The Gnostic Moses

“The Gnostic Moses does not circumscribe within space Him [YHWH] that cannot be circumscribed, he said up no image in the temple to be worshiped; showing that God was invisible and incapable of being circumscribed; and somehow leading the Hebrews to the conception of God by the honor for His [sic] name in the temple. Further, the Word, prohibiting the constructing of temples and all sacrifices intimate that the Almighty is not contained in anything[.] “- Clement of Alexandria, The Carpets [my translation for the work, Miscellanies], Book 5, Chapter 11

Last night this quote came to me as I was reading a blog post on theology and the human experience. It made a lot of positive claims, but how much of our experience can become an idol itself? My other thought was for latest Patristics Carnival, a lot of posts dealt with “the New Gnosticism” as if history is circular (a reactionary posture for sure), and Gnosticism means what it says we mean. The use of the term is far more complex than we realize. In this context, Moses is a Gnostic in that he has a close relationship with YHWH. Clement’s use of the term just isn’t as partisan as others would like.

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