Ep. 16 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Christianity and Agape | Transcription

Transcription for the video titled "Ep. 16 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Christianity and Agape".


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Intro (00:00)

Welcome back to Awakening from the Meaning Crisis. So last time we had begun to take a look at the transformation that was occurring in the Eastern Mediterranean around the time of the advent of what was going to become Christianity. Of course, this figures upon the person of Jesus of Nazareth, a very controversial figure to say the least. And as I said, I'm not going to endeavor to claim to give the absolute or exhaustive account of this extraordinary individual, but instead I'm going to try and do what I've done before, which is to show how what he did contributed to our understanding of meaning and wisdom and how that eventually pushed the history that has led to the Meaning Crisis for it. So we were talking about one of the core messages of Jesus. Jesus seems to have understood himself, or at least those around him, understood him as Chiross, if you remember, that's a turning point in the course of history, because as we spoke before, the Israelites, and by this time they were known as the Jews, had developed the psychotechnology of understanding history as a cosmic narrative in which there are crucial turning points, and Jesus saw himself as such a Chiross, whether or not he saw himself as the Chiross that was known as the Jewish Messiah is again controversial. I don't need that for the purposes of my argument. It seems though that he had a sense of himself as deeply participating in the way in which God was directing and involving himself in the course of history.

Exploring Love And Spirituality In Christianity

The Chiross of Jesus (01:32)

If you remember the model of God we talked about when we talked about the ancient Israelites, the God of the Exodus is a God who is creating into an open future, and that human beings participate in that creation by identifying with a particular course, the off loving it, being shaped by it, as well as shaping, participating in its flow. And Jesus of Nazareth saw himself as having an especially deep participation such that he felt himself to be at one with this God who is capable of altering the course of history and redeeming human beings. He seems to have understood this Chiross as having something to do with a profound way of understanding the participation in God, which we've talked about before, makes sense. We've talked about how this participatory knowing is a process in which you're coupled, right? You're neither making it or being made by it, but it's this reciprocal revelation in which you are making it and it is making you the way you participate in your culture, the way you participate in your language, the way you participate in history. And you know this not by gathering beliefs, but the way in which yourself is fundamentally transformed. And so Jesus understood this participation, his participation in God as the disclosing of this profound kind of love. And we began talking about this, the kinds of love that human beings experience and how love is something that deeply transforms who we are and our salience, landscape, our character. We talked about the Greeks have three terms and it's helpful because by this time the New Testament is being written in Greek. It's helpful to understand these Greek terms. So there's Eros, which is the love of being one with something, right? And it can be just drinking water, so I become one with it. And of course it could become what is becoming more commonly known as becoming one with someone through sexual union, erotic love. Then there's Phylia, that's at the core of philosophy. This is the love that is born out of cooperation. So Eros is consumptive, making one with. Phylia is cooperation. We work together. We work together in a lot of how we succeed as human beings, the way we work together. But Jesus starts to emphasize a new kind of love, agape. And this is not the love of consumption or cooperation, this is the love of creation. It's the love that God is demonstrating towards humanity in the way God is an ongoing creation of the open future. So God is creating the future, he's creating the historical process and course of that history that makes people possible.

Fatherly Love vs. Eros (05:41)

See, agape is the kind of love that creates persons. So the main metaphor for agape, if you remember, is the way a parent loves a child. You don't love a child because you want to consume it in some way, that's hideous and vicious. You don't love your child when you bring it home from the hospital because it's a great friend to you, it can cooperate, it can't do that at all. In fact, it's not even a person, it's not a morally, rationally reflective agent. In fact, it's exactly the opposite. You love it precisely because by loving that non-person, you turn it into a person.

Radical Turn Given, (06:24)

This is the powerful creative, it's a godlike ability that we have. By participating through love in another being, we can transform that being from a non-person into a person. A person that could enter into a community of persons and find meaning, fellowship, belonging. So that radical transformative power of agape, its ability to radically transform us and reorient us, brings about a metanoia. A radical turning. This means above and beyond and this means you're salient in landscaping, how you are fundamentally, prospectively knowing the world. So, Metanoia, I'm fundamentally turning, altering my whole field of consciousness, altering my whole orientation. And what's fundamentally happening in the Metanoia of agape is I'm having a personal kyros. My personal course is being radically transformed. So Jesus is not only teaching this, he is exemplifying it. He experiences himself as a kyros and he's giving to people through agape the possibility of experiencing their own personal kyros. See what happens in the experience that Jesus is pointing to I believe is we get a fundamental reorientation. For a very long time we are born out of, we are the receivers of agape. It is only because you as an animal, because that's what you are before you're a person, a biological animal. It's only because you as an animal received the agape club of others that you were actually transformed into a person. And what you actually do is you internalize other people and how they are aware of you and that is how you gain your reflective rationality. That is how you gain your own understanding. You fundamentally gain your self understanding, your sense of self and your ability to reflect on your own understanding. It's a fundamental thing to say and because it is so fundamental and we can say it with few words, it can be trivialized. But we are in a very deep sense born out of an agape club that precedes us. Because of agape, because of the way other people have devoted themselves and participated in you, that you went from a non-person into a person, that you got the ability, it's almost like other people are mirrors through which you come to see and realize yourself. That you got a sense of self, that you got the ability to reflect on yourself, that you became, got a sense of your own ownership. There is nothing that in fact is more transformative for an adult than having a child. So from the child's perspective, what's happening is, right, they are in a sense consuming the love that the adult is giving them. They are taking in this love and they are becoming one with it. You understand yourself and can reflect on yourself because of the way you have internalized other people's attention on you. But that's the child's perspective. You can see for the child that it's very egocentric. Freud picked up on this, but I think he also twisted it. In this sense, our relationship to our parents, and please listen to this very carefully, is in that sense erotic, in the sense that we are consuming them. We are internalizing them. We are becoming one with them. Now I don't mean erotic in the sense that Freud ultimately meant because Freud thought that all of that was always a sexual experience. I think that's too simplistic. But I think there is insight here. But take a look at this from the parents perspective. From the parents perspective, the person giving agape, it is not egocentric at all. In fact, there is nothing that will more challenge your egocentric orientation that everything is moving this way than having a child. If you're a good parent, and of course we all vary in how good we are as parents, I have been privileged to be a parent myself. But what happens is you are no longer the center of your salient landscape. The child is. Because the child is absolutely dependent upon you. Do you see this is the meta noia of agape. I mean the metaphor is turning, but the problem with that metaphor is all turning is still egocentric. You have to think of the turning this way. The turning is I go from being egocentric to being centered on someone else. And what I'm actually centered on is I'm centered on the process of creating a person like God. But not egocentric like, oh my God. I'm participating in that agopic process that made me. The agape that precedes me flows through me and transforms me as I'm oriented. And what Jesus was offering I believe was he was offering a teaching so that all people could experience this. Not just individually personally with their own parents, but in terms of a relationship to God. We could all experience this fundamental turning such that we become vessels through which agape creates other human beings. So what's going to happen of course and you see this in the the epistles of John is the Christian community starts to understand this capacity for radically transforming people so that they become conduits of this God like creative process whereby non persons are turned into persons they're coming to understand agape itself is God. That's what God is. This is the so the Israelite notion of God creating the open history becomes right it becomes specified in the teachings of Jesus to the idea that no God is agape. God is this process that we participated and we put look it made you you didn't make it you participate in agape it precedes you it flows through you and you participated in it in so far as you help other people to come to personhood through you. Now this is a radical idea as I mentioned last time this is going to give the Christians a psychotechnology a grammar for how to transform perspectival and participatory knowing that is going to allow them to conquer the Roman Empire. I don't mean militarily of course what I mean is what Christians can do is they can offer all the non persons of the Empire a process by which they become persons within a community of persons enmeshed together in agape club. So all the women all the widows all the sick all the poor all the non male Roman citizens all the weak can come to Christianity and receive the opportunity and the community that supports this opportunity of a radical transformation. Now we know that the community around there's many different communities around Jesus I should say there's just like around Socrates there's many different Jesus movements but this seems to be the key idea. And it seems that it carries with it some kind of notion of a sacrificial element to it and again there's a lot of controversy around this and we have to be careful not to read too much of Paul into this. We'll talk about Paul in a few minutes. But agape has a sacrificial element to it in that you give yourself you forgive you give before the person earns it's not phylia it is not reciprocity it is not you and I are working together you have earned my trust and love. If I leave it is great and it's important right and it's not a Ross I love you because of how you can I can consume you and right make you one with me. Now agape has a sacrificial component to it because what I'm actually doing right is I'm giving up I'm making myself an affordance for your transformation from non person into person. So this is why Jesus emphasizes forgiveness as central to his message. And one of the things we should remember and this is controversial to say is Jesus does not anywhere in the gospels present himself right as the what means by which we obtain forgiveness from God he often presents himself as a way and things like that. And we'll talk about that but when asked how to obtain forgiveness from God this opportunity of radically transforming ourselves Jesus consistent messages by forgiving other people.

Showing love (17:31)

We experience agape from God the degree to which we give it to others. And this has been of course radically trivialized in our culture right we think about we think of forgiveness largely as a matter of you know somebody feels sorry and we tell them it's okay. That's not the core idea of forgiveness. The core of idea of forgiveness doesn't depend on your contrition. The degree to which you are trying to afford someone else growing into their personhood and the degree to which you are making a sacrifice towards that is already forgiveness. Some forgiveness is when somebody has slighted us and the relationship has been damaged and we have to act agapically in order to re-establish the relationship. But in a very real sense all agapic love is for giving love because it is giving before the person that is receiving the love can in any way be said to have earned it. So this idea that we are sacrificially extending the capacity for individuals to redirect their own history experience their own kyros was often captured by Jesus in the famous language of being born again.

On The Power & Model Of Love (19:09)

You are dying and you are being born again. This radical transformation of your entire orientation your entire way of being. Now the tragedy that befalls the Jesus movements at least some of them because not all the movements care about this. This is again something that many people don't realize. There are many elements of the early followers of Jesus communities that don't care about his death. They only care about his teaching. But of course Jesus does die and that has a profound effect on some of these movements. And again this is hard to state anything clearly or anything that we could have any great confidence in. But somehow his death exemplifies the sacrificial forgiveness that is at the core of God as a gape. Somehow Jesus death enables people to internalize that sacrificial love and empowers them to transform other human beings. Now there of course is resistance to the Jesus movements and to Jesus it's plausible that his death was due to the fact that he was angering and upsetting a lot of people. You see this as something similar to what confronted Socrates. One of the people that seems to have been an early persecutor is a guy by the name of Saul. Now Saul is a very interesting person. He is both a Jew and a Roman citizen. And when these two groups of people are quite antagonistic towards each other there had been already wars between the Romans and the Jews. A new one was about to come to major Jewish revolts.

Spiritual Model (21:42)

The relationship is a very tense one filled with a lot of tension and this is reflected within this person himself. He seems to have integrated these two disparate and warring aspects of his personality and his identity together around a commitment to law. He sees the Jesus movements, the followers of Jesus, they are not initially called the followers of Jesus. They are initially called the followers of the way because Jesus had presented a way. See the word "way" is so wonderful because it doesn't just mean method. It's not just some procedures. It's also an affordance of how you're going to move into the future. It is a new orientation.

Who is Jesus (22:51)

So Jesus is the way in which we can experience the kyros of Metanoia and become forgiving individuals who are constantly forgiving agapically to others. Paul seems to see these people and their language of agape and their adoration of Jesus as deeply threatening to his Jewish heritage and also to Roman order. He becomes involved in the persecution of the followers of the way. It's about the time that he's involved in the persecution that they start being called as an insult. Initially Christians, the followers of Christ, which means the anointed one. So he's involved in persecuting them. He's there, the first time he's mentioned in the Bible, he's there when the first Christian is martyred, Stephen.

Historical chronology (24:05)

And the Christian is talking about this message and the crowd gets angered and they stone him and Saul basically holds everybody's coats so that they can more effectively stone Stephen to death. So Saul becomes deeply involved in this and he gets basically a writ, an official letter to travel, to Damascus and round up these so-called Christians and bring them in for prosecution. And on the road, he has what I think we could call a transformative experience. He relates it himself in a couple places. It's also represented third person in the book of Acts and there's differences in it as there always is in something that has a mythological element to it. Again, where myth doesn't mean fable, where myth means trying to present a profound pattern. But he's struck by a bright light. And of course this is the metaphor of enlightenment and we know the transformative experiences often involve this experience of radical super salience, often tremendous light. And he is struck to the ground by an overwhelming experience and then a voice speaks to him and says, "Why Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" And Saul says, "Who are you, Lord? Lord isn't a title for God. Lord is anyone who has some important higher status than you. And the experience carries with it that onto a normativity that we talked about. Saul has the sense that he's confronting something more real than himself. Who are you?" And the voice says, "I am Jesus who you persecute." And that's all we need to talk about. I mean, Saul is blinded by this light and encountering this voice. And we can think about Plato's metaphor here as we encounter these things. We're often blinded by the light. But what we need to understand is this engenders in Saul a deep, deep inner conflict. And in fact, when you read his biography, as I've already painted here, you can see that his experience of inner conflict is really profound. And this reminds us, again, it's analogous but different of Plato's concern with inner conflict, the way inner conflict reveals the psyche. But as whereas Plato is going to develop a scientific theory of inner conflict, Saul is going to undergo a transformative experience because of this inner conflict.

Guttural chunking (27:10)

It is going to ribbon him to his core because how can it be that he hasn't had this transformative experience, this awakening experience is more real from the very being that he was persecuting? How can he reconcile these together? He actually travels to Antioch and he actually gets taken in by the very people he was going to persecute. Do you see this? This is this forgiveness. The very people he was going to persecute take him in. So the people that he was going to destroy are actually responsible for his care. And under their care, his sight is restored. What's all this pointing to? Again, it's a pointing to, right? He's at war with Agape itself and we all are. We have a very tough time, and this is part of the message of Jesus and John and Paul, at least to my mind, we have a tough time acknowledging the reality of Agape. We like to create personal fables of how we are self-made and self-directed and self-secure and self-sustaining. And Agape challenges that in a profound way. So Saul goes into the desert to reflect, and this is always a biblical, mythological paradigm for a process of undergoing radical reflection. And when he comes out, he has gone through a radical transformative experience. So he's had this higher state of consciousness, this visionary experience. He then experiences Agape from the very people he was persecuting. He goes into the desert and when he comes back, he's a new person. He's gone through a radical transformative experience. And we know that because he's changed his name. He changed his name from Saul to Paul. And he has a radical message. It's a powerful message. He comes to present Agape in one of the most beautiful famous passages in the Bible.

Fullfillment & the Radical Reorientation of Relationship (30:11)

You've probably heard it at some point. It's often misread at weddings. People read this passage often at weddings. And they, I think, are misinterpreting it because what Paul's talking about is an agopic spiritual kind of love. Now, there should definitely be that aspect in a romantic relationship, but I don't think romantic relationships typically are understood by most people as venues in which agopic love is the primary focus. Let me read the passage to you. So Paul begins by saying, "And now I will show you the most excellent way." So he's showing you the most excellent way. This is, and it's the word excellent, the way in which we can most radically go through transformation and grow. I'll show you the most excellent way. Now, he's not going to make an argument like Plato. Instead, what he's going to do is he's going to, he's going to present everything from the framework of a participatory kind of knowing. That's how he begins. If I, so he's not making an argument, he's talking about what his very identity, how his identity is being in the way of his identity. Informed and transformed by its conformity to agopic love. If I speak in the tongues of men and angels but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging symbol. If I have the gift of prophecy and confound them all mysteries and all knowledge and if I have faith they can move mountains but have not love, I am nothing. Notice all the language here. This is participatory language. This is the language of knowing by identifying.

To Know Someone Deeply, We Will Know Others (32:23)

If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, because Christians are starting to be burnt, right? But I have not love, I gain nothing. Notice this language here. It's very radical. Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast. This of course is not romantic love because romantic love does. Experience envy and jealousy. It is not proud, it is not rude, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Those are the features you need in order to help and afford someone coming into personhood. Love never fails. Now we think, what are you talking about? I have been in so many relationships and they fail. That's because you are thinking of this as romantic love. That love does fail. What he means is agape can't fail. We are always born from and always have to give birth to agape, or personhood itself will disappear. But where there are prophecies, they will cease where there are tongues, they will be stilled, where there is knowledge, it will pass away. Now, he is trying to get them to understand, what are we talking about here? Before we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, perfection here meaning completion, the imperfect disappears. He gives a metaphor when we have seen elsewhere. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put child as ways behind me. When you are a kid, you have a particular identity, you have a particular salience landscape. Things really, really matter to you in a certain way. We talked about this when we talked about Sophoson. When you become an adult, your world becomes radically reoriented. What is salient and what is central to you is radically changed. I hope for many of you as adults, your life is not primarily centered upon and oriented towards the supersoniancy of candy and toys. If you are really oriented towards candies and toys and playing, then of course you are not growing up as an adult. When we go through agape, it is like the change in our salience landscape and our fundamental identity, how we participate in ourselves in the world is fundamentally transformed. That is what Paul is offering here. Then he says, "Look, you have to know what this means. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror, then we shall see face to face." Now I know in part, then I shall know fully even as I am fully known. Now these three remain, faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love. Now we are seeing a reflection. We are not in touch with reality. We are like the people in Plato's cave. We are looking at the shadows and the echo. We do not see things as they are. We are not in touch with reality. We are not in touch with agape. The most excellent way we will come to know as we are known. He is talking about this participatory love. Think about how when you are deep enough, even use a romantic relationship, one with some significant depth. When you really love someone, how you know them to the degree to which they know you. It is such a participatory way of knowing, you get to be in touch with their reality in a way that somebody else does not. That is part of the bargain of a mature understanding of a romantic relationship. You give up the extensive erotic pursuit of many different partners in order that you can deeply know and be known by someone else. That is like growing up, going from being a child to a man. Paul is actually talking about a way of knowing, the term that is being used there is "nossus" that is bound up with agape, this way of loving. All these things, God is agape. We forgive agape. We are forgiven by agape. We know as we are known, we are participating in becoming a person of others and then they are participating in ours. It is a powerful, new way of being. It has become so sedimented in our culture and so ossified and so below how we live.

Transcendence! (38:44)

It is like the ground we are walking on. Like the ground we walk on, we have contempt for it without realizing how much it holds everything up. I am not a Christian. I am not advocating for Christianity. I am trying to get you to understand how profound an expression of meaning, transcendence and way to wisdom is being on offer here.

Unpacking Paul And Greek Wisdom

Paul and the Greek Wisdom (39:21)

There is a dark side to this, I think. Here is where I will probably part company with people who identify as Christians. The difficulty with participatory knowing and this nossus, we will talk more about this knowing by participation and going through radical, meta-noi transformation. This nossus agape that Paul talks so much about, there is a danger with it. There is a danger of misunderstanding. We have to go carefully here. Look, when I am knowing someone participatory agopic relationship, knowing of them and knowing of myself are deeply, they are inseparably bound together. That is why Jesus will say his relationship he has to God is I and the Father are one. Paul will say, it is not I who live, but Christ who lives in me. This is knowing by this deep bonding of identity. You know not by transforming your thoughts or even your mind, you know by transforming yourself, but there is a danger to this. The danger is that any aspect of yourself that you do not properly understand, has not come into knowledge, can get projected onto what you love. This is the great danger also in the romantic relationship, precisely because you are so bound to this person in your identity, a lot of what is unconscious in your identity, get projected onto that person. See, this is why there is such a moral obligation on you when you enter into a romantic relationship to commit yourself to a process of self-knowledge in the Socratic sense, self-discovery, because the degree to which you are self-ignorant is the degree to which that participatory knowing will be darkened and twisted into a projection of aspects of yourself. And I think to my mind for all of his astonishing spiritual brilliance, that is also happening in Paul. See, the inner conflict in Paul was very profound. He comes up against the problem that many of us encounter. Aristotle talked about this with the craze and weakness of the will. We know what we should do and we do the opposite of what we know is the right thing to do. I know what I should do. It's clear in my mind that this is what I should do and yet I do this. Somehow, even though knowing what I should do, I find myself almost if I'm being pulled to do something else. And he describes it. Paul uses the language of somebody in the midst of a civil war who is standing at the center of their citadel and the outlying provinces are in revolt. And he experiences this radical inner conflict. There's lots of different theories about what this is, what's he so conflicted about. But Paul comes up with a narrative, of course it's going to be a narrative, right? He's in the Israel-like Jewish tradition. He comes up with a narrative for understanding this conflict. And it is the narrative that comes from a personalization of the notion of the movement from the two worlds as being a liberation from an old place and a movement to a new place, the exodus. Because Christianity is personalizing this, Paul experiences the exodus personally. He experiences, there's two of him. There's the old Saul who wants to follow the way of the law but is actually feels guilty and angry and feels disconnected from God and rejected by God. And then there's the new Paul, the Paul of love who feels connected. And he sees the old man and the new man. And what's happening is the new man is trying to be born from the old man. And so we have picked, this has become endemic to our culture. This idea of the old me and the new me. We think, oh this is just natural, I came up with this. Such bullshit we tell ourselves at times. The old me and the new me. Paul understands this. And he understands this tension between the old Saul that was committed to law and order and justice and punishment. And the new Paul who is participating in the liberation of love. And he's trying to understand why do I have this inner conflict? Because he's personalized the God of history, he understands his inner conflict. And here's where I think the danger of projection is clear. He understands his inner conflict as reflecting an inner conflict in God. God was actually conflicted within himself. It's a radical idea. And we need to know this. Not because again I'm trying to advocate for Christianity because we have to understand Paul in order to understand Augustine and in order to understand Luther. And we have to understand Augustine and Luther if we're going to understand the meaning crisis. So you've got this idea that God has two aspects to him or herself. One part is God represents law and justice and order. And insofar as God represents that, we are, we stand in judgment. We have somehow failed. We have not lived up to the moral perfection that morality demands for us. Look, Kant made a point about this. Morality demands nothing less than perfection from you. You have to be completely honest. You have to be completely courageous. And none of us can ever meet that standard. Now, I mean, we need to balance that with compassion and love. But what Paul is seeing is he's saying, well, God is perfectly just. And therefore we fail to meet that standard and therefore legally we are condemned to death. But yet God isn't just a judge. God is also the agopic parent that loves us. And so what he does is he takes the notion that Jesus is death was somehow sacrificial because we've talked about how sacrifice is born up within agopic love. And he gives it to this idea that Jesus sacrificed himself in order to satisfy God's demand for justice so that God was capable of really loving us. Now, there, and how that redemption model works out, there's all kinds of theological battles about it and whether or not we should understand it this way or that way is not relevant to our purposes. What's relevant is that within this astonishing foundational message of nausos and agape, there's also an attempt to project, sorry, this sounds so radical and I don't mean to make it sound ridiculous. I'm not, I'm trying to be respectful. But the idea that somehow the course of reality itself is a meshed in a conflict between justice and agape. What that's going to mean is that people that experience deep inner conflict are going to find a welcoming home within the auspices of Christianity. Individuals who are driven by a sense of personal failure of not living up to what they can and should be, that their personhood has been thwarted, they have not come into a fullness, a perfection, as Paul says, a completeness of their personhood are going to be deeply attracted to the Christian message. You're probably now seeing how this might be relevant to the meaning crisis. Because what happens if we still, because we are still participating in the waters of Christianity within our culture, even if we're not Christians, and most of us aren't anymore? How do we tap into all of this, the power of agape, acknowledging its reality, the participatory gnosis, the radical transformation, our own sense of not living up to the fullness of our personhood? What if we still experience all of that, but we do not have the machinery of Christianity with its metaphysics of cosmic redemption available to us? That could be a powerful experience of despair. I mean, Camus famously said, "My whole of my life, I've tried to figure out how can I be a saint without there being a God?" And he of course famously came to the conclusion that reality was radically absurd. And come back to that. So there is a price we pay, and this is not a statement of resentment, but there is a price we pay for the gifts to use a Christian word, the grace. That's what grace originally means. The gifts that Christianity has given us, has given us expectations of love and transformation and growth into personhood and relief from inner conflict. Expectations that I would say are not well met in our post-Christian worldview. So we carry the grammar of God, but we no longer believe any of the things we say with it for many of us.

Gnosticism And Neoplatonism (52:07)

What I'd like to do is try and now trace how Christianity, coming out of the Israelite Jewish heritage, and I've already sort of been making illusions of this, starts to intersect with the axial revolution that was coming out of Greece. Because Christianity is going to take up into itself, it's going to take up into itself the stoicism we've already talked about. Paul quotes stoicism in the Bible. And as it does that, it's also going to come into conflict, well some conflict actually to be honest, it's going to come into confluence with that strain of the axial revolution spirituality that came out of Greece. It's going to come into connection with neoplatonism. It's going to come into connection with Gnosticism.

Gnosticism And Neoplatonism (53:06)

So next time what I want to look at is I want to look at the Gnostics, these followers of Jesus, because of course it's controversial to call them Christians, who really center in on this Gnostus agape, what they were talking about, and the Neoplatonism. Because all of that is going to have an impact on the generation of more orders of meaning. We'll review that again, but if you remember we talked about how with Aristotle we had developed in the West a nomological order to meaning, a way in which we could pursue worldview attunement. We're going to see that as neoplatonism and Christianity come together, we're going to get two more orders of meaning emerging, an order by which we pursue the most excellent way, and an order by which this cosmic narrative history is enmeshed into the Western worldview. Thank you very much for your time and attention.

Understanding Gnosticism And Neoplatonism

Gnosticism And Neoplatonism (52:07)

What I'd like to do is try and now trace how Christianity, coming out of the Israelite Jewish heritage, and I've already sort of been making illusions of this, starts to intersect with the axial revolution that was coming out of Greece. Because Christianity is going to take up into itself, it's going to take up into itself the stoicism we've already talked about. Paul quotes stoicism in the Bible. And as it does that, it's also going to come into conflict, well some conflict actually to be honest, it's going to come into confluence with that strain of the axial revolution spirituality that came out of Greece. It's going to come into connection with neoplatonism. It's going to come into connection with Gnosticism.

Gnosticism And Neoplatonism (53:06)

So next time what I want to look at is I want to look at the Gnostics, these followers of Jesus, because of course it's controversial to call them Christians, who really center in on this Gnostus agape, what they were talking about, and the Neoplatonism. Because all of that is going to have an impact on the generation of more orders of meaning. We'll review that again, but if you remember we talked about how with Aristotle we had developed in the West a nomological order to meaning, a way in which we could pursue worldview attunement. We're going to see that as neoplatonism and Christianity come together, we're going to get two more orders of meaning emerging, an order by which we pursue the most excellent way, and an order by which this cosmic narrative history is enmeshed into the Western worldview. Thank you very much for your time and attention.

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