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Re: [GTh] The Lion Passage

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  • Mowthpeece@aol.com
    In a message dated 6/30/02 10:12:56 AM Pacific Daylight Time, ... Interesting idea, but I personally can t get past the astrotheological associations of the
    Message 1 of 28 , Jun 30, 2002
      In a message dated 6/30/02 10:12:56 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
      dhindley@... writes:


      >
      > >>My interpretaion is based on the "Gnostic" assumption that
      > the lion is Yaldabaoth. I also propose that Yaldabaoth was
      > reinterpreted as "the devil" in 1Peter 5:8 "The devil, as a
      > roaring lion walketh about seeking whom he may devour."
      >
      > Does anyone else on this list think the author of this
      > saying intended a connection between Yaldabaoth and the
      > lion? If so, who do you think the author was? A historical
      > Jesus? or a later "Gnostic" author?<<
      >
      > My opinion would be the association went the other way.
      > "Satan" (or the devil, if you will) in Jewish tradition was
      > likened to a lion, maybe because it consumes anything it
      > wants. When some Jews became gnostics in the late 1st
      > century, they adorned the redemption myth they adopted with
      > imagery from Judaism. While in their view the traditional
      > concept of the Jewish God was transformed into the arrogant
      > war-oriented Yaldabaoth, who destroys and punishes nations
      > at his whim and will. He is, essentially, now no different
      > than the old notion of Satan, and as a result takes on
      > Satan's associations - the lion.
      >
      > Respectfully,
      >
      > Dave Hindley
      > Cleveland, Ohio, USA
      >
      >
      >

      Interesting idea, but I personally can't get past the astrotheological
      associations of the Lion with Christ....my mind just won't go to the Lion as
      Satan too.....that's not to say that some symbols haven't crossed over..Venus
      the Morning Star sure did....

      anna


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • docgroove1017
      ... superior human ... thus the ... victim? ... having ... sense are ... this blessing ? A ... that ... Ron, The way I read it, we are talking about two
      Message 2 of 28 , Jul 2, 2002
        --- In gthomas@y..., "Ron McCann" <ronmccann1@s...> wrote:
        > Somehow the animal flesh is "raised" in
        > significance and "sacramentalized" by being consumed by the
        superior human
        > and being made human flesh???? Lion flesh becomes human flesh and
        thus the
        > lion is sacramentaliszed and therefore lucky at being a human
        victim?
        > ...
        > What, on earth is confirmed upon our dead lion or dead turnip for
        having
        > served as fodder for living humans? What is their reward? In what
        sense are
        > they "Lucky " or "Blessed". How to they "survive" to reap
        this "blessing"? A
        > dead Lion is a dead lion. So with the turnip. Where is the "luck"?
        >
        > What is disturbing about Thomas is that sayings that can be found
        that
        > suggest that we ourselves should permit ourselves to be "eaten".
        >
        > Well screw that.
        >
        > Ron McCann
        > Saskatoon, Canada

        Ron,
        The way I read it,
        we are talking about two different lions.
        One is a reference to any animal flesh consumed in "the circle of
        life", especially by a higher order being (human) capable of
        consciousness.(self-consciousness=God-consciousness)
        The other lion is an evil archon/demon/Yaldabaoth who wants to live
        within a human form.
        There seems to have been a belief that some aspect of even animals
        lived on and was transformed after being eaten by another species.
        It would help to know more about 1st Century biological thinking.
        Randall Wilson
        Lebanon, Il
        USA
      • Ron McCann
        Jesus, you ducked the question. Either answer it, Randy, or get off the pot.. Others are waiting. Ron McCann ... From: docgroove1017
        Message 3 of 28 , Jul 3, 2002
          Jesus, you ducked the question.
          Either answer it, Randy, or get off the pot..
          Others are waiting.

          Ron McCann

          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "docgroove1017" <docgroove1017@...>
          To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Tuesday, July 02, 2002 10:16 PM
          Subject: Re: [GTh] The Lion Passage

          > --- In gthomas@y..., "Ron McCann" <ronmccann1@s...> wrote:
          > Somehow the animal flesh is "raised" in significance and "sacramentalized"
          > by being consumed by the superior human and being made human flesh????
          > Lion flesh becomes human flesh and thus the lion is sacramentaliszed and
          > therefore lucky at being a human victim?
          > ...
          > What, on earth is confirmed upon our dead lion or dead turnip for having
          > served as fodder for living humans? What is their reward? In what sense are
          > they "Lucky " or "Blessed". How to they "survive" to reap this "blessing"?
          > A dead Lion is a dead lion. So with the turnip. Where is the "luck"?
          > What is disturbing about Thomas is that sayings that can be found that
          > suggest that we ourselves should permit ourselves to be "eaten".
          > Well screw that.
          > Ron McCann
          > Saskatoon, Canada

          > Ron,
          > The way I read it,
          > we are talking about two different lions.
          > One is a reference to any animal flesh consumed in "the circle of
          > life", especially by a higher order being (human) capable of
          > consciousness.(self-consciousness=God-consciousness)
          > The other lion is an evil archon/demon/Yaldabaoth who wants to live
          > within a human form.
          > There seems to have been a belief that some aspect of even animals
          > lived on and was transformed after being eaten by another species.
          > It would help to know more about 1st Century biological thinking.
          > Randall Wilson
          > Lebanon, Il
          > USA
        • BrerFrase@aol.com
          In a message dated 7/2/02 9:17:16 PM Eastern Daylight Time, ... Support for this view can be found from an equally cryptic line from another culture s milieu,
          Message 4 of 28 , Jul 3, 2002
            In a message dated 7/2/02 9:17:16 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
            ronmccann1@... writes:


            >
            > What, on earth is confirmed upon our dead lion or dead turnip for having
            > served as fodder for living humans? What is their reward? In what sense are
            > they "Lucky " or "Blessed". How to they "survive" to reap this "blessing"?
            > A
            > dead Lion is a dead lion. So with the turnip. Where is the "luck"?
            >
            > What is disturbing about Thomas is that sayings that can be found that
            > suggest that we ourselves should permit ourselves to be "eaten".
            >
            > Well screw that.
            >
            > Ron McCann
            > Saskatoon, Canada
            >
            >

            Support for this view can be found from an equally cryptic line from another
            culture's milieu, the authorship of which has been attributed to the
            marquee's nom de plume though rumor has it that this line was actually
            *spoken* by an actual person in an actual war, and thus the line's
            authenticity as a *line* and its authorship can never be satisfactorily
            verified from this far-removed vantage point, sigh. Yet perhaps it can shed
            some light on the current rather more substantive scholarly conundrum
            surrounding metaphoric proto-cannabilism. And it is, after all, one of my own
            dearest cryptic epigrams in its own wright, one I live by daily in matters
            domestic and foreign, btw, and borne out of the hollowed bowels I mean
            hallowed halls of mgm itself ...

            "Just remember, Sarge, they can kill us, but they can't eat us."

            ("From Here to Eternity")

            Happy 4th to all...

            Fraser Hubbard
            :)


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • docgroove1017
            (7) Jesus said, Blessed is the lion which becomes man when consumed by man; and cursed is the man whom the lion consumes, and the lion becomes man. (60) You
            Message 5 of 28 , Jul 6, 2002
              (7)
              Jesus said,
              "Blessed is the lion
              which becomes man
              when consumed by man;
              and cursed is the man
              whom the lion consumes,
              and the lion becomes man."

              (60)
              "You too, look for a place for yourselves within repose,
              lest you become a corpse and be eaten."

              "Authoritative Teaching
              "The adversary spies on us, lying in wait ...wishing to seize us,
              rejoicing that he might swallow us. ... She gave her body to those
              who had given it to her, and ... the dealers in bodies sat down and
              wept because they were not able to do any business with that body¬Ö
              They did not realize that she has an invisible spiritual body"

              Ron,
              There seems to have been an underlying concept that the "life-force"
              of the creature being eaten was somehow transferred to the carnivore
              that ate them. If the carnivore is "Adam" and we can assume here
              that he is on the side of "good", then the creature eaten has given
              his "life-force" to aid the side of "good". If, however, a person has
              not yet "found a place within repose", he is in danger of being
              "eaten" by the evil archons and thus aiding "the dark side". Still
              confused? Watch Star Wars and may the Force be with you!
              Once the "two are made into one", there is no longer a concern
              for "good" and "evil" and the state of "rest" is achieved. Once
              there, you no longer have to worry about being "eaten".

              Randy Wilson
              Lebanon, IL
              USA
              --- In gthomas@y..., "Ron McCann" <ronmccann1@s...> wrote:
              > Jesus, you ducked the question.
              > Either answer it, Randy, or get off the pot..
              > Others are waiting.
              >
              > Ron McCann
              > > --- In gthomas@y..., "Ron McCann" <ronmccann1@s...> wrote:
              > > Somehow the animal flesh is "raised" in significance
              and "sacramentalized"
              > > by being consumed by the superior human and being made human
              flesh????
              > > Lion flesh becomes human flesh and thus the lion is
              sacramentaliszed and
              > > therefore lucky at being a human victim?
              > > ...
              > > What, on earth is confirmed upon our dead lion or dead turnip for
              having
              > > served as fodder for living humans? What is their reward? In what
              sense are
              > > they "Lucky " or "Blessed". How to they "survive" to reap
              this "blessing"?
              > > A dead Lion is a dead lion. So with the turnip. Where is
              the "luck"?
              > > What is disturbing about Thomas is that sayings that can be found
              that
              > > suggest that we ourselves should permit ourselves to be "eaten".
              > > Well screw that.
              > > Ron McCann
              > > Saskatoon, Canada
              >
              > > Ron,
              > > The way I read it,
              > > we are talking about two different lions.
              > > One is a reference to any animal flesh consumed in "the circle of
              > > life", especially by a higher order being (human) capable of
              > > consciousness.(self-consciousness=God-consciousness)
              > > The other lion is an evil archon/demon/Yaldabaoth who wants to
              live
              > > within a human form.
              > > There seems to have been a belief that some aspect of even animals
              > > lived on and was transformed after being eaten by another species.
              > > It would help to know more about 1st Century biological thinking.
              > > Randall Wilson
              > > Lebanon, Il
              > > USA
            • docgroove1017
              ... Anyone here want to try to explain the five trees? (19)Jesus said,... For there are five trees for you in Paradise which remain undisturbed summer and
              Message 6 of 28 , Jul 10, 2002
                --- In gthomas@y..., "Ron McCann" <ronmccann1@s...> wrote:
                > It is sort of like the "five trees".. Your can't crack it.
                > Ron McCann
                > Saskastoon, Canada

                Anyone here want to try to explain the five trees?
                (19)Jesus said,...
                For there are five trees for you in Paradise which remain undisturbed
                summer and winter and whose leaves do not fall.
                Whoever becomes acquainted with them
                will not experience death."

                Does anyone believe there is a lost part of the "Pistis Sophia" that
                might be found to gives some more info? It says "he had not told them
                in which places the five trees are spread", but then it never
                mentions them again!

                My hypothesis is that the five trees in Saying (19) are the
                five Gnostic rites of initiation and may have been associated with
                actual plants as were the Greek gods and goddesses.

                1.) BAPTISM = LILY (WATER LILY) = JUNO
                [goddess of childbirth- "born again"]

                2.) EUCHARIST = VINE (WINE) = BACCHUS
                [another dying and resurrecting god!]
                ??? and WHEAT (BREAD) = DEMETER

                3.) CHRISM = OLIVE (OIL) = MINERVA
                [goddess of Wisdom/Sophia, "Spirit"]
                ??? OR BALSAM

                4.) REDEMPTION = OAK = JUPITER
                (god of the sky)
                [meeting archons in ascent through heavens]

                5.) BRIDAL CHAMBER = LINDEN = PHILEMON & BAUCIS
                [the eternal couple representing mutual love]

                I found the corelations between trees and gods mentioned on the
                following site very informative.
                http://www.cybercomm.net/~grandpa/treemyth.html

                Randall Wilson
                Lebanon, IL
                USA
              • valjuk
                Randall, I m not 100% sure on this, and as this is my first time posting in this group, please be kind, if this sounds ridiculous! In the Greek version of the
                Message 7 of 28 , Jul 13, 2002
                  Randall, I'm not 100% sure on this, and as this is my first time
                  posting in this group, please be kind, if this sounds ridiculous!

                  In the Greek version of the Acts of Judas Thomas, the story of
                  Gundaphorus and the celestial palace is related. When Gundaphorus
                  realises his mistake in imprisoning Thomas and Habban, he frees them
                  and asks to be made worthy of entering the service of God. Thomas
                  praises Jesus for the miraculous conversion, and asks Gundaphorus to
                  prepare for the ceremony of sealing. During the ceremony, Thomas
                  poured oil on the heads of Gundaphorus and his brothers, invoking the
                  names of the holy spirit. One of these names was "messenger of the
                  five members" it goes on to list these five members as: mind,
                  thought, reflection, consideration and reason. Certain Syriac
                  translations include "intention" or "volition".

                  The followers of Mani who had an intimate connection to Thomas Lore
                  [note Hippolytus "Refutation of All Heresies": Let none read the
                  gospel according to Thomas, for it is the work, not of one of the
                  twelve Apostles, but of one of Mani's three wicked disciples]
                  regarded the 'pentad of the mind' to be the dwelling place of the
                  father of greatness, their supreme godhead. The 'pentad of the mind'
                  as it is translated from Manichean texts is sense, reason, thought,
                  imagination and will.

                  I am not sure whether it is a logical extrapolation or not, but could
                  the five trees, or the five members possibly be that which is
                  required to achieve gnosis? That which Gnostics called
                  the "spark", "spirit", "soul" or "seed"? It says in GTh that "whoever
                  knows them will not taste death". Gnostics sought to evade death of
                  the spirit by gnosis. If the five trees/members are indeed
                  the "spark" which Gnostics sought, then that explains their apparent
                  permanence, that "they do not change, summer or winter, and their
                  leaves do not fall". It also explains how the stones will come to
                  serve those who pay attention to the saying - as gnosis will have
                  been achieved.


                  Ok, I'm sorry if this explanation seems really convoluted, and is
                  just a jumble of ideas, I did try to introduce some degree of logic
                  into it. I hope it's of some use?

                  James Valente
                  London, UK
                • Ron McCann
                  Randall, I think the Five Trees of 19 cannot reasonably be the five trees/plants you mention because the criteria that their leaves are unchangeable summer
                  Message 8 of 28 , Jul 15, 2002
                    Randall,

                    I think the "Five Trees" of 19 cannot reasonably be the five trees/plants
                    you mention because the criteria that their leaves are unchangeable summer
                    or winter, and do not fall, is not met. Something eternal and unchanging-
                    ie- immortal and 'divine" is being referenced.

                    As to the Pistis Sophia connection, I find it intriguing that it states:-"
                    he (Jesus) had not told them in which place the five trees are spread'"
                    Assuming, this is indeed a reference to the same Jesus-saying found in 19,
                    the version of the saying the Pistis Sophia author had in mind, could not
                    have contained the words "in Paradise" which we now find in 19. One supposes
                    someone subsequently identified "which place" with "Paradise", and added the
                    words.

                    I cannot escape from the conclusion that 19 is about the Thomas initiate's
                    re-entry to Eden (Paradise) and encountering it's 'trees", one of which, of
                    course is the Tree of Life, which according to Genesis a man "may eat and
                    never die"- that is- he will not, as Adam, who never got to eat of it,
                    "taste death".

                    There appear to be a number of Edenic references in Thomas which suggest to
                    me that a this-lifetime "return to Eden" was part of the Thomasine belief
                    system and a necessary step in their 'salvational" scheme- some sort of
                    reversal of the "Fall of Man", individually.

                    Ron McCann
                    Saskatoon, Canada
                    ----- Original Message -----
                    From: "docgroove1017" <docgroove1017@...>
                    To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
                    Sent: Wednesday, July 10, 2002 7:26 PM
                    Subject: Re: [GTh] The Five Trees(19)


                    >
                    > Does anyone believe there is a lost part of the "Pistis Sophia" that
                    > might be found to gives some more info? It says "he had not told them
                    > in which places the five trees are spread", but then it never
                    > mentions them again!
                    >
                    > My hypothesis is that the five trees in Saying (19) are the
                    > five Gnostic rites of initiation and may have been associated with
                    > actual plants as were the Greek gods and goddesses.
                    >
                    > 1.) BAPTISM = LILY (WATER LILY) = JUNO
                    > [goddess of childbirth- "born again"]
                    >
                    > 2.) EUCHARIST = VINE (WINE) = BACCHUS
                    > [another dying and resurrecting god!]
                    > ??? and WHEAT (BREAD) = DEMETER
                    >
                    > 3.) CHRISM = OLIVE (OIL) = MINERVA
                    > [goddess of Wisdom/Sophia, "Spirit"]
                    > ??? OR BALSAM
                    >
                    > 4.) REDEMPTION = OAK = JUPITER
                    > (god of the sky)
                    > [meeting archons in ascent through heavens]
                    >
                    > 5.) BRIDAL CHAMBER = LINDEN = PHILEMON & BAUCIS
                    > [the eternal couple representing mutual love]
                    >
                    Randall Wilson
                    > Lebanon, IL
                    > USA
                  • Ron McCann
                    Hello James, Welcome. I liked your analysis. Just a comment or two on Hippolytus s statement:- [note Hippolytus Refutation of All Heresies : Let none read
                    Message 9 of 28 , Jul 15, 2002
                      Hello James,

                      Welcome.
                      I liked your analysis.

                      Just a comment or two on Hippolytus's statement:->" [note Hippolytus
                      "Refutation of All Heresies": Let none read the gospel according to Thomas,
                      for it is the work, not of one of the
                      twelve Apostle, but of one of Mani's three wicked disciples]."

                      I am sure most will agree that he is likely out-to-lunch on that. Mani was
                      born in 215-216 AD and began proclaiming his gospel in 242 AD about age 27.
                      (He was crucified in 276-277).

                      Whereas it is possible that Manicheans could have influenced our Coptic copy
                      of Thomas (dated to about 350 CE), and may have used it, they certainly
                      didn't create it. If I am not mistaken, the Greek copy we have dates to
                      about 225 CE, and clearly cannot have been created or influenced by Mani or
                      Manicheans.

                      This casts some doubt on the applicability of Manichean ideas and concepts
                      to the "five trees" problem.

                      Best,

                      Ron McCann
                      Saskatoon, Canada



                      ----- Original Message -----
                      From: "valjuk" <valjuk@...>
                      To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
                      Sent: Saturday, July 13, 2002 4:56 PM
                      Subject: Re: [GTh] The Five Trees(19)


                      > Randall, I'm not 100% sure on this, and as this is my first time
                      > posting in this group, please be kind, if this sounds ridiculous!
                      >
                      > In the Greek version of the Acts of Judas Thomas, the story of
                      > Gundaphorus and the celestial palace is related. When Gundaphorus
                      > realises his mistake in imprisoning Thomas and Habban, he frees them
                      > and asks to be made worthy of entering the service of God. Thomas
                      > praises Jesus for the miraculous conversion, and asks Gundaphorus to
                      > prepare for the ceremony of sealing. During the ceremony, Thomas
                      > poured oil on the heads of Gundaphorus and his brothers, invoking the
                      > names of the holy spirit. One of these names was "messenger of the
                      > five members" it goes on to list these five members as: mind,
                      > thought, reflection, consideration and reason. Certain Syriac
                      > translations include "intention" or "volition".
                      >
                      > The followers of Mani who had an intimate connection to Thomas Lore
                      > [note Hippolytus "Refutation of All Heresies": Let none read the
                      > gospel according to Thomas, for it is the work, not of one of the
                      > twelve Apostles, but of one of Mani's three wicked disciples]
                      > regarded the 'pentad of the mind' to be the dwelling place of the
                      > father of greatness, their supreme godhead. The 'pentad of the mind'
                      > as it is translated from Manichean texts is sense, reason, thought,
                      > imagination and will.
                      >
                      > I am not sure whether it is a logical extrapolation or not, but could
                      > the five trees, or the five members possibly be that which is
                      > required to achieve gnosis? That which Gnostics called
                      > the "spark", "spirit", "soul" or "seed"? It says in GTh that "whoever
                      > knows them will not taste death". Gnostics sought to evade death of
                      > the spirit by gnosis. If the five trees/members are indeed
                      > the "spark" which Gnostics sought, then that explains their apparent
                      > permanence, that "they do not change, summer or winter, and their
                      > leaves do not fall". It also explains how the stones will come to
                      > serve those who pay attention to the saying - as gnosis will have
                      > been achieved.
                      >
                      >
                      > Ok, I'm sorry if this explanation seems really convoluted, and is
                      > just a jumble of ideas, I did try to introduce some degree of logic
                      > into it. I hope it's of some use?
                      >
                      > James Valente
                      > London, UK
                    • Didymus5@aol.com
                      Mr Valjuk may be interested in the following excerpts from The Gnostic Apostle Thomas End of chapter 5 Messenger of the five members is one of the
                      Message 10 of 28 , Jul 16, 2002
                        Mr Valjuk may be interested in the following excerpts from The Gnostic
                        Apostle Thomas

                        End of chapter 5
                        "Messenger of the five members" is one of the manifestations of the Holy
                        Spirit invoked by Thomas at the sealing of Gundaphorus and Gad. One
                        translator of this passage from the Syriac version has given a certain list
                        of English words referring to various mental functions that we regard as
                        being of a distinctively human order: mind, idea, thoughtfulness,
                        consideration, reasoning. Some translations would include "intention" or
                        "volition." The pentad is an attempt to put into words the distinctive
                        powers or faculties that humans are considered to share with the supremely
                        divine. There is, as always with attempts to define "Mind," a question as to
                        whether it is intended to include that elusive element Gnostics sometimes
                        called "spark" or "spirit" or "soul" or "seed." Given the context, we can
                        assume the most expansive definition was intended in identifying those
                        features that set humandkind apart from all other creatures.
                        Another grouping of five qualities of mind has a direct and intimate
                        connection with Thomas lore. This one was to be found among the followers of
                        Mani, the third-century Mesopotamian prophet of a gnostic religion that
                        combined elements of Buddhism, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism. (We will
                        take a longer look at Manicheism in a later chapter.) Manicheans regarded the
                        five attributes of Mind as the dwelling places of the Father of Greatness,
                        their supreme godhead. The five have been translated as sense, reason
                        thought, imagination (or inventiveness), and intention (or will).
                        Another writing bearing the name of Thomas seems to allude to the "five
                        members." This is the important Gospel of Thomas , an early collection of
                        sayings of Jesus, recorded (so the text claims) by the apostle. For the
                        moment we want to note only one of the sayings which speaks of five trees in
                        Paradise, changeless in summer and winter, "whose leaves do not fail. Whoever
                        becomes acquainted with them will not experience death."
                        Scholars have pointed out that the Psalter of the Manicheans equates the five
                        trees with several other pentads, including the five members of the soul or
                        Mind. A Chinese Buddhist treatise contrasts five kinds of trees of death,
                        poisoned with evil, with "five kinds of matchless precious and luminous trees
                        whose fruits give immortality." The five precious fruits, as we would
                        expect, are consciousness, heart (in China, the seat of reasoning), memory,
                        reflection, and intention.
                        Another fivesome, central to Buddhist thought, may lie behind the five we
                        find in later Chinese Buddhism, Manicheism, and some of the Thomas writings.
                        Buddhists hold that nothing exists by itself. "Things" exist only in
                        relation to other things, in mutual interdependence, all continually acting
                        upon each other in a complex process of causal relationships.
                        Accordingly, we should not think of a continuing, personal Self. What we in
                        our ignorance call the Self is really an interplay of five mental elements
                        and the physical body (known as skandhas ), in temporary conjunctions,
                        constantly changing and interacting. "Skandha" is usually translated as
                        "heap": or "aggregate" or "group," each skandha being itself a combination of
                        faculties shading into each other. The Sanskrit for the five mental skandhas
                        can be translated as consciousness, sensations, concepts, perceptions, and
                        volition.
                        The Buddhist pentad of mental skandhas may well lie behind the notion of
                        "five members" found among Manicheans, and in Thomas writings that Manicheans
                        read (and perhaps edited). Eventually, in central Asia, Buddhist and gnostic
                        ideas and imagery would merge.

                        Chapter 22
                        Through the centuries the Gnostics' fivesomes of attributes of "Mind" are
                        found among Nestorians, Manicheans, and Northern Buddhists in central Asia
                        and China. "The five" (as we have seen) are ways of talking about "mind" in
                        the basic Manichean myth of the contest between the realms of Good and Evil,
                        in the thinking of Northern Buddhism, in the Acts and Gospel of Thomas, and
                        in the Gnostic Dialogue of the Savior found at Nag Hammadi. In central Asia
                        the Manicheans' Five Members or Messengers could become the five Buddhas of
                        Northern Buddhism. According to seventh-century Nestorian texts in Chinese,
                        a human being is constituted by the "five attributes" or "five skandhas,"
                        with the addition of the soul. The Five Members invoked by Thomas when he was
                        sealing King Gondaphorus had merged, at some point, with the five Buddhist
                        mental skandhas. Or perhaps we should speak of the re-merging of ideas and
                        imagery that had evolved from the same source.
                      • Didymus5@aol.com
                        I neglected to add my signature to the message re five trees. Chris Merillat
                        Message 11 of 28 , Jul 16, 2002
                          I neglected to add my signature to the message re five trees. Chris Merillat
                        • Grondin
                          ... Merillat Yeah, I did too. BTW, could you give the publication details for The Gnostic Apostle Thomas ? You are the author, as I recall. Also, does the
                          Message 12 of 28 , Jul 16, 2002
                            > I neglected to add my signature to the message re five trees. Chris
                            Merillat

                            Yeah, I did too. BTW, could you give the publication details for "The
                            Gnostic Apostle Thomas"? You are the author, as I recall. Also, does the
                            title express your opinion that Christian "gnosticism" (with a small 'g')
                            had its origin in the actual thinking of an historical apostle - as opposed
                            to his name being simply used in a wide variety of later writings, as was
                            the case with a number of other apostles (e.g., "Acts of Peter", "Apocryphon
                            of John", etc)?

                            Mike Grondin
                          • Didymus5@aol.com
                            Mike Grodin The Gnostic Apostle Thomas has been available on the Internet under that title since 1997, and can also be found through the Gospel of Thomas
                            Message 13 of 28 , Jul 16, 2002
                              Mike Grodin

                              The Gnostic Apostle Thomas has been available on the Internet under that
                              title since 1997, and can also be found through the Gospel of Thomas
                              Homepage. It is now also available in a paperback, through Amazon and
                              Barnes and Noble. There are Chapter notes in which the sources of the
                              various statements made in the message on Five Trees can be found.
                              As to your question: my own impression, for what it may be worth, is
                              that groups or a community of early followers of Jesus ascribed various
                              statements or views to Thomas -- as some did to other intermediaries such
                              John or Peter or Paul -- probably beginning in the first century CE, and
                              that these views often had a gnostic character. It also appears that these
                              invocations of Thomas as an authority continued in some movements long
                              after a Christian orthodoxy of sorts emerged in the fourth century and
                              writings under the name of Thomas were condemned. I realize that the matters
                              of dating and source and gnostic influence are much debated in the GTh group.
                              I follow these discussions, under your leadership, with interest, but have
                              little to say beynd what is in my book

                              Best wishes, Chris Merillat
                            • Didymus5@aol.com
                              I neglected to add, for those possibly interested, that The Gnostic Apostle Thomas is also available on line through the Gnosis Archive. Chris Merillat
                              Message 14 of 28 , Jul 17, 2002
                                I neglected to add, for those possibly interested, that The Gnostic Apostle
                                Thomas is also available on line through the Gnosis Archive. Chris Merillat
                              • Ron McCann
                                James, further to my last post contained below, and your quote from the writings of St. Hippolytus, I wonder if ascribing this to him is an error? Did you
                                Message 15 of 28 , Jul 17, 2002
                                  James, further to my last post contained below, and your quote from the
                                  writings of St. Hippolytus, I wonder if ascribing this to him is an error?
                                  Did you perhaps have in mind material from St.Epipanius of Salamis who
                                  penned his "Against Heresies" in 374 CE? I can't find that quote.

                                  My information is that Hippolytus was born in 170 CE and died in 235 CE and
                                  had thus been dead for 5 or more years when Mani first proclaimed his Gospel
                                  in Persia in 242 CE. Someone suggested that Iraneus had also addressed
                                  Manicheaism in his "Against Heresies", but he also was long dead when Mani
                                  started (Iraneus- born 130 CE, died 202 CE).

                                  Although it seems clear to me that Mani or the the Manicheans did not
                                  compose Thomas (The Jesus Seminar dates one fragment of the Greek version
                                  "to "around 200 CE".) they did adopt it, and may well have 'dicked' with it
                                  such that our Coptic version may have 'contaminants" from Manichaeism,
                                  particularly given it's late date (350 CE).

                                  Egypt became an early hotbed of Manicheaism. The Manicheans expanded rapidly
                                  reaching Judea in 274 CE- 3 years before Mani was killed, and subsequently
                                  arrived early in Egypt (Alexandria) where in 296, they "having recently come
                                  from Persia" were creating problems and the Proconsul of Africa complained
                                  about them resulting in an Edict from Diocletian ( March 31, 296) ordering
                                  their suppression. Even in 330 CE, St. Anthony is said to have forbidden all
                                  intercourse with them.

                                  According to the Catholic Encyclopaedia, in the Eastern Roman empire
                                  Manicheaism came to the zenith of it's power between AD 375-400 and then
                                  rapidly declined. In Egypt the Edict of Theodosius I (AD 381) was directed
                                  specifically to their suppression. During this time numerous authors
                                  attacked the heresy. Thomas and the rest of the Nag Hammadi collection seem
                                  to have been buried about 380 CE, possibly in response to this.

                                  Given all this, especially since the Gospel of Thomas was a favorite of the
                                  Manicheans, one indeed wonders whether the Coptic copy we have, didn't
                                  earlier pass through the hands of Manichean editors such that our Coptic
                                  copy may indeed show traces of Manichean concepts and thought. I resile from
                                  my early comment. It may indeed be proper to consider them in relation to
                                  those sayings in Thomas not found in the Greek.

                                  Ron McCann
                                  Saskatoon, Canada
                                  ----- Original Message -----
                                  From: "Ron McCann" <ronmccann1@...>
                                  To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
                                  Sent: Monday, July 15, 2002 2:28 PM
                                  Subject: Re: [GTh] The Five Trees(19)


                                  > Hello James,
                                  >
                                  > Welcome.
                                  > I liked your analysis.
                                  >
                                  > Just a comment or two on Hippolytus's statement:->" [note Hippolytus
                                  > "Refutation of All Heresies": Let none read the gospel according to
                                  Thomas,
                                  > for it is the work, not of one of the
                                  > twelve Apostle, but of one of Mani's three wicked disciples]."
                                  >
                                  > I am sure most will agree that he is likely out-to-lunch on that. Mani was
                                  > born in 215-216 AD and began proclaiming his gospel in 242 AD about age
                                  27.
                                  > (He was crucified in 276-277).
                                  >
                                  > Whereas it is possible that Manicheans could have influenced our Coptic
                                  copy
                                  > of Thomas (dated to about 350 CE), and may have used it, they certainly
                                  > didn't create it. If I am not mistaken, the Greek copy we have dates to
                                  > about 225 CE, and clearly cannot have been created or influenced by Mani
                                  or
                                  > Manicheans.
                                  >
                                  > This casts some doubt on the applicability of Manichean ideas and concepts
                                  > to the "five trees" problem.
                                  >
                                  > Best,
                                  >
                                  > Ron McCann
                                  > Saskatoon, Canada
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > ----- Original Message -----
                                  > From: "valjuk" <valjuk@...>
                                  > To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
                                  > Sent: Saturday, July 13, 2002 4:56 PM
                                  > Subject: Re: [GTh] The Five Trees(19)
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > > Randall, I'm not 100% sure on this, and as this is my first time
                                  > > posting in this group, please be kind, if this sounds ridiculous!
                                  > >
                                  > > In the Greek version of the Acts of Judas Thomas, the story of
                                  > > Gundaphorus and the celestial palace is related. When Gundaphorus
                                  > > realises his mistake in imprisoning Thomas and Habban, he frees them
                                  > > and asks to be made worthy of entering the service of God. Thomas
                                  > > praises Jesus for the miraculous conversion, and asks Gundaphorus to
                                  > > prepare for the ceremony of sealing. During the ceremony, Thomas
                                  > > poured oil on the heads of Gundaphorus and his brothers, invoking the
                                  > > names of the holy spirit. One of these names was "messenger of the
                                  > > five members" it goes on to list these five members as: mind,
                                  > > thought, reflection, consideration and reason. Certain Syriac
                                  > > translations include "intention" or "volition".
                                  > >
                                  > > The followers of Mani who had an intimate connection to Thomas Lore
                                  > > [note Hippolytus "Refutation of All Heresies": Let none read the
                                  > > gospel according to Thomas, for it is the work, not of one of the
                                  > > twelve Apostles, but of one of Mani's three wicked disciples]
                                  > > regarded the 'pentad of the mind' to be the dwelling place of the
                                  > > father of greatness, their supreme godhead. The 'pentad of the mind'
                                  > > as it is translated from Manichean texts is sense, reason, thought,
                                  > > imagination and will.
                                  > >
                                  > > I am not sure whether it is a logical extrapolation or not, but could
                                  > > the five trees, or the five members possibly be that which is
                                  > > required to achieve gnosis? That which Gnostics called
                                  > > the "spark", "spirit", "soul" or "seed"? It says in GTh that "whoever
                                  > > knows them will not taste death". Gnostics sought to evade death of
                                  > > the spirit by gnosis. If the five trees/members are indeed
                                  > > the "spark" which Gnostics sought, then that explains their apparent
                                  > > permanence, that "they do not change, summer or winter, and their
                                  > > leaves do not fall". It also explains how the stones will come to
                                  > > serve those who pay attention to the saying - as gnosis will have
                                  > > been achieved.
                                  > >
                                  > >
                                  > > Ok, I'm sorry if this explanation seems really convoluted, and is
                                  > > just a jumble of ideas, I did try to introduce some degree of logic
                                  > > into it. I hope it's of some use?
                                  > >
                                  > > James Valente
                                  > > London, UK
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > --------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  > Gospel of Thomas Homepage: http://home.epix.net/~miser17/Thomas.html
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                                  >
                                  >
                                • Grondin
                                  ... It is indeed. According to the Layton Brill edition of Codex II, vol.1, p.105-6, the quote is from Cyril of Jerusalem, circa 348 C.E. As quoted therein:
                                  Message 16 of 28 , Jul 17, 2002
                                    James Valente wrote:
                                    > [note Hippolytus "Refutation of All Heresies": Let none read the
                                    > gospel according to Thomas, for it is the work, not of one of the
                                    > twelve Apostles, but of one of Mani's three wicked disciples]

                                    Ron McCann responded:
                                    > ... your quote from the writings of St. Hippolytus,
                                    > I wonder if ascribing this to him is an error?

                                    It is indeed. According to the Layton Brill edition of Codex II, vol.1,
                                    p.105-6, the quote is from Cyril of Jerusalem, circa 348 C.E. As quoted
                                    therein:

                                    "This one (Mani) had three disciples: Thomas, Baddas, and Hermas. Let no one
                                    read the _Gospel According to Thomas_, for he is not one of the twelve
                                    apostles, but one of the three wicked disciples of Mani."

                                    Regards,
                                    Mike Grondin
                                    The Coptic Gospel of Thomas, saying-by-saying
                                    http://www.geocities.com/mwgrondin/sayings.htm
                                  • docgroove1017
                                    Ron, If a human disciple is capable of not tasting death by making the two into one , entering a Kingdom transcending all opposites, a new world without
                                    Message 17 of 28 , Jul 20, 2002
                                      Ron,
                                      If a human disciple is capable of "not tasting death" by "making the
                                      two into one", entering a Kingdom transcending all opposites, a new
                                      world without Summer or Winter Solstice, only Equinox, then one could
                                      reasonably expect that within this Kingdom, even normally deciduous
                                      plants/trees would no longer undergo their normal seasonal changes.

                                      If, however, you believe seasonal plants/trees must be ruled out, I
                                      would offer you an alternate hypothesis that the 5 trees represent
                                      the 5 virtues as put forth by Philo. These 5 virtues may also be
                                      correlated to the 5 Gnostic rites.

                                      The following quotes are from _The Works of Philo - Complete and
                                      Unabridged_, translated by C D Younge, 1993, Hendrickson publishers.
                                      Allegorical Interpretation I, XVII and XVIII
                                      "And God caused to rise out of the earth every tree which is pleasant
                                      to the sight and good for food, and the tree of life he raised in the
                                      middle of the Paradise, and also the tree of knowledge of good and
                                      evil."
                                      (Philo says)"He here gives a sketch of the trees of virtue which he
                                      plants in the soul." ..."But the tree of life is that most general
                                      virtue which some people call goodness, from which the particular
                                      virtues are derived, and of which they are composed." ..."but as to
                                      the other tree, that namely of the knowledge of good and evil, he has
                                      not specified whether it is within or outside of the Paradise."

                                      "And a river goes forth out of Eden to water Paradise...separated
                                      into four heads...Pheison...Gihon...Tigris...Euphrates"
                                      (Philo says)"In these words Moses intends to sketch out the
                                      particular virtues. And they also are four in number."
                                      "Prudence, Temperance, Courage, and Justice."
                                      "Now the greatest river from which the four branches flow off, is
                                      generic virtue, which we have already called goodness."
                                      ......................................................................
                                      The tree of Life would correspond to the ultimate culmination of
                                      Gnosis or the "bridal chamber", while the elementary lessons of right
                                      and wrong or "Justice" would correspond to repentance and "Baptism".
                                      "Temperence" would refer to moderation in food and drinkk, thus
                                      corresponding to the holy meal of the "Eucharist". "Prudence" would
                                      be associated with Wisdom or Spiritual fire and annointing with the
                                      oil of "Chrism", while "Courage" would be a necessity for confronting
                                      the menacing archons in ascent through the heavens during the rite
                                      of "Redemption".

                                      Randall Wilson
                                      Lebanon, IL
                                      USA


                                      --- In gthomas@y..., "Ron McCann" <ronmccann1@s...> wrote:
                                      > Randall,
                                      > I think the "Five Trees" of 19 cannot reasonably be the five
                                      trees/plants
                                      > you mention because the criteria that their leaves are unchangeable
                                      summer
                                      > or winter, and do not fall, is not met. Something eternal and
                                      unchanging-
                                      > ie- immortal and 'divine" is being referenced.
                                      > ...
                                      > I cannot escape from the conclusion that 19 is about the Thomas
                                      initiate's
                                      > re-entry to Eden (Paradise) and encountering it's 'trees", one of
                                      which, of
                                      > course is the Tree of Life, which according to Genesis a man "may
                                      eat and
                                      > never die"- that is- he will not, as Adam, who never got to eat of
                                      it,
                                      > "taste death".
                                      > ...
                                      > Ron McCann
                                      > Saskatoon, Canada
                                      > ----- Original Message -----
                                      > From: "docgroove1017" <docgroove1017@a...>
                                      > To: <gthomas@y...>
                                      > Sent: Wednesday, July 10, 2002 7:26 PM
                                      > Subject: Re: [GTh] The Five Trees(19)
                                      > > My hypothesis is that the five trees in Saying (19) are the
                                      > > five Gnostic rites of initiation and may have been associated with
                                      > > actual plants as were the Greek gods and goddesses.
                                      > >
                                      > > 1.) BAPTISM = LILY (WATER LILY) = JUNO
                                      > > [goddess of childbirth- "born again"]
                                      > >
                                      > > 2.) EUCHARIST = VINE (WINE) = BACCHUS
                                      > > [another dying and resurrecting god!]
                                      > > ??? and WHEAT (BREAD) = DEMETER
                                      > >
                                      > > 3.) CHRISM = OLIVE (OIL) = MINERVA
                                      > > [goddess of Wisdom/Sophia, "Spirit"]
                                      > > ??? OR BALSAM
                                      > >
                                      > > 4.) REDEMPTION = OAK = JUPITER
                                      > > (god of the sky)
                                      > > [meeting archons in ascent through heavens]
                                      > >
                                      > > 5.) BRIDAL CHAMBER = LINDEN = PHILEMON & BAUCIS
                                      > > [the eternal couple representing mutual love]
                                      > >
                                      > Randall Wilson
                                      > > Lebanon, IL
                                      > > USA
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