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9282Re: Digest Number 563 (seminar lowlights)

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  • Gerry
    Mar 7, 2004
      --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "eyeambetty" <eyeambetty@y...>
      wrote:
      > Hi Gerry,
      > i've been following your blow by blow of the seminar you attended,
      > YIKES! very disheartening, but it seems your keen sense of
      judgement
      > and perception had already caught wind before you even arrived, eh?
      > it seems to be expected these days, i can barely turn on NPR
      without
      > hearing some interview, or story somehow(distantly or
      distastefully)
      > related to these manuscripts, usually to incorporate into some
      > already exhisting adgenda.



      LOL I'm still amazed that even a few people were able to read
      through those posts of mine. While I did strive to capture the mood
      of the experience along with the content, I hope the event wasn't as
      disheartening to you via my blow-by-blow reporting as I found it with
      my ringside seat.

      I'm not sure what to make of that NPR coverage; our reception down
      here is pretty spotty, so I usually only catch it when driving to
      Virginia. Ever since Cari mentioned those print articles and
      especially since the release of "The Passion," television has been
      saturated with supposed documentaries and specials. I'm curious (if
      you should recall any programs in particular) whether those on the
      radio impressed you as more of the liberal bias that Stephen
      mentioned. So far, that Fresh Air interview is the only thing I've
      heard, and other than his apocalyptic view supposedly supported by
      Thomas, Ehrman's background is of the mainstream persuasion. I
      suppose what I'm getting at is that it would be interesting to
      observe if both traditionally conservative and liberal media are
      witnessing a conventional Christian revival, even with regards to
      these non-canonical texts. Could be that orthodoxy makes strange
      bedfellows.



      > no kidding, you would think they would have the good sense, if
      indeed
      > they were considering a potential Gnostic interpretation, to
      compare
      > and contrast it with the more obvious Gnostic texts included in the
      > stated collections. but, it surely seems that the lectures were
      > designed to promote this Ehrman fellows book centered around those
      > particular manuscripts.



      Ya know, I had never read that _Time_ article until I got out there.
      Even though the lecture coordinators had sent out information packets
      beforehand, we each had some additional reading material waiting for
      us on arrival——the "Lost Gospels" article among them. Do you think
      it's some strange coincidence that it opens with a quote from the
      Gospel of Peter and ends with the Gospel of Thomas? A number of
      Ehrman's essays seem to focus on those two books, and that was also
      the same order in which he covered them in person. Bizarre. I think
      I smell a conspiracy brewin' somewhere. ;-)

      As for comparing and contrasting those texts, even that can get
      dicey. The woman who sat next to me was completely new to the
      subject, and it was evident that she was having some difficulty
      taking in any of this other than from her traditional point of
      reference. That just makes for a tough row to hoe. She had a book
      with her that she had checked out of the library, and was thinking
      about purchasing one of her own, but a lot of it just didn't make
      sense to her. Well, the book included only four texts, one of which
      was GTh. Nice enough for beginners, I figured, but the last of the
      four was the Apocryphon of John! I just couldn't believe that such a
      work had been included in something that looked like it was geared
      for novices. She was already struggling with the numerous angels
      mentioned therein which contributed in the creation of Man.
      Naturally——since *her* god didn't need any help in creating anything.

      She also pointed to the picture of Rosamonde Miller (donning robe and
      chalice) in that "Lost Gospels" article and questioned the fact that
      her group worships Sophia. Well, in truth, the article doesn't say
      anything about them "worshiping" anyone, but merely states that the
      Palo Alto group's "Sunday Eucharistic service honors Sophia." In my
      mind, there's a big difference, but as other people saw it, Miller
      might as well have had horns sprouting from her head.



      > Gerry, this reminded me of a passage i recently read, in the book
      i'm
      > still plodding thru by G.R.S. Mead,"Fragments of a Faith Forgotten".
      >
      > first, let me say, in regards to a post recently from Terje about
      > this author, whom he says "did not shy away from interposing the
      > concepts of Karma, Dharma, "Reincarnation" and other concepts out
      of
      > Hinduism/Buddhism without any consideration that not everyone knew
      > that originally the terms he "translates" is connected to an
      entirely
      > different worldview..."message 9232, to which i wholeheartedly
      agree.
      > he certainly is liberal in using the concepts within
      > Hinduism/Buddhism to assist in explaining Gnostic concepts.
      however,
      > here is a very adept scholar, who with very little to work with
      > besides fragments imbedded with Patristic writing, and i believe
      the
      > Askew and Bruce Codice's quite beautifully breathes such life into
      > Gnosticism. regardless of whether he is Gnostic himself, it's not
      > apparent, but he has the utmost reverance for the tradition and
      > the "Gnostic Doctors".
      > anyway, the passage is at the end of a chapter on Valentinus, it
      says:
      >
      > "The Gnostics were ever changing their nomenclature; the god of one
      > system might even be the devil of another! He who makes a
      > concordance of names merely, in Gnosticism, may think himself lucky
      > to escape a lunatic asylum; he, on the contrary, who seeks the idea
      > behind the name will often find himself in a realm of great beauty
      > and harmony of thought. Men like the Gnostics have ever had
      > intuitions of a real state of being, of definite and precise realms
      > of consciousness; yet each has caught a glimpse of the reality, as
      > all men must so long as they are imprisioned in a body. If the
      > Gnostics exhausted the philosophy and religion of their time in
      > striving to find a decent vestment for the naked truth, as they
      > thought they saw it, who shall blame them? Though they contradict
      one
      > another, in the view of the word-hunter, they do not contradict
      > themselves for the follower of ideas. the idea is the key which
      opens
      > the mysteries of the Gnosis, and those who refuse to use this
      living
      > key must be content to have the treasury closed against them."



      Thanks so much for sharing that, Betty. Not only had I not read it
      before, but I've been disappointed that I never did get a copy of
      Mead's take on the Pistis Sophia. As for the interpretation, I'm not
      at all opposed to exercising caution where warranted and appreciating
      value where we find it. I don't think I even need to second Mike's
      motion on closing that case——the above passage effectively pounds the
      gavel for us.



      > 28. Jesus said, "I took my stand in the midst of the world, and in
      > flesh I appeared to them. I found them all drunk, and I did not
      find
      > any of them thirsty. My soul ached for the children of humanity,
      > because they are blind in their hearts and do not see, for they
      came
      > into the world empty, and they also seek to depart from the world
      > empty.
      >
      > But meanwhile they are drunk. When they shake off their wine, they
      > will change their ways." Gospel of Thomas.
      >
      > one can only hope.



      Makes you want to brew up a world-sized pot of coffee with aspirin
      chasers, doesn't it?



      > yes, the freedom to renegotiate from moment to moment ones
      concepts,
      > without the safety net of set beliefs, allows for the seemingly
      death-
      > defying flexiblity you spoke of earlier.
      >
      > betty



      That's actually the part of the film _Dogma_ that I enjoyed the most——
      the Apostle's insistence that it's better to have ideas than
      beliefs. I'd hate to have someone be able to undermine the
      cornerstone of my philosophy——potentially bringing my whole world
      tumbling down around me.

      Gerry
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