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99 Sheep

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  • Tom Saunders
    Thank you Andrew and Stephen for your replies.... Would Iranaeus use of Achamoth rather than Sophia provide a clue as to his explanation of the 99 sheep? Or
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 27, 2003
      Thank you Andrew and Stephen for your replies....

      Would Iranaeus' use of Achamoth rather than Sophia provide a clue as to his explanation of the 99 sheep?
      Or is the use of Achamoth for wisdom common?

      It appears that both 'The Gospel of Truth' and Iranaeus are reaching into the 'pleroma' for explanations that may have been meant to be more earthly and illustrative of lower forms of wisdom contained in parables. For instance, saying 97, the woman with the leaking jar. What kind of wisdom can we align with her? Only the wisdom of the 'saklas' or fool, in this case the 'agnoia,' one who does not pay attention.

      On the other hand, there are Thomas sayings that elude to not looking for or seeing the kingdom, like 91, 51, and saying 113, ...."the Father's imperial rule is spread upon the earth and people don't see it." This may be why the parable of the leaky jar starts out the "Kingdom of Heaven is like....." There are answers and explanations for the parables but they are mysterious. (They are not koans, as koans have no answer)
      Much of what can be made of parables depends upon the symbolism given to them. I wonder if this is not part of their purpose?

      I think there may be much more in the "Gospel of Truth" that can be aligned with Thomas and other Gnostic texts but I need better guidelines on doing that. I have certainly learned a great deal from this group on academic and doctrinal theory but I'm still working on the contents of my "storehouse" of methodology on making better arguments. The first time I read the "Manichean Psalms of Thomas" I was pretty sure it could be aligned with the GThom, but somebody with more experience doing that sort of thing needs to show me how to do this kind of proving.

      Frank McCoy's work on showing 99, and 44, as early versions of those passages and support that 107, the "99 Sheep" parable was an early version of that passage, is starting to look good for the argument that the GThom was one of the first Christian works, and not a product of the 2nd Century. If we aren't careful we might put 2nd century proponents out of business.

      Attridge and MacRae who introduce the "Gospel of Truth" in Robinson's "Nag Hammadi" elude to the text being Valantinean. Stephen mentioned that scholars may not support that Valentinus wrote the text, but what are the arguments that support he did not?

      Tom Saunders
      Platter, OK












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    • Tom Saunders
      Hi Frank, The Greek hand numbering system is something I was not aware of, so it does make a lot of sense. It is good to have a group with members with a
      Message 2 of 3 , Nov 28, 2003
        Hi Frank,

        The Greek hand numbering system is something I was not aware of, so it does make a lot of sense. It is good to have a group with members with a wider knowledge about those things, who can add to the discussion.

        I've recently re-read a number of Nag Hammadi works and I remember a reference to the sign of the cross, regarding the right and left hand which I can't find right now. In Allogenes there is another hand reference, "Individual on the one hand, they are together 'on the other hand, since she is an existence of theirs, and she sees them all {also] truly existing. She contains the divine Autogenes." ( I think I'll read them again....)

        I think looking at the rest of the Nag Hammadi for parallels is becoming as important as looking at the N.T. parallels. Hopefully one of the Bible programmers will put the Nag Hammadi on disc with some cyber-tools and we can see all kinds of new things.

        I know you and I agree that there well could have been a collection of parables before any gospels, and this could have been either inclusive of a proto-Thomas, or Q, as well as just a list of parables. Seeing that we have kernel text status for GThom sayings and parables is exciting. I don't know that we can kill Q off yet, but I think we are starting to show the GThom at least in part is as old as Q.

        I guess we need to look at the other parables and see what we can find..........

        Tom Saunders
        Platter, OK














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      • Tom Saunders
        Hi Andrew and David, I kind of suspected that Iranaeus would use the Jewish forum of the Gnostic creation myth to attack the Christian version. Using Achamoth
        Message 3 of 3 , Nov 30, 2003
          Hi Andrew and David,

          I kind of suspected that Iranaeus would use the Jewish forum of the Gnostic creation myth to attack the Christian version. Using Achamoth instead of Sophia may point to how Iranaeus argued heresy, and at the same time convoluted the Christian version. Maybe it is not such a good thing to look for Gnostic answers from Orthodox viewpoints.

          I would argue that the Father-Son argument for the Gnostics is solved (or started) by the "Apocraphon of James' which states the "Father is the Son." Perhaps the GThom's, "No matter where you are you are to go to James the Just, for whose sake heaven and earth came into being," means look to the Nag Hammadi James. The Father-son arguments of the 4th Century may not reflect upon when the Gospel of Truth was written.

          The A. of James and the Gospel of Truth are both in the Jung Codex. It might stand to reason that the texts are based upon the same theory of the Pleroma. So may all of the Nag Hammadi texts be based upon a coherent theory of the Pleroma. Does anyone see a 'slip-up' in the other tractates?

          Tom Saunders
          Platter, OK

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