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[gthomas] Re: GThomas as post-Easter

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  • Robert Tessman
    The first thing I would like to suggest to Joseph here is this: Please, when you are selecting what to include in your quotations, refrain from including who
    Message 1 of 16 , Sep 9, 1999
      The first thing I would like to suggest to Joseph here is this:
      Please, when you are selecting what to include in your quotations, refrain
      from including who said what unless you write it yourself. It becomes very
      confusing when you include references to the second person when it was not
      written by you yourself. Sure I could count the ">"s to figure it out but
      I could do this without references included in the quotations of who said
      what, and I would be less confused about who said what if I knew that I had
      to count the ">"s. Remember that there are others reading besides yourself
      and your opponent.


      >Yes, but have you ever heard of legends that are built around larger than
      >life people? Can you imagine the possibility of exaggerations?

      I am sorry but most of what you include as evidence to support your
      post-cross 'yeshu' hypothesis derives from sayings and scenarios that are
      most feasibly not only exaggerations but utter fiction.

      >By your view Yeshu was a superman, right? A wondrous miracle worker who
      >could bring the dead back to life? What's the big deal about a flogging and
      >nailing for a superman?

      I do not find any assumptions in Kevin's argument that his view of Jesus is
      of a 'superman.' But I find much indication in your arguments of a Jesus
      that can't be killed that you believe him to be a superman.

      >I personally know a yogi who has gone into samadhi underwater, and spent
      >five days under water, all the time being tested by a team of medical and
      >scientific observers.

      Not only is your Yogi friend a charlatan but so also is your team of
      'medical and scientific observers." You, my friend, have fallen victim to
      your own readiness to believe in tricks and spectacles. The mere reference
      to 'medical and scientific', yet suspiciously anonymous, observers does not
      give credit to this story. Nor do any of your implications that yours is a
      'scientific' theory sit well with me. Yours is no more 'scientific' than
      any other New Testament hypothesis and if science is concerned with
      predictability of phenomena or the likely hood of phenomena to occur, then
      yours is even less scientific than conventional scholastic theories. It is
      possible that life exists on Mars for instance. Simply because no life has
      been found or because there is no evidence that such a planet could even
      sustain life does not mean it is impossible, and many scientific
      postulations have been made concerning the possibility of microscopic
      organisms to exist in such harsh environments. But 'scientifically'
      speaking it is unlikely that life exists on Mars...so unlikely, that it
      would be 'scientifically' safe to assume that the planet is lifeless. In
      the same manner it is likely that Jesus died on the Cross.

      >Violence and power, however, is corrupt. So a guard, or Pilate, for that
      >matter, could be corrupted.
      >Indeed, in the 4G, a guard refers to Yeshu as the son of God. Wouldn't
      >such a guard take Yeshu down early?

      Fiction. It was probably a vote for the Gentiles that the writers included
      such a sympathetic Roman ear. Neither were the Roman guards likely to
      disobey commands since there were extremely stiff penalties for 'treason'.
      No simple slap of the hand when it came to the Romans.

      Another point I would like to bring up is the whole, Messiah='Cultural' and
      Non-Messiah='Counter-Cultural' idea. I neither understand how any of this
      relates to a post-cross Jesus.
      First, If most Jewish people of that time would deny being the
      Messiah and would deny associations with one who claimed to be the Messiah,
      how then would it be 'counter cultural' for Jesus himself to deny such a
      tabooed title also? The belief that Jesus WAS the Messiah would run
      against the cultural grain. So what is so 'counter-culture' about a Jesus
      who did not make such a claim? In Buddhist 'culture' (tradition) if a
      person makes the claim that he is the Buddha then that person should be
      killed (i.e., that person is not a friend to the Buddhist tradition).


      >Many of the unique GOT sayings are counter-cultural. To cite but a few
      >examples:
      >
      >2. ". . . . When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are
      >disturbed, they will marvel . . . "
      >
      > The suggestion here is that the meaning of the GOT passages in
      >unconventional. The choice of language seems a little reminiscent of the
      >promises offered by LSD enthusiasts in the sixties.

      I will take this to an even more disturbing plane to show just how
      non-counter-cultural this saying is. The most disturbing understanding
      there is, is to know that the miraculous can be found only in, and
      exclusively to, the mundane. You see, the most disturbing thing to drug
      users is that the mundane, everyday, and ordinary possesses so much wonder.
      They are comfortable only when they are having 'weird' experiences and most
      of the ones I know would be horrified to find that the very reality they
      have rejected is the only one that contains the wealth they seek.

      >5 Jesus said, "Know what is in front of your face, and what is hidden from
      >you will be disclosed to
      >you.
      >
      > Again, we are invited to loosen the grip of the conventional
      >world, so that we might see what is actually there.

      We are invited to loosen the grip of the conventional and so also to loosen
      the grip of our tendency to rebel against what we dislike. There is no
      counter-culture to this saying. If there were, it would invite us to see
      everything we hate and oppose about what is in front of our face.

      >14 Jesus said to them, "If you fast, you will bring sin upon yourselves,
      >and if you pray, you will be
      >condemned, and if you give to charity, you will harm your spirits.
      >
      > Clearly counter-cultural. The emphasis is on the inner-self. The
      >conventional view is challenged.

      The inner-self you speak of is a nasty little bugger if that is what is
      challenging culture. I for one would rather know a 'self' that has nothing
      to do with such petty challenges, but a 'self' that knows only peace. It
      is not at all difficult for me to find the part of me that 'challenges' and
      I wish it were just as easy to find that part of myself that knows only
      peace.

      >18 The disciples said to Jesus, "Tell us, how will our end come?"
      >
      >Jesus said, "Have you found the beginning, then, that you are looking for
      >the end? You see, the end
      >will be where the beginning is.
      >
      >Congratulations to the one who stands at the beginning: that one will know
      >the end and will not taste
      >death."
      >
      > The conventional judgment day view is tossed on its ear.

      Which 'conventional' view of the Eschaton are you referring to? The Jewish
      one of the time? The early Christian View? Are you referring to Judgment
      or Armageddon or the Parousia or what? If you are not referring to the
      Jewish ideas of the End then what Christian views are you assuming to be
      'conventional' at the time the Gospel of Thomas was written? I personally
      doubt that any 'conventional' view had even formed among the many and
      divergent Christian communities. If the Apocalypse of John was written
      latter than the Gospel of Thomas as many believe, then the modern
      understanding of the Christian concept of the End Time will be irrelevant
      to how it was understood when this was written.

      >70 Jesus said, "If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will
      >save you. If you do not have
      >that within you, what you do not have within you [will] kill you."
      >
      > This is very modern thinking. Again, I am reminded of Walt
      >Whitman. What is within you -- what will save you -- is beyond culture.

      What do you mean "Modern Thinking"!!! This was written in a time that was
      not at all modern. Just because it reminds you of Walt does not mean the
      text is therefore consistent with Walt's views. This is ridiculous and I
      cannot believe I am even replying to this post. Logion 70 is extremely
      complex and rather ambiguous and to say it is 'modern thinking' is
      ludicrous for two reasons. First it is ludicrous because it was thought by
      someone who is definitely not 'modern'. Second, it is ludicrous because
      you assume that we know just exactly what you mean when you say 'modern
      thinking'--as if there were some commonality of thought that all us
      'moderns' understand to be indicative of our time in history.

      There is much that I sympathize with you on. But I fail to understand what
      is so 'gosh darn' important about arguing for a Jesus that survived the
      crucifixion. I sympathize with counter-culturalists and those who doubt
      the conventional 'wisdom'. But If a person stops there, to be forever at
      odds with convention, then they are just as consumed by its prominence as
      they would have been if they never doubted at all.
      As the great 'Master Therion' says:
      "Doubt.
      Doubt thyself.
      Doubt even if thou doubtest thyself.
      Doubt all.
      Doubt even if thou doubtest all.
      It seems sometimes as if beneath all conscious doubt
      there lay some deepest certainty. O kill it! Slay the snake!..."
      --Aleister Crowley, The Book of Lies.

      >> And what has "the church" to do
      >>with 52? I get the feeling from you, both from
      >>this and from other things you have said, that you
      >>have had some negative experiences in the past within
      >>traditional religion.
      >
      >Not really. Its good to be flexible. Traditional religion also has its good
      >side. I learned a lot as a Buddhist monk. The modern Catholic Church also
      >does a lot of good. I sometimes teach world religion at a Catholic school.

      Yes, Buddhism. Many a problem do I have with that religion. No, that's
      not true. Many a problem do I have with western interpretations of that
      religion. It explains much.

      In Tolerance,
      Robert Tessman
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