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Is there a Gnostic in the house? - Input Junkie
April 15th, 2014
12:42 pm


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Is there a Gnostic in the house?
Or a student of Gnosticism? Preferably one who's seen the movie Noah.

Here's a review of the movie which claims it has a tremendous amount of Gnostic/Kababalistic symbolism: bodies are inferior to being pure spirit, the snake was right, God the creator is bad....

And some ranting about how Christian pastors and leaders couldn't tell how heretical it all was.

Anyone know whether this is a reasonably fair interpretation of the movie?

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[User Picture]
Date:April 15th, 2014 05:52 pm (UTC)
I haven't seen it, but here's another interpretation:

[User Picture]
Date:April 15th, 2014 08:58 pm (UTC)

I am far from the best student of Kabbalah much less Gnosticism...

...but he sounds mostly on the mark from what I've heard. I am not sure he is taking the correct nuances out of Zohar; I'm not nuts about Zohar and Kabbalah because my understanding of them is that if you haven't memorized Torah in particular and Tanakh in general backwards and forwards to the point you can pull acrostics, palindromes, wordplay, metaphors and midrash details out of it in an eye blink _you are not qualified to study Kabbalah. And this is actually not the whole of the qualifications you need to practice it. That's just the rational, scholastic minimum to start being assessed if you can learn it. So given this, I'm not even sure how to recognize someone who is authentically versed in _real_ Kabbalah; I doubt I would ever be ready to be taught it, even if I decided that's what I wanted to dedicate the second half of my life to.

I _do_ know my maternal grandfather knew a very learned Rabbi who treated him as a son and talked of Kabbalah in terms of literal awe (as in a mix of reverence and fear). And he told my grandfather "anyone who talks to freely of this is probably not someone you should be listening to about this" (this was in the later part of the first decade of the 20th century. Grandfather was Catholic but saved the Rabbi during a pogrom. the old man's sons had deserted the old ways with the Emancipation of the Jews so he sort of adopted my grandfather, to the extent of paying his passage to Canada)

So...the upshot is this critic, being an upright Christian, certainly doesn't even know what he doesn't know about Kabbalah. Certainly, calling it "Jewish gnosticism" is ignorant because Kabbalah was a reaction to the end of the age of prophecy and the destruction of the second Temple. It was an attempt to find a channel to the power of Y*VH, safely, to help the Jews in their hardship at this point. (It shows typical Jewish chutzpah "The age of prophecy is closed from on high; we think it should be partially reopened.")

Now, on to the gnostic side of things...

There he sounds basically on firm ground. I mean, the whole fact the director would present a gnostic telling as a Christian one is TOTALLY something the gnostics would do :) If you wanted to sum up the core of gnosticism it is basically the conviction that not only was scripture incorrect in saying "there are no hidden meanings here". Actually, the fact scripture says such a thing is proof that it isn't the "true teaching" of the divine. Why? _Because the gnostic core belief is that the universe runs on hidden meanings_. It could just as well have been called hermeosophy (the study of hidden things).

As far as the gnostics were concerned, _every teaching_ is in layers like an onion, and the outer layers exist to _test the student's discernment_. Where the true "final layer" _is_ in fact, is the ultimate test of the student's connection to spirit because only with a sufficient connection to the divine can they even _tell_ when the lesson is "finished".

And yes, the gnostics believed this principle extended even to the nature of the divine. You could call the "God" which the Jews and Christians worshiped "the God of Chumps". The God of rules and mechanics who was there to distract and trap those with inadequate discernment, to keep them away from the mysteries which they might abuse. Basically, the gnostics viewed this setup as a _feature_, not a bug. Sort of like a childproof cap on Enlightenment.

The whole nature of the Flood would definitely be something the gnostics would have a very different take on. It was all about a physical catastrophe, a massive spate of death and upheaval. To the gnostics, who had such an antagonistic view of the physical, this would be a _good_ thing. They probably regard the flood's outcome as one of the early _failures_ of humanity and the fallen angels, that if they'd done things right we might have had a shortcut to being reunited with the true Creator. I don't know this for a fact...but I'm just saying they have a really different way of looking at things.

[User Picture]
Date:April 15th, 2014 08:59 pm (UTC)


This is the group where some adherents would starve and deprive themselves physically, seeking purity in the defiance of their bodies...and some would become utterly dissipated in drunkenness and sex, _trying to become inured to the sensations of it_. Trying to "penetrate the illusion" by fighting it head on at the point of greatest immersion in the physical. _and both paths were considered theoretically valid_. (though I am fairly sure the ascetic one had more adherents.)

The fact that Genesis says Adam and Eve ate of the tree of knowledge is a key point, though. Scripture never addresses what they actually _learned_ thereby. It's made out to be a straight up debasing curse. But it was the female, who is the symbol in gnosticism of wisdom and intuition, who was in communion with the snake. So my understanding is the whole thing with trying to reclaim "the wisdom of the snake" would make sense. The literal Hebrew word for "cunning" (the trait used to describe the serpent) is actually "naked" as in , "the serpent saw all things stripped of their window dressing"(this is what Rabbi taught me). So in Jewish tradition, the serpent is a much different figure than in Christian. So I am not surprised that the gnostics would appropriate the serpent as a non-Satanic but non Christian metaphor for wisdom and enlightenment. The whole Mediterranean Rim treated snakes that way...

I'm not sure if I like gnosticism, but treating it as innately evil is unwarranted. Conceptually I don't see a huge difference between a gnostic initiates and a Buddhist monk, really.
From:Tony Silvia
Date:April 16th, 2014 09:52 pm (UTC)
I'm a Gnostic priest, and I run a YouTube channel that talks about Gnosticism. I did a vlog on this last week. http://youtu.be/1oFTuytgcFI
[User Picture]
Date:April 17th, 2014 02:00 am (UTC)
Thanks. The podcast was informative and entertaining. How did you happen to find my post?
From:Tony Silvia
Date:April 17th, 2014 02:38 am (UTC)
I have some alerts set up for Gnostic keywords.
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