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The Bridal Chamber

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  • Tom Saunders
    Hi Mike, I think one of the biggest problems with figuring out the gnosticism in the Nag Hammadi texts is that conventional paralleling and methods used in
    Message 1 of 42 , Aug 26, 2004
      Hi Mike,

      I think one of the biggest problems with figuring out the gnosticism in the Nag Hammadi texts is that conventional paralleling and methods used in putting one piece of scripture to another is not going to work with hidden stuff. As yet I do not know of any work that has actually tried to identify parallels from scripture to the Gnostic Gospels or texts.

      The Gospel of Phillip uses breath (pneuma) and equates it with spirit....

      "By perfecting the water of baptism, Jesus emptied it of death. Thus we do go down into the water, but we do not go down into death, in order that we may not be poured out into the spirit of the world. When that spirit blows, it brings the winter. When the Holy Spirit breathes, the summer comes."

      And....

      "The soul of Adam came into being by means of a breath."

      Can you see methodology in this allegory? I can and I think that is why the gnostic implications of the two statements translate to a 'hidden' methodology of applied understanding. There was a statement by one of the anti-Gnostics that suggested they understood different meanings than everyone else, and that could well be. They had to perhaps starting in the Apostle's village.

      I can also understand why anyone might not see the 'gnosticism' here. I understand especially from you or anyone in this group who would think or state that I am just putting my own stuff into the passages. Except that we know there is a gnostic influence in the text. Somehow. That is why they are deemed Gnostic, by somebody else besides me. I see it, and it jumps out at me.

      Mandaeans were pre-Christian Persian Gnostics according to the information I gathered on them in my Glossary. If these Persians were part of the Buddhist and Taoist influences of the East their philosophy is pretty standard to generally accepted ideas of Eastern religions. Christian Gnostic philosophy goes beyond the boundaries of most Oriental explanations of what heaven is. I think the idea of being 'pleromic' had to have come from another set of folks who could be called Gnostics. Who influenced Jesus. Perhaps Bill Arnal can shed some light on the research some of his associates are doing in identifying pre-Christian gnosticism.

      Heracleon's fragments to me are an example of a Christian Gnostic perspective. Viewing the Gospel of Thomas and Phillip in a gnostic perspective is only going to happen when you start making what Clement calls "demonstrable truths" from the 'wisdom' of precepts. (form) Somebody had to have taught Heracleon and Pantaenus concepts of transcendence in gnsotic thought, and I think they knew how to hide it in allegory. Perhaps forming a framework for understanding and applying precepts like Clement seems to understand them is possible.

      To explore the gnostic concepts and realize that we are still talking about concepts related to the historical Jesus should be the focus of this group. To explore this gnosticism we have to go to brand new territory in biblical scholarship, transcendence and human philosophy.

      If we take the stance that there is a gnostic philosophy in Thomas it has to be explained. Whatever I say to the world about it won't matter. Some of you do. I don't want to be a voice in the wilderness about the idea that Jesus fostered a Gnostic following. I think he did and the Alexandreans are as close to what was left of Jerusalem after 70 A. D., as we could hope for. In my opinion we have their secret library, full of hidden stuff. I do not in any way wish to lose the scholarship values of this group in exploring the possible levels of new understanding that may well exist if extracted.

      Tom Saunders
      Platter, OK












      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Tom Saunders
      Hi Mike, I think one of the biggest problems with figuring out the gnosticism in the Nag Hammadi texts is that conventional paralleling and methods used in
      Message 42 of 42 , Aug 26, 2004
        Hi Mike,

        I think one of the biggest problems with figuring out the gnosticism in the Nag Hammadi texts is that conventional paralleling and methods used in putting one piece of scripture to another is not going to work with hidden stuff. As yet I do not know of any work that has actually tried to identify parallels from scripture to the Gnostic Gospels or texts.

        The Gospel of Phillip uses breath (pneuma) and equates it with spirit....

        "By perfecting the water of baptism, Jesus emptied it of death. Thus we do go down into the water, but we do not go down into death, in order that we may not be poured out into the spirit of the world. When that spirit blows, it brings the winter. When the Holy Spirit breathes, the summer comes."

        And....

        "The soul of Adam came into being by means of a breath."

        Can you see methodology in this allegory? I can and I think that is why the gnostic implications of the two statements translate to a 'hidden' methodology of applied understanding. There was a statement by one of the anti-Gnostics that suggested they understood different meanings than everyone else, and that could well be. They had to perhaps starting in the Apostle's village.

        I can also understand why anyone might not see the 'gnosticism' here. I understand especially from you or anyone in this group who would think or state that I am just putting my own stuff into the passages. Except that we know there is a gnostic influence in the text. Somehow. That is why they are deemed Gnostic, by somebody else besides me. I see it, and it jumps out at me.

        Mandaeans were pre-Christian Persian Gnostics according to the information I gathered on them in my Glossary. If these Persians were part of the Buddhist and Taoist influences of the East their philosophy is pretty standard to generally accepted ideas of Eastern religions. Christian Gnostic philosophy goes beyond the boundaries of most Oriental explanations of what heaven is. I think the idea of being 'pleromic' had to have come from another set of folks who could be called Gnostics. Who influenced Jesus. Perhaps Bill Arnal can shed some light on the research some of his associates are doing in identifying pre-Christian gnosticism.

        Heracleon's fragments to me are an example of a Christian Gnostic perspective. Viewing the Gospel of Thomas and Phillip in a gnostic perspective is only going to happen when you start making what Clement calls "demonstrable truths" from the 'wisdom' of precepts. (form) Somebody had to have taught Heracleon and Pantaenus concepts of transcendence in gnsotic thought, and I think they knew how to hide it in allegory. Perhaps forming a framework for understanding and applying precepts like Clement seems to understand them is possible.

        To explore the gnostic concepts and realize that we are still talking about concepts related to the historical Jesus should be the focus of this group. To explore this gnosticism we have to go to brand new territory in biblical scholarship, transcendence and human philosophy.

        If we take the stance that there is a gnostic philosophy in Thomas it has to be explained. Whatever I say to the world about it won't matter. Some of you do. I don't want to be a voice in the wilderness about the idea that Jesus fostered a Gnostic following. I think he did and the Alexandreans are as close to what was left of Jerusalem after 70 A. D., as we could hope for. In my opinion we have their secret library, full of hidden stuff. I do not in any way wish to lose the scholarship values of this group in exploring the possible levels of new understanding that may well exist if extracted.

        Tom Saunders
        Platter, OK












        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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