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3471Re: GTh 7

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  • smithand44@hotmail.com
    Apr 4 9:40 PM
      I'm always interested to see correspondances between GThomas and
      Philo. I hope you can provide us with more, Frank. But I think that
      your argument has a few weak points (as all explanations of GThomas
      #7, definitely including mine, seem to have):-

      Does Philo ever use a lion as a symbol of the outer senses? An
      "unreasoning creature" is rather a vague connection to a lion. As I
      recall he says that Woman symbolises the outer senses, as in Eve.

      Why should we think that man as a different meaning in one clause of
      GThomas #7, except that it needs this to fit your interpretation?

      Why the metaphor of eating?

      Yours is a reasonable argument, but it's not a compelling match.

      Anyway, more Philo please!

      Best Wishes

      Andrew Smith





      --- In gthomas@y..., "FMMCCOY" <FMMCCOY@e...> wrote:
      > I am a new member writing on GTh 7, "Blessed is the lion which
      > becomes man when consumed by man; and cursed is the man whom the
      lion
      > comsumes, and the lion
      > becomes man." I suggest that, underlying this saying, are some
      early
      > Christian ideas based on certain elements of the teachings of
      Philo--a
      > Jewish contemporary of Jesus and Paul.
      > In Philionic thought, a human being is composed of three
      things. First,
      > there is the body/flesh. Second, there is sense or sense-
      perception. It is
      > the irrational part of a human's soul. It also grades into the
      body/flesh
      > because it includes the organs of sense. Third, there is the mind,
      which is
      > the rational part of the soul. It is potentially immortal. So, in
      Cong.
      > 97, Philo states that "not only for the wooden and earthen mass of
      the body,
      > not only for the unreasoning creatures, the senses, are we taught
      to praise
      > the Benefactor, but also for the mind which may be truly called the
      man
      > within the man, the better part within the worst, the immortal
      within the
      > mortal."
      > Note that, in this statement by Philo, "man" has two meanings.
      First,
      > it means "the mind". Second, it means "the body/flesh", within
      which
      > resides the mind. I suggest that this directly relates to GTh 7--
      where
      > "man" is mentioned four times. In the first three times, I
      suggest, it
      > means the inner man, i.e., the mind In the last time, though, it
      means
      > the outer man, i.e, the body/flesh..
      > Note, too, that, in this statement by Philo, the senses are
      called
      > "unreasoning creatures". I think that this directly relates to GTh
      7,
      > which refers to an unreasoning creature, i.e., a lion. This lion,
      then,
      > represents the unreasoning creatures, i.e., the senses, taken
      together as a
      > unity, i.e., as one single unreasoning creature.
      > In Philionic thought, the proper role of mind is to be the ruler
      and the
      > proper role of sense-perception to be the subject. So, in LA iii
      (222), he
      > states, "Most profitless is it that mind should listen to sense-
      perception,
      > and not sense-perception to mind; for it is always right that the
      superior
      > should rule and the inferior be ruled; and mind is superior to
      > sense-perception."
      > I think this directly relates to GTh 7, where first the man eats
      the
      > lion and where, next, the lion eats the man. In the first case, we
      have the
      > the inner man (i.e., the mind) ruling over the lion (i.e., sense-
      perception)
      > and, in the second case, we have the lion (i.e., sense-perception)
      ruling
      > over the inner man (i.e., the mind)..
      > In Philionic thought, these two situations lead to radically
      different
      > outcomes. So, in LA iii, 50, he states, "For when that which is
      superior,
      > namely mind, becomes one with that which is inferior, namely,
      > sense-perception, it resolves itself into the order of flesh which
      is
      > inferior, into sense-perception, the moving cause of the passions.
      But if
      > sense the inferior follow mind the superior, there will be flesh no
      more,
      > but both of them will be mind." So, when mind rules sense-
      perception, then
      > sense-perception merges into mind and, thereby, becomes a part of
      mind.
      > However, when sense-perception rules the mind, then mind merges into
      > sense-perception which, in turn, welds itself to (and, so, becomes
      a part
      > of) the body-flesh.
      > This directly relates to GTh 7."Blessed is the lion which
      becomes man
      > when consumed by man; and cursed is the man whom the lion comsumes,
      and the
      > lion becomes man." It begins by speaking of how, when the inner
      man (i.e.,
      > the mind) eats (i.e., rules over) the lion (i.e., sense-
      perception), this
      > lion (i.e., sense-perception) becomes a part of the inner man
      (i.e., the
      > mind). Then it speaks of how, when the lion (i.e., sense
      perception) eats
      > (i.e., rules over) the man (i.e., the mind), then the lion (i.e.,
      > sense-perception) welds itself into (thereby becoming a part of)
      the outer
      > man (i.e., the body/flesh). In the first, case, sense-perception
      is blessed
      > because, by becoming a part of the mind, it, too, can become
      immortal. In
      > the second case, the inner man (i.e., the mind) is cursed because
      it has
      > lost its opportunity for immortality by becoming a part of the lion
      (i.e.,
      > sense-perception), which then merged into (thereby becoming a part
      of) the
      > perishable outer man (i.e., the body/flesh).
      > In the New Testament, the Philionic triad of body/flesh,
      > sense-perception, and mind becomes a triad of body/flesh, psyche,
      and pneuma
      > (spirit) in those situations in which psyche and pneuma are
      differentiated.
      > So, in Mark's account of the agony at Gethsemane, Jesus says, "Very
      > sorrowful is my psyche, even unto death." and "The pneuma (spirit)
      indeed is
      > ready, but the flesh (is) weak." The psyche is sorrowful because
      it is the
      > irrational sense-perception, while the pneuma (spirit) is ready to
      face
      > death because it is the rational mind. Also see I Thess. 5:23,
      which refers
      > to "your psyche, pneuma (spirit), and body".
      > In I Corinthians, Paul takes this one step further, dividing
      mankind into
      > those who are ruled by their pneumas (minds) and those who are
      ruled by
      > their psyches. When the pneuma rules, the psyche merges into the
      pneuma,
      > making them pure pneuma. Such a person is a pneumatikos man. When
      the
      > psyche rules, then the pneuma merges into psyche, making the whole
      soul
      > psyche, and the psyche merges into the flesh. Such a person is a
      psychikos
      > man, a man of the flesh.
      > So, I Cor. 2:14-3:3, Paul states, "The psychikos man, receiving
      not the
      > things of the Pneuma (Spirit) of God, for they are folly to him,
      and he
      > cannot know (them) because they are pneumatikos (i.e., by the
      pneuma)
      > discerned. But the pneumatikos man judges all things, but he by no
      one is
      > judged. 'For who did know (the) mind of the Lord? Who shall
      instruct him?'
      > But we have (the) mind of Christ. And, I brethren, was not able to
      speak to
      > you as pneumatikos, but as to fleshly, as to babes in Christ.
      > I gave you milk to drink, not food; for not yet were you able; but
      neither
      > yet are you able--for you are yet fleshly."
      > Since the psychikos man has a soul of pure psyche, he cannot
      perceive the
      > Pneuma (Sprit) and the things it imparts, for they are perceived
      > only by the pneuma (spirit). Since the pneumatikos man has a soul
      of pure
      > pneuma (spirit), he judges all things and is judged by no one
      because he can
      > perceive (and, so, has) the Mind = the Pneuma (Spirit) of the
      Christ. The
      > Corinthians, rather than being pneumatikos men whose souls are pure
      pneuma
      > (spirit), are psychikos men whose souls are pure psyche and have
      merged into
      > the body/flesh, making them men of the flesh.
      > The bottom line: what we have in GTh 7 is the blessing of a
      pneumatikos
      > man whose inner man (i.e., the pneuma) has "eaten" his psyche,
      making his
      > whole soul pure pneuma and the cursing of a psychikos man whose
      psyche has
      > "eaten" his inner man (i.e., the pneuma), making his whole soul
      pure psyche
      > and whose whole soul of psyche has merged into his outer man (i.e.,
      the
      > body/flesh), making him a man of flesh.
      > To conclude, GTh 7 is based on the Philionic notion that a human
      being
      > consists of the body/flesh, sense-perception, and mind and related
      Philionic
      > ideas regarding the relationships between sense-perception and the
      mind. In
      > the New Testament, when psyche and pneuma are distinguished from
      each other
      > (an important qualifier, for they are frequently treated as
      synonyms), the
      > Philionic triad of body/flesh, sense-perception, and mind becomes
      the triad
      > of body/flesh, psyche, and pneuma. Judging by Mark's account of
      the agony
      > at Gethsemane, this was first done by Jesus himself--who, in this
      case, had
      > some familiarity with Philionic thought and decided to alter Philo's
      > mind-senseperception division into a pysch-pneuma division. This
      triad of
      > body/flesh, psyche and pneuma was known to Paul by the time he and
      Silvanus
      > wrote I Thess (i.e., c. 50 CE). In I Corinthians,. Paul used it to
      develop
      > his concept of the division of mankind into the psychikos men of
      the flesh
      > and the pneumatikos men. In GTh 7, the pneumatikos men are
      blessed, but the
      > psychikos men of the flesh are cursed. Because of this, it is
      possible that
      > GTh 7 either arose in the Corinthian church or else reached its
      final form
      > there.
      >
      > Frank McCoy
      >
      > Maplewood, MN USA
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