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[gthomas] Jesus, Mats

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  • Mike Grondin
    Your latest message has raised a number of issues, Mats. Rather than to attempt to reply to all of them at once, I propose to pick what I think is one of the
    Message 1 of 14 , Jan 3, 1999
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      Your latest message has raised a number of issues, Mats. Rather than to
      attempt to reply to all of them at once, I propose to pick what I think is
      one of the more important ones and discuss that one at length. (From past
      experience, I've found this to be the most productive approach.) In turn, I
      invite you to select what you consider to be one of the more important
      issues and we'll discuss that one also.

      The issue I think is most important as far as it influences other issues,
      is expressed in the subject, and in the following remarks from your latest
      note:

      > ... Jesus in his parables speaks a completely different language than yours.
      > You actually go against him completely. Beware of what you're saying.
      >...
      > Remember the saying in logion 44: "...whoever blasphemes against
      > the holy spirit will not be forgiven.."

      These remarks and others indicate that you are a Christian believer.
      There's nothing wrong with that in itself, but there is something wrong
      with letting your belief colour your interpretations. In particular, I
      invite your attention to the following:

      1. It's virtually certain that J did not say everything in GThom.
      2. We don't know which (if any) sayings can be attributed to J.
      3. Therefore, any particular saying might have been composed by others.

      Your interpretation of #97 starts from the assumption that J spoke it. Most
      probably he did not, since nothing like it occurs in the other gospels. It
      most likely was composed at a later date. Therefore, it may very well
      symbolize something that J didn't anticipate, namely the loss of faith
      among his followers. (There was a lot that J didn't anticipate, BTW).

      But more generally, your language is pitted with the rhetoric of the
      self-righteous believer: "Beware of what you say!", "You're going against
      Jesus!", "Watch out for blasphemy against the Holy Spirit!" This kind of
      stuff is just simply out of order in a scholarly discussion group. If
      you're gonna continue to talk this way, I suggest that you find a Christian
      discussion group more to your liking.

      Mike
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    • Achilles37@aol.com
      In a message dated 99-01-03 13:08:09 EST, ... I have to disagree here. We cannot rule out a saying merely because of single attestation. Before the discovery
      Message 2 of 14 , Jan 3, 1999
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        In a message dated 99-01-03 13:08:09 EST,
        Mike Grondin writes:

        >Your interpretation of #97 starts from the
        >assumption that J spoke it. Most
        >probably he did not, since nothing like it
        >occurs in the other gospels. It
        >most likely was composed at a later date.

        I have to disagree here. We cannot rule out
        a saying merely because of single attestation.
        Before the discovery of the Gospel of Thomas,
        all of special Matthew and all of special Luke
        were examples of material attested by a single
        source. Yet some of this material was also
        found in Thomas, as was a saying which
        appears in Mark alone. Are you willing to
        exclude all J. material that is attested by only a
        single source and, if so, on what basis? Do
        you believe that _all_ sources of J. material
        are currently extant or that _all_ J. material
        appeared in more than one tradition?

        Beyond this, it stands to reason that if we want
        to argue that a given saying is spurious, we should
        be able to say that there might have been some
        theological reason as to why someone may have invented
        the saying. In the case of Logion 97, such a theological
        motivation is far from obvious. While one can, of course,
        read virtually anything into the saying, the symbols of
        a woman, a jar, and meal are not overtly theological.
        The same is true, for example, of the additional two
        introductory examples of the bows and the horses
        in Logion 47. On the other hand, sayings
        49, 50, 81, 82, and 83 are usually considered to be
        more suspect in this regard, given that their contents
        are clearly theological and it is therefore easier to
        imagine why someone might have wanted to place
        them on the lips of Jesus.

        Mike G. also writes:

        >1. It's virtually certain that J did not say everything in GThom.
        >2. We don't know which (if any) sayings can be attributed to J.
        >3. Therefore, any particular saying might have been composed by others.

        I have a few problems with this reasoning:

        First of all, you offer no evidence to back up Statement #1.

        Secondly, Statement #2 tends to suggest that Statement #1
        is false. That is to say that if "We don't know which (if any)
        sayings can be attributed to J.,"
        then it logically follows that we don't know which (if any)
        sayings _may not_ be attributed to J. and if it is true that we
        don't know which (if any) sayings _may not_ be attributed to
        J., then we cannot say "It's virtually certain that J
        did not say everything in GThom" since, according to
        Statement #1, we just don't know.

        Finally, I should like to append the phrase
        "or it might have been composed by J." to the
        end of Statement #3. This would present us with
        a picture that would be more inclusive of all
        logical possibilities.

        - Kevin Johnson
        (Achilles37@...)

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      • Mike Grondin
        Kevin? Is this my old buddy Kevin Johnson of truesoft.com? I see I m gonna hafta be much more careful with you than with Mats. I should have checked The Five
        Message 3 of 14 , Jan 3, 1999
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          Kevin? Is this my old buddy Kevin Johnson of truesoft.com? I see I'm gonna
          hafta be much more careful with you than with Mats. I should have checked
          "The Five Gospels" before committing myself - they rate #97 as pink (after
          two earlier gray votes, BTW). Your reasoning is certainly well-taken, and I
          hereby yield to it, at least to the extent of withdrawing my statement that
          #97 was probably not spoken by J.

          I would wish to defend the claim that it's virtually certain that not every
          statement attributed to J in GThom (or in the canonical gospels, for that
          matter) was actually spoken by him. Are you going to allow me to cite JSem
          voting in support of this claim, or do I hafta go to the trouble of
          developing my own logic? And would you at least agree that most scholars
          believe this claim to be true?

          Mike

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        • Andre Boulanger
          Mike: Thank you. Andre Phoenix AZ ... Date: Sunday, January 03, 1999 11:08 AM Subject: [gthomas] Jesus, Mats ... yours. ... eGroup home:
          Message 4 of 14 , Jan 3, 1999
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            Mike:
            Thank you.
            Andre
            Phoenix AZ

            -----Original Message-----
            Date: Sunday, January 03, 1999 11:08 AM
            Subject: [gthomas] Jesus, Mats


            >Your latest message has raised a number of issues, Mats. Rather than to
            >attempt to reply to all of them at once, I propose to pick what I think is
            >one of the more important ones and discuss that one at length. (From past
            >experience, I've found this to be the most productive approach.) In turn, I
            >invite you to select what you consider to be one of the more important
            >issues and we'll discuss that one also.
            >
            >The issue I think is most important as far as it influences other issues,
            >is expressed in the subject, and in the following remarks from your latest
            >note:
            >
            >> ... Jesus in his parables speaks a completely different language than
            yours.
            >> You actually go against him completely. Beware of what you're saying.
            >>...
            >> Remember the saying in logion 44: "...whoever blasphemes against
            >> the holy spirit will not be forgiven.."
            >
            >These remarks and others indicate that you are a Christian believer.
            >There's nothing wrong with that in itself, but there is something wrong
            >with letting your belief colour your interpretations. In particular, I
            >invite your attention to the following:
            >
            >1. It's virtually certain that J did not say everything in GThom.
            >2. We don't know which (if any) sayings can be attributed to J.
            >3. Therefore, any particular saying might have been composed by others.
            >
            >Your interpretation of #97 starts from the assumption that J spoke it. Most
            >probably he did not, since nothing like it occurs in the other gospels. It
            >most likely was composed at a later date. Therefore, it may very well
            >symbolize something that J didn't anticipate, namely the loss of faith
            >among his followers. (There was a lot that J didn't anticipate, BTW).
            >
            >But more generally, your language is pitted with the rhetoric of the
            >self-righteous believer: "Beware of what you say!", "You're going against
            >Jesus!", "Watch out for blasphemy against the Holy Spirit!" This kind of
            >stuff is just simply out of order in a scholarly discussion group. If
            >you're gonna continue to talk this way, I suggest that you find a Christian
            >discussion group more to your liking.
            >
            >Mike
            >------------------------------------
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            >http://www.geocities.com/athens/9068
            >
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            >


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          • Achilles37@aol.com
            ... None other than, though the company address has changed. I see you are still a pillar of empirical logic - that much has not changed. Hello again, Mike...
            Message 5 of 14 , Jan 3, 1999
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              Mike Grondin writes:

              >Kevin? Is this my old buddy Kevin Johnson of truesoft.com?

              None other than, though the company address has changed.
              I see you are still a pillar of empirical logic - that much
              has not changed. Hello again, Mike...

              > I should have checked
              >"The Five Gospels" before committing myself -
              >they rate #97 as pink (after
              >two earlier gray votes, BTW).

              Well, at least they got it right in the end.
              Of the "new" sayings in the Gospel of Thomas,
              Logion 97 has better claims to authenticity
              than some of the others.

              > Your reasoning is certainly well-taken, and I
              > hereby yield to it, at least to the extent of
              > withdrawing my statement that #97 was
              > probably not spoken by J.

              That's gracious of you, Mike, and I appreciate it.

              > I would wish to defend the claim that it's virtually
              > certain that not every statement attributed to J in
              > GThom (or in the canonical gospels, for that matter)
              > was actually spoken by him. Are you going to allow
              > me to cite JSem voting in support of this claim,
              > or do I hafta go to the trouble of developing my
              > own logic? And would you at least agree that most
              > scholars believe this claim to be true?

              You don't have to go to the trouble of developing your
              own logic here and, yes, I agree that most scholars
              of the Gospel of Thomas believe this claim to be true.
              I just like to see which sayings are held to be spurious
              and why - gives me something to do...

              - Kevin Johnson

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            • Mats Winther
              ... Från: Mike Grondin Till: gthomas@egroups.com Datum: den 3 januari 1999 19:08 Ämne: [gthomas] Jesus, Mats ... No,
              Message 6 of 14 , Jan 4, 1999
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                -----Ursprungligt meddelande-----
                Från: Mike Grondin <mgrondin@...>
                Till: gthomas@egroups.com <gthomas@egroups.com>
                Datum: den 3 januari 1999 19:08
                Ämne: [gthomas] Jesus, Mats


                >
                >These remarks and others indicate that you are a Christian believer.
                >There's nothing wrong with that in itself, but there is something wrong
                >with letting your belief colour your interpretations. In particular, I
                >invite your attention to the following:
                >......


                No, I am not a Christian believer. And I have never been a member of any church or any religious community. I have a thorough scientific education (Master's degree in Physics spec. Computer Science + two terms at Comp. Religion).

                No, I am trained in the scientific method and I reason from a scientific viewpoint. I have introduced you to another scientific school of thought namely depth psychology. This scientific branch studies myths and religious documents from the viewpoint of the symbol-creating function of the human mind. This is probably why you confuse my standpoint with that of a Christian believer. You see, according to depth psychology the psyche is real and the conceptions in the old scriptures, like the holy spirit, for instance, actually do exist in the human psyche as so called autonomous complexes. I myself have experienced many of these things which the scriptures talk about. But, you see, whether they are the workings of a transcendental God or whether they are the products of an autonomous psyche, I don't know. I reason from the viewpoint of the latter.

                So this is the reason why I say to you that you must beware of what you say. You should not try to silence people or tell them to leave the group, like you do with me. You obviously receive a lot of support for this undemocratic view, but that doesn't mean that it is right. There actually exist autonomous complexes in the collective unconscious of mankind. From a psychological standpoint the saying of Jesus where he warns against the holy spirit is actually valid. You ought to take these things much more seriously than you do.

                >1. It's virtually certain that J did not say everything in GThom.
                >2. We don't know which (if any) sayings can be attributed to J.
                >3. Therefore, any particular saying might have been composed by others.
                >


                You see, to my scientific standpoint it doesn't really matter who spoke these things. When I use the term "Jesus" it is because this name is mentioned in almost every logion. So when you say that "Your interpretation of #97 starts from the assumption that J spoke it", this is simply not true. To me it doesn't matter whether the historical Jesus spoke it because the saying carries a strong meaning anyway.

                However, concerning logion 97 I think that I have managed to prove that a jar spilling meal over the world has a symbolical resemblance to a lamp that "spills" light over the world. The latter conception occurs in the Gospel as sayings of Jesus wherefore we may possibly draw the conclusion that #97 is authentic. So to a textual scholar a symbolical understanding is very well adviced.

                We also know from depth psychology of a process called 'individuation'. When this is invoked the individual has the experience of being carried by a strong current towards a goal which have been denoted 'the self'. The carrying current is called 'the collective unconscious' and is with men personalized as the feminine figure of the anima. So, psychologically speaking, logion 97 is comprehensible and must have been expressed by a person that had experienced these things. He actually talks about this unconscious woman who is the carrier of the jar that spreads meal over the world. These symbols are very potent and to a certain extent comprehensible too.
                With normal persons, when their candles go out they simply die and vanish. However, Jesus in logion 97 probably tells us that persons who have become "persons of light" are carried away to their Father's house. So their candles do not rest on the ground. They are carried away and when their candles go out and they die they arrive at the eternal life at their Father's house. This is how Taoists experience it too. And also persons well accomplished in depth psychology.

                >
                >I suggest that you find a Christian discussion group more to your liking.
                >

                You call me self-righteous but you yourself try to silence me and tell me to leave the group. You call what I say unwarranted and unplausible. But you yourself make trivializing interpretations that can be easily refuted and at the same time infers that there is no other interpretation. And you tell people not to think about the sayings in the Thomas-gospel in order not to project their own thinking on the scripture. This attitude is neither plausible nor respectful towards others.
                I really think you should mend your ways and beware of the holy ghost (don't misunderstand me - this is the psychological holy ghost, not the transcendental).


                Mats Winther






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              • Mike Grondin
                From your latest notes, it appears that I ve done you an injustice, Mats, and for this I apologize. Your position is not one that I ve encountered before, and
                Message 7 of 14 , Jan 4, 1999
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                  From your latest notes, it appears that I've done you an injustice, Mats,
                  and for this I apologize. Your position is not one that I've encountered
                  before, and not an easy one to understand at first, so I guess I was too
                  quick to over-emphasize certain things that you had written in order to put
                  your views into a category with which I was familiar. I have from the
                  beginning, however, recognized that you have a rare depth of understanding
                  of the symbolism of GThom. I'll continue to worry about the psychological
                  objectification of that symbolism, but I'll also try to pay closer
                  attention to what you say exactly, and not to project my own views onto it.
                  Perhaps over time I can demonstrate to you that I'm not really the
                  unethical ogre you now take me to be. It's just that sometimes I can be
                  really badly wrong.

                  As an example of what might be called the "objectification of symbolism", I
                  would like to take what you've lately said about the two creation accounts
                  in Genesis. Now most folks would say that someone has simply put together
                  two different creation-stories. But you claim that there were actually two
                  creations - i.e., you objectify the symbolism of the two stories, rather
                  than to give a rationalistic account of how the two came to coexist. The
                  symbolic contrast you draw between the two stories may be quite correct
                  (spirit vs. matter), but how does it follow that there were two creations,
                  and not simply two creation-stories with different symbolism? It is this
                  move from symbolism to objectification of the symbolism that seems
                  unwarranted to me (and which probably contributed to my initial
                  misunderstanding). Perhaps you would care to comment. (I promise to try not
                  to misrepresent your views.)

                  Best wishes,
                  Mike
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                • Stevan Davies
                  ... There ARE two creation stories. It seems to me that one story with two different symbolisms would be a twentieth century way of trying to reconcile the
                  Message 8 of 14 , Jan 4, 1999
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                    Mike wrote:

                    > As an example of what might be called the "objectification of symbolism", I
                    > would like to take what you've lately said about the two creation accounts
                    > in Genesis. Now most folks would say that someone has simply put together
                    > two different creation-stories. But you claim that there were actually two
                    > creations - i.e., you objectify the symbolism of the two stories, rather
                    > than to give a rationalistic account of how the two came to coexist. The
                    > symbolic contrast you draw between the two stories may be quite correct
                    > (spirit vs. matter), but how does it follow that there were two creations,
                    > and not simply two creation-stories with different symbolism? It is this
                    > move from symbolism to objectification of the symbolism that seems
                    > unwarranted to me (and which probably contributed to my initial
                    > misunderstanding). Perhaps you would care to comment. (I promise to try not
                    > to misrepresent your views.)

                    There ARE two creation stories. It seems to me that "one story
                    with two different symbolisms" would be a twentieth century way
                    of trying to reconcile the two and not an ancient way.

                    Unless we already know that there was only one creation of
                    mankind (a fact we learn in church)
                    the "objective" facts outlined in Genesis
                    is that there were two creations. I think it's pretty likely that any
                    number of ancient readers were not predisposed to find that the two
                    creations were in fact only one. Accordingly, I think people like
                    Paul and Thomas and Philo and so forth would distinguish between
                    such categories as "Adam" born from earth and "The Image of God"
                    made by God from nothing. IMO "what happened to the Image of God?"
                    was a question of major importance to Thomas. If it didn't die (how
                    could it?) it's still around.

                    I've nothing to say about Mats' interpretation of the two. But I
                    think interpreting in terms of two was probably common in ancient
                    times and quite probably common in later Jewish speculations.

                    The idea of the two being different "sources" is what, 19th century?

                    Steve

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                  • Mats Winther
                    ... Från: Mike Grondin Till: gthomas@egroups.com Datum: den 4 januari 1999 14:11 Ämne: [gthomas] Re: Jesus, Mats ...
                    Message 9 of 14 , Jan 4, 1999
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                      -----Ursprungligt meddelande-----
                      Fr�n: Mike Grondin <mgrondin@...>
                      Till: gthomas@egroups.com <gthomas@egroups.com>
                      Datum: den 4 januari 1999 14:11
                      �mne: [gthomas] Re: Jesus, Mats


                      >.....
                      >As an example of what might be called the "objectification
                      >of symbolism", I would like to take what you've lately said
                      >about the two creation accounts
                      >in Genesis. Now most folks would say that someone has
                      >simply put together two different creation-stories. But
                      >you claim that there were actually two
                      >creations - i.e., you objectify the symbolism
                      >......

                      Concerning "objectification of symbolism": this bent is
                      typical for people schooled in depth psychology. We talk
                      about symbols as if they are real. The reason for this is
                      that we want to avoid a diminution of their psychological
                      potency. The symbol simply gets a stronger effect on the
                      mind and hence may improve understanding by invoking
                      intuitions. But it is also a case of avoiding tedious
                      repetions. I could say "It is as if people of that time
                      thought that there were two creations." But this is long and
                      tedious. Instead I say: "There are two creations." It's the
                      same thing when talking about the logions. I simply say:
                      "Jesus said so and so." But I really mean to say: "The
                      author of the Gospel writes that Jesus said so and so." It
                      is a simplified way of speach that avoids diminution of the
                      symbol. I realize that people may misunderstand this since
                      it sounds like a preacher from the pulpit.

                      Now, whether the authors of Genesis really meant to say that
                      there are two mirror-like creations is worthy of
                      considering. The saying "God created man in his own image"
                      from Genesis 1 plus the saying "God formed man of the dust
                      of the ground" from Genesis 2 may support this view. There
                      is also the curious notion from Genesis 6 that the "sons of
                      God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare
                      children to them". These sons of God may be understood as
                      the men from the first creation. This myth of the fallen
                      angels (the so called Satanic myth) is amplified in the very
                      interesting Book of Enoch which is from Old Testamental
                      times. An excerpt can be seen below. This book has inspired
                      Gnostic and apocalyptic speculation. Incidentally, here the
                      concept of "the Son of Man" appears in a very potent
                      diction.
                      Anyway, this model of the two creations may have inspired
                      Gnostic dualist speculation where the goal is to acquire
                      admission to the first creation. However, one may speculate
                      whether Jesus from Nazareth had a different view of the
                      matter. Perhaps he saw the reentrance to the garden of Eden
                      as the actual goal. This may explain the fact that he was
                      not particularly world-denying. This is because he may have
                      envisaged the Kingdom of God (garden of Eden) as partaking
                      of both creations. After all, Adam and Eve initially had
                      eternal life and this is a quality from the first (heavenly)
                      creation. They had this quality together with their bodily
                      (dust of the ground) quality. Also, there are two spirits
                      residing in the garden of Eden together with the two first
                      humans. These two spirits are God and the devil (the snake).
                      So obviously it is both a material and spiritual place i.e.
                      it partakes in both creations. Here roam both spirits and
                      people of flesh.
                      So from Genesis we can extract three fundamental paradigms
                      in the spiritual development of mankind: Gnostic (the first
                      creation as goal), profane (the second creation as goal) and
                      the paradigm of Jesus (the fusion of the two creations as
                      the goal). It is interesting that they, so to speak, may
                      have foreseen the Christian paradigm.

                      -----
                      Excerpts from the Book of Enoch:

                      Chapter 7:
                      "1 It happened after the sons of men had multiplied in those
                      days, that daughters were born to them, elegant and
                      beautiful.
                      2 And when the angels, the sons of heaven, beheld them, they
                      became enamoured of them, saying to each other, Come, let us
                      select for ourselves wives from the progeny of men, and let
                      us beget children.
                      3 Then their leader Samyaza said to them;.....
                      (snipped)
                      7 Then they swore all together, and all bound themselves by
                      mutual execrations. Their whole number was two hundred, who
                      descended upon Ardis, which is the top of mount Armon.
                      8 That mountain therefore was called Armon, because they had
                      sworn upon it, (5) and bound themselves by mutual
                      execrations.....

                      Chapter 46:
                      2 [The Ancient of days] answered and said to me, This is the
                      Son of man, to whom righteousness belongs; with whom
                      righteousness has dwelt; and who will reveal all the
                      treasures of that which is concealed: for the Lord of
                      spirits has chosen him; and his portion has surpassed all
                      before the Lord of spirits in everlasting uprightness.


                      Mats Winther





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                    • Mike Grondin
                      ... Indeed they may, and that s why I recommend that you don t do it. We all have areas of expertise which have their own special jargon, but we can t expect
                      Message 10 of 14 , Jan 5, 1999
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                        >Concerning "objectification of symbolism": this bent is
                        >typical for people schooled in depth psychology. We talk
                        >about symbols as if they are real. The reason for this is
                        >that we want to avoid a diminution of their psychological
                        >potency. The symbol simply gets a stronger effect on the
                        >mind and hence may improve understanding by invoking
                        >intuitions. But it is also a case of avoiding tedious
                        >repetions. I could say "It is as if people of that time
                        >thought that there were two creations." But this is long and
                        >tedious. Instead I say: "There are two creations." It's the
                        >same thing when talking about the logions. I simply say:
                        >"Jesus said so and so." But I really mean to say: "The
                        >author of the Gospel writes that Jesus said so and so." It
                        >is a simplified way of speach that avoids diminution of the
                        >symbol. I realize that people may misunderstand this ...

                        Indeed they may, and that's why I recommend that you don't do it. We all
                        have areas of expertise which have their own special jargon, but we can't
                        expect folks outside of those areas to "catch on" to that jargon. It's
                        better that *we* adjust to the general audience by dropping the special
                        jargon than that we insist that *they* adjust to us.

                        In addition, there's a logical problem. Consider:
                        (a) Genesis suggests two creations.
                        (b) There were two creations.

                        (a) is the way that I would word your view, and I think that both you and
                        Davies (and maybe me in the end) might agree with it. Notice that it isn't
                        particularly long and tedious (4 words in both (a) and (b)). However, (b)
                        is an ontological commitment, whereas (a) is not. If you don't want to
                        commit yourself to the actual reality of two creations (which gets into
                        unnecessary theological issues) you ought to use (a).

                        The logical problem comes in because you want to be able to say (b) but
                        mean (a). The problem is that when you say (b) you might also *mean* (b).
                        Therefore, when you say (b), we (your audience) have no way of knowing
                        whether on that occasion you mean (a) or (b).

                        Similarly, when you say "Jesus said so-and-so", there's no way of knowing
                        whether on that occasion, you mean it to be taken literally or not. Of
                        course, you can stipulate that you *never* mean it to be taken literally,
                        but I don't think it would be possible to stick to that stipulation. There
                        might be occasions where you *do* want to be taken literally, and then
                        (like the boy who cried "Wolf!" too often) we'll be so used to taking you
                        in this special sense that we won't be able to "switch over", as it were.

                        But the truth of the matter is that the audience (us) will never be able to
                        fully adjust to any such stipulation. We'll always be questioning whether
                        you intend to be taken literally or not. So it's in your own best interest
                        to be "long and tedious" in your presentation, if you want to avoid long
                        and tedious questioning of how you meant to be taken in that presentation.

                        (BTW, I've looked up 'objectification' and it isn't really the right word.
                        I should have said 'reification'.)

                        Mike
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                      • Mike Grondin
                        ... You misunderstood me, Steve. That s exactly what I said. ... Sure, but there s another possibility: the ancients might have (and I ll get into that might
                        Message 11 of 14 , Jan 5, 1999
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                          >There ARE two creation stories.

                          You misunderstood me, Steve. That's exactly what I said.

                          >The idea of the two being different "sources" is what, 19th century?

                          Sure, but there's another possibility: the ancients might have (and I'll
                          get into that "might" in a second) understood the second story as simply a
                          more detailed account of (a portion of) the first. Isn't that the way most
                          early Christians understood it? It's true that the first account doesn't
                          say that the "earth-man" (Adam) was made from dirt, but it doesn't say he
                          wasn't, either. It just doesn't say either way (unless you think that being
                          made of dirt implies not being made in the "image of God"). That leaves it
                          open to think of the two stories as either talking about two creations, or
                          one. The idea of two creations was congenial (maybe even formative) to
                          gnosticism, as Mats points out, but that very fact would make the idea
                          anathema to (post-Pauline?) centrist Christians, would it not?

                          > I think it's pretty likely that any
                          >number of ancient readers were not predisposed to find that the two
                          >creations were in fact only one. Accordingly, I think people like
                          >Paul and Thomas and Philo and so forth would distinguish between
                          >such categories as "Adam" born from earth and "The Image of God"
                          >made by God from nothing. IMO "what happened to the Image of God?"
                          >was a question of major importance to Thomas. If it didn't die (how
                          >could it?) it's still around.

                          If "any number of ancient readers" held this view, it should be pretty easy
                          to document, right? I wouldn't be surprised if Paul had said something to
                          this effect, but can you supply any other direct quotes? (BTW, doesn't your
                          inclusion of "Thomas" above run counter to your view, with which I mostly
                          agree, that GOT is non-gnostic?)

                          Let me say also that although it might seem that there's a clear
                          distinction to be made between Adam and those unnamed males and females
                          created in the "image of God" in the first creation-story, things aren't
                          really all that clear. For example, this first-mentioned group, which on
                          your view were presumably angels, are told to:

                          > Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and conquer it. Be masters of
                          > the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, and all living animals
                          > on the earth. (etc)

                          Certainly we are later told that the angels came to the daughters of men
                          and fulfilled the first injunction of being fruitful, but other than that,
                          these injunctions seem clearly to apply to earthly men, not to angels. For
                          this and other reasons, it seems to me that there are sufficient grounds
                          for either interpretation of Genesis, and that this is shown by the
                          disparate views held by the ancients, and that it cannot be simply said
                          that Genesis "clearly" presents either one or two creations. Rather, it
                          waffles.

                          Mike
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                        • Stevan Davies
                          ... Two creations in Gnosticism? Where s that to be found? The only way this works is to say that the creation of the mind of God (pleroma) is one creation,
                          Message 12 of 14 , Jan 6, 1999
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                            Mike:
                            > The idea of two creations was congenial (maybe even formative) to
                            > gnosticism, as Mats points out, but that very fact would make the idea
                            > anathema to (post-Pauline?) centrist Christians, would it not?

                            Two creations in Gnosticism? Where's that to be found? The only
                            way this works is to say that the creation of the mind of God
                            (pleroma) is one creation, and then the creation of the cosmos
                            is another creation, an inferior or nonexistent version of the first.
                            The Gnostics are using Genesis as a template for the second
                            but arguing that Genesis' perspective on the matter is all wrong.

                            I'm surprised that more people don't find it interesting that the
                            Gnostic notion is that Moses' book is just one guy's interpretation
                            of creation, and a wrong one at that.

                            > If "any number of ancient readers" held this view, it should be pretty easy
                            > to document, right? I wouldn't be surprised if Paul had said something to
                            > this effect, but can you supply any other direct quotes?

                            I was hoping you wouldn't ask this question.

                            > (BTW, doesn't your
                            > inclusion of "Thomas" above run counter to your view, with which I mostly
                            > agree, that GOT is non-gnostic?)

                            No it doesn't. Thomas has a two creation theory, as regards humanity
                            anyhow, but it isn't a Gnostic two creation theory. Gnostics seem to
                            be Platonic (the world is a bad/unreal version of the Real) while
                            Thomas is taking his cue from the double creation in Genesis.

                            Gnostic use of Genesis is an entirely different thing. If nothing
                            else, Thomas assumes Genesis is correct and Gnostics assume
                            Genesis is a muddled and erroneous telling of the myth.

                            > Let me say also that although it might seem that there's a clear
                            > distinction to be made between Adam and those unnamed males and females
                            > created in the "image of God" in the first creation-story, things aren't
                            > really all that clear. For example, this first-mentioned group, which on
                            > your view were presumably angels,

                            No, no, no. Well, yes. Yes things aren't really all that clear. But
                            angels have nothing to do with it. And there are no males and females
                            created in the "image of God" in Genesis but, rather, one malefemale
                            Image. This underlies GTh 22. You, Mike, are the Image of
                            God and immortal and malefemale AND you are made like Adam.
                            So you have to get beyond the Adam aspect and recover the
                            Image aspect. Then you see the KOG all around you. Then you
                            stand at the beginning and don't taste death.

                            > > Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and conquer it. Be masters of
                            > > the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, and all living animals
                            > > on the earth. (etc)

                            > Certainly we are later told that the angels came to the daughters of men
                            > and fulfilled the first injunction of being fruitful, but other than that,
                            > these injunctions seem clearly to apply to earthly men, not to angels. For
                            > this and other reasons, it seems to me that there are sufficient grounds
                            > for either interpretation of Genesis, and that this is shown by the
                            > disparate views held by the ancients, and that it cannot be simply said
                            > that Genesis "clearly" presents either one or two creations. Rather, it
                            > waffles.

                            No. Genesis doesn't waffle at all. Genesis gives you an Image
                            creation in the seven days sequence. Then Genesis gives you an
                            Adam and his fall creation. There are unambiguously two. But surely
                            after that all manner of wafflings have waffled and still do. But you
                            can't say that Genesis as written has one.

                            The angels business did, I think, impress the Gnostics... or at least
                            some Gnostics. Nothing of the sort in Thomas, of course.

                            Steve

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                          • Mike Grondin
                            It s been a while since your last note on this subject, Steve, but I ve been wanting to respond to several points ever since: ... I take Ialtabaoth to be the
                            Message 13 of 14 , Jan 12, 1999
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                              It's been a while since your last note on this subject, Steve, but I've
                              been wanting to respond to several points ever since:

                              Mike:
                              > The idea of two creations was congenial (maybe even formative) to
                              > gnosticism, as Mats points out, but that very fact would make the idea
                              > anathema to (post-Pauline?) centrist Christians, would it not?

                              >Steve:
                              > Two creations in Gnosticism? Where's that to be found? The only
                              > way this works is to say that the creation of the mind of God
                              > (pleroma) is one creation, and then the creation of the cosmos
                              > is another creation, an inferior or nonexistent version of the first.

                              I take Ialtabaoth to be the "Demiurge" of Nag Hammadi. He's always
                              portrayed as an inferior god, the illegitimate offspring of Sophia/Wisdom.
                              He's the one that creates the inferior (but not nonexistent) world. But
                              before he comes into the picture, a whole bunch of other beings are created
                              (generated?), including angels, e.g.. Now you may say that this earlier
                              activity doesn't amount to a "creation", but that view seems a little
                              shaky. ISTM that the NH gnostics drew support not only from the two
                              creation-stories in Genesis, but also from the very different behavior of
                              the two creators in those stories.

                              >Gnostics seem to
                              >be Platonic (the world is a bad/unreal version of the Real) while
                              >Thomas is taking his cue from the double creation in Genesis.

                              I'd say that Gnostics could easily have "gone Platonic", but the evidence
                              of the NH texts seems mixed. Is the Greek word/name "Sophia", for example,
                              intended to designate a Platonic form, or a divine being who personifies
                              wisdom - or is there any difference? And, as above, I would say that the NH
                              Gnostics also took their cue from the double creation in Genesis (which may
                              have been one of the reasons they found GThom to their liking.)

                              >... there are no males and females created in the "image of
                              >God" in Genesis but, rather, one malefemale Image.

                              I wanna be charitable, Steve, but how do you explain "Male and female he
                              created them" (Gen 1.27)? "The image of God" was surely malefemale, but
                              that doesn't mean that there were "no males and females created" in that
                              image, now does it? On the two-creation theory, of course, these critters
                              could not have been human beings, which is why I suggested that they (or at
                              least the males among them) were those very same "angels" who later came
                              down to earth for some earthly afternoon delights. (Thus nicely making it
                              appear that there were indeed two creations, and not just two stories.)

                              >The angels business did, I think, impress the Gnostics... or at least
                              >some Gnostics. Nothing of the sort in Thomas, of course.

                              Except for #88, of course ("The angels and the prophets will come to
                              you..."). Oh, yeah, and #13 ("You are like a righteous angel" [Simon
                              says]). But you must mean something else. ("Smart asses" are so annoying,
                              aren't they?)

                              Mike

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                            • Stevan Davies
                              ... At the risk of giving forth another in the recent spate of wacko theories, here s what I think the Gnostics were (sometimes) up to. First you have the
                              Message 14 of 14 , Jan 12, 1999
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                                Mike:

                                > I take Ialtabaoth to be the "Demiurge" of Nag Hammadi. He's always
                                > portrayed as an inferior god, the illegitimate offspring of Sophia/Wisdom.
                                > He's the one that creates the inferior (but not nonexistent) world. But
                                > before he comes into the picture, a whole bunch of other beings are created
                                > (generated?), including angels, e.g.. Now you may say that this earlier
                                > activity doesn't amount to a "creation", but that view seems a little
                                > shaky. ISTM that the NH gnostics drew support not only from the two
                                > creation-stories in Genesis, but also from the very different behavior of
                                > the two creators in those stories.

                                At the risk of giving forth another in the recent spate of wacko
                                theories, here's what I think the Gnostics were (sometimes) up to.

                                First you have the Ineffable. Ineffable generates a mind in a stable
                                configuration of ennoia and pronoia and logos and sophia and so forth
                                (mixed in with odd beasts like Barbelo and the first-begotten and so
                                forth). So far so good. The elements of that mind are supposed to
                                just hum along happily together and that will be the end of that.

                                But one of them, usually sophia, screws up. As I see it sophia seeks
                                objective knowledge of God but you can't have objective knowledge of
                                the mind. Oops. Fear and guilt and whatever follow, and also an
                                objectified mind that isn't really there at all. That's the second
                                creation... the objectification of the first creation and a wholly
                                inferior sort of thing that ends up more or less taking on a life of
                                its own with Yaldabaoth thinking he's in charge and so forth.
                                Here Genesis kicks in being a misinterpretation of what was
                                really going on.

                                I do like discussing Gnosticism, long as it can be tied to actual
                                Gnostic texts (and I'm sure you agree). My basic take on things
                                for some Gnosticism anyhow is at

                                http://www.miseri.edu/faculty/davies/thomas/gnideal.htm
                                [server may be down for a day or so though]

                                > I'd say that Gnostics could easily have "gone Platonic", but the evidence
                                > of the NH texts seems mixed. Is the Greek word/name "Sophia", for example,
                                > intended to designate a Platonic form, or a divine being who personifies
                                > wisdom - or is there any difference?

                                There's probably a difference. And I don't mean much by "platonic"
                                except that whenever there's an ineffavble Perfect Realm and a halfassed
                                version of it known to us directly, I assume this can be called "platonic."
                                Dunno of Plato would agree in any sense at all.

                                Sophia is the wisdom of God. Here we get into that funny
                                physics that seems unavoidable in any psychology. Is wisdom
                                an aspect of the mind and thus seamlessly an element of the
                                whole (Yes) or is wisdom an element that can be considered and
                                discussed as if it were a thing in itself (Yes). Sophia doesn't
                                stop being mind-of-God ever. So what's all that other stuff sophia
                                is trapped in? It's all a huge cognitive mistake and, when the
                                mistake is recognized, just flat disappears. Poof!

                                I think Gnostics were writing about "the fall of God" and didn't want
                                to admit that for a second. So they have to blame sophia
                                independently of God despite the fact that sophia is (part of) God.
                                So God is fallen and yet God is not fallen... which makes sense
                                to me from the Idealist perspective... another example can be
                                found in Idealist Buddhism where Nirvana is there all the time,
                                the world is Always Buddhamind, but generally people only see
                                Samsara and think the Buddhamind is somewhere other than
                                right in front of their faces... and seeing Samsara is seeing
                                Nirvana as the two are the same anyhow.

                                > And, as above, I would say that the NH
                                > Gnostics also took their cue from the double creation in Genesis (which may
                                > have been one of the reasons they found GThom to their liking.)

                                I'm not sure about "took their cue" in a causal sense. Gnostic
                                thinking is utterly different than Genesis thinking. But when Gnostic
                                thinking occurred in a Genesis related milieu (and maybe it arose
                                there) it was natural to bring Genesis into the picture. James
                                Davila, I believe it was, tried with some success to argue on
                                crosstalk awhile back that Gnosticism simply has a veneer of Genesis
                                and can do quite well without it.

                                > I wanna be charitable, Steve, but how do you explain "Male and female he
                                > created them" (Gen 1.27)? "The image of God" was surely malefemale, but
                                > that doesn't mean that there were "no males and females created" in that
                                > image, now does it? On the two-creation theory, of course, these critters
                                > could not have been human beings, which is why I suggested that they (or at
                                > least the males among them) were those very same "angels" who later came
                                > down to earth for some earthly afternoon delights. (Thus nicely making it
                                > appear that there were indeed two creations, and not just two stories.)

                                Yeah, well, why not. This is a reading of the text. And then there
                                are other readings of the text. I'm getting very postmodern about
                                this element. There's no "right" reading, just a collection of
                                possibles. I'm prone to think that there's just the one image of God
                                and not a bunch of them but I don't know that I can prove it. I do
                                think, of course, that restoring this image is what GT 22 is about.

                                > Except for #88, of course ("The angels and the prophets will come to
                                > you...").

                                There's one I have no clue about.

                                Steve

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