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Re: [GTh] #37

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  • ronmccann1
    Well, Rick. This was a good reply. Might I suggest however that looking within the four corners of the saying, the Edenic/Paradise material is not all that
    Message 1 of 17 , Aug 27 3:01 AM
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      Well, Rick. This was a good reply.
      Might I suggest however that looking within the four corners of the
      saying, the Edenic/Paradise material is not all that "esoteric"..

      Firstly this seems to be a four-point saying.

      1) When are the disciples going to encounter Jesus again? This like
      logion 12 contemplates the imminent departure (ascension?) of Jesus.
      He's going to be gone. This is like the "Father's house has many
      mansions" address in John. The Question seems to be when they are
      going to see him AGAIN, and where. (The answer seems to be- when they
      arrive in Paradise. (Five Trees saying)). The logion contemplates
      Jesus's departure.

      2) Next we have the three point answer. 1) When they can strip naked
      publically, 2) when they can do so without shame, and 3) when they
      can do so without FEAR, THEN they will see Jesus again. Our author
      here seems to be clearly flagging Genesis 2 where, after the
      disobedience, A & E (1) realized they were naked (2) hid themselves
      in shame of their nakedness, and had to be clothed, and (3)
      experienced fear of God. The last line- "and you shall not fear"
      addresses this last issue. Prior to the Fall, these were not issues.
      The author seems to be saying "when you acquire the state of pre fall
      Adam, you will see me again"- that is- when you reverse the Fall of
      Man and re-enter Paradise. Jesus will meet them in Paradise. In the
      cool of the evening.

      This is not unlike the Lukan material where Jesus, dying on the
      cross, says to the "good thief" "Today you shall be with me in
      Paradise".

      True, you have to unravel this, but is it really all that esoteric or
      hidden? Sophomoric unravelling..

      But yes, I agree, this is "late" in my opinion. But let no one say
      our Thomas authors ignored and did not apply the Genisis myth to
      Thomas and did not attempt to re-work the "fall of man"- Edenic
      material.

      In order to get their initiates to the pre-fall state, they would
      have had to circumvent or bypass the Fall of Man material in
      Genesis. No Fallen man gets in to Eden The angels with the flaming
      swords (Archons?) and all that.

      Surely, this is Edenic.

      Ron McCann
      Saskatoon, Canada

      2)
      --- In gthomas@y..., "Rick Hubbard" <rhubbard@m...> wrote:
      > [Frank Wrote regarding GTh 37]
      >
      > This passage starts off with a *very* puzzling situation. That is,
      Jesus'
      > disciples ask when he will appear to them and when they will be
      able to see
      > him. Since they're talking to him, he presumably is with them and
      they
      > presumably can see him--so why this question?
      >
      > This puzzling situation is compounded by Jesus' reply, in which he
      tells
      > them what they need to do in order to "see the son of the living
      one". It
      > sound like he is talking about someone other than himself!
      >
      > It's all very confusing.
      >
      > A good deal of this perceived "confusion" that Frank mentions can be
      > resolved by, first, abandoning the assumption that GTh 37 preserves
      words
      > actually uttered Jesus, and second, by paying close attention to the
      > inherent structure of the saying. The latter is the most important
      at this
      > juncture.
      >
      > It seems to me that it is almost beyond question that the
      construction of
      > this pericope derives from an evangelist who was seeking to promote
      his/her
      > own particular understanding of Jesus.
      >
      > I'm convinced that evidence of editorial tinkering is unmistakable
      if one
      > carefully examines the present structure of GTh 37. It is
      introduced by
      > means of an artificial context (i.e., two questions asked by un-
      named
      > disciples: "When will you appear and when will we see you?"). In
      other
      > words, the reader is set-up to understand the saying in a
      particular way.
      > The introductory lines subtly help the reader interpret the saying.
      The two
      > questions placed on the lips of the disciples at the very beginning
      of the
      > saying direct the reader to the very end of the saying to find the
      answer
      > ("... then y'all will see the son of the living one...").
      >
      > The editor indeed seems to have wanted to associate Jesus with the
      son of
      > the "living one" (although I suggest this does not necessarily need
      be
      > construed as evidence of a full-blown Son of God motif). By doing
      so,
      > however, the portion of the saying that would otherwise be central
      (in the
      > absence of the editor's "supplied context") recedes into the
      background.
      >
      > If one expunges the editorial material from GTh 37 (i.e., lines
      39:27b-
      > 39:29a) the residue probably resembles the form of the saying prior
      to its
      > redaction:
      >
      > "Jesus said, `When you disrobe without being ashamed and take up
      your
      > garments and place them under your feet like little children and
      tread on
      > them, then will you see the son of the living one, and you will not
      be
      > afraid'."
      >
      > Since we are no longer distracted by the two questions about seeing
      Jesus,
      > it seems to me that the saying is greatly simplified so that its
      backdrop
      > can come into better focus.
      >
      > In earlier comments in this thread, three more or less plausible
      suggestions
      > have been offered about how to understand the subtext of GTh 37
      (hopefully I
      > 've attributed them correctly).
      >
      > Randall E. Wilson pointed out that in literature associated with
      gnosticism
      > "garments" are frequently used as symbolic references to humanity's
      > imprisonment in the world:
      > [Randall] "They [garments] signified things belonging to the dead
      outer
      > world of the body. They [Gnostics?] were to discard these
      earthly `garments'
      > in order to gain the return of their spiritual robe of light. This
      robe was
      > originally theirs, before they `came into being' as related in the
      Gnostic
      > myth, The Hymn of the Pearl."
      >
      > Jim Bauer (citing Jonathan Z. Smith) argues that an oblique
      reference to
      > baptismal initiation is present in GTh 37:
      > [Jim] "...evidence that the Thomas community was a baptist group
      [baptismal
      > sect], in which case `trampling your clothes underfoot' means that
      the
      > disciples were preparing to jump into the river or however this
      group
      > baptized."
      >
      > Ron Mcann and Mike Grondin both agree that there are certain Edenic
      motifs
      > present in the saying:
      > [Ron] "There is an Edenic theme that runs through Thomas whereby
      the Thomas
      > initiate, unlike Adam, may acquire or re-acquire the pre-Fall state
      of Adam.
      > The Thomas initiate is after Paradise…. `Stripping off your
      clothes' must
      > have meant those who sought the Paradise."
      > [Mike] "…any clothing at all, no matter how generic, could be
      regarded as a
      > symbol of the loss of innocence (and eternal life) associated with
      Adam's
      > "fall". Young children -with their disregard for clothing - could
      be seen to
      > recapitulate the Edenic state and thus serve as models for adults
      to emulate
      > if they wished to return to a state of innocence which cannot be
      sinful,
      > since it has no knowledge of sin (or so the story goes)."
      >
      > All three of these perspectives properly ignore the questions
      about "seeing
      > Jesus." They therefore share a common strength. These three
      perspectives
      > also share the assumption that there is/was some esoteric
      > religio-philosophical substrate beneath the saying. Whether this
      commonality
      > is a common strength or a common weakness remains to be seen. But
      in any
      > case, none of the suggestions seem to have produced a chorus
      of "amen's"
      > which suggests that there is yet no consensus.
      > Since there is no consensus about the "background" of GTh 37, and
      since I'm
      > not certain it is absolutely necessary to find some esoteric
      religious
      > significance under every phrase turned up in the text of Thomas,
      I'll take
      > that as a license to submit yet another suggestion.
      >
      > My point of departure is the conclusion to Mike's latest note on
      this topic:
      >
      > [Mike]: "What puzzles me, however, is that if the GThomists took
      their
      > end-world scenario literally, this would seem to have been oddly
      inconsonant
      > with their preference for symbolization and metaphorical
      interpretation of
      > just about everything else."
      >
      > First, I don't deny that there seems to be an abundance of
      symbolization and
      > metaphor present in Thomas. However, I suggest that some of those
      elements
      > are real and some are products of our own efforts to understand the
      present
      > form of the document. There is a strong propensity, I think, to
      look for
      > symbolism and metaphor that sometimes prevents us from seeing the
      less
      > esoteric components of the sayings.
      >
      > With that in mind, consider the possibility that the shedding of
      clothes and
      > trampling them under-foot may have **originally** been nothing more
      than a
      > kind of social protest that visibly (and I DO mean **visibly**)
      deprecated
      > cultural conventions. Such phenomena were not uncommon in antiquity
      > (consider the outrageous behavior of the Cynics).
      >
      > In any case, I think it is doubtful that GTh 37 **originally** had
      ANYTHING
      > to do with "seeing Jesus," gnosticism, baptism, or Eden (NB the
      operative
      > word is **originally**). It remains an unanswered question whether
      one (or
      > all) of those eventually became associated with this logion,
      however. Until
      > some satisfactory method of parsing the strata of Thomas emerges, I
      doubt we
      > can know anything about how, when, or why the mundane was displaced
      by the
      > esoteric (here or elsewhere in Thomas).
      >
      >
      > Rick Hubbard
      > Humble Maine Woodsman
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