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[gthomas] Re: GThomas' original composition

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  • betadavid@hotmail.com
    Re: GThomas original composition (April 6) I hope someone else takes a crack at this (SD) Dear Larry & Keith I m knew to this list Larry but I ll take a
    Message 1 of 8 , Apr 6, 1999
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      Re: GThomas' original composition (April 6)
      "I hope someone else takes a crack at this" (SD)


      Dear Larry & Keith

      I'm knew to this list Larry but I'll "take
      a crack at it."

      'Seems to me christian gnosticism is a "suburban"
      thing that grew up as what we'd more or less call
      the `middle classes` adopted christianity;
      in its various forms (or It's various forms).

      I don't exactly know why you're asking -which
      would flavour my response- but I'll say Gibbon
      (Decline & Fall) has a 'middle of the road'
      treatment of the question.

      Realize however that "middle of the road"
      -as far as christian gnosticism goes- is
      negative.

      BetaDavid

      PS. I'd date the document earlier than
      Gibbon did; within the bounds of radiometric
      dating and where debate is to be found.

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    • laurac@ix.netcom.com
      Regarding: Gnosticism arose as a variety of perversions of the true Christian ... I believe that when he ( I assume Irenaeus) says perversions of the true
      Message 2 of 8 , Apr 7, 1999
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        Regarding:
        "Gnosticism arose as a variety of perversions of the true Christian
        > teaching." Therefore two things: 1. There is no pre-Christian
        > gnosticism and possibly no non-Christian gnosticism.

        I believe that when he ( I assume Irenaeus) says "perversions of the true Christain teaching" he means perversions of Jesus' teachings. All of the gnostic type sayings in GThomas existed long before Christain gnosticism, in the Hindu philosophies. I admittedly am NOT a scholar when it comes to eastern religions but I have a friend who lives in an ashram who I sometimes visit. He and I over the past 12 years, have had many discussions about such philosophies. Most of the material in GThomas that is considered to be gnostic: passages1,2,3,4,5,6,11,17,18,22,23,24,27,29,34,42,49,50,51,56,58,67,70,75,77,81,87,91, 106,108,110,111 and 112 are all things that are common in his religion (a form of Hinduism). To them these things are not mysterious. They believe in Pantheism and the world as a projection. This is what passage 29 is about (in my opinion). This is a common part of their belief: where most people just accept that conciousness is a product of the mind (or physical brain), they find this obsurd, and believe that the body is a product of conciousness (that is; the body is a projection, an illusion that's not real). For the Pantheist, one must break free of the illusion and see that everything is really ONE. I'm NOT proposing to know whether this is true or false, only that this is what they teach.
        He claims (though I have no idea how valid it is) that in their ancient texts, it is said that Jesus spent much of his early life in India and studied such things under various sages and gurus. After becoming a master (enlightened or whatever) he returned home and became a teacher.

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      • Chris Cutler
        ... I have never heard anyone suggest that Hemes Trismegistus was Christian, not that the writings were not Gnostic. Wouldn t that make them non-Christian
        Message 3 of 8 , Apr 9, 1999
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          > Regarding:
          > "Gnosticism arose as a variety of perversions of the true Christian
          > > teaching." Therefore two things: 1. There is no pre-Christian
          > > gnosticism and possibly no non-Christian gnosticism.

          I have never heard anyone suggest that Hemes Trismegistus was Christian,
          not that the writings were not Gnostic. Wouldn't that make them
          non-Christian gnosticism?

          -------------------------
          Chris Cutler
          "Auditeur Libre"

          What liberates is the knowledge of who we were, what we became; where we
          were, whereinto we have been thrown; whereto we speed, wherefrom we are
          redeemmed; what birth is, and what rebirth." (Exc. Theod. 78.2)


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        • joe baxter
          laurac@ix.netcom.com wrote: All of the gnostic type sayings in GThomas existed long before Christian gnosticism, in the Hindu philosophies. I admittedly am
          Message 4 of 8 , Apr 9, 1999
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            laurac@... wrote:

            "All of the gnostic type sayings in GThomas existed long before Christian
            gnosticism, in the Hindu philosophies. I admittedly am NOT a scholar when it
            comes to eastern religions but I have a friend who lives in an ashram who I
            sometimes visit. He and I over the past 12 years, have had many discussions
            about such philosophies. Most of the material in GThomas that is considered
            to be gnostic:
            passages1,2,3,4,5,6,11,17,18,22,23,24,27,29,34,42,49,50,51,56,58,67,70,75,77
            ,81,87,91, 106,108,110,111 and 112 are all things that are common in his
            religion (a form of Hinduism). To them these things are not mysterious. "


            You are quite right. The sayings you refer to are frequently deemed
            mysterious or obscure by western scholars. To a Hindu or a Buddhist, the
            sayings are much less mysterious, and frequently the meaning is quite
            obvious to them.

            As for your list, I would also add 8, 15, 19, 30, 33, 37, 41, 52, 53, 59,
            61, 71, 80, 86, 88, 98, 103, 104, 113 as meaningful within Hinduism or
            Buddhism.

            "They believe in Pantheism and the world as a projection. This is what
            passage 29 is about (in my opinion). This is a common part of their belief:
            where most people just accept that consciousness is a product of the mind
            (or physical brain), they find this absurd, and believe that the body is a
            product of consciousness (that is; the body is a projection, an illusion
            that's not real)."

            While you are mostly correct here, the center of gravity of Hindu-Buddhist
            belief does not subscribe to the view that the body is an illusion. Nor does
            GThomas. Nor does Pantheism best describe their belief system. But these are
            small points.


            " He claims . . . . that in their ancient texts, it is said that Jesus spent
            much of his early life in India and studied such things under various sages
            and gurus. After becoming a master (enlightened or whatever) he returned
            home and became a teacher. "

            He is referring to the Himis scriptures. Unfortunately, only a few
            individuals testify to having seen these scriptures. For the time being they
            are unavailable. Either they have been destroyed, or they have been removed
            from circulation. The third possibility, of course, is that they never
            existed. However, several of the individuals who saw the manuscripts are
            very credible individuals. Nonetheless, an unavailable manuscript really
            doesn't support anything beyond speculation.

            Most scholars believe that much of the Hindu-Buddhist material is the
            product of the Thomasine community, as opposed to Jesus himself. This view
            is apparently based upon the fact that Hindu-Buddhist influences do appear
            in the Middle East during the first and second centuries C.E. This is
            especially the case around Alexandria. In my opinion, this view is rather
            uninsightful. First of all, most of these scholars have no grounding in
            Hindu-Buddhist practice, so how can they understand anything about the
            origin of these passages. They are beyond their depth. That is why they
            call these passages obscure. So saying 34, [ Jesus said, "If a blind person
            leads a blind person, both of them will fall into a hole."] is fulfilled.

            Secondly, most HJ scholars tend to choose safe and skeptical lines of
            dependent origination. It is extremely safe to suggest the passages came
            from later influences.

            Third, most HJ scholars have a synoptic bias. As a result, any view of Jesus
            which conflicts with the synoptic paradigm is deemed non-historical.

            Few HJ scholars have considered the possibility that the above noted
            passages could have arisen out of self-knowledge. Mostly, this is a result
            of their failure to understand a set and setting in Jesus' life out of which
            the teachings could have arisen naturally.

            Given the proper set and setting, the teachings certainly could have arisen
            naturally. Hinduism and Buddhism are religions of auto-enlightenment. The
            teachings arise through self-realization. Thus, given appropriate life
            circumstances, the indicated teachings could have arisen without "Jesus
            [having] spent much of his early life in India and [without his having]
            studied such things under various sages and gurus."

            Thus, understanding the appropriate set and setting is the key.

            With kind regards,

            Joe

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          • laurac@ix.netcom.com
            ... Keith. ... eGroup home: http://www.eGroups.com/list/gthomas Free Web-based e-mail groups by eGroups.com
            Message 5 of 8 , Apr 10, 1999
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              Regarding:
              >
              > While you are mostly correct here, the center of gravity of Hindu-Buddhist
              > belief does not subscribe to the view that the body is an illusion. Nor does
              > GThomas. Nor does Pantheism best describe their belief system. But these are
              > small points.
              >
              > I assume that you're probably right, since most of what I know about eastern beliefs comes from the my friend Mike, who lives in an ashram. He belongs to what they call Syda (or Siddha) Yoga, and stydies under the Guru Swami Chidvilasinanda, who became a guru in 1981 when Baba Muktnanda died. I have no reason to doubt you when you say that most Hindu-Buddhist DON'T subscribe to the belief that the body and world is an illusion. But his particular sect does. They believe that conciousness is all that exists, and everything else is a manifestation of it. When GThomas says things like: when the two become one, when the up becomes the same as the down, the inside the same as the outside, etc., etc., I believe that it is POSSIBLE, (though I certainly don't know) that this is a way of saying: when you let go of the illusion of separateness, you will see that there is only ONE. In Syda Yoga, this is what one has to see to become enlightened.

              Keith.

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