YOGA

When unconscious became conscious this is Samadhi

Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels, 1989, p. 49-50. July 11, 2008


“A second characterization of the divine Mother describes her as Holy
Spirit. The Apocryphon of John relates how John went out after the
crucifixion with “great grief” and had a mystical vision of the
Trinity. As John was grieving, he says that:

The [heavens were opened and the whole] creation [which is] under
heaven shone and [the world] trembled. [And I was afraid, and I] saw
in the light . . . a likeness with multiple forms . . . and the
likeness had three forms. [14]

To John’s question the vision answers: “He said to me, `John, Jo[h]n,
why do you doubt, and why are you afraid? . . . I am the one who [is
with you] always. I [am the Father]; I am the Mother; I am the Son.”
[15]

This Gnostic description of God — as Father, Mother and Son — may
startle us at first, but on reflection we can recognize it as another
version of the Trinity. The Greek terminology for the Trinity, which
includes the neuter term for spirit (pneuma) virtually requires that
the third “Person” of the Trinity be asexual. But the author of the
Secret Book has in mind the Hebrew term for spirit, ruah, a feminine
word; and so concludes that the feminine “Person” conjoined with the
Father and Son must be the Mother. The Secret Book goes on to
describe the divine Mother:

. . . (She is) . . . the image of the invisible, virginal, perfect
spirit . . . She became the Mother of everything, for she existed
before them all, the mother-father [matropater] . . . [16]

The Gospel to the Hebrews likewise has Jesus speak of “my Mother, the
Spirit.” [17] In the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus contrasts his earthly
parents, Mary and Joseph, with his divine Father — the Father of
Truth — and his divine Mother, the Holy Spirit.”

(14. Apocryphon of John 1.31-2.9, in nhl 99; 15. Ibid., 2.2-14, in
nhl 99; 16. Ibid., 4.34-5.7, in nhl 101; 17. Gospel to the Hebrews,
cited in Origen, comm. jo. 2.12.) (14. Apocryphon of John 1.31-2.9,
in nhl 99; 15. Ibid., 2.2-14, in nhl 99; 16. Ibid., 4.34-5.7, in nhl
101; 17. Gospel to the Hebrews, cited in Origen, comm. jo. 2.12.)

Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels, 1989, p. 49-50.
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Vintage (September 19, 1989)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0679724532
ISBN-13: 978-0679724537

Brings up questions of what might have been…, November 24, 2002
By M. Nichols (San Francisco, CA United States)

Elaine Pagels is a first-rate religious historian– currently a
professor at Princeton– and “The Gnostic Gospels” is her best known
work, examining the contents of “secret” gospels written after the
death of Jesus which were rejected from canonization and therefore
are largely unknown to Bible-reading Christians.

What is most interesting to consider is just how different
Christianity might be today if additional writings had been included
in the Bible. One theory as to why they weren’t was that early
bishops wanted only gospels written by Jesus’s apostles included in
the Bible, although subsequent scholarship has proven that none of
the Gospels’ authorship is certain. Among the rejected, the Gospel of
Thomas is probably the best known, and it is fascinating in its non-
literal approach to Christ. Jesus is described as telling his
followers that the Kingdom of God is not a realm (Pagels concludes
that it is closer to an altered state of consciousness) and makes
comments that place him closer in philosophy to the Buddha than to
St. Paul.

A lot is covered in just 180 pages — Pagels gets credit for being
among the least self-indulgent writers around. She lays down the
facts and then lets the reader mull over them. No matter what your
beliefs, you will benefit from reading this book.

———— ——— —-

Outstanding scholarly work, April 11, 2007
By Gaetan Lion

Originally written nearly 30 years ago, this book remains a must-read
on the subject. Elaine Pagels is a renowned scholar with a Harvard
Ph.D. in religion. She directly studied and translated some of the
Nag Hammadi manuscripts in the early seventies. Her related research
represents the foundation of this book. She later became a Princeton
professor. She wrote several seminal books on Christianity. Her
lifelong work has significantly advanced our knowledge of early
Christianity.

Each chapter focuses on a specific tenet of Christianity and stresses
the differences between Gnostic and orthodox Christians. While the
orthodox Christians believe in the physical reality of Jesus’
resurrection, the immaculate conception of Jesus, and martyrdom; the
Gnostic Christians interpret the resurrection in a spiritual way (not
a literal one). They also do not believe in the Immaculate
Conception. And, they reject martyrdom as a fanatical practice not
reflecting Jesus’ teachings.

The Gnostic Christians don’t believe in the orthodox Christians’
hierarchy. Gnostic Christians believe each of us has direct access to
God. And, that orthodox bishops and priests represent unwanted
obstacles to this access. Additionally, Gnostic Christians do not
exclude women as the sexes are equal in front of God. They even
revere God as both the Father and the Mother. Also, they don’t
consider Mary Magdalene to be a woman of ill repute, but instead an
equal if not a superior to the twelve apostles.

For Gnostic Christians, the overarching factor is how much gnosis
(knowledge) a believer has. This also entails wisdom and maturity.
Gnosis is means knowledge based on empirical firsthand experience in
Greek. It entails self-knowledge or “know thyself” a key concept in
Greek philosophy (Aristotle, Plato, Socrates). For Gnostic Christian
this concept is so important that knowing self ultimately leads to
knowing God. Thus, there is no separation between God and the
individual. This underlines the drastic difference between Gnostic
and orthodox Christians. The author mentions that this concept leads
to Gnosticism having a significant influence on modern Existentialism.

———— ——— ——— –

Should be read by anyone who considers him/herself Christian,
December 8, 1998
By jcw@princeton. edu (JW) (Princeton, NJ)

The Gnostic Gospels is a truly mind-liberating, eye-opening piece of
historical analysis that I would recommend to anyone, especially
those from a “Christian” background. It addresses the fact that our
knowledge of modern Christianity is based on four gospels in the New
Testament that lay the foundations for Christian doctrine, i.e., that
Jesus’ resurrection be understood literally, that the Trinity
consists of Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and that one is “originally”
sinful and must accept Jesus as his/her savior. This modern doctrine,
in my opinion, leads to self-denial and an “easy way out”- overly
simply explanations which lead to close-mindedness. In my experience,
mass religion has little value- it is one’s personal philosophy and
individual spiritual development that I think is essential for one to
be truly religious and spiritually alive.

For this reason the Gnostic
Gospels struck me profoundly. It revealed the fact that these four
Gospels (selected by the orthodox church to institute this religion)
were among SCORES of gospels about Jesus’ teachings, some of which
are very likely to be more historically accurate than those found in
the Bible. This alternative philosophy and teaching of Jesus
encourages bringing out one’s true self and coming to know oneself in
order to get close to God. It speaks of God as both masculine and
feminine. In a sense it resembles Buddhism. More importantly, I
believe these gnostic texts (which weren’t discovered until 1945
in Egypt) contain a truer, more meaningful message that can be
applied to an individual’s life.

This book has reconciled me with Christianity, for I agree with – and try to learn from – many of the Gnostic teachings. Unfortunately, as these teachings encourage one to
ask questions and go one’s own way (rather than blindly accepting
what society preaches), it was impossible for the church to
institutionalize Christianity without selecting only certain, “easy
answer” texts which allowed the church to legitimize the Bishops’
authority over people.

Above all, Pagels’s study demands that we
reconsider our interpretation of history and realize that what we
know of as “Christianity” remains very limited. Anyone even slightly
interested in religion should read The Gnostic Gospels; its
uncommon ability to help us de-provincialize ourselves requires only
one essential tool: an open mind.

Advertisements
 

The Holy Spirit: The Feminine Aspect Of the Godhead July 10, 2008


The Holy Spirit:
The Feminine Aspect Of the Godhead

J. J. Hurtak, PhD, The Academy For Future Science

“There is currently much talk of “feminine issues,” particularly in
social and political contexts. This growing awareness of gender-
related matters was not something ignored by the early Church and the
writers of ancient religious texts. As we see in this article by Dr.
Hurtak, the notion of femininity played an extremely important and
significant role in the thinking and belief system of the
intertestamental authors. Far from being the overbearing patriarchal
advocates as they are often portrayed, more recent findings reveal an
innate sensitivity and appreciation for the feminine aspect of
Divinity than has been previously suspected. For this reason, this
particular article becomes a meaningful and insightful contribution
to the current discussion of the role of the female in modern times.
Once more we find a rich and profound history reshaping the future
even as it unfolds before our eyes.

A new response to the “image” of the Holy Spirit is taking shape
quietly in scholarly circles throughout the world, as the result of
new findings in the Dead Sea Scriptures, the Coptic Nag Hammadi and
intertestamental texts of Jewish mystics found side-by-side the
writings of the early Christian church. Scholars are recognizing the
Holy Spirit as the “female vehicle” for the outpouring of higher
teaching and spiritual rebirth. The Holy Spirit plays varied roles in
Judeo-Christian traditions: acting in Creation, imparting wisdom, and
inspiring Old Testament prophets. In the New Testament She is the
presence of God in the world and a power in the birth and life of
Jesus.

The Holy Spirit became well-established as part of a circumincession,
a partner in the Trinity with the Father and Son after doctrinal
controversies of the late 4th century AD solidified the position of
the Western Church. Although all Christian Churches accept the union
of three persons in one Godhead, the Eastern Church, particularly the
communities of the Greek, Ethiopian, Armenian, and Russian, do not
solidify a strong union of personalities, but see the figures
uniquely differentiated, but still in union. Moreover, the Eastern
Church places the Holy Spirit as the Second Person of the Trinity
with Christ as the Third, whereas the Western Church places the Son
before the Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament and the Dead Sea Scrolls
the Holy Spirit was known as the Ruach or Ruach Ha Kodesh (Psalm
51:11). In the New Testament as Pneuma (Romans 8:9). The Holy Spirit
was not rendered as “Holy Ghost” until the appearance of the 1611
Protestant King James Version of the Bible. For the most part, Ruach
or Pneuma have been considered the spiritual force or presence of
God. The power of this force can be seen in the Christian church as
the “gifts of the Spirit” (especially in today’s tongues-speaking
Pentecostals) . The Holy Spirit was also a source for Divine guidance
and as the indwelling Comforter.

Likewise in Hebrew thought, Ruach Ha Kodesh was considered a voice
sent from on high to speak to the Prophet. Thus, in the Old Testament
language of the prophets, She is the Divine Spirit of indwelling
sanctification and creativity and is considered as having a feminine
power. “He” as a reference to Spirit has been used in theology to
match the pronoun for God, yet the Hebrew word ruach is a noun of
feminine gender. Thus, referring to the Holy Spirit as “she” has some
linguistic justification. Denoting Spirit as a feminine principle,
the creative principle of life, makes sense when considering the
Trinity aspect where Father plus Spirit leads to the Divine Extension
of Divine Sonship.

The Spirit is not called “it” despite the fact that pneuma in Greek
is a neuter noun. Church doctrine regards the Holy Spirit as a
person, not a force like magnetism. The writings of the Catholic
fathers, in fact, preserve the vision of the Spirit encapsulating
the “peoplehood of Christ” as the Bride or as the “Mother Church.”
Both are feminine aspects of the Divine. In the Eastern Church,
Spirit was always considered to have a feminine nature. She was the
life-bearer of the faith. Clement of Alexandria states that “she” is
an indwelling Bride. Amongst the Eastern Church communities there is
none more clear about the feminine aspect of the Holy Spirit as the
corpus of the Coptic-Gnostics. One such document records that Jesus
says, “Even so did my mother, the Holy Spirit, take me by one of my
hairs and carry me away to the great mountain Tabor [in Galilee].”

The 3rd century scroll of mystical Coptic Christianity, The Acts of
Thomas, gives a graphic account of the Apostle Thomas’ travels to
India, and contains prayers invoking the Holy Spirit as “the Mother
of all creation” and “compassionate mother,” among other titles. The
most profound Coptic Christian writings definitely link the “spirit
of Spirit” manifested by Christ to all believers as the “Spirit of
the Divine Mother.” Most significant are the new manuscript
discoveries of recent decades which have demonstrated that more early
Christians than previously thought regarded the Holy Spirit as the
Mother of Jesus.

One text is the Gospel of Thomas which is part of the newly
discovered Nag Hammadi texts (discovered 1945-1947). Most are
composed about the same time as the Biblical gospels in the 1st and
2nd century AD. In this gospel, Jesus declares that his disciples
must hate their earthly parents (as in Luke 14:26) but love the
Father and Mother as he does, “for my mother (gave me falsehood), but
(my) true Mother gave me life.” In another Nag Hammadi discovery, The
Secret Book of James, Jesus refers to himself as “the son of the Holy
Spirit.” These two sayings do not identify the Holy Spirit as the
mothering vehicle of Jesus, but more than one scholar has interpreted
them to mean that the maternal Holy Spirit is intended.

So far in Western traditional theology, the voices advocating a
feminine Holy Spirit are scattered and subtle. But for them, it is a
view theologically defensible and accompanied by psychological,
sociological, and scientific benefits of recognizing “the new
supernature” developing within vast consciousness changes happening
in the human evolution.

The German theologian Jürgen Moltmann, a well-known thinker in
mainline Protestantism, says “monotheism is monarchism.” He says a
traditional idea of God’s absolute power “generally provides the
justification for earthly domination”- – -from the emperors and
despots of history to 20th century dictators. Moltmann argues for a
new appreciation of the “persons” of the Trinity and the community or
family model it presents for human relations.

According to Professor Neil Q. Hamilton at Drew University School of
Theology, the Gospel of John shows us how “the Holy Spirit begins to
perform a mothering role for us that is unconditional acceptance,
love and caring.” God then begins to parent us in father and mother
modes.

A Catholic scholar, Franz Mayr, a philosophy professor at the
University of Portland, also favors the recognition of the Holy
Spirit as feminine. He contends that the traditional unity of God
would not have to be watered down in order for scholars to accept the
feminine side of God . Mayr, who studied under the renown German
theologian Karl Rahner, said he came to his view during his study of
the writings of St. Augustine (AD 354-430) who saw that a significant
number of early Christians must have accepted a feminine aspect of
the Holy Spirit such that the influential church father of North
Africa castigated this view. St. Augustine claimed that the
acceptance of the Holy Spirit as the “mother of the Son of God and
wife-consort of the Father” was merely a pagan outlook. But Mayr
contends that Augustine “skipped over the social and maternal aspect
of God,” which Mayr thinks is best seen in the Holy Spirit, the
Divine Ruach Ha Kodesh. St. Jerome, a contemporary of Augustine’s,
and two church fathers of an earlier period, Clement of Alexandria
and Origen, quoted from the pseudopigraphic Gospel of the Hebrews,
which depicted the Holy Spirit as a “mother figure.”

A 14th Century fresco in a small Catholic Church southeast of Munich,
Germany depicts a female Spirit as part of the Holy Trinity,
according to Leonard Swidler of Temple University. The woman and two
bearded figures flanking her appear to be wrapped in a single cloak
and joined in their lower halves showing a union of old and new
bodies of birth and rebirth.

In conclusion, we are living at a time of profound and revelatory
discoveries of archaeology and ancient spiritual texts that point the
way to the future. Christ, himself, was said to have female disciples
as disclosed in Gnostic literature and recent archeological findings
of early Christian tombs in Italy. A beginning has been made to
reclaim “the Spirit” of the Ruach found in the mountain of newly
discovered pre-Christian texts and Coptic-Egyptian texts of the early
Church . It is becoming clear in re-examining the first 100 years of
Christianity that an earlier Christianity was closer to the “Feminine
Spirit” of the Old Testament, the Ruach or the beloved Shekinah. The
Shekinah, distinct from the Ruach, was seen as the indwelling Divine
Presence that activated the “birth of miracles” or the anointed self.
Accordingly, the growth of traditional Christianity made alternative
adjustments of the original position of the “birth of gifts” as
Christendom compromised for the privilege of becoming an
establishment.

The new directions of spiritual and scientific studies are showing
that it is now possible that the Holy Spirit, Ruach Ha Kodesh, can be
portrayed as feminine as the indwelling presence of God, the
Shekinah, nurturing and bringing to birth souls for the kingdom.
Spiritual insights recorded in the Book of Knowledge: Keys of Enoch
carefully remind us that we are being prepared to understand that
just as the Old Testament was the Age of the Father, the New
Testament the Age of the Son, so this coming Age where gifts are
poured forth will be the Age of the Holy Spirit.”

J. J. Hurtak, PhD, The Academy For Future Science

 

 
%d bloggers like this: