Re: [GTh] #114: Beloved Disciple
> It is my theory that "Let Mary leave us..." may have been the originalending,
> and that "making herself male for my sake" was a Gnostic redaction, as wasthe
> first passage in Thomas, "Whoever experiences the meaning of these wordswill
> not experience death". Since "the first shall be last" the passage herereturns to
> the beginning.Jim-
I think I asked you before where you got this "for my sake" from. I don't
recall your answer, but it's not in the text. Also, I don't see any
particularly significant connection between #114 and #1.
Mt. Clemens, MI
----- Original Message -----
From: "Grondin" <mwgrondin@...>
Sent: Thursday, April 11, 2002 9:11 AM
Subject: Re: [GTh] #114: Beloved Disciple
> > It is my theory that Mary "making herself male for my sake" was a
Gnostic redaction, as was
> > first passage in Thomas, "Whoever experiences the meaning of these words
> > not experience death". Since "the first shall be last" the passage here
> returns to
> > the beginning.
> I think I asked you before where you got this "for my sake" from. I don't
> recall your answer, but it's not in the text.
I see now that I have open copy on my desk before me of the third,
completely revised edition of NHLe that I was quoting from memory of an
earlier translation, and the final passage actually reads:
#114(a) Simon Peter said to them, "Let Mary leave us, for women are not
worthy of life.
(b) Jesus said, "I myself shall lead her in order to make her into a male,
so that she may become a living spirit resembling you males.
(c) For every woman who will make herself male will enter the kingdom of
Also, I don't see any
> particularly significant connection between #114 and #1.
The problem is, Mike, you are not thinking like a mystic at the time all
this stuff was first written. Sorry to take an example out of the history
of science, but for example, Newton was an alchemist, and John Maynard
Keynes, who collected most of Newton's alchemical manuscripts, calls him,
instead of "the first scientist", the "last of the old magicians". Why did
Newton postulate seven colors instead of six? I did a science fair
experiment on colors as a kid and I was never able to distinguish a separate
color, "indigo", in between "blue" and "violet". Newton posited this
because, as an alchemist, there "had to be" seven colors because seven was
the perfect number. (If I can think up an example from the history of
religion I'll let you know.)
My point here is simply that among mystics sacred relationships are often
portrayed in numbers, and one of the greatest mystical affirmations of all
time is, "the first shall be last and the last shall be first". (Whatever
the hell that's supposed to mean.) The same thing holds true, even in this
present age, in fiction where, even though it's been done to the point of
becoming a cliche, the end goes back to the beginning. Any Gnostic scribe
would have immediately taken the opportunity to write this type of stuff
into the text simply to make it fit into a preconceived cosmology.
However, I feel you're glossing over much of my discussion over a
technicality. For me, assuming the author of http://www.BelovedDisciple.org
is correct and Mary really did write the Fourth Gospel, the conflict we see
here between Peter and Mary (or at least a conflict behind her back with
Simon Peter speaking to "them" alone) may mean (a) that Peter's title of
"Bishop of Rome" which granted him primacy over the various other Bishops
(ie, the "First Pope") may be dated fairly early, being created at the time
Thomas was going thru its rough drafts or (b) some later Xian redactor of
Thomas, working within an ancestral form of the RCC but possibly a century
or two later may have inserted the opening line of #114 to try to draw it
into orthodoxy and take power and authority away from Mary Magdelene. Then,
some Gnostic tacked on two Gnostic statements #114(b) Jesus said, "I myself
shall lead her in order to make her into a male, so that she may become a
living spirit resembling you males.
#114(c) For every woman who will make herself male will enter the kingdom
of heaven." All this seems quite firmly entrenched not within the Xian camp
but the Gnostic theme of androgyny. Therefore, the "first shall be last
stuff" was created to, as with Newton, "make it fit".
Another text which has been selected as possibly Q is the Gospel of Peter.
Several years ago, my brother John showed me a pamphlet he'd picked up at a
lecture at Northwestern about how Peter might have been Q as in the extant
fragments it gives to the Romans the distinciton of being the first to see
Jesus risen from the dead. Personally, I think Thomas is closer to Q than
Peter, but when I tried to research it on the web I got pages ranging from
various Bible-biased Xians to male masturbation, so I have temporarily
suspended my search for the answer to that one.
- --- Jim Bauer wrote:
> It is my theory that Mary "making herself male ..." was a--- to which my response was:
> Gnostic redaction, as was the first passage in Thomas, "Whoever
> experiences the meaning of these words will not experience
> death". Since "the first shall be last" the passage here
> returns to the beginning.
> ... I don't see any particularly significant connection between...to which your response was two-fold: (1) I'm not thinking like
> #114 and #1.
a mystic of the time, and (2) I'm ignoring your main thesis about
MM supplanting Peter. The only sense I can make of this response
is that you in fact have _two_ theses in mind, both of which have
to do with "the first shall be last", and that you're conflating
the two in your mind. Thus, when I respond to thesis #1, you see
me as ignoring your thesis, because you think of the two theses as
one. The way I look at it, thesis #1 is that Gnostics wrote both
logion 1 and the ending of logion 114. Thus, the first saying is
connected with the last not in any semantic way, but simply becuz
Gnostics wrote both. My response to this thesis is the same as
before: since there's no evident connection between (the end of)
114 and logion 1, I see no reason to say that "the passage here
[at the end of 114] returns to the beginning [i.e., saying #1]".
In fact, I think you may have a different (though somewhat similar)
saying in mind, namely "Where the beginning is, there the end will
be." That saying is in Th18, whereas "Many of the first will become
last" is in Th4.
Your thesis #2 is strictly about Th114, and in this thesis "the
first" is evidently Peter, not logion 1. To my mind, you confuse
the issue by bringing in the apparently irrelevant question of
whether MM wrote the 4th gospel - irrelevant because your thesis
about the redaction of 114 isn't even connected with, still less
does it depend on, whether or not she wrote GJn. So I'm going to
ignore that and concentrate on the two-step process that you
suggest underlies the current form of #114:
(1) The original form was just Peter's statement, constructed
to "take power and authority away from Mary Magdelene."
(2) "Then, some Gnostic tacked on two Gnostic statements
#114(b) ... "I myself shall lead her ..." [and] #114(c) For every
woman who will make herself male will enter the kingdom of heaven."
Now what I would say about this is that it simply cannot have been
so. I say that because it's simply inconceivable to me that a Xian
writer, whether orthodox or Gnostic, would ever have ended such a
sayings collection with a saying attributed to someone other than
Jesus. I'm open to the suggestion that "114c" was later added to
a+b, but that wouldn't help your case, since you want to claim that
Th114 was originally anti-MM, and 114b already counters the anti-MM
sentiment of 114a. It's clear to me that 114a was never a separate
saying, but rather was constructed as simply a "foil" for 114b.
That is to say, the original construction was point-counterpoint:
Peter says A, then Jesus corrects and/or modifies his statement.
You find that construction all the time in Xian writings. What
you _don't_ find is someone other than Jesus making a definitive
statement to which Jesus doesn't respond (e.g., 114a by itself).
On an entirely different subject (which you throw in for no
apparent reason other than a loose connection of names):
> Another text which has been selected as possibly Q is the GospelOf course it is. This pamphlet you refer to was obviously very
> of Peter. Several years ago, my brother John showed me a pamphlet
> he'd picked up at a lecture at Northwestern about how Peter might
> have been Q as in the extant fragments it gives to the Romans the
> distinciton of being the first to see Jesus risen from the dead.
> Personally, I think Thomas is closer to Q than Peter ...
confused. "Q" is understood as a sayings source, and what we have
of the Gospel of Peter (which is basically the passion narrative)
is not a sayings source.