Advaita and Christianity

Sankaran Kartik Jayanarayanan kartik at ECE.UTEXAS.EDU
Thu Mar 23 18:31:32 CST 2000

On Thu, 23 Mar 2000, Vivek Anand Ganesan wrote:

> In a different thread,
>  "Can iishvara pull out a jiiva from bondage?",
>  ShrI Cowart wrote:
> > There is a strong non-dual tradition in Christianity
> > (Eckhardt and
> > others).
> Hello :
>   I have been wondering about this for a while. I would
> like
> to learn more.  I have given a few bits of knowledge that
> I have culled.  Any corrections and/or comments are
> welcome.
> I. Gnosis and Pistis
> --------------------
>   Since Early Christian theology was mostly influenced by
> Greek philosophy most Christian terms are Greek.  I have
> specifically come across two that have caught my attention.
> Gnosis = Realization = Jnana ( Is it so? )

The words "GYAna" (Sanskrit), "Gnosis" (greek), "gnosko" (Latin), "know"
(English), "kennen" (German), etc. are all related, being words of
Indo-European origin.

But the word "gnosis" in Greek philosophy doesn't have anything to do with
mystical realization, in the advaitic sense or otherwise. It's simply a
referent to knowledge in the philosophical context.

> Pistis = Faith ( I don't know the Sanskrit equivalent ).
> It is possible that there was some Indian influence on
> Greek
> philosophy, especially since Pythogras had studied in
> India.

This is most probably not accurate. There are stories about Plato, Jesus,
etc. visiting India to learn philosophy/religion, and not one of them is
taken seriously by historians.

>   Only recently did I learn about the Gnostic school of
> Christianity ( from a Hollywood movie, no less ).  It seems
> that this school was quite popular in the early days but
> was
> later persecuted by the doyens of orthodoxy.  They
> emphasize
> inner-realization ( Gnosis ).It also seems that a papal
> bull
> was passed that outlawed Gnosis and established only
> pistis.

Interesting! What's the name of this movie?

> II. Dogma and Kerygma
> ---------------------
>   These are two more terms which might have some
> commonality
> with Indian thought.  Specifically, Is
>   Dogma = Dharma and Kerygma = Karma?

You can consult, a pretty good resource.

AFAIK, the word "dharma" means "to hold firm" and has its counterpart in
the Latin "firmus." Whereas the word "Dogma" is derived from "Dek" meaning
"to accept." I don't think they are related.

"Kerygma" means "to preach" -- not sure how it can be connected to Karma.

> Thanks in advance,
> -Vivek.


bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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