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Re: [GTh] Saying 114 Revisited

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  • Jim Bauer
    Mike, Even though I think you may be onto something here, & it certainly makes more sense than the jigsaw puzzle hypothesis you ve been going on about
    Message 1 of 4 , Nov 22, 2002
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      Mike,

      Even though I think you may be onto something here, & it certainly makes
      more sense than the "jigsaw puzzle hypothesis" you've been going on about
      recently, let me play devil's advocate here for a minute: prior to this
      saying, we have #22, in which Jesus declares that entering the Kingdom
      requires "making the two one", and runs thru a list of dichotomies, or
      syzygies, to use the Gnostic term. I'm not saying either one of these
      sayings is "Gnostic", but there's certainly no parallel I can find for it in
      the canonicals. What I am saying is that there's a very long tradition in
      mystical literature regarding "making opposites unite", & this is often
      symbolized thru androgyny.

      This symbol is common in Hinduism, & even though, as I noted above, there's
      nothing in the 4G about it, the idea was Christianized with the introduction
      of alchemy into European society. Jung, in _Psychology & Alchemy_, makes
      the point that alchemy was like an unconscious Gnostic counter-current to
      the Christianity which ruled on the surface. What most people know about
      alchemy goes no further than "lead into gold", but this was to be
      accomplished by fusing the "opposites", mercury & sulfur, but a "Spiritual"
      mercury & sulfur. Jung was obsessed with dualities & quaternities, but if
      you read his work, even if you're disinclined to agree with him, you'll find
      copious examples of the trans-cultural appearance of "the two made one", &
      the "androgyne" as symbol of this. This idea even appeared in the
      ruthlessly monistic culture of Islam, thru the alchemy of Jabir & others.

      The point I'm trying to make, at the rist of repeating myself, is that
      "making women male" is a common symbol in mystical literature, although if
      we're going to take that position, what we really need to figure out is why
      the males didn't have to become female, at least in this particular verse.
      Again, I think you might be onto something, as I've always had a problem
      with the male not becoming female, but I did want to make the point that
      this is a common symbol, & perhaps a lot can't be made from it.

      Jim Bauer
      Havre, MT
    • fmmccoy
      ... From: Jim Bauer To: Sent: Friday, November 22, 2002 11:55 AM Subject: Re: [GTh] Saying 114 Revisited ...
      Message 2 of 4 , Nov 25, 2002
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        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Jim Bauer" <jbauer@...>
        To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Friday, November 22, 2002 11:55 AM
        Subject: Re: [GTh] Saying 114 Revisited

        > The point I'm trying to make, at the rist of repeating myself, is that
        > "making women male" is a common symbol in mystical literature, although if
        > we're going to take that position, what we really need to figure out is
        why
        > the males didn't have to become female, at least in this particular verse.
        > Again, I think you might be onto something, as I've always had a problem
        > with the male not becoming female, but I did want to make the point that
        > this is a common symbol, & perhaps a lot can't be made from it.

        Jim Bauer:

        While it is common in mystical literature, the theme of "making woman male"
        isn't that common in first and early second century CE Christian and Jewish
        literature. As a result, GThomas 114 stands out as a rather unusual saying.

        An example from Jewish literature is found in Joseph and Asenath (XIV-XV),
        "And she (i.e., Asenath) took a mantle most beautiful and fine and veiled
        her head. And therupon she came to the divine chief captain and stood
        before him, and the angel of the Lord saith to her, 'Take now the mantle
        from thine head, for that thou art today a pure virgin, and thine head is as
        that of a young man.' And Asenath took it from her head."

        Previously in this work, Asenath is identified as being a virgin and as
        being young--18 years old. So, what is involved in this passage is Asenth,
        a young virginal woman, becoming, in some sense, a young virginal man. The
        only change, then, is that she, a female, becomes, in some sense, a male.

        In whatever sense Asenath ceases to be female and becomes male, the
        transformation is overtly signalled by her removing a veil from her head.

        Curiously, a number of the female members of the Corinthian Church removed
        their veils, and this got Paul deeply upset. See.
        I Cor. 11:4-11, "Any man who prays or prophesies with his head covered
        dishonors his head, but any woman who prays or prophesies with her head
        unveiled dishonors her head--it is the same as if her head were shaven. For
        if a woman will not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair, but if
        it is disgraceful for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her wear a veil.
        for a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of
        God; but woman is the glory of man. (For man was not made from woman, but
        woman from man) That is why a woman ought to have a veil on her head,
        because of the angels."

        Does anyone know about this controversy over the removal of veils by some
        women in the Corinthian Church? Why was Paul so deeply uset? Why are
        there linkages between the veiling of women and angels? (Note that Asenath
        is directed to remove her veil by an angel, while Paul asserts that women
        should stay veiled because of the angels) Did these Corinthian women remove
        their veils because they thought that they had become, in some sense, males?
        If so, might the theology in GThomas 114 have its origins in the Corinthian
        Church? What do you think?

        Frank McCoy
        1809 N. English Apt. 17
        Maplewood, MN USA 55109
      • DaGoi@aol.com
        In a message dated 11/25/2 11:15:40 PM, Frank wrote:
        Message 3 of 4 , Nov 26, 2002
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          In a message dated 11/25/2 11:15:40 PM, Frank wrote:

          <<the
          transformation is overtly signalled by her removing a veil from her head.

          Curiously, a number of the female members of the Corinthian Church removed
          their veils, and this got Paul deeply upset. See.
          I Cor. 11:4-11, "Any man who prays or prophesies with his head covered
          dishonors his head, but any woman who prays or prophesies with her head
          unveiled dishonors her head--it is the same as if her head were shaven. For
          if a woman will not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair, but if
          it is disgraceful for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her wear a veil.
          for a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of
          God; but woman is the glory of man. (For man was not made from woman, but
          woman from man) That is why a woman ought to have a veil on her head,
          because of the angels."

          Does anyone know about this controversy over the removal of veils by some
          women in the Corinthian Church? Why was Paul so deeply uset? Why are
          there linkages between the veiling of women and angels? >>

          There is no suggestion that they removed their veils - it may be so, but I
          think then he would have been more overt about mentioning that they did and
          why. It is more likely that they did not have this custom for all. Because
          of the angels refers most likely to the temptations they'd give to the angels
          as in 1 Enoch.

          Bill Foley
          Woburn
        • David C. Hindley
          ... women in the Corinthian Church? Why was Paul so deeply uset? Why are there linkages between the veiling of women and angels? (Note that Asenath is
          Message 4 of 4 , Nov 26, 2002
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            Frank McCoy asks:

            >>Does anyone know about this controversy over the removal of veils by some
            women in the Corinthian Church? Why was Paul so deeply uset? Why are
            there linkages between the veiling of women and angels? (Note that Asenath
            is directed to remove her veil by an angel, while Paul asserts that women
            should stay veiled because of the angels) Did these Corinthian women remove
            their veils because they thought that they had become, in some sense, males?
            If so, might the theology in GThomas 114 have its origins in the Corinthian
            Church? What do you think?<<

            It comes across to me as a "male authority" complex on the part of the
            author of 1 Corinthians. The letter, if genuine, would date to about 50-52
            CE. My hunch is that the language is connected to the fulfillment of the
            Nazirite vow of Helena, Queen of Adiabene. It is about this time that she
            was going to shave her head in Jerusalem, and the Mishna indicates there was
            some controversy about this. Not only is there a tradition that she was
            induced to repeat the entire seven year vow due to possible corpse impurity
            incurred from residing in a foreign land, but also that she dedicated a
            golden plaque to the temple inscribed with the passage from Deuteronomy
            regarding the suspected adulteress.

            I think what we are seeing in 1 Cor is the author's reaction to that, as he
            apparently disapproved of her practices. Here she was, a married woman,
            traveling without her husband, possibly engaging in Parthian customs
            regarding dress and such that were at variance with Jewish or Judaean
            practice (maybe praying with an uncovered head - but I do not know enough
            about this to be sure). He may also have felt that her husband should have
            cancelled her vow as "rash" (meaning, impossible to fulfill while residing
            outside of Judaea). The sarcastic pronouncement that women who pray with an
            uncovered head should just as well shaving the head (which is coincidentally
            the common punishment of adulteresses in many societies) is what causes me
            to suspect this as the "real" issue at hand.

            Respectfully,

            Dave Hindley
            Cleveland, Ohio, USA
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