Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [GTh] pantheism

Expand Messages
  • Paul Lanier
    ... Hi Jim, I would suggest panantheistic: God is in everything and everything is in God. regards, Paul Jim Bauer wrote:
    Message 1 of 8 , Oct 30, 2006
    • 0 Attachment
      > was the Thomas group pantheistic? Are there other pantheistic elements in other sayings in Thomas?
      >

      Hi Jim,

      I would suggest panantheistic: God is in everything and everything is in God.

      regards, Paul



      Jim Bauer <jbauer@...> wrote: Hi, all,

      Forgive me if I don't have the logion number handy. I've lost a lot of vision since I last posted, & am only able to use the computer with text magnification &/or large fonts, so I can't look it up. I do, however, have the English translation committed to memory:

      Jesus said: (a) I am the light that is above them all. (b) The all came from me, & it attains to me. (c) Cleave a piece of wood & I am there; lift up a stone & you shall find me there.

      (a) seems to be an element of both "primitive orthodox" (which probably didn't exist) & "modern orthodox" (what X-ianity evolved into & not what it began as), ie, it sounds like the speaker is trying to claim divinity. (b), on the other hand, seems pantheistic to me, which is driven home by (c). It also sounds terribly Neoplatonic, so perhaps an editor sometime along redacted the sentence (if so it would be a fairly late addition & my scholarly acumen is not sufficient to decide this). In terms of primitive vs. modern orthodoxy, though, (b) sounds more like a statement that a theologian would say about the Father & not the Son. Furthermore, it sounds more like something an educated philosopher would say, rather than a wandering itinerant teacher like HJ.

      This raises the question -- was the Thomas group pantheistic? Are there other pantheistic elements in other sayings in Thomas? Does this show an Eastern influence? (Which I doubt, as I don't feel that Oriental people were the only ones who could invent pantheism.)

      I hope this post yields some useful debate. As I said, I am not sufficiently a scholar to analyze these ideas in the depth required, but hope to be useful to the group, anyway.

      Jim Bauer

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






      ---------------------------------
      We have the perfect Group for you. Check out the handy changes to Yahoo! Groups.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Jim Bauer
      ... From: Paul Lanier To: Sent: Monday, October 30, 2006 3:46 PM Subject: Re: [GTh] pantheism ... Paul, I
      Message 2 of 8 , Oct 31, 2006
      • 0 Attachment
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Paul Lanier" <jpaullanier@...>
        To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Monday, October 30, 2006 3:46 PM
        Subject: Re: [GTh] pantheism


        >> was the Thomas group pantheistic? Are there other pantheistic elements
        >> in other sayings in Thomas?
        >>
        >
        > Hi Jim,
        >
        > I would suggest panantheistic: God is in everything and everything is in
        > God.
        >
        Paul,

        I think this is a typo. It should be "panentheistic". This belief is
        "modern orthodox", & something created by scholarly theologians, not
        necessarily directly out of the different X-ian (or Moslem, as that religion
        is panentheistic, too) scriptures, but from philosophers like Plato. I
        don't feel that this particular element of modern orthodoxy are true of
        "primitive orthodoxy", that there was no such thing, as we had diverse X-ian
        & "Gnostic" groups competing, & the ancestors of the early RCC selected for,
        even though that group has made its own transition from primitive to modern
        orthodoxy.

        My contention is that "the all came from me & it attains to me" sounds
        pantheistic because it sounds like J is saying God is co-extensive with the
        all. Certainly "cleave a piece of wood (&c) & you will find me there"
        sounds pantheistic -- to me, at least.

        How do you propose to prove that Thomas is panentheistic rather than
        pantheistic? Panentheism is based around the belief that God is
        transcendent rather than immanent; for the Gnostic, both were true, only
        radically so.

        It may be difficult to tease out the theology behind Thomas because there is
        not much in the way of ontological discussion in Thomas, other than in this
        saying (& possibly "become as you pass by). It'd be easier to make a
        determination on this had the author(s) of Thomas been educated well. It's
        the same with modern Fundamentalists: say "Aristotle" or "Descartes" & it
        draws a blank. Say "Book of Revelations" & they can babble for hours. The
        text of Thomas seems more scriptural than philosophical, though I'm sure
        there are underlying philosophical principles.

        Please inform us as to what, specifically, is panentheistic about Thomas.

        Jim Bauer
      • Paul Lanier
        Hi Jim, Thanks for the correct spelling of panentheism :) I m using Cobb s definitions, from one of his Claremont lectures: pantheism: God is in everything
        Message 3 of 8 , Oct 31, 2006
        • 0 Attachment
          Hi Jim,
          Thanks for the correct spelling of panentheism :)
          I'm using Cobb's definitions, from one of his Claremont lectures:
          pantheism: God is in everything
          panentheism: God is in everything and everything is in God (God is both immanent and transcendant)
          Here is a quick outline of sayings which support the idea that GTh expresses a panenthestic approach.
          A. God in everything and everything in God.
          Several sayings suggest God is both immanent and transcendent, that dividing the One is an illusion:
          3… the (Father's) kingdom is within you and it is outside you.
          19. Jesus said, "Congratulations to the one who came into being before coming into being.
          50. If they ask you, 'What is the evidence of your Father in you?' say to them, 'It is motion and rest.'"
          70. Jesus said, "If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will save you. If you do not have that within you, what you do not have within you [will] kill you."
          72… He turned to his disciples and said to them, "I'm not a divider, am I?"
          77… I am all: from me all came forth, and to me all attained. Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there."
          108. Jesus said, "Whoever drinks from my mouth will become like me; I myself shall become that person, and the hidden things will be revealed to him."
          B. Belief as Process
          MOst GTh sayings resemble zen koans, where the student presented not with an answer but with a meditative exercise. Some sayings also advocate process as the path to the kingdom or to rest:
          2. Jesus said, "Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will marvel, and will reign over all. [And after they have reigned they will rest.]"
          96. Jesus [said], "The Father's kingdom is like [a] woman. She took a little leaven, [hid] it in dough, and made it into large loaves of bread.
          regards, Paul




          Jim Bauer <jbauer@...> wrote:

          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Paul Lanier" <jpaullanier@...>
          To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Monday, October 30, 2006 3:46 PM
          Subject: Re: [GTh] pantheism

          >> was the Thomas group pantheistic? Are there other pantheistic elements
          >> in other sayings in Thomas?
          >>
          >
          > Hi Jim,
          >
          > I would suggest panantheistic: God is in everything and everything is in
          > God.
          >
          Paul,

          I think this is a typo. It should be "panentheistic". This belief is
          "modern orthodox", & something created by scholarly theologians, not
          necessarily directly out of the different X-ian (or Moslem, as that religion
          is panentheistic, too) scriptures, but from philosophers like Plato. I
          don't feel that this particular element of modern orthodoxy are true of
          "primitive orthodoxy", that there was no such thing, as we had diverse X-ian
          & "Gnostic" groups competing, & the ancestors of the early RCC selected for,
          even though that group has made its own transition from primitive to modern
          orthodoxy.

          My contention is that "the all came from me & it attains to me" sounds
          pantheistic because it sounds like J is saying God is co-extensive with the
          all. Certainly "cleave a piece of wood (&c) & you will find me there"
          sounds pantheistic -- to me, at least.

          How do you propose to prove that Thomas is panentheistic rather than
          pantheistic? Panentheism is based around the belief that God is
          transcendent rather than immanent; for the Gnostic, both were true, only
          radically so.

          It may be difficult to tease out the theology behind Thomas because there is
          not much in the way of ontological discussion in Thomas, other than in this
          saying (& possibly "become as you pass by). It'd be easier to make a
          determination on this had the author(s) of Thomas been educated well. It's
          the same with modern Fundamentalists: say "Aristotle" or "Descartes" & it
          draws a blank. Say "Book of Revelations" & they can babble for hours. The
          text of Thomas seems more scriptural than philosophical, though I'm sure
          there are underlying philosophical principles.

          Please inform us as to what, specifically, is panentheistic about Thomas.

          Jim Bauer






          ---------------------------------
          Get your email and see which of your friends are online - Right on the new Yahoo.com

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Jim Bauer
          ... From: Paul Lanier To: Sent: Tuesday, October 31, 2006 11:24 AM Subject: Re: [GTh] pantheism Here is a
          Message 4 of 8 , Oct 31, 2006
          • 0 Attachment
            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "Paul Lanier" <jpaullanier@...>
            To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Tuesday, October 31, 2006 11:24 AM
            Subject: Re: [GTh] pantheism


            Here is a quick outline of sayings which support the idea that GTh
            expresses a panenthestic approach.
            A. God in everything and everything in God.
            Several sayings suggest God is both immanent and transcendent, that
            dividing the One is an illusion:

            50. If they ask you, 'What is the evidence of your Father in you?' say to
            them, 'It is motion and rest.'"

            I don't understand how this supports panentheism over pantheism. I detect
            no ontological elements here, & like many of the "koan-like" sayings you
            quote, really doesn't bolster your argument. This could mean just about
            anything. It says nothing about the relationship of the transmundane to the
            mundane.

            70. Jesus said, "If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will
            save you. If you do not have that within you, what you do not have within
            you [will] kill you."

            Actually, I've always thought of this as an example of the ways psychedelic
            drugs affect you, & there is evidence (cf. _The Cult of the Seer_ by Violet
            McDermott) that some early X-ians used non-drug altered states to achieve
            their revelations.

            108. Jesus said, "Whoever drinks from my mouth will become like me; I myself
            shall become that person, and the hidden things will be revealed to him."

            This sounds more Gnostic than panentheistic. Someone (the reference is in
            the first chapter of Hans Jonas' _The Gnostic Religion_) defined Gnosticism
            as "acosmic dualism against a backdrop of pantheism". How does your
            analysis of these sayings differ from that?

            Jim Bauer
          • Paul Lanier
            ... Hi Jim, I agree with those who identify GTh (at least the original) as pre-Gnostic or proto-Gnostic. I also agree with those who say these terms, and also
            Message 5 of 8 , Nov 1, 2006
            • 0 Attachment
              > This sounds more Gnostic than panentheistic.
              >

              Hi Jim,

              I agree with those who identify GTh (at least the original) as pre-Gnostic or proto-Gnostic. I also agree with those who say these terms, and also the term 'Gnostic,' are problematic! It may not be a self-designation (although the Mandeans have an equivalent term). To me GTh is earlier than the more developed Gnostic writings. For example, there is no mention of demiurge or other Gnostic technical terms. I think thise squares with a composition of GTh c. 50-70 CE, before the composition of the more fully developed Gnostic writings.

              I think too some of the early church fathers lumped a lot of distinct traditions under the label 'Gnostic' (including apparently some Hindu thought); to identify something as Gnostic is perhaps always risky business!

              I will admit the process theology approach may not be right for GTh, since it was composed before formal proces theology, but I think it expresses the same basic concept.

              > Someone (the reference is in
              the first chapter of Hans Jonas' _The Gnostic Religion_) defined Gnosticism
              as "acosmic dualism against a backdrop of pantheism". How does your
              analysis of these sayings differ from that?
              >

              I would think Gnostics had several cosmological concepts. For example, passwords to pass to the next cosmic realm. But I wouldn't quarrel with the characterization, 'acosmic dualism.' It's certainly dualistic and lacks many cosmological features. I'm not sure about the patheism, I will have to look at that and get back to you. I am wondering if you would equate the Roman respect (and sometimes worship) of local deities as political expediency. One way I view GTh is in terms of its rejection by Roman Christianity.

              I should probably also define and explore GTh as panentheistic too. I think there is promise in this but it may not be provable. To me it seems to fit, but that may be my imagination!

              regards, Paul






              Jim Bauer <jbauer@...> wrote:

              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "Paul Lanier" <jpaullanier@...>
              To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Tuesday, October 31, 2006 11:24 AM
              Subject: Re: [GTh] pantheism

              Here is a quick outline of sayings which support the idea that GTh
              expresses a panenthestic approach.
              A. God in everything and everything in God.
              Several sayings suggest God is both immanent and transcendent, that
              dividing the One is an illusion:

              50. If they ask you, 'What is the evidence of your Father in you?' say to
              them, 'It is motion and rest.'"

              I don't understand how this supports panentheism over pantheism. I detect
              no ontological elements here, & like many of the "koan-like" sayings you
              quote, really doesn't bolster your argument. This could mean just about
              anything. It says nothing about the relationship of the transmundane to the
              mundane.

              70. Jesus said, "If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will
              save you. If you do not have that within you, what you do not have within
              you [will] kill you."

              Actually, I've always thought of this as an example of the ways psychedelic
              drugs affect you, & there is evidence (cf. _The Cult of the Seer_ by Violet
              McDermott) that some early X-ians used non-drug altered states to achieve
              their revelations.

              108. Jesus said, "Whoever drinks from my mouth will become like me; I myself
              shall become that person, and the hidden things will be revealed to him."

              This sounds more Gnostic than panentheistic. Someone (the reference is in
              the first chapter of Hans Jonas' _The Gnostic Religion_) defined Gnosticism
              as "acosmic dualism against a backdrop of pantheism". How does your
              analysis of these sayings differ from that?

              Jim Bauer






              ---------------------------------
              Check out the New Yahoo! Mail - Fire up a more powerful email and get things done faster.

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Jim Bauer
              ... From: Paul Lanier To: Sent: Wednesday, November 01, 2006 1:51 PM Subject: Re: [GTh] pantheism ... It s
              Message 6 of 8 , Nov 1, 2006
              • 0 Attachment
                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "Paul Lanier" <jpaullanier@...>
                To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
                Sent: Wednesday, November 01, 2006 1:51 PM
                Subject: Re: [GTh] pantheism

                > Someone (the reference is in the first chapter of
                > Hans Jonas' _The Gnostic Religion_) defined
                > Gnosticism as "acosmic dualism against a backdrop
                > of pantheism". How does your analysis of these
                > sayings differ from that?
                >
                > I wouldn't quarrel with the characterization,
                > 'acosmic dualism.' It's certainly dualistic and
                > lacks many cosmological features.

                It's not a matter of possessing or lacking "cosmic" concepts. The idea is
                that God is "acosmic", ie, S/He is totally removed from the material world,
                which is regarded as evil. But you're right, there seems to be little of
                this in Thomasine thought. While "acosmic dualism" perhaps doesn't fit
                Thomas, we're back to the issue of pantheism. Is your panentheism such as
                the acosmic void is the transcendent element which makes Thomas
                panentheistic? If so, why are the Gnostics not themselves panentheistic?
                Also in Jonas we find Gnosticism defined as "the acute Hellenization of
                Oriental philosophy", & traces it to the Alexandrian Empire. Has this
                theory been refuted?

                Jim Bauer
              • Paul Lanier
                ... this in Thomasine thought. ... I think so also. No mention of demiurge; God is referred to as Father. This seems consistent with Jewish thought rather
                Message 7 of 8 , Nov 2, 2006
                • 0 Attachment
                  > The idea is that God is "acosmic", ie, S/He is totally removed from the material world, which is regarded as evil. But you're right, there seems to be little of
                  this in Thomasine thought.
                  >

                  I think so also. No mention of demiurge; God is referred to as "Father." This seems consistent with Jewish thought rather than the later Gnostic concept of the Jewish God as incomapetent or malicious.

                  > Is your panentheism such as
                  the acosmic void is the transcendent element which makes Thomas
                  panentheistic? If so, why are the Gnostics not themselves panentheistic?

                  I think the concept of emanations from the One prevent a panentheistic view. But again this seems not to be present in GTh.

                  I am thinking a good way to identify pantheistic and panentheistic elements of GTh might be to use a list of generally accepted traits of both, then score each GTh saying using this. I will see if I can locate a list like this.

                  > Also in Jonas we find Gnosticism defined as "the acute Hellenization of
                  Oriental philosophy", & traces it to the Alexandrian Empire. Has this
                  theory been refuted?
                  >

                  I'm not familiar with that, I'll look for it. But I would say in general the origin of Gnosticism (if that is a meaningful concept) and its relation to the earliest church has never been answered with confidence. It's difficult, for exampe, to identify a time when one existed without the other. There appear to be Gnostic references in Paul, so that's very early if those passages are authentic. Again the main difficulty is that the term is not a self-designation. If Hippolytus is correct in including Hindu concepts in Gnosticism, then Gnosticism would seem to be either an extremely diverse movement or else simply a misnomer.

                  regards, Paul





                  Jim Bauer <jbauer@...> wrote: ----- Original Message -----
                  From: "Paul Lanier" <jpaullanier@...>
                  To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
                  Sent: Wednesday, November 01, 2006 1:51 PM
                  Subject: Re: [GTh] pantheism

                  > Someone (the reference is in the first chapter of
                  > Hans Jonas' _The Gnostic Religion_) defined
                  > Gnosticism as "acosmic dualism against a backdrop
                  > of pantheism". How does your analysis of these
                  > sayings differ from that?
                  >
                  > I wouldn't quarrel with the characterization,
                  > 'acosmic dualism.' It's certainly dualistic and
                  > lacks many cosmological features.

                  It's not a matter of possessing or lacking "cosmic" concepts. The idea is
                  that God is "acosmic", ie, S/He is totally removed from the material world,
                  which is regarded as evil. But you're right, there seems to be little of
                  this in Thomasine thought. While "acosmic dualism" perhaps doesn't fit
                  Thomas, we're back to the issue of pantheism. Is your panentheism such as
                  the acosmic void is the transcendent element which makes Thomas
                  panentheistic? If so, why are the Gnostics not themselves panentheistic?
                  Also in Jonas we find Gnosticism defined as "the acute Hellenization of
                  Oriental philosophy", & traces it to the Alexandrian Empire. Has this
                  theory been refuted?

                  Jim Bauer






                  ---------------------------------
                  Everyone is raving about the all-new Yahoo! Mail.

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.