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From: "James Wynn" 
Subject: RE: (urth) Gnostic Wolfe vs CE Wolfe
Date: Fri, 25 Oct 2002 14:47:38 -0500

Tom said:
Gnostics (as far as we know) weren't all that pessimistic, really.
Compared to doctrines like Sheol and predestination, Gnostics
were positively euphoric.

It's best to read this entire entry [on Gnosticism from the CE) as an
outdated (almost 100 year old) polemic by an ancient enemy of the Gnostics,
rather than a serious analysis.

Crush responds:
My interest in the CE is primarily in its influence on Wolfe's views and
images. Wolfe's a bit of an antiquarian. He consistently incorporates
statement's works by writers such as Graves and Sharpe uncritically -
without worrying about whether they conform to the latest data (or in Graves
case, whether they are textually supportable). That said, I don't see how
one can say the article is not a "serious analysis". I'd be curious to know
how 20th century discoveries of Gnostic documents would alter (rather than
augment) what's covered in this article.

This article seems to clearly delineate Gnostic pessimism as relating to
Creation and it's Creator. Even Calvinist Protestantism doesn't claim that
Creation was wrong from its inception by an evil god; only that it is
"fallen"--totally so. They claim it was made perfect by a perfect and doting
Creator. There are better authorities on Gnosticism on this list than me,
but it seems to me even *that* somewhat pessimistic religious view is
incompatible with Gnostic doctrine as I understand it.

I guess I have to agree with you that Wolfe seems to have created a world
that can only conform the Gnostic model. His purpose in doing so? I don't
know. He could be doing it to argue against it, or he may be conceding
*some* of Gnosticism's points-of-view and redirecting them based on his

--- Crush


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