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Re: [GTh] Puline Thought?

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  • sarban
    ... From: Tom Saunders To: Sent: Saturday, August 28, 2004 1:15 PM Subject: [GTh] Puline Thought? ... to
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 28, 2004
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Tom Saunders" <tom@...>
      To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Saturday, August 28, 2004 1:15 PM
      Subject: [GTh] Puline Thought?

      > Hi Mike.
      > " In Pauline thought, to be baptized is to partake of J's death (and THEN
      to enter the new life of the spirit)."
      > In Gnostic thought this would be similar if the water symbolized Jesus in
      the same way, but I doubt it. The Gospel of Phillip is not based upon
      Pauline thought, and neither is Thomas.
      > Phillip says a few things about baptism that are not going to correlate
      with orthodox views of baptism.
      > "The chrism is superior to baptism for it is from the word chrism that we
      have been called Christians, certainly not from the word baptism."
      > In the "Nag Hammadi Lib. on page 153, the second paragraph is badly
      damaged and I don't want to speculate what it says. The third paragraph is
      revealing that there is a view point of 'some' that receiving baptism means
      avoiding death.
      > "Those who say they will die and first and rise are in error. If they do
      not first receive the resurrection (Chrism is perhaps symbolic here to
      resurrection) while they live when they die they will receive nothing. So
      also when talking about baptism, They say Baptism is a great thing, because
      when people receive it they will live."
      > And Phillip falls short here of saying 'they' like those hoping for a
      Pauline Baptism, are in error. He does say on the bottom of pg. 153, "That
      he who has been anointed (received the chrism) possesses everything. He
      possesses the resurrection (apokatastasis), the light, (The Word), the
      cross, and the holy spirit. The father gave him this in the bridal
      > The 'new life of the spirit' for the Gnostic is not with the baptism, it
      is with the chrism ( apokatastasis), with the Holy Spirit. I think both oil
      of the chrism, and water of the baptism make the substances symbolic in much
      the same way, but to different processes, and beliefs about them. Phillip is

      not talking about a Pauline theory, unless Paul subscribed to the
      > In NHL on page 488, "On Baptism A" it states that the first baptism is for
      the forgiveness of sins. It is clear that the Gnostics had a baptism
      ceremony, but I see it having nothing to do with an orthodox philosophy,
      like Pauline thought. 'Baptism B' is a whopper..... " From the world into
      the Jordan {baptismal water} and from the blindness of the world, into the
      sight of God, from the carnal into the spiritual, into the angelic, from the
      created {by apokatastasis}, into the Pleroma." These baptism descriptions
      are probably from Valentinus.
      > An interesting Gnostic is this author of Phillip. He drops a hint who he
      might be in terms of his lineage....Pge 153 NHL. "The father anointed the
      Son, and the Son anointed the Apostle's, and the Apostles anointed us." Us
      would be the lineage of, Polycarp, Barnabus, Pantaenus, Heracleon,
      Basilides, Isadore, Valentinus, Clement, etc. It also puts Phillip in the
      early Christian movement. How early does anyone think the GPhil could have
      been written based on 'us' being a 1st generation Christian?
      Hi Tom

      The Gospel of Philip is normally dated to the 3rd century, usually
      later rather than earlier in that century. I regard it as Valentinian
      in origin.

      The idea of a second ceremony of chrismation following water
      baptism is probably not very early.
      We find it in orthodox and Gnostic practice from the end of the
      2nd century on and it probably goes back to at least the middle
      of the 2nd century.

      (For orthodox examples see eg Hippolytus 'Apostolic Tradition'
      chapter 21. In Western orthodox circles this will become the rite
      of confirmation after baptism.)

      The early Valentinian practice seems to have involved anointing
      as an essential prelude to water baptism. See Nag Hammmadi XI
      40,1-29 towards the end of the Valentinian Exposition (page 487
      in the standard edition). Although the treatment of water baptism in
      XI 40, 30-41,38 (page 488) refers to it as the first baptism IMO
      the implied second baptism is a spiritual event possibly after death
      and not an earthly ceremony at all.

      (For Valentinian sacraments see also Irenaeus 'Against Heresies'
      book 1 chaper 21)

      This appears to derive from the general Syrian practice (both
      orthodox and Gnostic) of making Chrismation an essential prelude
      to water baptism. This probably goes back to at least the beginning
      of the 2nd century CE and is expressed in several places in the Acts
      of Thomas. It survived in Orthodox Christian practice in Syria and
      further East for some time. See the liturgical homilies of Narsai and
      the recently discoved catechetical lectures of John Chrysostom.
      (At least according to the standard texts I haven't myself read either).

      I have a more general concern about the relation of this to the
      Gospel of Thomas. What is notable about Thomas is the absence
      of any unambiguous references to sacramental practices. This is
      rather unusual compared to both orthodox and gnostic material
      and hence interpreting Thomas using strongly sacramental material
      either gnostic or orthodox is IMO very problematic.

      Andrew Criddle
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