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Fragments of a Faith Forgotten

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Author Topic: Fragments of a Faith Forgotten  (Read 1169 times)
Peggie Welles
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« Reply #90 on: February 26, 2009, 01:21:01 pm »

We have now arrived at the beginning of the evolution of the cosmos, according to this scheme of Cosmos. universal philosophy. We must, however, if our imagination is to stand the strain, be more modest, and confine our attention to the beginning of a solar system instead of the origin of the cosmos.

The ætheric spaces destined to be the home of the future system are void and formless. From the fullness of potential energy, the Plērōma, there comes forth the stream of power, the spiral vortex--the Magna Vorago, or Vast Whirlpool, of Orpheus. It is the fiery creative power; there is as it were the purification of the spaces by fire. He enters into the formlessness, and becomes the thing which it lacked, the spiral life-force or primordial atom; He also fashions it without. The mother-substance becomes a sphere, irradiate with life, a whirling mass of stardust. The "atom" becomes the "flying serpent," the comet, which as it were first hovers over the mother-substance, the new-born system. It is the "serpent" and the "egg" again, the spermatozoon and ovum of the solar embryon.

We have now reached a stage where we have to deal with the differentiation of this nebula according to the types in the Divine Mind, in other words, the

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[paragraph continues] Plērōma. It is at this point that the intuitions of antiquity and the most recent discoveries of modern science should meet face to face. This most desirable union of the past and the present is, I believe, not so distant an event as one might be led to suppose, but the present essay does not give us scope even to suggest a few indications of the subject. The matter is exceedingly technical, and we are not at present engaged on such a task, but are merely enabling the general reader to while away an hour or two among the Gnostics.

Mythology.We will, therefore, break off here on the borderland between the æonology and cosmogony of the Valentinian circle of Gnosticism, and before going any farther give a specimen of their mythological treatment of the æon-process. As we have already remarked more than once, the accounts in the Church Fathers are inconsistent and in many details contradictory. We hope, however, that the sketch we have given above of the trend of ideas will throw some light on all accounts, but as we have not the space to give all, we must select one as a specimen; and the fact that Hippolytus (II.) seems to have had a Gnostic MS. in front of him (seeing that. he invariably adheres more closely to his written authorities than any of his predecessors) shall guide us in our selection. Hippolytus, in his Philosophumena, may be quoting from a late writing compared for instance with the Excerpts from Theodotus; but his account is more or less a reflection of the way in which a Gnostic looked at the matter, while the Excerpts are most pitifully mutilated and misplaced. As for

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[paragraph continues] Irenæus’ summary, it is at best a sorry patchwork. Not, however, that the account of Hippolytus is not also a patchwork. It is manifestly patched together, nevertheless the main pattern is taken from some treatise in the private circulating library of the Valentinian school.

It may, however, before dealing with the account of Hippolytus, be of interest to give the reader some The Sophia-Mythus. general idea of the important rôle played by the personified Wisdom in Gnostic mythology. As Wisdom was the end of the Gnosis, so the pivot of the whole Gnostic mythological drama was the so-called Sophia-Mythus. For whether we interpret their allegories from the macrocosmic or microcosmic standpoint, it is ever the evolution of the mind that the initiates of old have sought to teach us. The emanation and evolution of the world-mind in cosmogenesis, and of the human mind in anthropogenesis, is ever the main interest of the secret science.

The dwelling of Sophia, as the World-Soul, according to our Gnostics, was in the Midst, in the Ogdoad, between the upper or purely spiritual worlds, and the lower psychic and material worlds. Below the Ogdoad was the Hebdomad or Seven Spheres of psychic substance. Truly hath "Wisdom built for herself a House, and rested it on Seven Pillars" (Prov. ix. 1); and again: "She is in the lofty Heights; she stands in the Midst of the Paths, for she taketh her seat by the Gates of the Powerful Ones, she tarrieth at the Entrances [of the Light-World]" (ibid., viii. 2), says the Wisdom in its Jewish tradition.

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Moreover, Sophia was the Mediatrix between the upper and lower spaces, and at the same time projected the Types or Ideas of the plērōma into the cosmos. But why should Wisdom, who was originally of a pneumatic or spiritual essence, be in the Middle Space, an exile from her true Dwelling? Such was the great mystery which the Gnosis endeavoured to solve. Seeing again that this "Fall of the Soul" (whether cosmic or individual) from her original purity involved her in suffering and misery, the object which the Gnostic philosophers had ever before them, was identical with the problem of "sorrow" that Gautama Sākyamuni set himself to solve. Moreover, the solution of the two systems was identical in that they traced the "cause of sorrow" to Ignorance, and for its removal pointed out the Path of Self-knowledge. The Mind was to instruct the mind; "self-analysing reflection" was to be the Way. The material mind was to be purified, and so become one with the spiritual mind. In the nomenclature of the Gnosis this was dramatized in the redemption of the Sophia by the Christ, who delivered her from her ignorance and sufferings.

The Mother of Many Names.It is not surprising, then, that we should find the Sophia in her various aspects possessed of many names. Among these may be mentioned the Mother, or All-Mother; Mother of the Living, or Shirting Mother; the Power Above; the Holy Spirit; again, She of the Left-hand as opposed to the Christos, Him of the Right-hand; the Man-woman; Prouneikos or Lustful one; the Matrix; Paradise; Eden; Achamōth; the Virgin; Barbēlō;

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[paragraph continues] Daughter of Light; Merciful Mother; Consort of the Masculine One; Revelant of the Perfect Mysteries; Perfect Mercy; Revelant of the Mysteries of the whole Magnitude; Hidden Mother; She who knows the Mysteries of the Elect; the Holy Dove who has given birth to Twins; Ennœa; Ruler; and the Lost or Wandering Sheep, Helena, and many other names.

These terms refer to Sophia or the "Soul"--using the term in its most general sense--in her cosmic or individual aspects, according as she is above in her perfect purity; or in the midst, as intermediary; or below, as fallen into matter. But to return to:



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Peggie Welles
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« Reply #91 on: February 26, 2009, 01:21:19 pm »

HIPPOLYTUS' ACCOUNT OF ONE OF THE VARIANTS OF THE SOPHIA-MYTHUS.
"VALENTINUS and Heracleon and Ptolemæus and the entire school of these [Gnostics], disciples of Pythagoras and Plato and following their guidance, laid down the 'arithmetical science' as the fundamental principle of their doctrine.

"For them the beginning of all things is the Monad, ingenerable, imperishable, incomprehensible, The Father of all. inconceptible, the creator and cause of all things that are generated. This Monad is called by them the Father. Now as to its nature, there is a difference of opinion among them. For some declare . . . . that the Father is devoid of femininity, and without a syzygy, and solitary;

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whereas others think it is impossible that the creation of all things should be from a single male principle, and so they are compelled to add to the Father of all, in order that He may be a Father, the syzygy Silence. But as to whether Silence is a syzygy or not, let them settle this dispute among themselves. . . ."

Hippolytus has missed the point as usual; there were Fathers for every plane, the monads or monadic state of being, and also Father-Mothers, the dyads or dyadic state of being, and as forth.

"In the beginning, says [the Gnostic whose MS. Hippolytus had before him], naught was that was created. The Father was alone, increate, without space, or time, or any with whom to take counsel, or any substantial nature capable of being conceived by any means. He was alone, solitary, as they say, and at rest, Himself in Himself, alone. But since He was creative, it seemed good to Him at length to create and produce that which was most beautiful and most perfect in Himself. For He was [now] no longer lover of solitariness. For He was all love, says [the writer of the MS.], but love is not love if there be nothing to be loved.

The Parents of the Æons."Therefore, the Father, alone as He was, emanated and generated Mind-and-Truth, that is to say, the dyad, which is Lady and Beginning, and Mother of all the æons they reckon in the Plērōma. And Mind-and-Truth, having been emanated from the Father, possessing the power of creation like His creative parent, in imitation of the Father, emanated Himself also Word-and-Life.

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[paragraph continues] And Word-and-Life emanates Man-and-Church. And Mind-and-Truth, when He saw that His own creation had become creator in His turn, gave thanks to the Father of all, and made an offering unto Him of ten æons, the perfect number. For, says [the writer], Mind-and-Truth could not offer the Father a more perfect number than this. For it needs must have been that the Father who was perfect, should be glorified with a perfect number; now the 'ten' is a perfect number, for the first number of the series of multiplicity is perfect. [The 10 begins the series of multiplicity in the system of numeration with radix 10.] The Father, however, was more perfect still; for increate Himself, alone, by means of the first single syzygy, Mind-and-Truth, He succeeded in emanating all the roots of things created.

"And when Word-and-Life also saw that Mind-and-Truth had glorified the Father of all in a perfect number, Word-and-Life also wished to glorify His own father-mother, Mind-and-Truth. But since Mind-and-Truth was create and not possessed of perfect fatherhood, [or] the quality of parentlessness [ingenerability], Word-and-Life does not glorify his own father Mind with a perfect, but with an imperfect number. Thus Word-and-Life offers Mind-and-Truth twelve æons."

The reader need hardly be reminded that this summary of the variant of the myth has confused what we have supposed to have been the original order of the Ten and Twelve, as may be seen from the next paragraph but one of Hippolytus.

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The Names of the Æons."So then the first created roots of the æons . . . are as follows: Mind-and-Truth, Word-and-Life, Man-and-Church, ten from Mind-and-Truth, and twelve from Word-and-Life; eight and twenty in all. [The ten, consisting of five syzygies,] are called by the following names: Depthlike-and-Commingling, Unageing-and-Union, Self-productive-and-Bliss, Immoveable-and-Blending, Alone-begotten-and-Happiness."

In this nomenclature we have an attempt to shadow forth the positive and negative aspects of the father-motherhood (polarisation) of the creative mind, androgynous and self-generative. Hippolytus then continues:

"These are the ten æons which some derive from Mind-and-Truth, and others from Word-and-Life. Some again derive the twelve from Man-and-Church, and others from Word-and-Life; and the names they give these [six syzygies] are: Comforter-and-Faith, Father-like-and-Hope, Mother-like-and-Love, Everlasting and Understanding, Church-like-and-Happiness, Longed-for-and-Wisdom."

It is evident that this list has suffered damage in the hands of copyists; we can, however, make out some resemblance to the list of the "fruits of the spirit," in Paul's Letter to the Galatians (v. 22, 23), "love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, mildness, temperance." The word translated "Happiness" is a different form from the "Happiness" of the decad, but both come from the same root. It is impossible to represent the difference in the present English we have at our disposal. We would also call

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« Reply #92 on: February 26, 2009, 01:21:31 pm »

the attention of the student to the term for the female aspect of the first and sixth syzygy--Faith-Wisdom (Pistis-Sophia). Epiphanius gives a totally different set of names for the æons--a set of "nomina barbara" which have so far proved the despair of every philologist, and with which, therefore, we need not trouble the general reader. The Greek terms, however, for the positive aspects of the six syzygies are probably in part reflections of the characteristics of the higher triad of æons, in part prototypes of the characteristics of the Holy Spirit. Mind-and-Truth, Word-and-Life, Man-and-Church, seem to appear in the terms Father-like and Mother-like, Comforter and Longed-for, Everlasting and Church-like; the female aspects of the higher triad being male aspects in the hexad. I believe that the names of the æons are probably doctrinal variants or attempts at translation of original Zoroastrian terms--of Hormuz and the Amshaspands and the rest of the Light-beings--and that the "barbara nomina" are a relic of these terms; the ideas and schematology of the æons, however, are demonstrably Egyptian. But to continue with our Hippolytus.

"Now, the twelfth of these twelve, and the last of the eight and twenty æons, female in nature, The World-Mother. and called Wisdom (Sophia), beheld the number and power of the creative æons; she ascended [or returned] to the depth of the Father, and perceived that whereas all the rest of the æons, as being themselves create, created through a syzygy, the Father alone created without a syzygy. She, therefore, longed to imitate the Father and create by

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herself without her consort (syzygy), and so achieve a work in nothing inferior to the Father; in ignorance that it is the increate alone, the absolute cause, and root, and breadth, and depth of the universal [creations], who has the power of creating by Himself alone, whereas Wisdom, being created and coming into being after a number of others, is thus incapable of possessing the power of the increate. For in the increate, says the writer, are all things together, whereas in the create the feminine has the power of emanating the essence [or substance], while the masculine possesses the power of enforming the essence emanated by the feminine. Wisdom, therefore, emanated the only thing which she could, namely, a formless essence, easy to cool down [into shape]. And this is the meaning, says he, of the words of Moses: 'The earth was invisible and unwrought' [according to the translation of the Seventy]. This, says he, is the Good [Land], the Celestial Jerusalem, into which God promised to lead the children of Israel, saying, 'I will lead you into a good land flowing with milk and honey.'

The Abortion.And thus ignorance arising in the Plērōma owing to Wisdom, and formlessness through the creature of Wisdom, tumult arose in the Plērōma [from fear] lest the creations of the æons should in like manner become formless and imperfect, and destruction in no long time seize on the æons [themselves]. Accordingly they all betook themselves to praying the Father to put an end to Wisdom's grieving, for she was bewailing and groaning because of the 'abortion' which she had

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produced by herself--for thus they call it. And so the Father, taking pity on the tears of Wisdom and giving ear to the prayers of the æons, gives order for an additional emanation. For He did not Himself emanate, says the writer, but Mind-and-Truth emanated Christ-and-Holy-Spirit for the enforming and elimination of the abortion, and the relief and appeasing of the complaints of Wisdom. Thus with Christ-and-Holy-Spirit there are thirty æons."

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« Reply #93 on: February 26, 2009, 01:21:45 pm »

Here we have the type of the dual world-creator and redeemer--Christ, the Logos, by whom all things were made, and the Holy Ghost, the Comforter.

"At any rate some of them think that the triacontad of æons is made up in this way, while others would unite Silence to the Father and add the [æons of the Plērōma] to them.

"Christ-and-Holy-Spirit, then, being additionally emanated by Mind-and-Truth, eliminates this formless abortion of Wisdom's, which she begat of herself and brought into existence without a consort, from among the universal æons, so that the perfect æons should not be thrown into confusion at the sight of its formlessness."

These passages throw great light on the term "only-begotten" (μονογενής) Orthodoxly the phrase The Term "Only-begotten." "only-begotten son" is taken to mean that Christ was the only son of the Father. Apologetic philology, moreover, has asserted that it means "the only one of his kind." In the list of the decad of æons given above, the male aspect of the last syzygy is called by this name, where I have translated it "alone-begotten." In the above passage,

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the "abortion" of Wisdom is called by the same term, and I have translated it "which she begat of herself," there being no doubt that the term usually translated "only-begotten" means nothing of the kind, but "created alone," that is to say, created from one principle and not from a syzygy or pair. There are many instances of this meaning of the word, not only among the Gnostics, but also in the lines of Orphic and Egyptian tradition. Hippolytus then proceeds:

The Cross."Moreover, in order that the formlessness of the abortion should finally never again make itself visible to the perfect æons, the Father Himself also sent forth the additional emanation of a single æon, the Cross [or stock], which being created great, as [the creature] of the great and perfect Father, and emanated to be the guard and wall of protection [lit., paling or stockdale] of the æons, constitutes the Boundary of the Plērōma, holding the thirty æons together within itself. For these [thirty] are they which form the [divine] creation."

The word translated by "cross" in the NṬ., means generally a stock or stake. As we learn, from Grätz, it was the custom of the Jews, as a warning to others, to expose on a stake the bodies of those who were stoned, the cruel pain of the Mosaic penalty being in later times mitigated by a soporific draught of hyssop and other ingredients. The phrase "hanging on the tree" is thus comprehensible also. But, as previously remarked, for the Plērōma, we have to deal with living and not with dead symbols, and the cross-idea is thus transformed into the conception

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of a great wall (sc. sphere), by which the living Æon is "bounded"--if an infinite can be bounded by a finite--the prototype of the mystic Christ bound to or in the tree of the body.

The idea was simple, the expression of it in words exceedingly confused.

Thus Hippolytus writes:

"Now it is called the Boundary because it bounds off the deficiency (hysterēma) from the perfection (plērōma); again it is called the Partaker, because it partakes of the deficiency; and also the Cross [stake or stock], because it is fixed immovable and unchangeable [lit. without repentance or change of mind]; so that nothing of the deficiency should approach the æons within the Plērōma."

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« Reply #94 on: February 26, 2009, 01:21:59 pm »

It is difficult to reconcile the various characteristics of this great boundary as given by Hippolytus. It The Last Limit. is of course the Great Firmament or Limitary Spirit of Basilides, and the Last Limit of the Pistis Sophia treatise. It was there that the glorious "robe of power" had been left behind, when the Saviour descended for the regeneration of the cosmos without the Plērōma, and with which he was again clothed at his final initiation, after perfecting his task, as magnificently set forth in the opening pages of the MS. This is the Limit "against which none shall prevail," until the Day Be-with-us, the Day of Come-unto-us of the so-called Book of the Dead and the Askew Codex--the day of final initiation or perfectioning for the rare individuals who have made themselves worthy to become gods or christs (and thus a day which perpetually is), but for the

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average mass of humanity the end of the world-cycle when all things pass into pralaya, as Indian philosophy calls it (and thus the final consummation of the present universe).

This "robe of power" is presumably the highest spiritual body, or principium individuitatis, which participates of the divine and human natures, that is to say, opens up the realms of the divine world to the man, and makes him a partaker of eternal being. Thus its living symbol is a O, the reflection of the body, or self-limitation, of the sexless Heavenly Man, the Logos, whereby He limits Himself and crucifies Himself for the good of humanity. Lower down in the scale of being this becomes the dead symbol of the orthodox cross (+), the man of sex.

It is to be noticed that this Limit is due to the Father alone, and by its means He consummates and perfects the whole of the divine world of æons, which accordingly become one entity, the Living Æon, to every creation outside the Plērōma. But to continue with Hippolytus' summary:

"Without, then, this Boundary, Cross, or Partaker, is what they call the Ogdoad; this is the Wisdom-without-the-Plērōma, which Christ-and-Holy-Spirit, when they had been after-emanated by Mind-and-Truth, shaped and wrought into a perfect æon, so that she should finally become by no means inferior to any of those within the Plērōma. When, then, Wisdom-without had had shape given her, seeing that it was impossible that Christ-and-Holy-Spirit, in that they were emanated from Mind-and-Truth, should remain along with her outside the Plērōma, Christ-and-Holy-Spirit

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ascended to Mind-and-Truth within the Boundary, to join the rest of the æons in their glorification of the Father.

"And since at length there was, as it were, the singleness of peace and harmony of all the æons The Mystic or Cosmic Jesus. within the Plērōma, it seemed good to them no longer to glorify the Father by means of their several syzygies, but also to hymn His glory by a [single] offering of fit fruits to the Father. The whole thirty æons accordingly agreed to emanate a single æon, the common fruit of the Plērōma, as the sign of their unity, unanimity and peace. And inasmuch as it is an emanation of all the æons unto the Father, they call it the Common Fruit of the Plērōma. Thus were the things within the Plērōma constituted.

"And now the Common Fruit of the Plērōma had been emanated--Jesus (for this is His name), the great High Priest; when Wisdom-without-the-Plērōma, seeking after the Christ who had enformed her, and the Holy Spirit, was thrown into great terror, lest she should perish, now that He who had enformed and stablished her had withdrawn."

This operation of enforming Wisdom, or cosmic substance, is apparently the making of a boundary for the Ogdoad (the ætherial space) in its turn, following the law of similitude, and then fashioning the separated substance according to the types of the æons. This is dramatically set forth as follows:

"She mourned and was in great doubt, pondering on who was her enformer [the Christ]; who the Holy Spirit; whither had they departed; who prevented

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them from being with her; who envied her that fair and blessed vision. The Grief of Sophia. Plunged in such sufferings, she betook herself to praying and beseeching Him who had left her. Thereupon the Christ within the Plērōma and the rest of the æons took pity on her prayers, and sent forth out of the Plērōma the Common Fruit, to be Consort of Wisdom-without, and corrector of the passions which she suffered in seeking after the Christ.

"And so the Common Fruit coming forth from the Plērōma, and finding her afflicted by the four primal passions--namely, fear, grief, doubt and supplication--set right her sufferings; and in doing so He perceived that neither was it proper [on the one hand] that such passions, as being of the nature of an æon and peculiar to Wisdom, should be destroyed, nor [on the other] should Wisdom continue in such afflictions as fear and grief, supplication and doubt. Accordingly, inasmuch as he was so great an æon, and child of the whole Plērōma, He made the passions depart from her, and turned them into substantial essences; and fear he made into psychic essence, and grief into subtle matter [hylic essence], and doubt into elemental [dæmonian] essence, and conversion--prayer and supplication--He made into a path upwards, that is to say repentance and the power of the psychic essence which is called 'right.'"

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Peggie Welles
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« Reply #95 on: February 26, 2009, 01:22:15 pm »

Just as the passions in man are regarded as being of a material nature, so are the passions of the cosmic soul imagined as substantial essences by the dramatisers of the world-process in this scheme of universal philosophy.

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We have now come to the stage of the Wisdom-drama which represents the constitution of the The Sensible World. "sensible" world, as distinguished from the "intelligible," to use Platonic terms. But before we proceed with Hippolytus' summary, a few words of explanation may be added to guide the, student through the maze of Gnostic technicalities.

The lower or fallen Wisdom is the prime substance, or World-mother, chaotically moved by four great impulses, her primal "afflictions" or "passions."

From her chaotic state she is rescued by the Divine Power from above, the synthesis of the powers of the intelligible or noëtic universe. Chaos becomes cosmos; un-order, order. The "passions" (fear, grief, doubt and supplication) are separated from her, and she is purified and remains above, while the passions contract into denser phases of substance, constituting the sensible universe. Above them broods the Power, the representative of the three highest planes (the intelligible universe or Plērōma) and of the One beyond, the Supreme Deity. This Divine Power is called the Common Fruit.

The four "passions" are separated from Sophia, and she remains as the substance of the highest of the lower planes. Fear and grief become the substances of the psychic and hylic (or physical) planes respectively. Doubt is regarded as a downward tendency, a path downward to even more dense and gross states of existence than the physical; while supplication (prayer, repentance, or aspiration) is regarded as a path upwards to the Heaven-world.

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[paragraph continues] This is the power of the soul which is called "right," the tendency downwards into matter being called "left." We may now return to the consideration of our text.

"The fabricative power [proceeds] from 'fear.' This is the meaning of the scripture, says the writer, The Demiurge. 'The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom,' for it was the beginning of the sufferings of Wisdom. She [first] feared, then grieved, then doubted, and then flew for refuge to prayer and supplication. Moreover, he says, the psychic substance is of a fiery nature, and they call it [Middle] Space and Hebdomad and Ancient of Days. And whatever other statements of this kind they make concerning this [space], they [in reality] refer to the [cosmic] psychic substance, which they declare to be the fabricative power of the [physical] world. And it is of a fiery nature. Moses also, says the writer, declares, 'The Lord, thy God, is fire burning and consuming,' for thus he would have it written."

The action of the emotion of fear is said to contract and densify the aura or subtle envelope of man. The psychic plane is a contraction or densification of the mental, and uhe material again of the psychic.

"Now the power of fire, he says, is twofold; for there is a fire which is all-devouring and cannot be quenched and . . ."

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« Reply #96 on: February 26, 2009, 01:22:55 pm »

A lacuna unfortunately occurs here; perhaps to be filled up by the words, "and another that is quenchable."

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"According to this, then, the soul [that is, the psychic substance] is partly mortal [and partly immortal], being as it were a kind of mean. (It is [both] the Hebdomad [the sublunary space] and [also] the means of bringing the Hebdomad to an end.) For it is below the Ogdoad [the mind or spirit-substance]--where is Wisdom, the day of perfect forms [that is, the sun-space], and the Common Fruit of the Plērōma--but above the hylic matter [the earth-space], of which it is the fashioner [or demiurgic power]. If then the soul is made like unto the things above, it becomes immortal, and entereth into the Ogdoad; which is, he says, the Jerusalem above the heavens; whereas if it be made like to matter, that is to say the material passions, then it is destructible and perishes."

The next sentence has a wide lacuna, which I have endeavoured to bridge over as follows:

"As, therefore, proceeding from the psychic substance, [and not from an æon or plērōma], the first and greatest power [of the Sensible World] was an image, [and not a plērōma, namely the Workman (Demiurge); while the power proceeding from the material substance or 'grief' was] the Accuser (Diabolus), the ruler of this world.

"[The power, moreover, which proceeds] from the elemental [or dæmonian] substance, that is to say 'doubt,' is Beelzeboul.

"[And] Wisdom herself energises from above, from the Ogdoad, as far as the Hebdomad. [For] they say that the Workman knows nothing at all, but is, according to them, mindless and foolish, and knows

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not really what he does or works. Owing to his ignorance Wisdom energised and strengthened for him everything he made; and, though it was she who had done so, he imagined it was himself who had of himself achieved the fabrication of the universe, and so he began to say: 'I am God, and beside me there is no other.'

"Here then we have our Tetraktys according to Valentinus, 'a source of ever-flowing nature having roots,' and our Wisdom from which the whole creation is now constituted both psychic and material."

This is meant by Hippolytus to be ironical and a sneer both at Pythagoras and Valentinus. The four "passions" are of course very far from the Tetraktys proper; they are only a reflection of it on the lower planes.

"Wisdom is called 'Spirit,' and the Workman 'Soul'; while the Accuser (Diabolus) is the 'Ruler of this World' [Body], and Beelzeboul the 'Ruler of Daemons' [Chaos]. Such is what they tell us.

"Moreover, basing all their teaching on mathematical considerations, as I have said before, they declare that the æons within the Plērōma emanate a new series of thirty other æons following the law of similitude, in order that the Plērōma should be finally grouped into a perfect number. For just as the Pythagoreans divided into twelve [? ten] and thirty and sixty--and have further subtleties on subtleties, as has been shown--in the same way these (Gnostics) also subdivide the creations within the Plērōma.

"The contents of the Ogdoad are also subdivided; and Wisdom (who is the mother of all living [the

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« Reply #97 on: February 26, 2009, 01:23:03 pm »

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cosmic Eve] according to them) and the Common Fruit of the Plērōma (the Word) have emanated "Words" or Minds. others who are the heavenly Angels, Citizens of Jerusalem Above, in the heavens. For this Jerusalem is Wisdom-without, and her bridegroom is the Common Fruit of the Plērōma."

Some critics have preferred a reading which would make Wisdom and the Common Fruit emanate "seventy words"; but though this was the number of the nations among the Jews in contradistinction to the twelve tribes of Israel, for which reason also the "seventy" (standing for seventy-two) apostles were chosen after the "twelve," according to the historicizing narratives, I prefer to follow the reading of the Codex, as indeed I have done in every case.

"The Workman also emanated souls; for he is the substance of souls. According to them the Souls. former is Abraham, and the latter the children of Abraham."

(A nomenclature which would explain the otherwise very absurd expression "Abraham's bosom.")

"It was moreover from the material and elemental substance that the Workman made bodies for the souls. And this is the meaning of the saying, 'And God fashioned man, taking clay from the earth, and breathed into his person [lit., face] the breath of life; and man became a living soul.'

"This [soul] is, according to them, the 'inner man,' called psychic when it dwells in the body of hylic matter, but material, destructible, imperfect, when [its vehicle is] formed of elemental substance."

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Hippolytus here seems to be summarising the otherwise very elaborate cosmogenesis and exegesis of the Valentinians into a few brief paragraphs, and the reader should never forget that the summary is made by an unfriendly hand. I have, however, thought it good to let the student see for himself that, even so, the Church Father could not eliminate all the meaning of the Gnostic writer.

"And this material man is, according to them, Bodies. as it were, an inn or dwelling-place at one time of the soul alone, at another of the soul and dæmonian existences [elementals], at another of the soul and 'words' [or angels] which are 'words' sown from above--from the Common Fruit of the Plērōma and Wisdom--into this world, dwelling in the body of clay together with the soul, when dæmons cease to cohabit with her. And this is, says [the Gnostic writer], what was written in the scriptures [Paul's Letter to the Ephesians]: 'For this cause I bow my knees to the God and Father and Lord of our Lord Jesus Christ, that God may vouchsafe to you that Christ should dwell in your inner man'--that is to say, the psychic and not the bodily man--'that ye may be strong to know what is the Depth 'that is, the Father of the universals--'and what is the Breadth'--that is, the Cross, the Boundary of the Plērōma--'and what is the Greatness'--that is, the Plērōma of the æons. Wherefore 'the psychic man,' says [Paul elsewhere in his first Letter to the Corinthians], 'does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him'; and foolish, says [the Gnostic writer], is the power of the Work-man,

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[paragraph continues] [that is, the power (or soul) sent forth by the Workman], for he himself was foolish and mindless, and thought that he was fashioning the world unaided, being ignorant that it was Wisdom, the Mother, the Ogdoad, who infused energy into him for the formation of the universe without his knowing it.

"All the Prophets and the Law, therefore, spake from the Workman, foolish know-nothings of a foolish God, according to the writer. For which cause, he writes, the Saviour says: 'All who came before me are thieves and robbers'; and the Apostle: 'The mystery which was unknown to former generations.' For none of the Prophets, says he, spake about any of the things of which we speak; they were at that time unknown. . . .

"When, therefore, the world-formation was ended future evolution was to consist of the unveiling The New Man. [revelation] of the Sons of God--that is to say of the Workman--[the revelation] which had [hitherto] been hidden--in which, says he, the psychic man had been hidden, having a veil over his heart. When, therefore, the veil was to be raised and these mysteries revealed, Jesus [as the first example of the new evolution] was born through Mary, the virgin, according to the saying: 'Holy Spirit shall come upon thee'--Spirit is Wisdom--'and Power of Highest shall overshadow thee'--Highest is the Workman--'for that which is born of thee shall be called holy.' For he was not born of the Highest alone, like as men fashioned after the type of Adam owe their origin to the Highest alone, that is the Workman. Jesus, the new man, was of the Holy Spirit--that is to say

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[paragraph continues] Wisdom--but of the Workman also, in order that the Workman might furnish the moulding and makeup of his body, but the Holy Spirit supply his essence or [substance], and so he might be a heavenly word, born from the Ogdoad through Mary."

That is to say, that Jesus was the type of the perfected man, who had transcended the necessity of rebirth, the cycle of generation. He was the manifestation of one of the Sons of God, who together make up the Divine Sonship. These sons are all 'words' or logoi, according to this nomenclature. The whole nature of such a man was said to be advanced one stage. Thus his body was made by the power which furnished other men's souls; his soul was of the same nature as the spirits of other men; and his spirit was a "word," the direct progeny of æons, partaker of the Plērōma.

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« Reply #98 on: February 26, 2009, 01:23:31 pm »

The Mystic Body of the Christ."Now there is much investigation devoted by them to this subject, and it is the starting-point of schism and disagreement. Hence their doctrine is divided in twain, and one teaching is called the Anatolic, according to them, and the other the Italic. They [who get their teaching] from Italy, of whom are Heracleon and Ptolemæus, say that the body of Jesus was [originally] of psychic constitution, and, because of this, at his baptism the Spirit, like a dove, descended upon him--that is to say, the 'word' of the Mother from above, Wisdom--and united with his psychic [body], and raised him from the dead. This is, says the writer, the saying: 'He who raised Christ from the dead will vivify also your mortal bodies'--that is to say, psychic [bodies]. For the clay it was

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which came under the curse. 'For earth,' says [Moses], 'thou art, and unto earth shalt thou return.' Whereas those [who derive their teaching] from the East, of whom are Axionicus and Ardesianes [? Bardesanes], say that the body of the Saviour was spiritual. For the Holy Spirit--that is to say Wisdom--came upon Mary, and also the power of the Highest, the Workman's art, in order that that [substance] which had been given to Mary, might be fashioned.

"We may leave them, then, to investigate such matters by themselves, and [so too] anyone else who may like to carry on such investigations." The writer, moreover, goes on to say that, just as the imperfections on the plane of the æons within were corrected, so also were those on the plane of the Ogdoad, the Wisdom-without, set right, and further those on the plane of the Hebdomad were also corrected.

"(For the Workman was taught by Wisdom, that he was not God alone, as he thought, and beside Soteriology. him there was no other, but through Wisdom he learned to know the Better [Deity]. He received, [however, only] elementary instruction from her [became a catechumen], and the first initiation, and was [thus] taught the mighty mystery of the Father and the æons; and [thus] he could reveal it to no one else.)"

The terms used denote that the Demiurge received instruction, but was not given the higher power or initiation, whereby he could become a teacher or initiator in his turn; he received the "muēsis," but not the "epopteia."

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"(This is the meaning, according to the writer, of his words unto Moses: 'I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and the name of God I have not made known unto them'--that is to say, I have not declared the Mystery, nor explained who is God, but I kept to myself in secret the Mystery which I heard from Wisdom.)

"Since then the things above [in the Plērōma, Ogdoad and Hebdomad] had been set right, by the same law of succession the things here [on earth] were to meet with their proper regulation. For this cause Jesus, the Saviour, was born through Mary, that things here might be righted. Just as Christ was additionally emanated by Mind-and-Truth for the righting of the sufferings of Wisdom-without, that is to say the 'abortion'; so again did the Saviour, born through Mary, come for the righting of the sufferings of the soul."

The above will give the reader some general notion of the cycle of ideas in which these Gnostics moved. The exposition of the Gnostic writer has doubtless suffered much in the summarizing process to which it has been subjected; nevertheless, even if it had been given in full, it would have to be ascribed to a pupil and not to a master of the Gnosis such as Basilides or Valentinus. In order to obtain a more consistent and detailed exposition of the Valentinian cycle of ideas, it would be necessary first of all to analyse (1) the above account, (2) the contents of the Excerpts from Theodotus, and (3) the summary of the tenets of the followers of Ptolemy given by Irenæus in his opening chapters, and then re-formulate the

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whole. Hippolytus’ account, however, is quite sufficient to acquaint the reader with the general outlines, and a more detailed exposition would be out of place in these short sketches.

We shall now give a brief outline of the teachings of the more prominent leaders of Gnostic thought in this period, and so we return to a consideration of "them of Valentinus."

Of Theodotus and Alexander we know nothing, and of Secundus only the fact that he divided the highest Ogdoad, within the Plērōma, into two Tetrads, a Right and Left,--though we are of course not to suppose that he originated such a fundamental notion.

We shall, therefore, confine our attention to Marcus, Ptolemæus, Heracleon and Bardesanes, brief notices of whom will bring our information derived from indirect sources--namely, the Patristic writings--to a conclusion.

Let us then turn to "them of Valentinus" and first treat of Marcus and his number-symbolism.



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« Reply #99 on: February 26, 2009, 01:24:02 pm »

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THE NUMBER-SYMBOLISM OF MARCUS.
A LONG section in Irenæus is our almost exclusive source for a knowledge of Marcus and his followers. Sources. Hippolytus and Epiphanius simply copy Irenæus and add nothing but new terms of condemnation, while our information from other sources is a question of lines and not of paragraphs. The unreliability of Irenæus as a chronicler of Gnostic views is already known to our readers, and in the case of Marcus and the Marcosians is more painfully patent than usual. It seems that some of the adherents of the school were to be found even among the rude populace of the Rhone valley, and the worthy Presbyter of Lyons was especially anxious to discount their influence. He begins the attack by retailing all the scandalous stories he can collect about Marcus, a man he had never seen, and who had not been nearer to the sheepfold of Lyons than Asia Minor, or at best Egypt!

Irenæus professes first of all to describe what took place at the initiation-ceremonies and secret rites of the Marcosians, and paints a graphic picture of charlatanry and debauchery, much to his own satisfaction. To all of these reports and descriptions, however, the Marcosians gave a most emphatic denial, and therefore we shall not at present trouble the reader with the Presbyter's statements on the subject, except to remark that he himself acknowledges that he depends entirely on hearsay, and to point out to the student that the account seems to be a very

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distorted caricature of the ceremonies, the ritual of which is partly preserved to us directly in the Askew Codex and one of the MSS. of the Codex Brucianus.

Irenæus next proceeds to give a résumé of a Marcosian MS. which had fallen into his hands. He apparently quotes some passages verbatim, but for the most part contents himself with a summary, so that we can by no means be sure what the writer of the document really said. The original of the document Irenæus ascribes to Marcus himself, whom throughout the whole section he apostrophises as a contemporary; it is, however, probable that this is merely rhetorical--as is the case with Hippolytus, who, thirty or forty years afterwards, in his opening paragraph, predicts that the result of his exposure of Marcus will be that "he will now desist [from his imposture]," although the body of the Gnostic doctor had long been laid in the grave.

Of Marcus himself we know nothing beyond the fact that he was one of the earlier pupils of Valentinus, or at any rate belonged to the earlier circle of Valentinian ideas. His date is vaguely placed somewhere about the middle of the second century; he is said to have taught in Asia Minor, and Jerome, two hundred years afterwards, states that he was an Egyptian.

To the student of Gnosticism who regards the Gnostic doctors as cultured men who made a Number-letters brave effort to formulate Christianity as a universal philosophy, or rather as a divine science springing from the ground of a philosophy of religion, the attempt of Marcus to adapt the Hebrew number-letter

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system, devised by "kabalistic" Rabbis, to the Greek alphabet, and so work out a number-symbolism for the too abstruse æon-genesis and world-process of the Gnosis, is a point of great interest. It may, however, be that the Hebrews copied from the Greeks; or that both derived this method from Egypt.

As must be patent to everyone, the methods of symbolism of the Gnostics were very numerous; many attempts were made to convey to the physical consciousness some idea of the modes, not only of superphysical existence, but also of what was definitely stated to be suprarational being. That these attempts were all doomed to failure, as far as general comprehension was concerned, is no reason for us to deride the efforts made; that we have not even to-day, with all our elaborate mathematical formulæ, evolved a sufficient symbolism, is no reason for denying the possibility of such an achievement within certain limits in future ages.

Marcus attempted this gigantic task with insufficient means, it is true, with means too that appear to our prosaic minds to-day as fantastic and even worthless; nevertheless he was not without a tradition that to some extent justified his making the attempt.

The ancient religion of the Chaldæans was astronomical and mathematical; cosmogenesis and evolution were worked out in the symbolism of numbers. Every letter of the sacred language had a certain numerical equivalent, and thus words and sentences could be constructed which could be interpreted numerically, and be finally made

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explanatory of natural and celestial phenomena and processes. Since the sacred books of the "Mathematicians" are said to have been written with this definite object in view, the mathematical key given to the initiate into the ancient star-lore of Chaldæa, might thus open the door to the sacred science of nature and man as known to the seers of that ancient civilisation.

The Rabbis of the Jews, on their return from captivity, presumably brought with them some Kabalism. notions of this method of number-letters, and later on proceeded to turn it to account as a means, both of explaining away much that was distasteful to the cultured mind in their ancient traditions, and of reading into the old cosmogonic and patriarchal fables new and spiritual meanings, derived to a large extent from their contact with Oriental ideas during the years of captivity and subsequently. This method of mystical exegesis by number-letters was developed to a marvellous extent by the Hellenising tendencies of the cultured Rabbis among the Diaspora; and Egypt, and especially Alexandria, was on; of the main centres of this peculiar learning. A relic of this number-system has come down to the present times with the tradition of the Kabalah. It is to be observed, however, that the Rabbis adapted the system to a heterogeneous library of works of various dates and many recensions, which were not originally composed with this end in view. True, they believed that every word and letter of the Law had been directly inspired by God, and thus contained a wonderful magical potency, but the relentless logic

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of modern Biblical research has to a large extent overturned this fond hypothesis, and their pious number-processes must now for the most part be regarded as the development of apologetic Rabbinism, and as legitimate only for such small parts of the documents as may have been composed in Babylon by scribes who were already versed in the Chaldaic method.

There is little doubt that Valentinus and his pupils were acquainted with all there was to learn at Alexandria of Rabbinical exegesis, in which the hopes of the Jews were more than ever centred after the destruction of the second temple in A.D. 70. They were also perfectly familiar with the Pythagorean number-philosophy, the symbolism of which no doubt had many resemblances to the number-books of the ancient Chaldeans. It is therefore but little surprising to find that one of them busied himself with adapting this ancient method of symbolism (if indeed it was not already native to Grecian tradition) to the Greek alphabet, in which the documents of the new faith, and, as they firmly believed, the new world-science, were now almost exclusively written. Needless to say, the Greek alphabet would not stand the strain; nevertheless it was a good exercise for a pupil of the Gnosis, and offered wide scope for the use of much ingenuity.

This exercise in correspondences was naturally no contribution to knowledge, but only a means of conveying knowledge otherwise acquired. It will, however, be of interest to give the reader a brief sketch of some of Marcus’ ideas, as far as it is possible

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to recover them from the contemptuous summary of the Marcosian MS. by Irenæus in his polemic. They are also additionally interesting as showing intimate points of contact with the Coptic treatises we have so often referred to.

The source of the document's inspiration is ascribed to the Supernal Four, the highest hierarchy of the Plērōma, which however only reveals itself to mortals in its "feminine" form, for the world cannot bear the power and effulgence of its "masculine" greatness. The same idea is current in India. The God (Deva) uses his power, the Goddess (Shakti, Devī), as his means of communication with mortals; his own form no mortal can behold and live. The whole of what follows is based upon the Greek texts of Hippolytus (Duncker and Schneidewin) and Epiphanius (Dindorf)--who copied from the lost Greek text of Irenæus--and upon the oft-times unintelligent and barbarous Latin version of the Greek original of Irenæus (Stieren).

The MS. apparently opened with the following passage descriptive of the speaking forth of the Word of the Supernal Father.

"When first the Father, the not even the One, beyond all possibility of thought and being, who is The Great Name. neither male nor female, willed that His ineffability should come into being, and His invisibility take form, He opened His mouth and uttered a Word, like unto Himself; who, appearing before Him, became the means of His seeing what He himself was--namely Himself appearing in the form of His own invisibility."

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Now the utterance of the Great Name was on this wise. The Father spake the Word; the first note of His Name was a sound of four elements; the second sound was also of four elements; the third of ten; the fourth and last of twelve. Thus the utterance of the whole Name was of thirty elements and four sounds or groupings.

After the words "the first note of His Name was a sound of four elements," Irenæus has dragged into his summary a suggestion of his own, probably derived from some numerical exegesis of the Prologue to the fourth Gospel, which he had come across elsewhere in his heresy-hunt. Thus he evidently breaks into the thread of the summary with the interjected note, "namely ἀρχή," the "Beginning" of the Prologue.

Further, each single element of the thirty has its own peculiar utterance, character, letters, configurations and images. But no element is acquainted with the form of the sound of which it is an element; in fact, so far from knowing its parent-sound, it pays no attention even to the utterance of its associate elements in its own sound-hierarchy, but only to its own utterance.

Thus uttering all that it knows, it thinks it is sounding forth the whole Name. For each of the elements, being a part of the whole Name, enunciates its own peculiar sound as the whole Word, and does not cease sounding until it arrives at the very last letter of the last sub-element in its own peculiar tongue.

Now the consummation or restitution of all, things

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takes place when all these original elements, coming to one and the same letter or note, send forth one and the same utterance, a symbol of which was the chanting of the sacred word "Amen" in unison. It was these notes of the scale of the Primordial Harmony which were the means of giving form to the Living Æon, which transcended all idea of substance and generation. To such forms the Lord referred when speaking of "the angels who continually behold the face of the Father."

The ordinary spoken names for these elements are: æons, words, roots, seeds, plenitudes (plerōmata), fruits. The "spoken" names are distinguished from the "authentic" names, or mysticæ voces, many instances of the cypher-equivalents of which will be found in the Coptic Codices.

Now every divine element, with all its sub-sounds, notes, or letters, was contained in the phase of the Divine Being to which the symbolic name of Church had been given. The term "Church" (Ecclesia) means the "Calling Forth," the Heritage of the Elect, a substitute for an "authentic" name, which was only revealed to the initiated members of the school. The Church was the female aspect of the fourth and last syzygy, or pair, of the Tetrad, or Holy Four, the Lords of the Plērōma.

When the last note of the last sub-element of these supernal elements had uttered its own The Echo of the Name. peculiar sound, the echo of it went forth, in the image of all these elements and sub-elements, and gave birth to another series; and it is this series which is the cause not only of the elements

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of the world which we know, but also of those elements which have a prior existence to those of our world.

The last divine note itself, of which echo rang on echo downwards, was wafted upwards by its own parent-sound to complete and consummate the whole Name; while the echo descended to the parts below, and remained as though cast out of the Plērōma.

This parent-sound or element, from which the last note, containing potentially the utterance of the parent-sound, descended below, consisted of thirty letters or elements, and each of these contains other letters or elements, by means of which the name of each root-element is spelt, and so on infinitely. That is to say, the sub-elements as it were spell out the name, or manifest the power, of the main element; and the power or name of each sub-element in turn is manifested or spelt by other minor sub-elements, and so on infinitely.

Marcus brought home this grand idea to the minds of his pupils by pointing out an analogy in the Greek alphabet. Thus take any single letter, say Δ, delta; as soon as you name it, you have five letters, namely, Δ delta, Ε epsilon, Λ lambda, Τ tau, Α alpha. Again Ε, epsilon, is resolved into E epsilon, Ψ psi, Ι iota, Λ lambda, Ο omicron, Ν nu; and so on infinitely. The illustration is certainly graphic enough.

The Symbolic Body of the Man of Truth.The Gnostic MS. then proceeded to describe a method of symbolizing the Great Body of the Heavenly Man, whereby the twenty-four letters of the Greek alphabet were assigned in pairs to the

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twelve "limbs." The Body of the Heavenly Man was the graphic symbol of the ideal economy, dispensation, or ordering of the universe, its regions, planes, hierarchies and powers.

This symbolic representation was called the schema or configuration of the one element (τό σχῆμα τοῦ στοχείου), and also the glyph (or character) of the figure (or diagram) of the Man of Truth, presumably the God of Truth of the Codex Brucianus, one of the treatises of which contains a whole series of diagrams of the various moments of emanation of the creative deity under this designation.

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« Reply #100 on: February 26, 2009, 01:24:14 pm »

In the phrase "glyph of the figure" (ὁ χαρακτὴρ τοῦ γράμματος), the word γράμμα is means either (i.) a letter of the alphabet, or (ii.) a note of music, or (iii.) a mathematical figure or diagram. The character, glyph, or configuration, would thus be the symbol or reflection of the super-spiritual Plērōma, regarded (i.) as the last letter of the four-lettered Great Name, or (ii.) as the last note of the Divine Harmony which is sung forth by the Supernal Logos or Word. To avoid complication and symbols of symbols, we have taken the word γράμμα in its third sense, in which it declares its consanguinity with the great art of systematising the elements and powers of nature, known in India as tantra ("systematising," "ordering.") Tāntrika is now a Janus-faced art, white and black, and its main feature is the drawing of magical diagrams (yantras), to represent the configuration of the elements and powers which the operator desires to use.

I omit here all mention of Mark's diagram of the

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body of the Heavenly Man, as the consideration of it would take up too much space in these short sketches.

Now the Word, the male energy of the middle pair or syzygy of the trinity (Mind-Truth, Word-Life, Man-Church) and the sum of the six, issued forth from the mouth of Truth. This Word is the Logos or Supreme Reason of all things, the self-generator of the universe, who bestows fatherhood (πατροδότορα λόγον) on all things. On earth this Word becomes the name known commonly to all Christians, namely, Christ Jesus. But Jesus is only the sound of the name down here and not the power of the name. Jesus is really a substitute for a very ancient name, and its power is known to the "elect" alone of the Christians.

It is the six-lettered name. But even this is only a symbol; among the æons of the Plērōma it is manifold, and of another form and type, and this is known only to them who are akin to the Logos in their hearts, those whose angels or greatnesses are with Him for all time.

Now the twenty-four letters of the alphabet, attached to the various limbs of the Body of the Heavenly Man in the diagram, are the symbols, or images, of the emanations of the three powers which contain the sum total or Plērōma of the æonic elements above. And there is a further analogy to their nature in the alphabet. For there are nine consonants (or soundless letters), eight liquids (or semi-sounds), and seven vowels (or sounds).

The consonants symbolise the ineffable or soundless

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elements of Mind-and-Truth; the liquids, midway between the soundless letters and the sounds, typify the elements of Word-and-Life, which receive the emanation from the unmanifested above, and receive back the ascent from the manifested below; and the vowels represent the elements of Man-and-Church, for sound going forth through the Man enformed all things. For the echo of His voice investured them with form.

This reminds us of the elaborated division of the Platonic world of ideas into three spaces: (1) noëtic; (2) both noëtic and noëric; and (3) noëric. (See my essay on Orpheus).

Thus we have the series 9, 8, 7; and if we take 1 from 9 and add it to 7, we get 8, 8, 8--or Jesus, the The Numbers. six-lettered name (ἰησοῦς), the numerical values of the letters of which amount to 888. That is to say, He who had his seat with the Father (Mind), left his seat and descended, sent forth to the one from whom He was separated (the Church), to restore the divine creation to a state of equilibrium, in order that, the unities of the Plērōmas (or three phases of the Plērōma or ideal cosmos) being reduced to an equality, there might be a common product of a single power from all of them in all of them. Thus the 7 obtained the power of the 8, and the three spaces became equal in their numbers, namely, 3 eights, and these added together are 24.

Now these three spaces or elements are each twofold (positive and negative), 6 in all, and these again fourfold, 24 in all, the reflection of the elements of the Unnameable, in dyads, triads and tetrads.

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« Reply #101 on: February 26, 2009, 01:24:30 pm »

Moreover, if you would find the 6 among the 24

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letters of the alphabet, which are only images of the real elements, you will find it hidden in the double letters Ξ (κς), Ψ (πς), Ζ (δς). Add this 6 to the 24 and we have again a symbol of the 30 æons of the Plērōma.

Gospel Exegesis.With much ingenuity our Gnostics found these numbers and processes in the prologue to Genesis, and elsewhere in the Old Covenant library; we need not, however, follow them into this field of letter-numbering. But when we find that they treated the Gospel-legends also not as history, but as allegory, and not only as allegory, but as symbolic of the drama of initiation, the matter becomes of deep interest for the theosophical student.

Thus they said that the transfiguration-story was symbolic (ἐν ὁμοιώματι εἰκόνος) of the divine economy as manifested in the man seeking perfection; in other words, of a certain stage of initiation.

To make this further apparent, we will use terms already familiar to some of our readers.

After "six days," that is to say, in the seventh stage since the disciple first set his feet on the path, he ascended into the "mountain"--a graphic symbol for the higher states of consciousness.

He ascended the fourth and became the sixth. That is to say, he ascended with three and was joined by two, the Peter, James and John, and Moses and Elias of the familiar Gospel-narrative.

The "three" are the powers he had already won over the gross, subtle and mental planes--presumably the degrees of srotāpanna, sakadāgamin and anāgāmin in the Buddhist tradition. The "two"

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are the representatives of the spiritual and divine powers which welcome and support him, and thus he becomes sixth, or possessed of the spiritual consciousness, while still in the body,--the arahat stage.

It was this "six," said the Marcosians, which had descended and been detained in the Hebdomad, or region of the seven spheres of difference; the "six" being in reality of the same essence as the World-mother, the eighth encircling sphere of sameness, which is above or beyond these seven. The six (the arahat) being thus of the same essence as the World-mother (Wisdom) contains essentially in himself the whole number of all the elements or powers--a fact already typified in the stage symbolised in the baptism-myth by the descent of the dove. The dove is the Alpha and Omega (1 and 800) of the diagram, the first and last of the numbers, representing the head. Moreover the word for "dove" in Greek is περιστερά, and 80 (π) + 5 (ε) + 100 (ρ) + 10 (ι) + 200 (σ) + 300 (τ) + 5 (e) + 100 (ρ) + 1 (α) = 801.

Again, it was on the "sixth day," the "preparation," that the divine economy, or order of things, manifested the "last man," the "man from heaven," for the new birth or regeneration of the "first man" or "man of the earth"; and further the passion began in the sixth hour and ended in the sixth hour, when the initiate was nailed to the cross. All of which was designed to indicate the power of creation (inception) and regeneration or rebirth (consummation), typified in the number 6, to those who were admitted to the mysteries of initiation, called by the Marcosian writer the "Sons of the Light," or

p. 372

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« Reply #102 on: February 26, 2009, 01:24:45 pm »

 "Sons of the Man," for the Greek will carry both meanings.

For creation or descent is represented by the number 2, that is to say by dyads, and regeneration or ascent by the number 3, that is to say by triads, and 2 × 3 = 6.

The Creation of the Sensible World.Now as to the creation of the sensible universe: the Logos, as creator, uses as his minister, or servant, the seven-numbered "greatness" (that is to say, the septenary hierarchy of the ideal universe, the Plērōma or Mind of the Logos, symbolized by the seven vowels), in order that the fruit of His self-meditated meditation may be manifested.

The creation of our particular universe (or solar system), however, is regarded as a fabrication, or building, according to a type in the Divine Mind. The creative fabricator or builder is, as it were, a reflection of the universal Logos, enformed by Him, but as it were separated or cut off, and thus remaining apart from or outside the Plērōma. It is by the power and purpose of the Divine Logos, that the demiurgic power, by means of his own emanation or life (the reflection of the Life of the Plērōma), ensouled the cosmos of seven powers, according to the similitude of the septenary power above, and thus was constituted the soul of the visible all, our cosmos. The demiurge makes use of this work as though it had come into existence through his own will alone; but the seven spheres of the world-soul (the cosmic life)--copies of the æonic spheres which no cosmic spheres can really represent--are in reality hand-maidens to the will of the Divine Life, the supernal Mother.

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Now the first of these seven spheres, or heavens, sounds forth the sound or vowel Α, the second the Ε, the third the Η, the fourth and midmost the Ι, the fifth the Ο, the sixth the Υ, and the seventh and fourth from the middle the Ω. And all uniting together in harmony send forth a sound and glorify him by whom they were emanated (the system-logos or world-builder); and the glory of the sound is carried up to the Forefather of the Plērōma (the Divine Logos), while the echo of their hymn of glory is borne to earth, and becomes the modeller and generator of them upon the earth, that is to say the souls of men.

Irenæus now appears to have come to the end of the MS., and so proceeds to give the friend to whom he is writing, as many other details of Marcosian ideas as he has picked up from scraps of quotations or from hearsay,--"quæ ad nos pervenneruut ex iis" (c. xv.). He returns once more to a consideration of the eternal economy of the Plērōma, and to an exposition from which he has already quoted a scrap in another connection (c. xi. 3), as follows:

"Before all universes there is a source (or beginning) before the primal source, prior even to that state which is inconceivable, ineffable, unnameable, The Tetraktys. which I number as Noughtness. With this No-number consubsists a power to which I give the name Oneness. This Noughtness and Oneness, which are in reality one, emanated, although they did not really emanate, the intelligible (or ideal) source of all, ingenerable and invisible, to which speech gives the name of Monad (or Nought).

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[paragraph continues] With this Monad consubsists a power of equal substance (ὁμοούσιος) with it, which I call One. These powers, Noughtness, Oneness, Nought and One, send forth the rest of the emanations of the æons.

"Noughtness" (lit., "monadity") is the root of the monad, the O or circle containing all the numbers--the no-number.

This passage shows the distinct influence of Basilides but among the best critics opinions are divided as to whether it should be assigned to Marcus or Heracleon.

The names of this highest tetrad or tetraktys, however, are really incapable of representation in human speech; they are the "holy of holies," names known to the Son alone, while even He does not know what the Four really are, this final knowledge of the one reality being referred to the Father alone.

These names pertain to the "sacred language," specimens of which are given in the fragments from the Books of the Saviour attached to the Pistis Sophia document and in two of the treatises of the Codex Brucianus.

The substitutes for these names are: Ineffable (ἄῤῥητος) and Silence (σειγή), Father (πατήρ) and Truth (ἀλήθεια); the Greek words for which consist respectively of 7 and 5, and 5 and 7 letters, or twice 7 and twice 5, the 24 elements of the Plērōma.

So also with the substitutes for the names of the second tetrad: Word (λόγος) and Life (ζωή), Man (ἄνθρωπος) and Church (ἐκκλησία); the Greek names consisting respectively of 5 and 3, and 8 and 8 letters--in all 24.

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Again the spoken or effable name of the Saviour, Jesus (ἰησοῦς), consists of 6 letters, while His ineffable name consists of 24. As stated above, the name = 888, and thus, by another permutation, = 24.

Similar number-permutations are also found in the letters of the word Christ.

But enough of this apparent forcing of an unwilling alphabet into the arms of a number-symbolism--perhaps the reader will say. The Marcosians, however, might in the first place plead in excuse the example of Philo and Alexandrine Judaism, which believed not only in the literal inspiration of the Hebrew text of the Old Covenant, but also that the Greek version of the so-called Seventy was written by the finger of God; and in the second, they might perhaps have said: The Greek names for the æons are but substitutes for other names which have these number-equivalents, and pertain to the secrets of our initiation.

The really scientific part of the system is the number-process as a natural symbolism of primeval evolution; it is not enough to label this Pythagoreanism and so dismiss it with a sneer, for all our modern physical science is based upon exactly the same considerations of measure and number.

Now the One contains in itself implicitly the three incomprehensibles, Noughtness, Oneness and Nought. Theological Arithmetic. Thus the One is the representative of the upper tetrad. And since all numbers come from the One, this tetrad is called the All-Mother, or Wisdom Above. From her proceeds as a daughter, the lower tetrad, the comprehensible numbers, the 1, 2,

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[paragraph continues] 3 and the 4, the Wisdom Below, which must be regarded as 8 potentially, seeing that the 1 manifests the unmanifestable One, the representative of the unmanifestable tetrad. The Wisdom below is thus reckoned as 8, or the ogdoad. But this ogdoad contains the decad, for 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 10. And this decad by congress with the 8 makes 80, and by congress with the 8 and itself makes 800; so that the 8, or world-mother, is separated into three spaces, 8, 80, and 800, in all 888, which is the number of her enforming power or consort Jesus, the creative Logos from above, the 1 + 2 + 3, or 6, the consort of the 4 or last number of the lower tetrad.

This enformation of the world-substance by means of the decad--by means of the creative 888 or "Jesus"--was the "enformation according to substance"; but there was another enformation of a higher kind, by means of the "Christ," the "enformation according to knowledge." This was the regeneration by means of the dodecad. Now 6 x 2 = 12; (1 + 2 + 3) × 2 = 12; 10 + 2 = 12; 8 + 4 = 12.

The 8 + 4 is the ogdoad with the first tetrad added to it; the 10 + 2 is the decad with the twin powers of the upper and lower tetrads added to it; the (1 + 2 + 3) × 2, or 6 × 2 is the doubling of the enforming power or its ascent into itself.

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« Reply #103 on: February 26, 2009, 01:24:58 pm »



Jesus the Master.These eternal types and processes were to be seen in nature and history. Thus in the case of the great Master, just as the world-soul was in ignorance before she was fashioned and regenerated, so were men in ignorance and error before the coming of the Great One, Jesus. He took flesh as Jesus, in

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order that He might descend to the perception of men on earth. And they who recognized Him ceased from Ignorance, and ascended from Death unto Life, His "Name," or Power, leading them unto the Father of Truth. For it was the will of the All-Father to put an end to Ignorance and destroy Death. And the ending of Ignorance is the Knowledge (ἐπίγνωσις) of Him (the Christ). For this reason a man was chosen by His will whose constitution was after the image of the power above (the lower tetrad), that is to say, sufficiently developed to act as a fit vehicle.

Now the lower tetrad is spoken of as Word and Life, Man and Church. And powers emanating from these four Holy Ones watch over the birth and mould the lower vehicles of the Jesus on earth. And this, it was said, was shown clearly in the allegorical scripture. "Gabriel" takes the place of the Word (Reason or Logos), the "Holy Spirit" that of the Life, the "Power of the Highest" that of the Man, and the "Virgin" that of the Church.

Again, at the baptism there descended upon the Jesus, thus perfectly constituted (or enformed according to substance), the dove, which soars again to heaven, its upward course completing the Jesus (or 6) and making him into the Christ (or 12), the enformation according to knowledge, or perfect illumination. And in the Christ subsists the seed of them who descend and ascend with Him. And the power of the Christ which descends is the seed of the Plērōma, containing in itself both the Father and the Son, and the unnameable power of Silence, the Mother,

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[paragraph continues] (which is only known through them), and the rest of the æons. Now this power of Silence, this Peace and Comfort, is the Holy Spirit. It was this Spirit which spoke through the mouth of Jesus in the Gospel-narratives, and proclaimed itself as Son of Man, and revealed the Father, descending on Jesus and becoming one with Him. It was this Saviour who put an end to death, by the removal of ignorance, and Jesus made Him known as his Father, the Christ.

Jesus is really the name of the man who was perfected in his lower nature (that is to say, the initiate); but because of its adaptability and formation the name has been given to the Man who was to descend into him (in other words, the Master). And he who was the vehicle of this Great One, had thus in him both the Man and Word and Father and the Ineffable, and Silence and Truth and Life and Church (for the Master is one who is at-one with these).

After three sections of abuse, Irenæus resumes the subject of Marcosian number-correspondences in cap. xvi.; but the reading of the key-passage which deals with the imperfections of the dodecad and the consequent "passion" of the cosmic soul and individual souls is so faulty that, as yet, I have been able to make nothing out of it.

The "Moving Image of Eternity."With cap. xvii., however, the æonic types are traced in the economy of the cosmos. The two tetrads are shown in the four elements fire, water, earth, and air, and their four characteristics, hot, cold, dry, and moist. The decad is shown in the seven spheres, and the eighth which encompasses them, and in addition the sun and moon. This

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clearly shows that the "seven spheres" are not the "planets," of either astrology or astronomy. Finally the dodecad is shown in the so-called zodiacal circle.

Now the motion of these seven spheres is exceedingly rapid, whereas the eighth sphere, or heaven, is much slower than the motion of the seven mutually interpenetrating spheres, and as it were balances or checks their otherwise too rapid motion by pressure on their periphery; the result is that the whole mass takes some 30 years to pass through a sign, or a twelfth part, of the zodiacal belt. This retarding sphere was thus regarded as an image of the Great Boundary which surrounds the "Mother of thirty names" or Plērōma. Again, the moon encompasses its "heaven," the lower boundary, in 30 days; and the sun completes its cyclic return in 12 months. There are moreover 12 hours in every day, and each hour is divided into thirty parts, according to the 12 great divisions of the zodiac, each of which has again 30 sub-divisions, 360 in all; the earth again has 12 climates. All of which is doubtless to be referred to the tradition of the common source of the ancient Chaldæan and Egyptian religions.

For the world-fabricator, or time-spirit, when he desired to copy the infinite, æonian, invisible and timeless nature of Eternity, was not able to make a model of its abiding and eternal nature, seeing that he himself was the result of a deficiency in this eternal nature; so he represented Eternity in times and seasons, and numbers of many years, thinking by a manifold number of times to imitate its infinitude. Thus it was that truth abandoned him and he

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followed after a lie; and therefore when the times are fulfilled his work will come to an end.

Irenæus devotes his next three chapters (capp. xviii.-xx.) to what he has heard of the From the Marcosian Ritual. Marcosian interpretation of scripture. This is of little interest; but in chapter xxi. the Bishop of Lyons gives us some of the formulæ used by the school, and these are of greater interest, although the Marcosians denied their accuracy. Thus he says that the words of the baptismal consecration are as follows:

"[I baptise thee] unto the Name of the unknown Father of the universals, unto Truth, the Mother of all, unto Him who descended on Jesus, unto the union, redemption, and communion of [thy] powers."

Next we have what purports to be the translation of a Hebrew invocation to the Christ; Irenæus gives the original Hebrew, but in such a woefully corrupt guise that it has baffled the ingenuity of the best of scholars.

"I invoke thee, O Light, who art above every power of the Father, Thou who art called Light and Spirit and Life; for Thou hast reigned in the body."

The formula of the rite of angelic redemption (the "angelic redemption" was the means whereby the candidate became one with his "angel" above), one of the higher degrees of Gnostic initiation, is then given:

"[I invoke] the Name hidden from every godhead and lordship, the Name of Truth, in which Jesus, the Nazarene, clothed himself in the zones (or girdles) of Light, [the Name] of the Christ, Christ the Living One, through the Holy Spirit, for angelic redemption."

Next follows the formula of the restoration or

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restitution, the final consecration. They who solemnize the rite declare as follows:

"There is no separation between my spirit, my heart, and the Super-celestial Power. May I enjoy thy Name, O Saviour of Truth!"

And then the candidate replies:

"I am confirmed and redeemed; I redeem my soul from this æon (world) and all that cometh therefrom, in the name of IAŌ, who redeemed its soul, unto redemption in Christ, the Living One."

Then the assistants rejoin:

"Peace unto all on whom this Name doth rest!" There were also prayers for the dead, and also formulæ for the soul in passing through the seven gates of the seven purgatorial spheres, of which the following are given by Irenæus as specimens: "I am the son of the Father, of the Father who is beyond all existence [that is to say, generation, or saṁsāra, the sphere of rebirth] while I, His son, am in existence. I came [into existence] to see mine own and things not mine, yet not wholly not mine, for they are Wisdom's, who is [my] female [counterpart] and made them for herself. But I derive my birth from Him who is beyond existence, and I return again unto mine own whence I came forth."

And then they pass through the various planes of the purgatorial realms, and the powers of the regions make way before them. The final "apology" is made to the powers surrounding the world-fabricator, or demiurge, and runs as follows:

"I am a vessel more precious than the female power [lower Wisdom] who made you. Your mother

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knoweth not the root from which she came; but I know myself and know whence I am, and I invoke the incorruptible Wisdom [above], who is in the Father. She it is who is the Mother of your mother, the Mother who hath no mother, nor any male consort. But it was a female born from a female who made you, one who knoweth not her Mother, but thinketh herself to be alone [self-generated]. But I invoke her Mother to my aid."

And so he passeth on to his own, casting off his chains, that is to say, the soul, or lower nature.

It is evident that we have in the above an indication of the same range of ideas which we find worked out with such elaboration in the Pistis Sophia and Codex Brucianus treatises: the light-robe of the Master, the Living One, the invocations, apologies, prayers for the dead, baptism and chrism, all clearly distinguishable; all of which formed part of the great cycle of Gnostic initiations in known Valentinian circles. The degrees of this initiation were more and more secret as they became more real. Irenæus may have heard of some of the formulæ of the lower grades, but the higher grades could only be understood by the picked disciples of these very intellectual and highly mystical schools. The documents pertaining to the higher degrees seem never to have come into the hands of the Church Fathers.



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« Reply #104 on: February 26, 2009, 01:25:19 pm »

p. 383

PTOLEMY.
OF the life of Ptolemy, one of the oldest pupils of Valentinus, we know absolutely nothing.. It was through some of the pupils of Ptolemy mainly that Irenæus (I. i.-viii.) become acquainted with a rough outline of some of the ideas of the developed Gnosticism of this line of tradition; but whether or not Ptolemy himself was alive when the Presbyter of Lyons wrote the opening chapters of his Refutation, somewhere about A.D. 185-195, it is impossible to say. Of the writings of Ptolemy two fragments alone have been preserved: an interpretation of the magnificent Proem of the Beginnings still extant in the Prologue to the fourth canonical Gospel (Iren., I. viii. 5), and a letter to a lady called Flora, quoted by Epiphanius (Hær., xxxiii.).

Whether or not the teaching of Ptolemy had any essential differences from that of his master Valentinus, it is at present impossible to decide; and the copied statement of Tertullian (Adv. Valent., 4)--that with Ptolemy the names and numbers of the æons were separated into personal substances external to Deity, whereas with Valentinus these substances had been included in the sum of the Godhead, as sensations, affections, and emotions--is perfectly unintelligible to the student of Gnosticism.

We will first consider the Letter to Flora, and then the interpretation of the Logos-doctrine Proem. The The Letter to Flora. Letter to Flora gives the view which the Valentinian to Flora.

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tradition held concerning the world-process, the old Covenant theology, and the documents of the Jewish law.

Opinions, says Ptolemy, are divided; some holding the one extreme and contending that the Jews’ Law came direct from God and the Father (the Logos); others maintaining the absolute contrary, and declaring that it emanated from the opposite power, the destroyer, the god of this world (the Accuser or Diabolos). Both of these extreme views are unwise. On the one hand, the Law is evidently imperfect, as may be seen from the crude ideas ascribed to God in some of the documents, ideas foreign to the nature and judgments of the God of the Christ; and on the other, the world-process cannot be the work of an unjust power, for the Saviour Himself declared that a house divided against itself cannot stand; and the "Apostle" long ago robbed of its sting the "baseless wisdom" (ἀνυπόστατον σοφίαν) of such liars, in the words, "all things were made by Him," the Logos, and not by a god of destruction.

Ptolemy, like the rest of the Valentinians, condemns as strongly such false gnosis as later the now-called "orthodox" Fathers, headed by Irenæus, condemned all gnosis. But at this time the phrase "knowledge falsely so called" was not a condemnation of all gnosis, for there still was an "orthodox" Christian gnosis, as Clement of Alexandria and others have so well shown.

Such views, then, are held only by those who are ignorant of the causative law; the one body of extremists being ignorant of the God of Justice (the

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framer of the kārmic law), the other of the All-Father, whom the Saviour was the first to know and proclaim to the Jews.

The Gnostics held a middle position between these extremes, the only possible one. Ptolemy thus proceeds The "Higher Criticism." to answer the doubts of Flora entirely in  the spirit of what is now called the "Higher Criticism"; he lays down a position immediately self-evident to the cultured Gnostic genius, and said to be based on the words of Jesus, but only recovered by modern scholarship after many long centuries of obscurantism.

The law, as set forth in the Five Books ascribed to Moses, is not from one source, that is to say, not from God alone. In fact, three sources may be distinguished: (1) laws given by Moses under inspiration; (2) laws enacted by Moses himself; (3) laws added by the elders.

This division is borne out by the "Words of the Saviour"; for with regard to divorce He taught that it was permitted by Moses only because of the Jews’ hardness of heart, whereas the Law of God from the beginning laid down that husband and wife should not be sundered. The law of Moses was simply an enactment of expediency, it was not the Law. Moreover, the traditions of the elders were equally not the Law. For the inspired Law taught that honour was due to father and mother; and Jesus had opposed this old truth of karmic duty to the ignorant tradition of the elders, which taught that anything given to father or mother by the child was a gift--a phrase which Ptolemy quotes differently from the

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readings of either of the synoptic documents that still preserve it; namely, "whatsoever benefit thou receivest from me, is a gift to God."

Thus three distinct sources are to be distinguished, only one of which can be referred to what can in any sense be called revelation.

Again, as to the first division, this in its turn is resolvable into three elements: (1) a good element (the Decalogue), endorsed and completed by the teaching of Christ; (2) a bad element, which He set aside, the "eye for an eye" law of retaliation; and (3) the typical and symbolical rites, such as circumcision, the sabbath and fasting, which the Christ translated from their sensible and phenomenal forms into their spiritual and invisible meaning. This is borne out in a remarkable fashion by one of the newly discovered Sayings: "Jesus saith, Except ye fast to the world, ye shall in no wise find the Kingdom of God; and except ye sabbatize the sabbath, ye shall not see the Father." (See Sayings of Our Lord, Grenfell and Hunt; London, 1897).

Thus with regard to the third element, the Christ taught that the "offerings" to God were not to consist of incense and the slaughter of irrational animals, but of spiritual thanksgiving, and goodwill and good works to our neighbours; that circumcision was not of anything physical, but of the spiritual heart; that keeping the sabbath was resting from evil works; and in like manner fasting was from baser things, and not from physical food.

From what source, then, came the "inspiration" of Moses in establishing such observances? From a

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source midway between the world of men and the God over all; that is to say, from the intermediate The Source of Moses’ Inspiration. realms, or world-soul, the fabricative power of this physical world. The source of Moses’ inspiration was not the Perfect Deity of the Christ, but an inferior source, not good (for God alone is really good), nor evil (the power which opposes good alone being evil), but imperfect; the power of the adjuster or arbitrator. This source is inferior to the Perfect Deity; it is only conditionally righteous or just, and so inferior to the perfect righteousness and justice of God. The maker or soul of our world is generable, the creator of the divine creation ingenerable. But the world-maker is superior to the opposer, the world, whose substance is destruction and darkness, and whose matter is material and manifoldly divided. But the substance of the cosmic spaces of the ingenerable Father (the cosmic spaces, or "universals," as opposed to the "world," or our earth; the cosmic planes as distinguished from the terrestrial) is incorruptibility and self-existent Light, simple and one.

The substance of these cosmic spaces is differentiated in an incomprehensible manner into two powers or aspects, soul enforming body; that is to say, the "planetary soul" enforming the "earth." This soul is an image of the ideal cosmos, and it is from one of its powers that Moses received his inspiration.

So far the sensible letter of Ptolemy to Flora; in which the Gnostic doctor, by his knowledge of the unseen world and understanding of the teaching of

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the Christ, intuitively applies a canon of criticism to the contents of the Pentateuch, which the best scholarship of our own century has taken a hundred years to establish intellectually.

The Proem to the Fourth Gospel.We will now proceed to consider the interpretation which Ptolemy gave to the glorious Proem that now stands at the head of the fourth Gospel.

The Beginning is the first principle brought into being by God, and in it the Father emanated all things in germ, or potentially. This Beginning is called Mind, Son, and Alone-begotten (that is to say, brought forth by the Father alone).

The next phase of being was the emanation of the Logos (Reason or Word) in the first principle, the Beginning or Mind. This Logos in His turn contained in Himself the whole substance of the Æons, which substance the Logos enformed.

According to the Lexicon of the Alexandrian Hesychius, the philosophical meaning of the term Logos is "the cause of action" (ἡ τοῦ δράματος ὑπόθεσις).

The opening words, therefore, treat of the divine hypostases.

"In the Beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was (one) with God, and the Logos was God. He was in the Beginning (one) with God." I translate the phrase πρὸς τὸν Θεὸν by the words "one with God," and not by the simple and familiar "with God," on the authority of Ptolemy (ἡ πρὸς ἀλλήλους ἅμα καὶ ἡ πρὸς τὸν πατέρα ἕνωσις), seeing that the simple English preposition "with" does not convey the sense of the Greek.

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First of all there is a distinction made between the three, God, Beginning and Logos, and then they are at-oned, or identified; in order that first the emanation of the two from the one may be shown--of the Son (or Beginning or Mind) and of the Logos from the Father)--and then the identification or at-one-ment of the two with each other and with the Father may be indicated.

For in the Father and from the Father is the Beginning; and in the Beginning and from the Beginning is the Logos. Well said is it then, "In the Beginning was the Logos," for He was in the Son (or Mind).

"And the Logos was (one) with God." For the Beginning is one with God, and, consequently, the Logos is one. For what is of God, is God.

"All came into being through Him, and without Him nothing had being." That is, the Logos was the cause of the divine or æonic creation.

But "that which has its being in Him is Life"--the syzygy or consort of the Logos.

The Æons came into being through Him, but Life was in him. And she who is in Him, is more akin to Him than they who came into being through Him. For she is united to Him and bears fruit through Him.

"And the Life was the Light of men"--"men" signifying first of all the supernal Man and his spouse, the Church, for they were enlightened, or brought to light through Life. Thus far concerning the Plērōma or divine world.

The next verse, "The Light shineth in the

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[paragraph continues] Darkness and the Darkness comprehended it not," refers to the sensible universe. For though the chaos of the sensible universe was made into cosmos by the passion of the Divine Æon, the sensible world knew Him not. And this Æon is thus Truth and Life, and "Word made flesh," in the cosmic process. It is the enlightened only who have "beheld His glory," the glory of the Alone-begotten Son, the Divine Æon or Plērōma, given unto Him by the Father, full of Grace (another name for Silence and Peace) and Truth.

And thus, said Ptolemy, distinct reference to the two tetraktydes--Father and Silence, Mind and Truth, Word and Life, Man and Church--is contained in the Proem.

Such was the nature of the exegesis of Ptolemy with regard to the Proem of the Logos-doctrine, and here we must reluctantly leave him, for we have no further information.

Irenæus’ summary, in his opening chapters, of what he had picked up concerning the tenets of "them of Ptolemy," differs but slightly from the outlines of the æon-process and Sophia-mythus drama already familiar to our readers from the account of Hippolytus.



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