(Walker B cov)
Gnosis is a term which means 'knowing' - subjective inner-knowing or insight, as opposed to analytic knowledge. Gnosticism is broadly the following which seeks and celebrates this form of direct knowing. In a narrower sense it is applied to the gnostic movement of early Christianity.
The Gnostic Background in the Perennial Philosophy
All religions in some sense claim to take us to the core of enlightenment. They apporach it in different ways. Although some Christians were professed mystics, despite coming within the orthodox tradition, in Christianity generally there is an attitude that forgiveness of sins comes only through Christ who is God, not through the transcending of ignorance in our own self-realization. Both the Vedantic tradition and Buddhism have embraced deeply this path of self-realization and convey some of the deepest insights within their traditions. Sufis also have such insight traditions as does the Kabbala. At an opposite extreme, nature shamanism has retained a primal sense of intimate spiritual contact with nature and with circumstance as had Taoism.
Gnosis represents for Christianity the lost esoteric tradition which claimed to carry the inner teachings of Jesus. This puts gnosticism in a very special position. Of all traditions and in common to the Jewish, Christian and Islamic traditions Christ has a unique status as the herald of the transformative epoch. The two millennia of Christianity pivots on this sense of historical culmination. For Buddhism and Vedanta, the epochs culminate in the Kali-yuga but in a more endless cyclic manner in the round of incarnation and the void.
Tractates on Gnosticism
Ouroboros Gnostic Web Ring
The Gnostic Inner Way of Christ-nature
Gnosticism is one of the most esoteric of the mystery traditions, because it was repressed in the first three centuries AD. Although historians had always known there were early heretical gnostic Christian sects from a few scraps of literature and the diatribes of the Orthodox bishops, it was only when the Nag Hammadi texts, which had lain buried in jars since being sequestered at the time the gnostics were repressed, were discovered that the full diversity of gnosticism and the very early nature of some of the key texts came to be fully appreciated. The Nag Hammadi texts are a diverse spectrum ranging from source sayings [Gospel of Thomas and The Dialogue of the Savior], and esoteric treatises of later origin.
"Scholars have attributed the origins of gnosticism to a number of sources: the Greek mystery cults; Zoroastrianism; the Kabbalah of Judaism; and Egyptian religion. It has also been suggested it represents the original tradition of Egyptian Christianity. The early Christians considered Simon Magus (Acts 8:9-24) the founder of gnosticism. His doctrine, like that of other gnostic teachers, had nothing in common with the knowledge of the mysteries of God that Saint Paul called wisdom (1 Cor. 2:7)." - Grollier 93
The Ascent of the Blessed Bosch (Godwin).
Gnostics had a much more multifaceted view of divinity in which God was revealed as a demiurge who assumed dictatorial power over the primal silence and as a feminine spirit of Wisdom in Sophia and even in the shocking paradoxical feminine Magdalen in Thunder - Perfect Mind. Many gnostics took a literal view of the second law of thermodynamics and saw the world as a dualistic one in which the darkness of matter a product of the demiurge bound them from spiritual liberation and the light, and in Manichaeism, females and sexuality were seen as physical snares. Such movements regarded procreation as a snare to be avoided to prevent the spirit being again entrapped in the flesh. They thus embraced contraception. Certain of the gnostics including the Carpocratians, Valentinus and Marcion had realtively liberated attitudes to sexual relationship and particulary to sexual equality in the church to the ire of orthodox bishops like Iranaeus. There was even a gnostic group following Carpocrates headed by a female bishop Marcellina who claimed a secret tradition going back to Mary, Martha and Salome. Although these self-styled themselves as gnostic, some authors prefer to refer only to the body-hating ascetic forms as gnostic. This belies the root title of 'knowing'.
Several gnostic texts document a tension between Magdalen and Peter which represents the overthrow of Magdalen's founding exaltation tradition by the orthodox male-dominated clergy - a methaphor of rthe repression of the gnostics.
Although the gnostics included many separatist sects, which embraced diverse exotic philosophies and beliefs, some of the gnostic traditions exemplified by The Gospel of Thomas and possibly The Dialogue of the Saviour extend back even further than the synoptic gospels of the Bible (Crossan).
Traditional Christianity asks us to worship Jesus as a forgiveness-granting God, far removed from ourselves into cosmic stature. Although this attitude of submission is good for overcoming ego, it is devastating to our sense of personal enlightenment. This is precisely where gnosticism is utterly democratic. As Elaine Pagels has so poetically pointed out, in the Gospel of Thomas, the Christ state is shared between Jesus and his 'twin' Thomas in a metaphor which extends to all humanity as gnostic Christs - 'that which you find within yourselves will save you if you have it within you'. When asked who am I (Christ) he answers 'I am not your master, you have drunk from the bubbling stream that I have measured out'. Ignorance, not sin (missing the [moral] mark) is the source of suffering.
"In the dualistic view transcendent God was removed from all matter by a succession of intermediary eternal beings called aeons. The aeons emanated as couples (male and female); the complete series constituted the Pleroma, the fullness of the Godhead. Beyond the Pleroma were the material universe and human beings to be saved. In gnostic thought, a divine seed was imprisoned in every person. The purpose of salvation was to deliver this divine seed from the matter in which it was lost. " - Grollier 93
The gnostic sense of knowledge also embraced a sense of metaphysics or even physics. It is also the knowledge of the elements of the universe, a significant point when the Genesis of Eden is considered as a gnostic work.
An orthodox man debates with a begherd accompanied by a donkey in mendicant garb, while a citizen in the distance runs up to offer him bread (Lerner).
The Heresy of the Free Spirit
Throughout the middle ages, a variety of gnostic movements existed, from the Cathars and Albigenses who were 'pure in spirit' and partook of nakedness to resume the innocence of Eden but were effectively exterminated in a bloody crusade against them in France to the Heresy of the Free Spirit whose followers also embraced sexual freedom and enlightened amorality, allowing all actions to be permissable to the initiates who had experienced the godhead in inner ecstasy. They sanctified the sexual act as 'Christerie'.
The traditions of such gnosticism appear to source back to the first centuries AD and in the fourth century around Edessa and Harran wandering Euchites sexually-liberated ascetics become noted as a problem from the beginning of the Armenian church. Later these ideas were promulgated via the Sufis to Europe where they again took root to sustain five centuries of Inquistion and burning for heresy, because of the popularity of the cult, especially among women.
Two works by women have given the Free Spirit movement much of its spiritual identity. The first is the famous Mirror of Simple Souls by Marguerite Porete (Cohn, Lerner) and the anonymous Sister Catherine. The Mirror of Simple Souls was a famous work of gnostic illumination which invokes the realms of enlightenment, outstripping the Christian orthodox view as the higher levels of illumination are reached with an autonomous realization of God-nature or Christ-nature. The Mirror was very popular throughout Europe and was translated into many European languages. Marguerite herself, like Joan of Arc was burned at the stake for her beliefs, remaining even more steadfasat than Joan in the face of anihilation.
Sister Catherine (Cohn, Lerner) is a different type of work although it portrays the same path of initial humility and final realization of Christ-nature. This is an anonymous work in which Catherine after wandering in humility achieves gnosis at the encouragement of a Begherd male associate who is entitled Meister Eckhart. In fact this underscores a great difficulty for while Meister Eckhart (Lerner, Zweig) claimed to reject the heresies, he was himself tried for heresy and took such a position that he had an avid following on both sides of the iron curtain of orthodoxy. It is testiment in itself that Christianity's most renowned mystic can never be fully disentangled from the Free Spirit movement.
Historians have great difficulty characterizing the Free Spirit movement and all have tended to project thier own idealogies on to the movement. This is partly a consequence of the mysterious indefinability of a movement whose individuals varied in their perspectives in the very freedom they entertained. Several historians have tended to describe the Free Spirits as indulgent, self-absorbed and sexually deceitful. This is a classic misunderstanding of gnostic empowerment. To realize the divine within is not self-preoccupation but the abyss of mysticism and the source of enlightenment. Norman Cohn and Paul Zweig both perceive the Free Spirits in this way.
However Free Spirits, like Kaballists and Sufis were following the natural divine source - the source of free-will and self-realization, not merely self-absorption. This is the unspeakable truth the orthodox would have us banish to maintain the civility of social control. But the cost is angst, alienation and fall from grace into mortal fallibility. Zweig's essays span a huge sweep from the pre-Christian gnostic tradition origination around Harran through the Free Spirits to the modern era. As his theme is narcissism, the entire gnostic tradition is discussed with a narcissistic gloss.
Others have seen them as political anarchists in chaotic struggle against the orthodox political order. Lerner invests the Free Spirits with a much more virtuous but at the same time more conventional honesty. He denies their insincerity and self-cherishing perceiving them to be spiritually committed and humble but classes the Free Spirits as much closer to dissident orthodox, again diminishing the gnostic condition. Central to the historians misperception of the Free Spirits is the notion that non-acceptance of social orthodoxy is either self-absorbed anarchy or sincerely devoted escapism.
All of these historical perspectives display a "seeing through a glass darkly" at a distance from the divine personal realization that gnosis represents. It's capacity to transform society is at the source of the Christian
These perspectives on the Free Spirit movement show how gnostic empowerment can become inverted if it is not balanced by a caring for and reverence for the physical world, for according to Cohn, the free spirit movement became so intoxicated with becoming God they both went beyond God and then imagined they had become the creative masters of destiny, displaying indifference to the affairs of the world and using all creatures in their creative act. Of course this is true in an important sense, but the measure of our meaningfullness is in fulfilling natural paradise, not indifference.
Jungian Archetype and Gnosis
Carl Jung founded his psychology on alchemy as a bridge between gnosticism and the modern unconscious: "As far as I could see, the tradition that might have connected gnosis with the present seemed to have been severed, and for a long time it proved impossible to find any bridge that led from gnosticism - or neo-Platonism - to the contemporary world. But when I began to understand alchemy, I realized that it represented the historical link with gnosticism, and that a continuity therefore existed between past and present ... This was of course a momentous discovery. I had stumbled upon the historical counterpart of my psychology of the unconscious. The possibility of a comparison with alchemy and the uninterrupted intellectual chain back to gnosticism gave substance to my psychology" (Jung 1963 227-231).
Jung poses acutely the incarnational dilemma - that existence is an historical quandary in which the subject and the universe live out a psychodrama:
"The meaning of my existence is that life has addressed a question to me. Or, conversely I myself am a question which is addressed to the world, and I must communicate my answer, for otherwise I am dependent on the world's answer. That is a supra-personal life task, which I accomplish only with effort and with difficulty. Perhaps it is a question which pre-occupied my ancestors, and which they could not answer. Could that be why I am so impressed by the fact that the conclusion of Faust has no solution? Or by a problem on which Nietsche foundered: the Dionysian side of life to which the Christian seems to have lost the way?" (Jung 1963 350).
In addressing evil, Jung moves directly and very powerfully to the gnostic prototype in stating first that current myth has no solution, and then stating that the solution is that we all become God through Christ-nature twinning - the filatio:
"The old question posed by the gnostics, "Whence comes evil"? has been given no answer by the Christian world, and Origen's cautious suggestion of a possible redemption of the devil was termed a heresy. Today we are compelled to meet that question, but we stand empty-handed, bewildered and perplexed, and cannot even get into our heads that no myth will come to our aid, although we have such an urgent need for one. As a result of the political situations and the frightful, not to say diabolic, triumphs of science, we are shaken by secret shudders and dark forebodings, but we know no way out, and very few persons indeed draw the conclusion that this time the issue is the long-since forgotten soul of man.
A further development of myth might well begin with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles, by which they were made into sons of God, and not only they, but all others who through them and after them received the filatio - sonship of God - and thus partook of the certainty that they were more than just autochthonous animalia sprung from the earth, that as the twice-born, they had their roots in divinity itself" (Jung 1963 350).
This is incredibly significant because it is saying that the solution to the problem of evil is to undo the Christian schizophrenia in which Christ-nature is removed from humanity by a resurgence of the gnostic transference. This is born-again in the psychic as opposed to evangelical sense, just as the adoption of the Nagual in Toltec shamanism is seconday to one's natal Tonal persona.
Gnosis is actually a natural manifestation of our consciousness. Just as dreaming is a natural condition of brain function, so gnosis is a wider and deeper manifestation of incarnational and synchronistic reality. That's why this article is called the gnosis of Homo sapiens. It is our natural insight, not some contrived or learned condition. It is illumination in which the natural and transcendental meet in space-time. It is this fusion which gives it awesome potential in our lives and in healing the planet and despite its occluded and repressed past give it a central status within the Western tradition as the source of historically-conscious illumination.
This sense of historicity is pivotal when we come to see the power of archetypal myth in capturing the existential condition of humanity. In terms of the western tradition gnosticism in a sense represents the lost holy grail of knowledge of the divine condition, which when released in us is a enlightenment not only from our attachments but into true knowing.
What can this mean? Valentinus put it very well when he described the gnostic church: "The church is that portion of humanity that recognizes and celebrates its divine origin." The awesome unstoppable power of gnosis is this. The most complete immediate manifestation of the divine is in our illuminated natural selves.
This is utterly awesome cosmology which brings it all back home to us. We are here somehow carrying out the divine act. Given these circumstances you could say it is all the more horrific if we live out the universe without coming to know this natural condition, for our actions then become devastating to the natural condition and to ourselves.
It is this sense of divine indwelling that the gnostic carried as a democratic inner empowerment of Christ nature. The key difference of perspective is that we all become Christ nature through recognising the 'self' within us. Gnostics describe this self in the masculine as the Anthropos or archetypal man. Christ as the Son of Man is then the Son of the Anthropos archetype as noted by Carl Jung himself. This is a spiritual condition which enters the physical condition and allows for the person to be simultaneously physical persona and illuminated psyche. This is very similar in a sense to the Aztec notions of Tonal and Nagual and raises an important illustration of just how deep the essence of gnosticism goes into the stream of consciousness.
One can also draw a parallel between moksha, samadhi or enlightenment, and gnostic illumination. However gnosis is conceived as a natural insight in the source sayings of Thomas 'that which you have within you'. The Eastern tradition tends to see this condition more as a perfection through dedicated practice than a natural state of knowing. Gnosis comes closer to the shamanistic descent down the world tree.
Although gnosticism often tended to duality in which the physical was regarded as bondage, there is a continuing theme of redemption through gender union. In the Gospel of Philip it says: "Redemption is the holy of holies. The holy of holies is the bride chamber. ... If the woman [Eve] had not separated from the man [Adam] she should not die with the man. Christ came to repair the separation which was from the beginning and again unite the two." This is a major theme of gender reunion 'the two become one' which is the source of a new gnostic vision of the male/female complementary rather than dualistic idea of reality healed.
For me gnosticism has grown from a quaint antiquated mystery cult into an expression of quantum-nonlocality in action, embracing synchronicity and archetype with a stunning prophetic validity which is historicity and consciousness in interaction.
The two becoming one in gnosticism embraces a tradition in which the spiritual and physical become one in illuminated action attuned to our relationship with nature and destiny. This type of awareness is somehow more immediate than enlightenment, something more akin to the ideal of the bodhisattva.
It comes also as an awesomely powerful image of spiritual incarnation, perhaps the most powerful cosmic source vision. This is that we are all utterly ancient spirits of the creation, the one ancient spirit manifesting in many individual forms. Each of us carries the eternal divine archetype. We are this archetype incarnated in individual form. This ancient spirit is invincible and compassionate. It returns in each of us to make the journey of incarnation to be the physical manifestation of the divine realizing itself in the flesh.
If we try to conceive of the power of the divine essence, how much greater that power when it comes in complete attunement with the most complex and subtle piece of matter in the known universe, the conscious human brain. This is at once lifting us to a position of immense responsibility because we are in this sense creators of paradise or hell 'That which you have within you will save you if you have it within you. That which you do not have within you will kill you if you do not have it within you' - Gospel of Thomas.
This provides a new sense of illumination, not just seeking peace from suffering through meditative equanimity, but the eternal creative condition, in which even the natural world is saved through insightful action. Indeed the gnostic vision brings us directly to recognizing the divine in the natural world 'the Kingdom is spread before you but you yourselves do not see it' - Gospel of Thomas.
The Marcellina Source Papers
This collection of background source passages gives what little is known about Marcellina and her gnostic following. She was said to be a disciple of Carpocrates and to follow a tradition sourcing from Magdalen, Martha and Salome. Carpocrates' teachings supported sexual liberation in a precursor movement to the Free Spirit following in the Middle Ages and he was purported to have used and amended the secret version of Mark's gospel.
Both the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Mary mention the rejection of Magdalen's teaching by Peter in terms which equate the orthodox church with the patriarchal Peter rejecting the gnostic illumination of Mary.
Many historians say that all the later sects derive from Simon Magus. Satornilos of Syria was an ascetic who also taught at Antioch in the early 2nd century. Cerinthus (mid-1st century) from Asia Minor, taught ideas about the Unknown God and the overshadowing of Jesus by the Christ. Carpocrates (c. AD 117-138) headed a Gnostic school in Alexandria, and Marcellina, a female disciple, spread his teaching to Rome about AD 160. These were the early teachers, of whom little is known. More can be said about the 'heros' of Gnosticism such as Marcion and Valentinus.
Having a somewhat different character are the Montanists or Priscillianists, including Priscilla, Maximilla and Quintella. These also involved a millennialist prophetic movement with women leaders, but here the emphasis was on chastity. Montanus was said by Tertullan to be a eunuch. Nevertheless they were portrayed by the orthodox as allegedly sexually adventurous, verbally and theologically untrammeled, divorced from her rightful (private) sphere. As put bu the Dictionary of Christian Biography "If Montanus had tirumphed, Christian doctrine would have been developed, not under the superintendence of the Christian teachers most esteemed for wisdom, but of wild and excitable women" (Trevett 151).
1: Irenaeus "Against Heresies: "From among these also arose Marcellina, who came to Rome under [the episcopate of] Anicetus, and, holding these doctrines, she led multitudes astray. They style themselves Gnostics. "
Irenaeus, b. Anatolia, c.140-60, d. c.200, known as the father of Catholic theology, is the most important theologian of the 2d century AD.
2: Celsus: "While some of the Christians proclaim [that] they have the same god as do the Jews, others insist that there is another god higher than the creator-god and opposed to him. And some Christians teach that the Son came from this higher god. Still others admit of a third god - those, that is to say, who call themselves gnostics - and still others, though calling themselves Christians, want to live according to the laws of the Jews. I could also mention those who call themselves Simonians after Simon, and those naming themselves Helenians after Helen, his consort. There are Christian sects named after Marcellina, Harpocratian Christians who trace themselves to Salome, and some who follow Mariamne and others who follow Martha, and still others who call themselves Marcionites after their leader, Marcion. (90-91)" [Note: Harpocrates is 'Horus']
Celsus was a 2nd-century Greek philosopher, who in his True Discourse (c.178) criticized the Christian belief in Jesus as the incarnation of God and attacked Christianity as a threat to the state. The book, now lost, is known through the reply made in the 3rd century by Origen in his Contra Celsum.
3: Heracleon: Fragment 49, on Matthew 3:11 John says, "I baptise you with water, but there comes after me one who baptizes with spirit and fire." (Matthew 3:11) He baptized no one with fire. But some have marked with fire the ears of those who are sealed, and have thus understood the apostolic word. (Heracleon is referring here to the gnostic group lead by Marcellina.)
Heracleon was one of the most respected teachers of the Valentinian school at Rome in the late second century. Fragments 1 to 48 come from his commentary on the Gospel of John and are preserved by Origen in his own commentary on that gospel. The last two fragments from commentaries on Matthew and Luke respectively are preserved by Clement of Alexandria.
4: Clement on Carpocrates and the secret Mark:
The following passage illustrates that Carpocrates had access to the secret tradition of Mark.
Clement responds by recounting a new story about the Gospel of Mark. After Peter's death, Mark brought his original gospel to Alexandria and wrote a "more spiritual gospel for the use of those who were being perfected." Clement says this text is kept by the Alexandrian church for use only in the initiation into "the great mysteries."
However, Carpocrates the heretic, by means of magical stealth, obtained a copy and adapted it to his own ends. Because this version of the "secret" or "mystery" gospel had been polluted with "shameless lies," Clement urges Theodore to deny its Markan authorship even under oath. "Not all true things are to be said to all men," he advises.
Theodore has asked questions about particular passages of the special Carpocratian Gospel of Mark, and by way of reply Clement transcribes two sections which he claims have been distorted by the heretics.
According to an apocryphal finding by Morton Smith, the first fragment of the Secret Mark Gospel, records the Lazarus' resurrection followed by a secret night empowerment of the man, who loves Jesus, into the mystery of the Kingdom. The second fragment inserted into Mark 10.46. reads "Then he came into Jericho. And the sister of the young man whom Jesus loved was there with his mother and Salome, but Jesus would not receive them." (Wilson I 26).
The first fragment of the Secret Gospel of Mark, meant to be inserted between Mark 10.34 and 35, reads:"They came to Bethany. There was one woman there whose brother had died. She came and prostrated herself before Jesus and spoke to him. "Son of David, pity me!" But the disciples rebuked her. Jesus was angry and went with her into the garden where the tomb was. Immediately a great cry was heard from the tomb. And going up to it, Jesus rolled the stone away from the door of the tomb, and immediately went in where the young man was. Stretching out his hand, he lifted him up, taking hold his hand. And the youth, looking intently at him, loved him and started begging him to let him remain with him. And going out of the tomb, they went into the house of the youth, for he was rich. And after six days Jesus gave him an order and, at evening, the young man came to him wearing nothing but a linen cloth. And he stayed with him for the night, because Jesus taught him the mystery of the Kingdom of God. And then when he left he went back to the other side of the Jordan."
Then a second fragment of Secret Mark is given, this time to be inserted into Mark 10.46. This has long been recognized as a narrative snag in Mark's Gospel, as it awkwardly reads, "Then they come to Jericho. As he was leaving Jericho with his disciples..." This strange construction is not present in Secret Mark, which reads:
"Then he came into Jericho. And the sister of the young man whom Jesus loved was there with his mother and Salome, but Jesus would not receive them."
5: Concerning Justice - by Ephiphanes, son of Carpocrates.
From Clement's Stromata we have this passage by Carpocrate's son which indicates communistic sharing and a sympathy with free love, and even theft, in common with the Free Spirit movement.
"The rightousness of God is a kind of sharing along with equality. There is equality in the heaven which is stretched out in all directions and contains the entire earth in its circle. The night reveals all the stars equally. The light of the sun, which is the cause of the daytime and the father of light, God pours out from above upon the earth in equal measure to all who have power to see. For all see alike, since here is no distinction between rich and poor, people and governor, stupid and clever, female and male, free men and slaves. Even the irrational animals are not accorded any different treatment; but in just the same way God pours out from above sunlight equally upon all the animals. He establishes his justice to both good and bad by seeing that none is able to get more than his share and to deprive his neighbor, so that he has twice the light his neighbor has."
"The Sun causes food to grow for all living beings alike; the universal justice is given to all equally. In this respect there is no difference between the species of oxen and particular oxen, between the species of pigs and particular pigs, between the species of sheep and particular sheep, and so with all the rest. In them universality is manifest in justice. Furthermore all plants after their kind are sown equally in the earth. Common nourishment grows for all beasts which feed on the earth's produce; to all it is alike. It is regulated by no law, but rather is harmoniously available to all through the gift of him who gave it and commanded it to grow."
"And for birth there is no written law; otherwise it would have been transcribed. All beings beget and give birth alike, having received by justice an innate equality.The Creator and father of all with his own justice appointed this, just as he gave equally the eye to all to enable them to see. He did not make a distinction between female and male, rational and irrational, nor between anything else at all; rather he shared out sight equally and universally. It was given to all alike by a single command. As the laws could not punish men who were ignorant of them, they thaught man to transgress. For particularity of the laws cut up and destroyed the universal equality of the divine law..."
"The ideas of Mine and Thine crept in through the laws which cause the earth, money, and even marriage no longer to bring forth fruit of common use. For God made vines for all to use in common, since they do not refuse the sparrow or the thief; and similarly wheat and other fruits. But outlawed sharing and the vestiges of equality generated the thief of domestic animals and fruits. For man God made all things to be common property. He brought the female to be with the male in common and in the same way united all the animals. He thus showed rightousness to be a universal sharing along with equality. But those who have been born in this way have denied the sharing which is the corollary of their origin and say Let him who has taken one woman keep her, whereas all can share her, just as the other animals show us. With view to the permanence of the race, he has implanted in males a strong and ardent desire which neither law nor custom nor any other restraint is able to destroy. For it is God's decree......"
"Consequently one must understand the saying You shall not desire as if the lawgiver was making a jest, to which he added the even more comic words Your neighbors goods. For he himself gave the desire to sustain the race orders that it is to be supposed, though he removes it from no other animals. And by the words Your neighbors wife he says something even more ludicrous, since he forces what should be common property to be treated as private posession."
from Clement of Alexandrias Stromaties.