By Guy Stroumsa

Readers will mull the provocative feedback and assertions contained during this entire time table. Stroumsa, commonly conversing, mounts a powerful exposition of his simple thesis. the current reviewer might agree that esotericism--in the experience of a restrictive, deepest oral exposition of written scriptures that's passed down from instructor to student--does play a demonstrable position within the earliest layers of Christian literature: the very proposal of an "apostolic succession," and the latter's social value within the formation of early Christian groups, will be differently meaningless. Such teachings most likely undergird the creation of the various surviving apocryphal gospels, acts, and apocalypses. as soon as scribalized, they in flip increase and strengthen the authority of the crowd owning them, whereas at the same time encouraging the expansion of latest oral traditions for self-elucidation. yet I disagree with Stroumsa concerning a posited ossification of interpretive traditions in "gnostic myth." The exegetical traditions are definitely there, remythologized, yet they in flip now turn into the focal point of expository consciousness through next generations of tradents. One desire purely element to the turning out to be facts for the ongoing energy of gnostic mythemes in the biblically dependent religions lengthy after the meant dying of so-called classical gnosticism; such sturdiness would appear to require the lifestyles of a residing (esoteric) interpretive culture.

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Extra resources for Hidden Wisdom: Esoteric Traditions and the Roots of Christian Mysticism (Numen Book Series, 70)

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41 and 42, n. 48 on enigmas. , 108. myth as enigma: cultural hermeneutics 21 According to this conception, truth (alètheia)30 is to be searched for and discovered in order to be revealed, but this revelation must of necessity remain ambiguous, hiding even as it unveils. 31 It became commonly accepted in late antiquity by Neoplatonic philosophers, who conceived their task, in seeking the deepest levels of truth, as more religious than epistemic in nature. Like priests, they attempted to crack the enigmas in which religious truth was clothed and hidden.

Text in Strabo, Geography, vol. VII (1971), 82–83 Lasserre, cf. n. 6 p. 136. 28 Hellènôn tous nomizomenous sophous di’ ainigmatôn palai kai ouk ek tou eutheos legein tous logous . . 3. Cf. P. Veyne, Les grecs ont-ils cru à leurs mythes? (Paris: Seuil, 1983), 24, cf. 41 and 42, n. 48 on enigmas. , 108. myth as enigma: cultural hermeneutics 21 According to this conception, truth (alètheia)30 is to be searched for and discovered in order to be revealed, but this revelation must of necessity remain ambiguous, hiding even as it unveils.

48 45 Ibid. 11–15 Nock. Against the Galileans, 94a; vol. III, 326–327 LCL. 47 Iamblichus, on the contrary, seems to take surprisingly little interest in myths (R. Lamberton). 48 Oration V: “Hymn to the Mother of the Gods”, LCL I; 170a–c. 46 myth as enigma: cultural hermeneutics 25 The most impressive text dealing with the topic, however, is found in Julian’s Oration VII: “To the Cynic Heracleios: how a Cynic ought to behave and whether it is proper for him to compose myths”. To my mind, the Oration constitutes one of the most interesting discussions of the relationships between myth and philosophy to have reached us from antiquity.

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