Re: The Cave of John the Baptist.
>>>"I understand your statement here but the ability to takea 'piece' apart and put it together in our minds, to me is like
the statement in Phillip which says, 'faith receives and love
gives.' It is like an analogy to the process of breath or pneuma as
spirit. In this sense it is more than analyzing, and de-analyzing. I
don't see it in a linear, exact, or mathematical type of analysis,
completely. Gnostic works should be read as occult material.
The laws of musical harmony, are linear and fixed. The Gnostic
harmonizes with a sagacious or occult harmony in his interpretation
of Gnostic scripture, and it will not be linear in perspective or
meant to be understood like the musical harmony point you make. This
may be one point of why the Thomas Gospel is written as if in no
particular form or order. There is an opposite side to it,
maybe it is."<<<<
I understood that, Tom, which is partly why I chose music as the
example. I don't think you mean to imply that music is strictly an
anylitical process either, do you? In fact, music is an "occult"
practice in the truest meaning of the term.
Usually when somebody uses the term "harmony" in conjunction with
the study of Christian history, they are talking about the type of
early liturature called a "Harmony" in which the Gospels are spliced
together in attempt to make a cohesive whole. However, the problem
is that these Gospels were never intended to be read this way, so
these harmonies are based on certain assumptions of cohesion that
don't exist in the original works.
The same can be said of "Gnostic" works.
However, I get the impression that you are drawing a larger line
between "Gnostic" and "Orthodox" than actually historically existed,
while assumeing a greater "harmony" between Gnostic texts than
actually exists. While I do understand that you would like to
explore an outline that lends greater clarity to the points
that "Gnostic" beliefs had in common, I think that this line of
literary interaction may have less meaning on that front than it may
be tempting to see in them.
The case becomes more difficult when we are talking about literary
dependence. The reason there is no "Gnostic Interpretation for
Dummies" (as you call it) is because hermaneutic outlines are given
within the confines of a group. This is even more true in the kind
of initiatory group you are talking about. In fact, this becomes so
much the case that literary origins, and even the liturature itself,
can often say very little about what a group actually believes.
Consider how different Jewish and Christian groups that use the very
same liturature are in their beliefs.
BTW, can you point out exactly where you are equating "Pneumatics"
with "Craftsman"? Since Clement is not Gnostic, in the way Sethians
are "Gnostic", I am a little bit thrown of by the equation you are
>>>"In other words, does the Gospel of Mary, Phillip, Truth, etc.,comply with the harmony we see presented in Thomas? From the "Corpus
Juris Secundum" "The first step in "looking up the law" is the
formulation of the precise question the answer to which is sought."
This is called 'fixing the question,' and it is what we have to do
to establish the harmony or parallels we can qualify as "Gnostic." I
actually think this very idea is underwritten in both Clement's
work and some of the Gnostic scripture, concerning ideas of
Fixing the question sounds, in this particular case, like a short
step from the logical fallacy of "Begging the question" and doing
this never yields accurate results. Sure, if you want to take
specific attrubutes that you desire to highlight in common with
certain texts, you could do it with ANY texts. But this fails to
deal with whether those attributes are in fact the primary concerns
of the texts involved, or whether we are creating meanings through
And, ALL this must be based on whether or not Thomas is even
technically "Gnostic". It is one thing to theorize that it is, it is
another thing to start bassing other theories on this as a base
assumption. At this point, it is like building a house on a
foundation of sand. I still think that there are other evidences you
could use to make your same case that would offer you better results.