Jim Bauer wrote:
What's paradoxical here--and certainly this is one of the more koan-like sayings in Thomas--is that the repetition of the term body usually should suggest one thing, not two. I think the hidden meaning here is that one "body" is male and the other female. This leads us straight into classical themes of androgyny found underlying so many religions, especially mystical ones.
Certainly "Exogesis of the Soul" portrays the soul as female. However to me the hidden elements of this saying lies in the epistemology that man is a component of soul, mind, spirit and body. Without the mind and spirit, the soul and the body would be in an incomplete state and unable to 'see the vision' as described in the Gospel of Mary and other related sources.
Frank states further:
There are two forms of mysticism, contemplative and ecstatic. Contemplative resembles the "return to the womb" of post-Freudian psychologist Otto Rank. The other species resembles sexual ecstasy,. In this case, sex generates the "soul" but not literally--you get a child out of that, another body--but as the ecstasy felt by the mystic.
I don't know if I can relate post- Freudian theories with 1st century mysticism. However, the Doaist theory of 'Jing' (sexual energy), mingling with 'Chen' (spiritual energy) to form a third form of vital energy(spirit/qi) is a common staple of almost all Oriental mysticism. This understanding comes about through the training of spirit (qi) as a tool of spiritual development.
In this scheme the soul and body without the mind and spirit as additional tools in the balance would be seen as a serious defficiency. It is important to realize that in the Oriental model the mind is seen as playing a different role in the mind, body, and spirit relationship. Also there is no soul in the Oriental models, this concept is unique to the Christian model in the Nag Hammadi texts. The closest the Oriental model gets to a soul is "Wu ji" which translates as universal spirit (qi). (Note: There are other names given to these concepts depending upon the language, but this main theme remains universal in the orient.)
Frank and others..... Can you expalin a little more about the idea that the Thomas community was ascetic? How does being ascetic rule out ecstasy? Does it rule out Gnostic?
However, in this saying that form of ecstasy is rejected, if the Thomas community was ascetic.
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