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Re: [GTh] Pre-Christian Gnosticism

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  • Michael Grondin
    ... Nope, I didn t, but it doesn t make any difference. I don t regard the glossary (which is basically your own) as reliable, since it rarely indicates where
    Message 1 of 11 , Apr 19, 2004
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      [Tom Saunders]:
      > First, I submitted the definition of 'prunikus' from our own glossary,
      > when you asked. That is where I got the term. I thought perhaps you
      > might recognize the source of our own glossary.

      Nope, I didn't, but it doesn't make any difference. I don't regard the
      glossary (which is basically your own) as reliable, since it rarely
      indicates where a term occurs in ancient texts, and the source of the
      entries themselves has never been clear. I know you put this together from
      various online sources, but there's no way to judge the reliability of those
      sources, since you didn't indicate what they were. Since I myself haven't
      seen the term 'Pistis Sophia Prunikus' in anly of the Nag Hammadi texts, I
      still wonder where it came from, though now I understand that you don't
      know.

      > I qualified that I was using 'prunikus' as slang, and used it that way.

      Neither 'faulty' nor 'flawed' is "slang" for 'whore'. It isn't allowable to
      use words any way you want to.

      > Should I put references in our own glossary each time I use it?

      There's no need to use Greek or gnostic terms at all, unless the text being
      analyzed uses them. But yes, if you use an unfamiliar term, a reference to
      the glossary would indicate your immediate source. It doesn't, however,
      address the question of the primary historical source of some of the terms
      in the glossary.

      > "For I have heard from one of the wise that we are now dead; and that the
      > body is our sepulchre."--PLATO.
      >
      > This statement, not the whole of Plato's work is in contention in my
      > address to it. In this statement there is no earthly escape implied,
      > and the connotation and denotation are that life on earth is being dead.

      But as you have seen, the implication about Plato's view which you drew from
      the quote is invalid. That could have been avoided - not by being familiar
      with "the whole of Plato's work", but by not jumping to implications about
      the quote unless you knew that those implications were consistent with the
      context of the quote. If nothing else, the phrase "For I have heard ..."
      should have tipped you off that this might not have been Plato's own view.

      > Kenoma, from our members source means, implies, relates, etc., that
      > earthly state, where one is 'prunikus,' (flawed), and that state is due
      > to the fact he/she is separate from the perfect state in the Palermo, and
      > therefor flawed. This is not the same 'earthly' analogy as Plato makes
      > in his statement- life is death in the body.

      Nevertheless, you may be interested to know that Plato DID believe in the
      pre-existence of the soul. In fact, he had a "proof" of it. I'd suggest that
      you not play around with Plato until you come to know more about his views.

      > "The Thomas parables aren't about epistemology, and they aren't Gnostic
      > in any meaningful sense." [MG]
      >
      > If you believe there is no relevant 'theory of knowledge' (epistemology)
      > involved in the Thomas parables and there is no 'knowledge' concerning
      > them in any meaningful sense, ("they aren't Gnostic"), what are they for?
      > Are they statements, the most likely ones Jesus actually related,

      Pure speculation.

      > ... with no meaningful sense?

      You seem to be suggesting that for a statement to have meaningful sense, it
      has to be epistemological and/or gnostic. This suggestion is absurd. Even if
      it were correct, then ALL meaningful statements would have this
      characteristic, and so your claim that the Thomas parables in particular had
      this characteristic would be uninteresting, because it would be
      tautological - rather like proclaiming that the parables were composed of
      words.

      > If you really believe my out of context statement of yours above, then can
      > you make it true?

      Do you mean can I fix up your statements? Why should I do your work for
      you - especially since you make so many claims that stand in need of being
      "made true".

      > Or will you be just like the guy in Saying 64, who is receiving guests...
      > who doesn't get any guests. He believes he will, and his plan goes all
      > 'prunikus.'

      This is apparently another new sense for 'prunikus' (now meaning 'awry', or
      something like that - certainly not 'faulty' or 'flawed', since it doesn't
      make sense to say that a plan "goes" faulty or flawed). If you can't use the
      word right, don't use it.

      > The entire homeowners association, renters, and storehouse keepers in
      > Sayings 63-65, fall victims to the unawareness in the kenoma, the pleroma,
      > and the psyche. OOOOps, there I go again, there is no pleroma, kenoma,
      > or psyche in the parables, 'cause they ain't mentioned.'

      More than that, the parables are not cast with a "Gnostic" framework in
      mind. You're projecting gnostic thinking onto them, and then proclaiming
      that they're examples of gnostic thinking. Take 63 as the best example.
      Sure, there's a contrast drawn between this world and the one that the man
      should have been concerned about, and if YOU equate the kenoma with this
      world, and the pleroma with the perfect world, then you could say that this
      is how _a gnostic_ would have understood it, but that doesn't show that #63
      is gnostic. It only shows that one can translate it into terminology which
      is purportedly gnostic, but which is in fact conceptually indistinguishable
      from standard Christian theory. If standard Christian theory is gnostic,
      then the claim that parts of Thomas are gnostic is totally uninteresting -
      because it only means that they're Christian, which we knew already.

      > Plato, I am so relieved to know from our wonderful members who help me
      > stumble about in my 'prunikus' academic attempts, inform me, that Plato
      > has something like an earthly state, a heavenly state, and a hell. You
      > say he ain't got no kenoma, as I understand it, by my interpretation of
      > your above statement, because he does not use the term. Neither do
      > any of the parables contain any meaningful Gnostic sense by your
      > standards.

      Look, 63-65 are in the synoptics. So if they're "Gnostic" in some important
      sense, then so is that portion of the synoptics. But if that's your claim,
      then you're using the word 'Gnostic' in a way that most folks don't.

      > Fill me in. Do Thomas sayings not make sense in the kenomic sense,
      > the pleromic sense, the psyche, or Plato's earthly state, heavenly state,
      > or hell, when they don't have any meaningful sense?

      They do have a meaningful sense, but there's just no reason to bring in the
      concepts of kenoma and pleroma, unless those terms appear in Christian
      writings. Let me give you an example of what I'm trying to say: suppose I
      coin the words 'zipple' and 'krasny' to use in a theory I'll call
      'Grondinism'. I define the word 'zipple' to mean 'life' and 'krasny' to mean
      'death'. I will now proceed to demonstrate that the Gospel of Thomas is
      "Grondinistic", for does it not speak of life and death, which are the same
      as zipple and krasny? Ergo, GTh is Grondinistic. Being the author of this
      theory, I'm quite pleased to "discover" that the ancients were all along
      speaking in support of it. What's wrong with this picture?

      > Let me speculate that these Gnostics must have been confused if nobody
      > Christian ever thought about Plato having a Gnostic type agenda where
      > these states could have possible occult and hidden meanings in relation
      > to one another.

      Plato had a "Gnostic-type agenda"? Whatever do you mean?
      Evidently, Christianity and Platonism are "Gnostic" to you. If so, it would
      seem at first glance to be more historically accurate to say that
      Christianity and Gnosticism are Platonistic, since the latter came first.
      But you see, here's where that problem of big-G "Gnosticism" and small-g
      "gnosticism" comes in. "Gnosticism" is generally understood to be a
      theoretical approach that developed post-Plato. If you want to claim that
      Plato was a major proponent of small-g "gnosticism", then you need to spell
      out what that is, so that you and other folks don't get confused about what
      you mean when you claim that the Thomas parables are "gnostic". Better yet
      would be to avoid the term that causes the confusion. There's no doubt in my
      mind that Platonisitic ideas undergird Christianity (whether they came
      directly from Plato or not), but there is a lot of doubt about what
      "gnosticism" means. If it means that one can "know" about the existence and
      nature of a supernatural world essentially separate from the natural world,
      then this is a generic "gnosticism" that could develop in many different
      directions, only one of which is represented by the various full-fledged,
      dualistic, and heretical cosmological systems (wherein the world was
      regarded as having been created by an inferior god) that we associate with
      big-G "Gnosticism". Hence, if you speak of a generic "gnosticism" present in
      Plato, there's no necessary connection with later "Gnostic" systems.

      Now having worked my way through much of your reasoning, it does seems that
      what you have in mind is some kind of generic "gnosticism" that is
      supposedly common to Plato, Christianity, and big-G "Gnosticism". It remains
      for you to spell out what that is, exactly - and hopefully without using
      big-G "Gnostic" terminology to do so, since that begs the question and is
      irrelevant and anachronistic to boot.

      Mike Grondin
      Mt. Clemens, MI
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