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[gthomas] Androgynous Adam

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  • Mike Grondin
    ... secondary . ... in ... found in ... Yeah, me too. Based on what you say, I guess I stand corrected that this was not just a gnostic concept. But if you
    Message 1 of 18 , Mar 31, 2000
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      "jacob knee" <jkne-@...> wrote:

      > ... Androgynous Adam is, I believe, not uncommon as an exegesis of the
      > Genesis story: that gender differentiation is in some sense
      'secondary'.
      > I seem to remember, for example, that such an exegesis is to be found
      in
      > Gregory of Nyssa. I'm actually interested to know if it is to be
      found in
      > Philo.

      Yeah, me too. Based on what you say, I guess I stand corrected that
      this was not just a gnostic concept. But if you don't mind, I'd like to
      piggyback on your remarks to say something a little more about the
      concept of 'androgyny', for those who (like myself) may be somewhat
      confused about it.

      The Greek word 'androgynos' means roughly 'man-woman'. It has to do
      with containing the essence of *both* sexes, not *neither*. There's a
      fine line between 'both' and 'neither' which is often crossed in
      practice, but in theory it's relatively easy to differentiate the two:

      (1) With respect to physical sexual organs, 'both' would be a
      hermaphrodite, 'neither' would be a cartoon character or doll with no
      genitals.
      (2) With respect to sexual practice, 'both' would be a bisexual,
      'neither' would be an "asexual" (i.e., a celibate).

      With this background in mind, and ignoring Crossan's views for the
      moment, I ask myself whether GTh is talking about 'both' or 'neither',
      or some confused mishmash of the two. Specifically, when it's claimed
      that in order to enter the kingdom, one must make it such that "neither
      the male be male, nor the female female", does that mean:

      (a) Each sex should be *both* male and female.
      (b) Each sex should be *neither* male nor female.

      On a literal interpretation, the male/female stuff in Thomas seems to
      be of type (b), which would be consistent with celibacy, which in turn
      would be consistent with world-negation. But "androgynous Adam" is by
      definition type (a). Thus, there seems to be a logical inconsistency in
      Crossan's view. One cannot derive both celibacy and androgyny from
      Thomas, it seems, unless Thomas itself is inconsistent. If Thomas
      recommends celibacy, then it recommends that one be *neither* male nor
      female, but if Thomas recommends that one return to the state of
      androgynous Adam, then it recommends that one be *both* male and
      female. Obviously, it ain't possible to be both 'both' and 'neither'.

      The conclusion that I would draw from this line of thinking is the same
      as was implied in my earlier note: Crossan is just simply wrong about
      the androgyny thingy. Thomas shows no awareness whatsoever of an
      androgynous ideal, so one can hardly be inferred from it. Logically
      speaking, its male/female ideal is not "type-both" (i.e., androgynous),
      but rather "type-neither". In point of fact, the "beginning" it
      mentions doesn't seem to be based on any well-thought-out exegesis of
      Genesis at all, but rather on a sort of simple (Platonic?) duality of
      spiritual world versus material world. If I can wax poetic for a
      moment: In the beginning, all was spirit. In the end, all will be
      spirit again. In the meantime, all of us human critters who are
      combinations of flesh and spirit, should yield to the (holy) spirit
      which is in us, and follow *its* dictates rather than the dictates of
      the flesh (with which it is naturally and always at war!) In that way,
      we can become (virtual?) members of "the kingdom" while we're
      physically alive, so that our spirits (or souls) will become (actual?)
      members of the kingdom after our physical death, and forever. That's
      what *I* think is meant by Thomas's promise that one can bring it about
      that one will not "taste death".

      Regards,
      Mike
    • Kanefer@aol.com
      In a message dated 3/31/00 3:38:13 PM, Mike Grondin wrote:
      Message 2 of 18 , Mar 31, 2000
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        In a message dated 3/31/00 3:38:13 PM, Mike Grondin wrote:
        <<In the beginning, all was spirit. In the end, all will be
        spirit again. In the meantime, all of us human critters who are
        combinations of flesh and spirit, should yield to the (holy) spirit
        which is in us, and follow *its* dictates rather than the dictates of
        the flesh (with which it is naturally and always at war!) In that way,
        we can become (virtual?) members of "the kingdom" while we're
        physically alive, so that our spirits (or souls) will become (actual?)
        members of the kingdom after our physical death, and forever.>>

        I think this is good analysis all the way through. There is that scripture
        in 1 Corinthians, 6:16-17, that maybe helps with thought of neither the male
        male & neither the female female. Because, after "joining with" God one is
        female or male in form, but not in spirit.
        Was thinking, on some level, Adam & Eve were already "married" in sense that
        they first existed as one flesh, then were riven. This theme of separation
        is echoed in forced departure from Garden.
        In a way, thinking of them as already "one flesh" - it is as if they were put
        assunder, and as if the creation of Eve itself represents sin - that the sin
        was already committed, and then represented by one flesh becoming "twain."
        Except, it is shown as God having separated the one into two.
        So, maybe, in consideration also of the expulsion from Garden, it is that the
        flesh was separated from the spirit? But it doesn't seem so.
        Adam: Flour & water baked in oven = bread.
        Eve: A part from the bread = bread

        So, it appears that the one flesh of the two was put assunder.
        Looking at theme of separation: (God separates light from dark, etc.) God
        separates Adam from Tree of Knowledge, God separates (creates) Eve from Adam,
        Eve separated from Adam by serpent/fruit, couple separated from God by
        awareness of nakedness, (nakedness as opposed to what?), God separates couple
        from Garden... Think there is a secret there.

        It should be kept in mind that Adam in Garden of Eden was not blissfully
        frolicking or walking about holy as "androgynous" spiritual being in
        paradisiacal environment, but tilling fields and tending orchards and taking
        care of animals, good hard work as mere laborer, he was a farmhand. (A
        farmhand sorely in need of a "help meet"). How can this possibly be
        construed as "Kingdom?" Thus, it truly is evident to me that return to
        Beginning cannot be return to Adam!

        Sincerely, Patti
      • Kanefer@aol.com
        In a message dated 3/31/00 3:38:13 PM, Mike Grondin wrote:
        Message 3 of 18 , Mar 31, 2000
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          In a message dated 3/31/00 3:38:13 PM, Mike Grondin wrote:
          <<In the beginning, all was spirit. In the end, all will be
          spirit again. In the meantime, all of us human critters who are
          combinations of flesh and spirit, should yield to the (holy) spirit
          which is in us, and follow *its* dictates rather than the dictates of
          the flesh (with which it is naturally and always at war!) In that way,
          we can become (virtual?) members of "the kingdom" while we're
          physically alive, so that our spirits (or souls) will become (actual?)
          members of the kingdom after our physical death, and forever.>>

          I think this is good analysis all the way through. There is that scripture
          in 1 Corinthians, 6:16-17, that maybe helps with thought of neither the male
          male & neither the female female. Because, after "joining with" God one is
          female or male in form, but not in spirit.
          Was thinking, on some level, Adam & Eve were already "married" in sense that
          they first existed as one flesh, then were riven. This theme of separation
          is echoed in forced departure from Garden.
          In a way, thinking of them as already "one flesh" - it is as if they were put
          assunder, and as if the creation of Eve itself represents sin - that the sin
          was already committed, and then represented by one flesh becoming "twain."
          Except, it is shown as God having separated the one into two.
          So, maybe, in consideration also of the expulsion from Garden, it is that the
          flesh was separated from the spirit? But it doesn't seem so.
          Adam: Flour & water baked in oven = bread.
          Eve: A part from the bread = bread

          So, it appears that the one flesh of the two was put assunder.
          Looking at theme of separation: (God separates light from dark, etc.) God
          separates Adam from Tree of Knowledge, God separates (creates) Eve from Adam,
          Eve separated from Adam by serpent/fruit, couple separated from God by
          awareness of nakedness, (nakedness as opposed to what?), God separates couple
          from Garden... Think there is a secret there.

          It should be kept in mind that Adam in Garden of Eden was not blissfully
          frolicking or walking about holy as "androgynous" spiritual being in
          paradisiacal environment, but tilling fields and tending orchards and taking
          care of animals, good hard work as mere laborer, he was a farmhand. (A
          farmhand sorely in need of a "help meet"). How can this possibly be
          construed as "Kingdom?" Thus, it truly is evident to me that return to
          Beginning cannot be return to Adam!

          Sincerely, Patti
        • Onnawa@aol.com
          In a message dated 3/31/00 5:38:05 PM Eastern Standard Time, mgrondin@tir.com writes:
          Message 4 of 18 , Apr 1, 2000
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            In a message dated 3/31/00 5:38:05 PM Eastern Standard Time, mgrondin@...
            writes:

            << If I can wax poetic for a
            moment: In the beginning, all was spirit. In the end, all will be
            spirit again. In the meantime, all of us human critters who are
            combinations of flesh and spirit, should yield to the (holy) spirit
            which is in us, and follow *its* dictates rather than the dictates of
            the flesh (with which it is naturally and always at war!) In that way,
            we can become (virtual?) members of "the kingdom" while we're
            physically alive, so that our spirits (or souls) will become (actual?)
            members of the kingdom after our physical death, and forever. That's
            what *I* think is meant by Thomas's promise that one can bring it about
            that one will not "taste death".

            Regards,
            Mike

            >>
            .......Maybe Tom means that when we identify our true natures as
            spirit...actually experience ourselves as a spirit being,and recognise we are
            not our male or female bodies of protiens and such we will recognise that we
            never were our bodies and always were and always have been spirit beings.
            Maybe the fact that Einstein proclaimed that no energy is ever lost....it
            merely change form points this fact out also. If we are not male or female
            but spirit or energy beings who change form, then we have and always will be
            in the kingdom of heaven in that we see first hand directly that we are what
            we are and cannot die ever. So is this what Tom was saying ...with a
            Newtonion Einsteinian twist?
          • Jacob Knee
            In the ascetic writings that I know of, the androgyny theme is associated with an overcoming of procreation. That in some sense gender difference exists in
            Message 5 of 18 , Apr 1, 2000
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              In the ascetic writings that I know of, the androgyny theme is associated
              with an overcoming of procreation. That in some sense gender difference
              exists in order to enable the birth of children. Sexual abstinence subverts
              the necessity for gender and returns the ascetic to a 'primal state'.

              However the 'primal state' is most often normatively 'male'. So that female
              ascetics who overcome their gender 'become male' (at least in the eyes of
              the male ascetics who wrote about them). You might tie this in with ancient
              biological theory in which the female is 'secondary' or to a particular
              interpretation of the Genesis story in which maleness (prior to its
              bifurcation into male _and_ female) comes first.

              Best wishes,
              Jacob Knee
              (Boston, England)
            • Ronald David McCann
              Recently. Mike wrote:- In that way, we can become (virtual) members of the Kingdom while we are physically alive, so that our spirits (or souls) will become
              Message 6 of 18 , Apr 1, 2000
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                Recently. Mike wrote:-
                "In that way, we can become (virtual) members of "the Kingdom" while we
                are physically alive, so that our spirits (or souls) will become (actual?)
                members of the Kimgdom after our physical death and forever. That is what
                I think is meant by Thomas's promise- that (if) one can bring it about
                that one will not "taste death"."

                This is a stunning synopsis of the main thrust of the earliest layers of
                Thomas and what probably propelled it.

                Later layering bought the Platonic immortality of the soul and the ideas
                of pre-existence, I suggest.

                The probably widespread idea that one was "smoked" at death gave way in
                the Thomasine stream to the idea that one could avoid it- and not by
                waiting for ressurection day. The Thomas material that deals with
                pre-existence is late, proto Gnostic, I submit. The Edenic material,
                dealing with the undoing of the fall of man, is probably more original.

                Standing at the Beginning is a genesis reference- "In the Begining...".
                The Androgyness references are to Adam before Eve became "spare ribs".
                This is edenic speculation and probably not significant. Bluntly, some of
                Thomas is garbage.

                Anyway, I just want to thank those who post here, and I am extremely
                grateful for the "epipanys" that people like Mike or Yuri generate.
                Best Wishes,

                Ron
              • Jacob Knee
                I m trying to describe a context in which Thomas may have been used or produced. It is in this context that becoming male is a thread of thought and practice
                Message 7 of 18 , Apr 2, 2000
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                  I'm trying to describe a context in which Thomas may have been used or
                  produced. It is in this context that becoming 'male' is a thread of thought
                  and practice that is worth exploring.

                  I have located this motif in ascetic advice, theology, and hagiography in
                  the Eastern Roman Empire in the fourth century. Since when have Egypt, Syria
                  and Turkey counted as 'Western'.


                  (Ascetics in Latin speaking North Africa (e.g. Augustine of Hippo) and the
                  Western provinces of the Empire were, often, very suspicious of both the
                  theology and practice of this 'thorough going' (Eastern) asceticsm).

                  Jacob Knee
                  (Boston, England)

                  > -----Original Message-----
                  > From: Onnawa@... [mailto:Onnawa@...]
                  > Sent: 02 April 2000 04:07
                  > To: jknee@...; gthomas@egroups.com
                  > Subject: Re: [gthomas] Re: Androgynous Adam
                  >
                  >
                  > In a message dated 4/1/00 11:26:04 AM Eastern Standard Time,
                  > jknee@... writes:
                  >
                  > << However the 'primal state' is most often normatively 'male'. >>
                  > well thats from the western perspective...in Tibetan Buddhist esoteric
                  > writings the polarity we experience is only on this
                  > level....there are even
                  > trilarities to evolve into
                  >
                • Kanefer@aol.com
                  Ron wrote: well, I don t know. I get feeling of purity about the writing, though it is so stripped bare of
                  Message 8 of 18 , Apr 2, 2000
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                    Ron wrote: <<Bluntly, some of Thomas is garbage.>>

                    well, I don't know. I get feeling of purity about the writing, though it is
                    so stripped bare of environment. almost like all the 'garbage' has been
                    tossed out... wish we could go back to File 13 and retrieve some of that,
                    what was considered 'garbage' back then. Probably, it's all mixed in with
                    the stuff in the other gospels.

                    sincerely, patti
                  • Michael Grondin
                    ... are ... Th 3.4-5 provides some support for this view: When you come to know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will realize that you are the sons
                    Message 9 of 18 , Apr 2, 2000
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                      At 06:00 AM 04/01/00 EST, Onnawa@... wrote:
                      >.......Maybe Tom means that when we identify our true natures as
                      >spirit...actually experience ourselves as a spirit being,and recognise we
                      are
                      >not our male or female bodies of protiens and such we will recognise that we
                      >never were our bodies and always were and always have been spirit beings.
                      >Maybe the fact that Einstein proclaimed that no energy is ever lost....it
                      >merely change form points this fact out also. If we are not male or female
                      >but spirit or energy beings who change form, then we have and always will be
                      >in the kingdom of heaven in that we see first hand directly that we are what
                      >we are and cannot die ever. So is this what Tom was saying ...with a
                      >Newtonion Einsteinian twist?

                      Th 3.4-5 provides some support for this view:

                      "When you come to know yourselves, then you will be known,
                      and you will realize that you are the sons of the living Father.
                      But if you do not come to know yourselves,
                      then you exist in poverty and you are poverty."

                      At the same time, we have the saying about the impossibility of serving two
                      masters. So while the flesh is not part of our "true" nature, still our
                      spirit finds itself in it (#29), so in philosophical terms, it could be
                      said that it's at least an _accidental_ (though not an _essential_) part of
                      ourselves. Clearly Thomas believes that the body/flesh is as metaphorically
                      "dead" as the world of which it is a part, the thought being that the only
                      "real" life is (eternal) spiritual life. To discover the "secret" of the
                      true nature of the world and of ourselves is to discover a great treasure,
                      and once having discovered it, we (now identified with our spirit) can then
                      "rule" over our flesh, become a "light" to others, and finally come to rest.

                      The question of whether Thomas was right or wrong on the issue of our
                      "real" nature gets into metaphysics or, worse, faith issues, so I would
                      avoid that question. I do see echoes of Platonism here, in that Plato held
                      that the only "true" reality is in things that are eternal and unchanging.
                      I happen to believe that Plato was wrong, but that's a separate issue.

                      Mike
                      (p.s.: Putting on my moderator hat for a second, I'd like to remind all
                      contributors that they must sign their names to these messages. Otherwise,
                      they won't be accepted.)
                    • Michael Grondin
                      ... Well, because you re wrong about that. Adam didn t have to work until the Fall. Also, it should be borne in mind that Androgynous Adam was not (usually?)
                      Message 10 of 18 , Apr 2, 2000
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                        At 02:40 AM 04/01/00 EST, Kanefer@... wrote:
                        >It should be kept in mind that Adam in Garden of Eden was not blissfully
                        >frolicking or walking about holy as "androgynous" spiritual being in
                        >paradisiacal environment, but tilling fields and tending orchards and
                        >taking care of animals, good hard work as mere laborer, he was a farmhand.
                        >(A farmhand sorely in need of a "help meet"). How can this possibly be
                        >construed as "Kingdom?"

                        Well, because you're wrong about that. Adam didn't have to work until the
                        Fall. Also, it should be borne in mind that "Androgynous Adam" was not
                        (usually?) thought of as _physical_ Adam, but rather as that first
                        spiritual image of God which later became the physical Adam and Eve. This
                        involves a different reading of Genesis than we're used to.

                        Mike
                      • Ronald David McCann
                        Patti. It seems to me that homo sapiens novus. the new human is asexual because Spirit is asexual. The teaching about neither married or given in marriage
                        Message 11 of 18 , Apr 2, 2000
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                          Patti.
                          It seems to me that homo sapiens novus. the new human is asexual because
                          Spirit is asexual. The teaching about "neither married or given in
                          marriage" alludes to this. The "Making Mary Male" logion in Thomas refers,
                          I submit, to the aquisition of spirithood by a female, something those
                          blockheads thought was only a male perogative. This saying is surely
                          corrective. Any soul can transform into spirit, and if one insists J can
                          make her male so she can do it.

                          I have a real problem taking this Androgeny debate seriously. Females
                          seem to be one step removed from salvation. This, in my view, is nonsense,
                          and I reieterate that some of Thomas is garbage.

                          It always stuns me that people fail to see that SOULS, whaterever their
                          gender physically, are asexual creatures. And so it is when they acquire
                          spirithood. The appendages just polarize the identities. What you see
                          hanging from your bodies you identify with. But this is your horse. That
                          is all it is.

                          Thomas, it seems to me, teaches that Souls can become Spirits, and
                          thereby become immortal.

                          Late Thomas material, I suggest, buys into the immortality of the
                          human
                          soul. This concept makes the importance of acquiring immortality
                          redundant. If you already have it, why quest for it? More garbage.

                          Late Thomas is either garbage because it urges us to quest for
                          immortality
                          when we have already have it or urges upon us a quest for what is already
                          attained.

                          I suggest that those parts of T that tell us we are smoked unless we
                          acquire spirithood are the original. "Seek a place in the Rest lest you
                          be eaten."

                          Best Wishes

                          Ron
                        • Michael Grondin
                          ... Apologies to Patti for the above, which was obviously written by my evil twin, who took quite a fall himself. Patti reminds me of Gen 2:15 - The Lord God
                          Message 12 of 18 , Apr 2, 2000
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                            >Adam didn't have to work until the Fall.

                            Apologies to Patti for the above, which was obviously written by my evil
                            twin, who took quite a fall himself. Patti reminds me of Gen 2:15 -

                            "The Lord God took the Man and put him in the garden to till it and keep it."

                            So in Gen 2, Adam was the gardener, even before Eve. (Notoriously, of
                            course, Gen 1 tells a different story, or at least a shorter one.) I guess
                            then that what made the Eden of Gen 2 a "paradise" (in answer to Patti's
                            question) was that all of Adam's needs were provided for. Evidently,
                            tending the garden wasn't all that difficult, since the implication of 2:17
                            ("cursed is the ground because of you") is that the ground that Adam would
                            have to work after his explusion would be quite a bit less fertile ("thorns
                            and thistles it shall bring forth to you"). Also, of course, it's at this
                            point that death enters the picture ("to dust you shall return"). The fact
                            that Adam was made of dust in the first place indicates that the authors of
                            Gen 2 took Adam to be already a physical being, albeit an eternal one,
                            before the Fall. In any case, I draw attention to the exact description of
                            Adam's creation (Gen 2:7):

                            "Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground,
                            and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life,
                            and Man became a living being."

                            The Greek word 'pneuma', used in Thomas (and multiple other Greek and
                            Coptic texts) as part of the phrase 'holy spirit', is of feminine gender,
                            and has actually a variety of meanings, including 'wind', 'air', 'breath',
                            even 'life'. One can see, then, how natural it was to think of spirit as
                            the thing that gave life to the body. Thus, aside from Platonic reasoning,
                            spirit is the very essence of life. The wind (or a breeze) could be taken
                            as the spirit of God - which explains the symbolism of the Pentecost story.
                            There are all kinds of other connections involved with the word 'pneuma'
                            (including the likely identification of the Holy Spirit as "the Mother"
                            mentioned in Thomas), but I hope I've said enough to redeem myself from
                            what my evil twin wrote.

                            Note to evil twin: Next time, check your facts, buddy.

                            Regards,
                            Mike

                            The Coptic Gospel of Thomas, saying-by-saying
                            http://www.geocities.com/athens/9068/sayings.htm
                          • Kanefer@aol.com
                            Nope - see Genesis 2:15 - And the Lord God took the man and put him into
                            Message 13 of 18 , Apr 2, 2000
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                              <<Well, because you're wrong about that. Adam didn't have to work until the
                              Fall. >>

                              Nope - see Genesis 2:15 - "And the Lord God took the man and put him into
                              the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it..."

                              Sincerely, Patti
                            • Robert Tessman
                              ... My question is this. Would those who wrote and read Thomas endeavor into theory enough to make the differntiation? Like the idea of the snake that eats
                              Message 14 of 18 , Apr 3, 2000
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                                >The Greek word 'androgynos' means roughly 'man-woman'. It has to do
                                >with containing the essence of *both* sexes, not *neither*. There's a
                                >fine line between 'both' and 'neither' which is often crossed in
                                >practice, but in theory it's relatively easy to differentiate the two:

                                My question is this. Would those who wrote and read Thomas endeavor into
                                'theory' enough to make the differntiation? Like the idea of the snake that
                                eats its tail, does it anihilate itself or does it become full of itself?
                                Does an entity that is both or neither male and/nor female have sex with
                                itself or have sex with everybody or even not have sex? I wonder if you are
                                not venturing upon an unanswerable question here that was intended by the
                                Thomasines at least to remain unanswerable.


                                >(1) With respect to physical sexual organs, 'both' would be a
                                >hermaphrodite, 'neither' would be a cartoon character or doll with no
                                >genitals.

                                Or perhaps the idea was that the organs, existant or non existant no longer
                                had the effect upon such an ascetic that they do on non-ascetics.

                                >(2) With respect to sexual practice, 'both' would be a bisexual,
                                >'neither' would be an "asexual" (i.e., a celibate).

                                Here I think you leave out the possibility that such a being is united with
                                their desire. There is, after all, no need to seek a wife or accidentally
                                have children if, so to speak, your Adam is perpetually with your Eve. Now
                                if by 'asexual' you mean 'self-contained' I can see this as a possibility
                                even for the 'man-woman', yet I would use a term like 'autosexual'. The
                                idea being, with reference to the Man of Gen 1, that such a man had
                                everything he/she needed to be happy--before the seperation ever occured.
                                'Self reliance' and 'independance' are implied here not 'bisexuality'.

                                >With this background in mind, and ignoring Crossan's views for the
                                >moment, I ask myself whether GTh is talking about 'both' or 'neither',
                                >or some confused mishmash of the two. Specifically, when it's claimed
                                >that in order to enter the kingdom, one must make it such that "neither
                                >the male be male, nor the female female", does that mean:
                                >
                                >(a) Each sex should be *both* male and female.
                                >(b) Each sex should be *neither* male nor female.
                                >
                                >On a literal interpretation,

                                Literal interpretation doesn't seem reasonable. I doubt the author/s of
                                Thomas or even the writers of Gen 1 cared to think on this level. I think
                                it is by such literalizing that the entire analysis here becomes flawed.
                                Should we think that the man-woman or neuter of Gen 1 was such because of
                                some concern for literal genetalia? It seems more obvious that the concern
                                is for a deeper bond--to 'wax poetic for a moment'-that lovers feel when
                                they are seperated by distance and time: that they will not be truely happy
                                until *THEY* are together again, not their genitals.

                                the male/female stuff in Thomas seems to
                                >be of type (b), which would be consistent with celibacy, which in turn
                                >would be consistent with world-negation. But "androgynous Adam" is by
                                >definition type (a). Thus, there seems to be a logical inconsistency in
                                >Crossan's view.

                                ...based upon a literalizing of the symbol. In Gen 1 we are dealing with a
                                divine Man, He is androgenous not because he possesses both phalus and
                                uterus, but because he has everything that he will ever desire contained in
                                himself (i.e., a 'herself') Thus there is no reason for this Man to stray
                                from God--God had not yet put him to sleep; God had not yet seperated her
                                from him.

                                Of course I am basing all this upon Freudian-like psychology that assumes
                                that every ambition in the male gender, for money and gain, fame or renown,
                                that is not meant to satisfy ones survival is for the ultimate purposes of
                                winning a mate.

                                True Freud is modern-thought, but so too is this literalizing logic.

                                One cannot derive both celibacy and androgyny from
                                >Thomas, it seems, unless Thomas itself is inconsistent.

                                The inconsistency is in your assumption that the Thomasines had the concept
                                of literal genitalia in mind when referencing Gen 1. That they even cared
                                about what the anatomy of such a figure would be. The idea however is that
                                the andro-gynos had no need to desire external things/persons/gains.
                                Whether this implied 'celibacy' or 'autoeroticism' and perhaps both may be
                                a better question.

                                If Thomas
                                >recommends celibacy, then it recommends that one be *neither* male nor
                                >female, but if Thomas recommends that one return to the state of
                                >androgynous Adam, then it recommends that one be *both* male and
                                >female. Obviously, it ain't possible to be both 'both' and 'neither'.

                                The way you have set the logic up, yes I have to agree with you. The
                                literal premise however is where I disagree with you (i.e., if genitals
                                exist they must necessarily exist for the purpose of having sex with people
                                OTHER than the one who possesses these two genitals, and because this is a
                                literal picture we cannot of course imagine that they would exist on the
                                androgyne in perpetual union--because that is literally and anotomically
                                absurd).

                                >The conclusion that I would draw from this line of thinking is the same
                                >as was implied in my earlier note: Crossan is just simply wrong about
                                >the androgyny thingy. Thomas shows no awareness whatsoever of an
                                >androgynous ideal, so one can hardly be inferred from it. Logically
                                >speaking, its male/female ideal is not "type-both" (i.e., androgynous),
                                >but rather "type-neither". In point of fact, the "beginning" it
                                >mentions doesn't seem to be based on any well-thought-out exegesis of
                                >Genesis at all, but rather on a sort of simple (Platonic?) duality of
                                >spiritual world versus material world.

                                But by literalizing the androgyny thingy, you have automatically relegated
                                this type to the 'material' world.

                                If I can wax poetic for a
                                >moment: In the beginning, all was spirit. In the end, all will be
                                >spirit again. In the meantime, all of us human critters who are
                                >combinations of flesh and spirit, should yield to the (holy) spirit
                                >which is in us, and follow *its* dictates rather than the dictates of
                                >the flesh (with which it is naturally and always at war!) In that way,
                                >we can become (virtual?) members of "the kingdom" while we're
                                >physically alive, so that our spirits (or souls) will become (actual?)
                                >members of the kingdom after our physical death, and forever. That's
                                >what *I* think is meant by Thomas's promise that one can bring it about
                                >that one will not "taste death".

                                My conclusion is that while the Tomasine ascetics might have practiced
                                chastity there is no evidence for the kind of hatred of flesh and hatred of
                                genitals that you assume here with your idea of "type-neither". First why
                                does a union of male and female necesarily lead us to a literal picture?
                                Second, if we cannot conceive of that picture does it mean we should try?
                                Or is something else intended with the symbol that does not call into
                                question whether the figure likes to have sex with everybody or nobody?
                                Rather it seems obvious that a man who is also his female counterpart is
                                100% self-reliant, he does not need the world, he/she is a complete person,
                                married, and thus immune to the seductions of the world. Why should
                                genitals even come into the equation?

                                It seems that your logic is based more upon a freek show than any actual
                                meaning inherent in Thomas.

                                Let me just add another point to all this. Ascetics and Philosophers often
                                make their ideal out to be what is opposite their own sex. In Proverps for
                                instance you have Wisdom depicted as a female (i.e., this literature was
                                directed toward men). This type of teaching of course engages all 'parts'
                                of the students in their quest for the ideal. Now when you have ascetics
                                who are torn between seeking god and the pleasures of the opposite sex you
                                have many ascetics that become ex-ascetics. Unless of course you tell
                                them, "look here, what you are seeking, if you attain it, will be as if you
                                were perpetually with a woman, united in the act of love. If you stray you
                                will never have that. If you have sex with women temporarily it will
                                always be temporarily and you will be more unhappy than you are happy. But
                                if you seek the kingdom you will not ever disire the opposite sex because
                                you will fully possess all that you desire now."

                                Robert.
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