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Does disrobing in saying 37 refer to baptism?

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  • danw888
    His disciples said, when will you be revealed to us and when shall we see you. When you disrobe without being ashamed and and take up your garments and place
    Message 1 of 7 , Jul 24, 2007
      His disciples said, when will you be revealed to us and when shall we
      see you. "When you disrobe without being ashamed and and take up your
      garments and place them under your feet and trample on them like
      little children, then you will see the son of the living one and not
      be afraid."


      It came to me in the night that there actually is a time in john/jesus
      practice where one publically disrobes.

      In John's baptism one confesses one's sins to the assembled crowd and
      then enters the Jordan, presumably naked. According to Josephus
      writing on John's baptism, baptism was the outward sign of the inward
      change. In other words, one confessed, was forgiven, was no longer
      ashamed, and could strip in public and receive the baptismal water as
      the outward sign.

      The didache, I believe, says that christian baptism should be done in
      living water, but if not available, etc. This means that early
      Christain baptism was still an immersion baptism not a sprinkling
      baptism.

      When will you see Jesus - in baptism, when you feel forgiven enough
      and open enough to strip in public, you will recieve the son of the
      living one, the spirit of Jesus, and not be afraid.

      Trampling on the garments probably refers to putting off the body and
      being clothed in light, symbolized by recieving a white robe at
      baptism, a custom that I believe goes back to New Testament times.

      Here stripping in public functions as a test of one's internal state,
      something like fire-walking in new age psycho/religion.

      Whaddya think?

      Is this new? Is this true?

      Dan W.
    • mottrogere3
      ... Hi Dan, My experience is about 5 years on the non-scholars GTh list and we have discussed this saying. Baptism has the significance of removing sin
      Message 2 of 7 , Jul 25, 2007
        --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "danw888" <danw@...> wrote:
        >
        > His disciples said, when will you be revealed to us and when shall
        > we see you? "When you disrobe without being ashamed and and take
        > up your garments and place them under your feet and trample on
        > them like little children, then you will see the son of the
        > living one and not be afraid."

        Hi Dan,

        My experience is about 5 years on the non-scholars GTh list and we
        have discussed this saying. Baptism has the significance
        of "removing sin" (healing) so removing "sackcloth" before immersion
        Baptism is very possible. Ever since Adam and Eve, the metaphor of
        using animal skins to prevent damage from the thorns and thistles was
        necessary. Apparently, the OT authors used the "prickly sackcloth"
        as symbolic of sin. When enough repentance/suffering was completed,
        these OT folks cast off their "filthy clothes", trample them under
        their feet like the "garments" as an enemy who had been made a
        footstool (OT metaphor).

        Here is a couple of typical references interpreted "sackcloth" from
        the KJV of the OT.

        Psa 30:11 Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou
        hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;

        Isa 20:2 At the same time spake the LORD by Isaiah the son of Amoz,
        saying, Go and loose the sackcloth from off thy loins, and put off
        thy shoe from thy foot. And he did so, walking naked and barefoot.

        #37 means IMO, that once one trusts that they will see the "son of
        the living one", they will no longer need the "protection of
        clothing" and can go naked like David and Isaiah.

        Roger Mott
        Loveland, Co.
      • sweetsimran888
        If baptism is an initial stage, an initiation, a beginning process of evolving spiritually than one would not be ready to stand naked before God at such an
        Message 3 of 7 , Jul 28, 2007
          If baptism is an initial stage, an initiation, a beginning process of
          evolving spiritually than one would not be ready to stand
          naked before God at such an early stage. I agree trampling on the
          garments probably refers to putting off the body, so if the clothes are
          the body than it is the soul that stands naked before God. On this
          physical plane one cannot survive without a body therefore I would
          gather that this stand naked is happening on a higher heaven.

          Maria
        • danw888
          I ve been running some searches to understand #37 better I like Ron McCann explanation in message 5104 very much: 2) Next we have the three point answer. 1)
          Message 4 of 7 , Jul 29, 2007
            I've been running some searches to understand #37 better


            I like Ron McCann explanation in message 5104 very much:

            2) Next we have the three point answer. 1) When they can strip naked
            publically, 2) when they can do so without shame, and 3) when they
            can do so without FEAR, THEN they will see Jesus again. Our author
            here seems to be clearly flagging Genesis 2 where, after the
            disobedience, A & E (1) realized they were naked (2) hid themselves
            in shame of their nakedness, and had to be clothed, and (3)
            experienced fear of God. The last line- "and you shall not fear"
            addresses this last issue. Prior to the Fall, these were not issues.
            The author seems to be saying "when you acquire the state of pre fall
            Adam, you will see me again"- that is- when you reverse the Fall of
            Man and re-enter Paradise. Jesus will meet them in Paradise. In the
            cool of the evening.

            April DeConick has an article on #37 published in the early 90s.

            "Stripped Before God: A New Interpretation of Logion 37 in the Gospel
            of Thomas"
            Abstract: This article challenges the long-held tradition started by
            Jonathan Z. Smith, that saying 37 is baptismal. Through comparative
            analysis, DeConick and Fossum suggest that the actual ritual alluded
            to may be unction.
            Co Authored with Jarl Fossum. This paper began DeConick's examination
            of the Gospel of Thomas against the mirror of Jewish mystical traditions.
            In Vigiliae Christianae 45, pages 123-150.

            A footnote in the following on-line paper has some good refs to the
            light body in relation to Adam, Moses, and God.

            Some Targums say 'garment of glory' rather than garment of animal
            skins re the adam/eve story, apparently.

            Andrei Orlov and Alexander Golitzin "Many Lamps are Lightened from the
            One": Paradigms of the Transformational Vision in Macarian Homilies
            [published in: Vigiliae Christianae 55 (2001) 281-98]
            footnote 31
            For discussions about the luminous garment/image/body of Adam see:
            David H. Aaron, "Shedding Light on God's Body in Rabbinic Midrashim:
            Reflections on the Theory of a Luminous Adam," HTR 90 (1997) 299-314;
            S. Brock, "Clothing Metaphors as a Means of Theological Expression in
            Syriac Tradition," Typus, Symbol, Allegorie bei den östlichen Vätern
            und ihren Parallelen im Mittelalter (Eichstätter Beiträge, 4;
            Regensburg: Friedrich Pustet, 1982) 11-40; A.D. De Conick and J.
            Fossum, "Stripped before God: A New Interpretation of Logion 37 in the
            Gospel of Thomas," VC 45 (1991) 141; L. Ginzberg, The Legends of the
            Jews (7 vols.; Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of
            America, 1955) 5.97; Alon Goshen Gottstein, "The Body as Image of God
            in Rabbinic Literature," HTR 87 (1994) 171-95; B. Murmelstein, "Adam,
            ein Beitrag zur Messiaslehre," Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde des
            Morgenlandes 35 (1928) 255; W. Staerk, Die Erlösererwartung in den
            östlichen Religionen (Stuttgart and Berlin, 1938) 11

            Hi, Maria

            I note the 888 in your handle. Are you a gematria buff?

            Dan


            --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "sweetsimran888" <sweetsimran888@...>
            wrote:
            >
            > If baptism is an initial stage, an initiation, a beginning process of
            > evolving spiritually than one would not be ready to stand
            > naked before God at such an early stage. I agree trampling on the
            > garments probably refers to putting off the body, so if the clothes are
            > the body than it is the soul that stands naked before God. On this
            > physical plane one cannot survive without a body therefore I would
            > gather that this stand naked is happening on a higher heaven.
            >
            > Maria
            >
          • danw888
            ... This gives us the Thomasine idea of what becoming a little child again means (you can put your clothes under your feet like little children and trample
            Message 5 of 7 , Jul 30, 2007
              --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "danw888" <danw@...> wrote:

              > Ron McCann's explanation in message 5104:
              > 1) When they can strip naked
              > publically, 2) when they can do so without shame, and 3) when they
              > can do so without FEAR, THEN they will see Jesus again. Our author
              > here seems to be clearly flagging Genesis 2 where, after the
              > disobedience, A & E (1) realized they were naked (2) hid themselves
              > in shame of their nakedness, and had to be clothed, and (3)
              > experienced fear of God. The last line- "and you shall not fear"
              > addresses this last issue. Prior to the Fall, these were not issues.
              > The author seems to be saying "when you acquire the state of pre fall
              > Adam, you will see me again"- that is- when you reverse the Fall of
              > Man and re-enter Paradise. Jesus will meet them in Paradise. In the
              > cool of the evening.
              >

              This gives us the Thomasine idea of what 'becoming a little child
              again' means (you can put your clothes under your feet like little
              children and trample on them - paraphrase). It is a return to the
              innocence of Eden, an abolishing of body shame.

              Jesus forgave sins. Did the follower of Jesus live in a state of
              Edenic sinlessness? Of childhood innocence. The previous saying to
              37 mentions Jesus' teaching about not worrying about clothing. J also
              teaches about not worrying about the future. If you are not worrying
              and are cared for by the father, you are back in the Edenic state.

              Admission to the kingdom was via baptism. If you are born again, if
              you become a child again, by baptism, then the kingdom may well be the
              psychological state of Adam and Eve in Eden: beloved by god, needs
              provided for, no worries, no work, seeing the beauty, sense of
              dominion over all things, no shame, no guilt.

              Again, the baptismal sign of this state may have been the ability to
              strip in public and immerse yourself in living water. Sins forgiven,
              right with god again, the body is purified with water and the soul is
              filled with the holy spirit.

              I am also reminded that portions of the Jerusalem temple were said to
              be symbolic of the garden of eden. (See Margaret Barker's book Gate
              of Heaven)

              Dan
            • Daniel N. Washburn
              Logion 37 His disciples said, when will you be revealed to us and when shall we see you. When you disrobe without being ashamed and and take up your garments
              Message 6 of 7 , Aug 6, 2007
                Logion 37


                His disciples said, when will you be revealed to us and when shall we
                see you. "When you disrobe without being ashamed and and take up your
                garments and place them under your feet and trample on them like
                little children, then you will see the son of the living one and not
                be afraid."

                Jonathan Z. Smith concluded back in 1966 that the elements of
                undressing, being naked without shame, treading on garments, and being
                like little children were only found together in ‘baptismal rituals and
                homilies.’

                April De Conick and Jarl Fossum reject a baptismal basis for the saying
                in their article, ‘Stripped Before God: A New Interpretation of Logion
                37 In the Gospel of Thomas’ VC 45 (1991) 123-150.

                A&J (April and Jarl) say 37 is an encratite work, as is the Gospel of
                Thomas. They cite a definition of encratism as ‘self control’. It’s both
                a tendency and a sect, involving renunciation of this world expressed
                through abstinence from meat, wine, marriage, and property. Hence they
                focus on a renunciation of the body that they see symbolized in
                disrobing and treading on the clothing underfoot.

                But the image here is of naked children joyfully trampling their
                clothing. Have you ever seen a 5 year old running around naked. This is
                an event of laughter and exuberance, not of ascetic, stiff upper lip
                celibacy. Jesus’ emphasis was on eating, drinking, celebrating, and
                having fun at the messianic banquet, not on the asceticism of John the
                Baptist and his followers. To put the emphasis on the renunciation of
                the body is to miss the point entirely. The attainment is not in moving
                away from the body but in moving toward being clothed with the joy of God.

                The Gospel of the Egyptians cited by Clement of Alexandria has a saying
                that links trampling with another Thomas saying: Salome asks a question
                and Jesus says, “When you have trampled on the garment of shame and when
                the two become one and the male with the female (is) neither male nor
                female.” Here the two become one. You go beyond male and female. You do
                not stay male and female and grit your teeth to keep your sexual
                feelings under control. Keep seeking until you find Wonder and then you
                will reign over the All, including your body.

                I suggest that the fundamental feeling in trampling on the garment of
                shame is not renunciation but triumph. Asceticism is not the way to God
                but the consequence of finding God.

                “Unless you fast from the world” is one saying in GTh that A&J cite as
                evidence for the encratite nature to the gospel of Thomas. But another
                is “Don’t do what you hate”. This includes fasting, prayer and charity.
                You might injure your spirit if you perform these duties outwardly but
                inwardly hate what you are doing. This does not sound anything like
                encratite renunciation to me. Fasting from the world is much more likely
                to be an attitude of detachment (‘be a passer by’) than a renunciation
                of meat, wine, property or sex. The attitude of Paul to celibacy seems
                relevant to me here. It’s recommended, but if you hate it, don’t force
                yourself. Better to marry than to burn.

                A&J say that logion 37 does not relate to baptism, but rather to
                unction/anointing with oil:

                In the 300s Jerome describes how the candidate is said to remove the
                ‘tunic of skins’ and upon arising from baptism dons the ‘garment of
                Christ’ which is a white linen robe.

                How far back does this disrobing-rerobing baptismal ritual go? If it is
                early, then A&J may be incorrect. Charles Geischen in his article
                Baptismal Practice and Mystical Experience in the Book of Revelation has
                a discussion of the white garments: “Several texts [in Revelation]
                testify that the white garment is already a possession of followers of
                Jesus on earth, long before their glorification in heaven.” He believes
                that baptismal practice was based on the ordination of priests in
                Judaism with its anointing and vestment rituals. He concludes that the
                white-garment imagery in Revelation probably reflects both baptismal
                practice and theology.

                There are a couple of items that connect the Transfiguration, where J’s
                garments shine with light, with Baptism. Foremost is the voice from
                heaven, the same voice that spoke at the baptism of Jesus, saying much
                the same thing. There is also the introductory time period, ‘And after
                six days’. This is the same time period that appears in the Secret
                Baptism outlined in the letter of Clement of Alexandria discovered at
                Mar Saba (don’t bother me with the hoax hypothesis, it requires Morton
                Smith to be an idiot, which he clearly was not). If the transfiguration
                is a baptismal pericope as opposed to a misplaced resurrection story
                (the usual theory), then baptism in the latter half of the first century
                probably involved stripping off the clothes, symbolic of the physical
                body of sin, and replacing it with the light body of God’s Glory as in
                ‘an image in place of an image.’

                The problem with A&J’s discussion of baptism in relation to #37 is that
                they artificially sever what they call unction from baptism. Their
                definition of baptism is too narrow. If you look at baptism broadly and
                include anointing with oil, sealing with the Name, immersion in living
                water, and donning a white robe, symbolic of receiving the garment of
                glory, then #37 retains its baptismal basis.

                For example they cite several Gnostic texts as mentioning trampling such
                things as the garment of flesh, death, and the power of the devil, in
                conjunction with anointing with oil (unction): a Manichaean psalm, a
                Valentinian fragment, and the Hypostasis of the Archons. All of these
                become part of the evidence for the connection of #37 with baptism if
                one views baptism as including anointing with oil.

                Dan Washburn

                > Ron McCann's explanation in message 5104:
                > 1) When they can strip naked
                > publically, 2) when they can do so without shame, and 3) when they
                > can do so without FEAR, THEN they will see Jesus again. Our author
                > here seems to be clearly flagging Genesis 2 where, after the
                > disobedience, A & E (1) realized they were naked (2) hid themselves
                > in shame of their nakedness, and had to be clothed, and (3)
                > experienced fear of God. The last line- "and you shall not fear"
                > addresses this last issue. Prior to the Fall, these were not issues.
                > The author seems to be saying "when you acquire the state of pre fall
                > Adam, you will see me again"- that is- when you reverse the Fall of
                > Man and re-enter Paradise. Jesus will meet them in Paradise. In the
                > cool of the evening.
                >

                This gives us the Thomasine idea of what 'becoming a little child
                again' means. It is a return to the
                innocence of Eden, an abolishing of body shame.

                Jesus forgave sins. Did the follower of Jesus live in a state of
                Edenic sinlessness? Of childhood innocence. The previous saying to
                37 mentions Jesus' teaching about not worrying about clothing. J also
                teaches about not worrying about the future. If you are not worrying
                and are cared for by the father, you are back in the Edenic state.

                Admission to the kingdom was via baptism. If you are born again, if
                you become a child again, by baptism, then the kingdom may well be the
                psychological state of Adam and Eve in Eden: beloved by god, needs
                provided for, no worries, no work, seeing the beauty, sense of
                dominion over all things, no shame, no guilt.

                Again, the baptismal sign of this state may have been the ability to
                strip in public and immerse yourself in living water. Sins forgiven,
                right with god again, the body is purified with water and the soul is
                filled with the holy spirit.

                I am also reminded that portions of the Jerusalem temple were said to
                be symbolic of the garden of eden. (See Margaret Barker's book Gate
                of Heaven)

                Dan




                there actually is a time in john/jesus
                practice where one publically disrobes.

                In John's baptism one confesses one's sins to the assembled crowd and
                then enters the Jordan, presumably naked. According to Josephus
                writing on John's baptism, baptism was the outward sign of the inward
                change. In other words, one confessed, was forgiven, was no longer
                ashamed, and could strip in public and receive the baptismal water as
                the outward sign.

                The didache, I believe, says that christian baptism should be done in
                living water, but if not available, etc. This means that early
                Christain baptism was still an immersion baptism not a sprinkling
                baptism.

                When will you see Jesus - in baptism, when you feel forgiven enough
                and open enough to strip in public, you will recieve the son of the
                living one, the spirit of Jesus, and not be afraid.

                Trampling on the garments probably refers to putting off the body and
                being clothed in light, symbolized by recieving a white robe at
                baptism, a custom that I believe goes back to New Testament times.

                Here stripping in public functions as a test of one's internal state,
                something like fire-walking in new age psycho/religion.

                Dan W.
              • clontzjm
                Hello Dan, Everything posted earlier below has some connection to saying 37. However, what is posted below does not resolve everything in the saying. For
                Message 7 of 7 , Aug 6, 2007
                  Hello Dan,

                  Everything posted earlier below has some connection to saying 37.
                  However, what is posted below does not resolve everything in the
                  saying. For instance how does disrobing enable a person to see the
                  son of the living one? Of course, if the garment is over your eyes
                  and you take it off then that would allow you to see. 2 Corinthians
                  3:14-18 mentions the veil that precludes a person from "seeing".

                  The baptismal turn described by Cyril of Jerusalem mentions
                  everything posted below and more. According to Cyril, once a person
                  turned they could "see" the prophecies concerning the Son of God in
                  the OT. As you mention below they physically disrobed and after the
                  ceremony received a white robe. However the important aspect of the
                  baptismal turn was that a person had turned from darkness to light
                  and now could see the prophecies concerning the Son of God. The veil
                  was removed.

                  Jerry

                  --------------------------
                  Ed note: A verbatim copy of Dan's lengthy message has been removed
                  from this note. Members are reminded that one of the list protocols
                  is to refrain from copying lengthy material from other notes. If the
                  reader of Jerry's note wants to read Dan's, it is readily available.
                  (MWG)
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