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Re: Does disrobing in saying 37 refer to baptism?

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  • 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 1 of 7 , Jul 25, 2007
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      --- 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 2 of 7 , Jul 28, 2007
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        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 3 of 7 , Jul 29, 2007
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          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 4 of 7 , Jul 30, 2007
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            --- 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 5 of 7 , Aug 6, 2007
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              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 6 of 7 , Aug 6, 2007
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                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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