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Re: [GTh] Re: Parallels between GTh and Paul

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  • Kevin Johnson
    Hi, Maurice - ... Yes, exactly so, since it is usually considered to have been authored by someone other than Paul. In retrospect, it probably would have been
    Message 1 of 10 , Aug 31, 2008
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      Hi, Maurice -

      Thanks for the your response. As to the questions you raise:

      > May I ask why you "did not
      > include Hebrews" (Is it simply because its authenticity is often
      > questioned as having not come directly and unsoiled from Paul)????

      Yes, exactly so, since it is usually considered to have been authored by
      someone other than Paul. In retrospect, it probably would have been better
      to include it anyway. If time permits, I'll list the parallels to Hebrews as
      well, though these do not seem to be overly extensive.

      > Second, and more importantly in my mind, while your thesis shows an
      > appreciable "wording rapport" between Paul and Thomas, I keep
      > hearing the words of Paul echoing in my mind (Acts 23:6 - "My
      > brothers, I am a Pharasee born and bred ") while all in the same
      > breath I hear the words of Thomas 39 and 102 condemning "the
      > Pharasees" for their teachiengs (indeed, if not Thomas Logia 40 and
      > 43 also by inference). How are we to then reconcile the two sources
      > on a philosophical basis ?

      While philosophical questions are not exactly my specialty, I'll try to
      answer as best I can. The letters of Paul were written, according to our
      understanding of his history, after his conversion on the road to
      Damascus. If we were to ask his opinion of the sayings of Jesus when he was
      Saul of Tarsus and persecuting early Christians, his answers would most
      likely be quite different than those of Paul who preached Christ crucified.
      Saul's opinion of many things, including the Law, seems to have undergone a
      drastic change after his conversion. Here is Paul's description of himself
      from Phillipians. 3:5-8 -

      "Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of
      Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
      Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is
      in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss
      for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the
      excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have
      suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win
      Christ"

      Paul values "the knowledge (gnosis)" of Jesus" over "all things," which
      presumably includes being a Pharisee.

      > Could it be that it is the mere
      > apparent "gnosticism" in these two sources that bring about
      > their "rapprochement" ? I recall from somewhere that even big-time
      > Gnostics like Valentinus at times pointed to Paul as the source of
      > many gnostic teachings ... which, of course, Thomas appears to show
      > taints of as well ...

      Both sources seem to contain a primitive type of "gnosticism," which was
      without the extensive cosmology that appears in many Nag Hammadi
      tractates. And it does seem to be the case, as you point out, that some
      gnostics found justification in Pauline writings.

      > I wish you had also given us your opinion as to if Paul may have
      > preceeded Thomas or vice-versa in your post,

      That's a good question, Maurice. I'm not sure that it can be answered in a
      definitive manner with any degree of confidence, but since you've asked for
      my opinion, I'll give it to you. I believe that some portions of the Gospel
      of Thomas, as a sayings collection in oral or written form, pre-dates the
      letters of Paul. Generally speaking, it is self-evident that any sayings
      that genuinely go back to the historical Jesus must have a line of
      transmission that pre-dates the Pauline epistles. But more specifically,
      there is a passage in Paul (which I failed to include in my original post)
      that refers to a saying that is only found, as far as is currently known, in
      the Gospel of Thomas. 1Cor. 4:8 reads: "Already, you have become filled!
      Already you have become rich! Without us you have become kings! And would
      that you did reign, so that we might share the rule with you!" This seems to
      be a direct reference to the first half of Logion 81 of the Gospel of
      Thomas: "Jesus said, "Let him who has grown rich be king" in which becoming
      "rich" and becoming "king" (or reigning) is interpreted in a spiritual
      sense, just as it seems to be in the Logion 81 (and as "reign" seems to be
      in Logion 2). So we have a case where Paul is referring to a known saying
      which exists only in the Gospel of Thomas. This is also the section of 1Cor.
      that has a parallel to Logion 17 of the Gospel of Thomas (1Cor. 2:9).

      Helmut Koester argued that 1Cor. 1:10 - 4:21 was a polemic against a "wisdom
      theology" and he drew attention to the parallels to the Gospel of Thomas
      here ("Introduction to the New Testament," p. 127) and I tend to agree with
      his assessment. If Paul was arguing against a "wisdom theology" and
      producing parallels to the logia in GTh, then it is possible, or perhaps
      even probable, that he was already familiar with some portion of the sayings
      collection we now know as the Gospel of Thomas.

      Regards,

      - Kevin Johnson
      Leicester, Massachusetts


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • jmgcormier
      ... wrote: etc, etc, etc ... ... Hello Kevin … All good points and thank you. When you say Paul values the knowledge (gnosis) of Jesus over all
      Message 2 of 10 , Sep 1, 2008
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        --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Kevin Johnson" <achilles377@...>
        wrote: etc, etc, etc ...

        ----------------------------------------

        Hello Kevin …

        All good points and thank you.

        When you say "Paul values "the knowledge (gnosis)" of Jesus"
        over "all things," you are taking a great leap forward over those
        (the many, in fact) who seem to think that "gnosis" is simply
        the "ism" of knowing or of those who "know". Personally, I don't'
        think that "knowing" is such a big deal onto itself … we all "know"
        things … but what seems to be the important issue here is
        just "what" it is we are expected to know. In other words, the
        reward of Thomas' logion #2 is not simply going to be the prize of
        those who "know" (whatever that mental faculty / exercise of ours
        consists of) but it is seemingly the reward of those who know
        something very specific and very important ! The GoT never clearly
        spells that "something" out in clear detail but I think your quote
        from Phillipians. 3:5-8 probably does better than anything in GoT
        to identify that "something" by way of suggesting that it is "the
        knowledge of Christ Jesus" (and his message) that one must know. At
        least this sounds like a reasonable bet to me. Definitely a good
        point.

        Later on in your post, however, you point out (regarding the Koester
        theory) that "If Paul was arguing against a "wisdom theology" and
        producing parallels to the logia in GTh, then it is possible, or
        perhaps even probable, that he was already familiar with some
        portion of the sayings collection we now know as the Gospel of
        Thomas." … thus, seemingly concluding that GoT must have preceeded
        Paul.

        Paul, of course died c.64 – 67 CE during Nero's persecutions against
        the Christians, and if he accordingly died in the mid 60's, the late
        daters of Thomas are going to argue that all of the Johanine
        parallels (likely written much later than the mid 60s CE)in Thomas
        should then just not be in it … unless, of course, they were simply
        copied from some yet earlier (or obscure) source other than John. A
        tough "row to hoe" for sure, although "great food for thought".

        Again, thanks for your thoughts and clarifications … the mysteries
        live on !

        PS - in passing, I thought your connection between 1Cor 4:8 and
        Thomas logion 81 was brilliant ... great lead !

        Maurice Cormier
      • Jordan Stratford
        ... Let us be cautious not to confuse gnosis with episteme . Gnosis is not hey, did you hear about this Jesus guy , it is deeply incorporated insight, or
        Message 3 of 10 , Sep 1, 2008
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          On 1-Sep-08, at 3:39 PM, jmgcormier wrote:

          > Personally, I don't'
          > think that "knowing" is such a big deal onto itself … we all "know"
          > things … but what seems to be the important issue here is
          > just "what" it is we are expected to know. In other words, the
          > reward of Thomas' logion #2 is not simply going to be the prize of
          > those who "know" (whatever that mental faculty / exercise of ours
          > consists of) but it is seemingly the reward of those who know
          > something very specific and very important ! The GoT never clearly
          > spells that "something" out in clear detail but I think your quote
          > from Phillipians. 3:5-8 probably does better than anything in GoT
          > to identify that "something" by way of suggesting that it is "the
          > knowledge of Christ Jesus" (and his message) that one must know. At
          > least this sounds like a reasonable bet to me. Definitely a good
          > point.

          Let us be cautious not to confuse "gnosis" with "episteme". Gnosis is
          not "hey, did you hear about this Jesus guy", it is deeply
          incorporated insight, or enlightenment, without which salvation is
          merely theoretical.

          Jordan
        • jmgcormier
          ... Let us be cautious not to confuse gnosis with episteme . Gnosis is not hey, did you hear about this Jesus guy , it is deeply incorporated insight, or
          Message 4 of 10 , Sep 1, 2008
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            --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, Jordan Stratford <jordan@...> wrote:


            Let us be cautious not to confuse "gnosis" with "episteme". Gnosis
            is not "hey, did you hear about this Jesus guy", it is deeply
            incorporated insight, or enlightenment, without which salvation is
            merely theoretical.

            -------------------------------------

            Hello Jordan ...

            ... agreed, and this is why I added "(and his / Jesus' message)" to
            the Pauline quote.

            Much of this topic was covered "way back when" in Posts of the 5654 to
            6114 period ... along with commentaries on Karen King's "What is
            Gnosticism" book.

            Maurice
          • Kevin Johnson
            Hi, Maurice - ... Hmm... this was how I interpreted the following line from Phillipians: Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of
            Message 5 of 10 , Sep 3, 2008
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              Hi, Maurice -

              Maurice wrote:

              > When you say "Paul values "the knowledge (gnosis)" of Jesus"
              > over "all things," you are taking a great leap forward over those
              > (the many, in fact) who seem to think that "gnosis" is simply
              > the "ism" of knowing or of those who "know".

              Hmm... this was how I interpreted the following line from Phillipians: "Yea
              doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the
              knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all
              things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ." Perhaps you
              think I am misinterpreting Paul here by emphasizing the knowledge (gnosis)
              portion of the quote. But even if I am misinterpreting Paul in this way
              (which I don't believe is the case as I agree with Jordan's comment on the
              implications of the use of "gnosis"), the original point still stands: being
              a Pharisee is just another aspect of Paul's life that has become secondary
              (or less, since "dung" is a fairly strong term) in comparison with his
              desire to know (or "win" if you prefer) Messiah Jesus. In terms of your
              original question about how we can reconcile similarities in the wording of
              GTh and the Pauline epistles when GTh contains anti-Pharisee sayings and
              Paul was a Pharisee, I think we can conclude from the Phillipians passage
              that anti-Pharisee sayings attributed to Jesus would not have caused Paul to
              reject either Jesus or his message.

              > what seems to be the important issue here is
              > just "what" it is we are expected to know. In other words, the
              > reward of Thomas' logion #2 is not simply going to be the prize of
              > those who "know" (whatever that mental faculty / exercise of ours
              > consists of) but it is seemingly the reward of those who know
              > something very specific and very important ! The GoT never clearly
              > spells that "something" out in clear detail

              I believe that what we are supposed to be seeking and finding in Logion 2 is
              God. I plan to respond soon to Paul Lanier's recent post on this
              topic ("GTh2 and GHeb") where I hope to go into more detail on this.

              > the late
              > daters of Thomas are going to argue that all of the Johanine
              > parallels (likely written much later than the mid 60s CE) in Thomas
              > should then just not be in it � unless, of course, they were simply
              > copied from some yet earlier (or obscure) source other than John.

              The parallels to John only become an obstacle to an early date for GTh if we
              assume that John has influenced GTh or if the particular subject matter in a
              parallel saying is deemed to be a late formulation. Otherwise, the presence
              of a parallel in John could be due to its presence in GTh or some other
              tradition of Jesus' sayings and it would hold no implications for the dating
              of GTh. And even if the subject matter of a given saying is believed to be a
              late formulation, it would still not necessarily preclude other sayings in
              GTh from having an early date.

              Regards,
              - Kevin Johnson
              Leicester, Massachusetts


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Paul Lanier
              ... Posts of the 5654 to 6114 period ... along with commentaries on Karen King s What is Gnosticism book. Hi Maurice, A survey of Pauline usage of gnosis
              Message 6 of 10 , Sep 4, 2008
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                --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "jmgcormier" <cobby@...> wrote:

                > Much of this topic [Paul on gnosis] was covered "way back when" in
                Posts of the 5654 to 6114 period ... along with commentaries on Karen
                King's "What is Gnosticism" book.

                Hi Maurice,

                A survey of Pauline usage of "gnosis" suggests Paul never considered
                gnosis as a doctrine, "gnostic" or otherwise, that ought to be
                opposed. I don't find a group post where this has been addressed in
                detail, so I am including a list here. Obviously, for those who accept
                an early date for the first edition of Thomas, if Paul did not oppose
                gnostic doctrine then one of four things must be true:
                1. Paul supported the gnosticism of his day;
                2. Paul was neutral on gnosticism;
                3. Gnosticism did not exist, at least in Paul's area of influence; or
                4. Paul was unaware of existing gnosticism.

                Here I employ the term "gnosticism" in its broadest generic sense - a
                collection of syncretistic religious approaches affirming the
                legitimate authority of Christ and gnosis, but denying that of YHWH
                and bishops - that was opposed by the developing Roman wing of the
                early church during the second, third and fourth centuries CE.

                I would surely think Paul could not have used the term "gnosis"
                without qualification if he considered gnosticism - even in an
                incipient form - a threat that had to be countered. And in fact the
                existence of one lone passage attributed falsely to Paul (1Ti 6:20),
                which condemns gnosis in doctrinal fashion, suggests the author could
                cite nothing from Paul's authentic writings to support his position. I
                do not think there is anything controversial about this. Still I
                wanted to submit a detailed list of passages containing the term,
                "gnosis," since the question of gnostic or prot-gnostic influence on
                early Thomas is still not competely answered.

                The list is divided into five time periods:
                - Period 1 (53-59 CE)
                - Period 2 (60-69 CE)
                - Period 3 (70-95 CE)
                - Period 4 (96-119 CE)
                - Period 5 (120-140 CE)

                Period 1 is subdivided further to distinguish usages of gnosis:
                - (1a) gnosis (of God or Christ) is good
                - (1b) gnosis is good
                - (1c) gnosis is bad

                Here I organize the passages as the polarity, good-bad, to simplify
                the analysis. A five-point Estimated Good Gnosis Scale (EGGS!) could
                also be applied:
                5 - gnosis is good without qualification
                4 - gnosis is better than another good thing
                3 - another good thing is better than gnosis
                2 - another bad thing is worse than gnosis
                1 - gnosis is bad without qualification

                This produces more detail but does not change the overall results.

                I have included all passages attributed to Paul, whether authentic or
                not, since these represent the development of the Pauline community
                (although that community is surely larger geographically in Periods 3,
                4 and 5).

                Of the 22 occurences of "gnosis" in writings attributed to Paul, only
                two suggest gnosis is other than good. One (1Ti 6:20) is very late
                (c.120-c.140 CE; cf. LM White 2004: From Jesus to Christianity). The
                other occurence (1Co 8:1, 53-54 CE) cautions against gnosis producing
                arrogance, although Paul also says "we know [OIDAMEN, Strong's 1492]
                that we all have knowledge [GNWSIN, Strong's 1108]." Nevertheless I
                have labelled this as "gnosis is bad," since Paul states unambigously
                that gnosis brings arrogance. Certainly the wider context of 1Co 8:1-7
                qualifies gnosis as something which sometimes ought to defer to love
                so as not to offend a weaker conscience.

                All dates are taken from LM White 2004: From Jesus to Christianity.
                The NT text is NAS.

                regards,
                Paul Lanier

                =========================================

                PERIOD 1a (53-59 CE) -- gnosis (of Christ or God) is good (four passages):

                * 2Co 4:6 (55-57/58 CE) For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of
                darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of
                the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

                * Php 3:8 (55-56 CE) More than that, I count all things to be loss in
                view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom
                I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so
                that I may gain Christ,

                * 2Co 10:5 (55-57/58 CE) {We are} destroying speculations and every
                lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and {we are}
                taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,

                * Ro 11:33 (58-59 CE) Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom
                and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and
                unfathomable His ways!

                PERIOD 1b (53-59 CE) -- gnosis is good (14 passages):

                * 1Co 1:5 (53-54 CE) that in everything you were enriched in Him, in
                all speech and all knowledge,

                * 1Co 12:8 (53-54 CE) For to one is given the word of wisdom through
                the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same
                Spirit;

                * 1Co 13:2 (53-54 CE) If I have {the gift of} prophecy, and know all
                mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove
                mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

                * 1Co 13:8 (53-54 CE) Love never fails; but if {there are gifts of}
                prophecy, they will be done away; if {there are} tongues, they will
                cease; if {there is} knowledge, it will be done away.

                * 1Co 14:6 (53-54 CE) But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking in
                tongues, what will I profit you unless I speak to you either by way of
                revelation or of knowledge or of prophecy or of teaching?

                * 1Co 8:10 (53-54 CE) For if someone sees you, who have knowledge,
                dining in an idol's temple, will not his conscience, if he is weak, be
                strengthened to eat things sacrificed to idols?

                * 1Co 8:11 (53-54 CE) For through your knowledge he who is weak is
                ruined, the brother for whose sake Christ died.

                * 1Co 8:7 (53-54 CE) However not all men have this knowledge; but
                some, being accustomed to the idol until now, eat {food} as if it were
                sacrificed to an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.

                * 2Co 11:6 (55-57/58 CE) But even if I am unskilled in speech, yet I
                am not {so} in knowledge; in fact, in every way we have made {this}
                evident to you in all things.

                * 2Co 2:14 (55-57/58 CE) But thanks be to God, who always leads us in
                triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the
                knowledge of Him in every place.

                * 2Co 6:6 (55-57/58 CE) in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in
                kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love,

                * 2Co 8:7 (55-57/58 CE) But just as you abound in everything, in faith
                and utterance and knowledge and in all earnestness and in the love we
                inspired in you, {see} that you abound in this gracious work also.

                * Ro 15:14 (58-59 CE) And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also
                am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all
                knowledge and able also to admonish one another.

                * Ro 2:20 (58-59 CE) a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the
                immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth,

                PERIOD 1c (53-59 CE) -- gnosis is bad (one passage):

                * 1Co 8:1 (53-54 CE) Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we
                know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love
                edifies.

                PERIOD 2 (60-69 CE) -- No passages on gnosis

                PERIOD 3 (70-95 CE) -- gnosis is good (two passages):

                * Col 2:3 (70-80 or 85-95 CE) in whom are hidden all the treasures of
                wisdom and knowledge.

                * Eph 3:19 (85-95 CE) and to know the love of Christ which surpasses
                knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

                PERIOD 4 (96-119 CE) -- No passages on gnosis

                PERIOD 5 (120-140 CE) -- gnosis is bad (one passage):

                1Ti 6:20 (c.120s-130s CE) O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to
                you, avoiding worldly {and} empty chatter {and} the opposing arguments
                of what is falsely called "knowledge"

                =========================================
              • jmgcormier
                ... Hello Paul and Kevin … … good commentary in both your recent posts re the Paul, G oT 2 and the G. Hebrews threads. A few thoughts and questions,
                Message 7 of 10 , Sep 6, 2008
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                  --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Paul Lanier" <jpaullanier@...>
                  wrote etc., etc :
                  >


                  Hello Paul and Kevin …

                  … good commentary in both your recent posts re the Paul, G oT 2 and
                  the G. Hebrews threads. A few thoughts and questions, however, if
                  you both have a moment and can help me better understand your own
                  thoughts and postures …

                  For openers, I found Paul's list of Pauline references
                  to "knowledge" / "gnosis" (Post # 8175) very useful, although I must
                  ask why you divided your references into 5 distinct time periods,
                  (actually ending long after Paul's death c. 64 C.E.) and why you
                  chose the time periods you did. For example, why bother to have
                  a "period #2" if there are no references to "gnosis" or "knowledge"
                  during that time period ? Am I to thus presume that you embrace some
                  sort of a theory or belief that Paul's faith or "knowledge legacy"
                  (as recorded) evolved from some sort of a logical starting point and
                  ended up being "full blown" or appreciably more mature by the end of
                  the fifth time period ... and possibly that the evolution of his
                  thoughts on "gnosis" thus logically flows from "gnosis is bad
                  without qualification" to "gnosis is good without qualification" ?

                  As an add-on to the above question, I can't help but think that
                  associating the word "gnosis" with the interpreted English
                  word "knowledge" in Pauline writings may indeed be one way of
                  identifying a certain penchant in Paul's leanings, but it does seem
                  to me like a bit of a limited approach to determining if a high
                  correlation or incidence of either word would make him a bona
                  fide "Gnostic" … Actually, Jordan Stratford has already pointed out
                  correctly (Post # 8166) that the word "knowledge" has more than one
                  meaning – strictly speaking ("let us be cautious not to
                  confuse "gnosis" with "episteme" "). In passing, if there are any
                  etymology experts on the list, I would love to get to the root of
                  the word "knowledge" in English. Interestingly, in French and in
                  some of the other latin based languages, the word "knowledge"
                  (connaissance) is rooted in the words "co" and "naissance" which
                  when joined together literally means "co" or "joint" births … thus,
                  being "born together" like (yup, you've guessed it) twins ! (Was
                  Thomas Didymos perhaps simply a twin, then, because he
                  was "gnostically speaking" born a body and soul twin ??? … or
                  perhaps yet a "spirit twin with Jesus" as hinted at in logion #108
                  …. hmmmm !)

                  Coming back to the above point of simply searching out the incidence
                  of "gnosis" and "knowledge" in Paul, then, why not, perhaps more
                  productively search out the incidence of the
                  words "light", "darkness", "raised from the dead" and other gnostic
                  like expressions .. (including my own favorite pervasively used by
                  Paul viz "in Jesus" or "in Him" - c.f. Thomas logion 3 – "the
                  kingdom is inside of you" which occurs no less than 165 times in his
                  letters alone) and which probably denotes a much greater leaning
                  towards gnosticism than his use of the sole words "gnosis"
                  or "knowledge"? This might better tell us if Paul had a genuine
                  leaning towards gnosticism … whatever that word may truly have meant
                  at the time of his writings!

                  As for your excellent observation about the 4 possibilities
                  regarding Paul's demeanor vis-à-vis "gnosticism" in your post of
                  2008-09-04, I think this is brilliant. My own pick would be (#4)
                  that "Paul (not unlike other Christians of the time period perhaps)
                  was unaware of existing gnosticism." The reason I believe this is
                  that I see no evidence in any canonic writings or in serious
                  discoveries that "gnosticism" came as a belief system (not even an
                  apologetic) in opposition to mainstream / orthodox Christianity …
                  but the reverse appears to be more so true …. That is, not only have
                  searchers and archeologists not (yet?) found hard evidence of
                  Gnostic Churches, practiced rituals and the like which may have
                  characterized early 1st century Judea, but it seems to have been a
                  largely "unheard of" phenomenon in the west, at least, until
                  Ireaneus suddenly pontificated against it in the name of
                  Christianity late in the 2nd century. In the meantime, even he
                  (Ireaneus) didn't appear to be put out or offended by some of
                  the "gnostic sounding innuendos" in the accepted writings of the
                  synoptics … (viz Matt 21 – let the dead bury their own dead, 18:5,
                  19:4 etc etc, as well as in Luke 17:20 "the kingdom of God is in the
                  midst of (within) you. … and 17:34/35 "I tell you, in that night
                  there will be "two" in one bed; one will be taken and the other
                  left" etc. and even in Mark "4:11 " - for those "outside"
                  everything is in parables" … and the list goes on and on …) So, if
                  these (Gnostic sounding) sorts of statements sounded "orthodox" to
                  even Ireaneus, why would Paul and other Christians of the period
                  feel that they were anything but acceptable ? ( … well, my personal
                  bias anyways !) Conclusion: "Paul (not unlike other Christians of
                  the time period perhaps) was likely unaware of existing gnosticism."

                  Kevin (with reference to logion #2), in turn writes on 2008-09-05
                  that "When trying to understand a particular saying, I tend to look
                  for parallels to see if they can shed any light on the terms used.
                  In his analysis of this saying, Klijn breaks it down into four
                  parts: seeking/finding, finding/marvelling, marvelling/becoming
                  king, and becoming king/resting."

                  Personally, I have always associated this logion somewhat with
                  logion #13 and the "three things or three words" which Jesus told
                  Thomas which he dared not repeat. (This is where I believe "gnosis"
                  is more than mere "knowledge", but rather "knowledge of something
                  very important and specific"). My only sway in this logion is
                  that "ruling over the All" is no doubt something only the Living
                  Father is capable of, and thus if "he who seeks" can end up "ruling
                  over the All" then he or she will only be able to rule thus if he or
                  she has become "one with" the Living Father. (Very Gnostic sounding
                  to me !) Klijn, of course, is like-minded, and describes the whole
                  exercise as an exercise wherein one should "seek God".

                  Interestingly, in his book The Gnostic Religion, the seasoned
                  Gnosticism author Hans Jonas (Beacon Press p. 35) notes that in
                  early Greek, the word gnosis, meaning "knowledge," specifically
                  meant "a knowledge of God", and adds that it "… equally had to do
                  with salvation to be gained therefrom … to the point where gnosis
                  accordingly transformed the knower by specifically including him
                  into the essence (one with ?) of God and thus surpassing mere
                  assimilation." Sounds to me like you are likely "on the right
                  track" in your thinking …


                  Regards, Maurice Cormier
                • Paul Lanier
                  ... periods, (actually ending long after Paul s death c. 64 C.E.) and why you chose the time periods you did. For example, why bother to have a period #2 if
                  Message 8 of 10 , Sep 7, 2008
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                    --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "jmgcormier" <cobby@...> wrote:

                    > I must ask why you divided your references into 5 distinct time
                    periods, (actually ending long after Paul's death c. 64 C.E.) and why
                    you chose the time periods you did. For example, why bother to have a
                    "period #2" if there are no references to "gnosis" or "knowledge"
                    during that time period ?

                    Hi Maurice,

                    I went with time periods that seemed to arise naturally from the dates
                    of composition presented by White in From Jesus To Christianity. Here
                    are his dates for the texts in question:

                    1Co 1:5 53-54 CE
                    Php 3:8 55-56 CE
                    2Co 4:6 55-57/58 CE
                    Ro 11:33 58-59 CE
                    Col 2:3 70-80 or 85-95 CE
                    Eph 3:19 85-95 CE
                    1Ti 6:20 c.120s-130s CE

                    There is a natural border at 59 CE, the date of Paul's last authentic
                    text. I would suggest that division is essential to make when
                    discussing Paul's attitude on any subject. The next period which
                    suggests itself is 70-95 CE. This covers Colossians (regardless of
                    whether the early or late date is correct) and also Ephesians. That
                    leaves one remaining period for 1Ti (c.120-c.140 CE), and two periods
                    for which no text exists (60-69 CE, and 96-119 CE). I would argue it
                    is important to consider periods for which no text exists, since the
                    question can be asked: why is there no Pauline text addressing gnosis
                    during those periods?

                    > Am I to thus presume that you embrace some sort of a theory or
                    belief that Paul's faith or "knowledge legacy" (as recorded) evolved
                    from some sort of a logical starting point and ended up being "full
                    blown" or appreciably more mature by the end of the fifth time period
                    ... and possibly that the evolution of his thoughts on "gnosis" thus
                    logically flows from "gnosis is bad without qualification" to "gnosis
                    is good without qualification" ?

                    Well, I would not argue that! I think what happened is that Gnosticism
                    was not an issue for Paul - probably because there was no such thing
                    before the second century. Pre- or Proto-Gnosticism (including early
                    Thomas) was not opposed by proto-orthodoxy for at least two reasons:
                    proto-orthodoxy was not yet distinct from proto-Gnosticism, and
                    proto-orthodox leaders were not yet powerful enough to exclude
                    believers. This could not happen until the period 140-180, when
                    actions by Marcion and Valentinus forced the issue with proto-orthodox
                    bishops. Emerging proto-orthodoxy did not clearly stand out from the
                    numerous and highly diverse Christian communities until after the
                    Jewish revolts of 112-115 CE and 132-135 CE.

                    > Jordan Stratford has already pointed out correctly (Post # 8166)
                    that the word "knowledge" has more than one meaning – strictly
                    speaking ("let us be cautious not to confuse "gnosis" with "episteme").

                    I think Jordan is saying the Greek term 'gnosis' should not be
                    confused with 'epistome.' I would certainly agree, as the apparent
                    condemnation of Gnosticism in 1Ti 6:20 refers to "so-called knowledge
                    [gnosis].

                    > Coming back to the above point of simply searching out the incidence
                    of "gnosis" and "knowledge" in Paul, then, why not, perhaps more
                    productively search out the incidence of the words "light",
                    "darkness", "raised from the dead" and other gnostic like expressions
                    .. (including my own favorite pervasively used by Paul viz "in Jesus"
                    or "in Him" - c.f. Thomas logion 3 – "the kingdom is inside of you"
                    which occurs no less than 165 times in his letters alone) and which
                    probably denotes a much greater leaning towards gnosticism than his
                    use of the sole words "gnosis" or "knowledge"? This might better tell
                    us if Paul had a genuine leaning towards gnosticism … whatever that
                    word may truly have meant at the time of his writings!

                    I chose to explore 'gnosis' in the Pauline tradition because 1Ti 6:20
                    (which uses the term specifically) is often cited as evidence that
                    Paul opposed Gnostic teachings. If true then one would have to ask why
                    Paul otherwise employs the term 'gnosis' favorably. The answer, of
                    course, is that Paul never condemned 'gnosis.' 1Ti is a very late
                    attempt to put words in Paul's mouth that he certainly never would
                    have uttered.

                    I think Pagels concludes Paul was sympathetic to Gnostic or
                    Proto-Gnostic ideas. I am eager to get a copy of her book, Gnostic
                    Paul, to see how she treats this.

                    regards,
                    Paul Lanier
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