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The division of the soul

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  • Tom Saunders
    Hi Mike, Necessarily, there s some inexactitude here. What I hope to discover is whether the scheme is *basically* correct, i.e., whether it fairly well
    Message 1 of 3 , Jul 16, 2004
      Hi Mike,

      "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."

      I see an inexatitude in the concept of 'spirit' and what it is, and how it is portrayed both in scripture and by members of the list. The Gospels of Mary, Thomas, Phillip, and the Apn. of John, do not portray spirit like Mark, Luke, and John. The N.T. gospels portray spirit as corporeally invasive with leave to transfer into beings and ride heard over other spirits. This would mean that spirits, or demons could possess another being. This is not the portrayal of spirit in the gnostic schema.

      Frank McCoy's last post has some good points, but I think is flawed because he sees spirit and soul in his own way, while Mike associates spirit with the body in his 'dicotomy chart.' "spirit - body/flesh." Spirit and the concept of what it is to the Gnostics can be determined. There are four components to the human condition that we must consider and they are the body, soul. mind, and spirit. They are separate things but have both corporeal and non-corporeal elements. They work as a synergy.

      Clement explains in "Sromata" Bk. 6, about the elements of spirit, and they are, what can be attributed to the carnal spirit, and the ruling faculty. The Gnostic sees an early understanding of what moderns call the conscious, and subconscious mind here. These non-corporeal elements of thought are the working of the mind and 'spirit' of the self, and not Lukan demons that can be cast into swine. Examine Clement's description, sorry I don't mean to be redundant by posting this......again...

      "Now the vital force, in which is comprehended the power of nutrition and growth, and generally of motion, is assigned to the carnal spirit, which has great susceptibility of motion, and passes in all directions through the senses and the rest of the body, and through the body is the primary subject of sensations. But the power of choice, in which investigation, and study, and knowledge, reside, belongs to the ruling faculty. But all the faculties are placed in relation to one -- the ruling faculty: it is through that man lives, and lives in a certain way." (Stromata, Bk 6)

      The concept of spirit is recognized as both seen or demonstrable, through the workings of the body, which is corporeal, or the workings of the mind which is not, but both are spirit, or 'concentrations of energy.'

      The soul is regarded by the Gnostics in related texts like the "Acts of Thomas" as having five components, of form, consciousness, perception, action, and knowledge. (See also previous discussions and Palmer's book the "Jesus Sutras" where the five skandas are named as form, consciousness, perception, action and knowledge. An interesting list exists within the Apn. of John which may also elude to the elements of the soul. Tatain's "Letter to the Greeks" qualifies the soul as a special kind of spirit.)

      The Gnostics are not regarding the soul or sprit in the context of the Johnnite idea of spirit, the reanimated corpse of Jesus. The Gnostic spirit or vital force that Clement is talking about is not based upon the magic of the Johnnite or Lukan spirit. These kinds of magic spirits don't exist in Thomas, or the Gnostic scriptures.

      Spirit is a concentration of energy and a form in the platonic sense. The spirit, soul, and mind (The treasure in Mary, and see also Pisitis Sophia, where the mind and spirit are seen as separate), are trapped in the matter of the body. This eludes to the earthly (kenomic flaw) seen in the 'creation myths.'

      The act of gnosis or the ideal goal is for the soul/spirit or non-corporeal self is to ultimately bond with what Thomas calls the "Light" and the GPhil says, we bond our souls with the Holy Spirit. Apokatastasis is the bonding of the soul with the Holy Spirit, which is regarded as becoming a pneumatic, or Pneumatophoroi. This is the living resurrection that is mentioned in the GPhil. This is the 'door' so to speak as it was regarded by the Christian Gnostics.

      Heracleon regarded God or Holy Spirit as pure spirit. The nature of this spirit (Holy Spirit) would mean it has to have the same features of spirit that could bond with the human equivalent of the soul. So the human form of bonding with the Holy spirit is to bond the soul, spirit, mind, and body, with Sophia, while alive or trapped in the body (matter). ( Heracleon Fragment 24, on John 4:24 (In John 4:24a, it says,) "God is spirit." Undefiled, pure, and invisible is his divine nature.")

      So the paradigm would be:

      soul/spirit (non-corporeal concentrations of energy) - Holy Spirit (Sophia) /"The" pleroma (Concentration of energy or the "All" energy) The two become one..........

      Tom Saunders
      Platter Flats, OK

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    • Tom Saunders
      Hi Mike, 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
      Message 2 of 3 , Jul 21, 2004
        Hi Mike,

        "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."

        The light or perhaps splinther does have to be found, this is consistent with gnostic lore. The perspective of the gnostic mind (way of thinking) may be more complex. There are three parts or concerns in the process of Apolutrosis: "Redemption" as seen as being helped by the rite of initiation which helps to impart gnosis. This word refers to both the rite and what is received from it. ( according to my Gnostic Glossary) The perspective has to concern the psyche or inner self, and the relationship to the earthly or kenomic state, and the pleromic considerations. (becoming pleromic) This is a tripartite perspective.

        However, the three parts of the psyche, the body or spirit trapped in matter, and the pleromic state of those parts can be seen as one. Man is literally the same as heaven and earth. Alive in the body there can be no rest, man is always in motion, and starting with circadian rhythms is subject to 'Kyclose' or natural circulations. This is of course on all three levels of the psyche, kenomic state,( the effects of the carnal spirit) and the role the pleroma or All plays in these 'circulations.' This is way out of the linear perspective of just duality.

        The Gnostics hid things in front of us. Like gnosticism based on magic instead of logic, (Johnnite Gnosticism) or the outright practice of witchcraft we have to expect the occult in the presentation of things. I think the dualities we see in Thomas may be a ruse to get us to finally realize that in any duality there is always a pleromic element in the consideration. In other words nothing in the psyche or earthly state exists without the pleroma.

        How do you literally make a 'one?' Do you subtract it out of two or more elements, or do you build it from 'less than one' parts? And if you are able to build or create a 'one' how could you not do it out of the pleroma. Perhaps there is no such thing as one, and that is the point of Thomas dualities, and learning you are 'one.' ( If this does not make sense remember Thomas No. 2) Think about 2, and read part of 22....

        (Th-22) Jesus said to them, "When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be female, when you make eyes in place of an eye, a hand in place of a hand, a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then you will enter [the kingdom]."

        This is thinking beyond the linear perspective of dualities. Making an image in place of an image, may refer to making the soul merge with wisdom or the All (also "Light" and Word) in the pleromic state, which is known as apokatastasis, or what the GPhil refers to as living resurrection. Still, man is trapped in the kenomic fault, and in this earthly state is flawed. I'm flawed, you're flawed, spirit trapped in matter, and on earth living, trapped with each other, and all of earth's creatures, all in the pleroma. (If we see it, we are all flawed and therefor may all be incorrect and misguided)

        Now consider Th-106..... Jesus said, "When you make the two into one, you will become children of Adam, and when you say, 'Mountain, move from here!' it will move."

        No. 22 is a saying that seems directed at the individual psyche, but it may apply to apokatastasis on a communal basis, if 106 refers to those living. In both cases the understanding of duality helps create balance and harmony between different, 'ones.' But duality itself is not complex enough to completely create, "Children of Adam" so to speak.

        Note: I have used the term kenoma and kenomic because it is by definition the imperfect state of the pleroma. Kenoma: The earthly or hylic state of the being. In the Gnostic schema(s) the kenoma is the imperfect and the antithesis of pleroma (plhrwma), where all are in a state of privation and unreality. (See Iren. Haer. I.4.I (M.7.480A); ib 1.4.2 (484A); Clem.exc.Thdot.31 (p117.11; M.9.676A); Thdt.haer.I.7 (4.298).

        Tom Saunders
        Platter Flats, OK

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