By Dylan M. Burns
In the second one century, Platonist and Judeo-Christian concept have been sufficiently pleasant Greek thinker may well claim, "What is Plato yet Moses talking Greek?" 400 years later, a Christian emperor had ended the general public educating of subversive Platonic notion. whilst and the way did this philosophical rupture take place? Dylan M. Burns argues that the elemental holiday happened in Rome, ca. 263, within the circle of the good mystic Plotinus, writer of the Enneads. teams of arguable Christian metaphysicians known as Gnostics ("knowers") frequented his seminars, disputed his perspectives, after which disappeared from the historical past of philosophy—until the 1945 discovery, at Nag Hammadi, Egypt, of codices containing Gnostic literature, together with models of the books circulated by means of Plotinus’s Christian rivals. mixing state of the art Greek metaphysics and ecstatic Jewish mysticism, those texts describe concepts for getting into celestial nation-states, partaking within the angelic liturgy, confronting the transcendent God, or even changing into a divine being oneself. in addition they describe the revelation of an alien God to his decide on, a race of "foreigners" lower than the safety of the patriarch Seth, whose interventions will eventually culminate in spite of everything of the world.
Apocalypse of the Alien God proposes a thorough interpretation of those long-lost apocalypses, putting them firmly within the context of Judeo-Christian authorship instead of ascribing them to a pagan offshoot of Gnosticism. in accordance with Burns, this Sethian literature emerged alongside the fault traces among Judaism and Christianity, drew on traditions identified to students from the useless Sea Scrolls and Enochic texts, and finally catalyzed the contention of Platonism with Christianity. Plunging the reader into the tradition wars and school rooms of the excessive Empire, Apocalypse of the Alien God deals the main concrete social and ancient description to be had of any crew of Gnostic Christians because it explores the intersections of historic Judaism, Christianity, Hellenism, fable, and philosophy.
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Extra resources for Apocalypse of the Alien God: Platonism and the Exile of Sethian Gnosticism
M'Cheyne,2 writing to a ministerial friend who was travelling with a view to perfecting himself in the German tongue, used language identical with our own: I know you will apply hard to German, but do not forget the culture of the inner man – I mean of the heart. How diligently the cavalry officer keeps his sabre clean and sharp; every stain he rubs off with the greatest care. Remember you are God's sword, his instrument I trust, a chosen vessel unto him to bear his name. In great measure, according to the purity and perfection of the instrument, will be the success.
This is a mysterious volume, the major part of which you have not read. If any man thinks that he knows himself thoroughly, he deceives himself; for the most difficult book you will ever read is your own heart. I said to a doubter the other day, who seemed to be wandering in a maze, ‘Well, really I cannot understand you but I am not vexed, for I never could understand myself ’; and I certainly meant what I said. Watch the twists and turns and singularities of your own mind, and the strangeness of your own experience; the depravity of your heart, and the work of divine grace; your tendency to sin, and your capacity for holiness; how akin you are to a devil, and yet how allied to God himself!
Trials over which we have no control enable us to discover the proper use of theology to console us. We also discover the way theology's misuse only deepens our despair: I didn't learn my theology all at once. I had to ponder over it ever more deeply, and my spiritual trials were of help to me in this, for one does not learn anything without practice. This is what the spiritualists and sects lack. They don't have the right adversary, the devil. He would teach them well. None of the arts can be learned without practice.
Apocalypse of the Alien God: Platonism and the Exile of Sethian Gnosticism by Dylan M. Burns