Demiurge

In the Platonic, Neopythagorean, Middle Platonic, and Neoplatonic schools of philosophy, the demiurge (/ˈdɛmi.ɜːrdʒ/) is an artisan-like figure responsible for fashioning and maintaining the physical universe. The Gnostics adopted the term "demiurge". Although a fashioner, the demiurge is not necessarily the same as the creator figure in the monotheistic sense, because the demiurge itself and the material from which the demiurge fashions the universe are both considered to be consequences of something else. Depending on the system, they may be considered to be either uncreated and eternal or the product of some other entity.

The word "demiurge" is an English word derived from demiurgus, a Latinized form of the Greek δημιουργός or dēmiourgos. It was originally a common noun meaning "craftsman" or "artisan", but gradually came to mean "producer", and eventually "creator". The philosophical usage and the proper noun derive from Plato's Timaeus, written c. 360 BC, where the demiurge is presented as the creator of the universe. The demiurge is also described as a creator in the Platonic (c. 310–90 BC) and Middle Platonic (c. 90 BC – AD 300) philosophical traditions. In the various branches of the Neoplatonic school (third century onwards), the demiurge is the fashioner of the real, perceptible world after the model of the Ideas, but (in most Neoplatonic systems) is still not itself "the One". In the arch-dualist ideology of the various Gnostic systems, the material universe is evil, while the non-material world is good. According to some strains of Gnosticism, the demiurge is malevolent, as it is linked to the material world. In others, including the teaching of Valentinus, the demiurge is simply ignorant or misguided.

Platonism and neoplatonism

Plato, as the speaker Timaeus, refers to the Demiurge frequently in the Socratic dialogue Timaeus (28a ff.), c. 360 BC. The main character refers to the Demiurge as the entity who "fashioned and shaped" the material world. Timaeus describes the Demiurge as unreservedly benevolent, and so it desires a world as good as possible. The world remains imperfect, however, because the Demiurge created the world out of a chaotic, indeterminate non-being. Plato's work Timaeus is a philosophical reconciliation of Hesiod's cosmology in his Theogony, syncretically reconciling Hesiod to Homer.[1][2][3]

Middle Platonism

In Numenius's Neo-Pythagorean and Middle Platonist cosmogony, the Demiurge is second God as the nous or thought of intelligibles and sensibles.[4]

Neoplatonism

Plotinus and the later Platonists worked to clarify the Demiurge. To Plotinus, the second emanation represents an uncreated second cause (see Pythagoras' Dyad). Plotinus sought to reconcile Aristotle's energeia with Plato's Demiurge,[5] which, as Demiurge and mind (nous), is a critical component in the ontological construct of human consciousness used to explain and clarify substance theory within Platonic realism (also called idealism). In order to reconcile Aristotelian with Platonian philosophy,[5] Plotinus metaphorically identified the demiurge (or nous) within the pantheon of the Greek Gods as Zeus.[6]

Henology

The first and highest aspect of God is described by Plato as the One (Τὸ Ἕν, "To Hen"), the source, or the Monad.[7] This is the God above the Demiurge, and manifests through the actions of the Demiurge. The Monad emanated the demiurge or Nous (consciousness) from its "indeterminate" vitality due to the monad being so abundant that it overflowed back onto itself, causing self-reflection.[8] This self-reflection of the indeterminate vitality was referred to by Plotinus as the "Demiurge" or creator. The second principle is organization in its reflection of the nonsentient force or dynamis, also called the one or the Monad. The dyad is energeia emanated by the one that is then the work, process or activity called nous, Demiurge, mind, consciousness that organizes the indeterminate vitality into the experience called the material world, universe, cosmos. Plotinus also elucidates the equation of matter with nothing or non-being in The Enneads[9] which more correctly is to express the concept of idealism or that there is not anything or anywhere outside of the "mind" or nous (c.f. pantheism).

Plotinus' form of Platonic idealism is to treat the Demiurge, nous as the contemplative faculty (ergon) within man which orders the force (dynamis) into conscious reality.[10] In this, he claimed to reveal Plato's true meaning: a doctrine he learned from Platonic tradition that did not appear outside the academy or in Plato's text. This tradition of creator God as nous (the manifestation of consciousness), can be validated in the works of pre-Plotinus philosophers such as Numenius, as well as a connection between Hebrew and Platonic cosmology (see also Philo).[11]

The Demiurge of Neoplatonism is the Nous (mind of God), and is one of the three ordering principles:

  • Arche (Gr. "beginning") – the source of all things,
  • Logos (Gr. "reason/cause") – the underlying order that is hidden beneath appearances,
  • Harmonia (Gr. "harmony") – numerical ratios in mathematics.

Before Numenius of Apamea and Plotinus' Enneads, no Platonic works ontologically clarified the Demiurge from the allegory in Plato's Timaeus. The idea of Demiurge was, however, addressed before Plotinus in the works of Christian writer Justin Martyr who built his understanding of the Demiurge on the works of Numenius.

Iamblichus

Later, the Neoplatonist Iamblichus changed the role of the "One", effectively altering the role of the Demiurge as second cause or dyad, which was one of the reasons that Iamblichus and his teacher Porphyry came into conflict.

The figure of the Demiurge emerges in the theoretic of Iamblichus, which conjoins the transcendent, incommunicable “One,” or Source. Here, at the summit of this system, the Source and Demiurge (material realm) coexist via the process of henosis.[12] Iamblichus describes the One as a monad whose first principle or emanation is intellect (nous), while among "the many" that follow it there is a second, super-existent "One" that is the producer of intellect or soul (psyche).

The "One" is further separated into spheres of intelligence; the first and superior sphere is objects of thought, while the latter sphere is the domain of thought. Thus, a triad is formed of the intelligible nous, the intellective nous, and the psyche in order to reconcile further the various Hellenistic philosophical schools of Aristotle's actus and potentia (actuality and potentiality) of the unmoved mover and Plato's Demiurge.

Then within this intellectual triad Iamblichus assigns the third rank to the Demiurge, identifying it with the perfect or Divine nous with the intellectual triad being promoted to a hebdomad (pure intellect).

In the theoretic of Plotinus, nous produces nature through intellectual mediation, thus the intellectualizing gods are followed by a triad of psychic gods.

Gnosticism

Gnosticism presents a distinction between the highest, unknowable God or Supreme Being and the demiurgic "creator" of the material. Several systems of Gnostic thought present the Demiurge as antagonistic to the will of the Supreme Being: his act of creation occurs in an unconscious semblance of the divine model, and thus is fundamentally flawed, or else is formed with the malevolent intention of entrapping aspects of the divine in materiality. Thus, in such systems, the Demiurge acts as a solution to (or, at least possibly, the problem or cause that gives rise to) the problem of evil.

Mythos

One Gnostic mythos describes the declination of aspects of the divine into human form. Sophia (Greek: Σοφία, lit. "wisdom"), the Demiurge's mother a partial aspect of the divine Pleroma or "Fullness," desired to create something apart from the divine totality, without the receipt of divine assent. In this act of separate creation, she gave birth to the monstrous Demiurge and, being ashamed of her deed, wrapped him in a cloud and created a throne for him within it. The Demiurge, isolated, did not behold his mother, nor anyone else, and concluded that only he existed, ignorant of the superior levels of reality.

The Demiurge, having received a portion of power from his mother, sets about a work of creation in unconscious imitation of the superior Pleromatic realm: He frames the seven heavens, as well as all material and animal things, according to forms furnished by his mother; working however blindly, and ignorant even of the existence of the mother who is the source of all his energy. He is blind to all that is spiritual, but he is king over the other two provinces. The word dēmiourgos properly describes his relation to the material; he is the father of that which is animal like himself.[13]

Thus Sophia's power becomes enclosed within the material forms of humanity, themselves entrapped within the material universe: the goal of Gnostic movements was typically the awakening of this spark, which permitted a return by the subject to the superior, non-material realities which were its primal source.

Angels

Psalm 82 begins (verse 1), "God stands in the assembly of El [LXX: assembly of gods], in the midst of the gods he renders judgment", indicating a plurality of gods, although it does not indicate that these gods were co-actors in creation. Philo had inferred from the expression "Let us make man" of the Book of Genesis that God had used other beings as assistants in the creation of man, and he explains in this way why man is capable of vice as well as virtue, ascribing the origin of the latter to God, of the former to His helpers in the work of creation.[14]

The earliest Gnostic sects ascribe the work of creation to angels, some of them using the same passage in Genesis.[15] So Irenaeus tells[16] of the system of Simon Magus,[17] of the system of Menander,[18] of the system of Saturninus, in which the number of these angels is reckoned as seven, and[19] of the system of Carpocrates. In the report of the system of Basilides,[20] we are told that our world was made by the angels who occupy the lowest heaven; but special mention is made of their chief, who is said to have been the God of the Jews, to have led that people out of the land of Egypt, and to have given them their law. The prophecies are ascribed not to the chief but to the other world-making angels.

The Latin translation, confirmed by Hippolytus of Rome,[21] makes Irenaeus state that according to Cerinthus (who shows Ebionite influence), creation was made by a power quite separate from the Supreme God and ignorant of Him. Theodoret,[22] who here copies Irenaeus, turns this into the plural number "powers", and so Epiphanius of Salamis[23] represents Cerinthus as agreeing with Carpocrates in the doctrine that the world was made by angels.

Yaldabaoth

Lion-faced deity
A lion-faced deity found on a Gnostic gem in Bernard de Montfaucon's L'antiquité expliquée et représentée en figures may be a depiction of the Demiurge.

In the Ophite and Sethian systems, which have many affinities with the teachings of Valentinus, the making of the world is ascribed to a company of seven archons, whose names are given, but still more prominent is their chief, "Yaldabaoth" (also known as "Yaltabaoth" or "Ialdabaoth").

In the Apocryphon of John c. AD 120–180, the demiurge arrogantly declares that he has made the world by himself:

Now the archon ["ruler"] who is weak has three names. The first name is Yaltabaoth, the second is Saklas ["fool"], and the third is Samael. And he is impious in his arrogance which is in him. For he said, 'I am God and there is no other God beside me,' for he is ignorant of his strength, the place from which he had come.[24]

He is Demiurge and maker of man, but as a ray of light from above enters the body of man and gives him a soul, Yaldabaoth is filled with envy; he tries to limit man's knowledge by forbidding him the fruit of knowledge in paradise. At the consummation of all things, all light will return to the Pleroma. But Yaldabaoth, the Demiurge, with the material world, will be cast into the lower depths.[25]

Yaldabaoth is frequently called "the Lion-faced", leontoeides, and is said to have the body of a serpent. The demiurge is also[26] described as having a fiery nature, applying the words of Moses to him: "the Lord our God is a burning and consuming fire". Hippolytus claims that Simon used a similar description.[27]

In Pistis Sophia, Yaldabaoth has already sunk from his high estate and resides in Chaos, where, with his forty-nine demons, he tortures wicked souls in boiling rivers of pitch, and with other punishments (pp. 257, 382). He is an archon with the face of a lion, half flame, and half darkness.

Under the name of Nebro (rebel), Yaldabaoth is called an angel in the apocryphal Gospel of Judas. He is first mentioned in "The Cosmos, Chaos, and the Underworld" as one of the twelve angels to come "into being [to] rule over chaos and the [underworld]". He comes from heaven, and it is said his "face flashed with fire and [his] appearance was defiled with blood". Nebro creates six angels in addition to the angel Saklas to be his assistants. These six, in turn, create another twelve angels "with each one receiving a portion in the heavens".

Names

Leontocephaline-Ostia
Drawing of the leontocephaline found at the Mithraeum of C. Valerius Heracles and sons, dedicated 190 AD at Ostia Antica, Italy (CIMRM 312).

The most probable derivation of the name "Yaldabaoth" was that given by Johann Karl Ludwig Gieseler. Giesler believed the name was derived from the Aramaic yaldā bahuth, ילדאבהות, meaning "Son of Chaos". However, Gilles Quispel notes:

Gershom Scholem, the third genius in this field, more specifically the genius of precision, has taught us that some of us were wrong when they believed that Jaldabaoth means "son of chaos", because the Aramaic word bahutha in the sense of chaos only existed in the imagination of the author of a well-known dictionary. This is a pity because this name would suit the demiurge risen from chaos to a nicety. And perhaps the author of the Untitled Document did not know Aramaic and also supposed as we did once, that baoth had something to do with tohuwabohu, one of the few Hebrew words that everybody knows. ... It would seem then that the Orphic view of the demiurge was integrated into Jewish Gnosticism even before the redaction of the myth contained in the original Apocryphon of John. ... Phanes is represented with the mask of a lion's head on his breast, while from his sides the heads of a ram and a buck are budding forth: his body is encircled by a snake. This type was accepted by the Mithras mysteries, to indicate Aion, the new year, and Mithras, whose numerical value is 365. Sometimes he is also identified with Jao Adonai, the creator of the Hebrews. His hieratic attitude indicates Egyptian origin. The same is true of the monstrous figure with the head of a lion, which symbolises Time, Chronos, in Mithraism; Alexandrian origin of this type is probable.[28]

"Samael" literally means "Blind God" or "God of the Blind" in Hebrew (סמאל). This being is considered not only blind, or ignorant of its own origins but may, in addition, be evil; its name is also found in Judaism as the Angel of Death and in Christian demonology. This link to Judeo-Christian tradition leads to a further comparison with Satan. Another alternative title for the demiurge is "Saklas", Aramaic for "fool".

The angelic name "Ariel" (meaning "the lion of God" in Hebrew)[29] has also been used to refer to the Demiurge and is called his "perfect" name;[30] in some Gnostic lore, Ariel has been called an ancient or original name for Ialdabaoth.[31] The name has also been inscribed on amulets as "Ariel Ialdabaoth",[32][33] and the figure of the archon inscribed with "Aariel".[34]

Marcion

According to Marcion, the title God was given to the Demiurge, who was to be sharply distinguished from the higher Good God. The former was díkaios, severely just, the latter agathós, or loving-kind; the former was the "god of this world" (2 Corinthians 4:4), the God of the Old Testament, the latter the true God of the New Testament. Christ, though in reality the Son of the Good God, pretended to be the Messiah of the Demiurge, the better to spread the truth concerning His heavenly Father. The true believer in Christ entered into God's kingdom, the unbeliever remained forever the slave of the Demiurge.[25]

Valentinus

It is in the system of Valentinus that the name Dēmiourgos is used, which occurs nowhere in Irenaeus except in connection with the Valentinian system; we may reasonably conclude that it was Valentinus who adopted from Platonism the use of this word. When it is employed by other Gnostics either it is not used in a technical sense, or its use has been borrowed from Valentinus. But it is only the name that can be said to be specially Valentinian; the personage intended by it corresponds more or less closely with the Yaldabaoth of the Ophites, the great Archon of Basilides, the Elohim of Justinus, etc.

The Valentinian theory elaborates that from Achamoth (he kátō sophía or lower wisdom) three kinds of substance take their origin, the spiritual (pneumatikoí), the animal (psychikoí) and the material (hylikoí). The Demiurge belongs to the second kind, as he was the offspring of a union of Achamoth with matter.[25][35] And as Achamoth herself was only the daughter of Sophía the last of the thirty Aeons, the Demiurge was distant by many emanations from the Propatôr, or Supreme God.[25]

In creating this world out of Chaos the Demiurge was unconsciously influenced for good; and the universe, to the surprise even of its Maker, became almost perfect. The Demiurge regretted even its slight imperfection, and as he thought himself the Supreme God, he attempted to remedy this by sending a Messiah. To this Messiah, however, was actually united with Jesus the Saviour, Who redeemed men. These are either hylikoí or pneumatikoí.[25]

The first, or material men, will return to the grossness of matter and finally be consumed by fire; the second, or animal men, together with the Demiurge, will enter a middle state, neither Pleroma nor hyle; the purely spiritual men will be completely freed from the influence of the Demiurge and together with the Saviour and Achamoth, his spouse, will enter the Pleroma divested of body (hyle) and soul (psyché).[25][36] In this most common form of Gnosticism the Demiurge had an inferior though not intrinsically evil function in the universe as the head of the animal, or psychic world.[25]

The devil

Opinions on the devil, and his relationship to the Demiurge, varied. The Ophites held that he and his demons constantly oppose and thwart the human race, as it was on their account the devil was cast down into this world.[37] According to one variant of the Valentinian system, the Demiurge is also the maker, out of the appropriate substance, of an order of spiritual beings, the devil, the prince of this world, and his angels. But the devil, as being a spirit of wickedness, is able to recognise the higher spiritual world, of which his maker the Demiurge, who is only animal, has no real knowledge. The devil resides in this lower world, of which he is the prince, the Demiurge in the heavens; his mother Sophia in the middle region, above the heavens and below the Pleroma.[38]

The Valentinian Heracleon[39] interpreted the devil as the principle of evil, that of hyle (matter). As he writes in his commentary on John 4:21,

The mountain represents the Devil, or his world, since the Devil was one part of the whole of matter, but the world is the total mountain of evil, a deserted dwelling place of beasts, to which all who lived before the law and all Gentiles render worship. But Jerusalem represents the creation or the Creator whom the Jews worship. ... You then who are spiritual should worship neither the creation nor the Craftsman, but the Father of Truth.

This vilification of the creator was held to be inimical to Christianity by the early fathers of the church. In refuting the beliefs of the gnostics, Irenaeus stated that "Plato is proved to be more religious than these men, for he allowed that the same God was both just and good, having power over all things, and himself executing judgment."[40]

Cathars

Catharism apparently inherited their idea of Satan as the creator of the evil world from Gnosticism. Quispel writes,

There is a direct link between ancient Gnosticism and Catharism. The Cathars held that the creator of the world, Satanael, had usurped the name of God, but that he had subsequently been unmasked and told that he was not really God.[41]

Neoplatonism and Gnosticism

Gnosticism attributed falsehood or evil to the concept of the Demiurge or creator, though in some Gnostic traditions the creator is from a fallen, ignorant, or lesser—rather than evil—perspective, such as that of Valentinius.

Plotinus

The Neoplatonic philosopher Plotinus addressed within his works Gnosticism's conception of the Demiurge, which he saw as un-Hellenic and blasphemous to the Demiurge or creator of Plato. Plotinus is noted as the founder of Neoplatonism (along with his teacher Ammonius Saccas).[42] In the ninth tractate of the second of his Enneads, Plotinus criticizes his opponents for their appropriation of ideas from Plato:

From Plato come their punishments, their rivers of the underworld and the changing from body to body; as for the plurality they assert in the Intellectual Realm—the Authentic Existent, the Intellectual-Principle, the Second Creator and the Soul—all this is taken over from the Timaeus.

— Ennead 2.9.vi; emphasis added from A. H. Armstrong's introduction to Ennead 2.9

Of note here is the remark concerning the second hypostasis or Creator and third hypostasis or World Soul. Plotinus criticizes his opponents for "all the novelties through which they seek to establish a philosophy of their own" which, he declares, "have been picked up outside of the truth";[43] they attempt to conceal rather than admit their indebtedness to ancient philosophy, which they have corrupted by their extraneous and misguided embellishments. Thus their understanding of the Demiurge is similarly flawed in comparison to Plato’s original intentions.

Whereas Plato's Demiurge is good wishing good on his creation, Gnosticism contends that the Demiurge is not only the originator of evil but is evil as well. Hence the title of Plotinus' refutation: "Against Those That Affirm the Creator of the Kosmos and the Kosmos Itself to be Evil" (generally quoted as "Against the Gnostics"). Plotinus argues of the disconnect or great barrier that is created between the nous or mind's noumenon (see Heraclitus) and the material world (phenomenon) by believing the material world is evil.

The majority of scholars tend[44] to understand Plotinus' opponents as being a Gnostic sect—certainly (specifically Sethian), several such groups were present in Alexandria and elsewhere about the Mediterranean during Plotinus' lifetime. Plotinus specifically points to the Gnostic doctrine of Sophia and her emission of the Demiurge.

Though the former understanding certainly enjoys the greatest popularity, the identification of Plotinus' opponents as Gnostic is not without some contention. Christos Evangeliou has contended[45] that Plotinus' opponents might be better described as simply "Christian Gnostics", arguing that several of Plotinus' criticisms are as applicable to orthodox Christian doctrine as well. Also, considering the evidence from the time, Evangeliou thought the definition of the term "Gnostics" was unclear. Of note here is that while Plotinus' student Porphyry names Christianity specifically in Porphyry's own works, and Plotinus is to have been a known associate of the Christian Origen, none of Plotinus' works mention Christ or Christianity—whereas Plotinus specifically addresses his target in the Enneads as the Gnostics.

A. H. Armstrong identified the so-called "Gnostics" that Plotinus was attacking as Jewish and Pagan, in his introduction to the tract in his translation of the Enneads. Armstrong alluding to Gnosticism being a Hellenic philosophical heresy of sorts, which later engaged Christianity and Neoplatonism.[46][47]

John D. Turner, professor of religious studies at the University of Nebraska, and famed translator and editor of the Nag Hammadi library, stated[48] 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.

Emil Cioran also wrote his Le mauvais démiurge ("The Evil Demiurge"), published in 1969, influenced by Gnosticism and Schopenhauerian interpretation of Platonic ontology, as well as that of Plotinus.

See also

References

Notes

  1. ^ Fontenrose, Joseph (1974). Python: A Study of Delphic Myth and Its Origin. Biblo & Tannen Publishers. p. 226. ISBN 978-0-8196-0285-5.
  2. ^ Sallis, John (1999). Chorology: On Beginning in Plato's Timaeus. Indiana University Press. p. 86. ISBN 0-253-21308-8.
  3. ^ Keightley, Thomas (1838). The mythology of ancient Greece and Italy. Oxford University. p. 44.
  4. ^ Kahn, Charles. Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans. Indianapolis: Hacket Publishing. p. 124. ISBN 978-0-872205758.
  5. ^ a b Karamanolis, George (2006). Plato and Aristotle in Agreement?: Platonists on Aristotle from Antiochus to Porphyry. Oxford University Press. p. 240. ISBN 0-19-926456-2.
  6. ^ The ordering principle is twofold; there is a principle known as the Demiurge, and there is the Soul of the All; the appellation "Zeus" is sometimes applied to the Demiurge and sometimes to the principle conducting the universe.
  7. ^ Wear, Sarah; Dillon, John (2013). Dionysius the Areopagite and the Neoplatonist Tradition: Despoiling the Hellenes. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 15. ISBN 9780754603856.
  8. ^ Wallis, Richard T.; Bregman, Jay, eds. (1992). Neoplatonism and Gnosticism. International Society for Neoplatonic Studies. SUNY Press. ISBN 978-0-7914-1337-1.
  9. ^ "Matter is therefore a non-existent"; Plotinus, Ennead 2, Tractate 4 Section 16.
  10. ^ Schopenhauer wrote of this Neoplatonist philosopher: "With Plotinus there even appears, probably for the first time in Western philosophy, idealism that had long been current in the East even at that time, for it taught (Enneads, iii, lib. vii, c.10) that the soul has made the world by stepping from eternity into time, with the explanation: 'For there is for this universe no other place than the soul or mind' (neque est alter hujus universi locus quam anima), indeed the ideality of time is expressed in the words: 'We should not accept time outside the soul or mind' (oportet autem nequaquam extra animam tempus accipere)." (Parerga and Paralipomena, Volume I, "Fragments for the History of Philosophy", § 7) Similarly, Professor Ludwig Noiré wrote: "For the first time in Western philosophy we find idealism proper in Plotinus (Enneads, iii, 7, 10), where he says, 'The only space or place of the world is the soul', and 'Time must not be assumed to exist outside the soul'." [5] It is worth noting, however, that like Plato but unlike Schopenhauer and other modern philosophers, Plotinus does not worry about whether or how we can get beyond our ideas in order to know external objects.
  11. ^ Numenius of Apamea was reported to have asked, "What else is Plato than Moses speaking Greek?" Fr. 8 Des Places.
  12. ^ See Theurgy, Iamblichus and henosis Archived 2010-01-09 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses, i. 5, 1.
  14. ^

    It is on this account that Moses says, at the creation of man alone that God said, "Let us make man," which expression shows an assumption of other beings to himself as assistants, in order that God, the governor of all things, might have all the blameless intentions and actions of man, when he does right attributed to him; and that his other assistants might bear the imputation of his contrary actions.

    — "Philo: On the Creation, XXIV". www.earlyjewishwritings.com.
  15. ^ Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho. c. 67.
  16. ^ Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses, i. 23, 1.
  17. ^ Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses, i. 23, 5.
  18. ^ Irenaeus, i. 24, 1.
  19. ^ Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses, i. 25.
  20. ^ Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses, i. 24, 4.
  21. ^ Hippolytus, Refutation of All Heresies. vii. 33.
  22. ^ Theodoret, Haer. Fab. ii. 3.
  23. ^ Epiphanius, Panarion, 28.
  24. ^ "Apocryphon of John," translation by Frederik Wisse in The Nag Hammadi Library. Accessed online at gnosis.org
  25. ^ a b c d e f g  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Demiurge" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton.
  26. ^ Hipp. Ref. vi. 32, p. 191.
  27. ^ Hipp. Ref. vi. 9.
  28. ^ Quispel, Gilles (2008). Van Oort, Johannes (ed.). Gnostica, Judaica, Catholica: Collected Essays of Gilles Quispel. Leiden: Koninklijke Brill NV. p. 64. ISBN 978-90-04-13945-9.
  29. ^ Scholem, Gershom (1965). Jewish Gnosticism, Merkabah Mysticism, and Talmudic Tradition. Jewish Theological Seminary of America. p. 72.
  30. ^ Robert McLachlan Wilson (1976). Nag Hammadi and gnosis: Papers read at the First International Congress of Coptology. BRILL. pp. 21–23. Therefore his esoteric name is Jaldabaoth, whereas the perfect call him Ariel, because he has the appearance of a lion.
  31. ^ Gustav Davidson (1994). A dictionary of angels: including the fallen angels. Scrollhouse. p. 54.
  32. ^ David M Gwynn (2010). Religious Diversity in Late Antiquity. BRILL. p. 448.
  33. ^ Campbell Bonner (1949). "An Amulet of the Ophite Gnostics". The American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Hesperia Supplements, Vol. 8: 43–46.
  34. ^ Gilles Quispel; R. van den Broek; Maarten Jozef Vermaseren (1981). Studies in gnosticism and hellenistic religions. BRILL. pp. 40–41.
  35. ^ Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses, i. 5.
  36. ^ Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses, i. 6.
  37. ^ Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses, i. 30, 8.
  38. ^ Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses, i. 5, 4.
  39. ^ Heracleon, Frag. 20.
  40. ^ Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses, iii. 25.
  41. ^ Quispel, Gilles and Van Oort, Johannes (2008), p. 143.
  42. ^ John D. Turner. Neoplatonism.
  43. ^ "For, in sum, a part of their doctrine comes from Plato; all the novelties through which they seek to establish a philosophy of their own have been picked up outside of the truth." Plotinus, "Against the Gnostics", Ennead II, 9, 6.
  44. ^ Plotinus, Arthur Hilary Armstrong (trans.) (1966). Plotinus: Enneads II (Loeb Classical Library ed.). Harvard University Press. From this point to the end of ch. 12 Plotinus is attacking a Gnostic myth known to us best at present in the form it took in the system of Valentinus. The Mother, Sophia-Achamoth, produced as a result of the complicated sequence of events which followed the fall of the higher Sophia, and her offspring the Demiurge, the inferier and ignorant maker of the material universe, are Valentinian figures; cp. Irenaeus, Adversus haereses 1.4 and 5. Valentinius had been in Rome, and there is nothing improbable in the presence of Valentinians there in the time of Plotinus. But the evidence in the Life ch. 16 suggests that the Gnostics in Plotinus's circle belonged rather to the older group called Sethians or Archontics, related to the Ophites or Barbelognostics: they probably called themselves simply 'Gnostics'. Gnostic sects borrowed freely from each other, and it is likely that Valentinius took some of his ideas about Sophia from older Gnostic sources, and that his ideas in turn influenced other Gnostics.
  45. ^ Evangeliou, "Plotinus's Anti-Gnostic Polemic and Porphyry's Against the Christians", in Wallis & Bregman, p. 111.
  46. ^ From "Introduction to Against the Gnostics", Plotinus' Enneads as translated by A. H. Armstrong, pp. 220–222: "The treatise as it stands in the Enneads is a most powerful protest on behalf of Hellenic philosophy against the un-Hellenic heresy (as it was from the Platonist as well as the orthodox Christian point of view) of Gnosticism. There were Gnostics among Plotinus's own friends, whom he had not succeeded in converting (Enneads ch. 10 of this treatise) and he and his pupils devoted considerable time and energy to anti-Gnostic controversy (Life of Plotinus ch. 16). He obviously considered Gnosticism an extremely dangerous influence, likely to pervert the minds even of members of his own circle. It is impossible to attempt to give an account of Gnosticism here. By far the best discussion of what the particular group of Gnostics Plotinus knew believed is M. Puech's admirable contribution to Entretiens Hardt V (Les Sources de Plotin). But it is important for the understanding of this treatise to be clear about the reasons why Plotinus disliked them so intensely and thought their influence so harmful."
  47. ^ Armstrong, pp. 220–22: "Short statement of the doctrine of the three hypostasis, the One, Intellect and Soul; there cannot be more or fewer than these three. Criticism of the attempts to multiply the hypostasis, and especially of the idea of two intellects, one which thinks and that other which thinks that it thinks. (ch. 1). The true doctrine of Soul (ch. 2). The law of necessary procession and the eternity of the universe (ch.3). Attack on the Gnostic doctrine of the making of the universe by a fallen soul, and on their despising of the universe and the heavenly bodies (chs. 4–5). The senseless jargon of the Gnostics, their plagiarism from and perversion of Plato, and their insolent arrogance (ch. 6). The true doctrine about Universal Soul and the goodness of the universe which it forms and rules (chs. 7–8). Refutation of objections from the inequalities and injustices of human life (ch. 9). Ridiculous arrogance of the Gnostics who refuse to acknowledge the hierarchy of created gods and spirits and say that they alone are sons of God and superior to the heavens (ch. 9). The absurdities of the Gnostic doctrine of the fall of "Wisdom" (Sophia) and of the generation and activities of the Demiurge, maker of the visible universe (chs. 10–12). False and melodramatic Gnostic teaching about the cosmic spheres and their influence (ch. 13). The blasphemous falsity of the Gnostic claim to control the higher powers by magic and the absurdity of their claim to cure diseases by casting out demons (ch. 14). The false other-worldliness of the Gnostics leads to immorality (ch. 15). The true Platonic other-worldliness, which love and venerates the material universe in all its goodness and beauty as the most perfect possible image of the intelligible, contracted at length with the false, Gnostic, other-worldliness which hates and despises the material universe and its beauties (chs. 16–18)."
  48. ^ Turner, "Gnosticism and Platonism", in Wallis & Bregman.

Sources

  • This article incorporates text from the entry Demiurgus in A Dictionary of Christian Biography, Literature, Sects and Doctrines by William Smith and Henry Wace (1877), a publication now in the public domain.

External links

Abrahadabra (album)

Abrahadabra is the ninth studio album by Norwegian black metal band Dimmu Borgir, released in 2010. The first single from the album, "Gateways", was released on August 20 in Europe and August 24 in North America. On September 14, a video for "Gateways" was released featuring Djerv front-woman, Agnete Kjølsrud. On September 17, the song "Born Treacherous" was released on Dimmu Borgir's official Myspace for streaming. On September 24, the band announced they would stream Abrahadabra in its entirety, until 7 p.m. EST that evening. This would mark the first official release of all the tracks on the album. The album features drummer Daray and additional keyboards by Gerlioz.

Demiurge Studios

Demiurge Studios is an American video game developer founded in 2002 by Albert Reed, Chris Linder and Tom Lin. It is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts.Demiurge Studios worked co-operatively on Green Day: Rock Band with Harmonix and Electronic Arts. Demiurge Studios released their in-house project Shoot Many Robots in March 2012.

On February 19, 2015, Demiurge was acquired by Sega and became part of their mobile gaming subsidiary, Sega Networks.

Demogorgon

Demogorgon is a deity or demon, associated with the underworld and envisaged as a powerful primordial being, whose very name had been taboo. Although often ascribed to Greek mythology, the name probably arises from an unknown copyist's misreading of a commentary by a fourth-century scholar, Lactantius Placidus. The concept itself though can be traced back to the original misread term demiurge.

Elder Gods (Marvel Comics)

The Elder Gods are fictional characters appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. They were the first generation of Earth's gods, apparently inspired by Greek, Egyptian mythology and the Cthulhu Mythos.

Emil Cioran

Emil Cioran (Romanian: [eˈmil t͡ʃoˈran] (listen); 8 April 1911 – 20 June 1995) was a Romanian philosopher and essayist, who published works in both Romanian and French. His work has been noted for its pervasive philosophical pessimism, and frequently engages with issues of suffering, decay, and nihilism. Among his best-known works are On the Heights of Despair (1934) and The Trouble with Being Born (1973). Cioran's first French book, A Short History of Decay, was awarded the prestigious Rivarol Prize in 1950. The Latin Quarter of Paris was his permanent residence and he lived much of his life in isolation with his partner Simone Boué.

Gnosticism

Gnosticism (from Ancient Greek: γνωστικός gnostikos, "having knowledge", from γνῶσις gnōsis, knowledge) is a modern name for a variety of ancient religious ideas and systems, originating in Jewish-Christian milieux in the first and second century AD. These systems believed that the material world is created by an emanation or 'works' of a lower god (demiurge), trapping the divine spark within the human body. This divine spark could be liberated by gnosis, spiritual knowledge acquired through direct experience. Some of the core teachings include the following:

All matter is evil, and the non-material, spirit-realm is good.

There is an unknowable God, who gave rise to many lesser spirit beings called Aeons.

The creator of the (material) universe is not the supreme god, but an inferior spirit (the Demiurge).

Gnosticism does not deal with "sin," only ignorance.

To achieve salvation, one needs gnosis (knowledge).The Gnostic ideas and systems flourished in the Mediterranean world in the second century AD, in conjunction with and influenced by the early Christian movements and Middle Platonism. After the second century, a decline set in. In the Persian Empire, Gnosticism in the form of Manicheism spread as far as China, while Mandaeism is still alive in Iraq.

A major question in scholarly research is the qualification of Gnosticism, based on the study of its texts, as either an interreligious phenomenon or as an independent religion.

God as the devil

In Christian heresiology, there have been historical claims that certain Christian sects worshipped the devil. This was especially an issue in the reaction of the early Church to Gnosticism and its dualism, where the creator deity is understood as a demiurge inferior to the actual, transcendent God.

Great Architect of the Universe

The Great Architect of the Universe (also Grand Architect of the Universe or Supreme Architect of the Universe) is a conception of God discussed by many Christian theologians and apologists. As a designation it is used within Freemasonry to represent the deity neutrally (in whatever form, and by whatever name each member may individually believe in). It is also a Rosicrucian conception of God, as expressed by Max Heindel. The concept of the demiurge as a grand architect or a great architect also occurs in gnosticism as well as Hinduism.

Henosis

Henosis (Ancient Greek: ἕνωσις) is the classical Greek word for mystical "oneness", "union" or "unity." In Platonism, and especially Neoplatonism, the goal of henosis is union with what is fundamental in reality: the One (Τὸ Ἕν), the Source, or Monad. The Neoplatonic concept has precedents in the Greek mystery religions as well as parallels in Eastern philosophy. It is further developed in the Corpus Hermeticum, in Christian theology, Alevism, soteriology and mysticism, and is an important factor in the historical development of monotheism during Late Antiquity.

Kathenotheism

Kathenotheism is a term coined by the philologist Max Müller to mean the worship of one god at a time. It is closely related to henotheism, the worship of one god while not rejecting the existence of other gods. Müller coined the term in reference to the Vedas, where he explained each deity is treated as supreme in turn.

Kneph

Kneph is a motif in Ancient Egyptian religious art, variously a winged egg, a globe surrounded by one or more serpents, or Amun in the form of a serpent called Kematef. Some Theosophical sources tried to syncretize this motif with the deity Khnum, along with Serapis and Pluto. Under the Greek theonym Chnuphis, this figure adopts a serpent-bodied, lion-headed ("leontoeidic") visage, being particularly common in magical artifacts in Late Antiquity. It is by proxy frequently associated with the Gnostic Demiurge.

Marvel Puzzle Quest

Marvel Puzzle Quest is a video game released by D3 Publisher and Marvel Entertainment on October 3, 2013, and developed by Demiurge Studios. The fourth installment in the Puzzle Quest series, it is a free-to-play, match-three role-playing Bejeweled-style puzzle battle game set in the Marvel universe, featuring 185 playable Marvel characters. It is available for free on the iTunes App Store for iOS, Google Play for Android, and Steam for PC. A high-definition port of the game developed by WayForward Technologies was released on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 October 16, 2015, and Xbox One on February 4, 2016.

Neoplatonism

Neoplatonism is a term used to designate a strand of Platonic philosophy that emerged in the third century AD against the background of Hellenistic philosophy and religion. The term does not encapsulate a set of ideas as much as it encapsulates a chain of thinkers which began with Ammonius Saccas and his student Plotinus (c. 204/5 – 270 AD) and which stretches to the sixth century AD. Even though Neoplatonism primarily circumscribes the thinkers who are now labeled Neoplatonists and not their ideas, there are some ideas that are common to Neoplatonic systems, for example, the monistic idea that all of reality can be derived from a single principle, "the One".

After Plotinus there were three distinct periods in the history of Neoplatonism: the work of his student Porphyry; that of Iamblichus and his school in Syria; and the period in the fifth and sixth centuries, when the Academies in Alexandria and Athens flourished.Neoplatonism had an enduring influence on the subsequent history of philosophy. In the Middle Ages, Neoplatonic ideas were studied and discussed by Muslim, Christian, and Jewish thinkers. In the Islamic cultural sphere, Neoplatonic texts were available in Arabic translations, and notable thinkers such as al-Farabi, Solomon ibn Gabirol (Avicebron), Avicenna, and Moses Maimonides incorporated neoplatonic elements into their own thinking. Latin translations of late ancient neoplatonic texts were first available in the Christian West in the ninth century, and became influential from the twelfth century onward. Thomas Aquinas had direct access to works by Proclus, Simplicius and Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, and he knew about other Neoplatonists, such as Plotinus and Porphyry, through secondhand sources. The mystic Meister Eckhart (c. 1260 – c. 1328) was also influenced by Neoplatonism, propagating a contemplative way of life which points to the Godhead beyond the nameable God.

Neoplatonism also had a strong influence on the Perennial philosophy of the Italian Renaissance thinkers Marsilio Ficino and Pico della Mirandola, and continues through nineteenth-century Universalism and modern-day spirituality and nondualism.

Neoplatonism and Gnosticism

Gnosticism refers to a collection of religious groups originating in Jewish religiosity in Alexandria in the first few centuries CE. Neoplatonism was a school of Hellenistic philosophy that took shape in the 3rd century, based on the teachings of Plato and some of his early followers. While Gnosticism was influenced by Middle Platonism, neo-Platonists from the third century onward rejected Gnosticism.

Rod (Slavic religion)

Rod (Polish, Slovenian, Croatian: Rod, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Russian, Serbian Cyrillic: Род, Ukrainian Cyrillic: Рід) is a conception of supreme God of the universe and of all its gods in Slavic Native Faith (Rodnovery). The same concept is also known as Sud (Суд, "Judge") and Prabóg ("Pre-God", "First God") among South Slavs.As attested by Helmold (c. 1120–1177) in his Chronica Slavorum, the Slavs believed in a single God begetting all the lesser spirits governing nature, and worshipped it by their means. According to Helmold, "obeying the duties assigned to them, [the deities] have sprung from his [the supreme God's] blood and enjoy distinction in proportion to their nearness to the god of the gods". In the earliest Slavic religion the supreme God of Heaven was called Deivos, but this name was soon abandoned to be replaced by the concept of Rod.

In some old writings the name appears as Hrodo, Chrodo, Krodo, or the Latinised form Crodone. The 15th-century Saxon Chronicle attests that "Krodo" was worshipped also by Saxon tribes, who inhabited modern-day northern and eastern Germany together with West Slavic tribes.

Timaeus (dialogue)

Timaeus (; Greek: Τίμαιος, translit. Timaios, pronounced [tǐːmai̯os]) is one of Plato's dialogues, mostly in the form of a long monologue given by the title character Timaeus of Locri, written c. 360 BC. The work puts forward speculation on the nature of the physical world and human beings and is followed by the dialogue Critias.

Participants in the dialogue include Socrates, Timaeus, Hermocrates, and Critias. Some scholars believe that it is not the Critias of the Thirty Tyrants who is appearing in this dialogue, but his grandfather, who is also named Critias. It has been suggested that Timaeus was influenced by a book about Pythagoras, written by Philolaus.

Valentinianism

Valentinianism was one of the major Gnostic Christian movements. Founded by Valentinus in the second century AD, its influence spread widely, not just within Rome, but also from Northwest Africa to Egypt through to Asia Minor and Syria in the east.Later in the movement's history it broke into an Eastern and a Western school. Disciples of Valentinus continued to be active into the 4th century AD, after the Roman Empire was declared to be Christian.Valentinus and the Gnostic movement that bore his name were considered threats to proto-orthodox Christianity by church leaders and scholars, not only because of their influence, but also because of their doctrine, practices and beliefs. Gnostics were condemned as heretics, and prominent Church fathers such as Irenaeus of Lyons and Hippolytus of Rome wrote against Gnosticism. Most evidence for the Valentinian theory comes from its critics and detractors, most notably Irenaeus, since he was especially concerned with refuting Valentinianism.

Visions of Eden

Visions of Eden is the eleventh album by American heavy metal band Virgin Steele, released on September 8, 2006 via Sanctuary Records. The album is subtitled The Lilith Project - A Barbaric Romantic Movie of the Mind. It is a concept album based on Gnostic beliefs, which critically revisits the traditional Christian mythology about the creation of the Earth and the Biblical accounts of Adam and Eve.

The story revolves around Lilith, the first wife of Adam and a symbol of female strength and independence. Representing the female side of the true, higher god, she suffers under the lusting, jealous Demiurge who represents the Christian god, and as an emancipated woman who could not get along with the dominant Adam stands in stark contrast to Eve. Adam's second wife is portrayed as a docile, subservient partner created by the demiurge at the request of Adam, who could not cope with an independent woman on equal footing with him.

Regarding Visions of Eden, David DeFeis declared: "What it really is, is the soundtrack for a major motion picture that has yet to be made! And by the hammer of Zeus, I will make this film one day. I call this work a Barbaric Romantic movie of the mind.".In 2003, prior to the album release, the concept was performed on the theater stage by Landestheater Schwaben under the name Lilith (as were the previous Virgin Steele titles The House of Atreus Act I and The House of Atreus Act II).

On 17 February 2017, the album was reissued as a double CD containing a remixed version and a remastered recording of the original mix .

 
Part of a series on
Gnosticism
Abraxas gem scan
Life
Works
Allegories and metaphors
Related
Family

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.