This rigid definition of Gnosticism (just the Sethians) does not work to find a modern meaning, Michael argues.
The term Gnosticism is brought into the Nag Hammadi, buttressed by the Church Father definition. Elaine Pagels does this and runs off with the definition as basically alternative Christians.
Basically: the church hated them and they wrote other gospels. They’re Gnostics!
Nicola Denzey Lewis does the same in her new book, although she brings in more 4th century mysticism.
Academia is just too dependent still on Irenaeus and not looking at the Nag Hammadi library. Brakke and Pagels all do it, according to Michael.
Lol…Michael says scholars day jobs are more like Irenaeus and less than Valentinus. One should be put in the shoes of the poet and start from there, not the old guy in a frock.
Gnosticism is about:
Self transformation through the realization of the hidden mysticism in the world. That can include the whole Nag Hammadi library. I mean, someone put the Nag Hammadi library together, knowing there was a common theme.
Wow…Michael said Gnosticism should be viewed as Jazz and not classical music. I said that years ago in an article. There is a rhythm and beat but artistic improvisation is king. In other words, create large parameters and see good results.
Gnosticism is about meaning and not ritual. Again, very jazzy. I mean, Sethians have magical rituals in other dimensions, which means they didn’t think you should be doing it!
Gnosticism is about traditional groups. There was a group of people who wanted to hang out; they saw the world more or less the same. They certainly should be called Christians. It is not parasitic but a stand alone religious view.
Gnosticism is about specifics. There are detailed mythic systems that show a large esoteric landscape. There are exceptions, but we got some specifics.
Gnosticism is about authority. Michael breaks with April. The Gnostics are looking for the ultimate authority, that is the Alien God. They are seeking order to a higher force. The may not like the king of this world, but they are seeking a new king. Gnosticism seeks power.