I have been enjoying the ongoing Japanese anime Fate/Zero, & episode 11 consists of a dialogue between three legendary kings who expressed philosophical differences about ruling. The interlocutors are Saber (King Arthur), Rider (Alexander the Great) and Archer (Gilgamesh), but the most interesting aspect was the diametrically opposite approach between Arthur and Alexander regarding how to rule. It was fascinating enough to inspire a lengthy rant on morality, Nietzsche, and representation. ↓ Read the rest of this entry…
Posts Tagged ‘history’
After hearing about Fukuyama’s End of History thesis, I began to wonder:
Were there truly an “end” of history, a post-history, the possibility of all events coming to an end, who would be a competent historian to observe this end of all cycles?
This does not refer to theoreticians of the “end of history,” but of a different type – a true historian looking back after all histories had ended, a post-historian observing that there are no more events to record, except perhaps the act of recording for the unknown readers of the future. The end of history is the end of the fall into time – when man became historical after being exiled from paradise. ↓ Read the rest of this entry…
Christians are prone to overstatements such as the simple claim that the New Testament is a historical document.
However, this is incorrect, since they are religious works, not historical documents. There is a reason why your public or university library has the Gospels classified as religion, not history. Your public university does not include the Gospels in Ancient History 100 courses.
If the Gospels are historical, then they have to stand up to critical analysis. Once critical analysis is applied, they are anything but reliable history, and i will expand why:
No Gospels or Jesus of Nazareth known in the 1st century
We must distinguish between the Gospels and the rest of the New Testament: the NT epistles of Paul and Revelation and Acts do not contain explicit knowledge of the Gospel events or biographical information of Jesus of Nazareth, for they contain high spiritual formula instead. Now, moving on to the Gospels, since they are what most Christians suppose to be historical.
Gospels Not written by eyewitnesses
It is painfully clear that the Gospel of Mark was not written an eyewitness, because:
- the writer is often ignorant about the geography of the region
- the writer is often ignorant about the customs of the locals
- Papias , circa 130 explains Mark was not an eye-witness
- Clement and Tertullian later agree Mark was not an eye-witness.
The Gospel of Matthew and Gospel of Luke both copied large amounts of Gospel of Mark word-for-word, so they can hardly have been eyewitnesses either. They also changed, deleted and added to GMark to suit differing purposes and audiences – showing they did not represent historical events, but religious mythology.
Manuscripts of the Gospels are a century or more late
Christians are quick to claim that the historical writings and the date of the events are very close. This is factually incorrect, because of the paucity of positive evidence. all we have instead are:
- a few WORDS possibly of Gospel of John from early 2nd century
- most of John from circa 200
- several verses of Gospel of Matthew from c.200
- several chapters of synoptics from 3rd century
The earliest substantial manuscripts of the synoptic Gospels date back to two centuries after the alleged events.
Citations of the Gospels are a century or more late
The extrabiblical knowledge of the Gospels or its content does not appear until a full century after the alleged events:
- The first mention of Gospels is not until perhaps circa 130 with Papias.
- the first substantial quotes from the Gospels is not until circa 150 with Justin
- The first numbering of the Four Gospels is not until circa 172 with the Diatessaron.
- the first naming of the Four Gospels is not until circa 185 with Irenaeus
The Gospels became public knowledge in the middle to late 2nd century, which is about a hundred and fifty years after the alleged events. Once approximately 150 years of oral tradition has passed, history is considered immaterial and vacuous, lost among the legendary accretions.
Early Doubts about the Gospels
During the first appearance of the Gospels there are doubts: Trypho, circa 130 seems to doubt Jesus, and Celsus, circa 175 exposes the Gospels as fiction and based on myth.
Later writers also criticized the Gospels as fiction: Porphyry called the evangelists inventors of history and Julian called Jesus spurious and invented.
There are no contemporary references to Jesus of Nazareth or the Gospel events. None.
A lack of neutral reports of the events in the Gospels further reduces the Christians’ claim of historicity.
Many differences in Gospel manuscripts
Christians are also very eager to argue that there exists a similarity in content among the gospels. However, the manuscripts do not show exact similarity because, in fact they show excessive variation. There are NO TWO substantial manuscripts of the Gospels which are identical.
It is estimated there are 300,000 variations in the NT manuscripts, 30,000 in Gospel of Mark, even 80 or so in the Lord’s Prayer.
Furthermore, these changes were often driven by arguments over dogma in the early centuries. Bert Ehrman’s classic work The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture shows in detail four examples of how the scriptures were altered by early Christians to argue their points.
To finish, I will list a typical list of modifications of the scriptures. Note that such changes are not just minor things like spelling errors, they show variation of the some of the most fundamental issues of Christian dogma including – the virgin birth, the baptism, the Lord’s Prayer, the trinity, even the resurrection.
Examples of Corruptions to the NT
- Markan appendix – not found in early manuscripts – there are now FOUR differing versions of endings to Mark (the short, plus 3 versions of how it ends)
- Matthew. 6:13 – to this day, there are different versions in various bibles – the early manuscripts show that “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen” is a later addition.
- Luke 3:22 – early witnesses have : ” . . . and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou are my son, this day have I begotten thee”
later manuscripts have the KJV version : “…Thou art my beloved son; in thee I am well pleased”
- John 9:35 – The KJV has “…son of god”, but the early manuscripts show “..son of man”.
- John’s periscope of the Adulteress – not found in the early witnesses – generally agreed to be a later addition.
- Colossians 1:14 – the phrase “through his blood” is a later addition.
- Acts 9:5-6 – Absent from early manuscripts – a later addition.
- Acts 8:37 – “And Phillip said, if thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God” Absent from early manuscripts – a later addition.
- John 8:59 -“…going through the midst of them, and so passed by” Absent from early manuscripts – a later addition.
- 1 John 5:7 The Trinity formula found here only originated centuries after the events. Bruce Metzger notes : “The passage is absent from every known Greek manuscript except eight, and these contain the passage in what appears to be a translation from a late recension of the Latin Vulgate . . . “
The passage is quoted by none of the Greek fathers, who, had they known it, would most certainly have employed it in the Trinitarian controversies (Sabellian and Arian). Its first appearance in Greek is in a Greek version of the (Latin) Acts of the Lutheran Council in 1215.
Why did Enlightenment fail? According to modern philosophy and modern academia the goals of Enlightenment was never realized – the foundation of god, religion, ethics, and especially, a political system, in reason. The idealist might insist that the Enlightenment isn’t without its virtues – that it freed civilization from the shackles of the church, and unleashed a new age of man. However, the result is merely a new election, a new ideology. Instead of God as tyrant, we have the Rational Tyrant. The dogma changes its clothes, but the incantation retains the same syllables, and the stench of the absolutist lingers in propaganda: the “right way,” the “correct method.” Yet, during the baptism of reason at the Hanging Gardens, we also sacrificed subjectivity: the marginalization of the passions and the emotions and intuition.
A general understanding of this topic relies on the context of the times, which was the 19th century, the subsequent era after the Enlightenment (dating from the publication of Hobbes’ Leviathan in 1651 to Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man in 1792).
Ambivalent 19th century thinkers such as Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Marx, Darwin and Dostoyevski abandoned the myth of the intellectual progressivism, because of the corrosive effects of rationalism, yet they retained faith in life.
The results of the 19th century thought was a composite of both the dominant optimism, the result of the growth of industry and democracy, and an emerging pessimism due to the failure of rationalism in social change, whether solutions to the problems of society was possible at all.
Although the next generation of thinkers such as Georg Simmel, Max Weber, Henri Bergson, Emile Durkheim, Samuel Alexander, Edmund Husserl, and Sigmund Freud shared in the Weberian “disenchantment of the world,” they also sought to save civilization from that fate.
Specific instances of this disenchantment: the decline of a stable justification for life, and the resulting dispersal of meaning and inspiring despair, in the fragmentation of social cohesion, and schisms from cultural variety and disunity. This generation, initially, belonged to the progressivist camp, and within the paradigm of Darwin, they purged the remaining traces of idealism through the rubric of naturalism, realism or empiricism. Soon enough, progress itself was questioned, and once the cat escaped from the bag when objective meanings were found wanting, they realized the all-too-grave consequences for society and the individual.
Of course there was a noble struggle to restore prominence and absolution to culture and society in order to return it to the Throne of Meaning. This effort ended in failure, and the result is the dispersed and specialized thought of the 20th century, where there is no longer any general discourse, but little and segregated discourses, tailor-made for the specialist. The criticism worked too well, making a reconstructive project impossible.
Moreover, the modern developments in science has led to the decline of optimism in rationalism. In physics and mathematics, two of the most advanced forms of western science, have themselves become paradoxical. In other words they are now at the state where paradoxes are generated according to reason. Kant already highlighted the “ineluctable limits” of reason, but thanks to those comfortably in the grip of enlightenment, the majority of intellectuals and the masses remained positivistic. That means such aforementioned limits of reasons were immaterial until they came from the sciences.
During the early 20th century paradigm shifts in science and mathematics finally caught up with Kant: Heisenberg in physics and Godel in mathematics. Heisenberg’s principle of interderminacy announced the limitations of our ability to know and predict the physical state of affairs at the quantum level of reality, where chaos is the name of the game. Godel’s conclusions have a greater impact, given the sacred cow status mathematics has enjoyed for the majority of the history of western philosophy. In each system of mathematics, there are statements/propositions that cannot be proven within the system, leaving us with the unacceptable flavor of incompleteness. Then our next step in thought ought lie with the recognition of the inherent paradoxial nature of reason.
Here are several formal definitions of tragedy:
In ancient Greek, tragedy is literally “goat song,” from tragos (goat) and oide (song). A form of ritual sacrifice that involves chloral song, paying respect to Dionysus, the god of fields and vineyards. Some scholars claim Greek dramatic tragedy developed out of this ritual.
In Poetics, Aristotle formally defined tragedy as:
“The imitation of an action that is serious and also, as having magnitude, complete in itself; in language with pleasurable accessories, each kind brought in separately in the parts of the work; in a dramatic, not in a narrative form; with incidents arousing pity and fear where with to accomplish its catharsis of such emotions.”
According to Diogenes (4th century), tragedy is a narrative about the fortunes of heroic or semi divine characters. More prosaically, the archbishop Isidore of Seville claimed that tragedy comprises sad stories about the commonwealths and kings. The grammarian John of Garland defined tragedy as a poem written in the grand style about shameful and wicked deeds, one that begins in joy and ends in grief. The ever magniloquent Sir Phillip of Sidney said “high and excellent tragedy” opens the severest wounds and displays the ulcers covered with tissue, that it caused kings afraid to become tyrants, and shows how tyrants “manifest their tyrannical humors.” Tragedy “stirs the affects of admiration and commiseration, teacheth the uncertainty of this world and upon how weak foundations the gilden roofs are build.”
in both theory and practice tragedy is typically a form of drama that is concerned with the (mis)fortunes, and ultimately, the disasters that happen to people.
Besides the aforementioned Oedipus, in the canon of tragic works we find Agamemnon, Antigone, Hecuba, Romeo and Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra, Hamlet, Duchess of Malfi, Samson Agonistes, Phedre, Jaffier and Belvidera, Cato, Don Carlos, Brand, Deirdre..
Some of the common traits of the characters in tragedies account for their tragic situation: they possess virtues of excellence, nobleness, passions, and other gifts and virtues that separate them from the rest of the people. However, those virtues aren’t worth a hill of beans – they make no difference as the characters sink in self-destruction or are destroyed by external forces. The most stark element of tragedy is its message of sheer hopelessness or the inevitability of fate. Even though there is no hope for them within the tragedy, perhaps there is hope, afterwards. For the audience, tragedies do show a limited reprieve from the inevitability of fate, once the failure of the tragic character is understood as an epiphany – that there is an unalterable and eternal law of existence, the way the world is in which men must obey.
The Chorus in the beginning of Anouilh’s play Antigone express this best:
“…the machine is in perfect order, it has been oiled ever since time began, and it runs without friction. Death, treason, and sorrow are on the march and they move in the wake of the storm of tears, of stillness… tragedy is clean, it is restful, it is flawless… in tragedy nothing is in doubt and everyone’s destiny is known. That makes for tranquility. There is a sort of fellow-feeling among characters in a tragedy he who kills is as innocent as he who gets killed. It is all a matter of what part you are playing. Tragedy is restful and the reason is that hope, that foul and deceitful thing, has no part in it.”
The early principal writers of tragedy
Phrynicus, Pratinas, Choerilus, Thespis (6th century BC)
Historians attribute Thespis with the innovation of introducing a protagonist into tragic performances and gave him a role that used to be the task of the chorus, which in turn, gave birth to acting.
Aeschylus (525-436 BC), Sophocles (496-406), Euripides (480-406)
Aeschylus added a second actor (deuteragonist), and Sophocles added a third (tritagonist). Euripides, much to Nietzsche’s chagrin, replaced the chorus with rational dialogue. These three tragedists produced hundreds of plays in the fifth century AD, an unmatched corpus of tragedy in history. However, by 400 BC Greek tragedy was completely exhausted. With the exception of Seneca, Roman tragedy left much to be desired, and for the next 1,500 years tragedy utterly vanished. Scholars offer reasons why Byzantine civilization failed to produce drama, and the popular one is the Church Liturgy was sufficient to satisfy the dramatic and histrionic needs of people. The great tragedians inspired the symbolic drama of Church ritual, and the mystery plays (Passion and Death of Christ) in turn inspired secular drama. During the Elizabethan period, tragedy was revived and based on the 5-act model of Seneca, in a rhetorical style.
At the end of the sixteenth century AD, the Spanish writers of tragedy were Cope de Vega (1562-1635), Molina (1571-1648), and Calderon (1600-1681). Corneille and Racine hailed from France, and in the 17th century, tragedy made a brief cameo in England in Dryden’s “All For Love,” 1678, Milton’s “Samson agonistes” (1671), Thomas Otway’s “Venice Preserved” (1682), and Southerne’s “Fatal Marriage” (1699). However, after 1700, very little of tragedy has aged well or survived long enough to sustain interest.
Whence then the death of tragedy?
Some blame the decline of verse drama as the culprit behind the disappearance of tragedy. Dramatic prose worked pretty well, but verse seemed too close to an unconscious parody or deliberate imitation of Elizabethan and Jacobean blank verse. These flaws are obviously manifest in even the talented dramatists like Knowles, Keats, Tennyson, Browning, and Swinburne.
If tragedy is analyzed as the reflection or expression of the inner nature of man, how he views the universe, his role in society or era, then the concept of tragedy has dramatically changed from the sixteenth century. The tone and the scope of tragedy has changed – where you usually had the king or queen, you now have the grief or misery of the ordinary person: the mother, the peasant, the tramp, and etcetera. There are elements of tragedy in existentialism, where tragedy is an authentic experience (Jean Paul-Sartre’s plays). Moreover, the modern-day dramatist often tries to express the wretchedness of man in understatements, sometimes by silence. In the place of articulate, deep and self-conscious farewell speeches of an Othello, we get the nearly inarticulate rambling of Davies in Pinter’s “The Caretaker,” where he falls into a protracted silence.
Recently I’ve thought about how tragedy has been minimized in modern culture if not totally eliminated. If tragedy is supposed to be the aesthetic experience par excellence, the most divine product, then its slow fade to black is worth investigating. It is a given that the greatest of literary geniuses of the modern era consistently fail to produce a contemporary account of tragedy, and the reasons are legion.
Setting aside the potentially many other factors, here is one possible account: despite evolving as rational creatures, our animal nature remains potent. It reacts only within the sphere of perception, the immediate environment, which chains thinking to the heat of the current moment. Our rational and animal natures have been in constant conflict. During reflection we formulate plans for a goal, but in the heat of the moment, we sink to emotions and lose perspective. Sometimes we’re clever when we get what we want without hassle, but hardly ever examine the consequences or whether that is necessary. The deliberate, rational and reflective thinker is often eclipsed by the screaming, reactive and emotional child.
But the ancient Greeks, supposedly, were closer to the “great leap forward” (from immediate Dionysian experience to Apollonian abstractions) than we were, and they found this dual nature to be tragic. Man was tragic, because his knowledge is insignificant, his vision, limited, and his goals, ultimately comic. We find the protagonist in Oedipus Rex optimistic, because he thinks he knows enough to decide what to do, and at the same time, he is beholden to his emotions and desires. Given a limited perspective, the protagonist is doubly reckless – but once the poor sap finds out the awful truth, he rips his eyes out. Despite being able to see the world, he couldn’t see into himself: his inner eye was blind.
The Greek drama has changed – and despite a brief resurgence during Renaissance, and a short-lived fad of existentialism in the 40′s, these days, we’re no longer tragic, or at least, our culture values has changed and the majority of our creative art reflect little tragic elements. Perhaps it is because of the enculturation of the Grand Dogma during the Age of Reason, outlets like therapy replaced the catarthic function of greek tragedy, resulted in the decline of the audience for tragedy.
Also, look here for additional comments on the tragic and religious impulses.
The irony of the Enlightenment: Immanuel Kant, the late 18th century thinker, was indisputably the greatest philosopher of Enlightenment. But it is also interesting to note that his critical philosophy project resulted in a devastating blow to the foundation of Enlightenment itself- our trust in reason. The faculty of reason is essentially an impulse for the unconditioned condition, and constantly urges our understanding on. Kant made it clear that man will never know the true nature of reality, and is limited to mere appearances. Despite being championed as the great icon of Enlightenment, with his transcendentalism he set the ball rolling down the mountain of truth and shattered the ideals of the gilded age at the bottom, in the gulch of the 20th century.
We are picking among the remnants for whatever remains salvageable. The consequences of such absurd praise of reason or rationalism in Enlightenment resulted in two great wars in the 20th century, which were committed at the source of naturalistic humanism. Reason and rationalism, secular reasoning especially never achieved its vast promise of transforming a superstitious culture into a rational utopia. At least some of us realize that within this massive failure, liberation is never of the human, but always and only in a negatory manner: from the human. Where does that leave us? The ghost of a lost innocence haunts the age in the form of postmodernist reflections.
Some thoughts about Kierkegaard, from a philosophical angle.
Truth is strange – for in the majority of all those philosophical tomes of thought, there seems to be some sort of self-disgust, an aversion to itself. We can see the truth always “just about to be,” but it never actually coincides with itself. Within reflection, I arrive at an unhappy position, entirely of my own choosing, and find the “state of philosophy” in tattered decrepitude. The agony of thought drains the world of color, and leaves behind splotches of gray, and the bland walls of tedium threaten to envelope me. This seems the revenge of life against my efforts of looking too deeply, into the abyss…
Kierkegaard interjects that with every step take in reflection, you are taking a step backwards from immediacy. This pronouncement seems to carry the implication that reflection can never spur anyone to scale the mountain and find enlightenment at the very peak of truth. Kierkegaard was forever the ironist, and within his writings the anticipation of Dostoevsky’s Underground Man is right under the surface. Interestingly, Kierkegaard chose to sign all his books with a multitude of pen names: Constantine Constantinus, Johannes de Silentio, Victor Eremita, and so on. All these pseudo-authors issue forth cryptic and penetrating insights on a wide spectrum of issues: aesthetics, ethics, and metaphysics. To Kierkegaard’s credit, his original genius was the transformation of pedantic philosophy into a problem of writing – and he also bequeathed a host of rich categories to existentialism (anxiety, dread, absurdity).
There was an incident in Constantinus’ Repetition that changed the author’s life, for even a speck of dust in the eye is enough to collapse an entire world view. Once the speck irritated Constantinus’ eye, he went to pieces and fell into the “abyss of despair.” Careful readers will immediately notice the allusion to the Gospel of Matthew, and realize that, for Kierkegaard, the world view is Hegel’s systematic metaphysics.
In the early 19th century, philosophy sort of out-smarted itself in the excessive rhetoric of the works of Fichte, Schelling, and most importantly, the tortured language of Hegel, yet Hegel was crowned as the king of all philosophy regardless. Kierkegaard was intimately familiar with Hegel’s works, and he also knew that the keystone of Hegel’s entire historical system of logic, the Aufhebung was the great dragon he must overcome. Aufhebung is translated into English as “sublation,” meaning that the contradictions in history are always overcome at once, but at the same time, also preserved by the elevation to a higher plane of thought.
You may say that this Aufhebung doesn’t seem so dangerous and nasty, and fail to see why Kierkegaard found it utterly dangerous. The French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre, in his book Search for a Method, laid out his path to existentialism, as well as the back door that allowed him to leave. Most scholars will insist that Kierkegaard was the founding father of existentialism, but Sartre actually demolishes this notion.
Kierkegaard argued that, despite its omnivorous power, Hegel’s philosophy overlooks the “unsurpassable opaqueness” of the lived experience. To this, Sartre didn’t object, and noted that Hegel was very absolute in his optimism, and probably too much so. Hegel would insist that the tragic experience of a single person – the suffering that lasted until death – is easily absorbed and sublated by the system in its passage towards the genuine historical absolute.
However, despite such unflagging optimism, Kierkegaard thought that the specifically real was primal, above and beyond thought. the real cannot be exhausted by thought, cannot be reduced and compartmentalized into spic and span system of philosophy. The supra-individual system glosses over the speck in one’s eye, for it is an existential coloration of mood. In other words, one’s subjective life can never be turned into the object of formally abstract knowledge.
There are contradictions in the individual, Kierkegaard thought, the agonizing choices that everyone has, but they are never “surpassed.” With a smile, Hegel dismisses this private agony as the “romantic unhappy conscience”, for it is a moment already known in essence and thereby surpassed in the process. However, Kierkegaard’s irreducible subjectivity has a “magical transcendence” up his sleeve, a mystical going beyond to God. This is not to be confused with the traditional religious sense of leap “up” to God, but a free fall into subjective inwardness of infinite depth. Kierkegaard places the individual on the very brink of the absurd, and his problematic is that the falling is inevitable.
In order to win God, in order to believe, one must lose one’s understanding.
Sartre called this a sacrificial transcendence, a last suicidally absurd insurrection against Hegel’s “science” of philosophy, and Hegel would have objected to the narrow paradox, and say that his Aufhebung is the better alternative, for it promises the enrichment of the objectivity of all people.
Kierkegaard’s “fallenness” into absurd faith is a quasi-suicidal transcendence, and a clever weapon, some would say desperate, against the systematizing Hegelian history. Hegel’s blatant optimism in the priority of philosophy over experience gnawed at Kierkegaard. Hegel saw philosophy, as a science, lacked the use for the relative question of the individual experience in the real movement of history. Outrageous, thought Kierkegaard, for there’s nothing to such “science” but to make a scandal of faith and turn Christianity into a faithlessly rationalist regime.
Christendom, for Kierkegaard is the society that is Christian in name only, but virtually atheist, for the society has institutionalized its own reason for being Christian. Hegel is correct, in this sense – the genuine experience of faith has already been bypassed for historical reasons of state. That means faith has no room to go, except Kierkegaard’s self-elected absurdity. Sartre himself is probably incorrect when he dismisses Kierkegaard for not being a philosopher, and that Hegel is the superior thinker. In a nutshell, Kierkegaard has lured the reader into the depths of subjectivity, only to pull the rug out under us and reveal that without God, unhappiness is ubiquitous. Kierkegaard was the first post-Christian who realized that Christianity has become a mockery of the Evangelical ideal, and that it is no longer a given belief, but nonexistent unless testified by faith in it.
Among the early christians in the 2nd century AD, a number of rival churches emerged and developed their theologies. One of the groups called themselves the gnostikoi – the Knowing Ones – people who turned from philosophy to mythology in order to placate their sense of anxiety, a feeling of alienation from the divine.
The teachings of Basilides of from Alexandria and Valentinus inspired many people and attracted an audience….
Gnostics, especially the disciples of Valentinus taught that there was the One – unknowable God – bythos, the first Aeon. All other aeons emanated from this unnamable one, an together all aeons made up the Pleroma (fullness) of God. One of the lowest of these aeons was Sophia.
She sought the unknowable one, the source.
Initially, Sophia becomes confused with a point of light, mistaking it to be the source, and goes after it. But the false light was a mirror image, within an abyss, and the journey only takes Sophia further away from her home, pleroma (Fullness). Upon the realization that she had been deluded, Sophia returns to her home – but at a cost to herself.
After Sophia is split into two, where the higher self ascended back to her realm of fullness, her lower half, achamoth (anagram of chokmah, the hebrew name for wisdom) is having a rough time, furious and simpers for her old life. Badly distressed she leaks energy that transforms into the fundamental elements of nature (antiquity categories: earth water air and fire). Sophia also prodduces, creates or give birth to a quasiconscious entity, a monstrous being that eventually becomes the Demiurge, aka Ialdaboth, saclas or samael, the artificer of the universe. The misbegotten entity creates his own kingdom of 7 spheres that are ruled by 7 archontes of time (ruling over destiny and jail spirits). Sophia remains stuck in the 8th sphere….
It is mistaken to conceive of the Demiurge as an evil entity, because gnostic scriptures only characterize this entity as ignorant, that he is completely unaware of the higher levels of reality above him, and is ignorant of the existence of his mother, sophia. Ergo, creation is a mix of the flawed work of the demiurge and the celestial wisdom/beauty of sophia. For the ancient Greeks, demiurge meant ‘craftsman’ or ‘artisan.’ According to Plato in Timaeus, demiurge refers to the maker of the universe, who is unreservedly good and intended that the world ought to be as good as possible. The only reason for the inherent flaws is cuz the demiurge was limited to preexisiting chaotic matter. Ergo, thhe demiurge is no omnipotent creator. Early christian thinkers quickly claimed that this demiurge meant the pagan philosophers anticipated the God of revealed religion.
The writing of the heresiological church father, Irenaeus elaborates further, that the demiurge is utterly full of conceit and presumption, believing to be “the only god and there is no other god before/above him.” Then it follows that sophia inserts her own intentions into the Demiurge’s creation. Some gnostics claim Sophia sent messages through the serpent, and gives human beings gnosis, or knowledge. This pisses off the Demiurge, who believes himself to be the sole creator. Hence, gnostics see original sin as the original enlightenment.
Counter cardinal Stephan Hoeller says “there is a crack in the world.” The architect of the world/universe isn’t skillful. Clearly, there are flaws in the blueprint, fissures in the foundation thru which we can glimpse the supernal reality. However we must be very attentive cuz as soon as a crack appears, the opponents of gnosis (enemies of a direct human perception of the true nature of God and man) show up and paper or plaster it over.
Hayden white is renown for publishing two books that has changed the discipline of history forever: Metahistory and The Content and Form which boils down to the demonstration how the claim of a precise distinction between history (the narrative form which describes what happened in history) and the philosophy of history (the schema that legitimizes the narrative) is naught but a methodological blunder. All historical writings (in a narrative form) entail a philosophy that validates the particular style of narrative. Ergo, it follows that the common ground between narrative history and the philosophy of history, where both attempt to understand, describe and explain what happened, is metahistory. Concerns of metahistory are the structure of the historical perception and the epistemological nature of historical explanations. ↓ Read the rest of this entry…