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Re: Thomas and John

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  • Mike Leavitt
    Hello apx0n ... Good point, look at Origin and Clement, for instance. Clement apparently also used the Secret Gospel of Mark, yet virulently opposed the
    Message 1 of 21 , Apr 9, 2004
      Hello apx0n

      On 04/08/04, you wrote:

      > How to explain the vitriol that the letters express towards
      > gnosticism? Well, have not heated words often followed the falling
      > out of close intellectual (or spiritual) kin? My money says the guy
      > who wrote the letters, maybe even the guy who completed the gospel
      > as it has come down to us today, was only a generation or two
      > removed from intellectual forebarers who would have been on common
      > ground with the authors of Thomas. If nothing else, it would explain
      > why a) the orthodox mainstream held them in suspicion, and b) they
      > felt compelled to distinguish themselves from the gnostics with such
      > aggression.

      Good point, look at Origin and Clement, for instance. Clement
      apparently also used the Secret Gospel of Mark, yet virulently
      opposed the Carpocratians. Those two were virtually gnostics within
      the orthodox fold, and both were fairly late, though I don't remember
      the dates.

      Regards
      --
      Mike Leavitt ac998@...
    • lady_caritas
      ... with ... etc. ... of ... the ... John ... Gospel ... Gospel s ... orthodoxy ... falling ... guy ... as ... a) ... Sorry if I was unclear, Josh. I don t
      Message 2 of 21 , Apr 10, 2004
        --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "apx0n" <apx0n@y...> wrote:
        > Hi Cari,
        >
        > "The burgeoning proto-orthodoxy, of
        > > course, wanted to lay claim to the work, dispelling any Gnostic
        > > interpretation, and it eventually showed up in the Bible canon
        with
        > > all kinds of support against "antichrists" and false teachers,
        etc.
        > > in "letters" of John."
        > >
        >
        > Hmmm. Let's take a deeper dive on your comment about the letters
        of
        > John. I agree with you to the extent that somebody very loyal to
        the
        > Gospel of John saw value in writing those letters to distinguish
        John
        > from the gnostic movements of his day. But I've not seen those
        > letters dated any later than 130-150 AD - and that's the VERY high
        > end of the dating spectrum. So if we run with the points Pagels
        > makes about the hostility John continued to encounter from many in
        > the orthodox communities of the early and mid-Second century, those
        > dates are rather interesting, no? I think you make the orthodox a
        > bit too monolithic...
        >
        > Why not think of it this way: in the early second century the
        Gospel
        > of John had its devoted followers, folks more or less on the fringe
        > of what you term "burgeoning proto-orthodoxy". Some of them (those
        > closest to that "orthodoxy") felt compelled to lobby for the
        Gospel's
        > acceptance by those hostile to gnosticism. Yet for all their
        > lobbying, it took decades for the Gospel to be embraced by
        orthodoxy
        > with anything resembling unanimity. So instead of the big bad
        > orthodox snatching up John and integrating it, a small minority had
        > to win it tolerance (and ultimatley honor) over time.
        >
        > How to explain the vitriol that the letters express towards
        > gnosticism? Welkl, have not heated words often followed the
        falling
        > out of close intellectual (or spiritual) kin? My money says the
        guy
        > who wrote the letters, maybe even the guy who completed the gospel
        as
        > it has come down to us today, was only a generation or two removed
        > from intellectual forebarers who would have been on common ground
        > with the authors of Thomas. If nothing else, it would explain why
        a)
        > the orthodox mainstream held them in suspicion, and b) they felt
        > compelled to distinguish themselves from the gnostics with such
        > aggression.


        Sorry if I was unclear, Josh. I don't use only the term "orthodoxy"
        in reference to the first and second century C.E., especially in
        a "big, bad" or monolithic sense. I used the term "proto-
        orthodoxy." The early Christian milieu was quite diverse. But we do
        see elements emerging within this early Christian fluid environment
        that were indeed, as you say, incorporated into a later orthodoxy.
        Irenaeus, for instance, considered the man, Jesus to be God manifest
        in human form, fully human and fully divine, through his
        interpretation (different from the Valentinians) of the book of John,
        which supplied him with a way to support his claim that the other
        gospels used by ordinary Christians didn't. Jesus in the other
        gospels was a "son" of God, a messiah; he bore a human role, a man
        with the power of the holy spirit to rule in God's kingdom. Later we
        see acceptance of this gospel into the canon coloring a divine
        interpretation of Jesus into the other gospels that most likely was
        not there originally. Hence we see the earlier disagreement of other
        Christians you mention who were not originally accepting of this
        gospel with this interpretation, in addition, as you said, to
        hostility toward heterodox sects who also used John. Irenaeus
        therefore also viewed other portrayals of Jesus as heresy, deviating
        from what he considered correct doctrine. 1 John emphasizes the man,
        Jesus, as God, possibly countering docetic portrayals, which could be
        useful in supporting later doctrine by including it as authoritative
        scripture in the Bible.

        This concept of correct doctrine was much easier to incorporate into
        a political structure than an interpretation valuing instead a path
        of self-knowledge (such as espoused by Thomas), which would be much
        harder to control and might even be considered dangerous without need
        for specific go-betweens to stipulate what would be considered
        a "correct" route. Another possibility I would imagine regarding the
        vitriol you mention might very well be due to control issues and
        emphasis for some on theological differences.

        The "falling out" of close intellectual or spiritual kinship is an
        interesting theory. I would suggest that intellectual kinship can be
        something quite different from a spiritual one. Also, shared
        scriptures and/or motifs don't always necessarily indicate a
        pneumatic connection. In the case of a possible spiritual kinship
        (even as Mike proposed regarding Clement or Origen), when
        specifically considering Gnostics, who emphasized Gnosis as salvific,
        why would there be a falling out? My feeling is that shared
        realization of and emphasis on Gnosis as salvific would surpass
        weight placed on theological differences, in spite of different
        expressions. Yet...




        > > In the meantime, there is no reason why we can't discuss your
        > > interest right here in the group. In view of limited source
        > material
        > > for the Gospel of Thomas, our group dialogue might at most offer
        > > possibilities and conjecture, but it could prove to be engaging.
        > > Josh, would you be interested in providing some passages you
        refer
        > to
        > > for comparison and group member comment? :-)
        >
        >
        > Well, I'll give it a try...though I sorely wish I could propose
        such
        > comparisons in the context of sound dating. Give me a few days,
        and
        > I promise I'll cobble together a post on the matter.
        >
        > Much Easter grace (or gnosis) to all who are observing it :)
        >
        > Josh



        Thanks, Josh. Take your time. Look forward to hearing from you.


        Cari
      • apx0n
        ... term orthodoxy ... do ... environment ... orthodoxy. ... manifest ... John, ... we ... was ... other ... deviating ... man, ... be ... authoritative ...
        Message 3 of 21 , Apr 12, 2004
          --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, lady_caritas <no_reply@y...>
          wrote:
          >
          > Sorry if I was unclear, Josh. I don't use only the
          term "orthodoxy"
          > in reference to the first and second century C.E., especially in
          > a "big, bad" or monolithic sense. I used the term "proto-
          > orthodoxy." The early Christian milieu was quite diverse. But we
          do
          > see elements emerging within this early Christian fluid
          environment
          > that were indeed, as you say, incorporated into a later
          orthodoxy.
          > Irenaeus, for instance, considered the man, Jesus to be God
          manifest
          > in human form, fully human and fully divine, through his
          > interpretation (different from the Valentinians) of the book of
          John,
          > which supplied him with a way to support his claim that the other
          > gospels used by ordinary Christians didn't. Jesus in the other
          > gospels was a "son" of God, a messiah; he bore a human role, a man
          > with the power of the holy spirit to rule in God's kingdom. Later
          we
          > see acceptance of this gospel into the canon coloring a divine
          > interpretation of Jesus into the other gospels that most likely
          was
          > not there originally. Hence we see the earlier disagreement of
          other
          > Christians you mention who were not originally accepting of this
          > gospel with this interpretation, in addition, as you said, to
          > hostility toward heterodox sects who also used John. Irenaeus
          > therefore also viewed other portrayals of Jesus as heresy,
          deviating
          > from what he considered correct doctrine. 1 John emphasizes the
          man,
          > Jesus, as God, possibly countering docetic portrayals, which could
          be
          > useful in supporting later doctrine by including it as
          authoritative
          > scripture in the Bible.
          ...
          ...
          >
          >
          >
          > Cari

          Hi Cari,

          First let me respond to what you say above - I'll try to keep my
          response focussed on a point raised by Pagels in Beyond Belief in
          pages 60-62. Therein, she is discussing the Gospel of
          John's "grudging acceptance" of Peter's primacy. She first
          states: "Matthew's gospel, like Mark's and Luke's, apparently
          reflects the view of the so-called Peter Christians - a group based
          in Rome." She then points to a number of differences in the Gospel
          of John that, she concludes, "suggest rivalry - but not necessarily
          opposition - between the Peter Christians and those whom John
          assumes to be his audience, the so-called Johannine Christians, who
          regard 'the disciple whom Jesus loved' as their spiritual mentor."

          This is the idea that I was trying (poorly) to convey in my last
          post: that a group of Christians, distinct from the Petran group,
          though not necessarily in conflict with it, already espoused c. 100-
          150 AD the primacy of the Johannine view of Christ's divinity.
          Pagels goes even further than this - she says on p. 44 that "The
          author whom we call John probably knew that he was not the first -
          and certainly not the only - Christian to believe that Jesus was
          somehow divine." She goes on to site the hymn from Phillipians 2 as
          evidence of Pauline (and general early Church) interest in Christ's
          divinity.

          Whether or not you extend such views to Paul, the other apostles, or
          their followers, its hard not to accept that Irenaeus was merely
          advocating (and perhaps a product of) an antique school of thought
          with deep roots in the Christian movement: a school that held Christ
          to be divine. That leaves plenty of room to speculate - as Pagels
          does - that until Irenaeus, such views of Christ were at best
          controversial, and quite possibly a minority teaching.


          Now, as promised, let me try to address what I've been told is the
          common ground between John and Thomas. In a way, our present
          discussion about Irenaeus is a good first step towards assessing the
          common ground of Thomas and John. Pagels is inclined to see John
          and Thomas a gospels in conflict - that's even the name of one of
          her chapters in Beyond Belief. Therein, she says "I have now come
          to see that John's gospel was written in the heat of controversy, to
          defend certain views of Jesus and to oppose others." (p. 34). Such
          a view fits seemlessly with her understanding of Irenaeus and his
          struggle to deliniate orthodox doctrine, excluding gnostic thought
          and texts.

          I just don't think it's that simple. I agree that the soteriologies
          of John and Thomas are in conflict - John clearly favors a
          soteriology of faith in Christ, as opposed to the Thomasine notion
          of self-knoweldge. However, if John was truly written to confront
          Thomas or a Thomasine school, I find it hard to understand why the
          two Gospels share so much ground with respect to the consequences of
          salvation. For does not John 15.15 echo Thomas 13: "I no longer
          call you servents, because a servent does not know his master's
          business. Instead, I call you friends, for everything that I have
          learned from my Father I have made known to you." John very
          purposefully introduces Jesus as the only one who has seen the
          Father. However, as Jesus concludes his ministry and speaks
          privately to the disciples, he tells them (14:7): "From now on, you
          do _know_ [my Father] and have seen him."

          In John, as in Thomas, the followers of Jesus acheive a profound
          state of knowledge of God, and come to share in God's light in a way
          that transcends the eschatological promises of the synoptic
          gospels. Though they differ with respect to means (faith vs.
          gnosis) Thomas and John appear to me to share an understanding of
          the Kingdom that is not present in the Synoptics. Koester sites
          Thomas 13, 19, 24, 38, 49, and 92 as the passages that parrallel
          John. 13, 19, and 24 are direcly addressing the RESULTS of
          following Christ's teachings. (see his introduction in Nag Hammadi)

          Interestingly, Koester suggests that the oldest version of Thomas
          probably contained primarily eschatological and wisdom sayings of
          Jesus. He says that "Wheras Q emphasized the eschatological
          expectation of the future coming of the Kingdom of God, The Gospel
          of Thomas, in its oldest form, stressed the findings of wisdom, or
          the Kingdom of the Father, in the knowledge of oneself, guided by
          the sayings of Jesus." He points out that John, like Thomas,
          emphasizes the findings of truth and knowledge through the words of
          Jesus Christ, himself being quite literally the Word.

          Really, I'm just engaging in a glass half empty vs. half full
          disagreement with Pagels - for each substantive agreement between
          Thomas and John there's a substantive disagreement. But I think
          it's unfair to see their disagreements in light of late second
          century controversies that were undoubtedly more heated than those
          at the time the two gospels took form.

          Please please pretty please...if you know of anything that goes
          further down the avenues Koester highlights, or if you want to do so
          yourself, ___post___ :-)

          Josh
        • Mike Leavitt
          Hello apx0n ... I think you have made some good points here on the similarities between John and Thomas, but as even you point out John is based on
          Message 4 of 21 , Apr 12, 2004
            Hello apx0n

            On 04/12/04, you wrote:

            > First let me respond to what you say above - I'll try to keep my
            > response focussed on a point raised by Pagels in Beyond Belief in
            > pages 60-62. Therein, she is discussing the Gospel of
            > John's "grudging acceptance" of Peter's primacy. She first
            > states: "Matthew's gospel, like Mark's and Luke's, apparently
            > reflects the view of the so-called Peter Christians - a group based
            > in Rome." She then points to a number of differences in the Gospel
            > of John that, she concludes, "suggest rivalry - but not necessarily
            > opposition - between the Peter Christians and those whom John
            > assumes to be his audience, the so-called Johannine Christians, who
            > regard 'the disciple whom Jesus loved' as their spiritual mentor."
            >
            > This is the idea that I was trying (poorly) to convey in my last
            > post: that a group of Christians, distinct from the Petran group,
            > though not necessarily in conflict with it, already espoused c. 100-
            > 150 AD the primacy of the Johannine view of Christ's divinity.
            > Pagels goes even further than this - she says on p. 44 that "The
            > author whom we call John probably knew that he was not the first -
            > and certainly not the only - Christian to believe that Jesus was
            > somehow divine." She goes on to site the hymn from Phillipians 2 as
            > evidence of Pauline (and general early Church) interest in Christ's
            > divinity.
            >
            > Whether or not you extend such views to Paul, the other apostles, or
            > their followers, its hard not to accept that Irenaeus was merely
            > advocating (and perhaps a product of) an antique school of thought
            > with deep roots in the Christian movement: a school that held Christ
            > to be divine. That leaves plenty of room to speculate - as Pagels
            > does - that until Irenaeus, such views of Christ were at best
            > controversial, and quite possibly a minority teaching.
            >
            >
            > Now, as promised, let me try to address what I've been told is the
            > common ground between John and Thomas. In a way, our present
            > discussion about Irenaeus is a good first step towards assessing the
            > common ground of Thomas and John. Pagels is inclined to see John and
            > Thomas a gospels in conflict - that's even the name of one of her
            > chapters in Beyond Belief. Therein, she says "I have now come to see
            > that John's gospel was written in the heat of controversy, to defend
            > certain views of Jesus and to oppose others." (p. 34). Such a view
            > fits seemlessly with her understanding of Irenaeus and his struggle
            > to deliniate orthodox doctrine, excluding gnostic thought and texts.
            >
            > I just don't think it's that simple. I agree that the soteriologies
            > of John and Thomas are in conflict - John clearly favors a
            > soteriology of faith in Christ, as opposed to the Thomasine notion
            > of self-knoweldge. However, if John was truly written to confront
            > Thomas or a Thomasine school, I find it hard to understand why the
            > two Gospels share so much ground with respect to the consequences of
            > salvation. For does not John 15.15 echo Thomas 13: "I no longer call
            > you servents, because a servent does not know his master's business.
            > Instead, I call you friends, for everything that I have learned from
            > my Father I have made known to you." John very purposefully
            > introduces Jesus as the only one who has seen the Father. However,
            > as Jesus concludes his ministry and speaks privately to the
            > disciples, he tells them (14:7): "From now on, you do _know_ [my
            > Father] and have seen him."
            >
            > In John, as in Thomas, the followers of Jesus acheive a profound
            > state of knowledge of God, and come to share in God's light in a way
            > that transcends the eschatological promises of the synoptic gospels.
            > Though they differ with respect to means (faith vs. gnosis) Thomas
            > and John appear to me to share an understanding of the Kingdom that
            > is not present in the Synoptics. Koester sites Thomas 13, 19, 24,
            > 38, 49, and 92 as the passages that parrallel John. 13, 19, and 24
            > are direcly addressing the RESULTS of following Christ's teachings.
            > (see his introduction in Nag Hammadi)
            >
            > Interestingly, Koester suggests that the oldest version of Thomas
            > probably contained primarily eschatological and wisdom sayings of
            > Jesus. He says that "Wheras Q emphasized the eschatological
            > expectation of the future coming of the Kingdom of God, The Gospel
            > of Thomas, in its oldest form, stressed the findings of wisdom, or
            > the Kingdom of the Father, in the knowledge of oneself, guided by
            > the sayings of Jesus." He points out that John, like Thomas,
            > emphasizes the findings of truth and knowledge through the words of
            > Jesus Christ, himself being quite literally the Word.
            >
            > Really, I'm just engaging in a glass half empty vs. half full
            > disagreement with Pagels - for each substantive agreement between
            > Thomas and John there's a substantive disagreement. But I think
            > it's unfair to see their disagreements in light of late second
            > century controversies that were undoubtedly more heated than those
            > at the time the two gospels took form.
            >
            > Please please pretty please...if you know of anything that goes
            > further down the avenues Koester highlights, or if you want to do so
            > yourself, ___post___ :-)

            I think you have made some good points here on the similarities
            between John and Thomas, but as even you point out John is based on
            faith/pistis, while john is based on spiritual knowledge/gnosis, and
            this is a fundamental dichotomy between the Orthodox and the Gnostic
            position -- a fundamental difference basic to the Gnostic position.

            Regards
            --
            Mike Leavitt ac998@...
          • pmcvflag
            Hey Josh, hope you don t mind if I jump in on this conversation. I think you make some excellent observations, ones that I agree with in essence. There ARE,
            Message 5 of 21 , Apr 12, 2004
              Hey Josh, hope you don't mind if I jump in on this conversation.

              I think you make some excellent observations, ones that I agree with
              in essence. There ARE, important parts of John that agree with
              Thomas, and there are a number of scholors who have pointed out some
              Gnostic tendencies in John as well (outside the previously mentioned
              fact that some Valentinians obviously saw Gnostic interperatations of
              John as perfectly valid.)

              While I think that Dr Pagels does us no favors by failing to deal
              with these similarities, I also think that in a way your point
              actually makes a good case for her arguement.

              Consider this for a moment... what would be the use of a dialogue
              attempting to discredit a movement that was too alien to present a
              danger? Augustine dedicates time to polemics against the Manichaeans
              because he knows there is a value to the movement that attracts a
              certain crowd... because he agrees with some of the ideas of the
              movement and uses them in his own beliefs.... because he WAS a
              Manichaean. John uses Gnostic terms, that has long been understood
              even prior to Pagels' recent work, and it is this that has led to the
              debate over whether it is a Gnostic work, or one that was
              specifically written to fight the Gnostic threat.

              I would suggest that the reality of the situation is not so black and
              white. The Testemony of Truth also attempts to discredit some Gnostic
              ideas and movements, but it is also heavily influenced by those very
              same movements, so I don't think it is an all or nothing proposition.
              Instead of seeing dispute between a right and left, I think what we
              actually see is a rainbow of beliefs disagreeing on specifics, which
              makes it easier for us to concentrate on the opposite ends of the
              spectrum while ignoring the shades in between. This was not simply
              some war of ideas between Gnostics and "Orthodoxy" (which didn't even
              exist).

              The difference of soteriological emphasis would seem the most prime
              amongst people who otherwised agreed with each other, and they would
              be right in that disagreement. It would not matter if two people had
              the same goal if thier means of attaining that goal was
              irreconcilable.

              PMCV
              ___________________________
              >>First let me respond to what you say above - I'll try to keep my
              response focussed on a point raised by Pagels in Beyond Belief in
              pages 60-62. Therein, she is discussing the Gospel of
              John's "grudging acceptance" of Peter's primacy. She first
              states: "Matthew's gospel, like Mark's and Luke's, apparently
              reflects the view of the so-called Peter Christians - a group based
              in Rome." She then points to a number of differences in the Gospel
              of John that, she concludes, "suggest rivalry - but not necessarily
              opposition - between the Peter Christians and those whom John
              assumes to be his audience, the so-called Johannine Christians, who
              regard 'the disciple whom Jesus loved' as their spiritual mentor."

              This is the idea that I was trying (poorly) to convey in my last
              post: that a group of Christians, distinct from the Petran group,
              though not necessarily in conflict with it, already espoused c. 100-
              150 AD the primacy of the Johannine view of Christ's divinity.
              Pagels goes even further than this - she says on p. 44 that "The
              author whom we call John probably knew that he was not the first -
              and certainly not the only - Christian to believe that Jesus was
              somehow divine." She goes on to site the hymn from Phillipians 2 as
              evidence of Pauline (and general early Church) interest in Christ's
              divinity.

              Whether or not you extend such views to Paul, the other apostles, or
              their followers, its hard not to accept that Irenaeus was merely
              advocating (and perhaps a product of) an antique school of thought
              with deep roots in the Christian movement: a school that held Christ
              to be divine. That leaves plenty of room to speculate - as Pagels
              does - that until Irenaeus, such views of Christ were at best
              controversial, and quite possibly a minority teaching.


              Now, as promised, let me try to address what I've been told is the
              common ground between John and Thomas. In a way, our present
              discussion about Irenaeus is a good first step towards assessing the
              common ground of Thomas and John. Pagels is inclined to see John
              and Thomas a gospels in conflict - that's even the name of one of
              her chapters in Beyond Belief. Therein, she says "I have now come
              to see that John's gospel was written in the heat of controversy, to
              defend certain views of Jesus and to oppose others." (p. 34). Such
              a view fits seemlessly with her understanding of Irenaeus and his
              struggle to deliniate orthodox doctrine, excluding gnostic thought
              and texts.

              I just don't think it's that simple. I agree that the soteriologies
              of John and Thomas are in conflict - John clearly favors a
              soteriology of faith in Christ, as opposed to the Thomasine notion
              of self-knoweldge. However, if John was truly written to confront
              Thomas or a Thomasine school, I find it hard to understand why the
              two Gospels share so much ground with respect to the consequences of
              salvation. For does not John 15.15 echo Thomas 13: "I no longer
              call you servents, because a servent does not know his master's
              business. Instead, I call you friends, for everything that I have
              learned from my Father I have made known to you." John very
              purposefully introduces Jesus as the only one who has seen the
              Father. However, as Jesus concludes his ministry and speaks
              privately to the disciples, he tells them (14:7): "From now on, you
              do _know_ [my Father] and have seen him."

              In John, as in Thomas, the followers of Jesus acheive a profound
              state of knowledge of God, and come to share in God's light in a way
              that transcends the eschatological promises of the synoptic
              gospels. Though they differ with respect to means (faith vs.
              gnosis) Thomas and John appear to me to share an understanding of
              the Kingdom that is not present in the Synoptics. Koester sites
              Thomas 13, 19, 24, 38, 49, and 92 as the passages that parrallel
              John. 13, 19, and 24 are direcly addressing the RESULTS of
              following Christ's teachings. (see his introduction in Nag Hammadi)

              Interestingly, Koester suggests that the oldest version of Thomas
              probably contained primarily eschatological and wisdom sayings of
              Jesus. He says that "Wheras Q emphasized the eschatological
              expectation of the future coming of the Kingdom of God, The Gospel
              of Thomas, in its oldest form, stressed the findings of wisdom, or
              the Kingdom of the Father, in the knowledge of oneself, guided by
              the sayings of Jesus." He points out that John, like Thomas,
              emphasizes the findings of truth and knowledge through the words of
              Jesus Christ, himself being quite literally the Word.

              Really, I'm just engaging in a glass half empty vs. half full
              disagreement with Pagels - for each substantive agreement between
              Thomas and John there's a substantive disagreement. But I think
              it's unfair to see their disagreements in light of late second
              century controversies that were undoubtedly more heated than those
              at the time the two gospels took form.

              Please please pretty please...if you know of anything that goes
              further down the avenues Koester highlights, or if you want to do so
              yourself, ___post___ :-)<<<

              Josh
            • lady_caritas
              ... would ... had ... PMCV, in light of our discussion, as an example, would you say that Irenaeus and Valentinus would have had the same goal? In another
              Message 6 of 21 , Apr 13, 2004
                --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                >
                > The difference of soteriological emphasis would seem the most prime
                > amongst people who otherwised agreed with each other, and they
                would
                > be right in that disagreement. It would not matter if two people
                had
                > the same goal if thier means of attaining that goal was
                > irreconcilable.
                >


                PMCV, in light of our discussion, as an example, would you say that
                Irenaeus and Valentinus would have had the same goal? In another
                example you give, Augustine was once a Manichaean, but he was an
                Auditor, not one of the Elect. Would his eventual goal have been the
                same as the Manichaean Elect? IOW, would the people in these
                examples be envisioning the same goal, with the difference mainly
                being soteriological emphasis? (I won't include the Testimony of
                Truth illustration because I believe the soteriological emphasis was
                probably still Gnosis.) Or could the difference in soteriological
                emphasis indicate different goals?

                Basically, how would you describe their goal(s)?

                Thanks.

                Cari
              • apx0n
                ... Absolutely - the soteriologies of the two texts are at odds...as we have the texts today. But that s what started me down this thread - the possibility
                Message 7 of 21 , Apr 13, 2004
                  --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, Mike Leavitt <ac998@l...> wrote:
                  > Hello apx0n
                  >
                  >
                  > I think you have made some good points here on the similarities
                  > between John and Thomas, but as even you point out John is based on
                  > faith/pistis, while john is based on spiritual knowledge/gnosis, and
                  > this is a fundamental dichotomy between the Orthodox and the Gnostic
                  > position -- a fundamental difference basic to the Gnostic position.
                  >
                  > Regards
                  > --
                  > Mike Leavitt ac998@l...


                  Absolutely - the soteriologies of the two texts are at odds...as we
                  have the texts today. But that's what started me down this thread -
                  the possibility that Thomas, as we have it, is substantively
                  different from the text (and by extension its tradition) as it would
                  have been pre-100 AD.

                  My speculation is that, given the two gospels' striking reliance on a
                  shared 1st century sayings source other than Q, and given their
                  similarities in eschatology, the two could stem from a common circle
                  of first century Christian teachers and disciples. This, of course,
                  requires that we assign the conflicting soteriologies to a later
                  period - say, the early second century, the time in which the
                  Johannine group more or less goes on the anti-gnostic attack via the
                  Johannine epistles.

                  Just speculating...I have not a lick of argument beyond what
                  Koester's introduction to Thomas supplies me. Still - quite a
                  striking idea if it could be backed up.

                  Josh
                • Mike Leavitt
                  Hello apx0n ... And then it may well have been the other way round, and that John, not Thomas was modified. Regards -- Mike Leavitt ac998@lafn.org
                  Message 8 of 21 , Apr 13, 2004
                    Hello apx0n

                    On 04/13/04, you wrote:

                    > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, Mike Leavitt <ac998@l...> wrote:
                    >> Hello apx0n
                    >>
                    >>
                    >> I think you have made some good points here on the similarities
                    >> between John and Thomas, but as even you point out John is based on
                    >> faith/pistis, while john is based on spiritual knowledge/gnosis,
                    >> and this is a fundamental dichotomy between the Orthodox and the
                    >> Gnostic position -- a fundamental difference basic to the Gnostic
                    >> position.
                    >>
                    >> Regards
                    >> --
                    >> Mike Leavitt ac998@l...
                    >
                    >
                    > Absolutely - the soteriologies of the two texts are at odds...as we
                    > have the texts today. But that's what started me down this thread -
                    > the possibility that Thomas, as we have it, is substantively
                    > different from the text (and by extension its tradition) as it would
                    > have been pre-100 AD.
                    >
                    > My speculation is that, given the two gospels' striking reliance on
                    > a shared 1st century sayings source other than Q, and given their
                    > similarities in eschatology, the two could stem from a common circle
                    > of first century Christian teachers and disciples. This, of course,
                    > requires that we assign the conflicting soteriologies to a later
                    > period - say, the early second century, the time in which the
                    > Johannine group more or less goes on the anti-gnostic attack via the
                    > Johannine epistles.
                    >
                    > Just speculating...I have not a lick of argument beyond what
                    > Koester's introduction to Thomas supplies me. Still - quite a
                    > striking idea if it could be backed up.
                    >
                    > Josh

                    And then it may well have been the other way round, and that John, not
                    Thomas was modified.

                    Regards
                    --
                    Mike Leavitt ac998@...
                  • lady_caritas
                    ... Well again, that depends on the interpretation. I would imagine that today there are neo-Valentinians who, as their predecessors, would use Gnostic
                    Message 9 of 21 , Apr 13, 2004
                      --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "apx0n" <apx0n@y...> wrote:

                      > Absolutely - the soteriologies of the two texts are at odds...as we
                      > have the texts today.


                      Well again, that depends on the interpretation. I would imagine that
                      today there are neo-Valentinians who, as their predecessors, would
                      use Gnostic interpretations of Thomas, John and some of Paul's
                      letters. As has been mentioned, Pagels' has written books discussing
                      Valentinian exegesis of Paul and John. And the particular passages
                      she talks about coincide directly to those found in the modern
                      versions of these works. These scriptures can be read on various
                      levels; Pagels provides both psychic and pneumatic exegesis, based on
                      writings of Valentinian teachers.




                      > But that's what started me down this thread -
                      > the possibility that Thomas, as we have it, is substantively
                      > different from the text (and by extension its tradition) as it
                      would
                      > have been pre-100 AD.
                      >
                      > My speculation is that, given the two gospels' striking reliance on
                      a
                      > shared 1st century sayings source other than Q, and given their
                      > similarities in eschatology, the two could stem from a common
                      circle
                      > of first century Christian teachers and disciples. This, of
                      course,
                      > requires that we assign the conflicting soteriologies to a later
                      > period - say, the early second century, the time in which the
                      > Johannine group more or less goes on the anti-gnostic attack via
                      the
                      > Johannine epistles.
                      >
                      > Just speculating...I have not a lick of argument beyond what
                      > Koester's introduction to Thomas supplies me. Still - quite a
                      > striking idea if it could be backed up.


                      I was wondering, Josh, how you might envision this first century
                      common circle. Would that be "a school that held Christ to be
                      divine," as you mention in your post #9384? Christ as divine can
                      take on different meanings. For a Gnostic, a docetic or adoptionist
                      portrayal of Christ is not at all the same as Jesus Christ being
                      God. And, how would Thomas be "substantively different" if a pre-100
                      C.E. version indeed existed? (Bentley Layton's introduction places
                      the date of composition before A.D. ca. 200. He says that one
                      qualified expert estimated that GTh was composed in the first century
                      A.D., but many others assign it to around the middle of the second
                      century.)

                      From Helmut Koester's introduction to _The Gospel of Thomas_ in
                      Robinson's _The Nag Hammadi Library_ (pages 125-6) ~
                      "Neither the Coptic translation nor the Greek fragments seem to have
                      preserved this gospel in its oldest form. Even the comparison of the
                      extant Coptic and Greek texts demonstrates that the text was subject
                      to change in the process of transmission. The oldest form most
                      likely contained wisdom sayings and eschatological sayings of Jesus,
                      including a number of parables. The sayings of this type, even those
                      which have no parallels in the gospels of the New Testament
                      (especially the parable 97 and 98), may belong to the oldest strata
                      of the tradition. Whereas `Q' emphasized the eschatological
                      expectation of the future coming of the `Kingdom of God,' _The Gospel
                      of Thomas_ in its oldest form, stressed the finding of wisdom, or of
                      the `Kingdom of the Father,' in the knowledge (_gnosis_) of oneself
                      (cf. saying 3), guided by the sayings of Jesus. This understanding
                      of salvation is similar to that expressed in many passages of the
                      Gospel of John in which the finding of truth and life is bound to the
                      words of Jesus (Jn 6:63; 8:51). The first saying of the _The Gospel
                      of Thomas_ states this programmatically: the interpretation of the
                      sayings is identical with the finding of eternal life.

                      "In the further history and growth of the _The Gospel of Thomas_,
                      this wisdom interpretation of the sayings of Jesus is more clearly
                      developed under the influence of Gnostic theology, though it is not
                      possible to ascribe the work to any particular Gnostic school or
                      sect."

                      Koester might be inferring at least a proto-Gnostic reading of this
                      potential older version of Thomas (not really substantively
                      different), which could easily relate to a Gnostic exegesis of John.


                      Cari
                    • pmcvflag
                      Lady Cari.... ... Irenaeus and Valentinus would have had the same goal? In another example you give, Augustine was once a Manichaean, but he was an Auditor,
                      Message 10 of 21 , Apr 13, 2004
                        Lady Cari....

                        >>>PMCV, in light of our discussion, as an example, would you say that
                        Irenaeus and Valentinus would have had the same goal? In another
                        example you give, Augustine was once a Manichaean, but he was an
                        Auditor, not one of the Elect. Would his eventual goal have been the
                        same as the Manichaean Elect? IOW, would the people in these
                        examples be envisioning the same goal, with the difference mainly
                        being soteriological emphasis? (I won't include the Testimony of
                        Truth illustration because I believe the soteriological emphasis was
                        probably still Gnosis.) Or could the difference in soteriological
                        emphasis indicate different goals?<<<

                        Good call, I was too vague with the term "goals". The term "goal"
                        here is contextually variable. For instance, we could compare
                        Basilides notion of the Source with that of the Manichaeans. If we
                        assume that Basilides seeks to rejoin that source (something that he
                        doesn't explicitely state) then we could say that the Manichaeans and
                        the Basilidians have the same goal, disolution into the source. On
                        the other hand, for Basilides the beginning is found in an absolute
                        infinite singualrity, where as in Manicaeism the source is an
                        absolute duality... so we can say that they don't have the same goal
                        at all.

                        Irenaeus and Valentinus obviously have goals that would be difficult
                        to compare in such a way. In plain language I guess we could say that
                        they both have the same goal of "salvation", but they are not the
                        same in either the means NOR the form... at least not so far as I can
                        see.

                        I think this difference is more difficult to outline in the John vs
                        Thomas debate, especially when we are talking about John as it is
                        most often translated in our English Bibles. I have seen translation
                        of passages that drop convention to striking effect. To me, the exact
                        effect of salvation seems less explicit in John, but the hints given
                        for the cosmology (the existance of the Logos as a being) and some of
                        the lingo used seems to imply that the effect of salvation could be
                        reconciled with Gnostic beliefs (or at least interperated that way as
                        opposed to the more literal heaven with pearly gates
                        of "orthodoxy")... this is what I mean by the "goal" in this case.
                        John does not seem to fight the Gnostics on this concept the way he
                        does on the concept of soteriology. Still, we can't be sure and I am
                        only giving theorhetic speculations here. In fact, I would also
                        caution against taking such similarities to mean TOO much (as I would
                        when examining people like Clement as compared to Gnosticism)

                        PMCV
                      • lady_caritas
                        ... he ... and ... goal ... difficult ... that ... can ... translation ... exact ... given ... of ... as ... am ... would ... Thanks for the clarification,
                        Message 11 of 21 , Apr 14, 2004
                          --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Good call, I was too vague with the term "goals". The term "goal"
                          > here is contextually variable. For instance, we could compare
                          > Basilides notion of the Source with that of the Manichaeans. If we
                          > assume that Basilides seeks to rejoin that source (something that
                          he
                          > doesn't explicitely state) then we could say that the Manichaeans
                          and
                          > the Basilidians have the same goal, disolution into the source. On
                          > the other hand, for Basilides the beginning is found in an absolute
                          > infinite singualrity, where as in Manicaeism the source is an
                          > absolute duality... so we can say that they don't have the same
                          goal
                          > at all.
                          >
                          > Irenaeus and Valentinus obviously have goals that would be
                          difficult
                          > to compare in such a way. In plain language I guess we could say
                          that
                          > they both have the same goal of "salvation", but they are not the
                          > same in either the means NOR the form... at least not so far as I
                          can
                          > see.
                          >
                          > I think this difference is more difficult to outline in the John vs
                          > Thomas debate, especially when we are talking about John as it is
                          > most often translated in our English Bibles. I have seen
                          translation
                          > of passages that drop convention to striking effect. To me, the
                          exact
                          > effect of salvation seems less explicit in John, but the hints
                          given
                          > for the cosmology (the existance of the Logos as a being) and some
                          of
                          > the lingo used seems to imply that the effect of salvation could be
                          > reconciled with Gnostic beliefs (or at least interperated that way
                          as
                          > opposed to the more literal heaven with pearly gates
                          > of "orthodoxy")... this is what I mean by the "goal" in this case.
                          > John does not seem to fight the Gnostics on this concept the way he
                          > does on the concept of soteriology. Still, we can't be sure and I
                          am
                          > only giving theorhetic speculations here. In fact, I would also
                          > caution against taking such similarities to mean TOO much (as I
                          would
                          > when examining people like Clement as compared to Gnosticism)
                          >
                          > PMCV


                          Thanks for the clarification, PMCV. You bring up an interesting
                          point. This discussion seems to be focusing on a possible early
                          version of Thomas in comparison to John. However, as Mike has
                          suggested, we also could speculate on possible different ancient
                          versions of John that didn't survive intact.

                          In any case, the Valentinians did not see just one possible
                          interpretation of John. They were aware of hylic, psychic, and
                          pneumatic readings of the same text. Regarding soteriology you
                          mention, PMCV, I'll share a section Pagels wrote about "Psychic
                          salvation and gospel history" in _The Johannine Gospel in Gnostic
                          Exegesis_, since I'm aware some members have had difficulty finding
                          copies of this book for purchase. Here we see Pagels describing a
                          different emphasis from that in her most recent book.
                          ____________

                          "The psychics' error, however, is not only that they reify
                          the 'image' of the creator. In the same way they also reify the
                          figure of Jesus Christ and the events narrated of him in, for
                          example, the fourth gospel. The Valentinians see the same error
                          involved in psychic exegesis. The Valentinians, of course, in common
                          with all Christians, agree that the gospel cannot be read _as
                          revelation_ so long as it is read only literally. Literal (or in
                          their terms, "hylic") exegesis, would read it simply as the
                          historical account of the words and deeds of Jesus of Nazareth. But,
                          the Valentinians add, in distinction from `the majority,' neither is
                          the gospel to be interpreted only `psychically,' that is, as
                          revelation actually given _in_ and _through_ historical events. Such
                          a reading, in their view, reifies and absolutizes the _events
                          themselves_ as being the actual revelation of the demiurge given `in
                          history.' What the psychics fail to apprehend is that the events of
                          the oikonomia, such as Jesus' birth and death, are
                          themselves `images.' Psychic Christians, reifying these, insist that
                          salvation comes to them only _because_ these events actually
                          occurred, only because the son of the demiurge actually entered into
                          human history. They fail to realize that these events can only be
                          understood `spiritually' as signs and symbols of a spiritual process
                          that is not bound to specific time and place.

                          "This does not mean that the Valentinians deny the historical
                          actuality of the events narrated in John. On the contrary, Heracleon
                          apparently assumes that the events _did_ happen historically. Yet
                          their historical actuality remains irrelevant and meaningless apart
                          from the higher levels of exegesis. Indeed, the `hylic level' of
                          historical narration can be worse than irrelevant. Improperly
                          understood, it can serve as an obstacle to understanding, since its
                          historical form allows the possibility of reading the account on the
                          historical level alone, and thus reading it in `error and ignorance.'

                          "The psychics, although they are not literalists, nevertheless
                          consider the historical actuality of the events to be the criterion
                          of the validity of their preaching. So Justin, for example, warns
                          against reading the gospels except as witnesses to the events
                          themselves. The Valentinians insist, on the contrary, that only when
                          all the objects, events, and persons described in John are
                          interpreted as `images of things in the pleroma,' that is, symbols of
                          a reality that transcends space, time, and nomos, is the gospel
                          read `in spirit and in truth.' Only by such an exegetical process
                          does the written _become_ revelation for the reader."
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