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Origins of Theban Sorcery?

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  • #16
    DubiousRuffian true...


    “It is a far far better thing I do than I have ever done...” Sidney Carton’s last line before going to the guillotine to save his True Love and her husband

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    • #17
      There's also some other evidence in the Testament that Vahishtael (the being that shows Longinus all sorts of visions of the end of the world) is a fallen angel. What is a fallen angel in CofD cosmology? Who knows!

      One of the commentators also presents various pieces of evidence that there was no single historical "Longinus" who wrote the whole Testament, eventually concluding with this bit:

      Originally posted by Dr Petronius
      Can we say anything about a historical Longinus? The evidence is not there, only a body of texts supposedly written by him which are actually written by as many as four people or groups of people, and some second-hand sources, a few dreams, some visions. Like Jesus, accepting his existence is a fundamentally irrational act (if faith were rational, it would not be faith, by definition).

      I can only say this, then: I hope as one of the Sanctified that Longinus did not exist. I really do. I do not want to see him. I do not want to hear his voice. Because if he existed or yet exists, he proves that God is a monster, and that the universe is not friendly to any thinking being, or even indifferent. Prove Longinus and you prove that the Almighty is malevolent to all thinking creatures.

      God hates us. God hates us all.

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      • #18
        Draconis someone told me there are “real” fallen angels in First Edition Chronicles of Darkness (in World of Darkness: Inferno; I haven’t read it). But I don’t know if they exist in Second Edition.


        “It is a far far better thing I do than I have ever done...” Sidney Carton’s last line before going to the guillotine to save his True Love and her husband

        Comment


        • #19
          Infernals are…complicated. They come from a place called the Inferno, which Mages call a Lower Depth (Mage-speak for "uhhh it's a place I guess…we don't really understand the details"), and may be what Wounds (broken parts of the Shadow/Hisil) connect to. And they may or may not be related to the entities that werewolves call "Maeljin". They definitely feed on human vice and sin, but it's not clear if they were ever not Infernals—that is, if they were once something else and then "fell from grace", or if they've always existed the way they are now.

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          • #20
            Draconis thanks. I saw in the Product Announcements that they’re gonna be doing a sourcebook on the Lower Depths for Mage. Maybe that will clarify things.


            “It is a far far better thing I do than I have ever done...” Sidney Carton’s last line before going to the guillotine to save his True Love and her husband

            Comment


            • #21

              Originally posted by Draconis View Post
              (Mage-speak for "uhhh it's a place I guess…we don't really understand the details")
              Lower Depths is Mage-speak for “this place lack some aspect of fallen reality, and either it, or the things living in it try to steal said thing from the fallen world.”

              I dunno why people keep getting it wrong.

              The four I recall are Duat(touched upon in Mummy the Curse, lacking Sekhem), Annwn(Left-Hand Path, eating Mana, unique in that non archmages got here and returned),Inferno(from the book of the same name, lacking who knows what, I read it a long time ago), and the Strix’s homeworld(Touched upon in Vampire 2e, lacking something related to life(vitae? I don’t thing it has been nailed down.))

              Sorry for the off-topic.
              Last edited by Zsarnok; 10-24-2019, 06:56 AM.

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              • #22
                I'm kinda surprised that no one mentioned Mummy yet. I mean- secret knowledge discovered in Egypt? With the fact that ancient egyptian vampires were the ones to first discover its secrets? I mean, yeah,I won't be surprised if Theban Sorcery is a way for vampires to utilize Sekhem Sorcery, which is usually something only living beings can do IIRC.

                On the subject of Inferno- Azazel definitely claims to be a fallen angel. Is there truth to his claims? No one knows- infernals are liars, after all. Many of them are definitely "fallen" things, such as ghosts, spirits and goetia, but I think that angels (pre God Machine ones, whatever they may be) are said to be immune to Inferno's corruption. Inferno may be held responsible for something such as Theban Sorcery, but I doubt it. Inferno is all about consumption, corruption and sin- and Theban Sorcery, as dreadful as it may be, is sanctified, disciplined and requires maintaining humanity. If we look at Night Horrors, were we have an example of an infernally possessed vampire, the interest of Inferno is to degrade Humanity. Creating a system of sorcery which requires maintaining it is counterproductive, IMO.

                So yeah, considering where Theban Sorcery was discovered and its usage by the Great Cults of Egypt in the time of pharaohs, I would bet that if it is not a product of the vampire's own soul or a gift from God and his Host, I would blame the Arisen and/ or their Judges and/ or their cultists for its existence.


                Check my STV content, Or My Homebrew

                "And all our knowledge is, Ourselves to know"- An Essay on Man

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                • #23
                  Thanks Draconis!

                  Do we have any kind of timeline on when the Testament was written? Or if it was compiled by 4+ individuals, when the core, earliest portions were created?

                  I'm trying to understand Longinus' movements between 33AD and 81AD, whether he actually went to Egypt, was present for the 70AD conflagration of Jerusalem, and etc.

                  It sounds like he, himself, may not have any direct knowledge of Theban sorcery, and that whatever pseudo-cult he started with a few existing vampires in Roman Palestine spread from them --not from him.

                  Also, is there any evidence that Longinus ever died/was destroyed? My guess is no, since that would de-facto constitute substantiation that he existed; and as the quote points out even that is a matter for (quiet, internal, political) Chapel contention.


                  --Khanwulf

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                  • #24
                    The current estimate for when the Testament was written is ~180 for most of the text, after 312 for the Sanguinaria. (Scholars had previously thought the whole thing was written after 312, but fragments of the Malediction and Eschaton were found at Oxyrhynchus, and a mostly-complete version of the Malediction was among the Nag Hamadi codices.) Dr Matthews, another of the commentators, suggests up to six different primary authors, plus one or two early scholiasts whose epitomes and side-notes were (unintentionally?) integrated into Malediction 1 and 9. More conservative interpretations still attribute the whole thing to Longinus, explaining the different writing styles as a combination of mental stress and prophetic ecstasy; Matthews notes that this idea "should not be discounted out of hand".

                    There's a lot of mythology surrounding Longinus, but a lack of hard facts; I don't think any of the published books go into much detail on what he was doing, apart from the Testament itself. But Sanguinaria says he had disappeared before Daniel converted (and thus long before Theban was discovered/developed); after that, he's never directly attested again. I don't think any source describes him specifically dying or being destroyed; he just disappears from the record.

                    I also came across something interesting in the footnotes to Eschaton:

                    Originally posted by Eschaton 1:7
                    This is the vision imparted to me by the angel Amoniel of the Dominions and the archangel Vahishtael.
                    Originally posted by Dr Ballsden's commentary
                    "Dominions": One of the choirs of angels. The Latin, rather than use dominatio, as it does elsewhere in Esch. uses here the Hebrew hashmallim in three texts; in the remainder the variant qashmallim.
                    Emphasis mine. Dr Petronius, on the other hand, points out that Amoniel is never described in any detail and "the appearance of such beings in the Testament in such abstract terms should not be seen as evidence, let alone proof of the existence of these beings".

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Draconis View Post
                      The current estimate for when the Testament was written is ~180 for most of the text, after 312 for the Sanguinaria. (Scholars had previously thought the whole thing was written after 312, but fragments of the Malediction and Eschaton were found at Oxyrhynchus, and a mostly-complete version of the Malediction was among the Nag Hamadi codices.) Dr Matthews, another of the commentators, suggests up to six different primary authors, plus one or two early scholiasts whose epitomes and side-notes were (unintentionally?) integrated into Malediction 1 and 9. More conservative interpretations still attribute the whole thing to Longinus, explaining the different writing styles as a combination of mental stress and prophetic ecstasy; Matthews notes that this idea "should not be discounted out of hand".
                      So we can conclude that at minimum Longinus' notes on his experiences were available when collated and codified in ~180.

                      It might be entirely reasonable to attribute early notes to a combination of Longinus and his original cotarie aggregated around him in Palestine. In that case the experiences and voices thus recorded are provided his prophetic stamp and attribution even though he himself did not undergo them.

                      There's a lot of mythology surrounding Longinus, but a lack of hard facts; I don't think any of the published books go into much detail on what he was doing, apart from the Testament itself. But Sanguinaria says he had disappeared before Daniel converted (and thus long before Theban was discovered/developed); after that, he's never directly attested again. I don't think any source describes him specifically dying or being destroyed; he just disappears from the record.
                      What I'd like to do is be able to link Longinus to Palestine, the formation of his early adherents, and the incredible proxism of depraved bloodletting that accompanied the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. That incident involved the besieged going insane to a degree that shocked the Roman soldiers and ensured further efforts to obliterate the rebellion were grim and exceedingly thorough.

                      My pet theory for CofD is that some combination of supernatural elements were at work. If I can link vampires into this then it could explain Longinus' absence afterwards in some way.

                      Similarly my theory is that Longinus isn't responsible for more than the initial notes of the Testament and the original coterie. After that he left the region and reconsidered his crisis of faith to the extent that later he was involved in the creation of the Templars and the Malleus Maleficarum.

                      Closing off this thought for the moment to avoid yet more gratuitous threadjacking, let me note that it seems like the evidence supports Longinus' very early absence, and the linkage of Theban to clearly non-vampiric supernatural energy sources. I'm still inclined to blame the G-M, however, as Theban is the single "magic" exercise shut down in Montreal by the Nameless; which itself could be an angel.



                      I also came across something interesting in the footnotes to Eschaton:

                      Emphasis mine. Dr Petronius, on the other hand, points out that Amoniel is never described in any detail and "the appearance of such beings in the Testament in such abstract terms should not be seen as evidence, let alone proof of the existence of these beings".
                      Sorry--not sure I get your objective with this note. Care to clarify?


                      --Khanwulf

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                      • #26
                        "Qashmallim" is a term used in Promethean for the agents of the Principle. My Biblical Hebrew isn't great, but it's not a variant I've ever seen irl (the expected spelling is hashmallim/ħašmallim), so on an OOC level I'm confident the authors included it as a reference to PtC.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Draconis View Post
                          "Qashmallim" is a term used in Promethean for the agents of the Principle. My Biblical Hebrew isn't great, but it's not a variant I've ever seen irl (the expected spelling is hashmallim/ħašmallim), so on an OOC level I'm confident the authors included it as a reference to PtC.

                          Interesting. So that's a clear line back to the Principle. Which I assume is the source of the Promethean Divine Fire? [Answer: yes.]

                          So from Matt:
                          And then there’s the God-Machine. The God-Machine is from the future, but the thing about time travel is that it’s irrelevant when it happens, as long as it does. The God-Machine has its own agenda, but its agenda is a lot more complicated than the Principle’s. In order to interact with the world, though, the God-Machine copied a lot of the Principle’s “software.” That’s why its angels always have enough free will to Fall.

                          So Theban Sorcery derives from the Principle, which *is* Pyros. So what Theban does is thus take material items and will and convert to Azoth (???) and change reality to the effect requested of the Principle?

                          Maybe the Pyros that makes up the Principle is the same energizing force that enables the G-M to function. This is getting messy.

                          Does the Principle view dead vampires as a kind of Promethean in need of direction toward Humanity?


                          --Khanwulf

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                          • #28
                            Damn. I’m totally lost lol.


                            “It is a far far better thing I do than I have ever done...” Sidney Carton’s last line before going to the guillotine to save his True Love and her husband

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Penelope View Post
                              Damn. I’m totally lost lol.
                              At least five CoD games have been referenced in this thread. I almost said "the metaphysics of at least five CoD games", but I think Sekhem is supposed to be physical and that the God Machine is a grey area.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Spencer from The Hills View Post
                                Sekhem is supposed to be physical
                                Everything, including ephemera, is physical if you physics it hard enough. If you've found something that you think is non-physical, it probably just needs more physicsing.

                                Even real world physics is very strange and the Chronicles of Darkness are so much stranger:
                                Look at the strange stuff in m-theory and loop quantum gravity https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Introduction_to_M-theory https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loop_quantum_gravity
                                Or branes https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brane
                                The universe might be a hologram https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holographic_principle
                                Even math might be physical https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mathem...rse_hypothesis

                                Now imagine a Ordo Dracul theoretical physicist trying to work out a quantum field theory of Essence, who believes God might be a malevolent, sentient equation or perhaps a 4+ dimensional entity outside our universe (she insists she'll know more about the nature of God once she figures out how ley lines interact with general relativity).
                                Last edited by Custos Tenebrarum; 10-25-2019, 07:14 PM.

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