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[gthomas] Re: Three Things

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  • Tord Svenson
    ... Mike -- #13 uses the word words or things twice. Jesus tells Thomas three words --then Thomas explains to the disciples if he tells them one of these
    Message 1 of 25 , Feb 6 8:59 AM
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      At 10:18 AM 2/6/99 -0500, Mike wrote:
      -----snip --------------
      >Literally, it's three "words", Tord, although "word" might mean something
      >larger as well. As I've said before, my candidate is 61d, which is out of
      >place in 61, but which matches perfectly with what Jesu has just said to
      >Thomas in 13 before he takes him aside:
      >
      >(13e) "I'm not your master" <ANOK'PEK'CA2 AN>
      >(61d) "I'm your disciple." <ANOK'TEK'MAQHTHS>
      >
      >Remember that J has just told Thomas in 13 that he (Thomas) has become
      >drunk from drinking J's words, and that in 108, J says that whoever drinks
      >from his mouth will become like him, and that that which is hidden will
      >appear to him (the drinker). So I don't think it's like the turkey joke; I
      >think there really are "hidden things" in GThom.
      >
      >Mike
      ----------- Reply ------------------
      Mike -- #13 uses the word "words" or "things" twice. Jesus tells Thomas
      three words --then Thomas explains to the disciples if he tells them one
      of these words they will stone him. Is the Coptic word for the singular
      and plural the same root word in both cases? In your explanation the
      phrase -- "I'm your disciple" (supposedly said by Salome to Jesus) is three
      words. How then, do we get to ONE of those words causing that reaction of
      stoning? Telling the disciples that Jesus said -- "I'm" or "your" or
      "disciple" -- doesn't seem likely to do the trick -- or did Thomas say the
      phrase "one of these words"? --could it have been "these words"?

      Jesus saying to Thomas -- "I'm your disciple" and his repeating it to the
      other disciples would have been very serious from their ego focused point
      of view. I remember an incident with a famous Zen teacher that was similar
      and caused a LOT of consternation among his students -- but that's for GTh2
      :-)

      Jesus used the word "intoxicated" in another saying :
      ---------------
      28) Jesus said, "I took my place in the midst of the world, and I appeared
      to them in the flesh. I found all of them intoxicated;
      I found none of them thirsty. And My soul became afflicted for the sons of
      men, because they are blind in their hearts and do not have sight; for
      empty they came into the world, and empty too they seek to leave the world.
      But for the moment they are intoxicated. When they shake off their wine,
      then they will repent."
      -----------------
      In this case the intoxication is a barrier to the Kingdom. Could it be the
      same barrier here with Thomas? Jesus' cautioning of Thomas that he is NOT
      his master goes, IMO, with the statement about Thomas being intoxicated
      with Jesus words and that intoxication is a barrier to Thomas'
      understanding of the message of Jesus. He doesn't want Thomas to
      intellectualize about the Kingdom --he wants him to BE the Kingdom -- and
      in the Kingdom there is no such concept as "master".
      Tord
      ----------------------------

      Thanks
      Tord


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    • Mike Grondin
      ... Yes. ... Nope, but you have hit on what is admittedly a weak point in my argument. I d have to claim, I think, that I m your disciple can be
      Message 2 of 25 , Feb 6 10:21 AM
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        >(Tord): #13 uses the word "words" or "things" twice. Jesus tells Thomas
        >three words --then Thomas explains to the disciples if he tells them one
        >of these words they will stone him. Is the Coptic word for the singular
        >and plural the same root word in both cases?

        Yes. <$AJE>

        >In your explanation the
        >phrase -- "I'm your disciple" (supposedly said by Salome to Jesus) is three
        >words. How then, do we get to ONE of those words causing that reaction of
        >stoning? Telling the disciples that Jesus said -- "I'm" or "your" or
        >"disciple" -- doesn't seem likely to do the trick -- or did Thomas say the
        >phrase "one of these words"? --could it have been "these words"?

        Nope, but you have hit on what is admittedly a weak point in my argument.
        I'd have to claim, I think, that "I'm your disciple" can be viewed as a
        single word, hence that, in telling the other disciples "one of" the words,
        Thomas must of necessity tell them "all three". Now to me this has a nice
        trinitarian ring to it - you know, three-in-one. Syntactically, I'm about
        halfway home. "your-disciple" can certainly be viewed as a single word in
        Coptic. The sticking point is the Coptic word 'ANOK', which is normally a
        separate word. It does have a form which can be attached to other words,
        but that form <ANK> is never used in GThom. Since there's no spacing
        between words in the Coptic original, there's some uncertainty as to what
        counted as a "word", so I have some grounds for believing that the "weak
        link" in my argument cannot be regarded as decisive either way.

        >Jesus saying to Thomas -- "I'm your disciple" and his repeating it to the
        >other disciples would have been very serious from their ego focused point
        >of view. I remember an incident with a famous Zen teacher ...

        Forget this "ego-focused point of view" stuff. We're talking blasphemy
        here. Stoning was a common punishment for blasphemy among Hebrews. But
        blasphemy (recast as "heresy") still makes sense in Christian-gnostic
        terms. If we assume that the originators of logion 13 knew that their view
        would be considered heretical by centrist Christians, then all makes sense.
        And I think this "heretical" idea has been explored at some length here:
        that an ordinary person could, by "drinking" J's words, become a Christ. To
        centrist Christians, Jesu was the end-all and be-all. Any suggestion that
        someone else (other than Paul) could possibly speak with the same authority
        as Jesus, would have been considered heretical. And it was, as we know.

        >Jesus used the word "intoxicated" in another saying :
        >---------------
        >28) Jesus said, "I took my place in the midst of the world, and I appeared
        >to them in the flesh. I found all of them intoxicated;
        >I found none of them thirsty. And My soul became afflicted for the sons of
        >men, because they are blind in their hearts and do not have sight; for
        >empty they came into the world, and empty too they seek to leave the world.
        >But for the moment they are intoxicated. When they shake off their wine,
        >then they will repent."
        >-----------------
        >In this case the intoxication is a barrier to the Kingdom. Could it be the
        >same barrier here with Thomas? Jesus' cautioning of Thomas that he is NOT
        >his master goes, IMO, with the statement about Thomas being intoxicated
        >with Jesus words and that intoxication is a barrier to Thomas'
        >understanding of the message of Jesus. He doesn't want Thomas to
        >intellectualize about the Kingdom --he wants him to BE the Kingdom -- and
        >in the Kingdom there is no such concept as "master".

        Intoxication with J's words could have been considered to be a "barrier",
        if we contrast someone who remains "drunk on the words", with someone who
        comes to understand those words, then goes on to become "a Christ/teacher"
        on his own (like Paul did, on one natural interpretation). I wouldn't say
        that J wants Thomas "to BE the kingdom"; rather, it seems that he wants him
        to become "a son of God". The rest of what you say sounds promising, but I
        wish we could straighten out this water/wine thingy. GJohn is big on
        water/wine, of course, from the "miracle" at Cana (which may be symbolic of
        changing six people from vessels of water into vessels of wine), to the
        crucifixion, where water and blood (symbolized by wine) is said to flow
        from J's side. One might even venture to say, in general, that the roots of
        gnostic Xianity may be found in John & Paul.

        Mike
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      • Didymus5@aol.com
        The episode of the Three Things is repeated inthe Acts of Juda Thomas. There has been a lot of speculation about the nature of the threesome: 1.The three
        Message 3 of 25 , Feb 6 10:34 AM
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          The episode of the Three Things is repeated inthe Acts of Juda Thomas. There
          has been a lot of speculation about the nature of the threesome:
          1.The three persons of the Trinity'
          2. "I am the way, the truth, and the life";
          3."Kaulaukau, Saulasu, Zeiser" said by the heresiologist Hippolytus to have
          been used by the gnostic sect of Naasenes as a metaphor for the original
          masculo-feminine deity;
          4.Words attributed to Jesus in Pistis Sophia, when the Master cries out to his
          folowers, including Thomas and Mary Magdalene, three Greek vowels: Iota,
          because the All has proceeded from it; Alpha, because the All returns to it,
          and OMega, because the consummations of all consummations takes place in it.
          This last comes the French scholar Menard.


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        • Didymus5@aol.com
          I neglected to cite sources for the speculations about the three things. Trinity: Bertil Gartner, Theology of the GTh, 119. Way,Truth, Life. Oscar Cullman
          Message 4 of 25 , Feb 6 10:43 AM
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            I neglected to cite sources for the speculations about the three things.
            Trinity: Bertil Gartner, Theology of the GTh, 119.
            Way,Truth, Life. Oscar Cullman
            Hippolytus, Legge trans of 1921, vol. 1,131.
            Menard, L'evangile selon Thomas 32.
            Stevan Davies, in his GTh & Christian Wisdom, suggests the words might be ones
            that could lead to stoning, such as blasphemy.
            Chris Merillat

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          • Tord Svenson
            Comments below : ... his ... Of these, which would have given reason for the disciples to stone Thomas? Also, I find it interesting that the stoning would have
            Message 5 of 25 , Feb 6 11:10 AM
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              Comments below :

              At 01:34 PM 2/6/99 EST, you wrote:
              ----snip ---------
              >1.The three persons of the Trinity'
              >2. "I am the way, the truth, and the life";
              >3."Kaulaukau, Saulasu, Zeiser" said by the heresiologist Hippolytus to have
              >been used by the gnostic sect of Naasenes as a metaphor for the original
              >masculo-feminine deity;
              >4.Words attributed to Jesus in Pistis Sophia, when the Master cries out to
              his
              >folowers, including Thomas and Mary Magdalene, three Greek vowels: Iota,
              >because the All has proceeded from it; Alpha, because the All returns to it,
              >and OMega, because the consummations of all consummations takes place in it.
              >This last comes the French scholar Menard.
              >
              --------------- Reply -------------
              Of these, which would have given reason for the disciples to stone Thomas?
              Also, I find it interesting that the stoning would have been aimed AT
              Thomas --who would just be telling what Jesus said -- and not at Jesus
              HIMSELF --who is the originator of the offense. This is what causes me to
              wonder if the three words or things were not tied into the disciples'
              relationship to Thomas -- and not so much to Jesus. If Jesus was impressed
              by Thomas' reply to his challenge to compare him to something -- he might
              have told Thomas that Thomas was nearer the Kingdom than the others --which
              they might have been jealous of and therefore likely to stone (punish or
              kill) Thomas independently of an offense against the Jewish Law.

              I know that common sense doesn't always apply to the GOT, but on the other
              hand --
              ------------------------
              "The Way is near, but men seek it afar.
              It is in easy things,
              but men seek for it in difficult things".
              ---------------------
              Tord




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            • Mike Grondin
              ... Right, and since three (=Greek G ) was commonly viewed as some kind of magical number, we should expect to find a number of different threesomes in
              Message 6 of 25 , Feb 6 11:33 AM
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                (Chris M.):
                >There has been a lot of speculation about the nature of the threesome...

                Right, and since three (=Greek 'G') was commonly viewed as some kind of
                "magical" number, we should expect to find a number of different threesomes
                in different works. There's no reason to suppose that the GThom threesome
                has any connection with other threesomes in other texts. To discover what
                threesome GThom is talking about, we need to look pretty carefully at what
                is said about it in that text.

                >Stevan Davies, in his GTh & Christian Wisdom, suggests the words might be
                >ones that could lead to stoning, such as blasphemy.

                I entirely agree with Steve; this is one of the pieces of evidence that
                must be accounted for by any candidate for the GThom threesome. Like
                detectives, we need to narrow down the many possibilities to the few most
                consistent with the textual "clues".

                One note on stoning: it's not entirely clear whether Thomas's "companions"
                are intended to represent (1) non-Christian Jews or (2) orthodox
                Christians. That would make a difference, of course, since the two groups
                would have different ideas of what counted as blasphemy/heresy. I tend
                toward (2) for reasons below:

                (Tord, in a note just now received):
                >I find it interesting that the stoning would have been aimed AT
                >Thomas --who would just be telling what Jesus said -- and not at
                >Jesus HIMSELF --who is the originator of the offense.

                The answer I find satisfactory to this little mystery is that Thomas's
                companions - if they were orthodox Christians - would not believe that it
                was Jesus himself who had said the words - they would think that Thomas had
                made them up. This is one reason I think that Thomas's companions were
                supposed to be other (orthodox) Christians, rather than non-Christian Jews
                - the latter of whom would indeed have stoned J instead of T, had J said
                something blasphemous.

                Mike
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              • Tord Svenson
                ... Mike -- the companions were the disciples Jesus gathered up locally -- Simon Peter and Matthew among them.. Would they not be Jews who were looking for
                Message 7 of 25 , Feb 6 7:46 PM
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                  At 02:33 PM 2/6/99 -0500, Mike wrote:
                  ----snip ---------------
                  >(Tord, in a note just now received):
                  >>I find it interesting that the stoning would have been aimed AT
                  >>Thomas --who would just be telling what Jesus said -- and not at
                  >>Jesus HIMSELF --who is the originator of the offense.
                  >
                  >The answer I find satisfactory to this little mystery is that Thomas's
                  >companions - if they were orthodox Christians - would not believe that it
                  >was Jesus himself who had said the words - they would think that Thomas had
                  >made them up. This is one reason I think that Thomas's companions were
                  >supposed to be other (orthodox) Christians, rather than non-Christian Jews
                  >- the latter of whom would indeed have stoned J instead of T, had J said
                  >something blasphemous.
                  >
                  >Mike
                  ----------- Reply -------------
                  Mike -- the companions were the disciples Jesus gathered up locally --
                  Simon Peter and Matthew among them.. Would they not be Jews who were
                  looking for answers that they thought they might find with Jesus? According
                  to what we find in the GOT Jesus told them plenty that could have been
                  interpreted as blasphemy. That's why I wonder if the three words or things
                  might have been something personal about Thomas' acceptance by Jesus as the
                  top dog among them. Their jealousy might have been the reason for the
                  possible stoning -- not some ritual penalty for blasphemy.

                  When I was a kid we used to throw rocks at one another when we got mad
                  enough. I still have some lumps on my head from being on the receiving end
                  of a few.:-)

                  Have a good Sunday everyone and thanks for the explanations.
                  Tord



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                • Mike Grondin
                  ... Mea culpa, Tord. Of course Thomas s companions in #13 are the other disciples. I don t know what I was thinking to suggest otherwise. So we re definitely
                  Message 8 of 25 , Feb 7 2:36 PM
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                    >(Tord): The companions [in 13] were the disciples ...
                    > -- Simon Peter and Matthew among them.

                    Mea culpa, Tord. Of course Thomas's companions in #13 are the other
                    disciples. I don't know what I was thinking to suggest otherwise. So we're
                    definitely talking Christian heresy, not Jewish blasphemy.

                    >Would they [the disciples] not be Jews who were
                    >looking for answers that they thought they might find with Jesus? According
                    >to what we find in the GOT Jesus told them plenty that could have been
                    >interpreted as blasphemy. That's why I wonder if the three words or things
                    >might have been something personal about Thomas' acceptance by Jesus as the
                    >top dog among them. Their jealousy might have been the reason for the
                    >possible stoning -- not some ritual penalty for blasphemy.

                    I would resist the tendency to project #13 back onto the historical Jesus,
                    Tord. We've got plenty of evidence that Thomas (if there even was such a
                    person) wasn't even in the top five disciples. I'd take Thomas in GThom as
                    a symbolic figure - a sort of everyman, as it were. A man of two minds, as
                    the name suggests, but also a man capable of becoming a "twin" of Jesus.
                    It's apparently this notion of twinship wherein GThom ran afoul of orthodox
                    Xianity. It's one thing to say - as orthodox Christians did - that one
                    ought to imitate the suffering of Jesus; it's quite another to say that one
                    is capable of coming to be on a par with Jesus-qua-teacher.

                    But attention should be paid also to the Peter and Matthew figures in #13.
                    What they are made to say about Jesu may very well capture precisely what
                    the Thomas Xians thought were the main alternatives to their own view:

                    Peter: "[J] is like a righteous angel."
                    Matthew: "[J] is like a wise philosopher."

                    To my mind, we have here projections of what might have been seen by
                    Thomists as a dual nature to Jesus: spirit-filled prophet, and teacher of
                    wisdom. The figures of Peter and Matthew might plausibly have been chosen
                    as disciples who themselves were thought to embody respectively those two
                    virtues. Is the Thomist view, then, a third alternative quite separate from
                    these two, or is it rather a combination of the two? I would suggest, as I
                    have before, that it might be the latter.

                    Suppose for the moment that the originators of GThom were gnostic
                    Christians. Instead of being put off by the label "gnostic", as we are
                    likely to be, try to stress the "Christian" part of it, and imagine the
                    position such people would likely find themselves to be in. They would be
                    the intellectuals of the Christian movement. The experience of being
                    "filled with the Holy Spirit", as the new believer would have been, might
                    not have led them to conclude that their wisdom was vain folly. Might it
                    not be possible to combine the two, i.e., to use wisdom in the service of
                    the spirit of faith? And might it not have been seen that that is precisely
                    what Jesu had done? I think you see where I'm going with this. "Belief +
                    wisdom" (or spirit + wisdom) should, I think, be taken seriously as a
                    candidate for "making the two one". The NH figure of Pistis-Sophia
                    (faith-wisdom) may be a personification of ideas also in GThom. It's
                    premature to reach that conclusion yet, but I think the hypothesis is
                    promising enough for one to be "on the lookout" for further confirming or
                    disconfirming evidence.

                    Best regards,
                    Mike
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                  • Jim Gambrill
                    Anybody have an opinion on the three things being Yahweh s ID at the burning bush, Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh -- I AM {who|what|which|that|in order that} I AM. This
                    Message 9 of 25 , Feb 7 2:49 PM
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                      Anybody have an opinion on the three things being Yahweh's ID at the
                      burning bush, Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh -- I AM {who|what|which|that|in order
                      that} I AM. This would be blasphemous, but I'm not sure what would be
                      the one word which upon repetition would cause stoning.

                      But it would otherwise fit in quite well IMO to the rest of the logion.
                      Thomas has correctly recognized Jesus, not as angel or a philosopher,
                      but as the Indescribable One, God himself. Jesus affirms this to Thomas
                      (who has, in recognizing this, shown that he has entered the kingdom and
                      gone past the need for a teacher), by using the same identification that
                      the burning bush gave to Moses.

                      Could it be that the Ehyeh could be the stoning word because of its
                      implied correlation in Exodus 3 to the unutterable name of God.

                      Jim

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                    • Sytze van der Laan
                      Marco Frenschkowski wrote an article called The Enigma of the Three Words of Jesus in Gospel of Thomas Logion 13 (Journal of Higher Criticism, Vol. 1, 1994,
                      Message 10 of 25 , Feb 7 3:27 PM
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                        Marco Frenschkowski wrote an article called "The Enigma of the Three
                        Words of Jesus in Gospel of Thomas Logion 13" (Journal of Higher
                        Criticism, Vol. 1, 1994, 73-84). I checked the JHC website
                        (http://drew.drew.edu/~ddoughty/jhcbody.html), but unfortunately this
                        publication isn't online yet. Frenschkowski believes "the three words
                        spoken by Jesus in the authors mind to have been 'EGW SU EIMI' ('I Am
                        Thou'): Thomas--prototype of the true gnostic-- is actually identical
                        with the revealer, though he does not yet know it. The supreme
                        revelation tells Thomas of his so far secret and innermost identity."
                        (p.77)

                        However, I don't think this is a probable or satisfying explanation
                        regarding the potential blasphemous nature of the three words.
                        Frenschkowski writes: "The intoxication of Thomas mentioned in GospThom
                        13 is an old metaphor of inspiration (Acts 2:13; Eph 5:18): the apostle
                        is on his way of being no longer a receiver of revelation but turning
                        into a vehicle of truth like Jesus himself. That this is not conciliable
                        with orthodox Christian anthropology is evident." (p.81)

                        Re: Thomas's "companions" intended to represent non-Christian Jews or
                        orthodox Christians: As far as I can tell, the group of diciples with
                        special mentioning of Simon Peter and Matthew, is still the same group
                        at the end of the story. For that reason I would also think that they
                        stand for orthodox Christians. The change of wording from "disciple" to
                        "friend" ("MAQHTHS"/"$BHR") could be a possible caesura in the story
                        that seems so closely modelled after Mt 16:13-16//Mk 8:27-29//Lk
                        9:18-20.

                        Tord drew attention at the fact "that the stoning would have been aimed
                        AT Thomas [snip] and not at Jesus HIMSELF". This is indeed a strange
                        turning point in the story. I would take "N$AJE" to mean something like
                        its Greek equivalent "LOGIA". However, the point of this story may be
                        found in the rocks that will consume those who would punish Thomas for
                        the potential blasphemous character of the 3 sayings Jesus told him.
                        These rocks will punish the accusers instead. Thus, Thomas is justified
                        in GTh 13, and perhaps identified here as Jesus' co-revealer. Hence,
                        Thomas, according to GTh 13, is the choosen one to write the three
                        sayings down and, while he was at it, he remembered some more ;-)

                        The problem I have is finding blasphemous sayings in the GThomas. I
                        mean, a lot would make one feel uneasy, but they don't strike me as
                        blasphemous. But I might be overlooking some. A saying that now comes to
                        mind is GTh 44 where Jesus says, "Whoever blasphemes against the Father
                        will be forgiven, and whoever blasphemes against the Son will be
                        forgiven, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be
                        forgiven either on earth or in heaven." That's a pretty three-some.

                        - Sytze

                        Gospel of Thomas Bibliography @ http://huizen.dds.nl/~skirl/
                        ECTHN EN MECW TOY KOCMOY

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                      • Tord Svenson
                        ... What you say gets back to a question I asked --- just how much of the GOT was designed (redacted) to meet the needs of the Gnostic Christians. If the
                        Message 11 of 25 , Feb 8 3:29 AM
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                          At 05:36 PM 2/7/99 -0500, Mike wrote:
                          -----snip -----------
                          >I would resist the tendency to project #13 back onto the historical Jesus,
                          >Tord. We've got plenty of evidence that Thomas (if there even was such a
                          >person) wasn't even in the top five disciples. I'd take Thomas in GThom as
                          >a symbolic figure - a sort of everyman, as it were. A man of two minds, as
                          >the name suggests, but also a man capable of becoming a "twin" of Jesus.
                          >It's apparently this notion of twinship wherein GThom ran afoul of orthodox
                          >Xianity. It's one thing to say - as orthodox Christians did - that one
                          >ought to imitate the suffering of Jesus; it's quite another to say that one
                          >is capable of coming to be on a par with Jesus-qua-teacher.

                          ----------- Reply --------------
                          What you say gets back to a question I asked --- just how much of the GOT
                          was designed (redacted) to meet the needs of the Gnostic Christians. If
                          the Thomas of the GOT is as much of a fictional character as the Jesus of
                          the NT is -- then we have to face that squarely and not worry about it in
                          looking for the meanings of these sayings. Telling people what they want to
                          hear is a fact of human nature. The author of the GOT might be Thomas or
                          not -- but it would seem natural, whatever the case, that the "pitch" would
                          be to make this Thomas appealing to the Gnostic Christians. In 13 I think
                          we see Thomas presented as Jesus' elect when he takes him aside and tells
                          him three things.
                          ---------------
                          62) Jesus said, "It is to those [who are worthy of My] mysteries that I
                          tell My mysteries."
                          ------------------
                          Tord


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                        • Tord Svenson
                          At 06:27 PM 2/7/99 -0500, Sytze wrote: Thus, Thomas is justified ... The word blasphemous is not used in 13. The GOT and the NT --plus other NHL documents --
                          Message 12 of 25 , Feb 8 3:49 AM
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                            At 06:27 PM 2/7/99 -0500, Sytze wrote:
                            Thus, Thomas is justified
                            -------- snip --------------
                            >in GTh 13, and perhaps identified here as Jesus' co-revealer. Hence,
                            >Thomas, according to GTh 13, is the choosen one to write the three
                            >sayings down and, while he was at it, he remembered some more ;-)
                            >
                            >The problem I have is finding blasphemous sayings in the GThomas. I
                            >mean, a lot would make one feel uneasy, but they don't strike me as
                            >blasphemous.
                            --------- snip ---------------
                            The word blasphemous is not used in 13. The GOT and the NT --plus other
                            NHL documents -- make the disciples out to be full of character faults.
                            Among those faults is jealousy. If Jesus chose Thomas as either closer to
                            his Kingdom than the other disciples --or as actually a co-revealer -- then
                            the other disciples having a jealous attitude to Thomas would have been
                            natural. The "stoning" then might be a metaphor for jealousy and have
                            nothing to do with the more formal stoning for transgressing Judaic law.

                            With that in mind, the three things would be: "You've got it. They don't.
                            You and me,brother". ::-) Any one of those three would flip out the disciples.
                            Tord


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                          • Mike Grondin
                            ... When I first looked at GOT, about ten years ago, it was with the hope that it might contain reliable information about the historical Jesus which couldn t
                            Message 13 of 25 , Feb 8 4:53 AM
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                              Tord:
                              >What you say gets back to a question I asked --- just how much of the GOT
                              >was designed (redacted) to meet the needs of the Gnostic Christians. If
                              >the Thomas of the GOT is as much of a fictional character as the Jesus of
                              >the NT is -- then we have to face that squarely and not worry about it in
                              >looking for the meanings of these sayings.

                              When I first looked at GOT, about ten years ago, it was with the hope that
                              it might contain reliable information about the historical Jesus which
                              couldn't be found in the canon. But it soon became evident to me that that
                              wasn't exactly what GOT was about. GOT wasn't just a collection of sayings
                              - there were mysteries within it, the solution to which might or might not
                              reveal more about HJ, but in any case were worth solving in their own right.

                              When I became aware of the differences between the Greek "version" of GOT,
                              and the Coptic, it occurred to me that maybe the Copts had done something
                              with GOT - something to bring it more into line with their own way of
                              thinking. Whether this redaction was major or minor, I still don't know,
                              and so I have no feel for whether the Greek GThom itself was a gnostic
                              Christian text already. I hope to one day be able to answer that question
                              by "peeling back" the Coptic emendations to reveal what the thing looked
                              like before they got their hands on it. I recognize that such a project is
                              very much out of the mainstream, since most folks assume that the Coptic
                              was just a straight translation from the Greek, but I've found enough
                              support for the thesis over the years to make me believe that, although
                              difficult to prove, it may not be impossible.

                              When looking for the meanings of these sayings, my own approach is to
                              assume that (1) if anything goes back to HJ, it's largely coincidental, and
                              hence that possibility can be safely ignored, and that (2) the meaning of
                              one saying is probably connected to others in the text, rather than to
                              outside sources. I guess I take it seriously that one can "fall upon" or
                              "stumble upon" the meanings of these sayings within the text itself.

                              Mike
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                            • Mike Grondin
                              ... To imagine that this might be what was intended, I guess we d have to be thinking in terms of the view of J s disciples PRIOR TO the resurrection .
                              Message 14 of 25 , Feb 8 5:04 AM
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                                Jim:
                                >Anybody have an opinion on the three things being Yahweh's ID at the
                                >burning bush, Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh -- I AM {who...} AM?

                                To imagine that this might be what was intended, I guess we'd have to be
                                thinking in terms of the view of J's disciples PRIOR TO the "resurrection".
                                Afterwards, of course, Simon and Matthew would presumably be no longer
                                inclined to stone Thomas for saying that J was God. This is certainly a
                                possibility, but the rest of GThom seems clearly to have a
                                post-resurrection tone to it, wherein it would no longer seem to make sense
                                to have the disciples doubt what was by then a given. Unless, of course,
                                the main purpose of #13 was simply to elevate Thomas above Peter and
                                Matthew (as the purpose of the corresponding scene in the canonicals was to
                                elevate Peter). Again, this is possible, but it would have the effect of
                                making GThom more canon-like; the problem with that is that the more
                                canon-like GThom is made to be, the less reasonable it is that early
                                orthodox Christian writers would have taken the unfavorable view of it that
                                they did in fact take. In addition, of course, there's #108 to consider: if
                                J tells T that he (J) is God (and not just a son of God), then does that
                                mean that Thomas has also become God by drinking J's words? Seems a mite
                                strong, even for gnostic Christians.

                                Mike
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                              • Mike Grondin
                                ... Here he says identical with the revealer [J], but above he says like Jesus . I don t think it s any more correct to say that Thomas becomes identical
                                Message 15 of 25 , Feb 8 6:04 AM
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                                  >Frenschkowski writes: "The intoxication of Thomas mentioned in GospThom
                                  >13 is an old metaphor of inspiration (Acts 2:13; Eph 5:18): the apostle
                                  >is on his way of being no longer a receiver of revelation but turning
                                  >into a vehicle of truth like Jesus himself. That this is not conciliable
                                  >with orthodox Christian anthropology is evident." (p.81)

                                  Hmm - I like this guy, Sytze. But he makes a mistake earlier:

                                  >Frenschkowski believes "the three words spoken by Jesus in the authors
                                  >mind to have been 'EGW SU EIMI' ('I Am Thou'): Thomas--prototype of the
                                  >true gnostic-- is actually identical with the revealer, though he does
                                  >not yet know it. The supreme revelation tells Thomas of his so far
                                  >secret and innermost identity." (p.77)

                                  Here he says "identical with the revealer" [J], but above he says "like
                                  Jesus". I don't think it's any more correct to say that Thomas becomes
                                  "identical with" Jesus, than it is to say that one twin is "identical with"
                                  the other. The only way it'll work is to say that by "identical", we mean
                                  "very, very similar to".

                                  But Frenschkowski's suggestion for the three words (which I wish he'd put
                                  into Coptic) brings to mind three criteria I posited for an adequate
                                  solution to this problem when Steve and I discussed it on Crosstalk last
                                  April:

                                  >C1: One or more of the three must be "blasphemous" in some sense. This
                                  >is the most obvious criterion, but there is ambiguity here. The Coptic
                                  >is not clear whether Thomas is saying "If I tell you ANY ONE of the
                                  >three, you will stone me" or "One of the three is such that, if I tell
                                  >you THAT ONE, you will stone me". So I leave it open whether all of the
                                  >three or just one must be "blasphemous". (This is to say nothing of the
                                  >question, "Blasphemous to whom? ...")
                                  >
                                  >C2: The "three words" must be elsewhere in the text than in #13, since
                                  >Jesus takes Thomas aside to tell them to him.
                                  >
                                  >C3: The "three words" must be in some sense a follow-up to what Jesus
                                  >has just said to Thomas, viz., "I'm not your master".

                                  Today, I would rewrite C1 to tilt toward Christian heresy, rather than
                                  Jewish blasphemy. As you say:

                                  >Re: Thomas's "companions" intended to represent non-Christian Jews or
                                  >orthodox Christians: As far as I can tell, the group of diciples with
                                  >special mentioning of Simon Peter and Matthew, is still the same group
                                  >at the end of the story. For that reason I would also think that they
                                  >stand for orthodox Christians.

                                  Agreed (sorry for suggesting otherwise earlier).

                                  >The problem I have is finding blasphemous sayings in the GThomas. I
                                  >mean, a lot would make one feel uneasy, but they don't strike me as
                                  >blasphemous. But I might be overlooking some. A saying that now comes to
                                  >mind is GTh 44 where Jesus says, "Whoever blasphemes against the Father
                                  >will be forgiven, and whoever blasphemes against the Son will be
                                  >forgiven, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be
                                  >forgiven either on earth or in heaven." That's a pretty three-some.

                                  Yeah, but it doesn't seem to meet condition C3 above. Besides, only the
                                  first two of the three appear to be heretical, which seems to fail C1.

                                  But I'm gonna try now to satisfy those who weren't satisfied with my
                                  earlier "I'm your disciple" suggestion. Part of my argument for that
                                  candidate derived from #108 ("He will become like me, and I will become as
                                  he is.") Suppose we incorporate that into the following three-part followup
                                  to "I'm not your master" (J to T):

                                  (1) I'm your disciple.
                                  (2) You have become like me.
                                  (3) I have become like you.

                                  All three of these would constitute Christian heresy, IMO. And the
                                  threesome would meet conditions C2 and C3 as well. And to me it has the
                                  added bonus of being something "hidden", which, according to #108, is
                                  revealed only to one who drinks J's words, i.e., a "Thomas".

                                  Mike
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                                • Jon Peter
                                  Hint, hint. You will pick up stones and throw them at me; a fire will come out of the stones and burn you up. The third of three clues in #13 is given in
                                  Message 16 of 25 , Feb 8 1:05 PM
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                                    Hint, hint.

                                    "You will pick up stones and throw them at me; a fire will come out of the
                                    stones and burn you up."

                                    The third of three clues in #13 is given in this sentence. C'mon!

                                    Jon


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                                  • Stevan Davies
                                    ... Must be such as to cause rocks to be thrown, to be exact. This does not necessarily mean blasphemy just because of some Torah stipulation to that effect.
                                    Message 17 of 25 , Feb 8 8:04 PM
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                                      Mike:
                                      > But Frenschkowski's suggestion for the three words (which I wish he'd put
                                      > into Coptic) brings to mind three criteria I posited for an adequate
                                      > solution to this problem when Steve and I discussed it on Crosstalk last
                                      > April:
                                      >
                                      > >C1: One or more of the three must be "blasphemous" in some sense. This
                                      > >is the most obvious criterion, but there is ambiguity here. The Coptic
                                      > >is not clear whether Thomas is saying "If I tell you ANY ONE of the
                                      > >three, you will stone me" or "One of the three is such that, if I tell
                                      > >you THAT ONE, you will stone me". So I leave it open whether all of the
                                      > >three or just one must be "blasphemous". (This is to say nothing of the
                                      > >question, "Blasphemous to whom? ...")

                                      Must be such as to cause rocks to be thrown, to be exact. This does
                                      not necessarily mean "blasphemy" just because of some Torah
                                      stipulation to that effect. Maybe, for example, the words had to do
                                      with a confession of adultery? We dunno do we?

                                      > >C2: The "three words" must be elsewhere in the text than in #13, since
                                      > >Jesus takes Thomas aside to tell them to him.

                                      Aha. I think so. Or at least, if they are knowable they are in the
                                      text. The practice of bringing up threes that are not in the text
                                      seems just an exercise in futile imagination.

                                      > >C3: The "three words" must be in some sense a follow-up to what Jesus
                                      > >has just said to Thomas, viz., "I'm not your master".

                                      Oh come now. That's not what he has "just said" to Thomas.

                                      > Today, I would rewrite C1 to tilt toward Christian heresy, rather than
                                      > Jewish blasphemy. As you say:
                                      >
                                      > >Re: Thomas's "companions" intended to represent non-Christian Jews or
                                      > >orthodox Christians: As far as I can tell, the group of diciples with
                                      > >special mentioning of Simon Peter and Matthew, is still the same group
                                      > >at the end of the story. For that reason I would also think that they
                                      > >stand for orthodox Christians.

                                      No. They stand for a certain sort of Christians. Then you have to
                                      work back from the evidence to find out what sort. The sort that
                                      think J is an angel/prophet or a philosopher/wisdom-lover BOTH.
                                      There's a solid clue. Maybe also the sort that think the K is going
                                      to show up soon. Etc. But you have to use GTh context to fathom
                                      the disciples' Christianity, not some "orthodoxy" of your own or
                                      anybody elses' definition.

                                      > >The problem I have is finding blasphemous sayings in the GThomas. I
                                      > >mean, a lot would make one feel uneasy, but they don't strike me as
                                      > >blasphemous. But I might be overlooking some.retty three-some.

                                      Right in front of your face, as J said!

                                      > But I'm gonna try now to satisfy those who weren't satisfied with my
                                      > earlier "I'm your disciple" suggestion. Part of my argument for that
                                      > candidate derived from #108 ("He will become like me, and I will become as
                                      > he is.") Suppose we incorporate that into the following three-part followup
                                      > to "I'm not your master" (J to T):
                                      >
                                      > (1) I'm your disciple.
                                      > (2) You have become like me.
                                      > (3) I have become like you.
                                      >
                                      > All three of these would constitute Christian heresy, IMO. And the
                                      > threesome would meet conditions C2 and C3 as well. And to me it has the
                                      > added bonus of being something "hidden", which, according to #108, is
                                      > revealed only to one who drinks J's words, i.e., a "Thomas".

                                      What you are doing, of course, is importing 108 wholesale into 13.
                                      [And the "like" business has not been settled to my satisfaction over
                                      identity.] And I am totally discomforted by the "Christian" word
                                      here. Which Christians when? Probably not Paraclete-inhabited
                                      Johnites, for example.

                                      Let's be simple, said Ann Lee, the female Christ, and just look
                                      at the saying, for it continues on after everyone thinks it has
                                      stopped, with #14 wherein we have sayings (and I'm surprised, Mike,
                                      that you assume "words" when "sayings" is just as good a
                                      translation). As the saying 13-14 continues to its end we have
                                      either three stoneworthy admonitions in 14a or three sayings in
                                      14abc depending on what you want to count. 14a is, I'd bet, the
                                      single Thomas "word" that EVERYBODY hates and wishes would
                                      go away (everybody but me and maybe Richard). [Well, maybe 114 too.]

                                      Anyhow, you have in #14a (bc) direct anti-Judaic (if not
                                      anti-religious if you want to bring in "the" Christians (as if a
                                      single known quantity at the time)) commandments by Jesus which,
                                      if commanded to a Jewish audience in the name of God would bring
                                      out the stones.

                                      Doubtless this is what Jon Peter has in mind as the solution to
                                      his riddle.

                                      Steve

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                                    • Mike Grondin
                                      I m glad you brought up #14, Steve. I didn t want to mention it myself as being your view, since I wasn t sure that you still held to it. I should have known
                                      Message 18 of 25 , Feb 8 10:07 PM
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                                        I'm glad you brought up #14, Steve. I didn't want to mention it myself as
                                        being your view, since I wasn't sure that you still held to it. I should
                                        have known better.<g> In any case, I'm gonna confine myself here to a few
                                        remarks about #14 I may not have mentioned before.

                                        (my condition #3):
                                        >C3: The "three words" must be in some sense a follow-up to what Jesus
                                        >has just said to Thomas, viz., "I'm not your master".

                                        Steve:
                                        >Oh come now. That's not what he has "just said" to Thomas.

                                        Picky, picky, picky. And this from a guy whose favored solution is not only
                                        going to ignore THAT remark, but also the stuff which literally HAS "just
                                        been said"? Really, now, Steve!

                                        >Let's be simple, said Ann Lee, the female Christ, and just look
                                        >at the saying, for it continues on after everyone thinks it has
                                        >stopped, with #14 wherein we have sayings (and I'm surprised, Mike,
                                        >that you assume "words" when "sayings" is just as good a translation).

                                        Well now, Steve, you know I don't assume any such thing. I've never argued
                                        against any proposed solution on the grounds that it was three "sayings"
                                        instead of three "words". And who the hell is Ann Lee?

                                        >As the saying 13-14 continues to its end we have either three
                                        >stoneworthy admonitions in 14a or three sayings in 14abc depending
                                        >on what you want to count. 14a is, I'd bet, the single Thomas "word"
                                        >that EVERYBODY hates and wishes would go away ...
                                        >
                                        >Anyhow, you have in #14a (bc) direct anti-Judaic (if not
                                        >anti-religious if you want to bring in "the" Christians (as if a
                                        >single known quantity at the time)) commandments by Jesus which,
                                        >if commanded to a Jewish audience in the name of God would bring
                                        >out the stones.
                                        >
                                        >Doubtless this is what Jon Peter has in mind as the solution to
                                        >his riddle.

                                        Don't know about Jon - I think he's suffering from the same "eureka-itis"
                                        I've had umpteen times over the years. Usually goes away in a few days.

                                        But the big problem I see with #14 (in addition to its not being in any
                                        sense a followup to what J has said to T before taking him aside) is that
                                        there ain't just three parts to it - there's four. Admittedly, the fourth
                                        part doesn't have the same simplicity to it that the first three have. But
                                        in #6, the disciples have asked four questions, and in #14 J gives four
                                        answers - all plausibly deserving of stoning by orthodox Jews:

                                        (6a) "Do you want us to fast?"
                                        (14a)"If you fast, you will give rise to sin for yourselves."

                                        (6b) "And what is the way that we should pray?"
                                        (14b)"If you pray, you will be condemned."

                                        (6c) "Shall we give alms?"
                                        (14c)"If you give alms, you will make evil for your spirits."

                                        (6d) "And should we abstain from what foods?"
                                        (14d)"If you go abroad ... eat what(ever) is set before you ..."

                                        Don't fast, don't pray, don't give alms, don't observe food laws: all four,
                                        ISTM, on a par with each other, in spite of 14d being obscured by
                                        additional verbiage. Is this additional verbiage really enough to set the
                                        first three apart, when the questions in #6 are so obviously a foursome,
                                        rather than three plus one? I think you gotta do a little more work here,
                                        Steve.

                                        Mike
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                                      • Tord Svenson
                                        Concerning praying and fasting in #14 104) They said [to Jesus], Come, let us pray today and let us fast. Jesus said, What is the sin that I have committed,
                                        Message 19 of 25 , Feb 9 1:13 AM
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                                          Concerning praying and fasting in #14
                                          104) They said [to Jesus], "Come, let us pray today and let us fast."
                                          Jesus said, "What is the sin that I have committed, or wherein have I been
                                          defeated? But when the bridegroom leaves the bridal chamber, then let them
                                          fast and pray."
                                          ---------------------
                                          Praying and fasting are signs of sin and defeat -- don't fast and pray
                                          UNTIL you need to.
                                          Tord


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                                        • Tord Svenson
                                          ... 36) Jesus said, Do not worry from dawn to dusk and from dusk to dawn about [what food] you [will] eat ... Tord ... eGroup home:
                                          Message 20 of 25 , Feb 9 1:26 AM
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                                            At 01:07 AM 2/9/99 -0500, Mike wrote:
                                            ---------- snip --------------
                                            >(6d) "And should we abstain from what foods?"
                                            >(14d)"If you go abroad ... eat what(ever) is set before you ..."

                                            --------- Reply --------------
                                            36) Jesus said, "Do not worry from dawn to dusk and from dusk to dawn about
                                            [what food] you [will] eat
                                            >
                                            Tord


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                                          • Jon Peter
                                            A few weeks ago we were all saying #14 was out of position due to scribal error. (It should be after #6.) Now it s the solution to #13? If so then the position
                                            Message 21 of 25 , Feb 9 2:17 AM
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                                              A few weeks ago we were all saying #14 was out of position due to scribal
                                              error. (It should be after #6.) Now it's the solution to #13? If so then the
                                              position "error" was deliberate after all, and our attention is being draw
                                              to it?

                                              As for the 3rd clue: Yes, we're within a stones' throw: It's the odd fire
                                              coming out to burn them up. Decipher that yet?

                                              Regards,

                                              Jon


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                                            • Tord Svenson
                                              ... I ve got it. The Stones are about to go on tour. #13 predicts that their plane will crash and all will be burned up. James the Righteous Taylor will regain
                                              Message 22 of 25 , Feb 9 3:07 AM
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                                                At 02:17 AM 2/9/99 -0800, Jon wrote:
                                                ------ snip ----------
                                                >As for the 3rd clue: Yes, we're within a stones' throw: It's the odd fire
                                                >coming out to burn them up. Decipher that yet?
                                                >
                                                >Regards,
                                                >
                                                >Jon
                                                --------- Reply -----------
                                                I've got it. The Stones are about to go on tour. #13 predicts that their
                                                plane will crash and all will be burned up. James the Righteous Taylor will
                                                regain his ascendancy by singing a redacted version of "Fire and Rain" at
                                                the world televised State funeral in West Minster Abby and world peace will
                                                follow.

                                                82) Jesus said, "He who is near Me is near the fire, and he who is far
                                                from Me is far from the Kingdom."
                                                The fire from the stones is Jesus' spiritual presence which "burns up" the
                                                vengeful disciples' dualistic,"right and wrong" mental suffering and makes
                                                them new men in the Kingdom.

                                                That puts a positive spin on the stones and the fire.
                                                Tord
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                                              • Peter Novak
                                                ... This actually reminds me more of There is no birth of consciousness without pain. - Jung and To be a Christian is the most terrible of all torments; it
                                                Message 23 of 25 , Feb 9 5:27 AM
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                                                  Tord Svenson wrote:
                                                  > 82) Jesus said, "He who is near Me is near the fire, and he who is far
                                                  > from Me is far from the Kingdom."


                                                  This actually reminds me more of
                                                  "There is no birth of consciousness without pain."
                                                  - Jung

                                                  and
                                                  "To be a Christian is the most terrible of all torments; it is - and
                                                  must be - to have one's hell on earth."
                                                  -Soren Kierkegaard

                                                  and
                                                  "As soon as high consciousness is reached, the enjoyment of existence is
                                                  entwined with pain, frustration, loss, tragedy."
                                                  - Alfred North Whitehead

                                                  and
                                                  "We cannot learn without pain."
                                                  - Aristotle

                                                  and
                                                  "Adversity is the first path to truth."
                                                  - Lord Byron

                                                  and
                                                  "To be wholly loved with the whole heart, one must be suffering. Pity is
                                                  the last consecration of love, or is, perhaps, love itself."
                                                  - Heinrich Heine

                                                  and
                                                  "You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which
                                                  you really stop to look fear in the face ... You must do the thing which
                                                  you think you cannot do."
                                                  - Eleanor Roosevelt

                                                  but mostly
                                                  "The capacity for feeling pain increases with knowledge ... A degree
                                                  which is the higher the more intelligent the man is."
                                                  - Arthur Schopenhauer

                                                  To gain wisdom and knowledge and enlightenment is to wrestle fire away
                                                  from the gods. You're gonna get burnt a little in the process.

                                                  - Peter Novak

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