Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Wikipedia page on Sophia

Book of Proverbs

Jewish Alexandrine religious philosophy was much occupied with the concept of the Divine Sophia, as the revelation of God's inward thought, and assigned to her not only the formation and ordering of the natural universe,[12] but also the communication of all insight and knowledge to mankind. In Proverbs 8 Wisdom (the noun is feminine) is described as God's Counsellor and Workmistress (Master-workman, R.V.), who dwelt beside Him before the Creation of the world and sported continually before Him.

In accordance with the description given in the Book of Proverbs, a dwelling-place was assigned by the Gnostics to the Sophia, and her relation to the upper world defined as well as to the seven planetary powers which were placed under her. The seven planetary spheres or heavens were for the ancients the highest regions of the created universe. They were thought of as seven circles rising one above another, and dominated by the seven Archons. These constituted the (Gnostic) Hebdomad. Above the highest of them, and over-vaulting it, was the Ogdoad, the sphere of immutability, which was nigh to the spiritual world.[13] Now we read inProverbs 9:1:

Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars:

These seven pillars being interpreted of the planetary heavens, the habitation of the Sophia herself was placed above the Hebdomad in the Ogdoad.[14] It is said further of the same divine wisdom (Proverbs 8:2):

She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths.

This meant, according to the Gnostic interpretation, that the Sophia has her dwelling-place "on the heights" above the created universe, in the place of the midst, between the upper and lower world, between the Pleroma and the ektismena. She sits at "the gates of the mighty," i.e. at the approaches to the realms of the seven Archons, and at the "entrances" to the upper realm of light her praise is sung. The Sophia is therefore the highest ruler over the visible universe, and at the same time the mediatrix between the upper and the lower realms. She shapes this mundane universe after the heavenly prototypes, and forms the seven star-circles with their Archons under whose dominion are placed, according to the astrological conceptions of antiquity, the fates of all earthly things, and more especially of man. She is "the mother" or "the mother of the living."[15]As coming from above, she is herself of pneumatic essence, the mētēr phōteinē[16] or the anō dynamis,[17] from which all pneumatic souls draw their origin.

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