Monday, January 27, 2020

Doctor Faustus And The Lutheran Aesthetic Religion Essay

Doctor Faustus And The Lutheran Aesthetic Religion Essay (187) In Renaissance Tragedy there is always generally a concluding death-scene, the blooding ending a certainty to happen. The 16th century was a time of growing scepticism about the Christian afterlife and an urgent need for present self-realization. Finding a brave death would satisfy a lasting fame and tragedy offering comfort to a secular world. (188) Doctor Faustus is one of the tragedies of the time with such secular tendencies, the doctor rejecting the Heaven connects it to Luthers renewal of the mystery in afterlife, making death the more inscrutable in its cycles of despair and faith which is inherent in Christian experience. There is a set of formal technique stressing such affinity between the two with the plays ambivalence towards Calvinistic predestination and Faustus recurrent mood-swings as a Lutheran response to inaccessibility of death. Lutherans scepticism regards the possibility of containing philosophical speculation on afterlife in stable pieces of doctrine which for Faustus and Luther ends up in a restless ecstasy of mind. (189) The Calvinist background makes Faustus choice compelled in fear of Gods punishment and yet being unable to repent and the inevitable otherness of the deity and the predestination of human action. Faustus has studied in Wittenberg where both Luther and Calvin taught and his tragic force stems from the destruction of an individual will by the arbitrary power of the Calvinist God. (190) Presently the general view takes Faustus motivation in a balance perspective of both voluntarist and determinist readings. The actual restlessness within the play dangles between the extremes. Faustus is a sceptic; his mind proceeds by the dialectic of doubt and desire to fill the void in his understanding through new dogmatic position while he establishes a balance between competing doctrines. His dissatisfaction with stasis is hardly adequate for his agonized unrepenance in Gods face of wrath. (191) II. The opening scene shows Faustus struggling to know what it cannot. All kinds of knowledge are tossed aside as woefully unsatisfying when he rejects such systems of knowledge. He is acting on a decision he has long considered. His mood abruptly shifts on theology and its central teaching: We must die an everlasting death followed by a sudden feeling of discouragement. The inevitability of death is not banished with confidence and thats why he turns to magic. At first its only his interest in black arts which is to resolve his death anxiety allowing him to behave with cynical abandon. Yet the continuing obsession with death manifests in his talks with Mephistopheles the debates leaving him unwilling to accept the replies he is given. He tacitly admits the existence of Hell insisting to find a fixed location and final determination however to no avail. He finds Hell both present and removed, present in the existence of devils and absent in him not yet dead. (192) Faustus can apprehend but not comprehend what hes confronted with, so he resolves it using his intellectual denial. He is continually encounters Hell by devils and becomes hopeless in such endless revolution, so he decides to be rid of the awareness of hell even though escaping the thought is impossible. He breaks the cycle starting to think about a wife, an earthly object. His scepticism manifests itself in the restless struggle which is rooted in his uncertainty about the supernatural that cannot be comprehended through his earthly vantage. Its a perspective ever beyond his own and also to some extent within Christian theology from Augustine to Calvin and when the basic elements of the afterlife is beyond ones grasp, repentance becomes almost impossible. (193) III. Such was Luthers teaching: confrontation with mortality as a fundamental source of religious experience and his anxieties about death were the basis for his entire theology. According to Heidelberg we by nature love our will more than the will of God. We even hate him and Luther supposes that our nature pushes us to avoid the otherness of death, yet our relation to God demands that we embrace it. We can never be freed from what we are. We are always left wrestling with our imagination. Luthers scepticism about coherence of human perspective is confusing and his belief in God seems dubious. (194) Generally the basis for the ideas of inwardness, plainness, and self-sufficiency are associated with Protestant thought. (195) Eucharist to him is real bread and real wine, where Christs flesh and blood are present while the formers remain still present. He insisted on the real presence of the Godhead as the meeting of two different perspectives: the object of faith, and faith in itself. The first is outside the heart, presented to our eyes, in the blood and wine; and the second in internal not externalized. (196) Luthers theology perceives an epistemological than an ontological difference between the earthly and the divine arguing that the single substance of the Eucharist is at once Christ and bread. The communion is therefore uncertain and destabilising and Luthers ecstasy cannot last permanently for the claim of an unencountered future. To him too much faith is the sign of sinful pride, a comfort which terrifies conscience and the despairing rejection of the divine will struggling with renewed efforts at faith. (197) Eucharist produces a state of incomplete satisfaction as an endless struggle to resolve a feeling of double vision, a mode of representation generating a specific psychological condition. In Luther, it is said that even in our destruction God is present with us, and in our death Christ our King liveth. (198) Luther speaking about death comes to life and comments on the horror of being trampled by death, the cycle of hope and despair Faustus is caught in. His views were not accepted by the Calvinist and the Anglican Church, yet his views on death were circulating in England. (199) Marlowe spent 3 years studying Protestant theology at Cambridge, and Faustus struggled with this uncertainty. His supernatural perspectives generate an awareness of a denied satisfaction attempting to deny the existence of this greater perspective. His final soliloquy is in the same dialectic pattern longing for the perpetual day and meanwhile his soul to be dissolved in elements, desiring to make the afterlife and extension of his earthly perspective and also escaping it entirely. There are baffling reasons for Faustus to keep to his pact. He asks for a description of hell while the answer he receives is dissatisfying. So he shifts the subject to having a wife substituting his questions with a feminized spirit. Mephistopheles explanation of astrology is freshmens supposition and the book of spells seem incomplete to him and he takes a tour to Rome instead of Hell. (200) Faustus denied satisfactions for his earthly boundaries are offered to him through Lutheran readings. Anyhow he knows that everlasting death awaits him and is confronted with the unchangeability of death and thus starts his pattern of avoidance the fact. The pact promises escape from this helpless awareness offering mortality by forging his damnation. Faustus abolishes the perspective existing beyond his own turning godly power to his own or rendering God irrelevant by determining his exact condition of death. In misery loves company Faustus pays more attention to company than misery feeling tormented by his condition. (201) Misery is nothing new to him, but he seeks company and the fellowship with the devil bridges the gap in awareness with which he is burdened. But he sees that the view beyond his is not different than his own vantage-point for devils condition is available to those humans who are in hell. No matter what the perspective the result would be an escape from the feeling of being caught on one side of the double perspective. Faustus is ironically caught in his own perspective for what the devil shows him is the re-exposition of his own view and there is no frame to validate the demons responses. So he keeps twisted back and forth between doubt and certainty with sudden cry of terror without being afraid of dying. (202) He has incessant change of voice referring to himself in first person and his meditations are dialogic dramatized in actual shifts of voice between confidence and doubt. V. Sense of doubleness finally takes Faustus to the extreme of avoidance distracting his mind from revolutions to magical tricks played on the Pope, a pompous knight, and a horse-dealer. These pranks show the adolescent turns in the doctor. (203) His serious and satiric behaviours are both other attempts at avoidance. Unable to get satisfied intellectually he is reduced to practicing magic and mindless games to escape the revolutions of his thoughts. He feels trapped in the double perspective and thus tries to leave it off asking for a wife. Hell is characterized to him as a place for permanent dispute while he is aware of the limits of his understanding and thats why he turns back to earthly diversions to find peace in earthly companionship which is doomed all the same. (204) Bell, Book, and Candle as a parody of Catholicism is also one of Faustus own condition of being caught in endless loop of his thoughts. His interactions with the devils re-enacts the pattern of avoidance that Luther call the fundamental condition of mortality. The pact is an emblem of human state either coming from studies of divinity or concourse with devils. We are left with the knowledge that there exist a knowledge beyond our own, and the more we struggle to establish a satisfactory relation, the more avoid the inevitable limits of our human condition. Thats why Faustus never abandons his pact: to rid himself of it would be meaningless unless freed from humanity. VI. Faustus needs to see past his humanness to find peace of mind always in the beyond. (205) Marlowe fuses two distinct methods of representation, psychological depictions of hell and human suffering, and painted devils making threats of physical torture. Renaissance concern for subtleties of human experiences juxtaposed with medieval emphasis on the stratified order of values. This is an intentional parody which is less sophisticated than Faustus agonized description of his mental strife. At the end of Act II, Lucifer tries to quiet Faustus metaphysical doubts providing Seven Deadly Sins. Faustus finds something satisfying in this allegory of hell more than the psychological description of hell. (206) Luther was traditionally an opponent of allegory believing that the true meaning of the scripture was lying in its literal sense, and his rejection was help both by the Catholic Church and Reform Protestants. The question regards the betterment of one particular allegory to another. Luther lashed out the Catholic church for ignoring the grammatical sense of the Eucharist. (207) Luther insisted upon the literal sense. For him there was never real distinction between the word of God and its earthly sign, they are simply two different ways of looking at the same thing. There is no way of moving from sign to signified and the dual function of the sign is to bring the observer into the real presence of God while at the same time manifesting the infinite gulf of perception that exists between God and mankind. Faustus need to escape unknowing is answered by hell depicted as the collection of earthly forms, knowing that afterlife can be understood in earthly terms and momentarily relieving him from the doubleness. But according to Luther such moments of forced resolution are not truly satisfying. Although Faustus turns to allegory, he remains aware that it doesnt actually bridge the gap. In the allegorical pageant, the certainty quickly turns to doubt, an inscrutability not dislodging his desire to know. The clarity of understanding is quickly rejected as bei ng naive and Faustus struggle leads him to an isolating despair, the cycle of faith and doubt, alternating between allegorical clarity and psychological complexity never to resolve. We are not even sure in the end the doctor will be back with another performance. VII. Dryden suggested that death can sometimes be the stuff of comedy, yet remaining a source of tragic experience all the same. (209) In Faustus there is a sense of doubt and anxiety on death as an incomprehensible phenomenon that logic is not able to soothe. Faustus struggles endlessly against his unknowing, the struggle which indicates nothing but the incompleteness that makes human existence tragic. Theology of Marlowes The Jew of Malta (214) After Faustus, this play is the most ironic one of his works. Jewishness is seen as a moral condition, and Jewish choice was the rejection of Christ, rejecting the treasure in Heaven for the one on the earth. Jesus tells the Jews you are of your father the Devil introducing them as the Antichrist. (215) Yet, the modern anti-Semitism of today cannot be applied to the times of Elizabeth and the image of the Jew at the time was more of a theological necessity than a living person based on his historical image in the Old Testament. According to Medieval law, sexual relations between a Christian and a Jew were met with the penalty of death by fire. The reason is taken as the denial of Christianity rather than racial issues. Shakespeares Shylock and Marlowes Barabas were more of a Medieval image as a word of general abuse bequeathed to the renaissance. Elizabethan England was a country bare of racial Jews and the whole frame rejected racial thinking. (216) The Anglican service was praying for all Jews, Turks, Infidels, and Heretics. According to Hunter, the Jew who falls into the cauldron is the very one in the first Act with no reduction of the authors sympathetic identification with plenty of ironic counter-currents. The structure of the concepts in the play are theological not racial, and the name as a type was fixed unless he ceased to be a Jew. In the beginning Barabas congratulates himself on his Jewish prosperity and Abrams happiness. Yet this is not so in Christianity and Abraham and other old patriarchs of the Old Testament cannot belong to the Jewish one and Jewish invocation of them is merely subversive and alien. There have been numerous treatises trying to remove the Old Testament from the Jews. (217) According to Luther the Jews application of Abrahams blessings are only carnal injuring the Scripture. They may be the children after the flesh, but Christians are the children of the promise, as Isaac was, of grace and faith. Barabas later on does such self-congratulation when he leads Don Lodowick to his doom. (218) It was believed that the promise was the very thing the Gentiles were given. So Barabas self-congratulation seems as the same original choice and his orthodoxy in saying the blessings promised to the Jews is no less that Faustus joy in the paradise of the Seven Deadly Sins. An ironic contrast is made between the figure of Barabas and Job Marlowe citing from the Geneva version of the actual book of Job. (219) The reference to him is central to the whole conception of Barabas. He is an Anti-Job characterized by his choice of revenge and impatience. This way he is also an Antichrist for Job was the greatest of the types of Christ found in the Old Testament, his descent into poverty mirroring Christs into flesh. Barabas career is a parody to Jobs, both beginning in prosperity and then losing their possessions both accused of justifying their deeds, both restoring their prosperity. Their frame of mind is different though. Barabas self-justification is from monstrous egotism and Jobs is out of awareness that God is unanswerably just. Yet the latters voice acquire in the mouth of a revenger the pattern of all patience. The effort of Christian appropriation of Job was to distinguish between the action of a man whose vision of the world was coloured by the awareness of the Redeemer living and the superficially similar action of the man whose vision was limited to this world. (220) Jewish observances are justifications of the mere flesh for their Religion represented earthly wealth, dignity, and prosperity as highly valuable. Barabas is a Jewish Job and the loss of his wealth is a physical disaster, not a spiritual trial. The parody of Jobs spiritual Odyssey and Barabas view to treasure are different from what is recommended in Christianity. Barabas cannot serve both God and riches and the actions the Job denies are those in which Barabas rejoices as an Anti-Job. (221) Judas in Herberts represents such Jewish choice preferring thirty pieces of silver to serving his Lord delighting in avarice. The Jewish usurer was a known contemporary figure in Marlowes days even if absent from England and his wealth represented a kind of spiritual hunger for the infinite. The line of infinite riches in a little room contains in itself the material by which we distance and judge Barabas passion for treasure. In Miss Helen Gardners line also there is the notion of Immensity cloistered in thy dear wombe. (222) There is similarity between the two; Marlowes line draws the persistent image of Christ in the Virgins womb and (223) Such wordings are repeatedly mentioned yet in different words from one text to another. In one same tradition the image expresses the paradox of infinitude in little space stretching before and after Marlowe. In another one Christs power is represented as infinite richness. The Virgins womb is litel space and yet also infinitely rich in monetary sense. The comparison of Christ to jewels, gold, and silver are obviously shown in varied texts. (224) There is a natural transition of Wisdom to the Virgin where she is infinitely rich by possessing Christ, her womb functioning as a purse, mint, or an alms-box. The money is coined in the image of God, being defaced in the womb of the Virgin, the vessel enjoying humility. (225) Thus the double paradox of Marlowes line is already present in a religious tradition, Christianity being opposed to the flesh. The treasure/Christ is there for the use of others and again the contrast between the sterile treasure hoarded by man and the liberal treasure disbursed by God is shown: to ransome great kings from captivity (64-67). But the only king Barabas ransoms is himself while his house is captured and converted into a nunnery, Abigail entering it as a novice to dig up the treasure hidden. The contrasting values are played off: the fruits of the spirit and those of commerce, one against the other. The pun on benefit in the Aside (574-76) is interpreted as benefit to mean: as muchas Hope is hid (577). (226) When Barabs teases the Governors son to his death he talks of the nuns and friars as still doing it reape some fruit; in fulnesse of perfection (833-48). The variety of innuendos suggest the lechery of the nuns and friars with the fruit of bastardy playing on the idea of profit, spiritual, and financial. The austere life of Abigail leads to profit, by repaying the debt to God for her sinful past. Behind is the theory of monastic deprivation to appease Gods wrath by giving vicarious satisfaction. The nunnery in Barabas house is still a place of profit and Marlowes play on thesaurus is justified by the monetary and financial imagery of the churchs power. (227) The vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience which the nuns have taken are works of supererogation (duty done more than expected) and the profit they produce is part of Marlowes treasure though not the kind Barabas is interested in. The doctrine of a surplusage of merits is what lies behind the practice of selling Indulgences specifically talked about in thirty-nine articles as abhorrent to the Anglican Church, one of the most noxious (poisonous) of Roman belief. The final twist of the ironic point is in Barabas instruction to his daughter (585-98). (228) The resurrection is not a spiritual one; the profit is judged after the flesh. In (663-69) there is no wooden enactment of predetermined attitude, but a continuous fluctuation of sympathy backwards and forwards round the figure of Barabas while his religious status is never in doubt who fatally mistakes the nature of value functioning as the medieval emissaries of Hell, taking us with him in his scorn of the other characters in the play. The Jew is admired in a way different from Faustus. He is place among Christians with the profession of policy, nuns of dubious chastity, and friars with timid carnality; the Christianity itself is not attacked and neither is Jewishness approved. In Marlowes time Malta was being menaced by Turkish attacks, and such struggle was not between nations, but between faiths, God and the devil. Such prayers were commonly said in England in 1565. (229) Marlowe was referring to cut and dried moral issues by choosing Malta as the setting of his play. The Knights of Malta were no ordinary soldiers, but monastic ones vowed to poverty, chastity, and obedience. He chose his men to raise expectations of rectitude while his view of man was that of a fallen condition. The Christians are shown in a variety of cynical variations and inversions and the idealistic rhetoric of honour and piety is only a window-dressing with the reality of greed that the wind that bloweth all the world besides, / Desire of gold (1422). The international relations are based on money or illusion and Malta buys its peace from the Turks while the occation of the Turks coming to the island is to sell Grecians, Turks, and Africk Moores. The only tangible sign of honour in Del Boscos words is: Ile write unto his Majesty for ayd, (745) which is never materialized and finally scoffed at by Calymath. (230)Everyone has its price and Barabas presumes that it is a trade to purchase townes / By treachery, sellem by deceit (2330). The difference between a monarch and a thief is only a matter of degrees. Such a world is devoted to greed and Barabas in his self-interest is perfectly adapted to his environment while still standing aside others. Their conflict is a tiresome interruption in the real life of profit-making so that they would spare me, my daughter, and my wealth (189-92). At a personal he is in conflict with Christians and thus makes a common cause with Ithamore as an individual Turk: both villaines, / Both circumcised, we both hate Christians (978-80). His hatred to Christians is merely a reduplication of the Turkish hostility. In Act V it is more profitable to sell the Turks than the Christians for the latter is currently living the Authority (2139-41). The Turks and Christians both are inconsistent in their self-interest; but Barabas allows neither race, blood, faith, nor grandeur stand in his consistent monomania. (231) He is free from idealism or dependence upon others and the degree of admiration and sympathy shown in borne to better chance, / And framd of finer mold then common men (452) is a counterpoint over religious condemnation. The fate of Malta is a mere transaction but does not obliterate the importance of the orthodox view, that self-interest is self-destroying, and Barabas lines are a rhetorical progression of ever-narrowing range (189-192). The lines show a preference for private security in a Jewish alien. But there is not a whole progression where the daughter first is assimilated to gold and later is destroyed. Abigail is fraught with ironic overtones. In the Helen speech of Faustus the image of Semele as here Agamemnon was responsible for the sacrifice of Iphigeneia. (232) Barabas looks to the future in terms of gold (the barren breed of metal) (701-4) and the purchase of Ithamore in the slave-market is set against the sale of diamond Abigail to Lodowick (899) with cross-reference to real finance (983-1011). Abigail is both seen as gold and human investment and is drawn from circulation when necessary substituted by Ithamore. (1312-1344). (233) The trinity of me, my daughter, and my wealth is reduced to me and my wealth. Ithamore is also a tool and the descent from Abigail to Ithamore is through the ever-diminishing circles of personal freedom into depths of pettier criminality where the cut-purse and courtesan natural inhabitants. Such structure of decline takes place in Faustus, too. Both heroes begin with splendid assertions of individual will and in Act II and IV are carried to low-life clowning and frustrations. Yet Faustus ends splendidly while the Jews fate is not redeemed by a denouement and his psychological conditions are not discussed. Barabas temporarily defeats his enemies by pretending to die. Yet the Antichrist is not easily excluded. He returns through the towns sewers as a coup de theatre (a sudden event), a reminder of medieval pageants inheriting moral as well as physical structures, with the Heaven high up and the Hell underneath in the pit or the cauldron. (234) On such occasions as those of Barabas the cauldron could represent the traditional image of hell which was derived from the final chapters of Job where Behemoth and Leviathan both were pictured in details as hell-mouth of fearful monsters., a boiling cauldron was imagined in the open jaws of the monster. (235) Sometimes the cauldron represents hell itself, and sometimes it is a part of the setting. Definitely in Barabas end there are inevitable moral concerns with the final victory of Christians in Malta. Yet, Marlowe avoids the collateral Second Coming of Christ and the survival of the Christians has no moral justification. In fact Marlowe has damned the Jew as a means of tormenting and exposing those who pride themselves on their Christianity. The arguments of the Governor are like those of Peter the Venerable urging the Jews to be forced to contribute to the cost of the Second Crusade. (236) At the time all wars against the Turkish infidels were seen as Crusades and the situation of Malta was the extension of the one that Peter Venerable was writing about. Marlowe implies that Barabas is against the Christ, yet his trial is conducted by figures that approximate to Pilate and Chief Priest (331). Profession in the play means religious faith. (237) Barabas makes the Christian point that righteousness is not a tribal or racial possession, but an individual covenant (346-350). Therefore he has the right to live and prosper in this world and in terms of the Old Testament he seems to be justified. His extension of legal status in Malta to a religiously legality under the terms of the Jewish law, yet, does not fit in, with his claim to a personal covenant. (238) The righteousness in Barabas speech is a distinct and antithetical concept to that of the New Testament and a Christian audience is expected to reject Barabas defence. In (351-355) profession means Jewish faith and for the Jew to claim individual covenant is a contradiction in terms. Barabas as the figure of Job attempts at futile self-justification and as an Anti-Job figure resorts to Machiavellian cunning (507). The last two line of the Governor (356) show that more than doctrinal correctness is involved. (239) Marlowe in saying all they that love not Tobacco and Boie were fooles? And to what? Such a statement is effective because of its power to upset our preconception, but it does not lead to anywhere. Marlowe identified himself with the rebels: Tamburlaine, Barabas, Faustus, and Edward II, but that such identification blinded him to the immutable laws of God, society is improbable. His Cambridge background and social contacts suggest his contact with Calvinism and the strongest emotional effects in the writings of the reformers usually come from their sense of Gods infinite transcendence, and mans infinite debasement (Tamburlaine, 2893-2911). The speaker is passionately involvement with the idea of Gods purity and transcendence and the betrayal of that purity in human nature. (240) He knew what it was like to worship transcendence, the power, and beauty beyond human comprehension. He was a God-haunted atheist being simultaneously fascinated and horrified by the self-sufficiency of the fallen world. We come to prefer the Jewish profession of Barabas to the hypocrisy of the Christians with Marlowe belabouring the Christians. The world of Marlowe is completely a fallen one and so is the world of Calvin. The Spirit and the Letter: Marlowes Tamburlaine and Elizabethan Religious Radicalism (125) Having conquered Babylon and outside the ruins of the city Tamburlaine asks about the Islamic holy books: Now CasaneThey shal be burnt (2 Tam. 5.1.173-76). He realized the futility of respecting anything but his own divinity. He taunts Mahomet in (2 Tam. 5.1.180-81) and identifies himself as the scourge of another higher God. (126) To him Spirit is bound by nothing unlike Mahomet whose sum of religion rests in the Koran (2 Tam. 5.1.191). He disdains religion codified in books and the letter of the law means nothing for he possesses a divine spirit throwing off his shepherds weeds to reveal the armour beneath persuading everyone he is not of flesh and blood subject to laws. Marlowe comments on issues of gnosis and inner enlightenment and the conflict between the spirit and the letter. Here the Koran is substituted for the Christian Scriptures and he is addressing Christian theology in transferring the defiant gesture to the distant world of Islam. In Tamburlaine the possession of a spiritual gnosis leads to a disregard for all laws where others are governed bodily by it. At the time the issues of election and predestination were hotly debated and there were an increasing number of people seeking unmediated contact with God from religious authorities or doctrinal codes. Marlowes plays are a part of a larger cultural exploration of the significance of individual religious inspiration and the consequences of such inspiration for the body politic. (127) Marlowes plays indicate a sceptical attitude towards Gnostic transcendence. He offers a critical portrait of spiritual confidence gone mad and facilitates us with the perception of tensions in English Reformation thought. II. There is a Gnostic subtext in Marlowes plays as well as the presentation of anti-materialism. (128) As the opponents of the Gnostics, the early Church Fathers intended their work as a cautious displaying of heresy focusing their attention excessive, outlandish belief and practices. Gnosticism is a negative religio-philosophical movement escaping from the tragic farce of material existence, loathing the body and material register as a central feature like many ancient philosophies. But in Neoplatonic circles, the theory of divine emanations proclaimed earthly things to bear the reflection of the divine. In Gnostic thought the material world is not even the creation of the true God; rather its the work of an inferior god, himself the result of an error in the divine realm. (129) The one, unknowable God causes distinct divine beings to appear, each representing one of his attribute. The materials of creation stem from a tragic sense of loss, abandonment, and perplexity. For the Gnostics the creation of the world is a tragedy. Nothing valuable inheres in the qualities and characters of materiality. To exist on earth signifies the depth of ones removal from the perfection and tranquillity of the divine. The Gnostics can overcome the overwhelming alienation of life on earth through the attainment of gnosis, the recognition of ones true origin the essence of gnosis is knowing that the ones true self is divine and body and the world are impediments to ones transcendental ascent. (130) Gnostic thinkers believe that only a few individuals possess the pieces of divinity. People are divided into three categories: pneumatics (spirituals), psychics, and hylics, ones status being pr

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