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Re: [GTh] The division of the soul

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  • sarban
    ... From: Michael Grondin To: Sent: Tuesday, July 13, 2004 4:32 AM Subject: Re: [GTh] The division of the
    Message 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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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