... From: William Arnal To: Sent: Tuesday, April 30, 2002 4:03 PM Subject: [GTh] analogies ... Some time ago,Message 1 of 4 , May 1, 2002View Source
----- Original Message -----
From: "William Arnal" <warnal@...>
Sent: Tuesday, April 30, 2002 4:03 PM
Subject: [GTh] analogies
> Hey everyone:
> Does anyone out there feel like trying to cook up ANALOGIES to GThomas from
> other religious traditions, or just plain "culture"? I don't mean assertions
> that x is derived from y, but cross-cultural and historically-unlinked
> similar endeavours (however "similar" be conceived). For example, I've tried
> in a different context (a class lecture which I'd eventually like to turn
> into an article) to compare Paul's "Christ myth" to the Ceramese story of
> "coconut girl" in terms of what each accomplishes imaginatively in its
> historical context. Can something similar be offered for Thomas? Anyone?
Some time ago, while deep in the bowels of a university library, I stumbled
across a book of proverbs and epigrams. I sat down and read this book for about
an hour, consisting of nothing but back-to-back quasi-paradoxical statements of
wisdom. After I was finished reading this book, I distinctly remember feeling a
kind of "natural high" and a buzz in the brain from the overload of
counter-intuitive information. I wonder whether the Gospel of Thomas may have
had a similar effect to some of its readers.
... This is a REALLY interesting analogue. Actually, it occurs to me that Jonathan Smith draws a parallel between proverbs and jokes, on the one hand, and theMessage 1 of 4 , May 2, 2002View SourcePeter Kirby wrote:
>Some time ago, while deep in the bowels of a university library, IThis is a REALLY interesting analogue. Actually, it occurs to me that
>across a book of proverbs and epigrams. I sat down and read this book >for
>an hour, consisting of nothing but back-to-back quasi-paradoxical
> >statements of
>wisdom. After I was finished reading this book, I distinctly remember
> >feeling a
>kind of "natural high" and a buzz in the brain from the overload of
>counter-intuitive information. I wonder whether the Gospel of Thomas >may
>had a similar effect to some of its readers.
Jonathan Smith draws a parallel between proverbs and jokes, on the one hand,
and the gospel genre (here NOT thinking of Thomas, as it happens), on the
other. I think the article is "Good News is No News." And as I recall he
basically says that the function of ALL of these forms is to generate a
gratifying sense of incongruity for the reader; and incongruity that,
potentially, makes room for thought, change, etc.
Department of Religion
University of Manitoba
"I wish that I was born a thousand years ago.
I wish that I'd sailed the darkened seas
on a great big clipper ship,
going from this land here to that,
in a sailor suit and cap."
-- Lou Reed
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Or how about G.I.Gurdjieff s aphorisms. These were written in a specially invented script on the wall of his study house in Fontainbleau. Some of the wordsMessage 1 of 4 , May 2, 2002View SourceOr how about G.I.Gurdjieff's aphorisms. These were written in a
specially invented script on the wall of his study house in
Fontainbleau. Some of the words that he uses are technical terms, but
they also occur in a non-technical sense. e.g. "Remember" in no.5 has
the ordinary meaning, but in no. 4 it has a special meaning in the
context of "remember yourself." "Work" can also mean labour or inner
1. Like what "it" does not like.
2. The highest that a man can attain is to be able to do.
3. The worse the conditions of life the more productive the work,
always provided you remember the work.
4. Remember yourself always and everywhere.
5. Remember you come here having already understood the necessity of
struggling with yourselfonly with yourself. Therefore thank everyone
who gives you the opportunity.
6. Here we can only direct and create conditions, but not help.
7. Know that this house can be useful only to those who have
recognized their nothingness and who believe in the possibility of
8. If you already know it is bad and do it, you commit a sin
difficult to redress.
9. The chief means of happiness in this life is the ability to
consider externally always, internally never.
10. Do not love art with your feelings.
11. A true sign of a good man is if he loves his father and mother.
12. Judge others by yourself and you will rarely be mistaken.
13. Only help him who is not an idler.
14. Respect every religion.
15. I love him who loves work.
16. We can only strive to be able to be Christians.
17. Don't judge a man by the tales of others.
18. Consider what people think of younot what they say.
19. Take the understanding of the East and the knowledge of the West
and then seek.
20. Only he who can take care of what belongs to others may have his
21. Only conscious suffering has any sense.
22. It is better to be temporarily an egoist than never to be just.
23. Practice love first on animals, they are more sensitive.
24. By teaching others you will learn yourself.
25. Remember that here work is not for work's sake but is only a
26. Only he can be just who is able to put himself in the position of
27. If you have not by nature a critical mind your staying here is
28. He who has freed himself of the disease of "tomorrow" has a
chance to attain what he came here for.
29. Blessed is he who has a soul, blessed is he who has none, but woe
and grief to him who has it in embryo.
30. Rest comes not from the quantity but from the quality of sleep.
31. Sleep little without regret.
32. The energy spent on active inner work is then and there
transformed into a fresh supply, but that spent on passive work is
lost for ever.
33. One of the best means for arousing the wish to work on yourself
is to realize that you may die at any moment. But first you must
learn how to keep it in mind.
34. Conscious love evokes the same in response. Emotional love evokes
the opposite. Physical love depends on type and polarity.
35. Conscious faith is freedom. Emotional faith is slavery.
Mechanical faith is foolishness.
36. Hope, when bold, is strength. Hope, with doubt, is cowardice.
Hope, with fear, is weakness.
37. Man is given a definite number of experienceseconomizing them,
he prolongs his life.
38. Here there are neither Russians nor English, Jews nor Christians,
but only those who pursue one aimto be able to be.
Or what about Nietzsche s _Also Sprach Zarathustra_? It certainly induces in me the same feelings and emotions of Thomas, particularly, Throughout EternityMessage 1 of 4 , May 2, 2002View SourceOr what about Nietzsche's _Also Sprach Zarathustra_? It certainly induces
in me the same feelings and emotions of Thomas, particularly, "Throughout
Eternity No Eternal Will Wills". If Nietzsche is an atheist Thomas is a
religious atheist in the manner of Meister Eckhart.