Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Epistles and Blogs

Jeremy writes:

Another difference is, of course, that the Pauline Epistles were divinely inspired, and served to elaborate upon a burgeoning theology and Christology while such concept were completely new, whereas thus far most blog posts have far less of a specific ecclesiastic mission. To my knowledge, blog posts aren’t being regularly discussed within actual living spiritual traditions.
But if Paul was doing the writing, there's no guarantee that HE thought they were divinely inspired. Others, who came after him (like Marcion) decided the letters were divinely inspired. Who knows how many letters Paul wrote that didn't make it into canon:

My Brothers and Sisters in Christ. I am writing to you to ensure that you got my letter of July, and that you are making sure to do your laundry. On my last visit, your robes and vestments were in a terrible state. Remember that Christ wants us to be clean in body AND in spirit, and that while the baptism of the SPIRIT is singular and eternal, the baptism of the body should take place at least once a week.

And tell Timothy to quit eating all the bread. Your servant in Christ, Paul.


It comes back to my theme of use of written works: Future generations will make what use they may of what we write, just as we make use of what was written decades and even centuries before, for our own purposes.

Jeremy continues:

The only problem I can see with the blogs-as-epistles theory is the ephemerality of blogs.

I see this more as the winnowing process. It's more like the dinners Christ had with the tax collectors, where he threw his message out there, and people critiqued it and asked for practical advice for implementing his teachings. Questions about the Sabbath and the Law abounded, and you don't think he repeated himself so many times for his health? It was for the understanding of the people that he held those sorts of things.

We continue that tradition, by discussing our points of view. The good stuff will make it into Scripture.

Right now, in Gnosticism, we're at the beginning again. We've got some ancient scriptures we refer to (Nag Hammadi), much like Christianity had the Jewish Law, and upon which we're basing our thinking. We've got some new writers we see the letters of (C.J. Jung, P.K. Dick) that influence our thinking. In 200 years, the Exegesis of P. K. Dick and Valis may be canon, while the Seven Sermons becomes Apocrypha.

All we're missing are some prophets. That's where the blogs come in, in my opinion. You think Isaiah wasn't regarded in his life time as "just this guy" spouting off? How about Ignatius, Augustine, Cyril? They basically codified the establishment, and I'll bet a number of influential but illiterate bishops were very angry with them.

What we gnostics don't have is a 2000 year old edifice tying us down with dogma and inertia. I am not sure Gnosticism will ever get that, given the nature of the beast. Dogmatic unity in Gnosticism is like trying to herd Octopi. Things just keep branching off.

And that's kind of the point.

1 comment:

sparkwidget said...

From Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell:

"The Prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel dined with me, and I asked them how they dared so roundly to assert that God spake to them; and whether they did not think at the time, that they would be misunderstood, & so be the cause of imposition.

Isaiah answer'd. 'I saw no God, nor heard any, in a finite organical perception; but my senses discover'd the infinite in every thing, and as I was then perswaded, & remain confirm'd, that the voice of honest indignation is the voice of God, I cared not for consequences but wrote.

Then I asked: 'does a firm perswasion that a thing is so, make it so?'

He replied: 'All poets believe that it does, & in ages of imagination this firm perswasion removed mountains; but many are not capable of a firm perswasion of any thing.'"

I posted the whole dern thing at http://homoplasmate.blogspot.com/2005/05/marriage-of-heaven-and-hell.html if anyone is interested.