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Re: [GTh] Re: saying 7 and Plato

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  • sarban
    ... From: M.W. Grondin To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com Sent: Sunday, December 12, 2010 7:58 AM Subject: Re: [GTh] Re: saying 7 and Plato ... From April 22, 2007,
    Message 1 of 11 , Dec 12, 2010
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      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Sunday, December 12, 2010 7:58 AM
      Subject: Re: [GTh] Re: saying 7 and Plato

       

      [Dave Hindley]:
      > I dredged up this post ... [by Andrew Criddle]
       
      From April 22, 2007, as it turns out. There were a couple responses, one
      of which was from Simon Gathercole (then a list-member, currently not.)
      Since that message cited a relevant paper, I'll link to it here:
       
       
      Unfortunately, Gathercole didn't say anything about what was in that paper,
      nor did any later writer, so his message was of little help to members who
      couldn't get ahold of the paper, didn't know how to do so, or simply didn't
      think the point was worth the trouble of further research. Furthermore, the
      paper was apparently relevant only to L.7, so it certainly shouldn't constitute
      an end of discussions here about possible Platonic connections, even if
      naked citations were discussion-enders, which they shouldn't be.
      (Naked citations are a pet gripe of mine which I won't indulge at present.)
       
      <SNIP>
       
      Beyond that, I've been thinking that the Thomasines' adoption of Plato's
      theory of a pre-existing soul (apparently borrowed from Pythagoras) may
      have been a significant point of departure from proto-orthodoxy. I don't
      know the history on this, but as I recall, the orthodox (Catholic?) position
      is that the soul is created with the body at conception, and thus has no
      prior history in the heavens to "remember" - a denial of what seems to be
      a key dogma of pretty much all forms of gnosticism. Indeed, Plato himself
      expounded upon the view that a person really doesn't learn geometry, e.g., 
      - "learning" consisting rather in one simply being prompted to recall perfect
      heavenly forms/ideas with which the psyche was familiar before it entered
      the body at conception.
       
      Gad, I just thought - someone has surely written a whole book about this!
       
      Mike G.

       

       

      Hi Mike

       

      The Simon Gathercole citation

      H. Jackson, The Lion Becomes Man: The Gnostic Leontomorphic Creator and
      the Platonic Tradition (SBL Dissertation Series 81; Atlanta: Scholars
      Press, 1985)

      Actually refers to a book not just a paper. This book thoroughly discusses the relation of

      texts like saying 7 of Thomas and related Gnostic texts to Platonic ideas.

       

      Andrew Criddle

       

       

      .

    • M.W. Grondin
      ... Sorry, my mistake. The book (which I intend to order) is $26 at SBL: https://secure.aidcvt.com/sbl/ProdDetails.asp?ID=060181P&PG=1&Type=BL&PCS=SBL In
      Message 2 of 11 , Dec 12, 2010
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        [Andrew Criddle]:
        > The Simon Gathercole citation
        >   H. Jackson, The Lion Becomes Man: The Gnostic
        Leontomorphic Creator and
        > the Platonic Tradition (SBL Dissertation
        Series 81; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1985)
        >   Actually refers to
        a book not just a paper. This book thoroughly discusses the
        > relation of
        texts like saying 7 of Thomas and related Gnostic texts to Platonic ideas.
         
        Sorry, my mistake. The book (which I intend to order) is $26 at SBL:
         
        In answer to an offlist question, the term "naked citation" is one I made up on
        the spot to designate citations that aren't clothed with any helpful information.
        Such as when someone says simply that "So-and-so answered that question in
        such-and-such." OK, but what was so-and-so's answer? And what was his/her
        reasoning? The citer presumably has the book or paper, so why not provide a
        summary of the relevant information? To fail to do that is to my mind to claim
        an unwarranted special privilege.
         
        Cheers,
        Mike G.
         
      • Bob Schacht
        ... Mike, I like your term. I get them a lot. My usual practice is to ignore posts with naked citations. If the sender doesn t have enough time to tell me why
        Message 3 of 11 , Dec 12, 2010
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          At 12:09 PM 12/12/2010, M.W. Grondin wrote:
           


           
          ...In answer to an offlist question, the term "naked citation" is one I made up on
          the spot to designate citations that aren't clothed with any helpful information.
          Such as when someone says simply that "So-and-so answered that question in
          such-and-such." OK, but what was so-and-so's answer? And what was his/her
          reasoning? The citer presumably has the book or paper, so why not provide a
          summary of the relevant information? To fail to do that is to my mind to claim
          an unwarranted special privilege.

          Mike,
          I like your term. I get them a lot.
          My usual practice is to ignore posts with naked citations. If the sender doesn't have enough time to tell me why I should open the link, then I don't have enough time to open the link.

          Bob Schacht
          Northern Arizona University
        • David C Hindley
          Mike, I m going to respond to your response in stages (not too many, I promise). Lion = Appetite soul just seemed natural to me, as a lion consumes it s prey.
          Message 4 of 11 , Dec 13, 2010
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            Mike,

            I'm going to respond to your response in stages (not too many, I promise).

            Lion = Appetite soul just seemed natural to me, as a lion consumes it's prey. I can also see the Spirit soul being the
            creature with the multiple and constantly changing heads (the spirited mind thinking quickly and creatively in order to take
            decisive action).

            However, you are right in that all the commentators I have been able to find have equated the lion with the Spirit soul. This
            equation appears to be based on Republic 590b: "Aren't flattery and illiberality blamed when a man subjects this same part,
            the spirited, to the mob-like beast; and, letting it be insulted for the sake of money and the beast's insatiability,
            habituates it from youth on to be an ape instead of a lion?"

            So, I stand corrected.

            There are evidently three passages in Plato's dialogues that relate to the soul: Phaedo (from about 80 to 114), Republic
            books IV (433-442) and IX (588-590).

            "[T]he soul, as Plato conceives of it in the Phaedo, is crucially characterized by cognitive and intellectual features: it is
            something that reasons, more or less well depending on the extent to which it is disturbed or distracted by the body and the
            senses ... the soul, as it is conceived of here, is not simply the mind, as we conceive of it. It is both broader and
            narrower than that. ... Socrates attributes a large variety of mental states (etc.) not to the soul, but to the (animate)
            body, such as, for instance, beliefs and pleasures (83d), and desires and fears (94d). At the same time, the soul is not
            narrowly intellectual: it too has desires (81d), even passionate ones (such as the nonphilosophical soul's love [erôs] of the
            corporeal, 80b), and pleasures as well, such as the pleasures of learning (114e). ... The soul of the Phaedo in fact seems to
            be precisely what in Republic 4 is identified as just one part of the soul, namely reason, whereas the functions of the lower
            parts, appetite and spirit, are assigned, in the psychological framework of the Phaedo, to the animate body."

            "The Republic also puts forward a new theory of soul, which involves the claim that the embodied human soul has (at least)
            three parts or aspects, namely reason, spirit and appetite. ... Here is an outline of what emerges.

            Reason is the part of the soul that is, of its own nature, attached to knowledge and truth. It is also, however, concerned to
            guide and regulate the life that it is, or anyhow should be, in charge of, ideally in a way that is informed by wisdom and
            that takes into consideration the concerns both of each of the three parts separately and of the soul as a whole (442c);
            these concerns must be supposed to include a person's bodily needs, presumably via the concerns of appetite.

            The natural attachment of spirit is to honor and, more generally, to recognition and esteem by others (581a). As a motivating
            force it generally accounts for self-assertion and ambition. When its desires are frustrated, it gives rise to emotional
            responses such as anger and indignation, and to behavior that expresses and naturally flows from such responses. Socrates
            takes spirit to be a natural ally of reason, at least part of its function being to support reason in such conflicts as may
            arise between it and appetite (440ef, 442ab). To assign it this function is neither to say nor to imply that spirit cannot,
            in the case of a corrupt and de-natured soul, turn against reason, even if well brought-up individuals like Glaucon are not
            familiar with such corruption either in their own case or in the case of others (440b). (Pace Robinson 1995, 45, who thinks
            Socrates is contradicting himself here.)

            Appetite is primarily concerned with food, drink and sex (439d, 580e). It gives rise to desires for these and other such
            things which in each case are based, simply and immediately, on the thought that obtaining the relevant object of desire is,
            or would be, pleasant. Socrates also calls appetite the money-loving part, because, in the case of mature human beings at
            least, appetite also tends to be strongly attached to money, given that it is most of all by means of money that its primary
            desires are fulfilled (580e-581a)."

            Source: Hendrik Lorenz, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ancient-soul/#3

            Based on this analysis, the Coptic translator of Plato's Republic 588a-589b only sees through a glass darkly. While he seems
            to catch the meaning of most of the passage, he does not accept it. Instead, he asserts "Good is he who has been done
            injustice completely. He is glorified justly," apparently thinking that a certain just glory is to be attributed to a sage
            such as himself who was been done injustice, and left with only his mind to occupy himself. The many-headed beast is able to
            "eminate" so many different forms because "these are formed now with arrogance," not because it is natural to crave
            gratification. Instead of the rhetorical question being "[Is he] affirming nothing else than that it profits him to feast and
            make strong the multifarious beast and the lion and all that pertains to the lion?" he turns it around and states with
            confidence "[No! W]hat is profitable for him is this: that he cast down every image of the evil beast and trample them along
            with the images of the lion." Why? Because "the wild beasts [note the plural] keep it [the reasoning man inside] from
            growing." He wants no part in taming and harnessing the many headed beast and the lion within, he wants them to be totally
            discarded.

            Respectfully,

            Dave Hindley
            Newton Falls, Ohio USA

            ________________________________

            From: gthomas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:gthomas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of M.W. Grondin
            Sent: Sunday, December 12, 2010 2:59 AM
            To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [GTh] Re: saying 7 and Plato

            [Dave Hindley]:
            > ... the subject at hand can be determined to be how an unjust man does not
            > really profit from his injustice, as he is really allowing his Spirit soul (the many
            > headed creature) and his Appetite soul (the Lion) to grow at the expense of his
            > Reason soul, to the ruin of the man as a whole. The just man's Reason soul,
            > on the other hand, reigns in and controls the Spirit and Appetite souls, to the
            > overall benefit of the whole man.

            A minor correction, Dave: in Plato's analogy in this section of the Republic
            (not repeated elsewhere) the multi-headed creature is apparently the appetites,
            while the lion corresponds to the "spirit soul". Plato writes of both as "brutes",
            as you say, but if the "lion" of Th.7 is to be identified as a combination of two
            parts of the Platonic psyche (as in your analysis), how is that preferable to the
            alternate theory that the Thomasines simply had a different view of the psyche?

            Mike G.
          • David C Hindley
            Mike & Andrew, I was able to find this description of Jackson s book in Janet Spitler s _Animals in the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles_ (2008): In a monograph
            Message 5 of 11 , Dec 13, 2010
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              Mike & Andrew,

              I was able to find this description of Jackson's book in Janet Spitler's _Animals in the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles_
              (2008):

              In a monograph dedicated entirely to the interpretation of the enigmatic logion seven of the Gospel of Thomas (involving a
              lion that becomes man), Howard M. Jackson concludes that "the lion as a symbol of sexual desire for Gnostic ascetics is but a
              special application of a broader tradition that used beasts as metaphors of the PAQH [anything that befalls one: suffering,
              misfortune]," a tradition that "stems from the likeness that Plato has Socrates paint of the human soul in the ninth book of
              the _Republic_"(n109) The importance of the _Republic_ 588b-589b for gnostic authors is confirmed by the inclusion of a
              Coptic translation/adaptation of the text in Nag Hammadi Codex VI. Whereas in Plato's original the lion has the potential to
              confer benefit insofar as the individual is able to harness its spirited nature, in the Coptic version no such possibility is
              acknowledged. Jackson concludes that "no ascetic could go so far as to allow himself any alliance with the savagely bestial
              lion, whether representing Plato's QUMOS, or lust, or any other passion."(n110) Jackson further connects these notions of
              animals in general and the lion in particular with depictions of the biblical demiurge. This wicked creator-god was often
              understood as a theriomorph, as is the case with the lion-headed Ialdabaoth of the _Apocryphon of John_.(n111) According to
              Jackson, this leontomorphic creator is the product of multiple streams of late antique thought, including (in addition to
              Plato's inner lion) astrological, zoological and iconographical associations of the lion with the "lust for GENESIS,"(n112)
              as well as the interpretation of various Hebrew Bible (particularly prophetic) passages in which Yahweh is described as a
              lion or passages (particularly from Psalms) in which lions are associated with persecution. Jackson writes: "Gnostic enemies
              of the creator in the form of the god of the Jews found such metaphors suitably savage and evolved in addition a tradition
              which allegorized the 'lions' and other beasts of many Psalms, where they are already symbols for human or demonic
              persecutors of the righteous (now the Gnostics), as figurative references to Yahweh and his ministers."(n113)

              n109 Jackson ... [pg] 212. Jackson translates logion 7 as follows: "Jesus said: Blessed is the lion whom the man shall eat
              and the lion becomes man; but foul is the man whom the lion shall eat and the lion shall become man" (1-2)
              n110 Jackson, 209. Jackson continues: "This originally Platonic tradition using the lion and other animals as symbols of
              passion continued to be a standard feature of ascetic Christian exegesis, both in its more orthodox as well as in its Gnostic
              streams. The emergence of a gnosticised version of Socrates' parable in Coptic at Nag Hammadi attests, as it were, the return
              of the tradition to its source and its reinterpretation in light of all the changes in outlook that six or seven hundred
              years of water under the bridge had wrought. The document's redactor was an ascetic of precisely the same mold as, and
              possibly indeed a member of, the second-century encratites who fashioned logion seven of _Gos. Thom._ and treasured the whole
              collection" (213).
              n111 Cf. _On the Origin of the World_ 119.16-8 ...
              n112 Jackson, 212.
              n113 Jackson, 43. ...
              http://books.google.com/books?id=V6onEqP7I6UC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Animals+in+the+Apocryphal+Acts+of+the+Apostles&source=bl
              &ots=iZiDkE5Roj&sig=5c5Hjvoo-uJl8N1HdTTOPBX4kEo&hl=en&ei=3-kGTYveHoLGlQeL9piEDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0C
              BcQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

              Then there is Risto Uro , _Thomas: Seeking the Historical Context of the Gospel of Thomas_ (2003)

              4. Demiurgical beliefs in Thomas?

              Although many recent studies on Thomas do not support the view that one can find an ignorant or malevolent demiurge in the
              gospel, scholars are not unanimous on this. The most thorough argument for a demiurgical tradition in _Thomas_ has been made
              by Howard M. Jackson in his dissertation (1985) on Gos. Thom. 7. The riddle-like saying runs: Jesus said, 'Blessed is the
              lion which becomes man when consumed by man; and cursed is the man whom the lion consumes, and the lion becomes man'.
              Jackson's study is richly documented and offers an enormous amount of information about leontomorphic deities and
              mythological figures in the ancient world. At the heart of the argument for the demiurgical interpretation of _Gos. Thom._ 7
              stands in the fact that many gnostic sources from the one known by Celsus(52) to _Pistis Sophia_ describe the demiurge or his
              archontic doubles in the form of a lion or, as in the _Apocryphon of John_, the form of the multi-faced beast, one of the
              faces being that of a lion (the shorted version), (53) or in the form of a dragon with the face of a lion (the longer
              version). (54)

              The weakness of Jackson's argument is that the gnostic nature of _Thomas_ is simply assumed without any critical discussion
              of the gospel as a whole. From that premises, the demiurgical traditions are taken as the key to the interpretation of the
              saying. However, _Gos. Thom._ 7 is not a cosmological description of Sophia's bestial creation, unlike the texts referred to
              by Jackson. The point of the saying is, as he himself admits, anthropological and psychological. In the last part of his
              study, (55) Jackson makes an attempt to explain the saying on the basis of Plato's famous parable in the _Republic_
              (588B-589B; a free Coptic translation of this section is found in NHC VI,5), in which the soul is likened to a creature
              composed of three different forces: a many-headed beast, a lion, and man. This parable may be interpreted in the light of
              Plato's idea of the tripartite soul, (56) the beast representing the baser passion, the lion the nobler passion, and the man
              reason. According to Jackson, _Gos. Thom._ 7 is an expression of a 'gnostic psychology' which drew upon the Platonic
              tradition. 'When the passions are under control, that is "devoured", by the man, they may be blessed because they have become
              human.' On the other hand, 'when the inner man is weak and the lion unruly … the man is "polluted" by the failure to bring
              the lion to heel'. (57) The reason why the last sentence of the saying does not say, as one would expect for the sake of
              symmetry, that 'the man shall become lion', (58) is based on Plato's theory of the transmigration of souls. Although the
              human soul may live the life of a beast, it still remains a _human_ soul and thus cannot be transformed into a beast. (59)
              _Gos. Thom._ 7 is thus explained against the background of the gnostic and Platonic traditions which were used by
              'encratites' or 'ascetics' who coined the saying, (60) another assumption about the ideological framework of the Thomasine
              sayings that Jackson takes for granted. (61)

              The Platonic parable may be one ingredient of the enigmatic saying, but one can hardly decipher its meaning by Plato's theory
              of the three forces in the soul. Why would the lion, representing the nobler feelings, stand for sexual passion, if the
              saying had been modeled upon the Platonic trichotomous hybrid? Jackson's suggestion presupposes the identification of the
              lion with the leontomorphic demiurge, which would then have been assimilated with the many-headed beast in Plato, but this is
              very speculative and also presupposes the basic premises that the gnostic myth is behind the saying. However we interpret the
              saying - the idea of the 'devouring' passion is certainly one possible reading (62) – it cannot be used as evidence that
              _Thomas_ suggests Sophia's monstrous creation, let alone the whole myth to which the feature belongs.

              52) See Origen, _Cels._ 6.27-30.
              53) NHC III 15.10-11 and BG 8502 37.19-21.
              54) NHC II 10.8-9.
              55) Jackson 1985, 175-213.
              56) See, e.g., _Resp_ 435A-441C
              57) Jackson 1985, 203.
              58) This correction has often been suggested since the _editio princeps_. See Guillaumont _et. Al_. 1959, 5; Haenchen 1961a,
              15; Leipoldt 1967, 57 (plausible); Ménard 1975, 56-57. Lührmann (1990, 395) suggests that the last sentence is either an
              error or an addition by a Greek or Coptic scribe. For a critical discussion of the textual correction, see Jackson 1985, 4-7.
              59) Jackson refers to _Phaedr_. 249B.
              60) Jackson 1985, 207.212.
              61) For a critical discussion of the view that _Thomas_ is encratite, see Uro 1998b.
              62) The saying was doubtless open to various interpretations. Valentasis (1997,38) finds in the saying the principle that
              relates eating to transformation and to a strictly demarcated hierarchy of being: human beings live higher on the scale of
              existence than the lion. The lion is fortunate since it rises higher on that scale by having been eaten by a human, while,
              according the same principle, the human is wretched, if the lion by means of his death and consumption succeeds in rising to
              a higher status. This basic principle, I think, could be applied literally or metaphorically to various situations in human
              life, of which the problem of sexual passion is but one. Didymos of Alexandria, for example, used the saying to illustrate
              the teacher-student relationship (_Commentary on Psalms_, Toura Papyrus V; the text is cited in Lührmann (1990, 312-6).
              http://books.google.com/books?id=nCVPPlWbw7kC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Thomas:+Seeking+the+Historical+Context+of+the+Gospel+of+
              Thomas&source=bl&ots=LTYNGA_QVj&sig=d2AahhbNMNGpTp1DeQ7zmr13NcI&hl=en&ei=CewGTeKAFML78Abq6MynCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result
              &resnum=1&sqi=2&ved=0CBMQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

              It seems, then, that Howard M. Jackson falls squarely in the GoT as Gnostic camp. However, the only part of the Coptic
              translation of the fragment from Plato's Republic that appears to my untrained eyes as possibly "Gnostic" (with capital "G")
              is 588c: "Certainly it is a single image that became the image of a complex beast with many heads. Some days indeed it is
              like the image of a wild beast. Then it is able to cast off the first image. And all these hard and difficult forms *emanate*
              from it with effort, since these are formed now with *arrogance*."

              On the other hand, I can see how the Coptic translator may have understood "lion" and "many-headed beast" differently than
              Plato sets them up to be understood in books IV & VIII, equating the lion with sexual desire and the many-headed beast with
              the demiurge.

              Respectfully,

              Dave Hindley
              Newton Falls, Ohio USA


              ________________________________

              From: gthomas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:gthomas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of M.W. Grondin
              Sent: Sunday, December 12, 2010 2:59 AM
              To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: Re: [GTh] Re: saying 7 and Plato

              [Dave Hindley]:
              > I dredged up this post ... [by Andrew Criddle]

              From April 22, 2007, as it turns out. There were a couple responses, one
              of which was from Simon Gathercole (then a list-member, currently not.)
              Since that message cited a relevant paper, I'll link to it here:

              http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gthomas/message/7748

              Unfortunately, Gathercole didn't say anything about what was in that paper,
              nor did any later writer, so his message was of little help to members who
              couldn't get ahold of the paper, didn't know how to do so, or simply didn't
              think the point was worth the trouble of further research. Furthermore, the
              paper was apparently relevant only to L.7, so it certainly shouldn't constitute
              an end of discussions here about possible Platonic connections, even if
              naked citations were discussion-enders, which they shouldn't be.
              (Naked citations are a pet gripe of mine which I won't indulge at present.)

              Mike G.
            • M.W. Grondin
              Thanks for the information, Dave. From what I gather about Jackson s view, I think Risto Uro s critique of it is spot on (though I m unsure about the accuracy
              Message 6 of 11 , Dec 13, 2010
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                Thanks for the information, Dave. From what I gather about Jackson's view,
                I think Risto Uro's critique of it is spot on (though I'm unsure about the
                accuracy of a couple of terms that Uro uses for the Platonic view of the psyche).
                Unfortunately, I've already ordered the Jackson book, somehow assuming that
                it wasn't as limited in scope nor as bound by preconceptions as it now appears
                to be. Oh, well. Maybe there's some other stuff in there that'll make it almost
                worth 26 bucks in a limited budget. (I know; inter-library loan; maybe I'll get
                into that some day. Is that how you got hold of the $100-170 Uro book?)
                 
                Mike G.
              • David C Hindley
                Mike, Should ve posted that info in 2 posts (increases your monthly post count!) but they weren t *too* long, I hope. Like you, Mike, I am pooooor. I simply
                Message 7 of 11 , Dec 14, 2010
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                  Mike,

                  Should've posted that info in 2 posts (increases your monthly post count!) but
                  they weren't *too* long, I hope.

                  Like you, Mike, I am pooooor. I simply did screen prints of the relevant pages
                  of their respective Google Books page and then transcribed the text. Fun fun.
                  Actually, I do remember Simon's post from way back, although I felt at the time
                  that Jackson was putting way too much emphasis on the lion symbolism (based on
                  what I could gather from the net). At the time I started to research the Plato
                  angle as well, but had to put a stop to the whole endeavor for lack of time (new
                  job).

                  There was also an article by Andrew Crislip, "Lion and Human in Gospel of Thomas
                  Logion 7", Journal of Biblical Literature, Fall 2007 which is online in
                  fragmented form with plenty of scanning errors, but there are a number of
                  critiques of points made by Jackson that I can tease out of it:

                  Jackson assembles an impressive collection of material relating to leonine
                  imagery in Judaism, Greco-Roman mystery and astrological traditions, Gnostic and
                  Valentinian literature, and even Manichaean and Mandaean scriptures. The
                  cataloging and description of leonine imagery dominate the study, 187 out of 214
                  pages. Yet for all the weight of the Jewish, pagan, Christian, Manichaean, and
                  Mandaean leontomorphic imagery that Jackson assembles, it remains tangential to
                  the central interpretive crux of Gos. Thom. 7 and ultimately does not prove
                  decisive in explaining the meaning of the text.(13) The broad swath of
                  leontomorphic imagery really only sets the stage for the true interpretation of
                  the logion, which Jackson finds in the Gnostic reception of Plato's allegory of
                  the soul in the Republic.(14)
                  In the Republic, Plato sets forth "a symbolic image of the soul," consisting of
                  three forms "grown together in one," like "the Chimera or Scylla or Cerberus"
                  (Resp. 588d, 588c).(15) The three forms include "a single shape of a manifold
                  and many headed beast," "one of a lion," and "one of a man" (Resp. 588c; Shorey,
                  LCL). The interactions of the tripartite soul exemplify the just or unjust
                  actions of the person by their concord or discord.

                  ... the presence of a Coptic translation of Resp. 588a-589b in the Nag Hammadi
                  codices (NHC VI, 5) makes it especially appealing to read Gos. Thom. 7 and
                  Plato's allegory intertextually, and it is to this aim that Jackson devoted his
                  learned study.

                  ... The [Coptic] extract [from Plato's _Republic_] is "ineptly translated,"
                  according to Jackson ...

                  Jackson's analysis ... shows how such a Gnostic reading of Thomas and Plato
                  could have worked in late antiquity.

                  But does this mean that Plato's allegory of the soul is necessarily the "key" to
                  unlock the allegory of Gos. Thom. 7?(19) In fact there are significant
                  difficulties in Jackson's interpretation of Gos. Thom. 7, particularly his use
                  of Resp. 588b-589b as an intertext. The first is the general dissimilarity
                  between the soul in Resp. 588b-589b and the lion and human in Gos. Thom. 7. The
                  second is the general "gnosticizing" framework in which his treatment of logion
                  7 is necessarily placed.

                  Jackson, in fact, notes some significant differences between Plato's allegory of
                  the soul and the lion and human in Gos. Thom. 7, specifically the more negative
                  valuation of the lion in the Gospel of Thomas, and explains this as a result of
                  the general Gnostic reception of Platonism, which entails a devaluation of
                  matter.(25) This leads to the other difficulty with Jackson's exegesis of Gos.
                  Thom. 7: his assumption that the Gospel of Thomas is a "Gnostic" text, rooted in
                  the full richness of the Gnostic myth as elaborated in classic Gnostic texts and
                  their Valentinian descendants. I do not wish to argue the point here, but the
                  Gnostic character of Thomas may by no means be taken for granted, and studies
                  taking a variety of approaches to the exegesis and source history of Thomas have
                  raised serious-even devastating-questions about the allegedly "Gnostic" nature
                  of Thomas.(26) In the end, Jackson's exhaustive treatment of Gos. Thom. 7 does
                  not convincingly solve the obscure saying.

                  Jackson ... has amassed an extensive catalogue of leonine imagery in ancient
                  Judaism, Platonism, Gnosticism, Manichaeism, and Mandaeism in search of the lion
                  as deity, demiurge, and passion, as noted previously.(47) But it is rather
                  striking that he makes no use of the predominant and most obvious use of leonine
                  imagery in the Jewish Scriptures: the lion as death. In fact, the elements of
                  the Jewish Scriptures that Christians used most readily in christological
                  exegesis, especially the Psalms and Daniel, draw especially on the lion as a
                  symbol of death.

                  13) I agree with Meyer that the leontocephalic deities "relate in only a
                  marginal way to logion 7 of the Gospel of Thomas" (review of Lion Becomes Man,
                  160); Jackson nearly admits as much himself (Lion Becomes Man, 183-84).
                  14) Yet the Platonic material has also been recognized as not directly relevant
                  to Gos. Thom. 7. Robert Hayward writes, "The Platonic material does not seem to
                  be quite as central as Jackson would wish to make it; indeed, he himself
                  candidly admits that the lion element in the soul is potentially good, whereas
                  the Gnostic leontomorphic demiurge is, by and large, irredeemably wicked and
                  malicious. The relevance of some parts of his final chapter may be questioned
                  for this reason" (review of Lion Becomes Man, JSS 33 [1988]: 288-90, at 290).
                  19) Jackson, Lion Becomes Man, 2.
                  25) Jackson, Lion Becomes Man, 202-3.
                  26) Specifically targeted toward Jackson's exegesis of Gos. Thom. 7 is Risto
                  Uro, Thomas: Seeking the Historical Context of the Gospel of Thomas (London/New
                  York: T&T Clark, 2003), 40-42. More generally, see, e.g., April DeConick, Seek
                  to See Him: Ascent and Vision Mysticism in the Gospel of Thomas (VCSup 33;
                  Leiden: Brill, 1996), 3-27; Antti Marianen, "Is Thomas a Gnostic Gospel?" in
                  Thomas at the Crossroads: Essays on the Gospel of Thomas (ed. Uro Risto; Studies
                  of the New Testament and Its World; Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1998), 107-39. Gregory
                  J. Riley, Res- urrection Reconsidered: Thomas and John in Controversy
                  (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1995); idem, "The Gospel of Thomas in Recent
                  Scholarship," CurBS 2 (1994): 227-52, at 229-32; Valantasis, Gospel of Thomas,
                  13-14. Whether and how Gnostics, Manichaeans, and others used Thomas has little
                  bearing on the question of the theological, ecclesiastical, or social setting of
                  the "original" Gospel of Thomas.
                  http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_7216/is_200710/ai_n32244684/

                  So, it looks like Jackson has argued for a Gnostic reading of GoT L7, but not
                  everyone is convinced by his interpretation of a possible Gnostic understanding
                  of Plato's theory of soul from NHC VI.5, and any possible intertextual
                  relationship between such an understanding and GoT L7. That was why I selected
                  other sayings from GoT that suggest to me a (simplistic?) understanding of
                  Plato's argument that the Reason soul must tame and harnass the Appetite and
                  Spirit souls before the man as a whole can act in a just manner towards self and
                  others, but not the anti-lion polemic of the Coptic translation of Republic
                  588a-589b.

                  Whether Plato's theory of soul was "in the air" in Hellenized Egypt at this
                  time, with the Copt monks of the Pachomean monastery/farm having absorbed it
                  without being intimately familiar with Plato directly, or we simply have not had
                  the luck of other more philosophical works being preserved, I don't know.
                  Personally, I think GoT L7 can be interpreted from Plato's understanding of
                  soul, but not necessarily from the Coptic version of the passage from the
                  Republic preserved in NHC VI.5.

                  Respectfully,

                  Dave Hindley
                  Newton Falls, Ohio USA




                  ________________________________

                  From: gthomas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:gthomas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of M.W.
                  Grondin
                  Sent: Tuesday, December 14, 2010 1:55 AM
                  To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: Re: [GTh] Re: saying 7 and Plato




                  Thanks for the information, Dave. From what I gather about Jackson's view,
                  I think Risto Uro's critique of it is spot on (though I'm unsure about the
                  accuracy of a couple of terms that Uro uses for the Platonic view of the
                  psyche).
                  Unfortunately, I've already ordered the Jackson book, somehow assuming that
                  it wasn't as limited in scope nor as bound by preconceptions as it now appears
                  to be. Oh, well. Maybe there's some other stuff in there that'll make it almost
                  worth 26 bucks in a limited budget. (I know; inter-library loan; maybe I'll get
                  into that some day. Is that how you got hold of the $100-170 Uro book?)

                  Mike G.
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