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[GTh] Re: Gnosticism

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  • jmgcormier
    ... now. ... well have been a point of contention between the apostles all along. In John17, Jesus seems to be suggesting that EVERYONE is capable of this
    Message 1 of 9 , Aug 3, 2003
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      --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Michael Mozina" <michael@e...> wrote:
      > I'll toss this idea out since it's been nagging at me for some time
      now.
      >
      > It seems to me that the notion of "becoming like Christ" may very
      well have been a point of contention between the apostles all along.
      In John17, Jesus seems to be suggesting that EVERYONE is capable of
      this unity in God that he experiences. I've seen many folks suggest
      that the things Thomas couldn't write about were along the lines of
      Thomas becoming "like Christ".

      It seems to me that their could easily have been a skism developing
      between the Thomasine community who believed they COULD achieve this
      "state of consciousness" as Jesus did, and others who saw Jesus as a
      "holier than thou" Messiah, more along the lines of "God incarnate".
      If this debate began with Thomas the appostle, it might explain why
      the GoT was left out of the cannonization process, even though it was
      authentic material.

      Maybe those who saw Jesus as UNIQUELY Messianic just didn't want to
      add credibility to the notion that others were capable of this same
      connection with God. Comments?
      >
      > Michael Mozina
      > Mt. Shasta, CA

      ---------------------------------------------------

      Hello Michael ....

      A few quick comments ...

      First, to me, it is not overly clear which conclusion you want to
      arrive at. Do you wish to demonstrate or explain (1) the reason why
      GoT was left out of the canonization process, or do you wish to
      (2) propose that the "pro Jesus messianic" crowd did not want to
      enhance the position of the "anti Jesus messianic" crowd. There is a
      slight difference on how one might arrive at either. The latter is
      perhaps easier to deal with, because one could almost use this kind of
      strategy as a "fill in the blanks" sort of exercise on any parallel
      question. For example, if circumcision were the issue here instead of
      the legitimacy of the Gospel of Thomas, then one could argue that the
      "anti circumcision" crowd simply became hostile towards the "pro
      circumcision" crowd at one point, and eventually beat them out of an
      opportunity to enhance their position. Or, one could "fill in the
      blanks" with "docetism", the validity of the Gospel of Mary, ... or
      almost any other issue where one faction lost out to another over
      time. (Sort of a "survival of the fitest" dynamic if you wish.)

      If, however, you are seeking to demonstrate why Thomas was never
      canonized, then you are dealing with a very specific challenge which
      cannot be resolved by way of the above.

      Personally I dont think such a claim will be easily demonstrable
      because of my current biases with regards to things which are going to
      be difficult to prove. For example, you are going to have to
      early on demonstrate that "the apostle" Thomas actually wrote GoT.
      (The Greek version, for example, tells us that someone called Judas -
      likely a "twin" wrote it ... and not necessarily an apostle or a
      disciple at that ...) Next you are going to have to demonstrate that
      there actually was "a" (or several) "Thomasene communities".
      (Personally I treat the "community" issue much like I do the "Gospel
      of "Q" issue .... unless and until we have proof of its existance,
      this is a "tough row to hoe.") Then there is the dating issue. You are
      going to have to satisfy arguments that GoT is "pre" canonical if it
      was withheld from it by design and volition. (The jury is still
      deliberating this one ... or at least I hope it is.) etc etc.

      Having said all of this however, the general thrust of your point is
      interesting and worth speculating on further for anyone who is not
      overly concerned with the above and other similar (historicity)
      issues. Wish I could add more ...

      Maurice Cormier
    • Michael Mozina
      Thanks for your comments Maurice. I m not sure I had a specific point in mind, I just tossed some ideas out there to get some feedback. I certainly couldn t
      Message 2 of 9 , Aug 3, 2003
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        Thanks for your comments Maurice. I'm not sure I had a specific point in
        mind, I just tossed some ideas out there to get some feedback. I certainly
        couldn't hope to prove any of these ideas through the data I've seen to date
        at least.

        I guess my basic question stems from the notion that it does APPEAR to me
        from the work of Steven Davies and others, that Mark and other synoptic
        writers drew from the materials found in Thomas. ASSUMING (and we all know
        that's dangerous) that these writers actually DID draw from a preexisting
        Thomas, the "rational" (IMO) explanation for this is that this document was
        already circulating and had "credibility" within the various communities at
        that time. The "best" reason I can think of as to why this document was
        respected is that it is in fact an "authentic" document of actual quotes
        from Jesus that were written down by an apostle that spent time on the road
        with Jesus the man.

        *IF* that is so (a leap of faith to be sure), then I can't help but be
        curious as to WHY this document wasn't included in the cannonization
        process. It would APPEAR that there is an explanation here *IF*
        Thomas/Judas (whomever) believed that HE TOO was capable of MESSIANIC LIKE
        KNOWLEDGE as well, and others shunned him for the idea. It kind of ties in
        with the less than flattering portrayal of Thomas in the gospels, and might
        explain the part that Thomas claims he can't pen down for fear of ridicule.

        Now please understand that I realize this is PURE, UNADULTERATED speculation
        at this point, but it does seem to fit all the pieces of the puzzle pretty
        well, and it SEEMS logical to me. I have no way of demonstrating any of
        this other than logical speculation and stringing together tidbits of
        information. I'm quite aware it's ultimately nothing more than a theory,
        albeit an interesting one from my perspective at least.

        Anyway, I appreciate your feedback and any other ideas that come to mind.
        Thanks.

        Michael Mozina
        Mt. Shasta, CA
      • Michael Grondin
        ... Mike- I can t find it on the Jesus Mysteries list. I m trying to subscribe to the Johannine list in order to answer his essay, but it was posted last
        Message 3 of 9 , Aug 4, 2003
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          [Michael McLafferty]:
          > Turns out it was "Jesus Mysteries" where I saw it [Lupia's essay] again...

          Mike-

          I can't find it on the Jesus Mysteries list. I'm trying to subscribe to the
          Johannine list in order to answer his essay, but it was posted last April,
          and they may not allow such a late response. Lupia also published his
          vitriolic views (though in shorter form) back in April, 2001 on the
          Synoptic-L list. When my attention was drawn to that several months later, I
          signed up for that list and sent a response which can be viewed at:

          http://groups.yahoo.com/group/synoptic-l/message/6429

          Lupia didn't respond. As I said in my earlier note here, Lupia has an axe to
          grind. He's a rabid right-wing Roman Catholic who wants to discredit GThom
          in any way possible so that scholars won't take it seriously, so that in
          turn the canon will be regarded as the only legitimate early Christian
          "voice". He makes a number of translational mistakes, but more importantly,
          he interprets Thomas sayings in a twisted way that says more about him than
          about Thomas - and as I say in the above note, he fails to realize that the
          very same twisted interpretations can be constructed for canonical material.
          I can't really express how angry and frustrated I am that his poisonous
          excrement is still floating around unanswered, but if I ever catch up with
          that SOB, I'd like to have a few words with him. <g>

          Mike Grondin
          Mt. Clemens, MI
        • Michael Grondin
          ... No problem, Mike. I did in fact hesitate to accept your note at first, because it would direct members to what I felt was a thoroughly disreputable view,
          Message 4 of 9 , Aug 4, 2003
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            [Michael McLafferty]:
            > I'm sorry to have propagated it on your list. I didn't know you felt so
            > strongly, and wasn't aware of your unanswered response to him.

            No problem, Mike. I did in fact hesitate to accept your note at first,
            because it would direct members to what I felt was a thoroughly disreputable
            view, but it seemed best to let members read it, since you had referred to
            it earlier. I'm still interested in whether Lupia has posted to the
            JesusMysteries list. You said he had, but I can't find it there. Please let
            me know one way or the other (offlist probably preferrable). As to the
            John-Lit list, I have been accepted to membership there since my last note,
            and my first note to that list has been posted. It's titled "Challenge to
            Lupia", and can be found at:

            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johannine_literature/message/3376

            I want to make it clear that this is not just an issue of whether Lupia's
            "theory" (if you can call it that when one starts out with the intention of
            discrediting the text by "proving" that it was authored by enemies of
            Christianity) is correct or not. Of course, it's incorrect AFAIC - and badly
            so. What makes me mad, however, is that he's dishonest about it. He pretends
            to be impartial, but he isn't. Worse yet (if that's possible), his method of
            discrediting the text is to come up with far-fetched and repulsive sexual
            innuendos that make one cringe to even read them. Reminds me a bit of what
            the old heresiologists used to do - the "icing on the cake" of an attack on
            a non-orthodox sect was to claim that its members were guilty of sexual
            lasciviousness. (This was sometimes true, but more often than not, it was
            just vicious hyperbole on the part of the heresiologist.)

            I'll let you know of further developments, if it seems worthy of list
            attention.

            Mike G.
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