Lautaro Roig Lanzillota is discussing the Apocalypse of Paul (Nag Hammadi or later, I wonder?)
It’s the Gnostic one.
It’s basically the expansion to Paul’s rapture in the third heaven (2Cor 12:2-4).
It talks about an out of body experience while still alive, where Paul takes a look at the outer dimensions. It’s one of the earliest accounts of souls being punished, not in hell, but in heavenly spheres.
The text has:
- 10 Heavens
- Three separate sections of creation
- Punishing Archons
- It’s not so much an apocalypse but a “heavenly journey text.”
It’s a 2nd century work attributed to Paul, and it lies on Hellene style and philosophy to a point. Some say it’s an early Valentinian work.
Paul is traveling heaven and meets some beings, one that might be a polymorphic Jesus. He sees some sinners punished in the fifth heaven. In the seventh, he meets an old man who is the demiurge, and avoids him. In the 8th heaven he become spiritually clean.
Three regions are mentioned: Mountain of Jericho (the world), Jerusalem (heavenly regions), Pleroma (8-10th heaven, beyond any reality).
The body is always associated with sin in this text. Yet the earthly spheres and heavenly spheres are very connected, meaning it’s all a big mess even beyond the material dimensions…or that matter and psyche are way too connected.
Sticking with Valentinian thought, the Demiurge is seen as a wise old man in a throne. He’s negative but not demented as with the Sethians. Paul simply has to give him a password and he’s gone from the 7th heaven.
The Archons rule the mind and body, and the passions originate in the heavenly realms.
The Apostles do follow Paul at first, but stay behind in the 7th heaven, probably because they’re dorks.
10 Heavens is not that unusual, as The Secret Book of John has that many celestial spheres. The 10 heavens appears even more in Hermetic writings like Poimandres, Discourse Eighth and Ninth, and others. Basically, become more moral and spiritual is an ascent. It is an ethical map from the body into the higher self.
Aaaaand…there is an ecstatic experience (out of the body and into bliss).
Lautaro has these conclusions: Tripart approach to the universe; influenced by Aristotle cosmology and the Eudoxian model; Greco-Roman background and no so much Jewish; not so much about the universe but about how we humans are divided.
It’s not so much about reaching a god but becoming a god by being an ethical person. So much for the science fiction adventure!