Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Re: The Sermon on the Light

Expand Messages
  • James Bean
    Dear Jim: No I didn t miss your point, but I hope you didn t miss mine, which was simply to examine sayings attributed to Jesus about seeing Light. By
    Message 1 of 7 , Dec 21, 2000
      Dear Jim:

      No I didn't 'miss your point,' but I hope you didn't miss mine, which
      was simply to examine sayings attributed to Jesus about seeing Light.
      By posting these sayings I was hoping for some discussion about what
      those who first wrote them down were advocating, and I'm not really interested
      in skipping over that entirely, digressing so soon in the thread.

      If you want to discuss biological or scientific explinations of mysticism,
      best of luck to you. Perhaps both of us will have to wait till after
      the holidays before we find enough active participants here to begin
      some new conversations.

      James Bean


      > Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000 22:01:37 -0700
      > From: "Jim Bauer" <jbauer@...>
      > Subject: Re: Re: The Sermon on the Light
      >
      > This response to my admittedly over-brief essay on bio-pneumatology
      > (as
      > Stevan Davies dubbed it) totally misses the point. The hypothesis
      > being
      > discussed is that there are conceivably biological & other scientific
      > explanations for mysticism. Admittedly one must seek the mind-set
      > of the
      > authors (Thomas, NHL, whatever) to understand it. This does not invalidate
      > possible scientific explanations as being "culture bound". Was Newton
      > "culture bound" when he framed the _Principiia_? Was Darwin's _The
      > Origin
      > of Species_ "culture bound"? Einstein's theory of relativity? True
      > science
      > transcends culture. The explanatory tasks of science will never be
      > complete
      > until there is a scientific explanation for religion. After all, religion
      > is a _natural_ phenomenon; it's found in every culture.
      >
      > Jim Bauer
      > ----- Original Message -----
      > From: "James Bean" <santmat@...>
      > To: <gthomas@egroups.com>
      > Sent: Wednesday, December 20, 2000 3:22 PM
      > Subject: [gthomas] Re: The Sermon on the Light
      >
      >
      > >
      > > A debate over the reality of the soul, Supreme Being, heavens, mystical
      > > experience, etc. is something that some hash out all the time. Of
      > course,
      > > the predictable 'pro' and 'con' positions taken reveal the world-views
      > > of those engaged in the debate. We're all pretty clear on what the
      > arguments
      > > are and where people are coming from. I think, as far as Gospel of
      > Thomas
      > > is concerned however, that it would be most enlightening to come
      > to terms
      > > with what the views of the compilers of Thomas (and other Nag Hammadi
      > > texts) were. To arrive at a much clearer understanding of the paradigm
      > > of Thomas Christians, Valentinians, Sethians, etc., would be most
      > productive
      > > indeed.
      > >
      > > James
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > > Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2000 16:36:02 -0700
      > > > From: "Jim Bauer" <jbauer@...>
      > > > Subject: Re: The 'Sermon on the Light'
      > > >
      > > > The problem with this is that it is a-historical & a-cultural;
      > ie it's
      > > > a
      > > > mish-mosh. Not that "light" is not a component of mysticism.



      ___________________________________________________________________
      To get your own FREE ZDNet Onebox - FREE voicemail, email, and fax,
      all in one place - sign up today at http://www.zdnetonebox.com
    • Jim Bauer
      I m glad you didn t miss my point or at least believe you didn t miss it. As for the treatment of light & image in NT & NHL I agree that we must endeavor to
      Message 2 of 7 , Dec 22, 2000
        I'm glad you didn't miss my point or at least believe you didn't miss it.
        As for the treatment of light & image in NT & NHL I agree that we must
        endeavor to comprehend the attitudes & ideals of those who wrote this
        material. However "image" & "light" occur in some symbolic manner in all or
        nearly all religions so I've been endeavoring to come to an understand _why_
        these symbols are so predominant. & yes, culture can over-ride genetics so
        the struggle for scientists & philosophers must be examined holistically
        although not necessarily spiritually.

        Jim
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "James Bean" <santmat@...>
        To: <gthomas@egroups.com>
        Sent: Thursday, December 21, 2000 3:55 PM
        Subject: [gthomas] Re: The Sermon on the Light


        >
        > Dear Jim:
        >
        > No I didn't 'miss your point,' but I hope you didn't miss mine, which
        > was simply to examine sayings attributed to Jesus about seeing Light.
        > By posting these sayings I was hoping for some discussion about what
        > those who first wrote them down were advocating, and I'm not really
        interested
        > in skipping over that entirely, digressing so soon in the thread.
        >
        > If you want to discuss biological or scientific explinations of mysticism,
        > best of luck to you. Perhaps both of us will have to wait till after
        > the holidays before we find enough active participants here to begin
        > some new conversations.
        >
        > James Bean
        >
        >
        > > Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000 22:01:37 -0700
        > > From: "Jim Bauer" <jbauer@...>
        > > Subject: Re: Re: The Sermon on the Light
        > >
        > > This response to my admittedly over-brief essay on bio-pneumatology
        > > (as
        > > Stevan Davies dubbed it) totally misses the point. The hypothesis
        > > being
        > > discussed is that there are conceivably biological & other scientific
        > > explanations for mysticism. Admittedly one must seek the mind-set
        > > of the
        > > authors (Thomas, NHL, whatever) to understand it. This does not
        invalidate
        > > possible scientific explanations as being "culture bound". Was Newton
        > > "culture bound" when he framed the _Principiia_? Was Darwin's _The
        > > Origin
        > > of Species_ "culture bound"? Einstein's theory of relativity? True
        > > science
        > > transcends culture. The explanatory tasks of science will never be
        > > complete
        > > until there is a scientific explanation for religion. After all,
        religion
        > > is a _natural_ phenomenon; it's found in every culture.
        > >
        > > Jim Bauer
        > > ----- Original Message -----
        > > From: "James Bean" <santmat@...>
        > > To: <gthomas@egroups.com>
        > > Sent: Wednesday, December 20, 2000 3:22 PM
        > > Subject: [gthomas] Re: The Sermon on the Light
        > >
        > >
        > > >
        > > > A debate over the reality of the soul, Supreme Being, heavens,
        mystical
        > > > experience, etc. is something that some hash out all the time. Of
        > > course,
        > > > the predictable 'pro' and 'con' positions taken reveal the world-views
        > > > of those engaged in the debate. We're all pretty clear on what the
        > > arguments
        > > > are and where people are coming from. I think, as far as Gospel of
        > > Thomas
        > > > is concerned however, that it would be most enlightening to come
        > > to terms
        > > > with what the views of the compilers of Thomas (and other Nag Hammadi
        > > > texts) were. To arrive at a much clearer understanding of the paradigm
        > > > of Thomas Christians, Valentinians, Sethians, etc., would be most
        > > productive
        > > > indeed.
        > > >
        > > > James
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > > Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2000 16:36:02 -0700
        > > > > From: "Jim Bauer" <jbauer@...>
        > > > > Subject: Re: The 'Sermon on the Light'
        > > > >
        > > > > The problem with this is that it is a-historical & a-cultural;
        > > ie it's
        > > > > a
        > > > > mish-mosh. Not that "light" is not a component of mysticism.
        >
        >
        >
        > ___________________________________________________________________
        > To get your own FREE ZDNet Onebox - FREE voicemail, email, and fax,
        > all in one place - sign up today at http://www.zdnetonebox.com
        >
        >
        > -------------------------------------------------
        > To post to gthomas, send email to gthomas@egroups.com
        > To unsubscribe, send a blank email to gthomas-unsubscribe@egroups.com
      • James Bean
        ... .....or at least beieve you didn t miss it. ? A bit too condescending. James ___________________________________________________________________ To get
        Message 3 of 7 , Dec 23, 2000
          > Date: Fri, 22 Dec 2000 14:13:04 -0700
          > From: "Jim Bauer" <jbauer@...>
          > Subject: Re: Re: The Sermon on the Light
          >
          > I'm glad you didn't miss my point or at least believe you didn't miss
          > it.

          ".....or at least beieve you didn't miss it." ?

          A bit too condescending.

          James




          ___________________________________________________________________
          To get your own FREE ZDNet Onebox - FREE voicemail, email, and fax,
          all in one place - sign up today at http://www.zdnetonebox.com
        • Jim Bauer
          ... From: James Bean To: Sent: Saturday, December 23, 2000 9:14 PM Subject: [gthomas] Re: Re: The Sermon on
          Message 4 of 7 , Dec 23, 2000
            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "James Bean" <santmat@...>
            To: <gthomas@egroups.com>
            Sent: Saturday, December 23, 2000 9:14 PM
            Subject: [gthomas] Re: Re: The Sermon on the Light


            >
            > > Date: Fri, 22 Dec 2000 14:13:04 -0700
            > > From: "Jim Bauer" <jbauer@...>
            > > Subject: Re: Re: The Sermon on the Light
            > >
            > > I'm glad you didn't miss my point or at least believe you didn't miss
            > > it.
            >
            > ".....or at least beieve you didn't miss it." ?
            >
            > A bit too condescending.

            Sorry about souning "condescending", it just wasn't clear to me how well
            understood I was as much of what I have been discussing on this e-group is
            highly derived from areas like philosophy of science which are not familiar
            to many religious studies scholars. I apologize for sounding condescending
            & hope the ideas I'm presenting will be given careful consideration anyway.
            I will try to be more considerate in the future.

            Jim Bauer
            >
            > James
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > ___________________________________________________________________
            > To get your own FREE ZDNet Onebox - FREE voicemail, email, and fax,
            > all in one place - sign up today at http://www.zdnetonebox.com
            >
            >
            > -------------------------------------------------
            > To post to gthomas, send email to gthomas@egroups.com
            > To unsubscribe, send a blank email to gthomas-unsubscribe@egroups.com
          • Rick Hubbard
            James Bean’s collage of “Jesus sayings” [“Sermon on Light”,gthomas 12/17/00] is a thought-provoking illustration of how an author can fashion a new
            Message 5 of 7 , Jan 3, 2001
              James Bean’s collage of “Jesus sayings” [“Sermon on Light”,gthomas 12/17/00]
              is a thought-provoking illustration of how an author can fashion a new text
              by “borrowing” from other documents. The “Sermon” is almost certainly an
              example (although perhaps exaggerated) of how some texts were created in
              antiquity.

              In response to Jim Bauer’s poignantly obtuse remarks on the “Sermon on
              Light” [gthomas 12/18/00], Bean properly refocuses on a fundamentally
              important question: How did the Thomean Redactor(s) and other authors of
              antiquity understand and use the metaphors of light/darkness in their
              creative efforts?

              Perhaps a useful point of departure for additional discussions about this
              topic would be to survey some of the literary artifacts from the ancient
              Mediterranean basin in which the concept of light seems to play a prominent
              role.

              One might begin with Homer who uses the word most commonly in what might be
              called a “literal sense.” In other words, the Greek word for light used by
              Homer (which, by the way, is never FWS, but FAOS), generally describes what
              we conventionally call daylight or some other occurrence of brightness in
              nature (_Od._ 23.371, 21.429, 19.33-34; _Il._ 1.605, ). There are of course
              a few exceptions in which the Bard uses “light” in a more figurative sense
              such as _Od._ 16.15 (the bright eyes of Zeus), 18.10f (separation of life
              from death) and 16.23 (used as a virtual synonym for joy).

              Figurative uses of the concept of light become more common in post-Homeric
              Greek literature. Light is given a positive sense in Pindar _Nem._ 4.37-38
              where light seems to denote that which is publicly known. Similar
              applications may be found in Plat. _Leg._IV.724a, VI.788c and _Phaedr._
              261e. Still later, light accompanies the manifestation of the divine in
              Euripedes _Ba._
              1082-1083. In Plut. _Aud._ 17 knowledge leads to self-understanding in the
              world. It is assumed that this must first be discovered, hence the use of
              verbs like “to shine” in describing the process of knowledge. A decisive
              step seems to emerge with Parmenides _Fr._ 1 where he describes the way from
              the “house of night” to the light. Here the way of truth is the way to being
              which is directly equated with light! The mythical/mystical starting point
              may still be seen when the illumination leads back to god. In reality, here
              it is the experience of pure thought in which being is known. Light becomes,
              therefore, the presupposition of all understanding. Parmendes writes, “But
              after all things were named light (FAOS, not FWS), and night (NUX), and what
              is proper to their to their powers was imparted to them as names, so
              everthing is full of both light and invisible night (THANATOS !) , which are
              equally important, for nothing is possible which does not stand under one of
              the two…”(_Fr._ 9.1ff). This seems not to be meant in a moral sense.
              Darkness is not guilt but the mere antithesis of light (cf. _Fr._ 8.54). The
              structure of the cosmos corresponds to that of the organ of knowledge.

              Jim Bauer’s assessment that the “Sermon on Light” is “a-historical &
              a-cultural… a mish-mosh” [gthomas 12/18/00] completely fails to recognize
              the point that James’ post seems to imply. While Bauer’s assertion that
              “the twin archetypes of light and darkness were derived from early adaptive
              structures by which organisms became self-aware & (sic) became eventually
              developed language & (sic) cause- & -effect” [gthomas 12/18/00] may
              represent a viable hypothesis in evolutionary philosophy, it does not seem
              to be relevant either to Bean’s poesis or to the source texts which he
              utilizes.

              If there is an example of what Bauer argues to be a progressive development
              in light darkness symbolism [gthomas 12/18/00] it seems to begin later
              rather than earlier in the literary artifacts of antiquity, and then in
              philosophical speculation, not in religious affirmation. This would seem to
              bring into serious question his “hypothesis” that “sleep and the entire
              light-darkness symbolism derived from [a primordial?] adaptation to the to
              the day-night nocturnal cycle.” If this is the case, where is the evidence
              in the literature? I submit that such evidence is entirely absent.
            • Jim Bauer
              ... From: Rick Hubbard To: Sent: Wednesday, January 03, 2001 10:28 AM Subject: RE: [gthomas] Re: Re: The Sermon
              Message 6 of 7 , Jan 3, 2001
                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "Rick Hubbard" <rhubbard@...>
                To: <gthomas@egroups.com>
                Sent: Wednesday, January 03, 2001 10:28 AM
                Subject: RE: [gthomas] Re: Re: The Sermon on the Light


                > >
                > In response to Jim Bauer's poignantly obtuse remarks on the "Sermon on
                > Light" [gthomas 12/18/00],
                Why do you call my thought "poignantly obtuse"? What do you mean by that,
                anyway? & don't you think that someone in your discipline might sound
                "obtuse" to a sociobiologist?
                >
                .
                >
                > Jim Bauer's assessment that the "Sermon on Light" is "a-historical &
                > a-cultural. a mish-mosh" [gthomas 12/18/00] completely fails to recognize
                > the point that James' post seems to imply. While Bauer's assertion that
                > "the twin archetypes of light and darkness were derived from early
                adaptive
                > structures by which organisms became self-aware & (sic) became eventually
                > developed language & (sic) cause- & -effect" [gthomas 12/18/00] may
                > represent a viable hypothesis in evolutionary philosophy, it does not seem
                > to be relevant either to Bean's poesis or to the source texts which he
                > utilizes.

                My point was simply that if you go around cutting & pasting together
                bits-&-pieces of literature you're not understanding it in a holistic sense
                & you can get it to "mean" just about anything. Such literary meanderings
                are useless from a scientific perspective. They have about the same degree
                of validity as the "Bible codes" the Fundamentalists talk about. Reading
                every tenth verse (or whatever) is supposed to have a "hidden meaning".
                >
                > If there is an example of what Bauer argues to be a progressive
                development
                > in light darkness symbolism [gthomas 12/18/00] it seems to begin later
                > rather than earlier in the literary artifacts of antiquity, and then in
                > philosophical speculation, not in religious affirmation. This would seem
                to
                > bring into serious question his "hypothesis" that "sleep and the entire
                > light-darkness symbolism derived from [a primordial?] adaptation to the to
                > the day-night nocturnal cycle." If this is the case, where is the evidence
                > in the literature? I submit that such evidence is entirely absent.

                Archetypes evolve much more slowly than memes so of course there's no
                evidence in the literature. To those unfamiliar with the jargon, a meme is
                a gene analog, a replicating system. This includes ideas & other
                socio-cultural artifacts. In a conversation with Bill Wimsatt I once
                stated, "an archetype is a sign-stimulus married polygamously to the
                environment." His response was, "you could also say thar archetypes are
                pleiotropic (multi-functioned) memes." However, they do possess a genetic
                element (at least in theory); the evolution of religious & philosophical
                texts is an upper-level phenomen & so it evolves on a much shorter
                time-scale than archetypes. The type of memes--ancient texts--which you
                cite here will never enter the collective unconscious as there is no
                Lamarckian selection.

                If you have trouble with the jargon, look it up, you're on the web.

                Jim Bauer>
                >
                >
                > -------------------------------------------------
                > To post to gthomas, send email to gthomas@egroups.com
                > To unsubscribe, send a blank email to gthomas-unsubscribe@egroups.com
              • Rick Hubbard
                Bauer Wrote: Why do you call my thought poignantly obtuse ? What do you mean by that, anyway? & don t you think that someone in your discipline might sound
                Message 7 of 7 , Jan 3, 2001
                  Bauer Wrote:
                  Why do you call my thought "poignantly obtuse"? What do you mean by that,
                  anyway? & don't you think that someone in your discipline might sound
                  "obtuse" to a sociobiologist?

                  You may be correct that there exists some "cross disciplinary communication
                  interference." Your post is sufficient evidence to support such a
                  conclusion. Please read the following, however, about the purpose of the
                  gthomas list:

                  "The Papyri Oxyrhynchi 1, 654 &; 655 and Nag Hammadi Codex II,2 (The Gospel
                  of Thomas) are literary papyri of interest to biblical scholars specializing
                  in extra-canonical texts (the writings outside of the New Testament). This
                  list is dedicated to the scholarly discussion of the Gospel of Thomas and
                  provides an online forum for those working or interested in New Testament,
                  History, or Religious Studies."

                  Do you see anything in the list description that mandates any deference to
                  your particular point of departure? I do not.

                  Bauer wrote:
                  My point was simply that if you go around cutting & pasting together
                  bits-&-pieces of literature you're not understanding it in a holistic sense
                  & you can get it to "mean" just about anything.

                  And THAT, of course is poesis!

                  Bauer wrote:
                  Such literary meanderings are useless from a scientific perspective. They
                  have about the same degree of validity as the "Bible codes" the
                  Fundamentalists talk about. Reading every tenth verse (or whatever) is
                  supposed to have a "hidden meaning".

                  "Literary meanderings", as you characterize them, are not scientific
                  postulates. Their intent is to goad the mind into activity, or into hyper-
                  activity. The nature of science (as I'm sure you will agree) is to present
                  hypotheses that are subject to falsification. The inherent nature of
                  religion is that it is precisely UN-scientific (i.e., not subject to either
                  confirmation or falsification). When one discipline legitimizes the other,
                  then one or the other is in-valid (so you are correct in your assessment
                  about "Bible Codes" and the like).

                  Bauer Wrote:
                  If you have trouble with the jargon, look it up, you're on the web.

                  If I were interested in the relevance of the jargon, I would do so. I am not
                  interested, so I will not. By contrast, if you are interested in the
                  "jargon" of religion I suggest you spend 8-10 years in formal study of the
                  discipline of religion, then you too can be TRULY confounded!

                  Rick Hubbard
                  Humble Maine Woodsman
                Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.