From: "Dan'l Danehy-Oakes"
Subject: RE: (urth) Gnostic Wolfe vs CE Wolfe Date: Mon, 28 Oct 2002 09:19:14 -0800 A few fussy points for philosophical clarity. > >> Gnostics (as far as we know) weren't all that pessimistic, really. > > Modern ones generally aren't. > > >> Compared to doctrines like Sheol and predestination, Gnostics were > >> positively euphoric. Actually, one common meaning, and _the_ basic philosophical meaning, of "pessimism" is very much in line with Gnostic doctrine; see definition 2a. below (from www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary): Main Entry: pes*si*mism Pronunciation: 'pe-s&-"mi-z&m also 'pe-z&- Function: noun Etymology: French pessimisme, from Latin pessimus worst -- more at PEJORATIVE Date: 1815 1 : an inclination to emphasize adverse aspects, conditions, and possibilities or to expect the worst possible outcome 2 a : the doctrine that reality is essentially evil b : the doctrine that evil overbalances happiness in life To call someone a "pessimist" in common speech is to say he's a glass-half-empty-ist. But to call someone a "pessimist" in philosophical dialogue is to say that they believe that "this world sucks." (Which, I might add, is _not_ a basic Christian doctrine; Christianity teaches that the world was made by a good God -- this is the opposite of Gnosticism! -- and that, though fallen, it is in its basic nature good -- "Good looked at" [everything he made] "and saw that it was good.") --