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Spirit as Mother [was Stratification & the Historical Gap

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  • Andrew Smith
    ... Aren t you ignoring the wisdom tradition? Here s a section from Wisdom of Solomon 7 7: Therefore I prayed, and understanding was given me; I called upon
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 22, 2000
      on 8/11/00 1:48 PM, Michael Grondin at mgrondin@... wrote:

      > Careful readers may have noticed that, altho recent discussions of the
      > history of early Xianity may have brought us closer to understanding *some*
      > Thomas sayings (such as #71), there are still others that remain curiously
      > distant - even more so now. I have particularly in mind the sayings
      > involving "the Mother":
      > "My mother brought me forth, but my true mother gave me life.", and
      > "He who knows the Father and the Mother will be called 'Son of the Harlot'"

      > Such sayings as these seem antithetical to patriarchical Judaism - whether
      > Temple or post-Temple - and so what are we to say about them? It may seem
      > satisfying at first to just say that they aren't authentic, but that
      > response doesn't help those of us who take Thomas to be pre-canonical, cuz
      > we have to explain the existence of such themes in early Xianity, whether
      > they derived from Jesus or not. One natural way out of this dilemma is to
      > take Thomas to be "stratified", i.e., composed of a number of layers added
      > over time to an early core sayings collection.

      Aren't you ignoring the wisdom tradition?

      Here's a section from Wisdom of Solomon 7
      7: Therefore I prayed, and understanding was given me;
      I called upon God, and the spirit of wisdom came to me.
      8: I preferred her to scepters and thrones,
      and I accounted wealth as nothing in comparison with her.
      9: Neither did I liken to her any priceless gem,
      because all gold is but a little sand in her sight,
      and silver will be accounted as clay before her.
      10: I loved her more than health and beauty,
      and I chose to have her rather than light,
      because her radiance never ceases.
      11: All good things came to me along with her,
      and in her hands uncounted wealth.
      12: I rejoiced in them all, because wisdom leads them;
      but I did not know that she was their mother.

      Here, spirit of wisdom=mother of good things (and light). But even without
      such a clear identification, any female divine figure in a first century
      Jewish text could surely be assumed to be Wisdom. So those sayings can go
      straight back into the first stratum!

      As I mentioned, I think that #105 is connected with the Beelzebub
      controversy and the blasphemy against the Spirit. If Mother=Spirit/Wisdom,
      then saying that someone who knows the Spirit is the son of a whore,
      (instead of a son of spirit/wisdom) is a misidentification akin to saying
      that he has a demon, not the Spirit.

      But perhaps I can pose this as a question. Can "Mother" in GoT really be
      identified with Wisdom/Spirit?


      Andrew Smith
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