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Re: [GTh] The Five Trees(19)

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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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