Iconology vs. Iconography. It’s sort of like comparing oranges to apples. In the end, it really is the same thing as both items are fruit. The same goes for these concepts just as we compare Spiritualism to Gnosticism.
Erwin Panofsky suggests that iconography is defined as something that is known, while iconology is the interpretation of iconography. According to his view, iconology identifies the underlying principles that form the basic attitude of a period, a class, a religious or philosophical perspective, which is modulated by one personality and condensed into one work. According to Roelof van Straten, iconology “can explain why an artist or patron chose a particular subject at a specific location and time and represented it in a certain way. An iconological investigation should concentrate on the social-historical, not art-historical, influences and values that the artist might not have consciously brought into play but are nevertheless present. The artwork is primarily seen as a document of its time.
Personally, I think these definitions are similar to calling a potato a patata, and the same holds true for the new división: the spiritual or the gnostic.
According to tradition, a heretic is one who deviates from the true (christian) faith. But what defines that “true faith”? Who calls it that, and for what reasons? I have drifted way out on a previous post, Christ and Aliens, it demonstrates my desire to keep a flexible and somewhat humorous mind when it comes to truth. I quietly pause when I hear there is only one truth! The Gnostic ideas from Nag Hammadi texts, Dead Sea Scrolls and Akhmim codex at one time must have held truth for someone, the question remains for the established church is, should we build a religion around those truths? Again the difference between Iconography and Iconology, can you see it. Subtleties that are so small, they may not make a difference in the end.
The Solution is to Stop and Think
The ancient texts are evidence of a rich plethora of ideas which flourished before the time of Christ, up to 300 AD but unfortunately many texts were destroyed or hidden. The destruction of the Library in Alexandria Egypt wiped out much of the Essence recorded history. The fire in the time of Julius Ceaser, 48 BC, the Aurelian massacre in 270 AD and finally the complete destruction decreed by Coptic Pope, Theophilus in 391 AD which included the “Daughter library” contributed to more literary loss. Four hundred years later, the Muslims sacked and destroyed even more including icons and ancient manuscripts. And of course we have the library of the Vatican which is not been exactly accessible to all. So when we speak of “biblical truth”, we must remember it is a limited truth given to us through the filtered decisions and debates of a few dating back 2,000 years.
1,800 years ago Christianity had No formalized Doctrines.
Archaeologists over the past hundred years have been unearthing text might intensify and deepen our spiritual vocabulary, their findings allow us to rethink time tested slogans and preconceived understandings of who we think Jesus was. Hopefully, we will continue to look forward to the work of scholars who study and compare traditions, as their work promises to inspire a new eye for commonality and the evolution of the human spirit.
Many ideas that we associate with Eastern religions emerged in the first century through the Gnostic movement in the West, some roots are found deeper in the Hebrew teachings. Most would agree the Christian institution in general has condemned the Gnostic movement and their teachings. We are told to be cautious of Gnostic teachings, to never trust a heretic, the holy bible is God’s final word. Christians and Hebrews alike needn’t be threatened by rethinking and re integrating old teachings with new perspectives. The mature christian knows that thoughts are not always of the devil and doubt brings the mind into new perspectives.
Our Hearts and Minds are fertile ground
Essene means “sprouted bread”. The bread we have been digesting within the Judea-Christian traditional because of newly discovered text found within the past 100 years is waiting to sprout.
The Essene communities were considered to have been lead by a group of “Teachers of Righteousness”. They were groups of philosophers, living in Palestine, Syria and Judea. There formation was a sect of Judaism that flourished from the 2nd century BCE to the 1st century CE. It is logical to think friends of Jesus would have known of them and had opinions about their ideas. Most scholars believe that the community named the Qumran (also named Sadducee ) allegedly produced the Dead Sea Scrolls and might have been an offshoot of the Essene. These lost teachings have been unacknowledged by christian traditional church and synagogue.
DEAD SEA SCROLLS consist of some 981 different texts, discovered between 1946 and 1956 in Qumran, Egypt written by the Jewish sect called the Essence 300 BC to 100 AD. I find it significant that these texts took more than 30 years to became public in 1991, when the Biblical Archaeology Society was able to publish the “Facsimile Edition of the Dead Sea Scrolls”, after an intervention of the Israeli government and the Israeli Antiquities Authority. Since they seem to have a significant Judea-Christian message, now may be the time to reflect on the passages for guidance and insight by both and look towards reconciliation between the faiths.
Opportunity for change
I believe deep meditation, listening to the spirit and a good deal of silence teaches without words, this is the core behind Gnostic and Contemporary Ideas. The practice can and will guide us, and at times change and shift tradition. These texts were discovered in 1945 at Nag Hammadi, Egypt also called the Nag Hammadi Codex II, dated to the 4th century.
Earlier still, the GOSPEL OF MARY discovered in 1896 on a 5th-century papyrus codex is considered an apocryphal book. Originally written in Greek, the Akhmim Codex was found in Cairo Egypt and published 1938 and 1983 It is interesting not only this text was found earlier than the others mentioned above but it is not considered a REAL gospel, rather a non-canonical gospel. The term ‘gospel’ is used as a label for any written text whose primarily focus is on recounting the teachings and/or activities of Jesus during his adult life. These texts are said to be only fragments but the words and message fall within the modern context, we live in an age where the church community reads and writes. Gnostic and Contemporary Ideas are intriguing not to be feared or discounted.
Stretch the mind.
All that is composite will decompose and return to its origin, but those who are awake to reality without beginning or end know the un-created the eternal.
All the words we hear in this word only deceive us. If they were in the temple space, they would keep silent and no longer refer to worldly things, in the Temple all is silent.
Light and Dark, life and death, right and left are brothers and sisters. They are inseparable. This is why goodness is not always good, Violence not always violent, life not always enlivening, death not always deadly. Page 55 Gnostic Gospel of Philip
Great questions arise from words like these. Gnostic and Contemporary Ideas are not new, only the teaching sounds new.