PDA

View Full Version : Gnostics and charity



David19
February 7th, 2010, 09:26 PM
I thought this might be a good place for this (if not, please someone feel free to move it:)), but, I thought some of you might be interested in this article, it's about Gnostic Christians and charity, and has some very interesting quotes, IMO:

From here (http://www.examiner.com/x-28537-Gnosticism--Heretical-Spirituality-Examiner~y2010m2d6-Gnosticism-101-Do-Gnostics-believe-in-charity-and-good-works):


As the commercial gluttony of Valentine’s Day goes into full display, many people assume Gnostics will spend this time inside a manhole seeking that perfect mystic candy that will grant them union with the Godhead (as they must have done during the Haiti crisis). Gnostics are often considered the Western counterpart to Zen Chefs, and there is some truth to this statement. But a fuller truth is that the chocolate box of reaching Gnosis (Divine Knowledge) includes charity.

The word charity (agape in Greek) is usually interchangeable with love in Christian texts. Yet charity (agape) has a much deeper flavoring. Richard Smoley, in his book ‘Inner Christianity’, explains that charity is more of a spiritual love between man and God that causes a deep compassion and connection with all living beings.

Also:


The Gospel of Thomas has short but potent morsels dealing the concept of charity:

Jesus said, "Love your neighbors like your own soul, protect them like the pupil of your eye."....

Jesus said, "Don't lie, and don't do what you hate, because all things are disclosed before heaven. After all, there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, and there is nothing covered up that will remain undisclosed."


In The Dialogue of the Savior, the exchange of recipes between Judas and Jesus stresses the essential connection between charity and Gnosis:

“Judas said, ‘Tell me, Lord, what the beginning of the path is.’
Jesus said, 'Love and kindness. For if one of these existed among the Rulers, wickedness would never have come into existence.’”


The Secret Book James states “Hearken to the Word, understand Gnosis, love life"

It's a good article, IMO, he's also the host of Aeon Bytes (http://thegodabovegod.com/), an online Gnostic radio show.

Anyway, I just thought I'd post this, as I thought some of the quotes from the early Christian Gospels were very cool and interesting.

john.a
February 9th, 2010, 09:01 PM
... is not unique to gnostic Christianity: in Catholicism, it is one of the three theological virtues.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_theological_virtues

You may also be interested in the agápē feast, what I consider to be the earliest precursor to the modern Catholic's Liturgy of the Eucharist before it de-evolved into some kind of luxurious party:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agape_feast

* * *

I also just wanted to mention that the texts to which you've alluded are by no means "early Christian gospels." While there are a few scholars who would date the Gospel of Thomas to be contemporary with the New Testament Gospels, there are just as many who date it much later in the 2nd century. There is considerably less dispute about the Apocryphon of James and the Dialogue of the Savior which date to the 2nd century. For comparison, the New Testament gospels date to the 1st century (with John being the latest on the cusp of the 2nd century, and interestingly, the most gnostic-like compared to the the other three) and the letters of Paul - and thus, Pauline Christianity - date even earlier than the gospels.

* * *

On a side note, I've wanted, for a while now, the words C A R I T A S and V E R I T A S tattooed on my forearms. Dunno if I'll ever go for it.

David19
February 9th, 2010, 09:57 PM
... is not unique to gnostic Christianity: in Catholicism, it is one of the three theological virtues.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_theological_virtues

You may also be interested in the agápē feast, what I consider to be the earliest precursor to the modern Catholic's Liturgy of the Eucharist before it de-evolved into some kind of luxurious party:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agape_feast

Thanks for those links, I find that interesting :).

I like the definition of charity:


Charity - selfless, unconditional, and voluntary loving-kindness such as helping one's neighbors.

It's a shame certain Christian groups in the Bible Belt don't follow that a lot more.



I also just wanted to mention that the texts to which you've alluded are by no means "early Christian gospels." While there are a few scholars who would date the Gospel of Thomas to be contemporary with the New Testament Gospels, there are just as many who date it much later in the 2nd century. There is considerably less dispute about the Apocryphon of James and the Dialogue of the Savior which date to the 2nd century. For comparison, the New Testament gospels date to the 1st century (with John being the latest on the cusp of the 2nd century, and interestingly, the most gnostic-like compared to the the other three) and the letters of Paul - and thus, Pauline Christianity - date even earlier than the gospels.

I didn't know that, although, I called them early Christian Gospels, 'cause, they were used as Gospels by certain early Christian groups, like The Gospel of Thomas, Judas, Mary Magdalene, etc.



On a side note, I've wanted, for a while now, the words C A R I T A S and V E R I T A S tattooed on my forearms. Dunno if I'll ever go for it.

If you do, I hope it works out :).