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Re: [GTh] Ineffable Human Flaws

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  • Michael Grondin
    ... I ve been unable to find the phrase science of the Trilogy in the chapter on Origen. Can you give a page number? (BTW, the title of the book is Early
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 21, 2005
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      Tom Saunders writes:

      > Leloup, in his "Gospel of Philip" points out the process of Holy Unions,
      > which also applies to the concept of Gnosis in the triads of both Father,
      > Mother, Son, and Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. This bonding is described
      > by Origen and many of his students, who focused on the bonding in the
      > 'Science of the Trilogy" as it is described in "Early Christian
      > Mysticism," by McGinn.

      I've been unable to find the phrase 'science of the Trilogy' in the chapter
      on Origen. Can you give a page number? (BTW, the title of the book is "Early
      Christian Mystics".)

      A word here on the McGinns book: It's a simplified, popularized version of
      what was said about 12 historical figures from Origen down to the year 1200
      in Bernhard McGinn's multi-volume work _The Presence of God: A History of
      Western Christian Mysticism_. In _Early Christian Mystics_, the only chapter
      that may be relevant to our focus is that on Origen - and ISTM that even
      that's questionable, given that every dating I'm aware of puts the original
      Thomas prior to Origen.

      More importantly, I'm concerned about something I see a little of in the
      McGinns book and a lot of in Tom's writings - namely, a tendency to go
      beyond the proper role of the historian and step over the line into
      considerations of present-day personal relevance. In the case of the McGinns
      book, this comes into play in what they call the "Conclusion" of each
      chapter. Some of the material in these "Conclusions" is truly what it ought
      to be - namely, a summary of the historical information in the chapter just
      concluding. In some cases, however, the authors indulge in what I believe to
      be an unfortunate and unscholarly attempt to tell the reader how the
      thoughts of these historical persons might be applied in the reader's own
      life. This kind of stuff is proper for a Christian inspirational book; it's
      not proper for a book which purports to be historically-oriented - and hence
      fit for an audience which includes not only Christians, but non-Christians
      and even (gasp!) agnostics and atheists as well. Insofar as Tom and others
      who read this book take it to be an example of good scholarly practice, the
      influence of the McGinns "conclusions" is pernicious way beyond their
      relatively pallid contents.

      Tom himself gets into "contemporary relevance" mode in such statements as:

      > As we seek truth and enlightenment we see that harmony and balance can be
      > seen as the clarity between the Aphorist and Scientist, The quest is to
      > seek clarity, to understand the knowledge of something, and determine its
      > value to truth or sophism, good and evil, Yin and Yang, with the catalyst
      > of the "One."

      What I can barely make out in this poorly-worded mish-mash is some statement
      about what "we" seek and what "we" see. But who is "we"? And why is what
      "we" seek in our personal lives at all relevant to an historical
      investigation? I for one see very little value in "aphorism". IMO, then,
      congratulations are in order for the 5th century BCE Pythagoreans if, as
      Barnes maintains, they split over the combination of religious and
      scientific ideas in their founder's mind, after his death. It's been a long
      climb for science to slough off mysticism, and no advance in suggesting that
      they be conjoined once more. That's me, of course, but presumably I'm part
      of "we", so who is Tom speaking for - or to - when he talks about what "we"

      More generally, the point of Tom's grand synthesis (or harmonizing, if you
      will) seems to be more an effort to cobble together a _modern day_ theology
      of his own making than to understand the real relationships between the
      systems he lumps together on the basis of vague similarities. Any two things
      are similar in some respects and different in others. To ignore the
      dissimilarities, as Tom does, is to engage in some personal program that -
      whatever it is - doesn't exhibit the degree of impartiality required of true

      Mike Grondin
      Mt. Clemens, MI
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