomena". This phenomena occurs on alternating cycles of eight and eleven years. When this phenomena occurs, the calendar of Enoch will align with the lunar calendar of Judaism for the first month. This alignment took place on the crucifixion year of 30 AD, which is also confirmed in the Talmud. The last alignment took place on the new year of 2015, with the next alignment to take place on the new year of 2023. Messiah Yahshua sacrificed himself on HIS Sabbath, the fourteenth day of the first month, known as Passover. Although Judaism has done away with Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month, relegating it to nothing more than a day of preparation.

See the attached calendars for use as a visual aid to understanding the calendar.

72:10 On that day, the day is longer than the night by one day turns be exactly ten p72:10 On that day, the day is longer than the night by one ninth; 

Article by  Wayne Thibodeaux

Monday, 31 August 2020

Why Gnostic Christians Should Not Use the Rosary!

Why Gnostic Christians Should Not Use the Rosary!

There are many websites claiming to be Gnostics on the internet most of them advocate the use of the rosary with prayers similar to those used by the Roman Catholic Church which have been adapted for a more Gnostic style. However not many people know the true origin of the rosary and how it was used as a spiritual weapon against Gnostic Christians this study will look into this:

Rosary a string of beads for keeping count in a rosary or in the devotions of some other religions, in Roman Catholic use 55 or 165 in number.

The term “rosary” Latin: rosarium, means "crown of roses" or "garland of roses"

The rosary was not used by Jesus, by His apostles, or by the early church fathers, nor is it referred to in the Gnostic Gospels.
A Troubled history
The original, lengthy prayer cycle is devoted to the Virgin Mary and was composed by St Dominic as an antidote to heresy at a time when the Catholic Church was seeking to crush the Cathar sect in what is now south-western France.

The crusade against the Cathars stands as one of the bloodiest episodes in Church history.

The Rosary was roundly cursed by Martin Luther during the Protestant Reformation in the 16th Century as "mere babbling, as stupid as it is wicked, nourishing a false confidence". (Pope updates ancient Rosary prayer BBC NEWS Monday, 21 October, 2002, 14:55 GMT 15:55 UK)

One Catholic website says "Our Lady gave Saint Dominic the Rosary as a weapon to combat the awful Albigensian heresy."

St. Dominic set up his headquarters in the town of Fanjeaux in 1206, becoming its parish priest and taking charge of its ancient church, Notre Dame de Prouille. In Fanjeaux, St. Dominic founded a convent for young women fleeing the vice and debauchery of the Cathar sect. Soon after, St. Dominic added monks to his growing community. From these small beginnings, he planted the seeds of what would later become the Dominican Order.

Church tradition tells us that, in the year 1208, St. Dominic had a vision of the Virgin Mary while praying in his church. The Blessed Mother reportedly taught him to pray the Rosary, telling him to use this weapon to defeat the heretics.

Aflame with enthusiasm, St. Dominic called on Catholics and heretics alike to pray the Rosary. By 1213, many Catholic Crusaders had taken St. Dominic’s advice. Devotion to the Rosary had spread among them like wildfire.

That year, a Crusader army under Simon de Montfort met a Cathar army under Raymond of Toulouse in the battle of Muret. The heretics were routed. Years later, when the Cathar heresy was finally extinguished, many Catholics attributed its defeat as much to St. Dominic’s zeal as to the Crusaders’ arms. (From a Catholic Website)

From a Cathar website:

Leo XIII claims that the Cathars were defeated not by human force, but by Mary's Rosary:

8. Moreover, we may well believe that the Queen of Heaven herself has granted an especial efficacy to this mode of supplication, for it was by her command and counsel that the devotion was begun and spread abroad by the holy Patriarch Dominic [Dominic Guzmán] as a most potent weapon against the enemies of the faith at an epoch not, indeed, unlike our own, of great danger to our holy religion. The heresy of the Albigenses had in effect, one while covertly, another while openly, overrun many countries, and this most vile offspring of the Manicheans, whose deadly errors it reproduced, were the cause in stirring up against the Church the most bitter animosity and a virulent persecution. There seemed to be no human hope of opposing this fanatical and most pernicious sect when timely succour came from on high through the instrument of Mary's Rosary. Thus under the favour of the powerful Virgin, the glorious vanquisher of all heresies, the forces of the wicked were destroyed and dispersed, and faith issued forth unharmed and more shining than before.

1891-09-22- SS Leo XIII - Octobri Mense: Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII promulgated on September 22, 1891 On the Rosary

Leo does not explain why Mary's Rosary had so little effect before Catharism was exterminated by physical force - a long war of extermination followed by operations of the Inquisition over generations.

Leo still seems to accept that Catharism was descended from Manicheism, as the medieval Catholic Church held, but the modern Catholic Church doubts.

Pius XI elaborates on The Rosary and likens Catharism to Communism:

19. The Holy Virgin who once victoriously drove the terrible sect of the Albigenses from Christian countries, now suppliantly invoked by us, will turn aside the new errors, especially those of Communism, which reminds us in many ways, in its motives and misdeeds, of the ancient ones.

20. And as in the times of the Crusades, in all Europe there was raised one voice of the people, one supplication; so today, in all the world, the cities, and even the smallest villages, united with courage and strength, with filial and constant insistence, the people seek to obtain from the great Mother of God the defeat of the enemies of Christian and human civilization, to the end that true peace may shine again over tired and erring men.
Not Biblical
Unsurprisingly, we are given various advice in the Bible, both about how we should, and how we should not pray.

In particular, we look to the words of Jesus himself, as reported in the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter 6, verses 5-13. Please, look at what Jesus said and then repeated, to clearly stress the importance of what he was saying (Matthew 6:7-8 AMP)

7 “And when you pray, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.
8 So do not be like them [praying as they do]; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”

Can you see this? Jesus says “do not use meaningless repetition“. If you prefer the KJV, these two verses are even stronger

7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

In the KJV, we are told even more clearly not to use vain repetitions as the heathens do.

Jesus then “doubles down”. First he castigates people who use vain/meaningless repetition and calls them unGodly, and then he tells us not to be like them.

Can this be any clearer? How can Jesus’ own words, speaking clearly and literally, be reconciled with 53 identical prayers in a row to the mother of Jesus (an unkind person would suggest that the act of praying to anyone other than the Holy Trinity is in and of itself a heathenish act)?

One of the justifications for using a rosary is that it helps us to concentrate and gives us a format for our prayer. But do we need a necklace of beads to help us pray? No. We don’t. God offers us all the help we need, in the form of the Holy Spirit. In Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (Rom 8:26-27), we are told (AMP)

26 In the same way the Spirit [comes to us and] helps us in our weakness. We do not know what prayer to offer or how to offer it as we should, but the Spirit Himself [knows our need and at the right time] intercedes on our behalf with sighs and groanings too deep for words.
27 And He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because the Spirit intercedes [before God] on behalf of God’s people in accordance with God’s will.

We are also encouraged not just to “not repeat empty incantations”, but to make our requests specifically known. Philippians 4:6 (AMP) says

Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God.
The word “Rosary” is not found in the Bible
The Rosary was created as a spiritual weapon to use against Gnostic Christians called the Cathai or the Albigensians for this reason alone Gnostic Christians today should reject the use of the Rosary.
Since gnosis does not come by repetitive praying Gnostics should not use the Rosary
Repetitive praying is a type of brainwashing or mind control 

at war prayer manual by Traci Morin:

Father God, I repent and renounce using Demons of candle burning, rosary prayers and idol worship to do evil or through ceremonies, and I take authority, dominion, bin and break and cast out all demonic spirits of curses to go to the pit of hell, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

Friday, 28 August 2020

Kataphasis and Apophasis in Pseudo-Dionysius (Part II)

God Talk: Kataphasis and Apophasis in Pseudo-Dionysius (Part II) with Dr. Jeffrey S. Kupperman

Dr. Kupperman takes us through an exploration of Kataphatic and Apophatic Theology in Pesudo-Dionysius at Conclave 2015

Kataphasis and Apophasis in Pseudo-Dionysius (Part I)

God Talk: Kataphasis and Apophasis in Pseudo-Dionysius (Part I) with Dr. Jeffrey S. Kupperman

Dr. Kupperman takes us through an exploration of Kataphatic and Apophatic Theology in Pesudo-Dionysius at Conclave 2015

[Talk Gnosis] Pseudo-Dionysius

The ineffable Dr. Jeffrey Kupperman joins us once again to tell us about Pseudo-Dionysius, the late 5th-early 6th century philosopher. This enigmatic Christian, or possibly pagan writer had some interesting ideas about God and the universe.

Read Jeffrey's paper:
Read Pseudo-Dionysius:

Jeffrey's Website:
His Twitter: @Demon_Writer
The Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition:

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

How to Become a Gnostic

How to Become a Gnostic

Gnosticism is an age old spiritual path focused upon Gnosis, which means individual direct knowledge of the divine. If you've seen The Matrix, then you've seen pieces of art that embody Gnostic themes. If you want to become a gnostic, then you have to start with the basics and work your way up to changing your life and spirituality.


Read, Contemplate, Read, Contemplate, and Read. Although Gnosticism embodies Gnosis which is divine knowledge rather than simple facts, being a Gnostic requires quite a bit of reading. Gnosticism arose in an ancient cultural matrix, involving a different world-view, and a different understanding of the practice of religion. At the bottom of this page there will be links to several excellent sources.

Find out if Gnostic views are for you. Although Gnostic myths are incredibly varied due to the very nature of the tradition, there are some key points that are common. Note, you don't have to accept all of these, but a majority of these represent traditional Gnostic thought, so it's a good idea to use these as a sort of starting point (taken from Stephan A. Hoeller's "Introduction to Gnosticism"):
There is an original and transcendental spiritual unity from which emanated a vast manifestation of pluralities.
The manifest universe of matter and mind was created not by the original spiritual unity, but by spiritual beings possessing inferior powers.
One of the objectives of these creators is the perpetual separation of humans from the unity (God).
The human being is a composite: the outer aspect is the handiwork of the inferior creatures, while the inner aspect is a fallen spark of the ultimate divine unity.
The sparks of transcendental holiness slumber in their material and mental prison, their self-awareness stupefied by the forces of materiality and the mind.
The slumbering sparks have not been abandoned by the ultimate unity; rather, a constant effort directed toward their awakening and liberation comes forth from this unity.
The awakening of the inmost divine essence in humans comes through salvific knowledge, called "gnosis".
Gnosis is not brought about by belief or by the performance of virtuous deeds or by obedience to commandments; these at best serve to prepare one for liberating knowledge.
Among those aiding the slumbering sparks, a particular position of honor and importance belongs to a feminine emanation of the unity, Sophia (Wisdom). She was involved in the creation of the world and ever since has remained the guide of her orphaned human children.
From the earliest times of history, messengers of Light have been sent forth from the ultimate unity for the purpose of advancing gnosis in the souls of humans.
The greatest of these messengers in our historical and geographical matrix was the descended Logos of God manifest in Jesus Christ.
Jesus exercised a twofold ministry: he was a teacher, imparting instruction concerning the way of gnosis; and he was a hierophant, imparting mysteries.
The mysteries imparted by Jesus (which are also known as sacraments) are mighty aids towards gnosis and have been entrusted by him to his apostles and their successors.
Through the spiritual practice of the mysteries (sacraments) and a relentless and uncompromising striving for gnosis, humans can steadily advance toward liberation from all confinement, material and otherwise. The ultimate objective of this process of liberation is the achievement of salvific knowledge and with it, freedom from embodied existence and return to the ultimate unity.

Spiritual Practice. Amassing facts is not enough, one must also practice to achieve gnosis:
Read Gnostic Scripture Gnostic scripture is a fairly wide category, and includes the Bible, Lost Gospels, Sethian literature, Valentinian literature, Early Syrian Christian literature, Hermetic literature, Mandaean literature, Manichaean literature, Cathar literature, Islamic mystical literature, Jewish mystical literature, and several more.
Pray often Prayer focuses the mind and also calls the attention of the divine unity which can impart grace for gnosis. Regular prayer is as vital for a Gnostic as meditation is for a Buddhist (in fact, meditation can be used in Gnosticism to great effect as well).
Practice and receive the sacraments These will be covered in the next major step.

Sacraments. Gnostic Christianity often uses the same seven sacraments used in the Orthodoxy, but with different liturgy and different applied meaning. These sacraments are: Baptism, Chrism (Confirmation), Holy Eucharist, Redemption, Bride-Chamber, Extreme Unction, and Healing. Redemption is considered the ultimate form of liberation and should not be undertaken by anyone wishing to incarnate again in a body. Bride-Chamber is a mystery that is usually conferred after death in the spiritual realm, however, it may take on some earthly form at a later time that God ordains. There are two lesser versions of these sacraments, and they may be taken as a form of preparation for these greater sacraments (Redemption and Bride-chamber). These are Penance and Matrimony (marriage). Unlike many churches, most Gnostic Churches allow anyone to partake of the Holy Eucharist. The Eucharist should be received often, and one should receive baptism and chrismation when one feels comfortable to do so. Note: You can contact a nearby Gnostic church for baptism and chrismation without being a member and travel there. These aren't rituals designed to make you a member of a physical church, but rather the body of Gnosis. The Eucharist can be performed solo and there are many ways of practicing it available on various websites and in several books.

Never stop practicing Gnosticism is a constant striving. You don't have to be a member of a church, or follow their liturgy to the word. You just have to understand the mysteries, perform them, pray often, and immerse yourself in writings that will assist you on your path to gnosis.

How to become a Christian according to the Gospel of Philip

Thursday, 20 August 2020

The Circle Dance of the Cross Part 1

The Circle Dance of the Cross

Ring Dance performed in legend by Apollo and the Muses

The Circle Dance of the Cross is found in the Acts of John. Embedded in the text is a hymn (sections 94 – 96) that some consider to have originally been "a liturgical song (with response) in some Johannine communities" (Davis). The Acts of John is not part of the Christian canon, mainly because of its docetic teachings, however the text presents a picture of Jesus performing a dance this may seem strange to some Christians however dancing is part of the Jewish worship from which Christianity grow out of
Biblical Background of Dancing 
In the Hebrew Scriptures several expressions occur that are translated “dancing,” “circle dances,” “dancing around,” and “skipping about.” The Hebrew verb chul, which basically means “whirl; turn,” is also rendered “dance.” (Jg 21:21; compare Jer 30:23; La 4:6.) Two nouns meaning “dance; circle dance” are drawn from this verb, namely ma·chohl´ (Jer 31:4; Ps 150:4) and mecho·lah´.—Ca 6:13; Jg 21:21. (Insight into the Scriptures)
Victory and Festive Dances
In the Hebrew Scriptures dancing is referred to in various contexts as an important ritualized activity and as an expression of joy.

After the triumphant crossing of the Red Sea, “Miriam, the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances” (Exodus 15:20-21). 

On his triumphant return from battle to Mizpah, Jephtah was greeted by his daughter with timbrels and dancing (Judges 11:34).

When David and Saul returned from the battle with the Philistines, “the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with timbrels, with joy, and with rattles” (1st Samuel 18:6).

There is a detailed description of a victory parade, where Judith leads the women in the dance, to the accompaniment of a special thanksgiving song: “And all the women of Israel hurried to see her, and they praised her and made a dance for her…And she went out in the dance before all the people, leading all the women” (Judith 15:12-13).

It was a great occasion when the ark of the covenant finally arrived in Jerusalem, especially for King David, who gave way to his emotions in a most vigorous dance. “And David was dancing around before Jehovah with all his power, . . . leaping and dancing around before Jehovah.” (2Sa 6:14-17) In the parallel passage David is described as “skipping about.”—1Ch 15:29.

14 And David was dancing around before Jehovah with all his power, all the while David being girded with an eph´od of linen. 
15 And David and all the house of Israel were bringing up the ark of Jehovah with joyful shouting and sound of horn. 
16 And it occurred that when the ark of Jehovah came into the City of David, Mi´chal, Saul’s daughter, herself looked down through the window and got to see King David leaping and dancing around before Jehovah; and she began to despise him in her heart. 

David’s dance before the Ark was an example of the religious ecstatic dances performed by men. The Psalms exhorted people to “praise God’s name in the dance”–“praise Him with timbrels and dance” (Psalms 149:3; 150:4). (Insight into the Scriptures)

The Psalms also endorse dancing as a means of honoring and praising Jehovah. “Praise Jah, you people! . . . Let them praise his name with dancing. With the tambourine and the harp let them make melody to him.” “Praise him with the tambourine and the circle dance.”—Ps 149:1, 3; 150:4. (Insight into the Scriptures)

In Israel, dancing was performed mostly in groups, particularly by women. When men joined in the dance, they were in separate companies; apparently there was no mingling of the sexes in their dances. The dances were both processional and circular (Jg 21:21; 2Sa 6:14-16), but these styles did not make the dances akin to the pagan processional or circle dances. The motives and objectives behind the dances themselves, the announced purpose of the dances, the movements of the dancing bodies, and the ideas such movements convey to observers are the important things to consider and compare in determining resemblance in dance patterns. (Insight into the Scriptures)
The horah
Hora, also known as horo and oro, is a type of circle dance

The name (spelled differently in various countries) is cognate to the Greek χορός (khorós): "dance" which is cognate with the Ancient Greek art form of χορεία (khoreía). The original meaning of the Greek word χορός may have been "circle". 

The horah (הורה), which differs somewhat from that of some of the Eastern European countries, is widespread in the Jewish diaspora and played a foundational role in modern Israeli folk dancingTo start the dance, everybody forms a circle, holding hands or interlocking arms behind their backs or on their shoulders[4] and steps forward toward the left with the right foot, then follows with the left foot. The right foot is then brought back, followed by the left foot. This is done while holding hands and circling together in a fast and cheerful motion to the left. Large groups allow for the creation of several concentric circles.

In canonical accounts, Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane, Not actually identified in the Acts of John as Gethsemane, but we can infer that this is the possible location from the context, which states that the scene takes place before Jesus is ‘delivered up’ to ‘the lawless Jews’. (Sean Martin)

This Hymn is no hymn, but a mystic ritual through which Jesus sought to instruct consolidate his followers on the eve of the crucifixion. he had the disciples form a circles holding hands , and dance round him. Standing in the center he sang a sequence of mystical phrases, to which the disciples had to respond in chorus "Amen":
The Circle Dance of the Cross
The Circle Dance of the Cross from the Acts of John:

[Before the crucifixion] he gathered all of us together and said: Before I am delivered up unto them let us sing an hymn to the Father, and so go forth to that which lieth before us. He bade us therefore make as it were a ring (circle), holding one another's hands, and himself standing in the midst he said: Answer Amen unto me. He began, then, to sing an hymn and to say:

“Glory be to you, father.”

And we circled around him and responded to him,


“Glory to you, word. Glory to you, grace.”


“Glory to you, spirit. Glory to you, holy one. Glory to your glory.”


“We praise you, father. We give thanks to you, light, in whom no darkness is.”


“Why we give thanks, I declare:

I will be saved and I will save.”


“I will be released and I will release.”


“I will be wounded and I will wound.”


“I will be born and I will bear.”


“I will eat and I will be eaten.”


“I will hear and I will be heard.”


“I will be kept in mind, being all mind.”


“I will be washed and I will wash.”


Grace Dances

“I will play the flute. Dance, everyone.”


“I will mourn. Lament, everyone.”


“A realm of eight sings with us.”


“The twelfth numbers dances on high.”


“The whole universe takes part in dancing.”


“Whoever does not dance does not know what happens.”


“I will feel and I will stay.”


“I will adorn and I will be adorned.”


“I will be united and I will unite.”


“I have no house and I have houses.”


“I have no place and I have places.”


“I have no temple and I have temples”


“I am a lamp to you who see me.”


“I am a mirror to you who perceive me.”


“I am a door to you who knock on me.”


“I am a way to you, you passerby.”


Understanding the Song 

“If you respond to my dance, see yourself in me as I speak, and if you have seen what I do, keep silent about my mysteries. You who dance, understand what I do for yours is this human passion I am about to suffer. You could by no means have comprehended what you suffer unless I had been sent as the word to you by the father. You who have seen what I suffer have seen me as suffering, and when you have seen it, you have not stood firm but were completely moved. You were moved to become wise, and you have me for support. Rest in me. Who I am you will know when I depart. What now I am seen to be I am not. You will see when you come. If you knew how to suffer, you would have been able not to suffer. Learn about suffering, and you will be able not to suffer. What you do not know I myself shall teach you. I am your god, not the traitor’s. I want holy souls to be in harmony with me. Know the word of wisdom. Say again with me,

Glory to you, father.

Glory to you, word.

Glory to you, spirit.


“If you want to know what I was, once I mocked everything with the word, and I was not put to shame at all. I leaped. But understand everything, and when you have understood, declare,

Glory to you, father.


Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Holst "The Hymn of Jesus" Sir Adrian Boult

 Jesus, who says, "Before I am delivered to them, let us sing a hymn to the Father and so go to meet what lies before us". Directed to form a circle around him, holding hands and dancing, the apostles cry "Amen" to the hymn of Jesus. Embedded in the text is a hymn (sections 94 – 96) that some consider to have originally been "a liturgical song (with response) in some Johannine communities" (Davis). In the summer of 1916 Gustav Holst set his own translation from the Greek (Head), influenced by G.R.S. Mead, as The Hymn of Jesus for two mixed choirs, a semi-chorus of female voices, and a large orchestra (Trippett).

Monday, 17 August 2020

The Gospel of Philip and Transubstantiation

The Gospel of Philip and Transubstantiation

Does the Gospel of Philip teach the doctrine of Transubstantiation?

A superficial reading of the the Gospel of Philip may lead one to conclude that it teaches Transubstantiation with sayings like "The eucharist is Jesus" but this is not the case as we will see below

The master [did] everything in a mystery: baptism, chrism, eucharist, redemption, and bridal chamber.[For this reason] he said, “I have come to make [the lower] like the [upper and the] outer like the [inner, and to unite] them in that place.” [He spoke] here in symbols [and images].

Here the word mystery is musthrion 3466: μυστήριον meaning means ‘something hidden or secret’ – our word ‘mystery’.

a secret, of which initiation is necessary; in the NT: the counsels of God, once hidden but now revealed in the Gospel or some fact thereof; the Christian revelation generally; particular truths or details of the Christian revelation.

The word does not mean a "sacrament(s)"

The language surrounding ‘sacraments’ did not develop in the Church for some time. We hear of a ritual of baptism in the Christian community of the Acts of the Apostles, and of the ‘breaking of bread’ – the Eucharist (Acts2:38, 41- 42). These celebrations were called by their name, there was no generic term for these experiences.

The Lord [did] everything in a sacred secret: a baptism, and a anointing, and a eucharist, and a redemption, and a bridal chamber. [For this reason] he said, “I have come to make [the lower] like the [upper and the] outer like the [inner, and to unite] them in that place.” [He spoke] here in symbols [and images].

The Greek word musthrion, translated “sacred secret,” has reference primarily to that which is known by those who are initiated.

GPh 67:27–30:“The Lord did everything like a mystery: baptism, chrism, Eucharist, redemption and bridal chamber.”

It is clear, however, that this text does not speak about “mysteries” in the sense of sacraments, but about the hidden, symbolic meaning of the Saviour’s deeds in the world. (Einar Thomassen)

Truth did not come into the world naked, but it came in types and images. The world cannot receive truth in any other way. There is a rebirth and an image of rebirth. It is necessary to be born again truly through the image. How is it with the resurrection and the image? Through the image it must rise. The bridal chamber and the image? Through the image one must enter the truth: this is the restoration.
Flesh and Blood Symbolic 
24 Some are afraid lest they rise naked. Because of this they wish to rise in the flesh, and they do not know that it is those who wear the flesh who are naked. It is those who [...] to unclothe themselves who are not naked. "Flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Co 15:50). What is this which will not inherit? This which is on us. But what is this, too, which will inherit? It is that which belongs to Jesus and his blood. Because of this he said "He who shall not eat my flesh and drink my blood has not life in him" (Jn 6:53). What is it? His flesh is the word, and his blood is the Holy Spirit. He who has received these has food and he has drink and clothing. I find fault with the others who say that it will not rise. Then both of them are at fault. You say that the flesh will not rise. But tell me what will rise, that we may honor you. You say the Spirit in the flesh, and it is also this light in the flesh. (But) this too is a matter which is in the flesh, for whatever you shall say, you say nothing outside the flesh. It is necessary to rise in this flesh, since everything exists in it. In this world, those who put on garments are better than the garments. In the Kingdom of Heaven, the garments are better than those that put them on.

Ignatius identifies the flesh with faith and the blood with love (Trall 8 Ign Rom 8:3)

The Gospel of Philip in particular shows that Valentinians understood the flesh and the blood of the Savior to be symbolic thus, for instance, the “flesh” is the Logos and the “blood” is the Holy Spirit

For more information on this saying from the Gospel of Philip see:

Valentinian Teaching on the Resurrection
What is the blood and Flesh of Christ

57 The eucharist is Jesus. For he is called in Syriac "Pharisatha," which is "the one who is spread out," for Jesus came to crucify the world.

eucharist literally thanksgiving, actually the Lord's Last Supper

this saying does not prove much Jesus the eucharist is turned into the actual flesh and blood of Jesus

Jesus often used metaphor in order to communicate a point. For example, he says “I am the door,” “I am the vine,” “You are the salt of the earth,” and “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13-14) but people know that we don’t take such statement literally. After all, who believes that Christ is literally a door swinging on a hinge?

Men too walk long distances but do not get anywhere, When evening came for them, they saw neither city nor village, neither creation nor nature, power and angel. In vain have these miserable men taken trouble over the Eucharist'

Segelberg suggests that this passage 'might be a criticism of the eucharistic practices of the Church,' and renders 'Men too walk long distances but do not get anywhere' (15-17) and 'In vain have these miserable men taken trouble over the Eucharist' (20-21). This interpretation is certainly valid in that the passage is a condemnation of unproductive effort. (Gospel of Philip, R. McL. Wilson)

The Eucharist of the Churches lacks pneuma or spirit it does not give life. Therefore those who have frequently taken communion have nevertheless not received anything but when the evening of life comes then they are as un-spiritual as when they began life. Their church is a donkey church. ( Segelberg)

For more information on this saying from the Gospel of Philip see
Jesus the Measurement Spread Out

,106 The cup of prayer contains wine and water, for it represents the blood for which thanksgiving is offered. It is full of the holy spirit, and it belongs to the completely perfect human. When we drink it, we take to ourselves the perfect human. The living water is a body, and we must put on the living human. Thus, when one is about to go down into the water, one strips in order to put on the living human.

The cup represents Jesus at the last supper
Priest or Holy Man
114 The priest is completely holy, down to his very body. For if he has taken the bread, he will consecrate it. Or the cup or anything else that he gets, he will consecrate. Then how will he not consecrate the body also?

In the Coptic the word "priest" is not used, the word used is a "holy man" or a "saint" it is a dishonest translation to use the word "priest" it changes the meaning of the text. The Valentinians did not have a priesthood. According to Tertullian, "Today one man is bishop and tomorrow another; the person who is a deacon today, tomorrow is a reader; the one who is a priest is a layman tomorrow. For even on the laity they impose the functions of priesthood." ( Tertullian Against the Valentinians 1) He goes on to relate that even women could take the role of bishop, much to his horror. 

From the Quote from Tertullian we can see that the Valentinian congregations were organised autonomously.

The correct word to be used is "holy man" or "saint" this is seen from the translations by Thomas Paterson Brown and R. McL. Wilson:

The holy man is holy altogether, down to his body. For if he has received the bread he .will make it holy, or the cup, or anything else that he receives, purifying them. And how will he not purify the body also? (Gospel of Philip R. McL. Wilson Translation)

How does a person purify the body? The answer is given in the Gospel of Truth: 'Through the unity shall each one find himself Through knowledge he will purify himself from diversity into unity, swallowing up the matter in him like a flame, darkness by light, death by life.' He who is holy is capable of making everything holy, even to the body. (Gospel of Truth)

according to Philip a believer becomes 'not a Christian but a Christ at the anointing

The saint respresents Jesus' flesh He must consecrate the bread which is his body. Likewise the saint represents the blood of Christ  the saint or holy person must consecrate the blood

Eating Blood

Eating or drinking blood is forbidden

Acts 15:19 “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. 21 For the law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”

When they had said these things in the prayer, they embraced each other and they went to eat their holy food, which has no blood in it. (The Prayer of Thanksgiving The Nag Hammadi Library)

104. Furthermore, thus it is regarding the Bread with the Chalice, and the Chrism: there is nonetheless another (sacrament) exalted over these (Gospel of Philip)

Holy communion

communion, kept secret--There are times when it is to our own spiritual benefit and to God's glory to keep things concealed and, like Mary, to ponder them in our heart until due time for expression. There are joys of the Spirit that are secret between a man and his Lord. One feels a sense of condemnation and depletion if he talks too freely about his communion with the Lord.

Christians have lost the mystical meaning of the communion service. The object of the ritual was to enable the worshipper to establish oneness with the Deity, to symbolically die and rise again from the dead and have a new life with the Deity in a new world. This was a well-cultivated theme in many religions of the day. The people believed that by drinking the blood and eating the bread it would be possible to absorb the qualities of the Deity.

But what is the mystical meaning that Jesus was seeking to convey to us? Communion is union in consciousness with God. It is more than an intellectual thought or a feeling even though these are included. In a moment of union the soul is quickened and we are exhilarated both mentally and emotionally. This is especially true when an individual first begins the practice of communion or silent meditation.

The communion service that Jesus instituted is contained in His words, “When you pray, go within your closet and shut the door and pray to your Father Who is in secret.” Many people reach out in thought and feeling to a god they think is out in space. But the true God, the Source of Creativity and Intelligence, is within you. Of course, God is omnipresent, but your place of contact or communion with Him is within your consciousness. What happens or can happen in a true communion service? The soul can experience a feeling of security and peace even though outer circumstances may seem to indicate turmoil and instability.