Gnosticism is just a word. But words, as Winnie the Pooh observed, are important. What would a rat's ass be if there was neither a word for rat nor a word for ass? How could you tell it from a chicken's beak, or a donkey's tail, or a tree, or empty space? I suppose you could pick up a rat and point to its ass, but without the words, you'd have no idea what to pick up or where to point.
Wait, you say, but 'rat' is a word that describes a certain permutation of matter characterised by a small furry body, a long thin tail, mobility, a need to eat etc. An ass is the spot at the rear from which excreta come. True... so what if there was no word for furry, or tail, or mobility, or eat, or excrete? OK, then. Rat is a word that refers to a certain combination of other words; it is suspended, you might say, within a web of words, each of which are in turn suspended within more words. Order. Order is nothing but characteristics. Characteristics are words. Lose them, and you have chaos.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
So who gives a rat's ass?
Gnosticism? What is It?
Gnosticism? What Isn't It?
Gnostics seldom ever called themselves gnostics. They chose names that referred to seeking and striving, or named themselves after a seeker or finder. Gnosticism is a certain understanding of the world, not a set of beliefs. There are no gnostic doctrines.The word itself comes from the Greek word Gnosis, meaning Knowledge. A gnostic is one who seeks knowledge. For a gnostic, the universe is knowledge. The universe isn't comprehended through knowledge, it IS knowledge. There is no substance to it. It is a rat's ass.
"cosmic creation myth"
Instead of beliefs, gnosticism has myths. These are stories, logical
arrangements of words that reveal a wholeness, which in turn reveals gnosis.
A key one, and a revealing one, is the creation myth. This is where God
comes in. And goes out. The word 'God' has so many connotations to it it
isn't worth using. It comes from an old germanic word meaning 'beseech'.
Some gnostics are capable of referring to God coherently, and more power
to 'em, but I'd just as soon put him out to pasture with Zeus and the banshee
in the bog. Unless I'm quoting something, the word God will henceforth
be used to refer to the angry old guy with the beard and nothing else.
Instead of God, I might instead use the words, fullness or pleroma, universe,
or knowledge. They're all the same damn thing, IMHO.
So how did it start?
But what if there were no word for.Things exist because there are words
for them. What if the word for head included the neck? The neck would cease
to be. What if there was no word for head, but rather a word describing
It describes a certain approach to things; not a set of beliefs or doctrines.
Definition of Gnosticism (standard)
Historical Overview of Gnosticism, from pre Christian ideas (if any) to Gnostic Christians, Manicheans, the Cathars, the Bogomils, to post Nag Hammadi. Also Heaven's Gate. Also the Mandeans. References to Zoroaster, the Sumerians, and the Hebrews as a conduit. Avoid encyclopedic recitation. Look for elements in common. Perhaps use first person
Gnosticism in Information Age (that is data models, video games, hypertext
and all); gnostic elements in naming
Gnosticism in Popular Literature (and maybe elsewhere) Dick, Lovecraft; other gnostic websites (?) maybe put those in 'about' section.
Summaries and Commentary on Gnostic Gospels and other Gnostic Texts (link down to these)