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Paul Gnosis and Special Knowledge

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I’ve finished my paper on Paul, length 13 pages. I did my research and was inspired to write tonight. I have one final exam on Wednesday morning and then I am finished for the Summer. Graduation Day is MONDAY!! WOO HOO !! I see the doctor Wednesday afternoon to start new meds. I need to get my hair coiffed and colored for Monday so we will be busy busy this week in preparation for the second most important day of my life.

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This paper, on the topic of Paul, the Apostle, is the second in a series of discussions on the topic of Paul, post conversion on the Road to Damascus and what I found intriguing about Paul in regards to the postulation that ‘Paul’ received special knowledge from the ‘Christ’ during his experience with the risen Christ during that experience which greatly changed the life and ministry of a man, that had been such a zealot against ‘Christians and Christianity.’

This concept of ‘gnosis’ and my interest in the concept of special knowledge began when I started reading the Gnostic gospels, namely the first “the Gospel of Mary Magdalene.” In that text, we find that Mary Magdalene occupies a specific location in the life of Jesus and as well, her presence in the ‘Christian story.’

“It is important to remember that Jesus Christ does relieve Mary of the seven demons – or, perhaps, those aspects that can cloud vision and energy at each of the seven charkas. Presumably, she no longer possesses the seven deadly sins… In their place exist the corresponding virtues – the way has been cleared for “the seven virgins of light… On the third morning after the Crucifixion, Mary Magdalene feels a call to visit Jesus’ tomb. She takes with her a container of unguent, perhaps one in the series of ancient oils to assist the dead through the underworld and into the realms of spirit. She alone meets Jesus Christ at the tomb in his resurrected body. It is easy to imagine that she receives an important teaching [special knowledge] here, one that can be comprehended by a person whose seven demons have been lifted.”[1]

It is said that Mary Magdalene had been cleansed and thereby allowing her to see the risen Christ, ‘between the veil’ of the earth and the heavens. Her prominence in biblical literature is readily apparent, as the one woman who has had a series of blessed encounters with the Christ, in service, prayer, and suffering and most importantly in the ‘resurrection.’

Leloup continues later, in saying that:

In the legends and stories told about Mary Magdalene there can be found some hint of what she may represent to us today: As one who was cleansed from sin; who remains with Christ throughout his death on the cross; and who first witnesses, understands and believes Christ’s resurrection, she represents a human being who is open and available to true ‘inner knowing,’ who can ‘see’ in deeper, clearer ways through a unique spiritual connection to both earthly death and the Divine.”[2]

For me this introduction by way of Mary Magdalene is important to build my foundation to begin the discussion of the Apostle Paul in greater detail. It is my postulation that like Mary Magdalene, Paul was the recipient of ‘cleansing’ of the former ways he was a persecutor of the Christ. Unlike the Apostles of the living Christ, having lived, worked and suffered along with him,

“Paul’s experiences will be examined as a cross-section of the tree of Christian experience. St. Paul was the first experient of Christ after the Spirit who wrote down his experiences, and he quite definitely identified the Christ of his vision with the Jesus whom the other apostles had known in Galilee.”[3]

Since my introductory paper on St. Paul, which we will discuss here as well, I was very interested in the way Paul wrote his many epistles and why. Through academic research I have come to learn that Paul, in fact, did understand more deeply the words he was writing, [see Corinthians later in the paper] there was special insight and understanding of Christian ritual and his vision of community and what was most important to the Christian community, those being ‘community and the Eucharist.’

I have posed these questions to academics in my field of study and have attempted to entertain my fellows about the ideas of Paul having special ‘gnosis’ or knowledge. None of those respondents dared to offer even speculation on my queries. I am led, then to investigate texts that may enlighten my investigation of Paul to a greater extent.

An excerpt form my paper on Paul and the idea of “Gnosis.”


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