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Re: [gthomas] The Eschatology of Thomas (part 2)

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  • defylimits
    Wow, that is an interesting statement. Of course im talking about the splitting of Adam into two different sexes. I just have acouple of questions though. 1.
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 30, 2000
      Wow, that is an interesting statement. Of course im talking about the
      splitting of Adam into two different sexes. I just have acouple of
      questions though.
      1. Wasnt Adam Created as Adam a Male???
      2. If not then why did God looked upon the condition of Mans loneliness and
      THEN decide to make a counterpart for him?
      3. I understand that God took woman from the side of Adam, however I do not
      think this indicates and androgynous form of man.
      4. If it is true that God split man you would think that it would have been
      a great leap forward since it was the inadequacie of man that drove God to
      this special act of creation. In fact, upon gazing at man loneliness we
      hear the first malediction utterd by God in the whole created order, "It is
      not good man be alone". So instead of bringing man to the propensity of
      sin,,,,I would of thought otherwise.

      sidenote. I am asking questions in search of truth,,,,not to convince anyone
      one way or the other. I think its possible that man was in an androgynous
      state in Eden, however I do not want to subscribe too readily to this. If
      anyone can answer my questions, it would help me with my clarity. My
      questions are not meant for dismissal but they are to challenge. Thank you
      for your reply in advance.
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Michael Grondin" <mgrondin@...>
      To: <gthomas@egroups.com>
      Sent: Wednesday, March 29, 2000 10:27 AM
      Subject: [gthomas] The Eschatology of Thomas (part 2)


      > Saying 18 claims that "Blessed is he who will stand up (i.e., take his
      > place) at the beginning." But how is this possible? How can one live one's
      > life in such a way that one is somehow at the same time "at the
      beginning"?
      > Here, in part two of "Paradise Regained: A Commentary", John Dominic
      > Crossan spells out what he believes is Thomas's answer to that question.
      > Notice that what constitutes a person's being "at the beginning" is also
      > what could be seen as itself bringing about a return of the world to that
      > beginning:
      > ---------------------------------------------------------
      >
      > [The first step back ... is to see the absurdity of looking to the
      future.]
      >
      > The second step, more positive than the first, sends us back to reclaim
      > the Garden of Eden -- not only before original sin destroyed its
      > perfection, but even earlier, before the split into male and female made
      > that sin possible. As this gospel interprets Genesis 1-3, Adam is not just
      > Adam-the-Male as distinct from Eve-the-Female, but rather Adam-the-Human,
      a
      > being neither male nor female -- or, if you prefer, both male and female.
      > Before Adam was split into male and female beings, the heavenly archetype
      > and earthly manifestation of "Adam" were androgynous. That
      > neither-male-nor-female state, says Jesus, is what we must reclaim, a
      > challenge asserted most clearly in this well-known saying:
      >
      > Jesus saw some infants being nursed and said to his disciples, "These
      > children are like those who enter the kingdom." They said to him, "If we
      > are children shall we enter the kingdom?" Jesus said to them, "When you
      > make the two one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer
      > like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make the male
      > and the female into a single one, so that the male is not male and the
      > female not female, when you make eyes in place of an eye, a hand in place
      > of a hand, a foot in place of a foot, and an image in place of an image,
      > then you shall enter the kingdom." (Saying 22)
      >
      > The newborn child's asexual nature becomes a perfect model for the unified
      > state Jesus says we must aspire to. Outer physical differences must become
      > like inner spiritual similarities. The upper heavenly archetype must
      > correspond precisely with the lower earthly reality. In this ideal
      > formulation, by the way, male and female are equal. Neither sex existed
      > prior to the original separation that created both at the same time.
      >
      > The third step is the most fundamental. How, in actual practice, do you
      > get back to that unified state presented in the Eden of Genesis 1-3? The
      > answer, and the secret's deepest core, is through celibate asceticism.
      That
      > is how you reclaim Paradise Lost, how you make the male and the female
      into
      > a single one, how you become "solitary" or "alone" as in sayings 15, 49
      and
      > 75. It is also why so many of the standard modes of piety are no longer
      > adequate. They all pale into triviality compared with the radical
      > world-negation demanded by ascetic celibacy.
      >
      > His disciples asked him, "Do you want us to fast? How shall we pray? Shall
      > we give alms? What diet shall we keep?" (Saying 6)
      > Jesus said to them, "If you fast, you will bring sin upon yourselves, and
      > if you pray, you will condemn yourselves, and if you give alms, you will
      do
      > evil to your spirits." (Saying 14)
      >
      > These ordinary modes would only lull you into a false sense of security.
      > Instead, you must give up the world entirely:
      >
      > If you do not fast with respect to the world, you will not find the
      > kingdom. If you do not keep the sabbath as sabbath, you will not see the
      > father. (Saying 27)
      >
      > Let him who has found the world and become rich deny the world. (Saying
      110)
      >
      > One must fast from the normalcy of the world itself. One must observe not
      > just a weekly Sabbath, but that original rest as God observed it at the
      > dawn of creation. One must give not just alms, but whatever is demanded.
      >
      > This, in swiftest summary, is the secret teaching of The Gospel of Thomas.
      > Return to the primordial moment of creation. Go back before the Fall,
      > before the original Sin that made the Fall inevitable, and, above all,
      > before the split that made sin and Fall possible. The ideal state
      > proclaimed by The Gospel of Thomas is that of the primordial human being,
      a
      > single and unified Adam, neither male nor female. One returns to this
      state
      > by asceticism, by celibacy, by leaving any worldly life behind.
      >
      > Become passersby. (Saying 42)
      > -----------------------------------------------
      >
      > This is the end of the Crossan article in John Dart's _Unearthing the Lost
      > Words of Jesus_ (1998). I would only add that the presence of this major
      > theme in Thomas (if indeed it is so) counts heavily against the claim,
      > sometimes expressed, that Thomas is a random collection of sayings with no
      > coherent point-of-view. What needs to be explained, however, (at least to
      > my way of thinking) is why this point-of-view was expressed in such a
      > chaotic and disorganized way.
      >
      > Mike
      >
      > The Coptic Gospel of Thomas, saying-by-saying
      > http://www.geocities.com/athens/9068/sayings.htm
      >
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    • Ronald David McCann
      Dear Mike, Cudos on seizing the central thrust of ancient Thomas and bringing the Edenic material to the fore. Thomas revolves around the hook set in the
      Message 2 of 3 , Apr 1, 2000
        Dear Mike,
        Cudos on seizing the central thrust of ancient Thomas and bringing
        the Edenic material to the fore. Thomas revolves around the hook set in
        the Garden of Eden.
        As I read it, it is indeed advocating the return to a pre-fall state
        and a re-aquisition of LIFE as it was before the fall.
        But Yuri has an excellent point. Thomas IS layered and has gone
        through several redactions leaving us with at least two "secrets". The
        edenic material is probably earliest and the most elegant- namely,
        reversing the fall of man. The later layer is more "Hymn of the Pearl" and
        Platonic dealing with the soul recognizing it's pre-birth origins and
        re-aquiring it's status as a Son of the High Father. The beginnings of a
        Gnostic taint.
        Severing the layering to get to the original Thomas is difficult,
        but CAN be done. It is done firstly by blue pencilling any saying with a
        Gospels counterpart. This is more difficult than it seems because some
        sayings have evolved in Q and one has to introduce the concept of Matching
        Sayings- sayings the Q author chose to editorialize or hominalize instead
        of quoting because it was so obscure.
        A worst case example is the Thomas saying 19b "If you become my
        disciples and pay attention to my words these these stones will serve
        you." This matches to the Q saying about "foundations". The Thomas saying
        is earlier.
        Bye

        Ron McCann
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