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Re: [GTh] Aposryphon of John, and Monadology

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  • fmmccoy
    ... From: Tom Saunders To: Sent: Thursday, April 07, 2005 3:21 AM Subject: [GTh] Aposryphon of John, and
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 10 9:27 AM
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Tom Saunders" <tom@...>
      To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Thursday, April 07, 2005 3:21 AM
      Subject: [GTh] Aposryphon of John, and Monadology


      > "And I {John Z.} asked to know it, {The secrets} and he {Jesus} said to
      me, "The Monad is a monarchy with nothing above it. It is he who exists as
      God and Father of everything, the invisible One who is above everything, who
      exists as incorruption, which is in the pure light into which no eye can
      look."
      >
      > Nothing could be more clear than the "Apocryphon of John" Zebedee is an
      explanation that Jesus is teaching him that he is the One or Monad. The text
      follows a line of 'polarity from one form to another, including five seals,
      seven forms of evil, (Which may parallel Mary) and other numerical
      combinations of what seem to be essential elements. I mean essential
      elements in the way the Taoist model of the I Ching uses them (trigrams)
      with symbolic meanings representing essential elements.

      Hi Tom!

      I seriously doubt that there is any connection between the thought in AofJ
      and Taoist ideas about Tao, Yin and Yang, and the trigrams. The reason for
      my doubt is illustrated in the following analysis of a section of AofJ that
      I have rather arbitrarily split into 19 lines for ease of analyzing it.

      Line 1 For it is he [alone] who told it to us, and it is he alone who looks
      at him in his light which surrounds [him]. This is the spring of the water
      of life which gives to [all] the aeons and in every form.

      The "he", here, is the Monad, of whom it is said earlier, "The Monad [is a]
      monarchy with nothing above it. It is [he who] exists as [God] and Father
      of everything, [the invisible one] who is above [everything, who is]
      imperishability, existing [as] pure light which no [eye] can behold. He [is
      the] invisible [Spirit]; it is not right [to think] about him as a god, or
      something similar. For he is more than a god, since there is no one above
      him, not does anyone lord it over him."

      In the AoJ, then, the Monad, is the supreme being--higher than any
      so-called god. As such, he is God, the Father of everything, the invisible
      Spirit, and a type of pure light.

      Surrounding him is a type of light that also is the spring of the water of
      life.

      Within this light that is also the spring of the water of light is an
      otherwise unidentified "him"

      Line 2 He [gazes upon] his image which he sees in the spring of the {Spirit.
      He] puts his desire in his light-[water, that is] the spring of the [pure]
      light-water [which] surrounds him.

      As the Monad gazes upon the spring of light-water surrounding himself, he
      sees an image of himself reflected in it. That is to say, he gazes upon his
      Image.

      This tells us the identity of the "him" that the Monad, in line 1, looks
      upon within the light that is also the spring of the water of life . This
      him is the Image.of the Monad.

      The Monad places his desire within the spring of light-water surrounding
      him. That is to say, he makes the Image of himself that is within the
      spring of light-water to desire himself.

      Line 3 And [his Ennoia performed a] deed and she came forth, [namely] she
      who had [appeared] before him in [the shine of] his light.

      So, this Image of himself, who had appeared to him before in the light-water
      as a *male* figure, when drawn by desire for himself, appears as a *female
      figure*--his Ennoia. So, this Image of the Monad is both a male and a
      female.

      As a result, this Image is a hermaphrodite in the sense of being a
      combination of a male and a female. At some times its male side is what is
      manifest, at other times its female side--like a coin which alternatively
      presents itself to one as its heads side and its tails side.

      Line 4 This is the first [power which was] before all of them (and) [which
      came] forth from his mind, that [is the Pronoia of the All].

      Here, we learn three more things about the Image of the Monad. First, this
      Image is the first power in the sense of being before all other powers.
      Second, this Image came forth from the mind of the Monad. Third, this Image
      is His Pronoia.
      .
      Line 5 Her light [is the likeness of the] light, the [perfect] power which
      is [the] image of the invisible, virginal Spirit who is perfect.

      The Image is the perfect power of the perfect Monad, the invisible Spirit,
      and this perfection of the Image is demonstrated in her light (i.e., mind)
      being the likeness of the light (i.e., mind) of the Monad.

      Line 6 [The first power], the glory, Barbelo, the perfect glory in the
      aeons, the glory of the revelation, who glorified the virginal Spirit and
      praised him, because thanks to him she had come forth.

      The Image, the first power (line 4), is called Barbelo. This Image
      glorified the Monad, the Spirit, because, thanks to him, she had come forth
      from his mind--the light-water that surrounds him.

      Line 7 This is the first thought, his image; she became the womb of
      everything for she is prior to them all, the Mother-Father, the first Man,
      the holy Spirit, the thrice-male, the thrice-powerful, the thrice-named
      androgynous one, and the eternal aeon among the invisible ones, and the
      first to come forth.

      This Barbelo is the first thought of his mind and his Image.

      As this Barbelo is the womb of everything, and as this Barbelo is both male
      and female, this Barbelo is the Mother-Father.

      Because this Barbelo is the "him" beheld by the Monad (line 1), this Barbelo
      is the first Man.

      Because this Barbelo is the Image of the Monad, the invisible Spirit, she,
      too, is Spirit.

      Being Mother-*Father*, first Man, and Spirit, Barbelo is thrice male and
      thrice powerful. Yet, being *Mother-Father*, Barbelo is also a thrice-named
      androgynous one.

      She not only is the first to come forth from him but, beyond that, is an
      eternal aeon. He is eternal, so she, his Image, is also eternal.

      Line 8 <She> requested from the invisible, virginal Spirit, that is Barbelo,
      to give her foreknowledge. And the Spirit consented.

      She, i.e., Barbelo, makes a request of the invisible Spirit, i.e., the
      Monad. This Monad is also a Barbelo because, since his Image is Barbelo,
      then he, the original, is a Barbelo as well. The request she makes of the
      Monad is that he give her foreknowledge and he consents to this.

      Line 9 And when he had [consented}, the foreknowledge came forth, and it
      stood by the Pronoia; it originates from the thought of the invisible,
      virginal Spirit.

      She, as the first thought of the invisible Spirit, is the womb of everything
      that came forth (line 7). Further, she is the Pronoia (line 4). As a
      result, when the invisible Spirit (i.e., the Monad) consented to her having
      foreknowlege, she, as the first thought, became the womb in which this
      foreknowledge developed and came forth. Then it stood by her as the
      Pronoia.

      Line 10 It glorified him [and] his perfect power, Barbelo, for thanks to
      her it had come into being."

      Foreknowledge glorified him (i.e., the invisible Spirit, the Monad) because
      he consented to its birth, but it came to birth through his thought (i.e.,
      Barbelo, the Mother-Father of all), so foreknowlege glorified her as well.

      Line 11 And she requested again to grant her [indestructibility], and he
      consented.

      She requested the invisible Spirit, i..e., the Monad, to grant her
      indestuctibility, and he consented.

      Line 12 When he had [consented], indestructibility [came] forth, and it
      stood by the throught and the foreknowledge.

      When he consented, then she gave birth to indestructibility and it stood by
      her, the (first) thought (line 7), and by foreknowledge.

      Line 13 It glorified the invisible One and Barbelo thanks to whom they had
      come into being.

      Indestructibility glorified the invisible Spirit, i.e., the Monad, and
      Barbelo, through whom both itself and foreknowledge came into being.

      Line 14 And Barbelo requested to grant her eternal life. And the invisible
      Spirit consented.

      Self-explanatory.

      Line 15 And when he had consented, eternal life came forth, and [they
      stood] and they glorified the invisible [Spiit] and Barbelo thanks to whom
      they had come into being.

      When the invisible Spirit, i.e., the Monad, consented, eternal life came
      forth from her, i.e., Barbelo. It then stood with foreknowlege and
      indestructibility and they glorified the invisible Spirit and Barbelo for
      bringing them into being.

      Line 16. And she requested again to grant her truth. And the invisible
      Spirit consented.

      Self-explanatory.

      Line 17 Truth came forth, and they stood and glorified the invisible,
      excellent Spirit and his Barbelo thanks to whom they had come into being.

      After the invisible Spirit consented, and Barbelo gave birth, truth stood
      with foreknowledge, indestructibility, and eternal life and they all
      glorifed the invisible Spirit and Barbelo for bringing them into being.

      Line 18 This is the five-aeon of the Father which is the first Man, the
      image of the invisible Spirit; it is the Pronoia which is Barbelo, the
      thought and the foreknowledge and the indestructibility and the eternal life
      and the truth.

      The Father is the Monad (see discussion on line 1) and he has a five-aeon.

      The first of the five aeons is the first Man--the him perceived by the Monad
      in line 1. This first aeon is also the Image of the Monad mentioned in line
      2. This first aeon is also the Pronoia mentioned in line 4. This first
      aeon is also the Barbelo mentioned in line 6. This first aeon is also the
      (first) thought mentioned in line 7.

      The second of the five aeons is the foreknowledge that comes into being in
      line 9.

      The third of the five aeons is the indestructibility that comes into being
      in line 12.

      The fourth of the five aeons is the eternal life that comes into being in
      line 15.

      The fifth of the five aeons is the truth that comes into being in line 15.

      Since the Father (i.e., the Monad) has them as a five-aeon, rather than as
      five separate aeons, they are conceptualized to all be a part of a single
      being. Since the other four aeons came forth from the first aeon, this
      single being is the first aeon--the first Man, the Image of the Monad, the
      Pronoia, the Barbelo, and the (first) thought.

      Line 19 This is the androgynous five-aeon, which is the ten-aeon, which is
      the Father.

      This first aeon, which is also the five-aeon, is both male and female, so
      there is a sense in which it is a ten-aeon composed of five female aeons and
      five male aeons. Since this first aeon, which is also the five-aeon and the
      ten-aeron, is the Image of the Monad, which is the Father, it can be said to
      be the Father.

      This is the last of the lines to be analyzed.

      What have we learned about the thought of the AofJ?

      Well, first of all, we have learned that there is the Monad who is Father
      and God and the invisible Spirit. This monad has a mind. This tells us
      that this Monad is not Tao--for the Tao does not have a mind.

      Second, we have learned that that the Monad's first thought is of himself,
      so that his first thought is his Image. There is nothing comparable to this
      in Taoist thought. The Tao has no mind and does not think and, so, does not
      have a first thought that is its Image.

      Third, we have learned that the Monad's first thought, his Image, is both
      male and female. So, the One gives rise to a one who is a two.

      At first glance, this reflects Taoist thought, in which the One (i.e., Tao)
      gives rise to a one that gives rise to a two. So, Tao Te Ching 42 begins:
      The Tao begot one.
      One begot two.
      Two begot three.
      And three begot the ten thousand things.

      The one begotten by the Tao is the circular Yin-Yang symbol, the t'ai chi
      t'u. While a one, it is, yet, a two in that it is composed of Yin and Yang.
      Further, the Yin can be spoken of as feminine and the Yang can be spoken of
      as masculine. So, like the first thought of the Monad that is his Image, the
      t'ai chi t'u is a one that is both female and male.

      However, on closer examination, we see some radical differences.

      For example, in the t'ai chi t'u, the Yin and the Yang represent two polar
      forces and they give rise to the three (i.e., the trigrams). However, in
      the
      first thought of the Monad that is his Image, the male and female do not
      represent polar forces and they do not give rise to trigrams..

      We should not be surprised to see these radical differences between the t'ai
      chi t'u and his Image because the source for the concept of the Monad's
      Image being both male and female is not Taoist thought but, rather, biblical
      thought as expressed in Gen. 1:27, "And God made man, according to the Image
      of God he made him, male and female he made them."

      Fourth, we have learned that his first thought, his Image, is named the
      Pronoia and Barbelo and that the Monad enabled this Pronoia and Barbelo to
      make himself/herself have foreknowledge, indestructibility, eternal life and
      truth. There is nothing comparable to this in Taoist thought.

      So, Tom, while there are superficial features suggesting some connection
      between the thought of the AofJ and Taoism, a deeper analysis suggests that
      there are no real connections between the thought of the AofJ and Taoism.

      Regards,

      Frank McCoy
      1809 N. English Apt. 15
      Maplewood, MN USA 55109
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