If The East Resisted Gnosticism Toward Catholicism

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yakovzutolmai
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Joined: Mon May 17, 2021 6:03 am

If The East Resisted Gnosticism Toward Catholicism

Post by yakovzutolmai »

Just a premise.

What if Western Christians favored Gnostic forms of the religion, and the influence from the foggy East is why catholicizers rejected them?

Jamesianism is our template for what Eastern Christianity might have been (AKA "Jewish" Christianity and Elchasaitism). In this interpretation, purity under the law is paramount. They called themselves saints, and forgive the non-sequitur, but "Latter-Day Saint" Mormons call themselves this partly inspired by the Jamesian community as referenced in Acts. Mormons among protestant adjacent sects embrace semi-Pelagianism and "be thou perfect" salvation through purity under the law. In their case, the Mormon rules.

This resonates with Origen, Pelagius, Arianism, etc. We know that very early Christianity always included a vein of asceticism, which was present among the Qumran community, and even in the desert of Coptic Christian Egypt. The monastic tradition is NOT about contemplation, per se, but about distance from temptation for the sake of purity.

What if there's a locus to the East which preserved a version of "be thou perfect" which lasted from the Qumranite/Sicarii zealots or whatever form they took, until the monastic tradition of early Christianity?

Wasn't a major critique of the Gnostics their rejection of free will and their embrace of hedonism? I know that very late (Cathar) Gnostics rejected materialism and with it hedonistic pleasure, but my understanding of Gnosticism generally is that it isn't highly concerned with moral purity. Of course the discussion on Gnosticism is complicated. It wasn't a religion, exactly.

Nevertheless, this is a topic for discussion.

Could the black hole of Eastern, Babylonian Christianity have provided the template for anti-gnostic, later catholic Christianity? On the basis of the latter having an early, Pelagian-Arian form?
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