Gnosis is a greek word (γνῶσις) meaning "Knowledge," not in a rational nor empirical sense, but on a metphysical and trascendental one. It is Knowledge through revelation. Gnosis is older than Christianity, though a Christian Gnosis exist. In fact, it can be said that the Gnostic Tradition is the root of all revelated religions.
Is there a Christian Gnosis?
Yes, there are Gnostic currents that consider Jesus of Nazareth as the principal theacher and giver of Gnosis and also the Christ. Also there are Gnostic currents previous to Christianity and in more recent time they might have been mixed with Xtianity they can safely be seen as non Christian (i.e. Hermeticism or Kabbalah)
What Gnostics Believe:
A good introduction to Gnosticism is Bishop Hoeller's Introduction in his Ecclesia Gnostica webpage (http://http://gnosis.org/ecclesia/ecclesia.htm). There he tells us that the basic principles of gnosticism are:
* There is an original and transcendental spiritual unity which came to emanate a vast manifestation of pluralities.
* The manifest universe of matter and mind (psyche) was not created by the original spiritual unity but by spiritual beings possessing inferior powers.
* These creators possessing inferior powers have as one of their objectives the perpetual separation of humans from the unity (God).
* The human being is a composite, the outer aspect being the handiwork of the inferior creators, while the "inner man" has the character of a fallen spark of the ultimate divine unity.
* The fallen sparks of transcendental holiness slumber in their material and mental prison, their self-awareness stupefied by forces of materiality and mind.
* The slumbering sparks have not been abandoned by the ultimate unity, rather there is a constant effort forthcoming from this unity that is directed toward their awakening and liberation.
* The awakening of the inmost divine essence in humans is effected by salvific knowledge, called Gnosis.
* Salvific knowledge, or Gnosis, is not brought about by belief, or the performance of virtuous deeds, or by obedience to commandments, for these can at best but serve as preparatory circumstances leading toward liberating knowledge.
* Among the helpers of the slumbering sparks a particular position of honor and importance belongs to a feminine emanation of the unity. The name of this emanation is Sophia (Wisdom). She was involved in the creation of the world and ever since remained the guide of her orphaned human children.
* From the earliest times of history, messengers of light have been sent forth from the ultimate unity. The task of these messengers has ever been the advancement of Gnosis in the souls of humans.
* The greatest of these messengers in our historical and geographical matrix was the descended Logos of God, manifesting in Jesus Christ.
* Jesus exercised a twofold ministry: He was a teacher, imparting instruction concerning the way of Gnosis, and he was a hierophant, imparting mysteries.
* The mysteries imparted y Jesus (which are also known as sacraments) are mighty aids toward Gnosis and have been entrusted by him to his apostles and to their successors.
* By way of the spiritual practice of the mysteries (sacraments) and by a relentless and uncompromising striving for Gnosis, humans can steadily advance toward liberation from all confinement, material and otherwise. The ultimate objective of this process of liberation is the achievement of salvific knowledge and with it freedom from embodied existence and return to the ultimate unity.
That's all right now. I just want to tell you that I'll be expanding upon the different gnostic schools over the next weeks. Below you can find some links of interest.
P.S: In the original Spanish post there was a warning that I had no relationship with Samael Aum Weor or his teachings, this is because, for some reason this "teacher" has almost monopolized the word Gnosis in Latin America, and sometimes, we gnostics have a bad reputation here due to him.
Yours in the light,
Blessings in Christ and Sophia
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