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Re: [GTh] The division of the soul

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  • 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 1 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

      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.

      Mike Grondin
      Mt. Clemens, MI
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