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Re: Critical Reading

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  • Gerry
    My own introduction to Gnosticism came by way of following leads. Many years ago, I happened to catch part of a documentary concerning those Holy Blood…
    Message 1 of 137 , Feb 22, 2006


      My own introduction to Gnosticism came by way of following leads.  Many years ago, I happened to catch part of a documentary concerning those "Holy Blood…" allegations—airing on The Learning Channel [sic!] of all places.  That led me to the alternative history books, which subsequently led me to the serious work of more rational authors and investigators.  Following that same tactic, which Huggins exemplified as well in the article I cited in my last post, let's take a closer look at just one of those ten passages he mentioned from the Bible where the term "koinônos" is used (and I hope the group will pardon my assumption that everyone hasn't already looked into all TEN of those!):

      For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners [koinônoì] with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men."
      —Luke 5:9–10

      Obviously, that passage would present a problem for anyone claiming that "koinônos" is best interpreted as a "woman with whom a man has had sexual intercourse."  Since it's apparent that the two ben Zebedee brothers were men (i.e., his "sons"), we might be inclined to let our minds wander as to the real identity of that "Simon" person (or perhaps "Simone" would be a more appropriate spelling in this instance!).  Furthermore, when Jesus suggests that Simon will go on to catch yet more men, do we jump to the conclusion that this is a clear indication that their maritime ménage à trois is soon to become a fourgy, … and eventually a moregy?

      When we get right down to it, we can never know exactly what kind of debauchery might have occurred on that fishing boat, but the logical course of action in our investigation would be to consider whether we were operating with accurate information from the start.  Clearly, this might even involve reconsidering our definition of "koinônos."  It might also involve getting our heads out of the gutter and trying to determine what makes the most sense within a Gnostic context.

      Since the "definition" used above for koinônos is decidedly flawed, let's take another look at the term:

      koinonós—from koinoV … a sharer, i.e. associate:--companion, X fellowship, partaker, partner.

      The root of this word implies something that is held in common between two or more individuals.  This relationship can apply to people who share a meal, or who share business interests or transactions, or even those who share a more intimate association (such as we members gathered here), whether of a physical or spiritual nature.  Again, as I recently intimated when I recommended to Brenda an old post where I had explored similar issues before, the word "intercourse" can convey similar, wide-ranging meanings in English today, just as it did in the Greek back then.  Anyone familiar with the Gospel of Philip will know that the text contains a number of references to such relationships.  Here is one of my favorites:

      No one can know when the husband and the wife have intercourse with one another, except the two of them. Indeed, marriage in the world is a mystery for those who have taken a wife. If there is a hidden quality to the marriage of defilement, how much more is the undefiled marriage a true mystery! It is not fleshly, but pure. It belongs not to desire, but to the will. It belongs not to the darkness or the night, but to the day and the light. If a marriage is open to the public, it has become prostitution, and the bride plays the harlot not only when she is impregnated by another man, but even if she slips out of her bedroom and is seen. Let her show herself only to her father and her mother, and to the friend of the bridegroom and the sons of the bridegroom. These are permitted to enter every day into the bridal chamber. But let the others yearn just to listen to her voice and to enjoy her ointment, and let them feed from the crumbs that fall from the table, like the dogs. Bridegrooms and brides belong to the bridal chamber. No one shall be able to see the bridegroom with the bride unless he become such a one.

      I'm sure others here can think of a more obvious choice, a passage that has numerous references to all sorts of "intercourse" and "mingling" and "coupling" in the English translation, but I ought to save that one for when I get around to addressing what makes Layton's translation of the "Three Marys" passage unique, compared to that of most of his colleagues.  By examining how "koinônos" is aptly translated as "companion" though, we've really only jumped halfway into this confusing mix. 


    • Gerry
      ... Thank you, Jana, for noticing them. ... And ya know, that was the one suggestion you wrote me that I was the most hesitant to attempt. There s something
      Message 137 of 137 , Apr 8, 2006

        --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "janahooks" <janahooks@...> wrote:

        > [. . .]
        > Gerry and Lady C.,thanks for all of the info and links.…


        Thank you, Jana, for noticing them. 


        > Gerry, after looking at the National Geographic link, I was

        > reminded of some suggestions I gave you on faded writing. I'm feeling
        > really good about watery sepia ink and sandpaper...and sand
        > horizontally and vertically...with the gray sandpaper...


        And ya know, that was the one suggestion you wrote me that I was the most hesitant to attempt.  There's something about the dual-layered papyrus and its almost glossy sheen that made me wonder if such coarse measures would destroy the whole thing, but the more I've thought about it (along with your renewed convictions), the more I believe it would indeed yield a desirable finish.  I imagine the weathered results would be akin to repeatedly wadding up a sheet of paper to the point that it becomes more like a thin piece of cloth rather than a crisp piece of paper.  Only this way, you avoid the wrinkles!


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