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  Astrology and Gnosticism

   GNOSTICISM (from Greek gnostikos - "learning, knowing", gnosis - "knowledge") - the first stage of a wide religious and philosophical course of late antiquity and the Middle Ages, the so-called "Gnostic religions" including Gnosticism, Manichaeism, dualistic medieval heresies. It appeared in the 1st century AD near the Middle East (Syria or Samaria) or in Alexandria. In the 2nd century it became the main rival of Christianity. It sought to give the generalized synthesis of various east beliefs (Judaism, Zoroastrianism, the Babylon and Egyptian religions), Christianities, the Greek philosophy and mysteriological cults. Astrology played a significant role both in theoretical creation of Gnosticism, and in a practical training of his many representatives.
   In general the concept of the uniform beginning which is developed in a series of emanations, and a hierarchical structure of the world comprehended by mind is characteristic of Gnosticism; along with it existence of a gloom matter, or chaos is sometimes supposed, - dualism elements at prevalence of a monistic tendency. The anti-space dualism is specific to Gnosticism: the world is extremely removed from god and there is his antipode. Contrary to Judeo-Christian tradition, Gnostics place between god and the world a series of forms (at Basilides, e.g., their number reaches to 365), which function is not in connecting ideal and material (as in Neoplatonism), and on the contrary, to divide them.
   The central place in the doctrine of Gnostics is taken by the person as the center of world process. He, though is a creature of powers of darkness of the world, on the substance doesn't belong to him. This his divine substance often takes the form of an independent form of "First Man", or "Anthropos". Soul has the nature other than flesh and on the essence belongs overspace sphere (Basilides). Along with dualism of soul and a body in Gnosticism there is also a trichotomic division of the person on spiritual, sincere and corporal. 
   The concept of knowledge, gnosis, - a Gnosticism kernel. In the known formula of the Gnostic Theodotus of Byzantium the essence of a gnosis consists in the answer to the following questions: "Who are we? Whom became? Where we? Where are thrown? Where we aspire? How we are released? What is the birth and what revival?". Knowledge by the person of the inner self does possible and knowledge of the world, that, "what is that, what was and what will be". Such comprehensive knowledge well little also grants to the person rescue. In a gnosis the person overcomes the duality and fragmentation, through the person life overcomes the split and restores the broken-up harmony.
   It is interesting to note that on beliefs of some representatives of Gnosticism Christ, having risen on the sky, has changed influence of planets on mortal life and even their movement. Thereby he has managed to predetermine processes of formation of new souls - under his control there was both a conception, and evolution of a germ in a womb.
   Pushed aside by official Christian ideology, the Gnosticism served as the nutritious soil of many medieval heresies and has played a certain role in development of medieval culture, including and astrological concepts.
   The chief representatives of Gnosticism - Valentinus from Egypt and Basilides from Syria (both are the 2nd century). Gnostics scornfully treated belief, considering that the person has to lead an ascetic life and mystically learn Aeons making an intermediate step between incognizable god (the Supreme father) and the sinful material world created by space mind (demiurge). This knowledge has to lead to rescue. Christ was considered as Aeon conducting Gnostics to the highest, non-material world. Gnostics denied his god-human nature, as well as the Old Testament. The orthodox Christian church declared Gnostics heretics and has destroyed almost all their works.


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