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Re: [GTh] The division of the soul

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  • fmmccoy
    ... From: sarban To: Sent: Sunday, July 11, 2004 7:18 AM Subject: Re: [GTh] The division of the soul ... I m
    Message 1 of 16 , Jul 11, 2004
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "sarban" <sarban@...>
      To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Sunday, July 11, 2004 7:18 AM
      Subject: Re: [GTh] The division of the soul


      >
      > ----- Original Message -----
      > From: "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@...>
      > To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
      > Sent: Sunday, July 11, 2004 6:57 AM
      > Subject: Re: [GTh] The division of the soul
      >
      >
      > > Andrew Criddle wrote:
      > > > From the context (GTh 22) and parallels in the Gospel of the
      > > > Egyptians (as quoted in Clement's Stromateis Book 3) and the
      > > > Gospel of Philip 78; 'make the two one' appears to refer to the
      > > > union of male and female.
      > >
      > > Andrew-
      > >
      > > It would have been helpful to quote your non-Thomas references. I didn't
      > do
      > > a Clement search, since I'm not sure what I would be looking for, and
      I'm
      > > not sure what GPh 78 is. The only numbering of GPh I'm familiar with is
      > > Layton's in _The Gnostic Scriptures_, but #78 there doesn't seem to have
      > > anything to do with making the two one. Can you be more specific?
      > >
      > Quick reply here
      >
      > Clement Stromateis Book 3 (Gospel of Egyptians)
      >
      > Therefore Cassianus says "When Salome asked when the things
      > would be known that she had inquired about, the Lord said
      > "When you (pl) have trampled on the garment of shame and when
      > the two become one and the male with the female is neither male
      > nor female""
      >
      > Philip saying 78 (according to Stroker) in Layton's numbering this is
      > 70: 9-17. (you're right I should have used a more standard
      > numbering system).
      >
      > If the woman had not separated from the man she would not die with
      > the man. His separation became the beginning of death. Therefore
      > Christ came to correct the separation which was from the beginning
      > and to unite the two again and to give life to those who died in the
      > separation and to unite them.
      >
      > (There are a number of other relevant parallels the earliest is
      > II Clement chapter 12: For when the Lord himself was asked by
      > someone when his kingdom would come he said "When the two will
      > be one and the outside as the inside and the male with the female
      > neither male nor female".)
      >
      > I'll try and reply to the second half of this post later


      Andrew Criddle:

      You are insightful in seeing a linkage between Thomas 22, the saying from
      Philip, and the saying quoted by Clement in that, in all of them, there is a
      reference to the two becoming one.

      I think that, in all three cases, this is a reference to one's soul being
      aborbed by one's spirit, making the two a one of spirit.

      This post consists of seven sections. The first three outline a postulated
      Thomas belief system which is hypothesised to underly Thomas 22. An
      interpretation of 22 is given in section four. An interpretation of the
      saying from Philip is given in section five and an interpretation of the
      saying quoted by Clement is given in the closing section seven.

      SECTION I THE THREE BASIC ASPECTS OF A HUMAN BEING

      Let us look at 112, "Jesus said, 'Woe to the flesh that depends on the
      soul; woe to the soul that depends on the flesh.'"

      Each human being has a body of flesh and a soul (psyche). Both are mortal.
      So, neither can gain eternal life through the other. Hence, sorry is the
      state of the body of flesh that is relying on the soul to gain eternal life
      and sorry is the state of the soul that is relying on the body of flesh to
      gain eternal life.

      Next, let us look at 29. "Jesus said, 'If the flesh came into being because
      of spirit (pneuma), it is a wonder. But if spirit came into being because of
      the body, it is a wonder of wonders. Indeed, I am amazed at how this great
      wealth has made its home in this poverty.'"

      A human being also has, besides the soul and body of flesh, a spirit. It is
      potentially immortal, which makes it a great wealth in comparison to the
      mortal body of flesh.

      So, in Thomas thought, there are three basic aspects to a human being: (1) a
      spirit (pneuma), a soul (psyche), and a body of flesh. The spirit is
      potentially immortal, while the soul and the body of flesh are mortal.

      SECTION II THE TWO TYPES OF HUMANITY

      In Thomas thought, while a human being has three basic aspects, there are
      two basic classes of human beings.

      Let us look at 7, "Blessed is the lion which becomes man when consumed by
      man; and cursed is the man whom the lion comsumes, and the lion becomes
      man."

      I suggest that 7 ought to be interpreted in terms of the three constituents
      of a human being, with the spirit being the inner man of a person and with
      the body being the outer man of a person.

      In this case, it can be roughly paraphrased, "Blessed is the inner man
      (i.e., the spirit) which absorbs the soul, and the soul becomes a part of
      the inner man (i.e., spirit). Cursed is the inner man (i.e., spirit) which
      is absorbed by the soul, with the soul, in turn, being absorbed by the outer
      man (i.e., the body of flesh)."

      In this case, what it tells us is that the potential immortality of the
      spirit can be actualized by it maintaining its identity--which occurs when
      it absorbs the soul. Conversely, it loses its potential immortality if it
      loses its identity by being absorbed by the soul, which, in turn, is
      absorbed by the body of flesh.

      In this case, further, there are two basic kinds of human beings. First,
      there are the saved: whose spirits have absorbed their souls. At the death
      of the mortal body of flesh, the spirit continues to live and, indeed, has
      eternal life. Second, there are the cursed: whose spirits have been
      absorbed by their souls, with the souls, in turn, being absorbed by their
      bodies of flesh. At the death of a body of flesh, since the spirit has
      become a part of this body of flesh, the spirit dies as well.

      Note that, while the soul is, in and of itself, mortal, it, yet, can obtain
      immortality by becoming a part of the potentially immortal spirit.

      SECTION III THE TWO TYPES OF BIRTH

      In Thomas thought, there are two types of birth. In the first, one is born
      with a body of flesh. This is the unsaved state in which one's spirit and
      soul have been absorbed by one's flesh, making one a body of flesh. This is
      the type of birth undergone by all humanity.

      In the second, one is born anew into a second childhood as a spirit. This
      is the saved state in which one's soul has been absorbed by one's spirit,
      making both spirit.

      Let us look at 46, "Among those born of women, from Adam until John
      the Baptist, there is no one so superior to John the Baptist that his eyes
      should be lowered (before him). Yet I have said, whichever one of you comes
      to be a child will be acquainted with the Kingdom and will become superior
      to John."

      Anyone who has come to be a reborn child of spirit, will enter
      into the Kingdom and, so, will be superior to John the Baptist.

      Next, let us turn to 53. "His disciples said to Him, 'Is circumcision
      beneficial or not?' He said to them, 'If it were beneficial, their father
      would beget them already circumcised from their mother. Rather, the true
      circumcision in spirit has become completely profitable.'"

      In your rebirth as spirit, you cease to be a part of the body of flesh,
      thereby spiritually circumising yourself from the body of flesh in a manner
      profitable for you to gain eternal life in the Kingdom.

      SECTION IV THE TWO TYPES OF BODIES

      In Thomas thought, one's rebirth from a body of flesh to pure spirit can be
      conceptualizes as being one's rebirth from a body of flesh to a new body of
      spirit.

      Let us turn to 22. "Jesus saw infants being suckled. He said to
      his disciples, 'These infants being suckled are like those who enter the
      Kingdom.' They said to Him, 'Shall we then, as children, enter the Kingdom?'
      Jesus said to them, 'When you make the two one, and when you make the inside
      like the outside and the outside like the inside and the above like the
      below, and when you make the male and the female one and the same, so that
      the male not be male nor the female female; and when you fashion eyes in
      place of an eye and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a
      foot, and a likeness in place of a likeness; then you will enter [the
      Kingdom].'"

      You enter the Kingdom reborn anew and, therefore, as a child once again.

      This occurs when you make the two one. That is, it occurs when the soul is
      absorbed by the spirit, so that both become spirit.

      So, the topic here is the rebirth from a body of flesh to spirit.

      In such a rebirth, many fleshly distinctions cease--such as those between up
      and down and between inside and outside and between male and female.

      Still, it is a rebirth from one type of body (i.e., of flesh) to another
      type of body (i.e., of spirit) So, there are spiritual eyes in place of a
      fleshly eye and a spiritual foot in place of a fleshly hand and a spiritual
      foot in place of a spiritual foot and a spiritual body image in place of a
      fleshly body image.

      For the purposes of the present post, the important point is that, in 22,
      "When you make the two one.", means, "When you have your spirit absorb your
      soul, making you pure spirit." This enables you to enter into the Kingdom,
      gaining eternal life.

      SECTION V FROM LIFE TO DEATH TO LIFE

      Conversely, then, if your soul detaches itself from your spirit, then you go
      from eternal life to death. In this case, only if your soul is re-absorbed
      by by your spirit can you re-gain eternal life.

      Let us re-look at this excerpt from Philip, "If the woman had not separated
      from the man she would not die with the man. His separation became the
      beginning of death. Therefore Christ came to correct the separation which
      was from the beginning and to unite the two again and to give life to those
      who died in the separation and to unite them."

      Here, the woman is the soul and the man is the inner man of the spirit.
      When the woman (soul) separates herself from the man (i.e., the spirit),
      they both go from eternal life to death. Christ came to correct this
      separation so that the soul can be re-absorbed by the spirit, uniting them
      and, thereby, enabling them to regain eternal life.

      So, here the two become one in the sense that the soul is absorbed by the
      spirit, making both a one of pure spirit.

      Compare an earlier excerpt from Philip (I have neither the Stroker nor the
      Layton numbering system), "When Eve was still in Adam death did not exist.
      When she was separated from him death came into being. If he again becomes
      complete and attains his former self, death will be no more." That is to
      say, as long as your soul is in the spirit, death does not exist for you.
      When your soul separates herself from your spirit, death comes into being
      for you. If your spirit again becomes complete by re-absorbing your soul
      and, so, attains his former self, death will not exist for you.

      SECTION VI OVERCOMING THE BODY OF FLESH

      In your rebirth as pure spirit, the body of flesh is overcome.

      Let us look at 37, "His disciples said, 'When will You become revealed
      to us and when shall we see You?' Jesus said, 'When you disrobe without
      being ashamed and take up your garments and place them under your feet like
      little children and tread on them, then [will you see] the Son of the Living
      One and you will not be afraid.'"

      In the rebirth of the body of spirit, making one a child again, the body of
      spirit ceases to be a part of the body of flesh, thereby freeing itself from
      the body of flesh, like a child discarding its clothes. Further, it gains
      rulership over the body of flesh, treading on it with its spiritual feet.

      The inner Jesus, the part of him that makes him the Son of the Living One,
      is discerned only by the spiritual eyes of the body of spirit and, so can be
      seen by one only when has been reborn in the body of spirit.

      SECTION VII THE FINAL SAYING

      We are now in a position to re-look at the excerpt from Clement, "Therefore
      Cassianus says 'When Salome asked when the things would be known that she
      had inquired about, the Lord said 'When you (pl) have trampled on the
      garment of shame and when the two become one and the male with the female is
      neither male nor female''"

      "When the two become one" means, "When the male spirit has absorbed the
      female soul".

      "And the male with the female is neither male nor female", means, "And the
      male spirit with the female soul is neither a male nor a female in terms of
      the body of flesh".

      "When you (p.) have trampled on the garment of shame", means, "When you have
      gained mastery over the body of flesh."

      As a result, what Jesus describes is the state of being of a saved
      person--one who has gained mastery over one's body of flesh, with this
      person's soul having been absorbed by this person's spirit--which spirit,
      although masculine in the sense of being the inner man, is neither masculine
      nor feminine in a bodily sense.

      Again, as with Thomas 22 and the except from Philip, the two becoming one
      refers to the absorption of the soul by the spirit, turning the two into a
      one of pure spirit.

      In any event, that's my current read on these three passages.

      Frank McCoy
      1809 N. English Apt. 15
      Maplewood, MN USA 55109
    • Michael Grondin
      ... Thanks for these variations, but I m now a bit confused about where you stand. Your original hypothesis was that make the two one [in Th 22.4] appears
      Message 2 of 16 , Jul 12, 2004
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        Andrew, you wrote:
        > My problem is that among the numerous and various parallels
        > to this saying the double reference to inside and outside with
        > single reference to upper and lower is rather unusual.

        Thanks for these variations, but I'm now a bit confused about where you
        stand. Your original hypothesis was that "'make the two one' [in Th 22.4]
        appears to refer to the union of male and female". When we get into this
        other stuff about inner/outer, above/below, left/right, etc, it begins to
        appear that "the two" stood ambiguously for any division whatsoever. In
        order to sustain your hypothesis, it seems that you're going to have to show
        how these seemingly non-gendered divisions were at root understood as
        basically masculine/feminine divisions. The piece of speculation I offered
        does that, but if it isn't supportable, then are you going to present your
        own explanation of how these other divisions are explainable in terms of
        gender, or are you now backing away from your original suggestion? (I don't
        think you can take the third option of ignoring the other divisions
        mentioned in 22.4, since they stand syntactically, and thus logicially, in
        between the two portions that you wish to connect.)

        Mike Grondin
        Mt. Clemens, MI
      • sarban
        ... From: Michael Grondin To: Sent: Tuesday, July 13, 2004 4:32 AM Subject: Re: [GTh] The division of the
        Message 3 of 16 , Jul 13, 2004
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          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@...>
          To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Tuesday, July 13, 2004 4:32 AM
          Subject: Re: [GTh] The division of the soul


          >
          > Thanks for these variations, but I'm now a bit confused about where you
          > stand. Your original hypothesis was that "'make the two one' [in Th 22.4]
          > appears to refer to the union of male and female". When we get into this
          > other stuff about inner/outer, above/below, left/right, etc, it begins to
          > appear that "the two" stood ambiguously for any division whatsoever. In
          > order to sustain your hypothesis, it seems that you're going to have to
          show
          > how these seemingly non-gendered divisions were at root understood as
          > basically masculine/feminine divisions. The piece of speculation I offered
          > does that, but if it isn't supportable, then are you going to present your
          > own explanation of how these other divisions are explainable in terms of
          > gender, or are you now backing away from your original suggestion? (I
          don't
          > think you can take the third option of ignoring the other divisions
          > mentioned in 22.4, since they stand syntactically, and thus logicially, in
          > between the two portions that you wish to connect.)
          >
          I was making two points

          a/ IMHO the repeated use of inside and outside in GTh 22 is a
          secondary elaboration of limited significance.

          b/ I was speculating in (neo)-Pythagorean terms where things are
          divided into two listed caetgories

          Odd numbers Even numbers
          Limited Unlimited
          Right Left
          Masculine Feminine
          Rest Motion
          Straignt Curved
          Light Darkness
          Good Evil
          Square Rectangle

          etc

          Uniting masculine and feminine is also uniting right and left and monad
          and dyad.

          Andrew Criddle
        • Michael Grondin
          ... I can see how you would feel that way. The litany of variations carries a prima facie suggestion that none of the variations had any particular detailed
          Message 4 of 16 , Jul 14, 2004
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            Andrew Criddle wrote:
            > I was making two points
            >
            > a/ IMHO the repeated use of inside and outside in GTh 22 is a
            > secondary elaboration of limited significance.

            I can see how you would feel that way. The litany of variations carries a
            prima facie suggestion that none of the variations had any particular
            detailed significance, other than as vague examples of "making the two one".
            I'll continue to entertain the possibility that the specific formulation in
            Th 22.4 might have been intended to suggest the Roman numeral three, as
            symbol of a "third way" which envisioned a return to "the Garden" via the
            elimination of all dichotomies.

            > b/ I was speculating in (neo)-Pythagorean terms where things are
            > divided into two listed caetgories
            >
            > Odd numbers Even numbers
            > Limited Unlimited
            > Right Left
            > Masculine Feminine
            > Rest Motion
            > Straignt Curved
            > Light Darkness
            > Good Evil
            > Square Rectangle
            >
            > etc
            >
            > Uniting masculine and feminine is also uniting right and left and monad
            > and dyad.

            Many items in this list correspond to my own understanding of the alignment
            of dichotomous pairs in some circles of ancient thought, but for the rest
            (e.g., square/rectangle), it'd be nice to know where you got the list.
            That's the first point. The second point has to do with how these two
            columns would be characterized in antiquity in general. My own understanding
            is that those in the first column (really, the "right") were thought of as
            the better of each pair, as the right (e.g., the right hand) was thought to
            be better than the left. But a general male/female characterization (as you
            originally suggested) seems questionable to me. Which historical texts
            associate evil or motion or unlimitedness with femininity? It won't do, I
            think, to claim that "the two" in Th 22 are male and female, on the sole
            grounds that one column contains "masculine" and the other "feminine". One
            might as well say that "the two" are good and evil - or rest and motion - or
            the above and the below. You see what I mean? ISTM that in order to justify
            the claim that "the two" in Thomas are male and female, one has to show how
            all these pairs were gender-related - or at least that the two pairs in 22.4
            (inner/outer, above/below) were. Short of that, it seems that one has to
            think of "the two" in 22.4 as standing ambiguously for any pair of
            contraries.

            Regards,
            Mike Grondin
            Mt. Clemens, MI
          • BrerFrase@aol.com
            In a message dated 7/15/2004 12:43:20 AM Eastern Daylight Time, Michael Grondin writes, in part:
            Message 5 of 16 , Jul 15, 2004
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              In a message dated 7/15/2004 12:43:20 AM Eastern Daylight Time, "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@...> writes, in part:


              <<You see what I mean? ISTM that in order to justify
              the claim that "the two" in Thomas are male and female, one has to show how
              all these pairs were gender-related - or at least that the two pairs in 22.4
              (inner/outer, above/below) were. Short of that, it seems that one has to
              think of "the two" in 22.4 as standing ambiguously for any pair of
              contraries.

              Regards,
              Mike Grondin
              Mt. Clemens, MI>>

              This strikes me as a brilliant if not seminal point in the present thread and particularly resonant it seems to me is MG's "ambiguously." Ambiguity/mystery is jealously maintained as a place for parabolic leavening throughout all the gospel sayings, with all of the cryptic-elliptical anti-gravitas, the molecule-mountain pairing paradox of mystery miracle-making plainness. Simplicity becomes more than an artform, acquiring a mysterical property in its own right. We (un)learn like children again, the power of Simplicity, with its hidden mystery, the original matrix, like an ethereal system of elusive synaptic connections, the near-eastern equivalent of the even more ancient more "eastern" notion of the tao, here precisely where for us all the excitement lies, we moderns with our sub-quantum physics, feeling today a wonderfully skewed wacky affinity for those ancient mystic simpletons who, like MG, honor the hidden "spaces between," the secret inseams between the seams, where all the action is/was (and isn't, too, and never/ever will be). Mystic poetspeak, and modern physics, work better out here in unKansas than neat tabular, arithmetic columns, where Dorothy's algebra teacher becomes a real broomhilda witch who must melts like butter before goodness, we find. A tolerance for ambiguity is the required price of admission here along Albert's curvature of relative spacetime Stephen Hawking in his wheelchair rides with ease...and beyond. Black and white just won't do "anymore."

              We all have color tv now.

              F. Hubbard



              In a message dated 7/15/2004 12:43:20 AM Eastern Daylight Time, "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@...> writes:

              >Andrew Criddle wrote:
              >> I was making two points
              >>
              >> a/ IMHO the repeated use of inside and outside in GTh 22 is a
              >> secondary elaboration of limited significance.
              >
              >I can see how you would feel that way. The litany of variations carries a
              >prima facie suggestion that none of the variations had any particular
              >detailed significance, other than as vague examples of "making the two one".
              >I'll continue to entertain the possibility that the specific formulation in
              >Th 22.4 might have been intended to suggest the Roman numeral three, as
              >symbol of a "third way" which envisioned a return to "the Garden" via the
              >elimination of all dichotomies.
              >
              >> b/ I was speculating in (neo)-Pythagorean terms where things are
              >> divided into two listed caetgories
              >>
              >> Odd numbers                   Even numbers
              >> Limited                             Unlimited
              >> Right                                Left
              >> Masculine                        Feminine
              >> Rest                                Motion
              >> Straignt                           Curved
              >> Light                               Darkness
              >> Good                              Evil
              >> Square                            Rectangle
              >>
              >> etc
              >>
              >> Uniting masculine and feminine is also uniting right and left and monad
              >> and dyad.
              >
              >Many items in this list correspond to my own understanding of the alignment
              >of dichotomous pairs in some circles of ancient thought, but for the rest
              >(e.g., square/rectangle), it'd be nice to know where you got the list.
              >That's the first point. The second point has to do with how these two
              >columns would be characterized in antiquity in general. My own understanding
              >is that those in the first column (really, the "right") were thought of as
              >the better of each pair, as the right (e.g., the right hand) was thought to
              >be better than the left. But a general male/female characterization (as you
              >originally suggested) seems questionable to me. Which historical texts
              >associate evil or motion or unlimitedness with femininity? It won't do, I
              >think, to claim that "the two" in Th 22 are male and female, on the sole
              >grounds that one column contains "masculine" and the other "feminine". One
              >might as well say that "the two" are good and evil - or rest and motion - or
              >the above and the below. You see what I mean? ISTM that in order to justify
              >the claim that "the two" in Thomas are male and female, one has to show how
              >all these pairs were gender-related - or at least that the two pairs in 22.4
              >(inner/outer, above/below) were. Short of that, it seems that one has to
              >think of "the two" in 22.4 as standing ambiguously for any pair of
              >contraries.
              >
              >Regards,
              >Mike Grondin
              >Mt. Clemens, MI
              >
              >
              >
              >
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              --
              ~~So meet me along the shimmering scrolls of Paradise,
              Where ever befalls the accident, alone as moonlight,
              Yet never by chance~~
            • sarban
              ... From: Michael Grondin To: Sent: Thursday, July 15, 2004 5:43 AM Subject: Re: [GTh] The division of the
              Message 6 of 16 , Jul 15, 2004
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                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@...>
                To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
                Sent: Thursday, July 15, 2004 5:43 AM
                Subject: Re: [GTh] The division of the soul


                > Andrew Criddle wrote:

                <SNIP>

                >
                > > b/ I was speculating in (neo)-Pythagorean terms where things are
                > > divided into two listed caetgories
                > >
                > > Odd numbers Even numbers
                > > Limited Unlimited
                > > Right Left
                > > Masculine Feminine
                > > Rest Motion
                > > Straignt Curved
                > > Light Darkness
                > > Good Evil
                > > Square Rectangle
                > >
                > > etc
                > >
                > > Uniting masculine and feminine is also uniting right and left and monad
                > > and dyad.
                >
                > Many items in this list correspond to my own understanding of the
                alignment
                > of dichotomous pairs in some circles of ancient thought, but for the rest
                > (e.g., square/rectangle), it'd be nice to know where you got the list.

                I was paraphrasing a passage from 'The Mystery of Numbers' by
                Anne-Marie Schimmel

                The original source is Aristotle's Metaphysics Book 1 chapter 5
                particularly section 6 (Loeb Calassical Library numbering)
                (looking at the Greek 'curved' in the pair 'straight curved' should
                better be 'bent')

                > That's the first point. The second point has to do with how these two
                > columns would be characterized in antiquity in general. My own
                understanding
                > is that those in the first column (really, the "right") were thought of as
                > the better of each pair, as the right (e.g., the right hand) was thought
                to
                > be better than the left. But a general male/female characterization (as
                you
                > originally suggested) seems questionable to me. Which historical texts
                > associate evil or motion or unlimitedness with femininity? It won't do, I
                > think, to claim that "the two" in Th 22 are male and female, on the sole
                > grounds that one column contains "masculine" and the other "feminine". One
                > might as well say that "the two" are good and evil - or rest and motion -
                or
                > the above and the below. You see what I mean? ISTM that in order to
                justify
                > the claim that "the two" in Thomas are male and female, one has to show
                how
                > all these pairs were gender-related - or at least that the two pairs in
                22.4
                > (inner/outer, above/below) were. Short of that, it seems that one has to
                > think of "the two" in 22.4 as standing ambiguously for any pair of
                > contraries.
                >
                I agree with the 'right' group being better than the 'left' group

                Now as to how this links to masculine and feminine
                The basic connections are IIUC that form is masculine and matter
                is feminine
                matter is of its nature disordered and transitory hence in motion
                and without clear limits
                form is ordered and permanent hence still and the source of limit
                and stability
                Form is good and at least to Pythagoreans matter is bad
                (Aristotle: for evil belongs to the unlimited as the Pythagoreans
                conjectured and good to the limited. (Nicomachean Ethics
                B5 1106b29)

                The linking of the feminine with the bad 'left' group and the
                masculine with the good 'right' group may to some extent
                reflect Greek misogyny but the association of the masculine
                with the forms or seminal principle and the feminine with
                matter or the primal receptacle is very basic and the grouping
                follows largely from that

                Andrew Criddle
              • Michael Grondin
                Dear Andrew, I ve been pressing you for a more complete analysis of 22.4-5 - one that involves the pairs upper/lower and inside/outside - as a test of whether
                Message 7 of 16 , Jul 15, 2004
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                  Dear Andrew,

                  I've been pressing you for a more complete analysis of 22.4-5 - one that
                  involves the pairs upper/lower and inside/outside - as a test of whether
                  it's true that the author(s) of Th 22 thought of "the two" as masculine and
                  feminine. For in between "If you make the two one" and "so that the male not
                  be male and the female not female" lies the talk of making the inside like
                  the outside and the upper like the lower. So if the hypothesis is true, then
                  we ought to be able to explain how inside/outside and upper/lower were
                  believed to be gender-related. Let me try my hand at it. To begin with, I
                  reproduce your table, somewhat amended, and concentrating on items that seem
                  most relevant to GTh and allied texts:

                  The Right The Left
                  ---------------------- -----------------------------
                  Male, masculine Female, feminine
                  Good, truth Evil, falsehood
                  Light Darkness
                  Monad, unity Dyad, plurality
                  Odd numbers Even numbers
                  Rest, silence Motion, sound
                  Spirit Body, flesh
                  Heaven Earth
                  Spiritual life Physical life (=death)

                  Necessarily, there's some inexactitude here. What I hope to discover is
                  whether the scheme is *basically* correct, i.e., whether it fairly well
                  captures what we think lays behind the relevant Thomas sayings. We should
                  not expect the authors to be completely consistent in the application of
                  such a scheme, since no satisfactory scheme along such lines can possibly be
                  worked out by anyone (since I regard it as basically incoherent), but it'll
                  do, I think, to use this as a rough test. What I think is generally true is
                  that (1) the elements of "the right" were thought to be *better* in some
                  sense than those of "the left" - so they weren't thought to be completely
                  equal - but (2) they were thought to be in some sense "brothers" of each
                  other (as in the Gospel of Philip), and that (3) the gnostic scheme of
                  personal and collective salvation was to resolve the dichotomies by in some
                  sense "joining" them together (rather than say, choosing the one over the
                  other).

                  We may note that in the Apocryphon of John that precedes GTh in NH Codex II,
                  the primal force is the Monad, which is said to be originally silent and at
                  rest. This primal force or being is masculine, but its creative urge
                  requires a feminine component. It does not, however, create a completely
                  female agent of creation. Rather, it creates the Barbelo, which is said to
                  be "the Mother-Father of the All". This androgynous force is comparable to
                  the "living spirits" spoken of in Th 114 - people who are in some sense
                  "neither male nor female". Not that we have any reason to believe that GTh
                  shares the cosmology of ApocJn, but the author(s) of ApocJn evidently
                  thought that their view wasn't inconsistent with the pre-existing GTh. In
                  particular, the view of dichotomies seems to be consistent between the two
                  texts.

                  As to the specifics of 22.4-5, it seems clear that "the upper" would have
                  been thought to be superior to "the lower", hence that "the upper" is of
                  "the Right" and "the lower" of "the Left" - without our having to know
                  exactly what "the upper" and "the lower" were. It's somewhat disconcerting
                  at first that the author says that one should make the upper like the lower;
                  one would think it should be the other way round. But it makes sense if we
                  think in terms of the creation of a *third option* which is neither the one
                  nor the other, but a joining of the two. Possibly relevant here is a passage
                  early on in the First Book of Jeu:

                  "Blessed is the man who has known these things. He has brought heaven down,
                  he has lifted the earth and has sent it to heaven, and he has become the
                  Middle, for it is nothing."

                  (The text further explains that "to bring heaven down" is to know "the Word
                  (which) existed in heaven before the earth came into existence", and "to
                  lift up the earth" is for an earthly man to come to a "heavenly
                  understanding". Thus, to understand "the Word" is to bring the heavenly down
                  to earth and to lift the earthly man up to heaven. Sloppy metaphorical
                  thinking, but there you have it.)

                  I think that this satisfactorily explains "upper/lower" (at least in general
                  terms), but what about "inside/outside"? At its most obvious level, I think
                  that "the outside" must have been that part of a person or object that would
                  normally be visible - e.g., the body or flesh. Would the "inside" be the
                  light hidden within - i.e., the spirit? But the soul is inside as well, so
                  perhaps the second mention of inside/outside was intended to suggest that
                  "the inside" also itself had an inside and an outside (rather like a large
                  ball having a medium ball inside of it, and that medium ball in turn having
                  a small ball inside it.) Frank McCoy has developed some thoughts along this
                  line, and so I'll leave it at that, except to address the gender question:
                  IF upper and lower were considered gender-related, then it seems that "the
                  upper" must have been thought to be masculine (conceptually, not
                  grammatically), and IF "the inside" and "the outside" were considered
                  gender-related, then I'd venture to say that "the inside" (being the better)
                  must have been thought to be masculine. This would be consistent with the
                  saying that "the Kingdom is inside of you, and outside of you" - i.e., it's
                  both hidden and visible in some sense, i.e., it's androgynous.

                  Afterword: In the Greek version of saying 2, the sequence of events ends
                  with the person being "at rest" - which according to the above is a
                  masculine state. But the Coptic version of saying 2 doesn't have that
                  clause - it ends with "rule over everything", which doesn't appear to be a
                  restful state. Is that because the Copts saw that the clause referring to
                  rest would suggest that the ultimate goal was a masculine state, whereas
                  they wanted the ultimate goal to be an androgynous state - as in "What is
                  the sign of the Father within you?" answered by "Motion and rest " - a
                  combination of masc and fem elements? This may be a case of Coptic tinkering
                  to make GTh more gnostic - more consistent with ApocJn.

                  Mike Grondin
                  The Coptic Gospel of Thomas, saying-by-saying
                  http://www.geocities.com/mwgrondin/sayings.htm
                  The Coptic Gospel of Thomas in Context
                  http://www.geocities.com/mwgrondin/index.htm
                • Michael Grondin
                  ... ... While I appreciate the compliment, I want to make clear that I did not approve this note, and that I don t much like its stream-of-consciousness style.
                  Message 8 of 16 , Jul 15, 2004
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                    F. Hubbard wrote about one of my remarks:

                    > This strikes me as a brilliant if not seminal point in the present thread
                    ...

                    While I appreciate the compliment, I want to make clear that I did not
                    approve this note, and that I don't much like its stream-of-consciousness
                    style. The task of seeking to understand ancient esoteric texts is very
                    difficult; it requires the utmost attempt at clarity of thought and
                    expression, the eschewing of metaphorical/poetic language wherever possible,
                    and a determined focus on scholarly analysis. For purposes of this list,
                    it's not relevant what *our* philosophy is, or whether we think the Thomists
                    had a correct world-view, or even how that view relates to contemporary
                    systems of thought. Unfortunately, the posting of Peter Novak's notes seems
                    to have been taken by some to indicate that his own contemporary theory was
                    being opened for discussion. As a result, it stimulated a number of
                    responses that were way too wide-ranging for the list. Peter's historical
                    analysis is open for discussion, but the question of whether his soul/spirit
                    theory is true or not should be addressed to him offlist.

                    Mike Grondin
                  • Stephen
                    Note - if you received an earlier garbled version of this post please ignore it - I pressed send prematurely! ... I found this a fascinating post but I would
                    Message 9 of 16 , Jul 16, 2004
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                      Note - if you received an earlier garbled version of this post please ignore
                      it - I pressed send prematurely!

                      > Again, as with Thomas 22 and the except from Philip, the two becoming one
                      > refers to the absorption of the soul by the spirit, turning the two into a
                      > one of pure spirit.
                      >
                      > In any event, that's my current read on these three passages.
                      >
                      > Frank McCoy


                      I found this a fascinating post but I would like to offer a simpler
                      perspective. The authors of Thomas had a two part model of the human
                      being - the 'body', which included the conscious 'ego' mind, and the
                      soul/spirit. The soul/spirit is one entity with two states - the soul state
                      variously represented as being as dead or sleeping and the spirit state
                      which is 'living'. The soul/spirit dwells in the heaven immediately above
                      the earth and is in perilous danger of corruption at the hands of the other
                      inhabitants of this heaven - the fallen shepherd angels who have been
                      appointed to rule over mankind. The soul is sometimes represented as being
                      a harlot because it has been seduced by these demons. When it is reborn as
                      a spirit the soul becomes a chaste bride, 'the pearl'.

                      The reason for the female imagery is that the soul/spirit was also regarded
                      as being contra-sexual - a man had a female soul/spirit whereas a woman had
                      a male soul/spirit. It would seem that this contra-sexual nature of the
                      soul was based upon Gnostic mystical experiences rather than any rational
                      argument. The whole Wisdom movement can best be understood in terms of the
                      devotees of Wisdom (who were of course men) experiencing a mystic female
                      something that Paul might later have called the spirit. (Whether we
                      interpret these experiences as being in some way spiritually valid or as
                      just an interesting psychological phenomenon is irrelevant to the argument.)

                      Being Jewish they still had to justify their beliefs from scripture which
                      they did by a Midrash on Genesis. Man was separated from woman in the
                      garden of Eden. It is this separation, and the resultant ignorance of the
                      soul/spirit that brings death. The relevant passage in Genesis is mentioned
                      in Mark 10:6-9 -

                      ---------------
                      But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For
                      this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;
                      And the two shall be one flesh: so that they are no more two but one flesh.
                      What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
                      --------------

                      Note how this echoes the 'make the two one' theme of 22 in particular the
                      'so that they are no more two but one flesh' which is an addition to what is
                      found in Genesis and which may have been taken from a proto-Thomas version
                      of 22. The same theme occurs in 1 Corinthians 11:11 -

                      ---------------
                      but neither [is] a man apart from a woman, nor a woman apart from a man, in
                      the Lord,
                      ---------------

                      This statement is apparently inexplicable in terms of Paul's philosophy
                      since in the same letter he advises against marriage! But again we can see
                      a connection with 'when you make the male and the female into a single one,
                      that the male be not male and the female female'.

                      In 1 Corinthians 9:5 is a cryptic reference to a sister, a wife -

                      --------------
                      Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles,
                      and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?
                      --------------

                      This is normally translated in the sense of 'have authority' but could
                      equally mean 'have ability'. Also Paul appears to give this as part of his
                      'defence' for being an apostle - 'Am I not an apostle? Am I not free?' he
                      asks. The first item Paul gives in his defence concerns the power to eat
                      and to drink, and eating and drinking are used elsewhere by Paul in a
                      spiritual sense. Is the wife and sister meant to refer to the accompaniment
                      of a spiritual wife and sister which is a necessary qualification for being
                      an apostle and for being 'free'? The rest of the section seems to make
                      clear a literal interpretation is intended but Paul in his own words is 'all
                      things to all men'. He may be giving a literal message to 'those under the
                      law' and 'the weak' and a spiritual message to those 'without the law' who
                      like Paul are free.

                      If the idea of walking with a spiritual sister and wife seems crazy we can
                      see a similar metaphor in The Shepherd of Hermas. At one point the narrator
                      is left to spend the night chastely with a group of virgins.
                      ----------
                      "You will sleep with us," they replied, "as a brother, and not as a husband:
                      for you are our brother, and for the time to come we intend to abide with
                      you, for we love you exceedingly!"
                      -----------
                      Later he asks about the identity of the virgins -
                      -----------
                      And these virgins, who are they?" "They are holy spirits, and men cannot
                      otherwise be found in the kingdom of God unless these have put their
                      clothing upon them: for if you receive the name only, and do not receive
                      from them the clothing, they are of no advantage to you.
                      -----------
                      The connection with the Gnostic 'garment' is obvious. The narrator later
                      asks about 'stones' which represent the prophets and apostles -
                      ---------------
                      "Why, then, sir," I asked, "did the virgins carry these stones also through
                      the gate, and give them for the building of the tower?" "Because," he
                      answered, "these were the first who bore these spirits, and they never
                      departed from each other, neither the spirits from the men nor the men from
                      the spirits, but the spirits remained with them until their falling asleep.
                      And unless they had had these spirits with them, they would not have been of
                      use for the building of this tower."
                      --------------
                      We can see how this would have emerged from the idea that a spiritual wife
                      and sister is a requirement to be a prophet or apostle.

                      Coming back to the Gospel of Thomas we can see the instruction in saying 2
                      about seeking, finding, being troubled, being amazed and ruling as the quest
                      for making contact with the soul/spirit. The initial contact is with the
                      dead or harlot soul, the consort of demons, which results in 'being
                      troubled'.

                      To be saved a Christian needs to be reborn and before they are reborn Paul
                      tells us that they must die with Christ. By dieing with Christ the soul is
                      resurrected into its spirit state. The stories in the gospels of
                      resurrections, such as that of Lazarus, would seem to relate to this change
                      of state from the dead soul to the living spirit.

                      Stephen Peter
                      www.bridalchamber.com
                    • sarban
                      ... From: Michael Grondin To: Sent: Friday, July 16, 2004 6:17 AM Subject: Re: [GTh] The division of the
                      Message 10 of 16 , Jul 16, 2004
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                        ----- Original Message -----
                        From: "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@...>
                        To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
                        Sent: Friday, July 16, 2004 6:17 AM
                        Subject: Re: [GTh] The division of the soul


                        >
                        >>
                        <SNIP Very Interesting Stuff I basically agree with>

                        > I think that this satisfactorily explains "upper/lower" (at least in
                        general
                        > terms), but what about "inside/outside"? At its most obvious level, I
                        think
                        > that "the outside" must have been that part of a person or object that
                        would
                        > normally be visible - e.g., the body or flesh. Would the "inside" be the
                        > light hidden within - i.e., the spirit? But the soul is inside as well, so
                        > perhaps the second mention of inside/outside was intended to suggest that
                        > "the inside" also itself had an inside and an outside (rather like a large
                        > ball having a medium ball inside of it, and that medium ball in turn
                        having
                        > a small ball inside it.) Frank McCoy has developed some thoughts along
                        this
                        > line, and so I'll leave it at that, except to address the gender question:
                        > IF upper and lower were considered gender-related, then it seems that "the
                        > upper" must have been thought to be masculine (conceptually, not
                        > grammatically), and IF "the inside" and "the outside" were considered
                        > gender-related, then I'd venture to say that "the inside" (being the
                        better)
                        > must have been thought to be masculine. This would be consistent with the
                        > saying that "the Kingdom is inside of you, and outside of you" - i.e.,
                        it's
                        > both hidden and visible in some sense, i.e., it's androgynous.

                        There are various erferences eg Clement's Excerpta ex Theodoto
                        and in Valentinianism more generally to masculine angels (above)
                        compared to feminine human spirits (below) so I'm quite happy
                        with upper being masculine and lower feminine.

                        I'm less certain about inside and outside. I suspect you're right
                        that inside represents the superior right hand masculine side and
                        outside the inferior left hand feminine side but I find it hard to be
                        sure.

                        One possible argument is that inside and outside refers to Luke
                        17 20-21 (kingdom of heaven inside you) but I'm not sure
                        whether the parallels in GTh 3 and 113 support an emphasis in
                        Thomas on the inwardness of the kingdom.

                        A better 'gnostic' parallel may be Gospel of Mary page 8 'The Son of
                        Man is within you'

                        On the whole I think your basic interpretation of inside and outside
                        is probably sound but I can't find conclusive evidence.
                        >
                        > Afterword: In the Greek version of saying 2, the sequence of events ends
                        > with the person being "at rest" - which according to the above is a
                        > masculine state. But the Coptic version of saying 2 doesn't have that
                        > clause - it ends with "rule over everything", which doesn't appear to be a
                        > restful state. Is that because the Copts saw that the clause referring to
                        > rest would suggest that the ultimate goal was a masculine state, whereas
                        > they wanted the ultimate goal to be an androgynous state - as in "What is
                        > the sign of the Father within you?" answered by "Motion and rest " - a
                        > combination of masc and fem elements? This may be a case of Coptic
                        tinkering
                        > to make GTh more gnostic - more consistent with ApocJn.
                        >
                        Later (neo)-Platonism refers to a spiritual realm which simultaneously
                        possesses opposing pairs of qualities. This is the realm of Nous
                        immediately below the ultimate One to whom no qualities can be
                        ascribed. Whether these ideas could have influenced Thomas I'm not
                        sure. Such ideas seem to develop first in the Pythagorean tradition (eg
                        Moderatus of Gades) which may support the idea of the influence of
                        Pythagorean categories on Thomas.

                        Andrew Criddle
                      • Michael Grondin
                        Hi Andrew, ... Firstly, I haven t claimed that there s an emphasis in Thomas on the inwardness of the kingdom . Although it does seem clear that the inside
                        Message 11 of 16 , Jul 20, 2004
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                          Hi Andrew,
                          You wrote:
                          > I suspect you're right that inside represents the superior right hand
                          > masculine side and outside the inferior left hand feminine side
                          > but I find it hard to be sure.
                          >
                          > One possible argument is that inside and outside refers to Luke
                          > 17 20-21 (kingdom of heaven inside you) but I'm not sure
                          > whether the parallels in GTh 3 and 113 support an emphasis in
                          > Thomas on the inwardness of the kingdom.

                          Firstly, I haven't claimed that there's "an emphasis in Thomas on the
                          inwardness of the kingdom". Although it does seem clear that "the inside" of
                          an individual was regarded as superior to the outer flesh/body, it doesn't
                          follow that the Kingdom was thought to be "mostly inside" (which is another
                          way of saying "emphasize inwardness"). In line with what I believe to be its
                          "third way" posture, GTh presents "the Kingdom" as being both inside and
                          outside, so that to embrace it was to become in some sense androgynous. I
                          wouldn't say that GTh "refers to" GLk, because that wording presupposes a
                          textual dependence that I believe to be questionable, but Lk 17:20-21 does
                          capture the same two distinct thoughts as Th3 and 113, namely that (1) the
                          Kingdom isn't *geographically* distant, and (2) the Kingdom isn't
                          *temporally* distant, from the contemporary earth and its inhabitants. In
                          other words, it's here and then-now. So why don't (uninitiated) men see it?
                          Presumably, because it exists within folks who believe in it. Uninitiated
                          folks do see the people of the kingdom, but they don't *know* that they're
                          people of the kingdom, so "the kingdom" is both visible and hidden, as it
                          were. (I think this reconstruction of the thinking behind 113 is consistent
                          with other parts of the text.)

                          > On the whole I think your basic interpretation of inside and outside
                          > is probably sound but I can't find conclusive evidence.

                          It seems that the mind of a person is presented as being torn between the
                          physical desires of the external body and the spiritual desires of the inner
                          spirit. The "light" within a person is hidden from normal sight. Again, it
                          doesn't follow that GTh recommends an exclusively-inward turn toward
                          self-contemplation and isolation. I think that the Thomaines' "third way"
                          was to act in such a way as to become "light to the world", i.e., to make
                          one's "inner light" manifest to others. The decision of which "master" to
                          follow, i.e., how to act in the world, seems clearly to be inner-directed,
                          which is to say that "the inside" of a person is the active, "live" (read
                          'male') force. The outer flesh/body is part of the "corpse" of the material
                          world.

                          One thing that's been nagging me about this whole picture is that certain
                          sayings don't seem to conform to it, and methodologically, no analysis can
                          be considered complete if it fails to confront and explain textual evidence
                          which appear to place it in doubt. . To take one example, Jesus is made to
                          recommend that the disciples find a place of rest or repose for themselves
                          so that "the world" wouldn't "kill" and "eat" them. Given that we've
                          stipulated that the concept of "rest" was generally a feminine concept, what
                          sense does it make to suggest that all disciples seek a feminine element?
                          Did the author of this saying assume that the disciples were male, and thus
                          that this "repose" constituted a female component needed for them to become
                          androgynous? (Whereas the passive female would need to be led to action, as
                          in 114, to androgynize her inherent female passivity?) OK, but what about
                          the notion of unity (oneness)? The author thinks that that's desirable, but
                          we've labelled it a masculine element, so how does that fit with the ideal
                          of androgyny? It may be that "the one" that "the two" were to become was
                          thought to be an androgynous unity (reflective of "the realm of the Nous"
                          you mentioned?), somewhat different than the ideal oneness of God or the
                          Monad, but I confess to being somewhat confused on this issue.

                          Regards,
                          Mike Grondin
                          Mt. Clemens, MI
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