Re: Origines and the Valentianer

#11
Huck wrote,
I didn't search for "Aion", the author Luedke did. Naturally he used the Greek "Aion".
On "Aion" vs. "Aeon", the first sentence of your quote from Luedke reads:
"Aeon" kommt in griechischer Literatur vor: 8.Jh.v.Chr. 22mal, 6.Jh. 60mal, 5.Jh. 131mal, 4. Jh.
68mal, 3.Jh. 26mal, 2.Jh. 65mal, 1.Jh.v.Chr. 197mal, 1.Jh.n.Chr. 588mal, 2.Jh. 1855mal und
3.Jh. 338mal. Damit ist das 1. und 2.Jh.n.Chr. die Blütezeit dieses Begriffs.
So I naturally thought he searched for occurrences of "aeon". Also, there is a problem: Gnostic sources use "aeon" (or "aion" or its Latin or Coptic equivalent) all the time, at least in English translation. Your quote from Luedke didn't mention them at all, one reason why I brought up the issue of the spelling. Finally, the main source for Gnostic terminology in the West, until I don't know when--late 19th century at least--was Irenaeus in a Latin translation; the Latin term corresponding to "aion" is "aeuum" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aeon), at least in the meaning of "age". I that might have been the spelling used by Irenaeus (but I don't know; it might have been "Aeon"). If so, that is another term that would need to be searched.

On "Seth", is there any other reason for thinking there is a relation to the Hebrew "Seth", beside the similarity of the names and the fact that the Jews spent some time in Egypt? The Egyptian god Seth, of upper Egypt (desert) was considered evil by the followers of Osiris in lower Egypt (or maybe just their Hittite conquerers). So it is possible that Jews were considered worshipers of Seth by those who wanted to demonize Jews. But did the Jews themselves consider themselves worshipers of Seth? If not, it doesn't matter what others thought. I seem to remember a calf, which might be related to Osiris and his sacred bulls.

What might be interesting would be if you could find parallels between the Gnostic Sethians and the myths and rites of the Egyptian worshipers of Seth. Otherwise, it won't do to use the Egyptian worshipers of Seth as evidence for the roots of the Gnostic Sethians. I would think that there is enough material in the Gnostic Sethians by themselves to occupy you, at least to start with. For example, I think the Pistis Sophia is probably more Sethian than Valentinian, since it features "Barbelo", a term the Sethians used but not the Valentinians.

You also need to consider our knowledge, or lack of it, of where the Gnostic Sethians originated. It's not enough to say that some 4th century Gnostic monks in Upper (i.e. southern) Egypt had a library with Sethian books in it. It may have originated in Palastine, Syria, or points north or east. If the Valentinians originated in Egypt, that does not mean the Sethians did. Both movmenets have much in common with movements outside of Egypt, e.g. Simon Magus. The Wikipedia article says that the Sethians existed as far away as Greater Armenia, even if by 375 c.e. they only existed in Egypt (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sethianism).

The Wikipedia article also lists 9 Sethian documents in the Nag Hammadi collection. That is out of 45 documents in all, counting a bad translation of a selection from the Republic and the Middle Platonic Aesclepius (a Coptic translation). We have to remember, too, that the Nag Hammadi documents are not actually "original"; they are translations into Coptic, of better or worse quality, from the Greek. ("Coptic" means: Egyptian spoken language written with Greek characters). The main overlap between Irenaeus and Nag Hammadi--the one in Latin, the other in Coptic--that I know of is the Apocryphon of John, a Sethian document originally in Greek.

Re: Origines and the Valentianer

#12
mikeh wrote:Huck wrote,
I didn't search for "Aion", the author Luedke did. Naturally he used the Greek "Aion".
On "Aion" vs. "Aeon", the first sentence of your quote from Luedke reads:
"Aeon" kommt in griechischer Literatur vor: 8.Jh.v.Chr. 22mal, 6.Jh. 60mal, 5.Jh. 131mal, 4. Jh.
68mal, 3.Jh. 26mal, 2.Jh. 65mal, 1.Jh.v.Chr. 197mal, 1.Jh.n.Chr. 588mal, 2.Jh. 1855mal und
3.Jh. 338mal. Damit ist das 1. und 2.Jh.n.Chr. die Blütezeit dieses Begriffs.
So I naturally thought he searched for occurrences of "aeon". Also, there is a problem: Gnostic sources use "aeon" (or "aion" or its Latin or Coptic equivalent) all the time, at least in English translation. Your quote from Luedke didn't mention them at all, one reason why I brought up the issue of the spelling. Finally, the main source for Gnostic terminology in the West, until I don't know when--late 19th century at least--was Irenaeus in a Latin translation; the Latin term corresponding to "aion" is "aeuum" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aeon), at least in the meaning of "age". I that might have been the spelling used by Irenaeus (but I don't know; it might have been "Aeon"). If so, that is another term that would need to be searched.
Sorry. I wrote "Aeon", cause I couldn't reproduce Luedge's "Alpha-Iota-Omega-Ny" for technical reasons. He writes the word in Greek. And he used for his search only Greek texts [he wrote so with "kommt in griechischer Literatur vor"], so naturally Gnostic texts in other languages didn't show up.

Further I misspelled his name: "Michael Lüdge" is correct. Or "Michael Luedge" in English literature.
On "Seth", is there any other reason for thinking there is a relation to the Hebrew "Seth", beside the similarity of the names and the fact that the Jews spent some time in Egypt? The Egyptian god Seth, of upper Egypt (desert) was considered evil by the followers of Osiris in lower Egypt (or maybe just their Hittite conquerers). So it is possible that Jews were considered worshipers of Seth by those who wanted to demonize Jews. But did the Jews themselves consider themselves worshipers of Seth? If not, it doesn't matter what others thought. I seem to remember a calf, which might be related to Osiris and his sacred bulls.
As I said, it isn't easy.
The Sethians were a Gnostic sect during the Roman era. Alongside Valentinianism Sethianism was one of the main currents of Gnosticism during the 2nd to 3rd centuries. Their thinking, though it is predominantly Judaic in foundation, is arguably strongly influenced by Platonism. Sethianism attributed its gnosis to Seth, third son of Adam and Eve and Norea, wife of Noah (who also plays a role in Mandeanism and Manicheanism).

The Sethians (Latin Sethoitae) are first mentioned, alongside the Ophites, in the 2nd century, by Irenaeus and in Pseudo-Tertullian (Ch.30).
The Hyksos were likely not identical to the Hittites.
The Hyksos practiced horse burials, and their chief deity, their native storm god, became associated with the Egyptian storm and desert god, Seth. Although most Hyksos names seem Semitic, the Hyksos also included Hurrians, who, while speaking an isolated language, were under the rule and influence of Indo-Europeans.
The Hyksos brought several technical improvements to Egypt, as well as cultural infusions such as new musical instruments and foreign loan words. The changes introduced include new techniques of bronze working and pottery, new breeds of animals, and new crops. In warfare, they introduced the horse and chariot,[10] the composite bow, improved battle axes, and advanced fortification techniques. Because of these cultural advances, Hyksos rule was decisive for Egypt’s later empire in the Middle East.
Hurrians, also called "Churriten", had a "kingdom of Mittani" here ...
Image

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurrians
Likely people, who had horses, when Egypt still hadn't horses.
"Horses were introduced into Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period (about 1700-1550 BC). The earliest remains of horses are a few bones from Avaris and the skeleton of a horse found at Buhen."
http://www.ucl.ac.uk/museums-static/dig ... horse.html
Domestication of the horse most likely took place in central Asia prior to 3500 BC. Two major sources of information are used to determine where and when the horse was first domesticated and how the domesticated horse spread around the world. The first source is based on palaeological and archaeological discoveries; the second source is a comparison of DNA obtained from modern horses to that from bones and teeth of ancient horse remains.
The earliest archaeological evidence for the domestication of the horse comes from sites in Ukraine and Kazakhstan, dating to approximately 3500–4000 BC. By 3000 BC, the horse was completely domesticated and by 2000 BC there was a sharp increase in the number of horse bones found in human settlements in northwestern Europe, indicating the spread of domesticated horses throughout the continent.[147] The most recent, but most irrefutable evidence of domestication comes from sites where horse remains were interred with chariots in graves of the Sintashta and Petrovka cultures c. 2100 BC.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horse

I personally think, that the story of patriarch Joseph tells about a Hyksos Pharao, who was friendly to Joseph. The Hyksos naturally should have invited Semitic persons to work in Lower Egypt. The "traditional Egyptians", who regained control, Kamose and Ahmose, likely weren't so happy about these new inhabitants. So an Exodus happened ... but to me it's not clear when.
What might be interesting would be if you could find parallels between the Gnostic Sethians and the myths and rites of the Egyptian worshipers of Seth. Otherwise, it won't do to use the Egyptian worshipers of Seth as evidence for the roots of the Gnostic Sethians. I would think that there is enough material in the Gnostic Sethians by themselves to occupy you, at least to start with. For example, I think the Pistis Sophia is probably more Sethian than Valentinian, since it features "Barbelo", a term the Sethians used but not the Valentinians.
Egypt had a long fall with a lot of foreign rulers ... and it kept a very long memory. It still knew Osiris, Seth and all the others in Roman time.
Likely that's a geographical problem. The Nile is such a long river, and as farther you come to, it becomes hotter and hotter. And likely there were expeditions, which never found back. Egypt organized this territory, that each district had its own cult and its specialities. A centralization seems to have been too difficult.
You also need to consider our knowledge, or lack of it, of where the Gnostic Sethians originated. It's not enough to say that some 4th century Gnostic monks in Upper (i.e. southern) Egypt had a library with Sethian books in it. It may have originated in Palastine, Syria, or points north or east. If the Valentinians originated in Egypt, that does not mean the Sethians did. Both movmenets have much in common with movements outside of Egypt, e.g. Simon Magus. The Wikipedia article says that the Sethians existed as far away as Greater Armenia, even if by 375 c.e. they only existed in Egypt (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sethianism).

The Wikipedia article also lists 9 Sethian documents in the Nag Hammadi collection. That is out of 45 documents in all, counting a bad translation of a selection from the Republic and the Middle Platonic Aesclepius (a Coptic translation). We have to remember, too, that the Nag Hammadi documents are not actually "original"; they are translations into Coptic, of better or worse quality, from the Greek. ("Coptic" means: Egyptian spoken language written with Greek characters). The main overlap between Irenaeus and Nag Hammadi--the one in Latin, the other in Coptic--that I know of is the Apocryphon of John, a Sethian document originally in Greek.
Lütge sees a strong connection of the Egyptian Sethians to Persia and Zoroastrism. This seems to have been not a problem.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Origines and the Valentianer

#13
Huck wrote: Lütge sees a strong connection of the Egyptian Sethians to Persia and Zoroastrism. This seems to have been not a problem.
If we consider the general history of Egypt, some persons from Persia or other Eastern regions inside Egypt shouldn't cause our confusion. In a long series we have Eastern regents in Egypt ruling, before Alexander came and imported Greek influence.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrus_the_Great
The reign of Cyrus the Great lasted between 29 and 31 years. Cyrus built his empire by conquering first the Median Empire, then the Lydian Empire and eventually the Neo-Babylonian Empire. Either before or after Babylon, he led an expedition into central Asia, which resulted in major campaigns that were described as having brought "into subjection every nation without exception". Cyrus did not venture into Egypt, as he himself died in battle, fighting the Massagetae along the Syr Darya in December 530 BC. He was succeeded by his son, Cambyses II, who managed to add to the empire by conquering Egypt, Nubia, and Cyrenaica during his short rule.

Cyrus the Great respected the customs and religions of the lands he conquered.[18] It is said that in universal history, the role of the Achaemenid Empire founded by Cyrus lies in its very successful model for centralized administration and establishing a government working to the advantage and profit of its subjects. In fact, the administration of the empire through satraps and the vital principle of forming a government at Pasargadae were the works of Cyrus. What is sometimes referred to as the Edict of Restoration (actually two edicts) described in the Bible as being made by Cyrus the Great left a lasting legacy on the Jewish religion, where, because of his policies in Babylonia, he is referred to by the Jewish Bible as Messiah (Isaiah 44:24, 26–45:3, 13), and is the only non-Jew to be called so:

So said the Lord to His anointed one, to Cyrus
—Yeshayahu, Isa 45:1-7

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achaemenid_Empire
The historical mark of the Achaemenid Empire went far beyond its territorial and military influences and included cultural, social, technological and religious influences as well. Many Athenians adopted Achaemenid customs in their daily lives in a reciprocal cultural exchange,[20] some being employed by, or allied to the Persian kings. The impact of Cyrus the Great's Edict of Restoration is mentioned in Judeo-Christian texts and the empire was instrumental in the spread of Zoroastrianism as far east as China.
The first Persian occupation of Egypt endured till 404/402 BC.
The second started in 343 BC and ended in 332 BC with the disruption caused by Alexander.

*****************

Before ...
The Third Intermediate Period of Ancient Egypt begins with the death of Pharaoh Ramesses XI in 1070 BC, ending the New Kingdom, and ends with the start of the Late period, for which various points are offered, though it is most often regarded as dating from the foundation of the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty by Psamtik I in 664 BC, following the expulsion of the Nubian rulers of the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty by the Assyrians under King Assurbanipal.

The period was one of decline and political instability, marked by division of the state for much of the period and conquest and rule by foreigners. But many aspects of life for ordinary Egyptians changed relatively little.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_Inte ... d_of_Egypt

Image

state of mid 8th century BC

The map of Egypt looks rather distributed then. The period is also called "Lybian", cause a Lybian dynasty reigned a long time (c. 945 - 712). Also Nubian kings appeared as rulers in Egypt (712–664 B.C.)

The Assyrian Empire expanded ... (Neo-Assyrian Empire, 911–612 BC)



In 671 we have a clear arrival of Eastern ideas in Egypt. I'm not sure, if Egypt was taken so far to the South, as the map indicates. But Memphis was taken in bloody manner. When the king of Assyria left, a revolt took place, and Egypt participated in the fights against Assyria.

***************

Alexander's victory against Persia followed soon. Should one assume, that all Persians disappeared from Egypt or elsewhere in this short time?
We know in this period from other big empires, which did fall in short time. The general improvement (writing culture, population increase, streets and traffic, improvement of weapons) had changed the destiny of states.

The following situation with Greek states in in Minor Asia, Persia and Egypt made it easier, that Persians could also live in Egypt. And it became easier, that religious/philosophical ideas could spread from one region to the other.

Inclusive the Septuaginta.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Origines and the Valentianer

#14
Huck wrote
Lütge sees a strong connection of the Egyptian Sethians to Persia and Zoroastrism. This seems to have been not a problem.
The problem I was trying to raise is, where did Sethianism originate, in Egypt or somewhere else? The Persian Empire was rather large. It could have originated in Egypt--or anywhere else Jews were living in the former Persian Empire. Palestine, for example, or Syria, or a lot of places.

Huck wrote,
I personally think, that the story of patriarch Joseph tells about a Hyksos Pharao, who was friendly to Joseph. The Hyksos naturally should have invited Semitic persons to work in Lower Egypt. The "traditional Egyptians", who regained control, Kamose and Ahmose, likely weren't so happy about these new inhabitants. So an Exodus happened ... but to me it's not clear when.
Well, yes, I meant the Hyksos. But what does what you are saying about the Hyksos and the Hebrews have to do with the Hebrew Seth? Are you suggesting that the Hebrews invented a third son of Adam and Eve, a spiritual one as opposed to the hot-headed Cain, in order to ingratiate themselves with the Hyksos Pharaoh, or with the "traditional Egyptians" that followed, who also worshiped Seth (albeit a hot-headed one, like the Hebrews' Cain)? That takes more argument. And otherwise I don't see the point of what you are saying. Have I missed something?

Huck highlighted in red, about the Persian Empire:
the empire was instrumental in the spread of Zoroastrianism as far east as China.
Yes, but was it instrumental in the spread of ideas the other way? That would be interesting. China was receptive to foreign ideas. Gnosticism spread as far as China, too, in the form of Manicheanism, during the early Middle Ages. That was a time of much trade back and forth on the Silk Road, which is how Manicheanism likely spread. Perhaps that is too late for you. But it is very much the time of the Sefer Yetzirah and Bihar.

Re: Origines and the Valentianer

#15
mikeh wrote: The problem I was trying to raise is, where did Sethianism originate, in Egypt or somewhere else? The Persian Empire was rather large. It could have originated in Egypt--or anywhere else Jews were living in the former Persian Empire. Palestine, for example, or Syria, or a lot of places.
I don't know, if this is a clear point. The Nag-Hammadi texts seem to be translated from Greek to Coptic language. Sethian groups are considered to belong to 2nd and 3rd century AD. Alexandria might be called "a probable place", but others are not impossible. Ireneus, who told about Sethians used the expression Barbeliotae.

But I found this remark ...
John D. Turner, professor of religious studies at the University of Nebraska and famed translator and editor of the Nag Hammadi library, stated[46] that the text Plotinus and his students read was Sethian Gnosticism, which predates Christianity. It appears that Plotinus attempted to clarify how the philosophers of the academy had not arrived at the same conclusions (such as dystheism or misotheism for the creator God as an answer to the problem of evil) as the targets of his criticism.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demiurge

"predates Christianity" sounds like "before 2nd and 3rd century".
I searched for Turner, and found this ...
GNOSTICISM AND PLATONISM
THE PLATONIZING SETHIAN TEXTS FROM NAG HAMMADI IN THEIR RELATION TO LATER PLATONIC LITERATURE
by JOHN D. TURNER
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
pages 425-459 in "Gnosticism and Neoplatonism" (1992)

Well, this reads good ...
It seems that Sethianism interacted with Christianity in five phases: 1) The Sethians likely originated as one of a number of Palestinian or Syrian baptismal sects in the first centuries BCE and CE; they considered themselves the historical progeny of Seth, their spiritual ancestor by whom (together with Adam) they had been primordially enlightened, but from whom they expected yet a final saving visitation in the form of the conferral of a new form of spiritual baptism called the Five Seals. 2) In the later first century, Sethianism gradually became Christianized through an emerging identification between the preexistent Christ and Seth (or Adam) that resulted from increasing contact with Christian groups. 3) Toward the end of the second century, Sethianism gradually became estranged from a Christianity increasingly on the road to a polemical orthodoxy which rejected the rather docetic Sethian interpretation of Christ. 4) In the third century Sethianism is rejected by the Great Church, but in the meantime has become strongly attracted by the individualistic contemplative practices of second and third century Platonism, a shift that entailed a gradual loss of interest in their primal origins and sacred history and a corresponding attenuation of their awareness of group or communal identity (i.e. a tendency toward "rootlessness"). 5) In the late third century, Sethianism also became estranged from orthodox (Neo)Platonism under the impetus of attacks and refutations from the circle of Plotinus and other Neoplatonists which were just as effective as those of the Christian heresiologists. At this time, whatever Sethianism was left became increasingly fragmented into various derivative and other sectarian gnostic groups such as the Archontics, Audians, Borborites, Phibionites and others, some of which survived into the Middle Ages.
He mentions various arguments ... so for a "Apocalypse of Adam"
Thus in Apoc. Adam and Gos. Egypt. there is a tripartitioning of history from the creation onwards in terms of the biblical demiurge's attack on the Sethians, ancient through contemporary, by 1) the flood, whereupon they are rescued by certain angels, and 2) through the rain of fire and brimstone on the holy dwellings of the Sethians at Sodom and Gomorrah, whereupon they are rescued by the servants of the Four Lights (who preside over the heavenly aeons where Adam, Seth and his primal seed dwell); these acts will be followed by 3) a third and future act of salvation when the Illuminator will rescue their souls from death. While the final savior is an unidentified "Illuminator" in Apoc. Adam, in Gos. Egypt. the third saving descent will be undertaken by Seth himself in the guise of Jesus.
"Seth himself in the guise of Jesus" gives evidence, that the real cult aims at Seth, not at Jesus. Jesus seems to be just adapted for the favor of the current fashion.
Possibly this is true for some of the gnostic groups. They existed before Christ, but noted, that this new movement might be interested to be incorporated in the own ideology.

Well, one should read this text completely ... it looks interesting and Taylor had likely a perfect background to write about the Sethians and Nag-Hammadi.

... btw. The text of the Apocalypse of Adam is here:
http://gnosis.org/naghamm/adam.html
Huck wrote,
I personally think, that the story of patriarch Joseph tells about a Hyksos Pharao, who was friendly to Joseph. The Hyksos naturally should have invited Semitic persons to work in Lower Egypt. The "traditional Egyptians", who regained control, Kamose and Ahmose, likely weren't so happy about these new inhabitants. So an Exodus happened ... but to me it's not clear when.
Well, yes, I meant the Hyksos. But what does what you are saying about the Hyksos and the Hebrews have to do with the Hebrew Seth? Are you suggesting that the Hebrews invented a third son of Adam and Eve, a spiritual one as opposed to the hot-headed Cain, in order to ingratiate themselves with the Hyksos Pharaoh, or with the "traditional Egyptians" that followed, who also worshiped Seth (albeit a hot-headed one, like the Hebrews' Cain)? That takes more argument. And otherwise I don't see the point of what you are saying. Have I missed something?
hm ... you had addressed the Hittites ...

MikeH ...
On "Seth", is there any other reason for thinking there is a relation to the Hebrew "Seth", beside the similarity of the names and the fact that the Jews spent some time in Egypt? The Egyptian god Seth, of upper Egypt (desert) was considered evil by the followers of Osiris in lower Egypt (or maybe just their Hittite conquerers). So it is possible that Jews were considered worshipers of Seth by those who wanted to demonize Jews. But did the Jews themselves consider themselves worshipers of Seth? If not, it doesn't matter what others thought. I seem to remember a calf, which might be related to Osiris and his sacred bulls.
Avaris, the capital of the Hyksos, was special with Seth ....
https://books.google.de/books?id=acT0GQ ... th&f=false

The Egyptian god Seth addressed "foreigners", and there was a figure "Seth" in the mythology of the Bible and possibly not only there long before. The later Sethians might have been aware of this earlier context.
Huck highlighted in red, about the Persian Empire:
the empire was instrumental in the spread of Zoroastrianism as far east as China.
Yes, but was it instrumental in the spread of ideas the other way? That would be interesting. China was receptive to foreign ideas. Gnosticism spread as far as China, too, in the form of Manicheanism, during the early Middle Ages. That was a time of much trade back and forth on the Silk Road, which is how Manicheanism likely spread. Perhaps that is too late for you. But it is very much the time of the Sefer Yetzirah and Bihar.
The I-Ching developed around 1100 BC. The Persian empire developed later. But the note just makes clear, that there was some contact between Persia (with use of the binary system) and China (also with use use of the binary system).
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Origines and the Valentianer

#16
Huck wrote,
The Egyptian god Seth addressed "foreigners", and there was a figure "Seth" in the mythology of the Bible and possibly not only there long before. The later Sethians might have been aware of this earlier context.
During the Persian period Seth was identified as a "foreign" god of evil nature, an identification that continued in the Hellenistic and Roman times. That is quite different from the Seth that the Sethians talked about. They wouldn't have wanted an association with such a god, even if, in Palestine or Syria, they knew about it.

Your material from Turner is good. However the Wikipedia "Demiurge" essay, while marginally OK on the Sethians (but Turner is better), is not reliable, in my opinion, when it comes to the Valentinians and the Middle Platonists. Plotinus was targeting not just Gnostics but also most Middle Platonists, including Plutarch, as misinterpreters of Plato, veering from his "secret" doctrine. But they, including the Valentinians and probably also the followers of Basilides, are in general more complex than the writer gives them credit. That does not mean that his or her sources, such as Turner, are unreliable. It's just that the writer has an axe to grind and wants to find quotes that support his or her ideas while ignoring other things. That is sometimes a problem on Wikipedia. It's a pity, because I'd like to read something good on the "demiurge" idea outside of Gnosticism (added later: actually, http://www.iep.utm.edu/midplato/ isn't bad).

For a more nuanced view of the Valentinian demiurge, see http://www.gnosis.org/library/valentinus/Demiurge.htm.

Re: Origines and the Valentianer

#17
mikeh wrote: During the Persian period Seth was identified as a "foreign" god of evil nature, an identification that continued in the Hellenistic and Roman times. That is quite different from the Seth that the Sethians talked about. They wouldn't have wanted an association with such a god, even if, in Palestine or Syria, they knew about it.
There are 2500 years between the first appearance of the Egyptian Seth and the appearance of gnostic Sethians. There were considerable changes in these long years. If we think back 2500 years from our time, then we can meet Sokrates at the times of Athen. Well, nonetheless, we have a picture of Sokrates, may be right or wrong. And we could open a New-Age-Institut for teaching reading Tarot cards and call it "Insights of Sokrates". Maybe this would work well and we could earn a lot of money. Other names "Hermes" (trade) or "Mercury" (tourism, games, newspaper) or "Vulcanus" (lamps) or "Helios" (lamps for light towers) are or were used also for modern enterprises.

Researchers, who studied the Egyptian Seth, speak of a lot of different perspectives about this figure, from "rather good" to "very bad". We've also contrasting and changing opinions in our later time either about words or for persons, the evaluations wander either moved by concrete actions or just by fashions. "Martin Luther", " "Kopernicus" or "Napoleon", all have contrasting comments.

Japhed, son of Noah, likely became the Titan Iapetos, married to "Asia" with the 4 sons Atlas, Prometheus, Epimetheus and Menoitios, all suffering from sins against the Olympians, likely caused by some trouble between inhabitants of the Levante and inhabitants of Greece.
Your material from Turner is good. However the Wikipedia "Demiurge" essay, while marginally OK on the Sethians (but Turner is better), is not reliable, in my opinion, when it comes to the Valentinians and the Middle Platonists. Plotinus was targeting not just Gnostics but also most Middle Platonists, including Plutarch, as misinterpreters of Plato, veering from his "secret" doctrine. But they, including the Valentinians and probably also the followers of Basilides, are in general more complex than the writer gives them credit. That does not mean that his or her sources, such as Turner, are unreliable. It's just that the writer has an axe to grind and wants to find quotes that support his or her ideas while ignoring other things. That is sometimes a problem on Wikipedia. It's a pity, because I'd like to read something good on the "demiurge" idea outside of Gnosticism (added later: actually, http://www.iep.utm.edu/midplato/ isn't bad).
Wiki articles are often written by more than one person. Good comments mix with bad comments.

http://www.iep.utm.edu/midplato/
... gives the impression, as if "monad" and "dyad" would have been new ideas. If I look at I-Ching, then it's a complex game about the numbers 1-2-3-4 centuries before this time, well comparable to Tetraktys ideas, which are given to Pythagoras. Also the schemes of Hesiod look, as if he knew such ideas.
Similar 3x3 + 4x4 = 5x5 is a cheap trick to find the 90°-angle, likely used by masons worldwide long before Pythagoras.
Occasionally the wheel is new detected. Already Platon had the idea, that the coming generation would be worse than the generation before. That's also not a new idea, but likely just the fact, that older men feel the age and tend to become pessimistic .... :-) ...
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Origines and the Valentianer

#18
A half year ago ....
http://www.iccdc.us/events/reports/isis ... -in-mosul/

***************

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seth
In gnosticism, Seth is seen as a replacement given by God for Abel, whom Cain had slain. It is said that late in life, Adam gave Seth secret teachings that would become the kabbalah. The Zohar refers to Seth as "ancestor of all the generations of the tzaddikim" (Hebrew: righteous ones).

According to Seder Olam Rabbah, based on Jewish reckoning, he was born in 130 AM. According to Aggadah, he had 33 sons and 23 daughters [I don't find this]. According to the Seder Olam Rabbah, he died in 1042 AM.

Islam
Islamic tradition reveres Seth as the third son of Adam and Eve. It views him as a righteous son and sees him as the gift bestowed upon Adam after the death of Abel. Although Seth is not mentioned in the Qur'an, Muslim tradition generally regards him as a prophet like his father, and the one who continued teaching mankind the laws of God after the death of Adam. Islamic lore gives Seth an exalted position among the Antediluvian Patriarchs of the Generations of Adam, and some sources even cite Seth as the receiver of a scripture.

Islamic literature holds that Seth was born when Adam was past 100 and that, by the time Adam died, Adam had already made Seth the heir to him in guiding his people. Muslims hold that Seth was given wisdom in several different aspects of life, including knowledge of time, a prophetic vision of the future Great Flood, and inspiration on the methods of night prayer. Islam, like Judaism and Christianity, traces the genealogy of mankind back to Seth, since Abel did not leave any heirs and Cain's heirs, according to tradition, were destroyed by the Great Flood. In Muslim tradition, many of the traditional Islamic crafts are also traced back to Seth, such as the making of horn combs. Seth has also played a role in Islamic mysticism, known as Sufism, and Ibn Arabi included a chapter in his Bezels of Wisdom on Seth, titled "The Wisdom of Expiration in the Word of Seth".[11]

Some Muslims believe that Seth's tomb is located in the village of Al-Nabi Shiyth (literally meaning "The Prophet Seth") in Lebanon, where a mosque is named after him. A rival tradition, mentioned by Arab geographers from the 13th century onwards, placed the tomb of Nabi Shith ("Prophet Seth") in the Palestinian village of Bashsheet southwest of Ramla village. Indeed, according to the Palestine Exploration Fund, Bashshit stands for Beit Shith, meaning "House of Seth".[12] The village was depopulated with the creation of Israel in 1948, but the three-domed structure considered Seth's tomb still exists in the Israeli moshav Aseret built on the site.

Abu l-Hasan al-Masudi writes, "One of the two pyramids (of Giza) is the tomb of Agathodaimon (Seth), the other one is the tomb of Hermes, (Idris, Enoch). Between the two 1000 years elapsed, Agathodaimon was the older one". Additionally, Jean Doresse, in The Secret Books of the Egyptian Gnostics writes, "Seth... is known in Islam, and usually assimilated to Agathodaimon, who is one of the great figures of Hermetic literature. The prophetic prestige with which the Gnostics endowed him, he still possesses, especially in the traditions of various Shi'ite groups, therefore chiefly in Mesopotamia or in Iran. In these particular doctrines the survival of Gnostic themes is ubiquitous and seems immense..."

According to Josephus

In the Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus refers to Seth as virtuous and of excellent character, and reports that his descendants invented the wisdom of the heavenly bodies, and built the "pillars of the sons of Seth", two pillars inscribed with many scientific discoveries and inventions, notably in astronomy. They were built by Seth's descendants based on Adam's prediction that the world would be destroyed at one time by fire and another time by global flood, in order to protect the discoveries and be remembered after the destruction. One was composed of brick, and the other of stone, so that if the pillar of brick should be destroyed, the pillar of stone would remain, both reporting the ancient discoveries, and informing men that a pillar of brick was also erected. Josephus reports that the pillar of stone remained in the land of Siriad in his day.
Agathodaimon, an alchemist
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agathodaimon

Abu l-Hasan al-Masudi, called a "Herodot of the Arabs"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Masudi
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Origines and the Valentianer

#19
Holy Book of the Great Invisible Spirit
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_Book_ ... ble_Spirit
Holy Book of the Great Invisible Spirit
...
Two versions of the formerly lost Holy Book of the Great Invisible Spirit, also inappropriately called the Coptic Gospel of the Egyptians[1] (which is quite distinct from the Greek Gospel of the Egyptians), were among the codices in the Nag Hammadi library, discovered in 1945. It received the name because towards the end of the text it is also expressed as the “Egyptian Gospel.” Although it is possible that it was written in Egypt, it is far more likely that the name is based on connections made between Seth of the Old Testament and Seth, the ancient Egyptian god of violence, chaos, and storms. This Gospel differs from the Gospel of Philip and the Gospel of Truth in that it is not from a Valentinian perspective and instead focuses on a viewpoint rooted in Sethianism[2]

The main contents concern the Sethian Gnostic understanding of how the earth came into being, how Seth, in the Gnostic interpretation, is incarnated as Jesus in order to release people's souls from the evil prison that is creation. More specifically, the text can be divided into four parts concerning the creation of the heavenly world: the creation of the heavenly world, the creation and significance of the race of Seth, a hymn, and the history behind the creation of the text itself[2]

It also contains a hymn, parts of which are unusual in being apparently meaningless sequences of vowels (thought to be a representation of early Christian glossolalia), although the vowels of the final paragraph (u aei eis aei ei o ei ei os ei) can be partitioned to read (in Greek) who exists as Son for ever and ever. You are what you are, you are who you are. One explanation could be that these vowels are connected to the divine name YHWH. Another possibility is that the vowels could represent a secret, sacred way for the soul of the reader to move closer to gnosis [2]
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Panarion
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panarion
a
4th century text by Epiphanius of Salamis (- 403), bishop of Salamis (at Cyprus)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epiphanius_of_Salami

He lists 80 (or 77 or 76 ?) different heretical sects and describes them ...
It lists, and refutes, 80 heresies, some of which are not described in any other surviving documents from the time. Epiphanius begins with the 'four mothers' of pre-Christian heresy – 'barbarism', 'Scythism', 'Hellenism' and 'Judaism' – and then addresses the sixteen pre-Christian heresies that have flowed from them: four philosophical schools (Stoics, Platonists, Pythagoreans and Epicureans), and twelve Jewish sects. There then follows an interlude, telling of the Incarnation of the Word. After this, Epiphanius embarks on his account of the sixty Christian heresies, from assorted gnostics, to the various trinitarian heresies of the fourth century, closing with the Collyridians and Messalians.
The presentation looks like sorted with mathematical consideration ... 4-4-12-60.

Book 1 (of 3) .... http://www.masseiana.org/panarion_bk1.htm
Book 2+3 .... http://books.google.de/books/about/The_ ... edir_esc=y

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32 pairs ... Adamschriften from Armenia

Robert von Ranke-Graves + Raphael Patai: Hebräische Mythologie ...
... is written in a similar way as Ranke-Graves Greek-Mythology.
English Title: "Hebrew Myths: The Book of Genesis" (1963)
I've only the German edition.

chapter 14, birth of Cain and Abel, p. 107/108

As usual, Graves notes different versions to one theme and compresses the text to his own descriptions. He gives the references in a bundled way to different passages. He's very long about Adam and Eve, and full of stories, which one doesn't know from the bible.

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Kain and Hebel were born (8th hour) at the same day, when Adam was created (1st-4th hour) and the same day, when Adam and Eve lost paradise (12th hour).
In an alternative version there were two twin sisters, either that there were 4 children in the whole set, or, that one sister was twin to Abel and the other to Cain. This second possibility connects (possibly) to the condition, that Cain was not the son of Adam, but of the bad Samael, so Cain had a twin sister of his own, and Abel was correctly by Adam with his own twin-sister. Later Cain shall marry Abel's twin sister, and Abel shall marry Cain's twin sister, cause it would be incest, if Abel would marry his sister. But Cain found, that his sister was more beautiful than Hebel's sister. So there was trouble.
Graves gave a lot of references.

Fro chapter "Birth of Seth", p. 122
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This story tells only, that there were 30 twins after Cain and Abel (and possibly her both twin sisters). With the twin sisters there would have been 64 children in this generation (32 pairs). That's something I'm looking for. I don't get, if Seth belonged to these 30 pairs or just has been the only one, who came alone. Then he would have been the 33th birth after after 32 twin-births. Jesus died with 33.
Here is only one reference: Adamschriften = ein Armenian apocryphal and gnostic Adambook, researched and translated by Erwin Preuschen in the year 1900. "Die apokryphischen gnostischen Adamsschriften" . I don't find it online. Google otes it, but no text ...
http://books.google.de/books/about/Die_ ... edir_esc=y

That's the same author, to which Scholem referred to in matters of the "Brautlied" (bride's song) as a possible relationship to the Sepher Yetzirah.

Ranke-Graves in his "The White Goddess" (I've only the German edition) notes "Seth" only once.
Chapter 5: "Gwion's Häresie", p. 187 (German edition)

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Graves calculates 28 children of Eve + Cain + Abel and gets a 30, based on the little poem of a celtic origin about Eve and her children. Grave's context is for the moment not clear to me.

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Seth's children: 33 sons and 23 daughters

I don't know details, it shall appear in the an Aggadah (wiki at article "Seth"). I see other notes of not reliable source claiming, that Adam and Eve had 33 sons and 23 daughters.

These are curious numbers. If the numbers numbers would be 32 sons and 22 daughters, one would suspect a Sepher Yetzirah context. But Seth was related to Jesus (by the Sethians) and Jesus lived 33 years. And possibly Seth was the 33th between 32 twin pairs, which would make special sense in the mathematical ideas of the Sepher Yetzirah.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Origines and the Valentianer

#20
Good research, on the whole. One correction.

Huck wrote, I assume to clarify the statement in Wikipeida that "Additionally, Jean Doresse, in The Secret Books of the Egyptian Gnostics writes, "Seth... is known in Islam, and usually assimilated to Agathodaimon, who is one of the great figures of Hermetic literature."
Agathodaimon, an alchemist
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agathodaimon
The Hermetic Agathodaimon is not the same as the alchemist named Agathodaimon. Decker writes about him in The Esoteric Tarot; see p. 11 in Amazon's sample (http://www.amazon.com/The-Esoteric-Taro ... 0835609081). Decker's exposition is useful but needs to be taken cautiously. His stated source is an old book by G. R. S. Meade, hardly the latest word. Wikipedia's article on Agathodaimon is with the spelling "Agathodaemon"; the article makes clear that this demigod is of Greek origin. Hermetism is a product of the syncretic mixture of Greek, Jewish, and Egyptian mythology (and maybe some Christianity as well), placed within a basically Middle Platonic framework. It is from the same milieu as the Egypt-based types of Gnosticism. One of the major Hermetic texts, the Aesclepius, is included in the Nag Hammadi Library (as is a selection from Plato's Republic).

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