Five and Two
- I've read with interest the "Five Trees" thoughts. I studied the
gThomas twenty years ago in college and examined the Coptic dialects
three yeas ago, so I'm a bit rusty here. However, on my "first run
through" of the Coptic version and Greek fragments of the gThomas I
saw a repetition of the number "five" and "three".
You'll have to cite the verse references for me, but at one point is
mentions "three members in a family" will be "against two" -- after
reading Grondin's #4959, I would wonder if indeed this is a veiled
reference to Mani. Of course, that would mean this particular verse
was a "later addition". Also, since 3+2 = 5, that is an interesting
The "Five Trees" struck a chord with me in some verses I read in one
of the Apocryphal Books about the "parable of the Trees." Ya'll have
already discussed this?
Also, one can't help but consider the Miracle of the "the Loaves and
the Fishes" wasn't it five loaves and two fish? Thus "two" seems to
be a number of righteousness and probably is amplified in the gThomas
because he was Didymos, "the Twin". Have ya'll discussed this also?
I want to plunder your database but first I have to finish going over
my primer materials about the gThomas in Burton Mack's "The Lost
Gospel of Q", Crossan's "The Four Other Gospels", Crossan's "The
Birth of Christianity" and some other books I have about the "early
I went to Mr. Grondin's website and printed out the "Coptic-English
Lexicon for the GTh" and hope to study up on it. I also printed out
the section on numbers.
I also have a question about the verse that has to do with "where
there is three" -- both books I looked up for interpretations say
both the Greek and the Coptic are obscure phrases here. I was
wondering by linking "three" to the deity, that we might be seeing
our first "connection" with a "proto-trinity" concept here??? Not
sure about that one, but I thought it interesting that the name of
Thomas is "three names": Didymos Judas Thomas. That just must be a
I look forward to your thoughts. I apologize if you've
already "studied these into the ground" so to speak, but since I am
new, I have to get a sense of what ya'll look for.
Mr. Grondin's interlinear parallel is quite fascinating. I was
wondering, has he "ranked" the Coptic verbs by frequency and "age" in
relation to other Coptic texts? In this way, we could also see what
are the "earliest bits" of the Coptic transliterations.
James M. Rogers
Regarding the five trees:
I believe the number five represents the disciple initiated into the
inner mysteries by completing all five Gnostic rites.
Please consider such a Gnostic reading of Matthew's parable of
the "talents" or "pounds".
The servant given FIVE bags of gold represents one who has undergone
all five rites of initiation into the mystery of Gnosis: baptism,
chrism, eucharist, redemption, and bridal chamber.
This is the person of Spirit, the pneumatic.
The servant given TWO bags of gold represents a novice who has
received only the elementary lessons.
He has yet to "make the two into One", thus he is two. Ruled by a
soul, which focuses on dualism, judging good and evil, this is the
The servant given only ONE bag of gold still identifies only with an
earthly body. He is ignorant of the presence of a soul or Spirit.
His body ends up buried in a hole in the ground, where he waits for
an angry god to come and "take what is theirs" (88).
This is the hylic.
"It is like a man going abroad, who called his servants and entrusted
his capital to them; to one he gave five bags of gold, to another
two, to another one, each according to his ability. Then he left the
country. The man who had the five bags went at once and employed them
in business, and made a profit of five bags, and the man who had the
two bags made two. But the man who had been given one bag of gold
went off and dug a hole in the ground, and hid his master's money. A
long time afterwards their master returned, and proceeded to settle
accounts with them. The man who had been given the five bags of gold
came and produced the five he had made; "Master," he said, "you left
five bags with me; look, I have made five more." "Well done, good
and faithful servant!" said the master. "You have proved trustworthy
in a small matter; I will now put you in charge of something big.
Come and share your master's joy." The man with the two bags then
came and said, "Master, you left two bags with me; look I have made
two more." "Well done, good and faithful servant!" said the
master. "You have proved trustworthy in a small matter; I will now
put you in charge of something big. Come and share your master's
joy." Then the man who had been given one bag came and
said, "Master, I knew you to be a hard man: you reap where you have
not sown, you gather where you have not scattered; so I was afraid,
and I went and hid you gold in the ground. Here it is you have
what belongs to you." "You worthless, lazy servant!" said the
master. "You knew, did you, that I reap where I have not sown, and
gather where I have not scattered? Then you ought to have put my
money on deposit, and on my return I should have got it back with
interest. Take the bag of gold from him, and give it to the one with
the ten bags."
The parable concludes with:
"For everyone who has
will be given more,
till he has enough to spare;
and everyone who has nothing
will forfeit even what he has."
A very similar saying also appears in Thomas (41)
A gnostic reading of The Sower (9) also reveals the special
significance of the number five.
In the parable of "The Sower" (9), the phrase: "bore sixty per
measure and a hundred and twenty per measure." may refer to each of
the twelve disciples receiving FIVE measures, as in the five Gnostic
sacraments. 12 x 5 = 60
If they each doubled what they were given, as in the parable of
the "talents" in Matthew 25:14-29, that would be TEN measures
each. 12 x 10 = 120
In the inverted logic of the Kingdom, when you "make the two into
one", you don't get half as much but twice as much!
Randall E. Wilson
(Sorry I forgot to sign the last one)
--- In gthomas@y..., "goshenzoan" <goshenzoan@y...> wrote:
> I've read with interest the "Five Trees" thoughts...
> James M. Rogers