Editor's Choice

"But if you do not know yourselves, then you dwell in poverty, and you are poverty."


Omens of the Millennium: The Gnosis of Angels, Dreams, and Resurrection
"What makes us free, according to Christian dogma, is knowing the truth, which is Christ's Incarnation, Crucifixion, and Resurrection, and this truth is to be known by faith, the faith that at a moment, both in and out of time, these events once took place. When however we say that what makes us free is Gnosis, or 'knowing,' then we are Gnostics, and instead of believing that something was and is so (something that would be still different for Jews, and again for Muslims), we rely upon an inward knowledge rather than upon an outward belief. Gnosis is the opposite of ignorance, and not of disbelief. As an ancient Greek word widely used by Jews and Christians, Gnosis did not mean knowing that something was so, but rather just knowing someone or something, including knowing God. 'Knowing God' has a special twist that makes it the Gnosis: it is a reciprocal process in which God also knows what is best and oldest in you, a spark in you that always has been God's. This means that knowing God is primarily a process of being reminded of what you already know, which is that God never has been wholly external to you, however alienated or estranged he is from society or even the cosmos in which you dwell."- Harold Bloom

"Resurrection can be judged as one of the sharpest Valentinian differences from dogmatic Christianity, a difference that appears in Sufism and other esoteric traditions, and in many varieties of what I have called the American Religion, the denominations and sects indigenous to the United States. As in earlier Gnostic religion, resurrection for Valentinus is distinctly not something that takes place after death. Henry Corbin, in support of his Sufi Gnostics, quotes from Balzac's novella Louis Lambert, itself a Hermetic tale:

Resurrection is accomplished by the wind of heaven that sweeps the worlds. The Angel carried by the wind does not say: Arise ye dead! He says: Let the living arise!

This is the kernel of the Valentinian resurrection: to know releases the spark, and one rises up from the body of this death. Ignorance falls away, one ceases to forget, one is again part of the Fullness. The Valentinian Gospel According to Philip, a sort of anthology, has nine crucial passages on resurrection, of which the bluntest insists, 'Those who say the lord first died and then arose are mistaken, for he first arose and then died.' Another adds, 'While we exist in this world we must acquire resurrection.' Baptism, for the Valentinians as for many Americans, itself was the resurrection, again according to The Gospel of Philip:

People who say they will first die and then arise are mistaken. If they do not first receive resurrection while they are alive, once they have died they will receive nothing. Just so it is said of baptism: 'Great is baptism!' For if one receives it, one will live...

The crucial text for understanding Valentinus is the subtlest and fullest we have by him, the beautiful sermon named The Gospel of Truth, and I turn to it now seeking what is most central to Valentinus's sense of resurrection.

Layton shrewdly remarks upon the 'Gnostic rhetoric' of The Gospel of Truth, and notes its spiritual similarity, in atmosphere and in the concept of salvation-resurrection to the proto-Gnostic Gospel of Thomas, which I suspect deeply influenced Valentinus. Both works, the sermon and the collection of Jesus' 'hidden' sayings, are allied by a wonderful freedom from dogma and from myth, both Christian and Gnostic. In each, there is a directness and a passion that breaks down the barriers of reservations put up by historicizing scholars. We are addressed directly, whether by Valentinus or Jesus, and challenged to see what it is that is all around us, what it is that we already know, even if we do not know that we know....

What makes us free, according to Christian dogma, is knowing the truth, which is Christ's Incarnation, Crucifixion, and Resurrection, and this truth is to be known by faith, the faith that at a moment, both in and out of time, these events once took place. When however we say that what makes us free is Gnosis, or 'knowing,' then we are Gnostics, and instead of believing that something was and is so (something that would be still different for Jews, and again for Muslims), we rely upon an inward knowledge rather than upon an outward belief. Gnosis is the opposite of ignorance, and not of disbelief. As an ancient Greek word widely used by Jews and Christians, Gnosis did not mean knowing that something was so, but rather just knowing someone or something, including knowing God. 'Knowing God' has a special twist that makes it the Gnosis: it is a reciprocal process in which God also knows what is best and oldest in you, a spark in you that always has been God's. This means that knowing God is primarily a process of being reminded of what you already know, which is that God never has been wholly external to you, however alienated or estranged he is from society or even the cosmos in which you dwell....

Here is Valentinus upon our present state in his one complete surviving work, the beautiful meditation The Gospel of Truth:

Thus they did not know God, since it was he whom they did not see. Inasmuch as he was the object of fear and disturbance and instability and indecisiveness and division, there was much futility at work among them on his account, and much empty ignorance—as when one falls sound asleep and finds oneself in the midst of nightmares: running toward somewhere—powerless to get away while being pursued—in hand-to- hand combat—being beaten—falling from a height—being blown upward by the air, but without any wings; sometimes, too, it seems that one is being murdered, though nobody is giving chase—or killing one's neighbors, with whose blood one is smeared; until, having gone through all these dreams, one awakens.

This nightmare of death-in-life, composed eighteen centuries ago, need but little modification. The Gnostic Jesus of The Gospel of Thomas, a wayfaring Jesus, closer to Walt Whitman than to the Jesus of the Churches, speaks to us as if each of us is a passerby, and with an ultimate eloquence tells us precisely into what we have been thrown:

But if you do not know yourselves, then you dwell in poverty, and you are poverty. Fortunate is one who came into being, before coming into being."

Harold Bloom, Omens of the Millennium
Riverhead Books (October 1, 1997) pp. 188-243




Related Articles
Gnosis is mutual knowing and being known of and by God
The Gnostic Gospels: Self-knowledge is knowledge of God
The mystic makes contact with the god inside
Hinduism is about exploring the very depths of your own soul yourself
Authors of old Asiatic books claimed ultimate truth was discoverable
But if you do not know yourselves, then you dwell in poverty
The failure to attain direct experience of the truth
The real study, in religion, is first-hand experience of God.
For Lao Tze it is the Tao, in Jewish mysticism it is the Shekinah
Spiritual but not Religious




Disclaimer: Our material may be copied, printed and distributed by referring to this site. This site also contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the education and research provisions of "fair use" in an effort to advance freedom of inquiry for a better understanding of religious, spiritual and inter-faith issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than "fair use" you must request permission from the copyright owner.






search



Home
Introduction
New Age Children
Miracle Photo
Meeting His Messengers
Prophecies
Age Of Aquarius
Nostradamus
Mayan End Age 12-21-2012
Our Conscious Earth
Adi Shakti's Descent
Witnessing Holy Spirit's Miracles
Jesus' Resurrection
Book Of Revelation
His Human Adversary
Kitab Al Munir
Al-Qiyamah (The Resurrection)
His Light Within
His Universe Within
His Beings Within
Subtle System
Lectures To Earth
Shri Mataji
Self-Realization
Drumbeat Of Death
Lalita Kaur McGill University
Table Of Contents
Contact Us
Declaration of the Paraclete
The Paraclete opens the Kingdom of God
Cool Breeze of the Resurrection - BBC 1985
The Supreme Source Of Love 1985
The Great Mother
The Vision Part One
The Vision Part Two
The Vision Part Three
The Vision Part Four