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Re: [gthomas] Androgynous Adam

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  • Kanefer@aol.com
    In a message dated 3/31/00 3:38:13 PM, Mike Grondin wrote:
    Message 1 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
    • 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 2 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 3 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 4 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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