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  • תמונת הסופר/תYoav Levin

Medieval Europe in the light of Bogomil Misandry and the Manichean Cathar Proto - Feminism

עודכן: 7 בדצמ׳ 2021

As we have already seen, the Eastern European heretics of Bulgaria and other cultures had a different conception of women and regarded them as preeminent and standing above men. Here we shall try to consider why the Bulgarian heretics had a different conception of the woman thus contributing to the modern feminist cult of misandry through its crucial influence on the creation of the Gynocentric concept of chivalric love in terms of putting women on the pedestal and the Cathar Troubadours who spread it all over Europe and subsequently the whole world. Here we should consider that the Bogomil theological misandry that gave rise to the inherent anti-male notion of the Cathars, the Troubadours, and thus the basic ideology of courtly love, chivalry as well as gynocentrism can be traced back and already found in the creation mythology of the Bogomils that served as the origin for all of these later dynamics. In this heretic and Gnostic creation myth the first man – a female – was in a way a consequence of this cosmic struggle between good and evil; the being thus created in a female form was meant to bring solace into the lives of sentient beings, using her love to appease the aggression planted in the world by the destructive forces. In retaliation, the destructive force collected body parts from the most ferocious of animals, and fashioned out of them a being outwardly resembling the woman, but endowed with the male demonic qualities of its maker and compelled by its sex drive. Here we can already see most of the attributes of modern feminists as well as general misandry. The demonic depiction of the obsessive male sexuality, the description of men as ugly animals, the allegedly inherent evil and violence of men, and many more, Moreover, the union of the first woman who according to this misandrist creation myth is raped and also “descends” to lust which brings another two crucial elements of the modern misandrist and feminist environment namely the fallacy of rape culture, the feminist ideas of all men as being nothing but rapists as well as pure nature of the woman as an asexual being who does this only to tame the demonic male. Further in this creation myth, the first man whose savage breast is soothed by the woman’s influence produced modern men, in whom the two elements (divine and demonic) gradually became so thoroughly commingled that they lost their bearings in the world of value. Spiritual clear-sightedness was supposed to be restored by Priest Bogomil, who preached the idea that people could be saved by rejecting the alleged objectification of women which another yet powerful analogy to modern-day feminism. This is the way of the female divine love to be first of all reborn in women’s hearts and to restore the world to original harmony and save it from men. The last analogy is also the conceptual basis for the chivalric ideal of a male subjugation to a woman as a part of ending suffering.

Moreover, as we have seen and will see further on, this does not only incorporate dual Bogomil- Cathar heritage but for the most crucial triangle of Bogomil, Cathar, and Kabalist triangle whereas the Kabbalah and Catharism are the most crucial link as the co-mutual influence especially that of Cathar theology on cabalist concept as well as in return the Kabbalist importance in the creation of Christian Chivalric culture of the Troubadours. Though couched in modern language, the concept of impersonal forces competing for primacy in the universe has a very ancient and quintessentially gnostic pedigree. The notion that the first woman was an emanation of deity is a key clue to its reconstruction. Passed down in innumerable variants and also present in Jewish Kabbalist mysticism, this particular myth is summarized by Quispel as follows: In the beginning, were the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness; then a divine hypostasis, usually called the original man or Sophia, shows the original light to the demons belonging to the world of darkness; those archons, usually described as the seven planetary spirits, become lustful and chase the light, which tries to flee. […] There are different variant accounts of how the light came to mingle with the darkness. In some versions, it is said that light itself became lustful and peers down (spectandi libido), in others it is said to have sacrificed itself to forestall an invasion of the dark demons. […] One way or another, sparks of light penetrated the darkness. Those sparks are human souls which live scattered in the world, but also the soul of the world and the life of the cosmos in general. At one point the light and the darkness must separate, and the light will return to its source [Quispel 1951: 66].

In this understanding, redemption, or if we want to coin the feminist term of liberation takes the form of rejecting and practically hating especially heterosexuality as the basis of relationships between men and women thus freeing women from its male domination. According to this feminist theophany of the Gnostic creation myth, the actual portrayal is one of the first human beings as a sexless woman who embodies immaculate beauty uses an inverted version of an androgynous myth. This, of course, goes hand in hand with the old gnostic tradition which views human sexuality as abhorrent and that is seeing man as being inherently at fault with the creation of this dynamic. This is also the Gnostic theosophical frame for Eco-Feminism as well as the feminism of the motherly discourse which embodies the modern feminist attitude missions that go hand in hand with a utopian vision of world redemption through an ideal, spiritual union between man and woman that restores woman’s original connection to the creative force. The feminine mystique might be well rooted in this kind of Gnostic religiosity. Rooted in the Bogomil and Cathar heresy this misandrist discourse is being hidden, with yet another powerful resemblance and analogy to modern feminism as the lip service that both men and women are former, creators and servants of ideals such as truth, peace, love, and equality, whereas the latter are conniving players in a world of power games, committed to falsehood and exploitation.

In mainstream monotheistic theology, misandry is expressed in a little bit different version. In this biblical myth about human origin and destiny, three main actors are a) the serpent; b) two humans – namely Adam and Eve. In other words, as a symbolic representation of male vs. female energies we have first of all the serpent that is whether seen as a) personal representation of an animal or b) collective representation of 1) all animal or 2) a metaphor or analogy for humanity, it is referred to as male (energy). We have Adam which naturally represents men and male energy while Eve stands as an archetypal representation of women and female energy. In sum, metaphorically we have a representation of two male energies and a female one. Now, let's dive more into the details. Anyway, it is important to say that philologically the biblical text does not attribute the main fall to Eve but the snake which means that is the male, not female energy that brought this evil and led to the fall of Adam and Even. In a fact, not only we see here in a way that reminds us on heretical teachings an attribution and the equation of the serpent's male energy to Satanic male forced, not only we see again maybe the earlier origins of the male depiction as an evil beast but also the concepts the women being taken advantage by men as well as that it's them that are the source of it all.

Anyway, because of the Fall, God does not punish only Eve but in fat all of the actors. The biblical depiction of the serpent's punishment is very interesting. First, he is the first one to be punished which shows the gravity of the deeds thus symbolically the male energy has the main responsibility for the fall. Second, there is also the punishment itself. In chapter three the Bible says: And the LORD God said unto the serpent: 'Because thou hast done this, cursed art thou from among all cattle, and from among all beasts of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. The depiction of the punishment here is crucial as "upon thy belly shalt thou go" is interesting as it gives us the notion the serpent was standing on its legs on an upright posture which strengthens our notion of a male. Then, God punishes and expels Adam and Eve from the paradisal world of Eden into the temporal world of conflict and chaos. However, the interesting thing is that Adam is less at fault or not at fault at all but is still punished. Yet, before discussing his punishment it is interesting to scrutinize Eve's punishment. Now, when cherry-picking the story through selective reading and interpretation especially also the wider context of biblical text other external religious sources her punishment as "he shall rule over thee" seems to support the idea of the unfair treatment of her. However, in the wider context especially in the context of Adam's punishment that exhibits male reality and oppression we read "And unto Adam, He said: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in toil shalt, thou eat of it all the days of thy life. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.

So being a reflective myth of existing gynocentric reality, according to the biblical version of this story "Eve's alleged subjugation or her Husband's rule in the greater context is Adam's slavery to his wife as being the sole breadwinner or practically as we would say and use modern terminology being a walking ATM as well as the female privilege of having this all without having to do anything for it. In a wider sense is the three P's or the "PPP" that is the protector, the provider, and procreator while being also the earliest and most primitive source of female hypo-agency that was brought as a legal phenomenon to fruition in the Roman Empire partially probably through Christian influence that inherited it from the common Jewish denominator of the Bible as well as the various esoteric and heretic teachings Anyway, according to some post-biblical versions, which exhibit the gynocentric tendency to present women as victims to disguise this matrix, most of the guilt, however, belongs to Eve and her female descendants, this as we see not only isn’t the but also do not exhibit the mainstream theological line. On the other hand, according to the most recent interpretation, religious as well as secular, that are rooted in feminist misandry, mainly from the Cathar heretic Gnosticism but also from the mainstream theological line that is a continuation of the traditional misandry now not only all of the guilt belongs to men and not only that they conspire against women, take control and oppress women but that they are evil by their nature

The combination of the mainstream as well as esoteric creation myths and tradition equips us with the tools and enables us to see the full scope of the origins of misandry especially that of modern feminism. Both of them are the earliest source of the demonic male depiction as bestial sexuality, men as being nothing other than pigs, snakes, and animals, the concepts such as rape culture and the patriarchy that is achieved and maintained by the same means through which it was created by overthrowing a utopian history of female matriarchy (leading back to such matriarchal society in future as well as the advocacy and the belief that women are all good and special snowflakes who bear no responsibility at all for what goes wrong (hypo-agency). At this stage when we go through this through scrutiny and investigation of the world religious history there come immediately a very interesting phenomenon to mind that can instantly be observed namely the more we advance in human history and especially in the realm of religion that as proven in my other book is the mean vehicle for the transportation of gynocentric values as is also strengthened once again in this very research the more misandry grows in scope both qualitative as qualitative terms. In anthropological terms and as is proven in my other book, Johann Jakob Bachofen, a Swiss anthropologist of the nineteenth century, was the first to take this point of view. He argued that human history revolved around women – that is, mothers. In other words, Gynocentrism and especially the subdivision of a matrifocal society in form of motherhood was the ultimate source of all morality and religion. Now based on the threefold sub-categories of gynocentric societies that is a) matrifocal; b) matrilineal; c) patrilocal human cultures also exhibited a threefold symbolic characterization of (male and female) energies: a) symbols being characteristic of societies that prefer hunting big animals were mainly male mirroring also female ones; b) female symbols being characteristic of societies that prefer fishing and gathering preferred mainly female symbols mirroring male ones too; c) and both female and male symbols were characteristic of societies that prefer hunting of both kinds.

Societies that have no preference additionally often combine hunting for big animals with hunting for small ones and fishing and gathering. Being in harmony with the above-described evolutionary dynamics, most pre- monotheistic religion like the Canaanites - the direct ancestors of Jewish early monotheism incorporating the theological proto-type of all other monotheistic paths – who believed in many gods exhibited the same forces at work and especially worshiping nature (=mother earth) and the female force of fertility which once again symbolizes female energy even when presented or mirrored through male energy. So, historically and from an anthropological point of view, societies exhibited both male and female symbols who correlate both to male and female energies thus neither showing patriarchal or matriarchal preferences in an economic and societal sense but evolutionary gynocentric one from the point of view of the economy. In short, both sexual symbols and methods of food production existed in ancient gynocentric societies in terms of evolutionary survival. As a rule, a combination that might have varied through a combination of sometimes more females or more males with an always existing representation of the opposite sex might have been produced based on the needs of big animals or small animals. Therefore, and as standing opposed to the Marxist and feminist propaganda and pseudo-science, we have no reason to assume that a) in pre-history there existed a matriarchal society; b) that there has been a stage of goddess worship that was the earliest phase of religion; c) that it was replaced by a patriarchal society to oppress women. Human history shows a constant Gynocentric society that in its earlier stages was more balanced and less discriminative to men.

So, what happened actually. There are two dynamics, first of all, a proto-X culture is always less extreme and exhibits fewer extreme dynamics than the culture that follows later. However, there is a more inherent reason for this. As we have seen as standing opposed to the heretical and Gnostic teaching that are more dualist the original Gynocentrism and also the mainstream religions although still showing a certain amount of dualism were much less poisoned by dualistic elements. As every type of hate misandry is also based on the delusion of a dualistic nature of reality versus the truth of non-duality. It's the ignorance that divides people, between us and them. Therefore, the more the dualist esoteric and heretical view prevailed over human conception the more it fed the hate against men, in other words, the more it cultivated extreme misandry. It’s was brought to fruition under the queen Eleanor of Aquitaine and the heretical Cathar phenomenon of the Troubadour who has stated the Gynocentric society almost millennia ago and brought to its peak and culminated in modern feminism and its temporary misandry

Anyway, this dual dichotomy, as I have described above, was politicized, with detailed instructions on how to organize social life in communities providing the rules for building a new social order guaranteeing a final solution to the problem of evil by eliminating masculinity and creating the new, real, man so that new feminist-matriarchal world order can be established. Historically, Bogomilism lied at the foundations of the Reformation within the Cath­olic Church. Later, it was adopted by the feminist misandrist movement of female supremacism and under the disguise in terms of its false doctrine of equality between men and women. As such and when taking all of the above dynamics into account. it anticipated – indeed inspired – the cult of the lady in medieval France, and the subsequent culture of female domination and preeminence over men. According to the Vien­na-based researcher Leo Seifert, Bogomilism played a much greater role, not only in the history of European culture and religion but also in socio-politi­cal history (as we have seen and elaborated here). Initially, Seifert argues, Bogomilism came up with the slogan of struggle against papal authority. Later, however, its religious nature turned into hate full, anti-male, and feminist-misandrist ideology whose modifications and expansions transform the face of modern and current Europe. Thus a Bulgarian cultural achievement takes on the scale of a major motive force of history on our continent, and even in puritanical North America [Шейтанов 1937: 983–984].

Furthermore, the Bogomils did not create those ideas from the scratch but received them from the Manicheans through the Paulicians. Yet, unlike the Manicheans, who kept their teaching secret, locked in small, closed elite groups, the Bogomils propagated their ideals in wide social circles only later to be handed down to the West. The civilizational aspect of those historical advents can hardly be overestimated for the first time women were not just introduced to the sacrament of the religious ritual but were exclusively given access to working with "the Word" whereby achieving the full scope of culture. While this dynamic was practiced by the church to keep its power over the masses and keep them in check this privilege was granted now to women in a way that enabled although still informal education that was denied to men. It is yet another characteristic of medieval society in the humanistic approach was selectively traded with the feminist gynocentric one. And this is a hallmark of the Cathar civilization Balkans of Provence rooted in the Bogomil culture of Bulgaria and the Balkan as well in the Lollard circles in England.

So, there is no longer any doubt that this movement was not autochthonous to southern France. It stood in direct historical relationship with the religion of the Bulgarian Bogomils and their dualistic predecessors; however, it is still a matter of debate whether there is any direct historical filiation leading back to ancient Manichaeism (as the Church claimed) or whether the dualistic teaching and the specific organizational forms of this medieval neo-Manichaeism derived from other sources. Another difficult problem that has still not been resolved is that of the possible survival of gnostic, other than Manichaean, influences, and ideas in the religion of the Cathars. It is not our task to enter into this discussion, which has had a vigorous revival as a result of the important discoveries of recent years.12 However, the existence of this extremely strong religious movement whose anti-Catholic tendencies cannot be doubted is also important for our investigation. The Judaism of Provence likewise went through a highly fruitful period in the twelfth century. It thus developed in an environment where Catholic Christianity in its orthodox form had to fight for its bare existence and where it had effectively lost much of its influence over wide circles of the dominant feudal and chivalric class and their cultural spokesmen, as well as in the broader social strata of peasants and shepherds. Nevertheless, more recent attempts as we have seen her in our discussion point and demonstrate in my opinion an unequivocal, direct, and convincing influence of Bogomil - Cathar influences on the earliest sources of the Kabbalah which in turn influence the Cathar troubadours and vice versa.

The mythical cosmic tree has its roots above and grows downward, an image that is known to have numerous parallels in many different cultures. As we have seen the Bogomilian ideal has been tracked by us and found among the heretics in the Balkans. When Israel is good, God produces upon the tree new souls of righteous men. That is no doubt the meaning of the remark: "He makes them become fruitful and multiply.'' This idea accords perfectly with parallel passages. The trunk of the tree, which in section grows out of the root, corresponds to the image of the spinal column in man. If Israel is good, God brings new souls out of the place of the seed which corresponds to the great channels. How the myth of the tree is varied here corresponds to the interpretation given by section 15 to its oldest form, as we encounter it later. It is difficult to say when the oldest material was reinterpreted in this manner. The symbolism of the tree underwent further development in the latest stratum of the Kabbalistic book of the Bahir which, despite all their differences, are closely related. The cosmic tree no longer the pleroma of the divine but it is implanted as in the beginning, in the center of the universe as its core. The structure of this core corresponds, in the regions of the cosmos that are here taken over from the Book of Creation, lower potencies, "overseers," and "archons" (sarim).

Furthermore, there is a reference which creates a direct tie back to Yesirah 5:1 and its twelve directions of the world, which, however, the author of the Bahir arranges in his mythical fashion: "God has a tree, and this tree has twelve radii:47 northeast, southeast, upper east, lower east, northwest, southwest, upper west, lower west, upper north, lower north, upper south, lower south, and they extend outward into the immeasurable, and they are the arms of the world. And in their core is the tree." To these branches of the tree correspond, in the three regions of the world of the Book Yesirah, namely the "dragon" teli,48 representing the world; the visible celestial sphere, representing time; and the "heart," representing the human organism— twelve "overseers" each and twelve archons each, thus totaling two times thirty-six potencies or powers that are active in the cosmos and always return to each other: The potency of one is [also] in the other, and although there are twelve in each of the three they all adhere to each other [this is taken literally from Yesirah 4:3] and all thirty-six potencies are already found in the first, which is the teli . . . and they all return cyclically one into the other, and the potency of each one is found in the other. . . and they are all perfected [or comprised] in the "heart."

Very possibly the thirty-six decans of astrology and their supervisors are lurking behind the thirty-six potencies of the Bahir.49 In the Bahir, the two times thirty-six overseers and archons combine with the seventy-two names of God, which Jewish esoteric doctrine had already developed in the Talmudic period and which the Bahir frequently discusses beginning with section 63 (above all in sections 76-79). Jacob the Nazirite of Lunel was a man of this type. And we happen to know that he was not the only one in his community to have adopted this kind of life. In 1165 Benjamin of Tudela saw in Lunel R. Asher ha-Parush, "who has withdrawn from the affairs of the world and who devotes day and night to study, practices asceticism, and does not eat meat."66 It was for this ascetic that Yehudah ibn Tibbon translated into Hebrew ibn Gabirol's moral tract "On the Improvement of the Qualities of the Soul." Graetz, basing himself upon Benjamin's description, conferred on him his favorite label of "obscurantist"; he seems to have smelled the mystic in him, which immediately aroused his animus. Asher ben Meshullam, a son of the most eminent scholar in a community as well endowed with scholars as Lunel, was, therefore, a parush not only in the sense defined previously but a representative of more radical tendencies: a genuine ascetic.

It is unnecessary to remind ourselves that in the Middle Ages ascetic ideals could manifest themselves at any time and in any place, in Islam just as well as in Christianity and Judaism. Nevertheless, we should bear in mind that analogous ideas emerged in the same Provençal environment where the moral decadence observed among the Catholic clergy moved men to the glorification of ideals embodied by the Cathar perfecti. Just as the Jewish Nazirites of France took upon their shoulders the full weight of the yoke of the Torah, to which a further ascetic emphasis could be added, so did the "perfect ones" take upon themselves the full burden of the world-denying morality of the "neo-Manichaeism," which the Bogomils had transplanted to Italy and France and which was, in their eyes, identical with primitive Christianity. Abstinence from meat was one of the most conspicuous elements in the conduct of the Cathar "perfect ones." It is in this milieu that we must place Jacob the Nazirite. Among the few fragments that have come down to us from him, there is a distinctly ascetic text preserved by Ezra of Gerona; it also figures in the Book of Customs of his younger brother Asher ben Saul.

The additional soul that, according to Talmudic Aggadah, man receives on the Sabbath is, he asserts, identical with the highest faculty of the human soul, the anima rationalis, which stirs man to seek knowledge of God. But at the same time, it stimulates him to celebrate the Sabbath with pleasure. His desire thereby increases. But at the end of the Sabbath, it says to him: Restrict your nourishment; and because his desire is thus diminished it causes weakness in him. This is why the sages prescribed the smelling of spices at the end of the Sabbath [to confine this weakness as well as the desire].67 Although he received his kabbalistic education from Isaac the Blind in Posquières, in the vicinity of Lunel, Ezra may not have known Jacob the Nazirite personally; however, he must have been in a position to obtain reliable traditions concerning him. His assertion that Jacob had been in Jerusalem and had there received mystical and angelological traditions cannot, therefore, be dismissed as unreliable. 68 Ezra ben Solomon is unusually sparing with quotations from kabbalistic authorities, but the ones he adduces are, as far as I can see, reliable.

The relatively simple content of that tradition also corresponds to Jacob's other angelological statements, with which we have already become acquainted on page 208. Jacob is said to have received from a certain R. Nehorai in Jerusalem the tradition that the ritual of libations of water and wine on the Feast of Tabernacles was practiced in the Temple of Jerusalem because "at this ritual, two angels were present, whose function it was to bring the fruits to ripeness and to lend them flavor." One of these angels is certainly Gabriel, whose function (according to B. Sanhedrin 95b) is to cause the fruit to ripen. The other is probably Michael. Water and wine seem to symbolize the qualities of Grace (water) and Sternness (wine), much as in the Book Bahir. Whether this symbolism came from the Orient—together with the angelological tradition —or whether it belongs exclusively to the Provençal stratum of the Bahir cannot be established with certainty. We know nothing else about this R. Nehorai, and the doctrine of the sefiroth is implied in no other twelfth-century text that can be said to have been composed in the Orient. This pilgrimage of "Rabbenu Jacob Hasid," which I see no reason to doubt, must have taken place at the earliest not long after the conquest of Jerusalem by Saladin, after 1187; before that, under the rule of the Crusaders, access to the city was generally forbidden to Jews.

It cannot be fixed at a date before the time Jacob the Nazirite commenced his esoteric studies; it was, on the contrary, occasioned by those studies. According to the preceding argument, we have every reason to suppose that such studies were already in vogue before 1187 in the circle of Posquières and of Lunel. Later legends of the Spanish kabbalists related the visit of the old kabbalist of Lunel to the Orient to the interest in the Kabbalah allegedly displayed by Maimonides toward the end of his life. Our R. Jacob is supposed to have gone to Egypt, where he initiated Maimonides in esoteric science. This legend, whose origin around 1300 I have examined elsewhere, has no historical value.69 Even the writings of Abraham, the son of Maimonides, whose penchant for mystical religiosity is quite obvious, draw their inspiration from Sufi sources and do not evince the slightest familiarity with kabbalistic ideas.

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