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Unique Sayings

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  • Tom Saunders
    Hi Johnmoon, You suggest, Or perhaps its closer to the Tatian Address to the Greeks? Come into being as you pass away. Since this is essentially a summary of
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 5, 2004
      Hi Johnmoon,

      You suggest, "Or perhaps its closer to the Tatian Address to the Greeks? Come into being as you pass away. Since this is essentially a summary of what Tatian says about the soul and the body."

      Tatian knew all the Alexandreans of the time, Marcion, and Iranaeus. What Tatian says about the spirit and soul indicate to me he is following a gnostic theology, similar in many ways to others. In this time the Gnostics have to sort out magic from demonstrable proofs, and the best science of the time. They knew there were things they could not answer. They followed different Gnostic paths, based upon what they held in belief.

      The common element between Tatian and Heracleon is the special kinds of spirit, including the Holy Spirit, and the soul, merge in gnosis. But what all the Gnostics could not have put together was the science we have today, they could have applied to Clement's notion of the carnal spirit. What we see as the sex drive, is certainly attached to Clement's notion of the carnal spirit, but early Gnostics could not sort out its proper perspective in their spirituality. I vote Ophites had the best parties.

      "Come to be as you pass away," which is Mike Grondin's translation can be applied to the same gnostic idealism, or harmony as 'be a passer-by.' You were right to point out the distinction between the translations. Still the idea is to pass into a state of transcendence. On the one hand you have to avoid the faults of the kenomic state, both personal and communal to do this, but the ultimate goal is to come into being through gnosis.

      I notice in my copy of Mike's translation he uses the word 'hate' in saying 55. Jack Killman pointed out the word should probably be translated as.....

      "Logion #55 is a good example when discussing source criticism. The word "hate" (coptic MESTE) is a translationally transmitted Aramaism of mistranslation from the Greek source for Thomas. It is, in fact, one of the proofs that the Coptic Nag Hammadi version of GoT is a translation from a Greek document used by both Luke and Matthew also...so let's trace it back.

      The Coptic MESTE is the Middle Egyptian word for "hate" written with Greek letters rather than heiroglyphs. The Coptic translator chose it to represent the Greek word MISEI, as used by Luke and Matthew. MISEI, of course, is "hate" and was used to translate the Aramaic SANA. The word
      "hate" <SANA> is Aramaic, however, is an idiom meaning "to set aside...."

      The saying makes more sense to set aside the pressure of family and community for the sake of personal transcendence. Especially if you are in conflict with the family/community's spiritual perceptions, or earthly-human flaws, gnosis is a matter of overcoming the flaws of the psyche, and the world, (environment, earthly and social). The human body was a mess, or a temple, its made the temple a mess.

      In an environment where magic and science were not seen so much as different things, and in a world where the Gnostics could not prevail over proto-Orthodox ideas, or violent force, they hid. On issues like how to view the flaws related directly to things like Clement's carnal spirit paradigm, they differed. I see an important relationship to Heracleon's, and Tatian's ideas about the nature of spirit, which I think is cohesive to Clement's ideas about both spirit, and soul in many respects. I can't say I agree with Clement's view on marriage, see "Stromata" Chapter III.

      Tom Saunders
      Platter Flats, OK















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