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Re: [GTh] A core Thomas set

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  • Karl
    John.... ... And, in fact, I go further in that I question whether there is even such a thing as a Gnostic as it is etically defined. However, once again, I
    Message 1 of 15 , Oct 31, 2004
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      John....

      >>"I do not think it wise to ascribe the term Gnostic to Thomas."<<

      And, in fact, I go further in that I question whether there is even
      such a thing as a "Gnostic" as it is etically defined. However, once
      again, I think it will be difficult to offer a term that is any less
      arbitrary.

      Karl Nygren
    • sarban
      ... From: Michael Grondin To: Sent: Sunday, October 31, 2004 7:52 PM Subject: Re: [GTh] A core Thomas set
      Message 2 of 15 , Nov 1, 2004
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        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@...>
        To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Sunday, October 31, 2004 7:52 PM
        Subject: Re: [GTh] A core Thomas set


        >
        > The following publication promo from http://www.hendrickson.com seems
        > relevant to the current discussion under this thread. (MWG)
        > --------------------------------------------------------------------------
        -----------------------
        >
        > No Longer Jews
        > The Search for Gnostic Origins
        > Carl B. Smith
        > Retail Price: $29.95

        <SNIP>
        >
        > After an extensive survey of the issues, Smith provides his own
        > conclusions: first, that an early second-century dating for Gnosticism is
        > most consistent with the historical details of the period; and second,
        that
        > Egypt following the Jewish Revolt under Trajan (115-117 CE) provides a
        ripe
        > context for Gnosticism's most unique and definitive innovation, the
        > rejection of the cosmos and the Creator God of the Jews.He argues that
        > individuals closely connected with Judaism- whether Jews, Jewish
        Christians,
        > or gentile God-fearers-may have responded to the rebellion by rejecting
        the
        > God and religion that inspired this apocalyptic and messianic ferment."No
        > longer Jews," they were now free to follow a higher God and way of life.
        >
        The suggested origin is interesting.

        David Dawson. Allegorical Readers and Cultural Revision in
        Ancient Alexandria, also gives importance to the revolt in 115-117
        as leading to a drastic reinterpretation of Judaism.

        Dawson regrds the drastically allegorical interpretation of the OT
        in the 'Epistle of Barnabas' as being a result of the rebellion and its
        aftermath.

        Andrew Criddle
      • Karl
        Hey Andrew and Michael I had also wanted to talk about the specific passage of Michael s post that Andrew singles out... ... conclusions: first, that an early
        Message 3 of 15 , Nov 1, 2004
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          Hey Andrew and Michael

          I had also wanted to talk about the specific passage of Michael's
          post that Andrew singles out...

          >>>"After an extensive survey of the issues, Smith provides his own
          conclusions: first, that an early second-century dating for
          Gnosticism is most consistent with the historical details of the
          period; and second, that Egypt following the Jewish Revolt under
          Trajan (115-117 CE) provides a ripe context for Gnosticism's most
          unique and definitive innovation, the rejection of the cosmos and
          the Creator God of the Jews.He argues that individuals closely
          connected with Judaism- whether Jews, Jewish Christians, or gentile
          God-fearers-may have responded to the rebellion by rejecting the
          God and religion that inspired this apocalyptic and messianic
          ferment."No longer Jews," they were now free to follow a higher God
          and way of life."<<<

          It is an interesting theory. I feel there are some questions that
          would need to be dealt with to make this theory viable, since I have
          not read this book it is possible they are dealt with already.

          For one; while it is true that some specific sects of "Gnosticism"
          demonstrate this kind of negativity towards the cosmos and a turning
          of the Genesis myth on it's head, it is not true of all Gnosticism.
          Not only do I find the charge of "dualism" questionable, but I think
          that the charge of extreme negativity in the Gnostic view of the
          cosmos as a specifically defining attribute of the category has been
          put to rest (one example of a deconstruction of this notion would be
          in Williams, who we mentioned just a few posts ago).

          Consider some of the Valentinian texts, or perhaps the semi-
          Valentinian Tripartite Tractate. The view presented here has more in
          common with Philo than with Sethian texts.

          That brings me to my second point. It is an historical fact that
          demiurgic speculation predates the events that are presented as the
          turning point in this theory. Philo is the perfect example. Merkabah
          speculation does not have the negative view that Sethians do, but as
          I already pointed out it is not something we find in all Gnostic
          sects either.

          While outside the Jewish spectrum, we do even see the negative slant
          within a related cosmology. Take Moderatus the neo-Pythagorian, for
          instance, it is a short step to compare cosmologies, and all one
          need to do is put one of the many neo-Platonic outlines in the lingo
          of Judaism, just as Philo does, but with the negative slantÂ… and the
          skip is fairly seamless.

          I am not saying this is what happened, but we certainly don't need
          an event to explain Gnosticism when all the pieces where right there
          to be used. We should be careful not to add extra variables for no
          other purpose than to attempt to apply a date.

          Also, I am concerned with the fact that our early examples
          of "Gnosticism" are so close to the date in question that it gives
          little time for development.

          I am a little skeptical, but not denying the theory.

          Karl Nygren
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