July 11, 2008

The feminine divine is central to paganism including the Gnosticism

The four Canonical Gospels are simply a mythical 'history' of Jesus and his ministry constructed from sources that existed for at least a century before his birth (assuming he existed). The recently discovered tablet is simply another piece in the puzzle...Judeo-Christian theology simply cannot deal with pluralism, and is in fact hostile to it. Present day Western scholars are not hostile, but cannot grasp it...

Unfortunately there is no tradition of independent Biblical scholarship in India because Indian churces and seminaries, and even non-Christian thinkers, are still trapped in a colonial mindset. They seem to think that they must unquestioningly accept everything that comes from the West... This is not conducive to independent let alone iconoclastic scholarship that is now needed.

So it is probably up to Indian non-Christian scholars to study Gnostic texts and interpret them. Someone like Sri Aurobindo would have been ideal. But with rare exceptions (like the late Ram Swarup) Indian scholars shy away from any critical study of Judeo-Christian sources, possibly out fear of offending the religious feelings of others. This attitude is anti-intellectual but also a fact of life.

Orthodox Christianity in a way was an imposition of Jewish theological framework on the pluralistic Gnostic-Pagan beliefs of the Roman Empire. We have a relatively good idea of this Jewish component, thanks to the Dead Sea Scrolls including the tablet you mention. A casuality of this was the destruction of the feminine divine— for ONE GOD cannot be female in the ferociously masculine Abrahamic creeds. See what they did to poor Mary Magdalene and even to Sophia (Hindu Sarasvati or possibly Savitri).

But the feminine divine is central to paganism including the Gnosticism. Even St. Paul was a Gnostic though his messages has been twisted out of shape in the New Testament, and several of the letters attributed to him are not authentic. (Elaine Pagels got it right on this point. She has written a book on Paul's Gnosticism.)

I appeal to Indian scholars to study Gnostic texts and compare them with Indian viewpoints with an open mind. This is the need of the hour. The recently discovered tablet is easy meat— an interesting tit-bit. N.S. Rajaram July 6, 2008

Ancient Tablet Ignites Debate on Messiah and Resurrection

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