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4377Re: [GTh] Strata in Thomas: A proposed Reading of #88

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  • Tom Saunders
    Apr 2, 2002
      Randy writes:

      It would definately be useful to know whether
      the Nag Hamaddi texts generally used "messanger"
      in a technical way.....but the exact connection
      between this text you quote:

      I don't think it is likely to sort out this puzzel of "messenger" without knowing the exact intent of the writer at the time seperate texts were written. One problem I see in the Nag Hammadi are two seperate epistemologies. Generally a reference to an angel is an idea common to Jewish accounts of how spirit works. References in Acts referring to Peter and Paul encountering angels refers to them as a personification which materializes. Angels are generally portrayed as messengers, even the one that sprung Peter from a Roman jail. Neat trick.

      The other scenerio has the spirit in a more docetic form, and there is no real manifestation of spirit into matter, just thought. I am probably a little over zealous at trying to explain this model, as it is very much like that of Daoist origin, and resembles many Oriental models of the day. Anyway in this form the idea of messenger is different, just due to the difference in how spirit is presented to work.

      I suspect that some of the texts in the Nag Hammadi, like 'Egyptians' are trying to bridge the gap between the 'law of Moses' and the model of personified spirits, with the model of spirit in say "Exegesis of the Soul," or "Discourse of the 8th and 9th." In this context messengers or angels would be metaphores for the way spirit is portrayed to work, which does not become matter.

      This difference can be seen in the way Luke describes spirits (demons), which tends to be like the Jewish model and Paul's description in Romans 8-8 to 8-16 which is more in context with the docetic model......

      Romans 8-8.) "and they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
      9. But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
      10. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness.
      11. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwelleth in you, he that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead shall give life also to your mortal bodies through his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
      12. So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh:
      13. for if ye live after the flesh, ye must die; but if by the Spirit ye put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
      14. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
      15. For ye received not the spirit of bondage again unto fear; but ye received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father."

      Messengers could be prophets, avatars, and demons too, and certainly this confuses things. I hope I helped a little.

      Tom Saunders
      Platter Flats.

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