isis unveiled, vol 2: chapter iv (gnostic ophites)

“Considering that Deuteronomy tells us that the “Lord” Himself buried Moses in a valley of Moab, (xxxiv., 6), “and no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day”, this biblical lapsus inguae of Jude gives a strong coloring to the assertions of some of the Gnostics. They claimed but what was secretly taught by the Jewish kabalists themselves; to wit – that the highest supreme God was unknown and invisible; “the King of Light is a closed eye”; that Ilda-Baoth, the Jewish second Adam, was the real Demiurge; and that Iao, Adonai, Sabaoth, and Eloi were the quaternary emanation which formed the unity of the God of the Hebrews – Jehovah. Moreover, the latter was also called Michael and Samael by them, and regarded but as an angel, several removes from the Godhead.

In holding to such a belief, the Gnostics countenanced the teachings of the greatest of the Jewish doctors, Hillel, and other Babylonian divines. Josephus shows the great deference of the official Synagogue in Jerusalem to the wisdom of the schools of Central Asia. The colleges of Sora, Pumbiditha, and Nahaidea were considered the headquarters of esoteric and theological learning by all the schools of Palestine.

The Chaldean version of the Pentateuch, made by the well-known Babylonian divine, Onkelos, was regarded as the most authoritative of all; and it is according to this learned Rabbi that Hillel and other Tanaim after him held that the Being who appeared to Moses in the burning bush, on Mount Sinai, and who finally buried him, was the angel of the Lord, Memro, and not the Lord Himself; and that he whom the Hebrews of the Old Testament mistook for Iahoh was but His messenger, one of His sons, or emanations.

All this establishes but one logical conclusion – namely, that the Gnostics were by far the superiors of the disciples, in point of education and general information; even in a knowledge of the religious tenets of the Jews themselves. While they were perfectly well-versed in the Chaldean wisdom, the well-meaning, pious, but fanatical as well as ignorant disciples, unable to fully understand or grasp the religious spirit of their own system, were driven in their disputations to such convincing logic as the use of “brute beasts”, “sows”, “dogs”, and other epithets so freely bestowed by Peter. Since then, the epidemic has reached the apex of the sacerdotal hierarchy.”

H. P. Blavatsky

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