Agnoetae

December 18th

I don’t even know by means of which Wikipedia rabbit hole I went through to get to the article about Agnoetae — a Christian sect from the Late Antiquity that denied the omniscience of Jesus. I think I started by reading about travelers in Central Asia in the Medieval Ages and link by link, click by click, I arrived at a page about them. But that is not important here — that particular sect and their belief system is.

I am an atheist with a strong anticlerical bent, and have been like that since I was about 15–16 years old. Before that, I was a good and proper Catholic. I was even an altar boy since my First Communion at my local church. I guess seeing priests up close with all their foibles and questionable behavior, talking with them daily and seeing their failings as people started the process of questioning religion. Then, around the time I started high school, I read the Bible in its entirety and had a lot of questions. Boy, I had a lot of questions about what I read in there! And there was nobody from so-called men-of-God who could answer them.

No matter — since that time, not believing in God didn’t stop my interest in history and theology of the Early Christianity. I don’t know how many books on that subject I read so far — but it has to be in hundreds so far. I also read the whole Bible again three more times (different versions by translation — ESV, RSV, NJB) and each time I had even more questions that reason and scholarship can not answer. There is something about the Middle East, from Egypt to Persia to Byzantium, between III and VI centuries (or a Late Antiquity may be the better term) that constantly keeps my interest. It’s not just that during that time the Christianity become a dominant, state sanctioned religion and stayed like that until today in Western Culture. It’s not just that, if I like it or not, as a European — I am a product of history and culture and politics and wars that were based on teaching of Jesus that were set and interpreted during that era.

For me, it is about different interpretations and beliefs and thinking of so many Christian sects and churches in that era. They were all based on four canonical gospels and some epistles (and the Book of Revelation that, for me, is the most important and wonderful book in the Bible, next only to Ecclesiastes from the Old Testament) with so many widely varied schools of thought. Before the orthodox canon of Christianity was set as a foundation of papacy — there were Arians, Nestorians, Apollinarians, Ebionites, Gnostics, supporters of Docetism, Marcionism, Montanism, Adoptionism. The names themselves are mysterious and exotic and forgotten — but for me, learning about them is a constant source of knowledge and interest and curiosity and simple pleasure. Even, or maybe because, of me being an atheist.

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“for they knew what sort of noise it was; they recognize, by now, the footsteps of the Furies”. Enjoying life on the road to recovery. Observing and writing.

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footsteps of the Furies

footsteps of the Furies

“for they knew what sort of noise it was; they recognize, by now, the footsteps of the Furies”. Enjoying life on the road to recovery. Observing and writing.

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