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Re: [GTh] Proto-Thomas

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  • Jim Bauer
    ... recognized ... translation ... strata. ... suspect, ... Neoplatonism: 11) On the day when you were one, you became two. But when you become two, what
    Message 1 of 12 , Nov 3, 2002
      > (Jim)
      > > To me it looks like there are clearly Neoplatonic & Gnostic elements,
      > which
      > > I believe were inserted by a translator. This view springs from the
      > > translation of Plato in the NHL, which is so bad it wasn't even
      recognized
      > > as being the Republic until after several years. True, we don't know if
      > the
      > > same guy translated GTh, but if there's even one terribly bad
      translation
      > in
      > > the book it seems plausible there may be others. The NHL community may
      > > very well have had a Neoplatonist bias, if they were translating Plato.
      >
      > (Frank)
      > Oh, I agree that there probably was redacting done to GTh after it was
      > completed.
      >
      > Certainly, GTh has Neoplatonic and proto-Gnostic characteristics. Also,
      > they do seem to become more overt and common in what appear to be later
      > strata. However, they do appear to be present even in the earliest
      strata.
      >
      > Could you give one or two examples of sayings, in GTh, where, you
      suspect,
      > a later redactor added Neoplatonic and/or Gnostic characteristics?

      Neoplatonism:
      11) On the day when you were one, you became two. But when you become two,
      what will you do?
      The Neoplatonists believed that the world was created thru a process of
      emanation from the One, the Beautiful, & the Good (as Plotinus hypostatized
      God) into the Nous, or Mind, followed by the World Soul. This passage seems
      to reflect that view. However, I cannot state this unambiguously as it is
      also part of the Johannine tradition: "the Logos became flesh and dwelt
      among us".

      Gnosticism:
      22) Jesus said to them: When you make the two one, and when you make the
      inside like the outside and the above like the below and the male and female
      one and the same, so that the male not be male and the female not be female;
      and when you fashion eyes in the place of an eye, and hands in place of a
      hand, and a foot in place of a foot, and a likeness in place of a likeness,
      then you will enter the Kingdom.
      The theme of "making the two one" is more characteristic of Gnostic (and
      Oriental) thought than it is of Christianity, even though this idea was
      central to the alchemical tradition and hence to many Christians up to the
      point where the system was finally disproved. The Gnostic scriptures are
      full of "making the two one" but I don't believe there's a single reference
      to it in the canonicals.
      >
      > (Jim)
      > > Tell me--how do you see Thomas as fitting into the Gnostic movement?
      For
      > > them, the resurrection occurred _before_ death, ie, it was a symbol--but
      J
      > > still gets resurrected. If I remember correctly (correct me if I'm
      > wrong),
      > > you date the final version of GTh to 90 CE. This was late enough to
      have
      > > been exposed to some of the earliest Gnostics, &/or their precursors.
      In
      > > any case, since Gnosticism evolved out of Jewish apocalypticism (among
      > other
      > > things), the laws of parallel evolution could have independently created
      > > Gnostic-like myths. This is a tentative statement on my part because
      > there
      > > wouldn't have to be a resurrection myth even if they paralleled other
      > > elements of Gnostic myth.
      >
      > (Frank)
      > I see GThomas as giving us a look into an early phase of a Christian
      > movement that evolved into Gnosticism. I don't think that GThomas is
      > Gnostic--which is why, earlier in this post, I refer to it as having
      > proto-Gnostic elements rather than as having Gnostic elements.
      >
      > How do you see Gnosticism as evolving out of Jewish apocalypticism?

      This belief is what Kurt Rudolph expressed in _Gnosis_. I personally
      believe that Hans Jonas' assessment is more accurate: he dates the
      beginnings of Gnosticism to "the acute Hellenization of Oriental thought"
      during the time of the Alexandrian Empire.
      >
      Jim Bauer
      Havre, MT
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