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Re: [GTh] analogies

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  • Peter Kirby
    ... From: William Arnal To: Sent: Tuesday, April 30, 2002 4:03 PM Subject: [GTh] analogies ... Some time ago,
    Message 1 of 4 , May 1, 2002
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "William Arnal" <warnal@...>
      To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Tuesday, April 30, 2002 4:03 PM
      Subject: [GTh] analogies


      >
      > Hey everyone:
      >
      > Does anyone out there feel like trying to cook up ANALOGIES to GThomas from
      > other religious traditions, or just plain "culture"? I don't mean assertions
      > that x is derived from y, but cross-cultural and historically-unlinked
      > similar endeavours (however "similar" be conceived). For example, I've tried
      > in a different context (a class lecture which I'd eventually like to turn
      > into an article) to compare Paul's "Christ myth" to the Ceramese story of
      > "coconut girl" in terms of what each accomplishes imaginatively in its
      > historical context. Can something similar be offered for Thomas? Anyone?

      Some time ago, while deep in the bowels of a university library, I stumbled
      across a book of proverbs and epigrams. I sat down and read this book for about
      an hour, consisting of nothing but back-to-back quasi-paradoxical statements of
      wisdom. After I was finished reading this book, I distinctly remember feeling a
      kind of "natural high" and a buzz in the brain from the overload of
      counter-intuitive information. I wonder whether the Gospel of Thomas may have
      had a similar effect to some of its readers.

      best,
      Peter Kirby
    • William Arnal
      ... This is a REALLY interesting analogue. Actually, it occurs to me that Jonathan Smith draws a parallel between proverbs and jokes, on the one hand, and the
      Message 2 of 4 , May 2, 2002
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        Peter Kirby wrote:

        >Some time ago, while deep in the bowels of a university library, I
        > >stumbled
        >across a book of proverbs and epigrams. I sat down and read this book >for
        >about
        >an hour, consisting of nothing but back-to-back quasi-paradoxical
        > >statements of
        >wisdom. After I was finished reading this book, I distinctly remember
        > >feeling a
        >kind of "natural high" and a buzz in the brain from the overload of
        >counter-intuitive information. I wonder whether the Gospel of Thomas >may
        >have
        >had a similar effect to some of its readers.

        This is a REALLY interesting analogue. Actually, it occurs to me that
        Jonathan Smith draws a parallel between proverbs and jokes, on the one hand,
        and the gospel genre (here NOT thinking of Thomas, as it happens), on the
        other. I think the article is "Good News is No News." And as I recall he
        basically says that the function of ALL of these forms is to generate a
        gratifying sense of incongruity for the reader; and incongruity that,
        potentially, makes room for thought, change, etc.

        Anyone else?

        Bill
        ___________________________
        William Arnal
        Department of Religion
        University of Manitoba

        "I wish that I was born a thousand years ago.
        I wish that I'd sailed the darkened seas
        on a great big clipper ship,
        going from this land here to that,
        in a sailor suit and cap."
        -- Lou Reed


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      • smithand44
        Or how about G.I.Gurdjieff s aphorisms. These were written in a specially invented script on the wall of his study house in Fontainbleau. Some of the words
        Message 3 of 4 , May 2, 2002
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          Or how about G.I.Gurdjieff's aphorisms. These were written in a
          specially invented script on the wall of his study house in
          Fontainbleau. Some of the words that he uses are technical terms, but
          they also occur in a non-technical sense. e.g. "Remember" in no.5 has
          the ordinary meaning, but in no. 4 it has a special meaning in the
          context of "remember yourself." "Work" can also mean labour or inner
          psychological efforts.

          1. Like what "it" does not like.
          2. The highest that a man can attain is to be able to do.
          3. The worse the conditions of life the more productive the work,
          always provided you remember the work.
          4. Remember yourself always and everywhere.
          5. Remember you come here having already understood the necessity of
          struggling with yourself—only with yourself. Therefore thank everyone
          who gives you the opportunity.
          6. Here we can only direct and create conditions, but not help.
          7. Know that this house can be useful only to those who have
          recognized their nothingness and who believe in the possibility of
          changing.
          8. If you already know it is bad and do it, you commit a sin
          difficult to redress.
          9. The chief means of happiness in this life is the ability to
          consider externally always, internally never.
          10. Do not love art with your feelings.
          11. A true sign of a good man is if he loves his father and mother.
          12. Judge others by yourself and you will rarely be mistaken.
          13. Only help him who is not an idler.
          14. Respect every religion.
          15. I love him who loves work.
          16. We can only strive to be able to be Christians.
          17. Don't judge a man by the tales of others.
          18. Consider what people think of you—not what they say.
          19. Take the understanding of the East and the knowledge of the West—
          and then seek.
          20. Only he who can take care of what belongs to others may have his
          own.
          21. Only conscious suffering has any sense.
          22. It is better to be temporarily an egoist than never to be just.
          23. Practice love first on animals, they are more sensitive.
          24. By teaching others you will learn yourself.
          25. Remember that here work is not for work's sake but is only a
          means.
          26. Only he can be just who is able to put himself in the position of
          others.
          27. If you have not by nature a critical mind your staying here is
          useless.
          28. He who has freed himself of the disease of "tomorrow" has a
          chance to attain what he came here for.
          29. Blessed is he who has a soul, blessed is he who has none, but woe
          and grief to him who has it in embryo.
          30. Rest comes not from the quantity but from the quality of sleep.
          31. Sleep little without regret.
          32. The energy spent on active inner work is then and there
          transformed into a fresh supply, but that spent on passive work is
          lost for ever.
          33. One of the best means for arousing the wish to work on yourself
          is to realize that you may die at any moment. But first you must
          learn how to keep it in mind.
          34. Conscious love evokes the same in response. Emotional love evokes
          the opposite. Physical love depends on type and polarity.
          35. Conscious faith is freedom. Emotional faith is slavery.
          Mechanical faith is foolishness.
          36. Hope, when bold, is strength. Hope, with doubt, is cowardice.
          Hope, with fear, is weakness.
          37. Man is given a definite number of experiences—economizing them,
          he prolongs his life.
          38. Here there are neither Russians nor English, Jews nor Christians,
          but only those who pursue one aim—to be able to be.


          Best Wishes

          Andrew Smith
        • Jim Bauer
          Or what about Nietzsche s _Also Sprach Zarathustra_? It certainly induces in me the same feelings and emotions of Thomas, particularly, Throughout Eternity
          Message 4 of 4 , May 2, 2002
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            Or what about Nietzsche's _Also Sprach Zarathustra_? It certainly induces
            in me the same feelings and emotions of Thomas, particularly, "Throughout
            Eternity No Eternal Will Wills". If Nietzsche is an atheist Thomas is a
            religious atheist in the manner of Meister Eckhart.

            Jim Bauer
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