5877Re: Thomasine Metaphor
- May 16, 2002Lady C, we have much work to do here. Here is what I see happening. I
see some of the Gnostic scheme of things speaking to what I know, but
using metaphorical terms. When I cast what I know in my own terms, you
translate it back into those metaphorical terms. At that point, we may
be speaking about the same thing. We had a long discussion to that
point, both by Email and in that other group, that puts us fairly well
in the same ballpark; there is a necessary transition that brings
another way of knowing into being. A metaphorical system may be seen
as pointing to such a transition, but that fact can only be known
after the transition has come into being. That same metaphorical
system can also be interpreted in a before-transition way. The
difference between the before and after understanding gleaned from the
system is incommensurable. This is key to my scheme of things; the
before view and the after view of the same metaphorical system are
separated by a necessary transition in the one who holds the view, and
since those views are incommensurable one with the other, the
transition represents a discontinuity in one's sense of self. Bear
with me here and I will try to connect all of this into a whole.
"The identity of lack and error is supported in many passages where
the two seem to be used interchangeably. Error arises because the
Aeons did not know the Father. They "accepted error" because of the
Father's "depth" i.e. his unknowability (22:20f). Similarly , "lack
came into being because the Father was not known" (24:28-32). Both
"error" and "lack" are described as coming into being because the
Aeons did not know the Father. Surely this is no coincidence "
I am equating the Error with the before-transition sense of self and
the absence of the error to the after-transition sense of self. When
they say the Error is equivalent to "not knowing the Father," they are
saying that "not knowing the Father" is the same as being in Error. I
take that as a metaphor. Not being in Error does have a sense of
fullness about it that being in Error does not. I can see how the
sensation of the transition could be seen as "being at one with." I
say there is no Father to be known, no kingdom of God, other than as a
way of describing the sensational aspect of it. Of course, I am taking
your notion of "spiritual' out of it except as a metaphorical term for
the utterly new sense of self. I will accept the term as separating
the before and after, but only as signifying the separation. And here,
in the next paragraph from the site, the before and after is separated
by ascribing the before to the world of matter and the after to the
other world, the spiritual.
"According to the "creation tale," the material realm is in some
manner is intimately associated with error. According to the text, it
is "her (i.e. error's) matter" (17:16f). Elsewhere the text describes
how "the realm of appearance which belongs to the lack is the world"
(24:22-24). Thus the material realm is said to belong to both error
and lack further supporting the hypothesis that the two are
interchangeable. There is further confirmation of this from elsewhere
in the text. According to one passage, "the lack belonging to the
realm of matter did not result from the infinity of the
Father...rather the Father's Depth is immense and it is not with him
that the thought of error resides"(35:8-18). Note that the "lack
belonging to the realm of matter" is described as the "thought of
error." Again note the intimate association of matter, error and lack.
In a notable parallel, the teacher Theodotus speaks of the realm of
matter as "the thought of the deficiency" (Excepts of Theodotus 22:7).
As is normal in Valentinian thought, the Gospel of Truth describes an
intimate association between matter and lack. What is is noteworthy
that the same intimate relationship is said to exist between matter
All of that to get to this point. I said, "The error, as I see it, is
a temporal taking of oneself as oneself, where one thinks self in
terms of time, and in thinking of self in terms of time, creates that
You replied, "One might view error to include thinking of oneself in
terms of time, and also by extension observing oneself in only
physical and/or psychological terms. Important is that spiritual
awakening is not dependent on some "future" event or resurrection."
Your addition of physical and/or psychological terms to my view of
Error, as a necessary addition, changes my view into a view other than
mine, one corresponding to the quote above. However, in adding the
fact that "spiritual awakening" is not something for the future, you
have moved it somewhat back into my view. The reason I raise this as I
do is twofold; firstly to make the point and secondly to segue to
Play's response and questions of #5876, in response to which I will
continue this point.
--- In gnosticism2@y..., lady_caritas <no_reply@y...> wrote:
> Willy-Whale, no need to plead ignorance at all. I'm certainly no
> Gnostic scholar either (lol), but I agree with much of what you have
> written. Besides, there is commonly much variance of opinion in the
> scholarly community.
> Some of your comments tie in nicely to the Gospel of Thomas:
> "There is a movement from no-repose to repose and in that movement,
> something that was no longer is and is revealed as the cause of no-
> repose. Then, when repose comes to an end, where there is a
> recognition of no-repose, the cause may be seen and negated,
> returning one to repose." (Will)
> and from GTh, Logion 50 ~ " If they ask you, `What is the sign of
> your father within you?' say to them, 'It is movement and repose.'"
> "Kierkegaard speaks directly about self-knowing coming before
> anything else. He speaks elsewhere about the necessity for one
> into presence with oneself before the presence of God can be."
> and from GTh, Logion 70 ~ "Jesus said, `If you (plur.) produce what
> is in you, what you have will save you. If you do not have what is
> in you, what you do not have [will] kill you.'"
> "The error, as I see it, is a temporal taking of oneself as oneself,
> where one thinks self in terms of time, and in thinking of self in
> terms of time, creates that temporal identity." (Will)
> One might view error to include thinking of oneself in terms of
> and also by extension observing oneself in only physical and/or
> psychological terms. Important is that spiritual awakening is not
> dependent on some "future" event or resurrection.
> Logion 113 ~ His disciples said to him, "When is the kingdom going
> come?" (Jesus said), "It is not by being waited for that it is
> to come. They are not going to say, `Here it is' or `There it is.'
> Rather, the kingdom of the father is spread out over the earth, and
> people do not see it."
> Logion 51 ~ . . . He said to them, "That (repose) which you (plur.)
> are waiting for has come, but for your part you do not recognize
> Seeking and finding, a re-cognition or "recollection," getting in
> touch with the divine spark within that you mention, Will, is indeed
> necessary to transcend our physical existence and all its
> concomitant "disturbance." The "revelation," which awakens us
> from "ignorance," allows us to continue our experiential paths in
> this earthly existence in a practical sense with a new sense of
> Now, regarding your comments on "God" ~
> "St. John and his Via Negative speaks to God as being the fullness
> and as having nothing to do with the error." (Will)
> I recall that Terje offered an excellent discussion of "Via
> in his Message #5810. And for discussion of "error" within a
> Valentinian perspective, you might find the following piece
> interesting: http://www.cyberus.ca/~brons/error.htm This also
> addresses your following comment: "If I remember correctly, in the
> Gnostic system, that error was created by a God." Well, there is
> just one "Gnostic system," and there are certainly various opinions
> on whether the mythological "demiurge" was directly responsible
> for "error," especially in connection with the meaning of "error" in
> the Gospel of Truth. For discussion of "demiurge" (NOT to be
> confused with the "True God") I recommend:
> Nonetheless, your comment, "Again, the error is man's doing, and is
> the grasping of oneself as temporal" might just elicit some hand
> waving from Gnostics. To be sure, other religions might view error
> as man's fault (for instance, a concept of "original sin" such as
> seen in orthodox Christianity), but Gnostics as seen through their
> mythology generally view humans as a product of the error that
> already has occurred. *Sustaining* the error might be man's doing,
> however, and humans ARE individually responsible for seeking and
> finding the divine spark within themselves and awakening from
> the "sin" of ignorance. Even upon "awakening" humans still live in
> physical existence that is flawed, but they approach life with a new
> sense of self and the True God vs. a "creator god."
> Logion 28 ~ Jesus said, "I stood at rest in the midst of the world.
> And unto them I was shown forth incarnate; I found them all
> intoxicated. And I found none of them thirsty. And my soul was
> pained for the children of humankind, for they are blind in their
> hearts and cannot see. For, empty did they enter the world, and
> again empty they seek to leave the world. But now they are
> intoxicated. When they shake off their wine then they will have a
> change of heart."
> Well, I certainly have gone on here long enough, MobyWilly. LOL I
> think I'll grab a cup of coffee to "shake off" my morning stupor.
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