Download Hidden Wisdom: Esoteric Traditions and the Roots of by Guy Stroumsa PDF

By Guy Stroumsa

Readers will mull the provocative feedback and assertions contained during this accomplished time table. Stroumsa, as a rule talking, mounts a resounding exposition of his simple thesis. the current reviewer might agree that esotericism--in the feel 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 thought of an "apostolic succession," and the latter's social importance within the formation of early Christian groups, will be in a different way meaningless. Such teachings most likely undergird the creation of the numerous surviving apocryphal gospels, acts, and apocalypses. as soon as scribalized, they in flip increase and make stronger the authority of the crowd owning them, whereas concurrently encouraging the expansion of recent 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 develop into the focal point of expository realization by means of next generations of tradents. One want purely aspect to the transforming into proof for the continued power of gnostic mythemes in the biblically established religions lengthy after the meant death of so-called classical gnosticism; such toughness would appear to require the lifestyles of a residing (esoteric) interpretive culture.

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Buffière, Les mythes d’Homère et la pensée grecque (Paris: Belles Lettres, 1956), 33ff. For a general view, see the work of J. Pépin and R. Lamberton, quoted on p. 12, n. 3, above. The problem of attitudes toward myth in ancient society has been presented in a new manner by P. Veyne, Les Grecs ont-ils cru à leurs mythes? (Paris: Seuil, 1983). 3 M. Detienne, Les maîtres de vérité dans la Grèce archaïque (Paris: Maspéro, 19812). 28 chapter two the ancient world. The ambiguous status of writing, the danger inherent in it, explains this apparent paradox of the importance of the development of oral traditions, particularly in literate circles.

19 Thus it is absurd to 16 See Savoir et Salut, chapters I and II. : Harvard University Press, 1931), 38–39. 18 Origen, C. , I, 1. 19 On this subject see Nock, op. , n. ” On the Christian mysteries, see also Origen, Hom. , IX, 10, 17 PARADOSIS : esoteric traditions 33 accuse Christian doctrine of being secret, Origen concludes. But he adds: “the existence of certain doctrines, beyond those which are exoteric and which do not reach the multitude, is not peculiar solely to Christian doctrine, but it is shared by the philosophers.

W. Jaeger, Early Christianity and Greek Paideia (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1961), 55–56 and 132, n. 19. Z. Szlezak, “Plotin und die geheimen Lehren des Ammonios,” in A. C. ), Esoterik und Exoterik der Philosopher (Basel-Stuttgart: Schwabe, 1977), 52–69. L. von der Waerden, “Pythagoras,” PW, Suppl. X, 843–863, and A. , 265ff. (on the tetraktys), 307. See also K. von Fritz, Mathematiker und Akusmatiker bei den altern Pythagorern, (Bayrische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philos. Hist. Klasse 11, 1960).

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