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Re: [GTh] Trimorphic

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  • Michael Grondin
    ... until we figure it out. What I tried to point out in my earlier note is that there s a difference between the meaning of a word and how it s used by a
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 20, 2004
      Tom Saunders writes:
      > Trimorphic is a concept that you just cannot say anyone is wrong about
      until 'we' figure it out.

      What I tried to point out in my earlier note is that there's a difference
      between the meaning of a word and how it's used by a certain selected group
      of speakers, such as the gnostics. My objection to the entry for
      'Trimorphic' was that it didn't separate those two considerations.

      Trimorphic: Meaning to be transformed in the state of "triple headedness,"
      as described in the text "Trimorphic Protennoia"

      The Greek word translated 'trimorphic' in English did not MEAN "to be
      transformed in[to] a state of 'triple headedness'". You will notice, for
      example, that the Protennoia of TP wasn't *transformed* into a triple-state;
      it evidently always existed that way. But if your definition is correct,
      then the very prototype of trimorphism (the Protennoia) could not have been
      trimorphic. Surely that's not a welcome result. Now one might say that *to
      be trimorphic* meant for the gnostics that one partook of three levels of
      existence, and that in turn might have entailed (for humans) transformation
      (on the assumption that the pneumatic level had to be developed), but again
      that isn't what the word 'trimorphic' means.

      > Musashi, understood trimorphic differently than Clement or Jung.

      I don't know who Musashi was or when he lived. If he was pre-3rd century,
      say, his thinking would be relevant. Otherwise, probably not. To stay
      focused on GThom, we need to concentrate on what lies BEHIND it, not what
      lay ahead of it in the 1600 years or so after its appearance. If we allowed
      discussion of all gnostic thinkers from then till now, this could easily
      become a gnostic study group. We decided a long time ago that it wouldn't
      become that, so we have to restrict the discussion of gnosticism to the
      relevant historical period.

      > You say Jung is 'off limits." Foul!

      This also is a decision of long standing. But don't misunderstand. We can,
      of course, discuss anyone's interpretations of the NH texts. But this needs
      to be kept separate from their own set of religious beliefs.

      > You said Clement didn't count. Foul!

      You keep taking this out of context. Let's try it another way. Let's say
      that Clement's personal views (and probably Paul's and John's as well) were
      what might be called "low-Gnosticism". This could be contrasted with a
      "high-Gnosticism" that included a subsidiary creator-god, and all the
      fantastic apparatus of cosmological emanation found in ApocJn and other
      texts, but not in Thomas. Given that "low-Gnosticism" was virtually
      indistinguishable from orthodox Christianity, the question is whether
      "trimorphism" was a low or high gnostic concept. I'd say low.

      > (Jung is mentioned in Robinson's Nag Hammadi)

      To my recollection, only in connection with the Jung Codex - which is Codex
      I. (BTW, this was not discovered at a different time than the other NH
      books, as you claim - though it did come to scholarly attention somewhat
      separately from the others. The books found their way into different
      scholarly hands at different times, but they were all together at the point
      of discovery.)

      > That is how I was using the term, please don't just call me wrong here,
      let's get us a viable trimorphic definition.

      OK. The first thing to be kept in mind is the difference between the meaning
      of a word in itself, and how it was used in combination with other words in
      special phrases by special groups of people. I would also like to know what
      gnostic writings used the terms 'kenomic state' and 'pleromic state' - or,
      alternately, something like 'participation in the kenoma/pleroma'. (More
      than that, I'd like to know where 'kenoma' was used at all.) I suspect that
      two of the three states are wrongly labelled, and that they were actually
      referred to as 'hylic' and 'pneumatic' in writings of the period. In
      addition, I suspect that this is "low gnosticism' we're talking about here,
      and that it was a very common view at the time - at least among Christians.

      Mike Grondin
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