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Re: [gthomas] Androgenous ideal

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  • joe lieb
    ... Patti replied: Maybe, it refers to a not being bound by earthly relationships. You know, how relationship with mother and father tends to keep one in a
    Message 1 of 4 , Apr 7 2:29 PM
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      >At 05:22 PM 04/04/00 -0700, I wrote:
      >> I ask now about GOT 101 where it is stated that it is
      >> necessary to hate one's father and mother. Also GOT 15
      >> and 105 have a related theme. Are we being told to hate
      >> the sexual aspect of our nature?

      Patti replied:
      " Maybe, it refers to a not being bound by earthly relationships. You know, how relationship with mother and father tends to keep one in a certain role, or certain behavior/habits/personality are expected.
      "

      Michael Grondin replied - in a similar vein:
      " Of course we're all familiar with the love-hate relationship that one has with one's parents, and there may be echoes of that here, but in light of other sayings in Thomas, what I think is being said is that one ought to hate (or cast off) one's *natural* parents, and love one's "real" (i.e., heavenly) parents.
      "

      But Michael went further looking into the social context of this saying:
      " One interpretation of them is that they derive from an early stage of Xianity, when to be a Xian often involved cutting oneself off from one's (non-Xian) family. But even if so, they would have been reusable in a later and different historical situation - one in which, say, one's parents were Xians, but one wanted to leave them anyway and go off and be an ascetic monk. Or join a group of wandering "teachers".
      "

      This sounds quite possible to me. But isn't this interpretation inconsistent with the view that GOT was a Jewish document? Monasticism is unknown in Judaism. Also - correct me if I am wrong - monasticism only started in Christianity in the fourth century. And so how could GOT be an early document of the same era as the canonical gospels?

      Michael also examined saying 105:
      " ("He who will know the Father and the Mother will be called 'The Son
      of the Harlot'.") I guess what's most controversial about this saying is
      whether it refers to Jesus or not. I believe that it does echo historical
      charges of illegitimacy, ...
      "

      Are you saying that Jesus was a bastard?
      105 is an extraordinary saying. I think that GOT is trying to inflame the reader by stating the opposite of what one would expect. One would expect: "He who does not know who his father and mother are is a bastard". Instead one reads: "He who DOES know who his father and mother are is a bastard." Indeed sex in marriage is nothing more than what a harlot does.

      I conclude that GOT is really attempting to turn people off sex. Instead we must be the products of some spiritual procreation. Michael wrote of 101:
      " the phrase "my true mother" in this saying refers to "the Holy Spirit".
      "

      It sounds possible to me. I have found the concept of the Holy Spirit in Christianity to be vague.

      Sincerely,
      - Joe.




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    • Nanna Liv Elkj√¶r Olsen
      ... know, how relationship with mother and father tends to keep one in a certain role, or certain behavior/habits/personality are expected. ... has with one s
      Message 2 of 4 , Apr 8 12:13 PM
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        At 14:29 07-04-00 -0700, Joe Lieb wrote:
        >>At 05:22 PM 04/04/00 -0700, I wrote:
        >>> I ask now about GOT 101 where it is stated that it is
        >>> necessary to hate one's father and mother. Also GOT 15
        >>> and 105 have a related theme. Are we being told to hate
        >>> the sexual aspect of our nature?
        >
        >Patti replied:
        >" Maybe, it refers to a not being bound by earthly relationships. You
        know, how relationship with mother and father tends to keep one in a
        certain role, or certain behavior/habits/personality are expected.
        >"
        >
        >Michael Grondin replied - in a similar vein:
        >" Of course we're all familiar with the love-hate relationship that one
        has with one's parents, and there may be echoes of that here, but in light
        of other sayings in Thomas, what I think is being said is that one ought to
        hate (or cast off) one's *natural* parents, and love one's "real" (i.e.,
        heavenly) parents.
        >"
        >
        >But Michael went further looking into the social context of this saying:
        >" One interpretation of them is that they derive from an early stage of
        Xianity, when to be a Xian often involved cutting oneself off from one's
        (non-Xian) family. But even if so, they would have been reusable in a later
        and different historical situation - one in which, say, one's parents were
        Xians, but one wanted to leave them anyway and go off and be an ascetic
        monk. Or join a group of wandering "teachers".
        >"
        >
        As I see it, it is a matter of breaking down structure in order to stand in
        an unmediated relation horizontally as well as vertically - or to put it in
        another way, to create a communitas (with reference to Victor Turner) - the
        most basic structures being familyrelations and giftexchange/trade. The
        latter is being rejected in logion 95: "If you have money, do not lend it
        at interest. Rather, give it to someone from whom you will not get it back"
        ; this is breaking with what Mauss (Essay sur le don - The Gift) called
        giftexchange. When one gives a gift, one also expects a returngift sooner
        or later, but here it is said to give money exactly to someone from whom
        one cannot expect to get a returngift.
        Without any structures sort of mediating they can become one lonely.
        ... or perhaps it's far out!

        Nanna Liv Olsen
      • Michael Grondin
        ... stage of Xianity, when to be a Xian often involved cutting oneself off from one s (non-Xian) family. But even if so, they would have been reusable in a
        Message 3 of 4 , Apr 9 11:07 AM
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          I wrote:
          >One interpretation of them [55 & 101] is that they derive from an early
          stage of Xianity, when to be a Xian often involved cutting oneself off from
          one's (non-Xian) family. But even if so, they would have been reusable in a
          later and different historical situation - one in which, say, one's parents
          were Xians, but one wanted to leave them anyway and go off and be an
          ascetic monk. Or join a group of wandering "teachers".

          To which Joe responded:
          >This sounds quite possible to me. But isn't this interpretation
          inconsistent with the view that GOT was a Jewish document? Monasticism is
          unknown in Judaism. Also - correct me if I am wrong - monasticism only
          started in Christianity in the fourth century. And so how could GOT be an
          early document of the same era as the canonical gospels?

          Um, err, because maybe 'monk' was the wrong word? I note that the standard
          definition of the word involves living in a monastery, but it derives from
          the Greek 'monachos', which is used three times in Thomas, and which means
          simply 'single' or 'alone' - no implication that one is living in a
          monastery with other folks. I'm not too knowledgeable about the way things
          developed, but the idea of asceticism was certainly very early indeed,
          preceding the development of monasteries by hundred of years. Some (but not
          all) of those early ascetics went off by themselves, into the deserts or
          mountains, etc. In some cases, there would be small groups of hermetic
          ascetics living in some proximity to each other, but in separate dwellings
          of their own. Eventually, the idea developed (in Egypt originally, and
          probably out of necessity as much as anything else) of housing such small
          communities in fortress-like buildings, with their "aloneness" being
          preserved symbolically by each monk's "cell". This physical consolidation
          went hand-in-hand with community "rules", and soon there were whole
          "systems" of such monasteries, such as the Pachomian "system" in Egypt.
          Although there would always be hermits who lived the original ideal in its
          full purity, most ascetics came to accept the idea that that ideal could be
          at least symbolically preserved in a monasterial setting.

          To get back to your original question, I guess we need to define what is
          meant by 'monasticism'. Does it necessarily involve monasteries, or can it
          mean, as it did originally, simply separation and aloneness? In any case,
          wasn't the Qumran community an example of Jewish ascetic separation? Be
          that as it may, I'm not at all disturbed by the possibility that maybe GOT
          wasn't a "Jewish document". That it was so is Yuri's hypothesis, not mine.
          I still don't even know exactly what it means to say that something was/is
          a "Jewish document". I do know that Yuri wants to have GOT be
          Torah-consistent, but that view forces him to deny some rather obvious
          internal evidence.

          >I believe that it [105] does echo historical charges of illegitimacy, ...
          >
          >Are you saying that Jesus was a bastard?

          Nope. I'm saying that this was a charge made against him in Jewish circles.
          Implicit in this charge was that J was not of the Davidic line, hence could
          not be the Messiah. The person said to be his father was one Panthera,
          sometimes called a "Sidonese archer", but actually a mercenary military
          leader of some repute who evidently was stationed in Galilee at the
          appropriate time. There are implicit reactions to the charge of
          illegitimacy and/or of not being of the Davidic line in the canonical
          gospels, but it isn't clear whether those charges were levelled during the
          lifetime of Jesus, after his death, or both.

          >105 is an extraordinary saying. I think that GOT is trying to inflame the
          reader by stating the opposite of what one would expect. One would expect:
          "He who does not know who his father and mother are is a bastard". Instead
          one reads: "He who DOES know who his father and mother are is a bastard."
          Indeed sex in marriage is nothing more than what a harlot does.

          Very well put, and I can agree up to a point. But 105 does specify "the
          Father", not "his father". Either one could be expressed in Coptic, and
          Thomas chose the former.

          >I conclude that GOT is really attempting to turn people off sex.
          >Instead we must be the products of some spiritual procreation.

          Yep.

          Michael wrote of 101:
          >... the phrase "my true mother" in this saying refers to "the Holy Spirit".
          >
          >It sounds possible to me. I have found the concept of the Holy Spirit
          >in Christianity to be vague.

          Sure is. Steve Davies has a lot to say about this, and about literal
          "spirit possession" in his book "Jesus the Healer".

          Regards,
          Mike

          The Coptic Gospel of Thomas, saying-by-saying
          http://www.geocities.com/athens/9068/sayings.htm
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