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Response to Karl

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  • Tom Saunders
    Hi Karl, I certainly did not mean to imply that music is a strictly analytical process. However my point is that it is a structured art-form that has natural
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 8, 2005
      Hi Karl,

      I certainly did not mean to imply that music is a strictly analytical process. However my point is that it is a structured art-form that has natural tendencies which gives it certain expectations. This is what makes the "Juris Corpus Secundom" important in that it provides the same guidelines or norm for which balance and harmony in understanding the law as an instrument can be based. Its all part of a bigger picture.

      I did not think I implied that the Orthodox was so removed from the Gnostic. I think there are both subtle and profound differences. These differences separate the Gnostic from the Orthodox, and the boundaries are not yet fully understood. Certainly, we cannot look at Orthodox ideas and align them with ideas inherently Gnostic and not see they are part of a separate epistemology.

      What Orthodox ideas can contribute to understanding the Gnostic realm of ideas is precious little in my opinion. Irenaeus, Eusebius, and Hyppolytus do not present a clear idea of Gnostic ideas, but a rather distorted and offer different descriptions in their criticisms of Gnostic ideas. They did not understand, and what they say in descriptions seems to be distorted. You simply cannot nail down the epistemology of Basilides from prejudiced and distorted accounts.

      Clement isn't Gnostic? In my opinion Clement is 'the' Gnostic who preserves the 'hidden' in his works in "Stromata." This text is as close to "Gnosticism for Dummies" as can be found. Clement's description of Craftsmen being Gnostics is a plain 'slam dunk' to linking what he calls Craftsmen, with what Acts, and Pauline letters describe as 'gifted' or Pneumatics. These are clearly descriptions of Gnostics. These brief descriptions tell us little, but it does tell us they were there.

      If Davies is correct about the link of Thomas to the I-Ching, and I think he is more than he knows, we can link some information about Thomas to the fundamentals in this system of philosophy. The I-Ching, is linked to sound fundamentals, and is not all soothsaying. It is based upon sound ideas of duality. What I see the Gnostics added to these perceptions of the world, is their outlook on the human flaw as seen in the Hylic (choikus, salkas, etc.) - Psychic- Pneumatic perception of the hierarchy of Gnostic attainment. Gnostic attainment can be measured, and aligned with the degree of mastership one has in the "Crafts."

      "For to one God has given warlike deeds, To another the accomplishment of the dance, To another the lyre and song," says Homer. "But each has his own proper gift of God " -- one in one way, another in another. But the apostles were perfected in all. You will find, then, if you choose, in their acts and writings, knowledge, life, preaching, righteousness, purity, prophecy." (Clement, Bk. 4)

      Hello! No, Clement wasn't Gnostic, hell no! He wasn't at least until we had Thomas, and the NHL. Now we have to understand what Clement was talking about was exploring the human potential and using it.....

      "And now we perceive where, and how, and when the divine apostle mentions the perfect man, and how he shows the differences of the perfect. And again, on the other hand: "The manifestation of the Spirit is given for our profit. For to one is given the word of wisdom by the Spirit; to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith through the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing through the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discernment of spirits; to another diversities of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: and all these worketh the one and the same Spirit, distributing to each one according as He wills....." (Bk 4)

      Thomas is a means to install the roots of being a Craftsman, or what Clement declares above as the perfected man. Because its proposition is that it is the words of the living Jesus, it serves as a hub and catalyst for the other texts like Mary, Phillip, Truth, etc. that can be aligned with the basic harmony in achieving a higher human state. Those boundaries are not studied yet, but we're gettin thar.

      There is a point where Thomas becomes more than the Orthodox, and departs from the idea that salvation lies in the ceremonies of the Orthodox Church. As an instrument, Thomas provides a basis of understanding with Mary, Phillip, and others, that can be seen to coincide in the Gnostic goals to develop into the perfected man. The fundamental ideas of what composes the ideal here varied like, Clement v. Carpocrates.

      As King points out, the concern is based upon..."inner spiritual transformation..," ...and the Gospel of Mary provides this kind of example of that Christianity. That kind of Christianity started with Thomas. What we should be able to say about it in terms of being used as an instrument, is that its 'corpus' shows a direct relationship with Matthew, and Luke. We can say that the account of Pantaenus finding a copy of Matthew presented by the Apostle Bartholomew is historically and archeologically believed to be true. This puts the Corpus of Matthew before year 38, or likely before Peter met Mark.

      Logical deduction that Craftsmen have the "smarts" of perfect men, they would be the most likely to be literate. Because we can virtually compose Thomas from Matthew and Luke, what we need to ask is when 'Corpus-Thomas' occurred, rather than just Proto-Thomas. Corpus-Thomas being when the body of the work occurred as an instrument in the development of Craftsmen. Acts puts Craftsmen in the Apostle's Village, under Peter, and some get killed, struck down by the Holy Spirit, or somehow...... ( Acts, 5,1-11)

      What we can deduce from this socio-type, the Craftsmen, is the concept of 'wearing the garment' so to speak, this being a sign and symbol of being Pneumatic. Basil (379), mentions that he believes the 'pneumatophor' or 'spirit bearer' {Garment Wearer}, involves self-denial, and full obeisance to God." This idea is not consistent with Gnostic schema of being a pneumatophor, with the Thomas instrument if you put obedience to God in the Orthodox context, of full compliance of "Church beliefs." The Orthodox view of inner transition was for you to comply, or they murdered you. This seems to have occurred with the Acts deaths. It may reflect why the nature of Peter is downgraded in Gnostic works.

      We can put an 'end date' to Thomas as an instrument in the ancient world, in that the archeological and historical date of the 'lost gospels' is consistent with what we can glean from the burial date of the NHL. Somewhere between 334-350. By 379 we have Basil, who I think reflects a vague, and perhaps grim perspective of the pneumataphor. This leaves us with the intriguing question of what would have happened if Thomas had become a main instrument of Christianity? Because we can easily see that some church leaders, who were not considered Orthodox, but could be considered non-Gnostic also existed as a moving force in the time of Irenaeus, we can establish a range of ideals, they all called themselves Christian.

      I have no problem seeing massive differences in the ideas of personal attainment which exists in both the Orthodox and Gnostic texts. I do see one tenet of the Gnostic to regard this whole worldly mess as part of the human flaw. Overcoming that flaw in the process of Gnosis is to gain "Wisdom," specifically Jesus Wisdom. We can only speculate about how some of this Wisdom was used to create, Pneumatics or Craftsmen, which we can also call Gnostics. No doubt recognizing all the 'doomed' in the text of Thomas is part of that understanding and utility as an instrument.

      When we look at Thomas in regard to being a Proto-Gospel, we can't really see it as a 'Corpus- Gospel,' or instrument in the Gnostic process. Matthew and Luke, are not instruments of the kind of inner transcendence that the Gnostic Gospels can be aligned. What I mean by 'fixing the question,' is not in my view like 'begging the question.' 'Fixing the question' to me is the same as when the 'sword' in saying 98, hits the wall, to test the hand, etc.' It is like the universal point between yin and yang. The place between rest, and motion to paraphrase Thomas. Like the point between life and death in the consideration of where this center or 'point A,' might be. The exact correct note? The perfect form?

      Tom Saunders
      Platter, OK









      We cannot overlook the historical significance of Alexandria, in the perception of "Corpus-Thomas."




















      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Karl
      Hey Tom, you state... ... analytical process. However my point is that it is a structured art- form that has natural tendencies which gives it certain
      Message 2 of 2 , Jan 10, 2005
        Hey Tom, you state...

        >>>"I certainly did not mean to imply that music is a strictly
        analytical process. However my point is that it is a structured art-
        form that has natural tendencies which gives it certain
        expectations."<<<

        True, and I believe this was also the way the traditional groups we
        are talking about saw their initiatory process. It has become quite
        popular in sensationalist writings intended for popular consumption
        to see them reinterperate "Gnosis" as an entirely personal and
        relativistic notion. I believe this misconception comes from the
        assumption that the "know thyself" maxim meant back then exactly the
        same as it does in the modern popular sense.

        >>>"I did not think I implied that the Orthodox was so removed from
        the Gnostic. I think there are both subtle and profound differences.
        These differences separate the Gnostic from the Orthodox, and the
        boundaries are not yet fully understood. Certainly, we cannot look at
        Orthodox ideas and align them with ideas inherently Gnostic and not
        see they are part of a separate epistemology."<<<

        And yet, there was Valentinus, right in and amongst the "Orthodox"
        Christians. It is quite clear that they did not see themselves as
        seperate, only at a higher level in the initiatory process of the
        same movement as the "Orthodox" Christians.

        >>>"Clement isn't Gnostic? In my opinion Clement is 'the' Gnostic who
        preserves the 'hidden' in his works in "Stromata." This text is as
        close to "Gnosticism for Dummies" as can be found. Clement's
        description of Craftsmen being Gnostics is a plain 'slam dunk' to
        linking what he calls Craftsmen, with what Acts, and Pauline letters
        describe as 'gifted' or Pneumatics. These are clearly descriptions of
        Gnostics. These brief descriptions tell us little, but it does tell
        us they were there."<<<

        Well, I could argue that Gnosticism was not meant for Dummies *lol*.
        Seriously though, I understand that your personal definition
        of "Gnosticism" incudes groups outside the more technical usage of
        the term. On the other hand, Clement was quit explicit in his hatred
        of other groups that didn't fit his ethical or theological or
        soteriological model.

        >>>"If Davies is correct about the link of Thomas to the I-Ching, and
        I think he is more than he knows, we can link some information about
        Thomas to the fundamentals in this system of philosophy. The I-Ching,
        is linked to sound fundamentals, and is not all soothsaying. It is
        based upon sound ideas of duality. What I see the Gnostics added to
        these perceptions of the world, is their outlook on the human flaw as
        seen in the Hylic (choikus, salkas, etc.) - Psychic- Pneumatic
        perception of the hierarchy of Gnostic attainment. Gnostic
        attainment can be measured, and aligned with the degree of mastership
        one has in the "Crafts.""<<<

        It is ok to speculate, but I do draw the line at the Da Vinci code
        kind of sensationalism. Even though I think the direction you have
        taken previously has some interesting areas to open for
        conversation.... I can't converse if we are going to go off the deep
        end here. So, I hope you are not trying to tell me that Freemasons
        and the I Ching are actually "Gnosticism". Perhaps I misunderstood
        you there, so I will wait for clerification.

        >>>"Hello! No, Clement wasn't Gnostic, hell no! He wasn't at least
        until we had Thomas, and the NHL. Now we have to understand what
        Clement was talking about was exploring the human potential and using
        it....."<<<

        Perhaps, but this is irrelevant as to whether he was Gnostic. In
        order to fit the category of "Gnosticism", you need to demonstrate a
        couple of things. One, you need to show that he used the cosmology of
        Gnosticism, including a destinction between the Demiurge and the
        spiritual source (with the latter being a system of emenations from a
        single apophatic source). Two, you need to demonstrate that instead
        of Gnosis being the begining of the soteriological process, it is the
        end.

        After this point you went on to talk about the notion of being
        the "Craftsmen", but you did not answer my question about where you
        got the term.... nor my point concerning the fact that the word had
        negative meaning for many Gnostics. I am taking this moment to remind
        you. Without that I can't concede the term as more than an arbitrary
        quality you are attempting to eisegetically intropolate. This becomes
        very problematic after the possibility that you seemed to also be
        reading other religious outlines into "Gnosticism" in a sort of
        Jungian manner. I will be happy if I am wrong on this matter, but I
        do have a fear that this conversation may be starting to resemble
        the "Jesus Mysteries" rather than a sober understanding of Gnosticism
        as it was really understood by the historical practitioners.

        Karl
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