Thomas, Gnosticism and WordPress Polls

OK.  So you can do polls in WordPress, and I have worked out how they worked, thanks to 35 people who voted in mine.  I am not sure, however, why one might bother.

I can say quite categorically that of the 35 people who voted in my poll, only 11 think that it is a gnostic text and one of those admits that this is not a personal opinion, but something s/he read somewhere. The other 24, together with Mike and Paul, who wrote comments, think it is something else.  Given the nature of this blog, it is probably reasonable to suggest that at least some of the voters are familiar with the debate, but who knows who voted and therefore whether this is a reasonable representation of current thinking in the field or not? WordPress polls only allow you to ask one question per poll, so you can’t get demographics to go with the answers.

In addition, as was pointed out to me in an email, who knows what definition of gnostic the respondents were using?  I personally warm to Birger Pearson’s as found in Ancient Gnosticism Traditions and Literature. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2007. (This book is currently sitting on my desk at home, so I can’t replicate it here, but it’s a much tighter definition than the one Michael Williams rejects in Rethinking “Gnosticism”:  An Argument for Dismantling a Dubious Category. paperback ed. Vol. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1999.)

So, probably no more polls on this blog.

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3 thoughts on “Thomas, Gnosticism and WordPress Polls

  1. Pingback: Gnosticism « neopsychedelic

  2. After extensive research, I have found the term gnostic, in the true sense of the word, is very specific. Unfortunately, many modern cults have adopted the term, which has corrupted the word and diluted its definition.

  3. Charles, I don’t think mondern cults are the only people who have done this. When I was studying theology, the working definition of gnosticism seemed to be “any religion where knowing stuff got you into heaven.”

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