It is currently Tue Apr 24, 2018 2:53 am

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 24 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Joseph Smith, the last son of the Reformation
PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:45 am 
1st Counselor

Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2015 11:50 pm
Posts: 461
A thread started by Kishkumen in the Terrestrial forum got partially sidetracked onto the issue of the Bible and the Protestant doctrine that individuals have the right to interpret scripture for themselves.

I sought to argue that the Reformation (prefigured by earlier movements) democratised scripture, opening the way for a plurality of interpretations in place of a single authoritative reading laid down by church authority. Of course, I also acknowledged that Protestant churches in practice often shied away from this and attempted to impose their own orthodox interpretations.

In this thread, I want to take this line of thought and push it a bit further.

I'm going to start with a couple of quotations. The first is from the early English Protestant theologian William Whitaker (1548-1595), putting forward the view that the individual, illuminated by the Holy Spirit, is entitled to interpret the Bible for himself:

Quote:
We have heard now [the Roman Catholics'] opinion. It remains to see what ours is. Now we determine that the supreme right, authority, and judgment of interpreting the scriptures, is lodged with the Holy Ghost and the scripture itself: for these two are not mutually repugnant. We say that the Holy Spirit is the supreme interpreter of scripture, because we must be illuminated by the Holy Spirit to be certainly persuaded of the true sense of scripture; otherwise, although we use all means, we can never attain to that full assurance which resides in the minds of the faithful.


The second quotation is from the founder of Protestantism, Martin Luther. It is well known that Luther downgraded the status of four of the books of the New Testament in his translation of the Bible. One of them was the Book of Revelation. Here is what Luther said about that book:

Quote:
About this book of the Revelation of John, I leave everyone free to hold his own opinions. I would not have anyone bound to my opinion or judgment. I say what I feel....

Finally, let everyone think of it as his own spirit leads him. My spirit cannot accommodate itself to this book.


Both of these quotations would have seemed utterly radical in the 16th century, against the historical backdrop of institutional Roman Catholicism. Whitaker and Luther were clergymen, but neither was a bishop - the traditional class of authoritative teachers in the church. The idea that individuals were free to pronounce on the meaning of scripture, and even on whether a particular text was scripture, was truly revolutionary.

It also posed an interesting question.

If the modern church - and not only the modern church, but individuals within the modern church - have sufficient spiritual equipment to interpret scripture and to distinguish true scripture from false, why do they not have sufficient spiritual equipment to create new scripture?

A traditional answer to this would be that scripture was, by definition, written only by prophets and apostles. Luther and Whitaker would have accepted this line of thinking. But modern Christians don't. Outside of very conservative circles, it is more or less universally accepted today that many of the books of the New Testament were not in fact written by apostles (or prophets). About half of St Paul's letters are pseudonymous, for example. Modern Christians tend to accept that it's the content of the books of scripture that matters, not who they were written by.

[My own answer to the question, if anyone is interested, is that attempting to create new scripture would be hugely and dangerously contrary to good order in the church. It would be a wildly irresponsible project, and in any case we've already got more than enough scripture to keep us busy. But I don't say that it's impossible in principle.]

Some people did in fact to the conclusion that private interpretation of scripture is not essentially different from private revelation, so that the one thing implies the other. The Quakers went down this road, with their idea of the "inner light".

Joseph Smith went down this road too. Never mind the allegedly ancient scriptures like the Book of Mormon, he created the Doctrine and Covenants out of nothing - ditto his Bible "translation". In this, I would suggest that he was a genuine son of the Reformation, albeit an embarrassingly unworthy one. Interestingly, at the same time he tried to reverse the Reformation, replacing the patchwork of Protestant chuches of his day with a highly disciplined institutional structure ruled over by apostles, bishops and priests.

Brigham Young also deserves a mention here:

Quote:
The Lord is in our midst. He teaches the people continually. I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may not call Scripture. Let me have the privilege of correcting a sermon, and it is as good Scripture as they deserve. The people have the oracles of God continually.... Let this [discourse] go to the people with "Thus saith the Lord," and if they do not obey it, you will see the chastening hand of the Lord upon them. But if they are plead with, and led along like children, we may come to understand the will of the Lord and he may preserve us as we desire.


I do not like anything about Brigham Young, and his sermons were plainly no more scripture than the posts on this message board. But he was doing no more than taking an old idea to its logical conclusion.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Joseph Smith, the last son of the Reformation
PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:38 am 
God
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 07, 2013 2:19 pm
Posts: 10174
Location: Multiverse
Very interesting, Johannes. I think you've certainly identified key characteristics that distinguish Smith from some of his contemporaries. There were so many cultural currents and networks throughout the area of his youth that could have influenced him--he really could find the elements of the future Mormonism close at hand and malleable to his imagination and his inspiration.

I always struggle to find ways to represent relationships between things like religions and subcultures. Taxonomies, Venn diagrams, tables, each captures a sliver of possible perspective. I would love to hear from you as to how you would plot influences for reference.

Smith seems influenced by the Reformation dynamics as you've described, combined with the Cunning Folk legacy from England, the Rodsmen from his father's generation, the various German mystical currents latent and expressed in Ephrata and similar experiments, etc. He seemed to have been touched by the Swedenborgian current which went on to grow in strength and split into New Jerusalem churches, Spiritualism and ultimately, Theosophy and "Space brother" religions.

Fascinating subject. Thank you for posting and I welcome your further exploration.

_________________
Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. --Jeremiah 23:16


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Joseph Smith, the last son of the Reformation
PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:59 am 
1st Counselor

Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2015 11:50 pm
Posts: 461
Yes, I'd essentially agree with that:

The Reformation legacy of the democratisation of scripture - yes
English cunning-folk magic - yes
German mysticism - I can't comment on this, as I don't know enough about it - is this Jacob Boehme's followers?
Swedenborg - Yes, and this is something that I omitted to mention. I think that old Emanuel must be the key link in the chain of radical revelatory experience. He probably had more influence on Smith than the Quakers.

Smith was originally a Methodist, and I have a feeling that the Methodist movement is somewhere in there too. Smith was John Wesley's evil twin, if you will.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Joseph Smith, the last son of the Reformation
PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 10:05 am 
1st Counselor

Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2015 11:50 pm
Posts: 461
I'd also look at this from the other direction and ask what didn't influence Smith. That's an equally interesting question in its own way. Roman Catholicism can't possibly have influenced him, given the prejudices of the time (the "great and abominable church"). And yet Smith groped his way, somehow, to setting up a priestly hierarchy which dispensed dogmas and sacramental ceremonies.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Joseph Smith, the last son of the Reformation
PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:23 am 
God
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 07, 2013 2:19 pm
Posts: 10174
Location: Multiverse
Johannes wrote:
I'd also look at this from the other direction and ask what didn't influence Smith. That's an equally interesting question in its own way. Roman Catholicism can't possibly have influenced him, given the prejudices of the time (the "great and abominable church"). And yet Smith groped his way, somehow, to setting up a priestly hierarchy which dispensed dogmas and sacramental ceremonies.


+1,000

_________________
Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. --Jeremiah 23:16


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Joseph Smith, the last son of the Reformation
PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:01 pm 
God
User avatar

Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2013 4:32 pm
Posts: 1071
Location: Parowan, Utah
A very interesting thread, and a very difficult problem. I think "influence" may not be the best word with regard to Smith and the Reformation, but clearly aspects of it were part of his own cultural and religious heritage. But the Reformation itself is such chaos of movements (one reason I see it trendily pluralized as "Reformations" in academic history) that I don't know what meaningful line you can draw between Smith and, say, Luther. As for Catholicism, I don't think it was the prejudice against Catholics so much as the absence of Catholics in Smith's environment. There just weren't that many Catholics in the United States until the 1850s, certainly not in the backwoods of western New York and the middle west frontier.

Johannes wrote:
I sought to argue that the Reformation (prefigured by earlier movements) democratised scripture, opening the way for a plurality of interpretations in place of a single authoritative reading laid down by church authority. Of course, I also acknowledged that Protestant churches in practice often shied away from this and attempted to impose their own orthodox interpretations.


I have to take issue with that word "democratised," and not only because it isn't spelled properly :wink: . It has become such a cliché to oppose any whiff of authoritarianism to the heady gusts of democracy. Wikipedia has supposedly democratized knowledge, just as the internet has democratized media. And so on. But democracy is a system of power, perhaps more systematic than any authoritarian system; it diffuses power, but it does so in a systematic way. Autocrats and democrats may not be friends, but they do share a common enemy: both are opposed to chaos and anarchy, which is effectively the result of that aspirational euphemism, democratization, in any domain I have seen the word applied. Our media landscape has not been democratized by the internet but obliterated by it. Nobody knows what is true anymore, and into the melee lurches an orange faced monster who only tells the truth by accident. So I'm sorry that I'm suspicious of that terminology, and of the idea that decentralization of authority is necessarily democratic.

The Reformation had some strands that eventually were democratic in some senses, and Mormonism started out in that direction and has maintained some form of it—"all in favor make manifest..."—but on the whole it was religious chaos that ultimately culminated in sectarian warfare that was nasty and brutish without being short. The Islamic world too has had a series of decentralizing and destabilizing Reformations since the 18th century, not in the least democratic, and the appalling ignorance of western op-ed writers who bemoan the state of Islamic religious life in the Sunni lands is matched only by their ludicrous faith in words like reform ("al-Sisi is reform-minded politician..." and other varieties of such horse ____.

You mentioned the followers of Fra Dolcino on the other thread, and I could only think of the violence and chaos they inflicted. That sort of chaos on the level of scripture had been on the mind of a tenth century monk, Aelfric, who had been asked to translate portions of Bible from Latin into Old English by Aethelweard, a royal official by day and historian by night. Aelfric's reply, a preface to his translation (in full for the obsessivehere), turned out to be an unwitting prediction of Joseph Smith's polygamy:

Aelfric wrote:
You asked me, my friend, that I translate for you the book of Genesis from Latin into English. It seemed to me it would be a toilsome request to grant you, and you then said that I need not translate any part of the book except the sections up to Isaac, Abraham's son, because someone else had translated the sections from Isaac up to the end. It seems to me now, my friend, that this is a very dangerous task for me to undertake, or for anyone else. For I am afraid that if some yokel will read this book (or hear it read), he will think that he has to live now under new covenant as men once did under Moses's law. I once knew a certain priest, who was then a teacher of mine, who had the book of Genesis, and he could understand the Latin in part. Concerning the patriarch Jacob, he pointed out that he had four wives, two sisters and their respective handmaidens. He was right of course, but he didn't understand, nor did I at the time, the great distance between the ancient law and the new. At the beginning of this world, a brother took his sister as a wife, and a father even had a child by own daughter once, and many of them had extra wives to increase the population, and at the very beginning a man couldn't even get a wife who wasn't also his sibling. If anyone after Christ's coming wants to live as men did before Moses's law or even under Moses's law, that man is not a Christian at all, nor is he even worthy to eat with any Christian. Uneducated priests, if they understand even a smattering of some Latin book, soon think they can become illustrious teachers...


Your point, Johannes, that autonomy of interpretation is virtually equivalent to individual revelation is something I really hadn't appreciated before, and I would extend my point think it shows that the yokel from New York was not only the obvious result of the unbridled license to interpret scripture; he was also the victim of the chaotic freedom that resulted from his claims that the heavens were open. Already in 1830, Hiram Page, one of the eight witnesses, also had a magic stone that could tap the divine frequency used by the Kolobian to transmit revelation to planet earth. Joseph Smith started a church in April of that year, but the hierarchical church we all know and loathe came into being in August, when Smith gave an order to Cowdery, through revelation, to set Hiram Page straight about who could get revelation. Revelatory chaos was averted by the Kabuki democracy the Church still puts on from time to time: the revelation against Page, which said that the latter's revelations were from Satan, was voted on—and accepted unanimously (even al-Sisi had a few people who didn't vote for him).

Mormons claimed when I was in it (and I believe still do claim) that each person who has the gift of the Holy Ghost and hasn't masturbated recently or voted Democrat ever has the right to receive personal revelation. But of the course it is a very circumscribed domain in which that revelation is valid: god might reveal where you last left your keys, for example. The heavens are not exactly open; they just have a few targeted leaks.

On the other hand, I'm not sure we need more people who take their own inner vocalizations to be the Voice of God.

_________________
"As to any slivers of light or any particles of darkness of the past, we forget about them."

—B. Redd McConkie


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Joseph Smith, the last son of the Reformation
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 3:11 am 
1st Counselor

Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2015 11:50 pm
Posts: 461
Symmachus wrote:
A very interesting thread, and a very difficult problem. I think "influence" may not be the best word with regard to Smith and the Reformation, but clearly aspects of it were part of his own cultural and religious heritage. But the Reformation itself is such chaos of movements (one reason I see it trendily pluralized as "Reformations" in academic history) that I don't know what meaningful line you can draw between Smith and, say, Luther.


I can't disagree that the Reformation led to disorder and violence, although in my own country it was less chaotic than in some other places (the English wars of religion only kicked off in earnest in the 17th century, and the issues were somewhat different). I'm showing my own prejudices here, just as French republicans might wave the flag and drink a bottle of St Émilion on Bastille Day as if you could draw a straight line from 1789 to Emmanuel Macron without going through several reigns of terror, wars and dictatorships. Some things are to be admired, but they are best admired from a safe distance.

If we're going into counterfactuals, there was a peaceful alternative to the Reformation. Roman Catholics like to point out that the mediaeval (note the spelling) church was already reforming itself from within. If Kishkumen was here, he might be interested to note that some of the reforming spirits were people with esoteric spiritual and philosophical interests like Cardinal de Cusa and Marsilio Ficino's circle. We can tie this in with subversive approaches to scripture by noting that Erasmus sought to break the mediaeval scriptural canon in a not dissimilar way to Luther.

Symmachus wrote:
It has become such a cliché to oppose any whiff of authoritarianism to the heady gusts of democracy. Wikipedia has supposedly democratized knowledge, just as the internet has democratized media. And so on. But democracy is a system of power, perhaps more systematic than any authoritarian system; it diffuses power, but it does so in a systematic way. Autocrats and democrats may not be friends, but they do share a common enemy: both are opposed to chaos and anarchy, which is effectively the result of that aspirational euphemism, democratization, in any domain I have seen the word applied. Our media landscape has not been democratized by the internet but obliterated by it. Nobody knows what is true anymore, and into the melee lurches an orange faced monster who only tells the truth by accident. So I'm sorry that I'm suspicious of that terminology, and of the idea that decentralization of authority is necessarily democratic.


Again, my implicit and uncritical endorsement of democracy is showing my prejudices. What I will concede is that the iron law of oligarchy applies as much in the religious sphere as anywhere else. Fraticelli come and SCLCs go, but there is always a clerical caste somewhere making most of the real decisions. The best we can hope for is that it's a benign one (and that it succeeds in maintaining a solvent pension fund for those of us who work for it). All rather depressing.

I'd also agree that there are obvious pitfalls with people springing up and claiming that they've heard the Voice of God. But if there is already a cadre of wealthy and privileged individuals in place who claim to speak with divine authority, and someone like the Lollards or Luther wants to come along and mix it up a bit, I'm basically ok with that. That's bracketing any faith commitment, but it bears adding that I come from a faith tradition that has a hard time seeing God as being on the side of the dukes and cardinals. No doubt the dukes and cardinals will always say that it's best if they're left in power because fewer people will get killed that way.

I rather like Aelfric, and I'm going to try to use that quotation somewhere, possibly at the next diocesan synod. I wonder what word is being translated as "yokel".

Symmachus wrote:
Mormons claimed when I was in it (and I believe still do claim) that each person who has the gift of the Holy Ghost and hasn't masturbated recently or voted Democrat ever has the right to receive personal revelation. But of the course it is a very circumscribed domain in which that revelation is valid: god might reveal where you last left your keys, for example. The heavens are not exactly open; they just have a few targeted leaks.


Yes, this is the product of the weird intersection of the democratic and the authoritarian that you get in Mormonism. As I understand it, you can receive revelation - "illuminated by the Holy Spirit", as Whitaker would say - but only for people under your own authority. A difficult circle is being squared here.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Joseph Smith, the last son of the Reformation
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 3:15 am 
1st Counselor

Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2015 11:50 pm
Posts: 461
It looks like "yokel" is dysig man. Apparently dysig means foolish, unwise or stupid, and is related to NE "dizzy".


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Joseph Smith, the last son of the Reformation
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 9:18 am 
God
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 07, 2013 2:19 pm
Posts: 10174
Location: Multiverse
I think I might align Smith roughly with Ellen and James White and their adventist movement. While Smith was touched by Swedenborg's ideas, he did not rely on them as heavily as, say, Andrew Jackson Davis or Thomas Lake Harris, a generation later. Restorationist claims were also part of the Campbellite movement, IIRC.

_________________
Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. --Jeremiah 23:16


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Joseph Smith, the last son of the Reformation
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:11 am 
Seedy Academician
User avatar

Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2008 4:00 pm
Posts: 18499
Location: The Brutus Memorial Rectory at Cassius University
Symmachus wrote:
Your point, Johannes, that autonomy of interpretation is virtually equivalent to individual revelation is something I really hadn't appreciated before, and I would extend my point think it shows that the yokel from New York was not only the obvious result of the unbridled license to interpret scripture; he was also the victim of the chaotic freedom that resulted from his claims that the heavens were open. Already in 1830, Hiram Page, one of the eight witnesses, also had a magic stone that could tap the divine frequency used by the Kolobian to transmit revelation to planet earth. Joseph Smith started a church in April of that year, but the hierarchical church we all know and loathe came into being in August, when Smith gave an order to Cowdery, through revelation, to set Hiram Page straight about who could get revelation. Revelatory chaos was averted by the Kabuki democracy the Church still puts on from time to time: the revelation against Page, which said that the latter's revelations were from Satan, was voted on—and accepted unanimously (even al-Sisi had a few people who didn't vote for him).

Mormons claimed when I was in it (and I believe still do claim) that each person who has the gift of the Holy Ghost and hasn't masturbated recently or voted Democrat ever has the right to receive personal revelation. But of the course it is a very circumscribed domain in which that revelation is valid: god might reveal where you last left your keys, for example. The heavens are not exactly open; they just have a few targeted leaks.


One of the most insightful and hilarious posts I have ever read on this board. Magnificent!


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Joseph Smith, the last son of the Reformation
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:21 am 
Seedy Academician
User avatar

Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2008 4:00 pm
Posts: 18499
Location: The Brutus Memorial Rectory at Cassius University
Johannes wrote:
I'd also agree that there are obvious pitfalls with people springing up and claiming that they've heard the Voice of God. But if there is already a cadre of wealthy and privileged individuals in place who claim to speak with divine authority, and someone like the Lollards or Luther wants to come along and mix it up a bit, I'm basically ok with that. That's bracketing any faith commitment, but it bears adding that I come from a faith tradition that has a hard time seeing God as being on the side of the dukes and cardinals. No doubt the dukes and cardinals will always say that it's best if they're left in power because fewer people will get killed that way.


I have no idea how much merit it has, but I really liked Elaine Pagels idea about the production of Gnostic scripture: every "Gnostic" was writing this stuff. Even if that was not the case, it would still be interesting in Nicola Denzey Lewis were right about the Nag Hammadi Library being the equivalent of the hobby works of gentleman Theosophists in Late Antique Egypt. My point is that so much of how we take all of this scripture has to do with our concept of scripture itself. As Symmachus astutely pointed out, Joseph Smith's real play was to create a new hierarchy with himself at the top of it. His scripture should be understood as a means toward that end. He is not producing a Nag Hammadi Library. He is producing the book that prophesies his own central role in leading Israel in the Last Days.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Joseph Smith, the last son of the Reformation
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:34 am 
1st Counselor

Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2015 11:50 pm
Posts: 461
It could be argued that the production of Gnostic scripture has continued into our own time. I learned from James Robinson's commentary in The Nag Hammadi Library that Harold Bloom, that well known friend of the Saints, once wrote a novel entitled The Flight to Lucifer, which amounted to a modern work of Gnostic mythopoiesis....

Quote:
In it the reincarnated Valentinus and his companions fly to a planet called Lucifer. Quoting our gnostic texts, the heroes wage a violent battle against Saklas, the Demiurge who is worshipped in his "Saklaseum". Bloom, more successful as an interpreter of literature, later confessed that The Flight to Lucifer reads as though Walter Pater were writing Star Wars. But, then, so does much ancient gnostic writing.


Last edited by Johannes on Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Joseph Smith, the last son of the Reformation
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:36 am 
1st Counselor

Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2015 11:50 pm
Posts: 461
Kishkumen wrote:
Even if that was not the case, it would still be interesting in Nicola Denzey Lewis were right about the Nag Hammadi Library being the equivalent of the hobby works of gentleman Theosophists in Late Antique Egypt.


I'm sure this is right, by the way (although I don't care for Denzey Lewis).


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Joseph Smith, the last son of the Reformation
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:37 am 
1st Counselor

Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2015 11:50 pm
Posts: 461
Duplicate post


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Joseph Smith, the last son of the Reformation
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 11:51 am 
God
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 07, 2013 2:19 pm
Posts: 10174
Location: Multiverse
Johannes wrote:
It could be argued that the production of Gnostic scripture has continued into our own time. I learned from James Robinson's commentary in The Nag Hammadi Library that Harold Bloom, that well known friend of the Saints, once wrote a novel entitled The Flight to Lucifer, which amounted to a modern work of Gnostic mythopoiesis....

Quote:
In it the reincarnated Valentinus and his companions fly to a planet called Lucifer. Quoting our gnostic texts, the heroes wage a violent battle against Saklas, the Demiurge who is worshipped in his "Saklaseum". Bloom, more successful as an interpreter of literature, later confessed that The Flight to Lucifer reads as though Walter Pater were writing Star Wars. But, then, so does much ancient gnostic writing.


David Lindsay's A Voyage to Arcturus is a Gnostic work.

_________________
Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. --Jeremiah 23:16


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Joseph Smith, the last son of the Reformation
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:53 pm 
Seedy Academician
User avatar

Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2008 4:00 pm
Posts: 18499
Location: The Brutus Memorial Rectory at Cassius University
Johannes wrote:
I'm sure this is right, by the way (although I don't care for Denzey Lewis).


Interesting about Lewis. Do you mind sharing the reason?


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Joseph Smith, the last son of the Reformation
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:55 pm 
Seedy Academician
User avatar

Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2008 4:00 pm
Posts: 18499
Location: The Brutus Memorial Rectory at Cassius University
Johannes wrote:
It could be argued that the production of Gnostic scripture has continued into our own time. I learned from James Robinson's commentary in The Nag Hammadi Library that Harold Bloom, that well known friend of the Saints, once wrote a novel entitled The Flight to Lucifer, which amounted to a modern work of Gnostic mythopoiesis....

Quote:
In it the reincarnated Valentinus and his companions fly to a planet called Lucifer. Quoting our gnostic texts, the heroes wage a violent battle against Saklas, the Demiurge who is worshipped in his "Saklaseum". Bloom, more successful as an interpreter of literature, later confessed that The Flight to Lucifer reads as though Walter Pater were writing Star Wars. But, then, so does much ancient gnostic writing.


Sounds worth reading just because! Valis is undoubtedly much better, but still.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Joseph Smith, the last son of the Reformation
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:56 pm 
1st Counselor

Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2015 11:50 pm
Posts: 461
It's a subjective dislike, based on style as much as substance!


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Joseph Smith, the last son of the Reformation
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 1:03 pm 
Seedy Academician
User avatar

Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2008 4:00 pm
Posts: 18499
Location: The Brutus Memorial Rectory at Cassius University
Johannes wrote:
It's a subjective dislike, based on style as much as substance!


Fair enough. I don't have much of an opinion one way or the other.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Joseph Smith, the last son of the Reformation
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 1:16 pm 
1st Counselor

Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2015 11:50 pm
Posts: 461
One matter of substance on which I'm opposed to her is the way that she attacks the very category of "Gnosticism". As we both know, this is the oldest academic ploy in the book - you tug on the loose threads of a category until it unravels in your hands and meaning disappears amidst free-floating diversity. You end up proving that there's actually no such thing as Protestantism, or feminism, or Britishness, or whatever. It's a cheap grad student trick. Yes, well done, now can you start the actual scholarship, please?


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Joseph Smith, the last son of the Reformation
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 1:29 pm 
God
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 07, 2013 2:19 pm
Posts: 10174
Location: Multiverse
Johannes wrote:
One matter of substance on which I'm opposed to her is the way that she attacks the very category of "Gnosticism". As we both know, this is the oldest academic ploy in the book - you tug on the loose threads of a category until it unravels in your hands and meaning disappears amidst free-floating diversity. You end up proving that there's actually no such thing as Protestantism, or feminism, or Britishness, or whatever. It's a cheap grad student trick. Yes, well done, now can you start the actual scholarship, please?


I have not read this work and am out of my depth...but...is the situation such that there is a popular use of "gnostic" and a more carefully defined, scholarly application? I once heard Maxine Hanks describe herself as a gnostic and a pivotal figure in early UFOlogy, Mark Probert, was a trance medium who described himself as a "Telegnostic from San Diego".

_________________
Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. --Jeremiah 23:16


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 24 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Jump to:  
Revival Theme By Brandon Designs By B.Design-Studio © 2007-2008 Brandon
Revival Theme Based off SubLite By Echo © 2007-2008 Echo
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group