32 Comments

I don't think your qualifications at the end need hold us back. Far from there being no direct evidence of theology, it seems to me that philosophy *is* Hypsistarian theology. It isn't terribly surprising that temple inscriptions wouldn't include theology: you won't find much exegesis carved into the walls of cathedrals or mosques, either.

Now, until fairly recently, not much distinction was made in Christian society between philosophy, theology, and even natural philosophy. It was more a matter of emphasis, but everyone was presumed Christian. There's every reason to expect a similar lack of distinction in the ancient world.

It could well be that Hypsistarianism simply *was* the metareligious framework underpinning ancient "pagan" religion (pagan also being a Christian pejorative). Rather than developing out of polytheistic cults and philosophy, it would be the other way around: the various cults of gods, goddesses, demigods, and heroes were ritual and mythical ramifications of an underlying framework, while philosophy was the intellectualization of that core faith. With the faith being already quite universal, it wouldn't even necessarily have had a name, anymore than fish give a name to water.

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What a most beautiful calm before the storm. Thank you.

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Oct 18, 2023Liked by Tree of Woe

What a fascinating journey. Thank you.

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I would love to have a hardcopy of this series on my bookshelf- please do continue!

Also, can you elaborate on "Caelus Aeternus Iupiter ... was associated with the monotheistic god of the Jews (Yahweh)"? Was it the widespread view of the Hellenistic world that Jews worshipped Caelus?

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There is a commonplace phenomenon in modern thought, one that definitely partakes of the duplicity of Judaic thought: That crass aphorisms are in themselves pillars of truth. Case in point, the evil world and evil Demiurge. Taken at face value, this small unit of thought leads to all manner of value judgments, most of which border on the moral, which have nothing whatsoever to do with the actual structure of the Gnostic cosmos.

Christians especially are fond of this evil world/evil god aphorism because it enables them to assume an egomaniacal sense of superiority, but it has no fewer followers in Islam, and Judaism.

I've spent some time attempting to trace back this development in modern thought, only to conclude that it seems to have taken root amongst several pop culture "Gnostics" who are eager to offer a sexy, shocking, and emotionally charged exodus from abrahamism.

Whilst this is interesting from a sociological point of view, it is actually destructive to Gnosticism. Such a shock doctrine approach has, quite apparently convinced the modern mind that Gnosticism is a University based reactionary social movement.

Lost in this noise and glare are the deep mystical truths, stemming from the very essence of human existence. I would urge any reader of this piece to see, not simply an isolated phenomenon of an ancient religion, but a rung on the ladder, a single step in the staircase.

Gnostic and Hypsistarian most correctly belong to a much deeper and greater weave that they both take into an intimate participation. I have always called this the Western Mystical Tradition.

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Oddly enough, your reconstructed Hypsistarianism reminds me of Mormon doctrines in several ways.

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Also (just FYI) there might not be a next week :'P Just sayin!

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In general, Transmission is best done via Oral Tradition. Lower than that there is the Written word, and lower than that you have various levels of Archeological evidence (i.e. ruins, reconstruction, etc). So whilst the reconstruction you provide sounds compelling, it is sort of akin to Abductive Reasoning (i.e. "What sort of model best accounts for the data here?").

Sadly, I think one cannot go beyond said level. This btw is true for many past peoples. A lot of the Masterpieces of Pali and Prakrit literature (for example) are lost to the sands of time due to the bulk of them being written down on Palm leaves (which decay rapidly in a High Humidity climate like the Bengal Delta). It is a minor miracle that we even have a "Pali Canon" intact given said fact.

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I'm surprised by the explicit dualism. I had thus far assumed a Plotinian monism. This idea of two independent principles seems to harken back to the Indian system of Samkhya.

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> For angels do not assist all indifferently, but as when men swim at sea, those standing on the shore merely view in silence the swimmers who are still far out distant from land, whereas they help with hand and voice alike such as have near, and running along and wading in beside them bring them safely, in such, too, my friends, is the way of angels: as long as we are head over ears in the welter of worldly affairs and are changing body after body, like conveyances, they allow us to fight our way out and persevere unaided, as we endeavor by our own prowess to come through safe and reach a haven; but when in the course of countless births a soul has stoutly and resolutely sustained a long series of struggles, and as her cycle draws to a close, she approaches the upper world, bathed in sweat, in imminent peril and straining every nerve to reach the shore, God holds it no sin for her angel to go to the rescue

Contrast this "helping the virtuous first" attitude with the Christian "sinners first" attitude as exemplified in the parable of the prodigal son and the parable of the lost sheep.

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The idea of venerating excellence in any human is central to Caodaism.

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