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Modern Gnostics

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.thelema
From: Alchemy Works 
Subject: Re: Modern Gnostics
Date: Mon, 12 Jun 2000 21:53:39 GMT

jake wrote:
> >there is a difference between "co-option" by usage of a name
> >for self-identification and usage of a concept integrated into
> >one's mystical cosmological description. the first is deception
> >while the second is metaphysical borrowing. in the second case
> >one can also detail where the concept and term came from.
> >
> One could reverse this argument easily: Josephus claimed that Abraham
> taught the Babylonians astrology - which sounds like bass-ackwards co-
> opting to me. OTOH modern Hermetics do not claim to have invented the
> Jewish alphabet or the ToL.

The difference, though, lies in the fact that the Babylonians were not a
minority culture living in a Jewish society.  Whatever claims he made
about Jews teaching the Babylonians had no impact on any real
Babylonians--and there were no Babylonians around to tell him he was
full of it, either.

> I agree that many folks using 'Qabalah' have only vague notions about
> 'Kabbalah'. OTOH much of modern occultism is superficial and
> historically laughable - there is not a great deal I can do to remedy
> that other than argue for self education.

I am glad someone else sees this.  I argued precisely this point in
another forum recently and was told that Jews simply had ripped Kabbalah
off from other cultures and knew nothing about what it 'really' was
(just as we Jews cannot 'really' interpret the Hebrew Bible--only Xtians
can read the truth that is hidden there).
> >>>far better to call it what it is or derive a new name for it that
> >>>will not so obviously and deceptively compete for religious
> >>>attention fixated upon the terms derived from QBL.
> there is no intended deception - the idea that any modern Qabalistic
> school is an anti-semitic conspiracy is ludicrous. It hardly even
> deserves an answer.

No, there is no conspiracy, but there is plenty of antisemitism among a
(to me) surprisingly large number people involved in hermetics.  I am
glad that hara has brought up this point.  Very often the use of
Kabbalah in hermetics looks to me exactly like co=optation and parallels
how Xtians co-opted the Hebrew Bible, renaming it the Old (i.e.,
superseded) Testament, destroying its context and vastly diminishing it
by turning it into a mere prop for their belief system, a means for
proving the veracity of their religion.  To me the treatment of Kabbalah
is often very much the same.

> >I think it unfortunately perpetuates a longstanding religious
> >rivalry peculiar to Christianity -- jealousy, hatred and
> >disrespect of Jews. a common usage which is anti-semitic is
> >just as loathesome whether or not it is common usage, and
> >should be changed so as to better reflect the principles of
> >ethics and honour included or implied by the rival.
> >
> how do you suggest we change a widespread generic term - compulsion?

We should talk about it and make it known.

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