« Poach, Andreas Pneumatics Pobiedonostev, Konstantin Petrovich »


PNEUMATICS: The highest of three classes of natures (pneumatic, psychic, and hylic) assumed as human by Gnostics. The superiority of the pneumatics is regarded as resting upon the ground that to them had been communicated the higher truths of the world of eons because they alone were capable of understanding such truths. Those possessing the pneumatic nature were known also as "the elect," and were regarded as not under the dominion of the archon or world-ruler and also not subject to the restraints of the demiurge. They therefore live on as strangers in the world, perceiving as from afar the reality of the things of a higher world. Their innermost characteristic is their essential relationship with God, resulting in a life of undivided unity, exalted above the antithesis of rest and motion. Their blessedness is described as due to a union between the sōtēr (savior) and wisdom (sophia). They are to be found not only in the Christian Church, but are scattered in the pagan world, the evidence of this being found in the agreement of much of pagan doctrine with Christian truth. In the Christian Church, they are its salt and its soul, the real propagators of Christianity.

The name has at various times in the history of the Christian Church been adopted because of its signification ("the spirituals") by parties or sects, as by the followers of a French Anabaptist named Ambrose (fl. c. 1559), who professed to have received revelations which transcended in value those of the Bible.

Bibliography: Besides the literature under Gnostics, consult Neander, Christian Church, vol. i. passim.

« Poach, Andreas Pneumatics Pobiedonostev, Konstantin Petrovich »
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