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Re: [GTh] The Monad as Father

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  • fmmccoy
    ... From: Michael Grondin To: Sent: Wednesday, February 02, 2005 10:45 AM Subject: Re: [GTh] Lunar Cycles
    Message 1 of 4 , Feb 3, 2005
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@...>
      To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Wednesday, February 02, 2005 10:45 AM
      Subject: Re: [GTh] Lunar Cycles and Lines in the GThomas Text


      > In any
      > case, I'm happy to regard the Monad (i.e., the number 1) as a kind of
      > hermaphroditic "Father", rather than as a properly male one. This has to
      be,
      > since the Monad was regarded as progenitor of all the numbers, both male
      and
      > female.

      But, did any 1st-5th century people think that the Monad is a hemaphroditic
      Father?

      Now, it certainly was understood back then that a hemaphrodite can be a
      Father. So, quoting from a now-lost work attributed to Simon Magus,
      Hippolytus thusly states in The Refutation of All Heresies (Book VI, Chapter
      XIII), "But this is a Father who sustains all things, and nourishes things
      that have beginning and end. This is he who stood, stands, and will stand
      (i.e., the Standing One), being an hermaphrodite power...".

      However, to the best of my knowledge, the Monad was *not* understood to be a
      hermaphrodite. At least, in the Roman era literature I have read, I do not
      recall this ever having been said to be the case.

      Why, at the time, did nobody apparently believe the Monad to be a
      hermaphrodite? Well, since a hermaphrodite is both sexes, people at the
      time, while granting that it is a unity in one sense, also argued that it is
      a duality in another sense. For example, in another part of the excerpt
      from the now lost work attributed to Simon Magus, it is said that the
      Standing One "being unity is discovered duality, an hermaphrodite having the
      female in itself." So, I suspect, they denied that the Monad is a
      hermaphrodite on the basis that the Monad is One, while a hermaphrodite is a
      duality of two sexes. But this is only a guess on my part.

      > So what have we got in the combination of line 280 with lines
      69-70?
      > Apparently, a doubly-perfect Monad (because of its line number 280 and its
      > block number 6) joining with a "female" (2 lines containing the
      imperfection
      > of that extra 10-letter word 'until it lights up'), to produce a
      "heavenly"
      > male child of three lines containing 70 letters. Would you agree with
      that?

      Diogenes Laertius (viii. 25) attributes, to the Pythagoreans, the doctrine
      that "the principle of all things is the monad or unit; arising from the
      monad the undefined (haoristos) dyad or two serves as material substratum to
      the monad which is cause; from the monad and the undefined dyad spring
      numbers".

      It is said here that numbers spring from the Monad and the Dyad. However,
      and this is a key point, they are not said to spring from the mating of the
      Monad and the Dyad. So, here, the Monad apparently is *not* a Father in
      the sense of begettiing numbers by mating with the Dyad.

      Note that, here, the Monad gives rise to the Dyad and the Dyad is the
      "material substratum", i.e., the created. So, in terms of Pythagorean
      thought, it would be ok to speak of the Monad as being Father in the sense
      of being the Maker of the Dyad, the created.

      This also is ok in Philonic thought. So, in Som ii (70), Philo states,
      "Observe that Adam, that mass of earth, is doomed to die when he touches the
      twofold tree (Gen. ii. 9), thus honoring the two before the one, and
      revering the created rather than the Maker." Here, the idea is that one is
      the Maker and two is the created. So, in terms of Philonic thought, the One
      or Monad is Father in the sense of being the Maker of the Two, the created..

      This is even ok in Barbeliotic thought--see AoJ (2), "The Monad [is
      a] monarchy, with nothing above it. It is [he who] exists as [God] and
      Father of everything,...". Here, the Monad appears to be Father in the
      sense of fathering what is created rather than in the sense of fathering
      numbers through mating with the Dyad.

      The bottom line: In Pythagorean, Philonic, and Barbeliotic thought, the
      Monad is Father in the sense of being the Maker of the created. Conversely,
      to the best of my knowledge, nobody believed the Monad to be Father in the
      sense of begetting the other numbers by mating with the Two. So, I find
      implausible the hypothesis that one of the rules for solving the postulated
      word puzzle in the Coptic text of GTh is that one line (a Monad, so to
      speak) can mate with two lines (a Dyad so to speak) to father three lines
      (a son so to speak).

      Also, since this hypothesis is inconsistent with the apparent Barbeliotic
      belief that the Monad is Father in the sense of fathering what is created
      rather than in the sense of fathering numbers through mating with the Dyad,
      it apparently is inconsistent with the current formulation of the theory
      that the Coptic text of GTh is a word puzzle. This is because, as currently
      formulated, one of the key underlying premises of this theory is that
      Barbeliotic thought is to be used in solving the puzzle.

      One final note. For those who are interested in the question of whether
      there might be any numerical significance to line 280/block 6, I strongly
      suggest reading Exodus, Book II, Sect. 87--where Philo discusses the
      numerical significance of both 28 and 280 and relates 28 to 6 at one point.

      Frank McCoy
      1809 N. English Apt. 15
      Maplewood, MN USA 55109
    • Michael Grondin
      ... OK. No problem. ... As I recall, I asked you what you thought of the symbolism that I suggested. You think the suggested symbolism is incorrect. OK, fine,
      Message 2 of 4 , Feb 3, 2005
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        Frank McCoy writes:
        > ... to the best of my knowledge, the Monad was *not* understood to be a
        > hermaphrodite.

        OK. No problem.

        > ... I find
        > implausible the hypothesis that one of the rules for solving the
        > postulated
        > word puzzle in the Coptic text of GTh is that one line (a Monad, so to
        > speak) can mate with two lines (a Dyad so to speak) to father three lines
        > (a son so to speak).

        As I recall, I asked you what you thought of the symbolism that I suggested.
        You think the suggested symbolism is incorrect. OK, fine, but that doesn't
        alter the fact that 280 is intended to be put together with 69-70. That's
        indicated by numerical and syntactical pointers, and is independent of
        whatever symbolism can be found for it. In other words, it doesn't matter
        what the joining of these segments might have MEANT (though it'd be
        interesting to know) - the brute fact is that the authors intended them to
        be put together.

        > Also, since this hypothesis is inconsistent with the apparent Barbeliotic
        > belief that the Monad is Father in the sense of fathering what is created
        > rather than in the sense of fathering numbers through mating with the
        > Dyad,
        > it apparently is inconsistent with the current formulation of the theory
        > that the Coptic text of GTh is a word puzzle. This is because, as
        > currently
        > formulated, one of the key underlying premises of this theory is that
        > Barbeliotic thought is to be used in solving the puzzle.

        Again, the "hypothesis" as you call it, was simply an idea that occurred to
        me. If it's inconsistent with Barbeliote belief, then it's inconsistent with
        the theory, as you say, and it'll have to go. The theory is correct.
        Symbolic interpretations of moves involved in solving the puzzle are gravy.

        > One final note. For those who are interested in the question of whether
        > there might be any numerical significance to line 280/block 6, I strongly
        > suggest reading Exodus, Book II, Sect. 87--where Philo discusses the
        > numerical significance of both 28 and 280 and relates 28 to 6 at one
        > point.

        My edition of Philo doesn't have "Questions and Answers on Exodus". Perhaps
        you can pass on what Philo has to say there.

        Mike Grondin
      • fmmccoy
        ... From: Michael Grondin To: Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2005 11:34 PM Subject: Re: [GTh] The Monad as
        Message 3 of 4 , Feb 4, 2005
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          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@...>
          To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2005 11:34 PM
          Subject: Re: [GTh] The Monad as Father


          > My edition of Philo doesn't have "Questions and Answers on Exodus".
          Perhaps
          > you can pass on what Philo has to say there.

          Here is the relevent passage:
          But at the present time the natural virtue of the number 28 must be set
          down. Now it is the first perfect number equal to its parts, and it has the
          matter of its substance from three, and especially for this reason is
          concordant with the first six, for six is the first equal to its parts.
          Accordingly, this number has one good. And it has still another essence
          (ousian) through the number seven, since it is composed of units which go
          singly from one to seven, as follows: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 making 28. And the
          third is that it multiplies the number seven, being four times seven or
          seven times four. Now the number four is also related in species to the
          number seven, and there is nothing more perfect. By these numbers the
          theologian (ho theologos) says the tabernacle was erected, making the length
          of the ten curtains twenty-eight cubits (each) and the total two hundred and
          eighty, while the (total breadth) was forty. And the power which the number
          forty brings to living beings has already been spoken of. As for the number
          two hundred and eighty, it is forty multiplied by seven, and the number
          seven is dedicated to God.

          Here, Philo states that he earlier spoke about the number 40 and the power
          it brings to life, and the reference perhaps is to Mos ii (84)--where Philo
          speaks about "forty, the most prolific of life, which gives the time in
          which, as we are told, the man is fully formed in the laboratory of nature."
          Apparently, this statement is based upon the premise that it is forty weeks
          from the conception of a human being to the birth of this human being..

          So, it is clear from above, Philo related 280 to the number 7 in its aspect
          as something dedicated to God and to the number 40 as the number of weeks
          for gestation and birth.

          Might this Philonic idea relate to line 280?

          Possibly.

          It reads, "Come into being as you pass away."

          In this case,.that this passage is to be found on line 280 (which is 40x7)
          is to indicate to the reader that (since 40 relates to gestation and birth)
          one's coming into being is a type of gestation and birth in which (since
          seven is dedicated to God) that being born is dedicated to God. As a
          result, the reader is given the insight to recognize that this passage
          regards one's rebirth from an old self emeshed in the world to a new self
          dedicated to God and what is holy.

          The bottom line: I think that Michael Grondin has made a very important
          discovery regarding the Coptic text of GTh, i.e., that the lines are
          deliberately arranged into 24 blocks and that the line numbers and block
          numbers are significant. What I have difficulty accepting is his further
          idea that these blocks and lines constitute a word-puzzle. Rather, I
          suspect, they are designed to help the insightful reader to properly
          intepret what (s)he is reading. So, for example, I suggest (for reasons
          given above) that the saying, "Come into being as you pass away.", has been
          deliberately placed on line 280 so as to help enable the insightlul reader
          to understand that it can be roughly paraphrased, "Be reborn as a new self
          dedicated to God as you die to your old self emeshed in the world."

          Frank McCoy
          1809 N. English Apt. 15
          Maplewood, MN USA 55109
        • Michael Grondin
          ... Thanks very much, Frank. Doubly so, because this identifies for me a stopping-point beyond which I have to convince people. In any case, once one gets to
          Message 4 of 4 , Feb 4, 2005
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            Frank McCoy writes:
            > The bottom line: I think that Michael Grondin has made a very important
            > discovery regarding the Coptic text of GTh, i.e., that the lines are
            > deliberately arranged into 24 blocks and that the line numbers and block
            > numbers are significant. What I have difficulty accepting is his further
            > idea that these blocks and lines constitute a word-puzzle.

            Thanks very much, Frank. Doubly so, because this identifies for me a
            stopping-point beyond which I have to convince people. In any case, once one
            gets to this point, a very important implication follows - namely, that the
            scribe who penned this manuscript was NOT free to write however many letters
            he wanted on each line. In order for line 280 to contain the desired
            contents, it would have been necessary for the scribe to strictly adhere to
            the prototype from which he was copying. But then what about line 9 - which
            is half blank? Presuming that line 9 of the prototype was full, and that the
            half-blank line was due to an imperfection in the papyrus (which is what the
            experts say - in spite of the fact that papryral imperfections are very
            small - about the size of a letter or two), then the scribe would have had
            to make up for that imperfection by putting additional letters on lines
            below, so that he could return to copying the prototype faithfully as soon
            as he could. But there's no evident attempt to cram letters onto lines
            following line 9. The 8 lines following line 9, for example, contain
            23+25+24+24+23+25+24+22 = 190 letters. But the 8 lines prior to line 9
            contain 26+26+23+26+24+24+24+23 = 196 letters! In other words, the average
            size of the 8 lines which FOLLOW the supposed papyral imperfection (where
            the scribe should apparently be making up for lost ground on line 9) is even
            LESS THAN the 8 lines that PRECEDE the supposed imperfection!

            I have an explanation for line 9, but one has to cross over the Jordan to
            the puzzle theory to accept it. Line 9 is supposed to be half-blank. It was
            half-blank in the prototype that the scribe was copying from. It had to be
            half-blank because something is supposed to be moved there from somewhere
            else. Its size (12 letters) is symbolically significant - like the
            same-sized last line of ApocJn - 'IS PE-XRS 2AMHN' ('Jesus the-Christ
            Amen'). But let's assume that you're not yet ready to cross over the Jordan
            into the Puzzle Theory, because - let's face it - the theory is patently
            unbelievable. OK, then, what you have to explain is (1) a papyral
            imperfection of impossible size, and (2) the evident lack of any attempt by
            the scribe to make up for that lost ground.

            > But at the present time the natural virtue of the number 28 must be set
            > down. Now it is the first perfect number equal to its parts, and it has
            > the
            > matter of its substance from three, and especially for this reason is
            > concordant with the first six, for six is the first equal to its parts.

            Could you recheck this, Frank? It seems like the second line should read
            that 28 is the SECOND perfect number equal to its parts, right? Or did Philo
            or the printer make a mistake there?

            Mike Grondin
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