The logic of the Nag Hammadi collection.

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Re: The logic of the Nag Hammadi collection.

Post by mlinssen »

schillingklaus wrote: Tue Jan 17, 2023 6:52 am Christianity is the result of a Judaization of pre-Christian gnosticism and tries to hide its anti-Judaist roots. Only editorial fatigue in the NT proves the precedence of monasticism over family-friendly (== Jewish) ethics.
The entire goal of Christianity was to invert the anti-Judaism, and to the non Judaics that apparently has worked wonders

But yes, what you said. Although I'm curious to what your definition and argumentation of monasticism is
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Re: The logic of the Nag Hammadi collection.

Post by andrewcriddle »

Leucius Charinus wrote: Tue Jan 17, 2023 2:32 am
schillingklaus wrote: Tue Jan 17, 2023 1:08 am Monasticism is the origin, not a late addition to Christianity.
The "Desert Father" Saint Anthony is a fiction of Athanasius who invented Christian hagiography. As a noun applied to a person the term "monachos" (monk) does not enter Greek or Coptic prior to the Nag Hammadi Library. Please explain.
This is probably false see https://www.academia.edu/503766/%CE%9C% ... onasticism and its reference to the pre-Nicene papyrus P. Col. Youtie II 77

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Re: The logic of the Nag Hammadi collection.

Post by Leucius Charinus »

andrewcriddle wrote: Tue Jan 17, 2023 10:03 am
Leucius Charinus wrote: Tue Jan 17, 2023 2:32 am
schillingklaus wrote: Tue Jan 17, 2023 1:08 am Monasticism is the origin, not a late addition to Christianity.
The "Desert Father" Saint Anthony is a fiction of Athanasius who invented Christian hagiography. As a noun applied to a person the term "monachos" (monk) does not enter Greek or Coptic prior to the Nag Hammadi Library. Please explain.
This is probably false see https://www.academia.edu/503766/%CE%9C% ... onasticism and its reference to the pre-Nicene papyrus P. Col. Youtie II 77
Thanks very much for the correction Andrew. I had read about this papyri before but had forgotten about it. The author makes a good point in delineating three different forms of monasticism:

1) Cenobitic or communal monasticism,
2) Eremitic or solitary (anchorite) monasticism and
3) Apotactic or urban monasticism (“Remnuoth” by Jerome, “Sarabaitae” by Cassian)

It is this 3rd type attested to in the papyri: P. Col. Youtie II 77 although I have a real problem understanding why the "urban monk" (µοναχός) Isaac is to be considered anything to do with a Christian.

Aside from this one exception a significant number of attestations to the term "monk" (µοναχός) appear in the Nag Hammadi codices (and their cartonnage) and in these references the monks are of type 1) Cenobitic or communal monasticism - associated with Pachomius.
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Re: The logic of the Nag Hammadi collection.

Post by Leucius Charinus »

schillingklaus wrote: Tue Jan 17, 2023 6:52 am Christianity is the result of a Judaization of pre-Christian gnosticism
Pre-Christian "Gnosticism"? What is the evidence?

The origins of Gnosticism are obscure and still disputed. The proto-orthodox Christian groups called Gnostics a heresy of Christianity, but according to the modern scholars the theology's origin is closely related to Jewish sectarian milieus and early Christian sects. Scholars debate Gnosticism's origins as having roots in Neoplatonism and Buddhism, due to similarities in beliefs, but ultimately, its origins are currently unknown. As Christianity developed and became more popular, so did Gnosticism, with both proto-orthodox Christian and Gnostic Christian groups often existing in the same places. The Gnostic belief was widespread within Christianity until the proto-orthodox Christian communities expelled the group in the second and third centuries (AD). Gnosticism became the first group to be declared heretical.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gnosticism#Origins

I don't see how Judaization has anything to do with the Gnosticism (or indeed Christianity). Sure the authors of the NT copy/pasted from the Greek LXX but this was not a "Judaization".

With respect to Christian origins the literary sources which record the appearance of Gnosticism and the Gnostics are heresiological. The term was applied to various writings of the heretics. But the orthodoxy did not preserved these writings. They were burned and prohibited. As a result these narratives by the heresiologists governed and defined what was known about the Gnostics until recent centuries when the texts of these Gnostic authors began to be discovered.

Now we have a large number of these texts which were authored by these Gnostics (such as the NHL). When this primary evidence is examined it becomes clear that these gnostics were not influenced by Judaic thought at all, but by Platonic thought.

GNOSTICISM AS PLATONISM
WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO MARSANES (NHC 10,1)*

Birger A. Pearson
University of California, Santa Barbara

From ancient times it has been averred that the Gnostics derived their basic ideas from the Greek philosophers, especially Pythagoras and Plato. For example,
  • Irenaeus (Adv. haer. 2.14) argued that the Valentinian Gnostics borrowed their doctrines of the pleroma and kenoma from Democritus and Plato.
  • Hippolytus (Ref. 1.11), more systematically, tried to show that the founders of the Gnostic heresies borrowed most of their ideas from Greek philosophy and religion.
  • The Valentinian brand of gnosis, Hippolytus (Ref. 6.21-29) argues, is derived from the philosophy of Pythagoras and Plato. [1]
  • Tertullian (Praesc. 7) claimed that all of the heresies were based on Greek philosophy.
  • Valentinus is stated specifically to be "of the school of Plato."
  • Plotinus (Enn. 2.9.6), the reputed founder of Neoplatonism, claimed in a famous tract that his doctrinal opponents, whom he did not identify but who were obviously Gnostics, [2] based their doctrines on a misunderstanding of Plato.
  • Porphyry's Life of Plotinus 16 provides us with more information on the Gnostic opponents of Plotinus, and refers to them "sectarians from the ancient philosophy," i.e., Platonism.
In our own times scholars have referred to Gnosticism as a kind of Platonism.
  • Willy Theiler calls the Gnosticism of the Imperial period, both Christian and pagan (Chaldean Oracles, Hermetica), "Proletarier platonismus." [3]
  • Simone Petrement portrays Gnosticism as "un platonisme romantique"; [4]
  • A. D. Nock prefers the designation "Platonism run wild." [5]
  • John M. Dillon refers to the Gnostic and Hermetic writings and the Chaldean Oracles as "the 'underworld' of Platonism." [6]
It can hardly be doubted that the ingredients of the Gnostic religion in its origins and early history included a substantial dose of popular Platonism. [7]

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Re: The logic of the Nag Hammadi collection.

Post by schillingklaus »

The evidence is the logics of the dogmatics, as proved by Jean Magne in LOGIQUE DES DOGMES .
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Re: The logic of the Nag Hammadi collection.

Post by Leucius Charinus »

schillingklaus wrote: Tue Jan 17, 2023 6:52 am Christianity is the result of a Judaization of pre-Christian gnosticism
Leucius Charinus wrote: Sun Jan 22, 2023 11:50 pm Pre-Christian "Gnosticism"? What is the evidence?
schillingklaus wrote: Mon Jan 23, 2023 12:22 am The evidence is the logics of the dogmatics, as proved by Jean Magne in LOGIQUE DES DOGMES

Logique des Dogmes,
Jean Magne (SUMMARY)

http://egodeath.com/JeanMagne-LogiqueDesDogmes.htm

III. The Paradise Story in Gnostic Writings

NHC 2.1


The Apochryphon of John, best as NHC II:1 but also known otherwise from NH and outside, starts with a frame story confrionting John Zebedeus with a representant of Jewish orthodoxy, underpinning the heretical Jewish origin of Christianity. John retreats and receives a vision, where he's enlightened by Jesus. The vision contains the standard cosmic cosmogony with emanations of archons/rulers etc., involving a retelling of the paradise story of Genesis.

The retelling IMO is a Platonist retelling. It is a standard Platonist cosmology. Jean Magne wrote early. Much scholarship has gone under the bridge. The gnostic author was "acclimatizing Plotinic logic within biblical creationism". The only thing "Jewish" in the Secret Book of John is the setting and the characters. This is not an historical account. Someone familiar with Platonism was about to give the Jewish Genesis story a profound depth. Jesus presents the expanded Platonic cosmology.

The "frame story" about the representative of Jewish orthodoxy runs as follows:
Secret Book of John wrote:One day when John the brother of James, the sons of Zebedee, went up to the temple, it happened that a Pharisee named Arimanios came up to him and said to him, Where is your teacher, whom you followed?

I said to him, He has returned to the place from which he came.

The Pharisee said to me, This Nazarene has deceived you badly, filled your ears with lies, closed your minds, and turned you from the traditions of your parents.

When I, John, heard this, I turned away from the temple and went to a mountainous and barren place. I was distressed ...
This frame story frames the post resurrection John being successfully trolled at the temple by a Pharisee named Arimanios. The author is about to introduce the post resurrection Jesus. When Jesus arrives as a child, as an old man, as a young man and says:
Jesus wrote:The One rules all.
Nothing has authority over it.
It is the God.
It is Father of everything,
Holy One The invisible one over everything.
Jesus could have read the Enneads. Or he could have read the words of Apollonius of Tyana who, according to Eusebius, wrote this sort of stuff about the One God. Nothing Jewish in this Platonism / Pythagoreanism.


We see that some serious manipulation has been going on in order to keep pace with Judaisation, here: the condamnation of the serpent. A grammatical ambiguity is subsequently used to name Abel and Cain Yahveh and Elohim, instead, and to make Archon Yaldabaoth, not Adam, father of those. The blasphemy of cain and Abel being sons of a devil instead of Adam was already confronted and refuted by Targumic and Talmudic writings.

We see that judaisation of this text brought a shift from qualities formerly assigned to the Lord of the Tanakh to the serpent.

I can't be sure what Magne means by "Judaisation". But IMO it is Platonism which relegated YHWH of the Greek LXX to the demiurge of the Platonist scheme. The NT Story Book with its Jesus and the Twelve is set in 1st century Judea. In all likelihood it is an historical fiction. It was packaged in codex form with the LXX. A new part and an old part.

The author of the Secret Book of John had read very closely both parts of the Bible. He did not read it as a Christian. Or a Hebrew. He read is as a Platonist philosopher and after he had finished reading the Bible he wrote a response. Jesus starts with the inexpressible essence. Shades of Arius.

NHC 2.4

The Hypostasis of the Archons
is only known as NHC II:4. The intro makes it appear to explain Ephesians 2:12. It contains a cosmology similar to the Apoichryphon. It ends with a revalation to Norea, daughter of Adam *and* Eve, by angel Eleleth, about the true essence of the evil archons under the guidance of Samael.

The cosmology is Platonic.
Hypostasis of the Archons wrote: Their chief is blind. Because of his power and his ignorance
and his arrogance he said, with his power,
“I am god; there is no other but me.”
It is tentatively dated in the third century CE. It could be from the 4th.
Which chief Pontifex Maximus because of his power enforced a god? Aurelian?


NHC 2.5

NHC II:5 is often referred as treatise on the orins of the world, already implying its cosmological character similar to the above.

Th3e paradise exegesis explicitly distinguishes 2 special trees. The first being the tree of knowledge, the second the tree of life. The archons banned Adam and Eve from paradise, after he ate from mthe former, in order to prevent them from eating from the latter, two, which would make man immortal. Already the first tree makes man similar to the gods. The Books of henoch contain a detailed description of various trees of the paradise, something flought into NHC II:5. Adam is seen on three levels: A pre-existant Light Adam, a terrestral Adam created by the Archons after the fleeting image of the Light Adam, and an intermediate Adam made by Sophia in order to redeem mankind.

Again we have Platonist cosmology and the demiurge. Nothing Jewish.
WIKI wrote: It [On the Origin of the World] is estimated to have been written sometime near the end of the third century. While the author is not mentioned, they seem to have been interested in expressing a Gnostic understanding of the world's conception.[2] In particular, it rethinks the entire story of Genesis, and positions Yaldabaoth (the Demiurge) as the creator of the world, fulfilling the role of God in Genesis. Furthermore, the Serpent in the Garden of Eden is depicted as a hero sent by Sophia, the figure of wisdom, to guide mankind towards enlightenment.

NHC 9.3

NHC IX:3, the Testimonium Veritatis, is a late (Valentinus is mentioned by name) treatise of a Gnostic hardliner against the falsification (Judaisation) of Christianity. It underlines the necessity of celibacy etc. for salvation and mocks those who lack his understanding of Jewish and Christian myths and don't try to understand them metaphorically in his ways.

The paradise tale of Genesis is recounted, emphasising the lie of God who prophibits eating from the tree, his ignorance, his envy etc., as opposed to the truthfulness of the serpent.

It is connected to an opposition of John B.to Jesus, the former born by a postclimacterial woman (like Anne and Sarah in the Tanakh), the latter by a perpetual virgin, a concept found also in the Ascension of Isaiah or the Protevangile of James. (Yet Marcion saw Jesus as not born at all in this world. Mark's has no birth narrative.) Jesus is seen here not as a real human, but an ideal one, a different form of the paradise serpent and the metal serpent of Moses in the desert.

The Valentinian cosmology looks to be a subset of the Platonic cosmologies in other tracts in the NHL. The text refers to "The All" 28 times as some sort of gnostic technical term. Is it coincidental that the Enneads of Plotinus refers to "The All" as a technical term more than 200 times? [McKenna translation]. Again any Jewish references are being taken from the LXX and NT.

Also see:
"Rethinking Valentinianism: Some Remarks on the Tripartite Tractate with Special Reference to Plotinus' Enneads II, 9" in Augustinianum 56/2 (2016)

https://www.academia.edu/30834079/_Reth ... _56_2_2016


These texts all underpin the origins of Christianity in the heterodox exegesis of Genesis, and the necessity of multiple phases of redaction accompanying the process of Judaisation.

No Klaus. I think Magne has got it wrong here. These texts all underpin a concerted effort on the part of various authors to introduce a decidedly Platonic spin on what is found in both the Greek NT and the Greek LXX. This does not require any necessity of multiple phases of redaction. These texts can be seen as original literary reactions.

There is no process of Judaisation. Gone are the days of looking for "Jewish layers" in texts just because they make specific mention or allusion to the OT books. The simpler explanation consistent with these texts and many others inside and outside the NHL is that they were authored by people skilled in Platonist philosophical literature. And who, for some compelling reason, decided to read the Greek NT and LXX, and make a literary response to it. This was decidedly a second stage in Christian origins. The first stage was the authorship and packaging of the Greek NT and LXX.
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Re: The logic of the Nag Hammadi collection.

Post by billd89 »

DCHindley wrote: Wed Oct 21, 2020 5:44 pm Maybe the collector was using these books to *refute* Gnostics. ... heresies.
You don't get buried w/ books you hated. The precious was as a treasure, perhaps thrown in a coffin to be dug up (saved) later. Otherwise, these books would simply have been burned, destroyed.
davidmartin wrote: Thu Oct 29, 2020 2:13 amYeah i can see a monk being given a codex and paid to create a copy, why not?
If these books were buried together -- I suppose they were, in a philosophically-inclined monk's grave -- it's highly improbable the Collector opposed their philosophy.
DCHindley wrote: Wed Oct 28, 2020 4:01 pmI do not believe that any fragments published so far are from Philo.
I return repeatedly to Reitzenstein's idea that Philo's writing shows traces of Alexandrian-Egyptian Gnostic/Hermetic influence. It would be very odd IF "4th C." (Egyptian) Christian Gnostics would be wholly oblivious to Alexandrian Philo, if Josephus (c.90 AD) was not. Gnosticism -- in the broadest sense -- was definitely older in Sethian form. Some of the material likely dates from the 1st & 2nd C AD, though copied and recopied later/repeatedly.
Geocalyx wrote: Thu Oct 29, 2020 10:48 amHere is the point of my idea, though: these people weren't early Christian monks gone awry, they were "pagan" philosophers of several different, sometimes opposing, persecuted schools writing against state monopoly on mind.

Again I try to elaborate: monks hold on to faith. The NHC itself never regards faith in high esteem. Basilides, Valentinus etc. are mentioned in there, but never favorably.
... All of the texts - every single one - swears to mind, reason and understanding. This is too much of a coincidence for a random eclectic collection of heretic writings, and not in line with things I commonly associate with monasticism for my taste.
Excellent points. IF this Collection came from a grave, the monk may have been buried w/ his precious -- in respect for his 'Gnostic porn library' -- and the conventicle he belonged to may have been heretical as described: only nominal or dubious 'Christians.' Occam's Razor.
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Re: The logic of the Nag Hammadi collection.

Post by Leucius Charinus »

billd89 wrote: Mon Jan 23, 2023 8:31 am
Geocalyx wrote: Thu Oct 29, 2020 10:48 amHere is the point of my idea, though: these people weren't early Christian monks gone awry, they were "pagan" philosophers of several different, sometimes opposing, persecuted schools writing against state monopoly on mind.

Again I try to elaborate: monks hold on to faith. The NHC itself never regards faith in high esteem. Basilides, Valentinus etc. are mentioned in there, but never favorably.
... All of the texts - every single one - swears to mind, reason and understanding. This is too much of a coincidence for a random eclectic collection of heretic writings, and not in line with things I commonly associate with monasticism for my taste.
Excellent points.
Yes I agree. The NHL were almost certainly not produced by "Orthodox Christians". My studies indicate that they were produced - as Geocalyx comments - by "pagan" philosophers of several different, sometimes opposing, persecuted schools writing against state monopoly on mind.

It is known from Constantine's Oration (perhaps Antioch, c.324/325 CE -- immediately after military supremacy in the east/west) that Constantine had little to no regard for the philosophers or indeed for the poets.

"Pagans and Christians, in the Mediterranean World from the second century AD to the conversion of Constantine", Robin Lane Fox

At p.646/7

Robin Lane Fox suggests that Constantine's Oration to the Saints was authored and orated by Constantine "at Antioch, Good Friday, 325". Most ancient historians are today convinced that Constantine both authored and read aloud this "document" in 324/325 CE. It contains a number of novel social and political insights, and a whole string of fraudulent misrepresentations:

(1) Constantine berates the philosophers: "Socrates critical questioning ... menace to the state". "Pythagoras had stolen his teaching from Egypt, Plato believed there were many gods." "Plato strived for the unknowable ... wrote about a first and second God."

(2) Constantine berates the poets as worse than the philosophers; because "poets wrote falsely about the gods". FOX: "In a few broad sweeps, Constantine had damned the free use of reason and banished poetic imagination."

Above I put forward the proposition that following Constantine's military supremacy and for the period from 325-360 CE (including the rule of his son Constantius) the evidence indicates that there was a mass movement of people from the cities to the deserts. The Pachomian monastic settlements were IMO part of this mass movement.

The causes of this mass movement may be multiple. It is known for example that many people had to "take to the road" because of the tax collectors. Another cause IMO is directly related to the social and political ramifications of the process of the "Christianisation" of the empire, which is known to have started in the cities and moved outward into the provinces.
IF this Collection came from a grave, the monk may have been buried w/ his precious -- in respect for his 'Gnostic porn library' -- and the conventicle he belonged to may have been heretical as described: only nominal or dubious 'Christians.' Occam's Razor.
The monk and the grave could have belonged to Pachomius himself since the NHL is tentatively dated to c.350 CE and since Pachomius purportedly died c.346 CE.
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Re: The Illogic of Assuming the NHL was 'All New'

Post by billd89 »

In other threads, I've shown how 'new literature' was typically responded to 60-80 years later, not even in the same generation. Almost certainly, the complex of beliefs underpinning these codices was ~200-400 yrs older: the New Christianization campaign of Constantine was erasing (i.e. destroying) cults and sects hundreds of years older, not something recent/yesterday (~5-15 yrs older).

Just think: New Wave and Alternative Music(s) TODAY are 30-45 yrs old, as far back now as "Oldies" (1950s Rock & Roll) were when Alternative was a 'new' genre. A generation is 35 years; in Antiquity, the influence of a new literature spread over 2 or 3 generations, not a decade or three.
Leucius Charinus wrote: Mon Jan 23, 2023 5:58 pmThe monk and the grave could have belonged to Pachomius himself since the NHL is tentatively dated to c.350 CE and since Pachomius purportedly died c.346 CE.
I would never hypothesize nor assume that. I've hypothecated a timeline that puts c.350 AD 'Gnosticism' as something already 11th Generations old.
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Re: The Illogic of Assuming the NHL was 'All New'

Post by Leucius Charinus »

billd89 wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 1:33 pm In other threads, I've shown how 'new literature' was typically responded to 60-80 years later, not even in the same generation.
That is equivalent to trying to demonstrate that all geological and topographic land forms are the result of sedimentary deposits over long periods of time. It's clearly false. The topography of the land forms around Mt St Hellens by pyroclastic processes was altered in one day. The same applies in some cases to new literary output. Especially following political and military boundary events such as a massive civil war after decades of stability.
Almost certainly, the complex of beliefs underpinning these codices was ~200-400 yrs older: the New Christianization campaign of Constantine was erasing (i.e. destroying) cults and sects hundreds of years older, not something recent/yesterday (~5-15 yrs older).
Christianisation was also creating massive cult-like controversies like the Arian controversy, All sorts of heresies were appearing across the empire (especially in the East) for various beliefs which had been around for many centuries. Why all the sudden appearance of these heresies?

The First Seven Heresies in the Index of Eighty

In his introductory prelude, in speaking of the "sects" or "heresies" Epiphanius notes:
"For it was about these four sects ("heresies") that the apostle clearly said in reproof,
"In Christ Jesus there is neither Barbarian, Scythian, Hellene nor Jew, but a new creation" [5] Col 3:11

Heresy 1 of 80 - Against Barbarism
Heresy 2 of 80 - Against Scythianism
Heresy 3 of 80 - Against Hellenism
Heresy 4 of 80 - Against Judaism
Heresy 5 of 80 - Against Stoics
Heresy 6 of 80 - Against Platonists
Heresy 7 of 80 - Against Pythagoreans

Leucius Charinus wrote: Mon Jan 23, 2023 5:58 pmThe monk and the grave could have belonged to Pachomius himself since the NHL is tentatively dated to c.350 CE and since Pachomius purportedly died c.346 CE.
I would never hypothesize nor assume that. I've hypothecated a timeline that puts c.350 AD 'Gnosticism' as something already 11th Generations old.
I view Porphyry's "Life of Plotinus" (16) (referred to in that post) as a Christian interpolation similar to the TF. When this section 16 is removed from the text, there is a smooth flow of narrative between sections 15 and 17. The Nicene Church industry variously both preserved and/or supposedly consigned to the flames, the literature of Porphyry. They were in control of the libraries, the preservation of literature and the education system. It is suggested that “Life of Plotinus” (16) be referred to as the Testimonium Porphyrianum.

The mainstream reconstruction of the NHL (to which you billd89 subscribe) is that we should not trouble ourselves concerning the massive political, military, social and religious boundary event of the Nicene Council after which Constantine commenced supporting, sponsoring and legislating on behalf of the Christian Canonical Cult. We should turn a blind eye to these absolutely momentous changes.

Instead we must hypothecise that the monks were copyist machines oblivious to the momentously altered political, military, social and religious environment. They just continued to blindly reproduce texts which had existed for centuries. I do not buy this mainstream hypothesis -- neither do I subscribe to it. It is politically naive and entirely Christian-centric in an epoch where the pagan demographic exceeded 95% of the population. There was a massive controversy which got buried by the victors. The controversy was over books and literary responses to the Emperor's New Books. The books got buried by the losers.
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