Philo, Part IV of Ineffable God: The Jewish (rather than Platonic) Roots of Gnosticism

Philo's work is somewhat enigmatic. For instance, he uses Plato's theory of Ideas in De specialibus legibus I.329 to explain how the Hebrew God made the cosmos: "God created the universe, but without being personally involved in this task, because he, being perfectly blessed, could not enter into contract with indefinite and confused matter. He made use of... Continue Reading →

Valentinus was a Christian, not a “Gnostic”: Exploration of the history shaped by the “Orthodoxy vs Heresy” Dichotomy

In this series, I will look at the historical figure Valentinus (2nd c, CE), whose life work demonstrates an important intersection of second century, CE, Western thought: Hellenistic trends in Judaism and Christianity in Alexandria, "gnostic" influences from Syria and Palestine, a classical education in Greek philosophy and highly sophisticated Christian theology. He is remembered,... Continue Reading →

Power Relations and the Socially Constructed Self: What does this say about “belief”? Part II: Louis Althusser

In the previous post, I presented an overview of this series. Here, I will focus on Louis Althusser. After providing a more comprehensive overview of the three theorists, I will discuss the relationship between social indoctrination and personal belief. Althusser Louis Althusser claims that a primary function of State Power in a capitalist society is to perpetuate the... Continue Reading →

Self-reflection as Creation in Apocryphon of John

Apocryphon of John contains one of the most complete and detailed narrations of a gnostic cosmogony, explaining how the invisible and visible realms emanated from the original monad in a highly sophisticated narrative. The tractate takes the form of the popular "apocryphal acts of the apostles," after the Greek "romances", pseudepigrapha attributed to the disciple John,... Continue Reading →

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