Re: Vatican

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Fri Nov 11 2005 - 08:13:04 EST

1) The question of canonicity is of course exactly the opposite of my "opinion." It is one of the "opinion" of the church catholic since the 2d century.

2) Why you would imagine that "a literal reading of the Bible" is my "burden" I cannot imagine, except that it may fit in with some pet theory of yours. If you had paid any attention to other posts on this list you would have seen that I've sometimes been criticized for not being sufficiently "literal."

3) My 3d sentence explained that the "Jewish concepts of the Messiah" which I said carried little weight were "the predominant popular Jewish messianic concept at the time, the leader who would throw out the Romans and establish Jewish domination." I never said, or have said, or - deo volente - will say that the Hebrew scriptures are unimportant for Christian theology. It's the Gnostics who generally took that line!

4) If you would take the trouble to read, & try to understand, what other people write instead of just seizing every opportunity to ride off on your hobby horse you might be able to make more useful contributions to conversations.

  ----- Original Message -----
  To: ; ;
  Sent: Thursday, November 10, 2005 7:11 PM
  Subject: Re: Vatican

  In a message dated 11/10/2005 8:47:42 AM Eastern Standard Time, writes:
    Neither the Nag Hammadi texts nor Jewish concepts of the Messiah carry much weight for anything approximating orthodox Christian theology. There are good reasons why the church did not include the former in the canon - primarily because of the gnostic ideas which they convey. & it's clear that the sense in which Jesus is the Messiah is very different from the predominant popular Jewish messianic concept at the time, the leader who would throw out the Romans and establish Jewish domination

  As for the weight of the nag hammadi texts or Jewish theology vis a vis orthodox Christian theology, this is your opinion. One of your burdens is a literal reading of the Bible and thinking you can ignore something because it is "non-canonical" such as the Dead Sea scrolls and the Nag Hammadi texts, both discovered within our lifetimes. Based on Jewish literary devices such as the reversal of absolutes, it is very probable that both the virgin birth and Jesus' celibacy are ontological statements employed to establish Jesus' messiahship, not literal renderings of actual verifiable states or events, so much for Christian orthodoxy which is in flux if the abandonment and liberalization of the churches is any indication. This kind of decay occurs when a paradigm fails such as a 6 day creation and everything that implies. When you see that these concepts were drawn directly from Jewish theology and patriarchal order (virgin birth makes Jesus literally the Son of God and therefore the highest ranking Jewish male - celibacy implies no desire - a being complete in himself - the "undivided" pre-fall Adam as Jesus identifies himself in the gospel of thomas) to establish Jesus' divinity, you see a Jewish mind at work in the NT. To suggest that Jewish thought does not "carry much weight for anything approximating orthodox Christian theology" is to say we should ignore prophecies in the OT that predict the nature of the messiah and point directly at Jesus and ignore Jewish literary devices used by the NT authors to establish Jesus as the messiah. I say you have to know what the Jewish mind thought to know why it wrote what has been passed down to us. A literal reading and dismissal of non-canonical sources doesn't allow you the freedom to explore Jewish literary devices in the Scriptures. The 6 day creation is one such literary device. The fall of Adam and Eve to explain the nature of man is another one / virgin birth / Jesus' celibacy.
  In genesis, when Adam and Eve eat the apple, they become afraid and ashamed. Not only are these states psychologically correct for a self conscious human being, but in the gospel of thomas Jesus says when you can walk around naked without shame, you will not fear - demonstrating that the author of the gospel of thomas understood the ontology of the fall so well, he could quote Jesus describing the fall - in reverse. The chances that the author of the gospel of thomas did not understand the fall completely are simply dismissed when Jesus describes a redemption that dovetails perfectly with the fall in genesis.

  The self sacrifice of the cross is a manifestation of the gnosis which requires the self to be sacrificed. It also emerged spontaneously from the Vedic caste system when Buddha intuited the ancient self sacrifice. It is no coincidence that each Dalai Lama is trained to be celibate, nor is it a coincidence that the Buddhist and Christian ontologies both evoke celibacy as an ideal and reject hierarchalization. Remember, Jesus is of the order of Melchizedek, who is priest and king. There is no separate priest and warrior class in the order of Melchizedek. Tripartition is dissolved since one man performs both functions, just as it was in patriarchal society.
  The gnosis was rejected by the early church because gnostics were not amenable to hierarchalization and would not submit to a priestly caste which is required for a tax system (oops - a church) to operate. Constantine not only established a state religion, requiring a priestly caste, he also built many churches in the East on his Parthian frontier, he also completed Diocletian's reform of the tax system of which the churches were a part. Was his concern theology or taxes?

  Pope Paul in Crossing the Threshold of Hope said gnosticism has always been with the Church but he rejected it, but you have to wonder why Pope Paul had to comment that the gnosis has always existed side by side with the church even after 2,000 years of hostile rejection. Could it be that an element of gnosticism is innate in Christianity and the sacrifice of the Cross. I believe it is. In order to achieve gnosis, one assumed a rigid self discipline. In order to sacrifice one's self on a cross, one has to rigidly discipline one's self to do the will of the Father. The same discipline is employed to reach gnosis or take up a cross.

  We are at a crossroads. Creation was not in 6 days. And since that is the case, you have to penetrate the literary devices/allegories/tales in the Bible and the scribes who would posit a 6 day creation and why before you can say you understand the Bible. If you reply to me by simply saying my sources are not canonical you have to be willing to argue, which sources you are referring to and why they were not canonical and be more specific but to simply dismiss the Nag Hammadi texts and the theology of Jewish mysticism?

  rich faussette
Received on Fri Nov 11 08:15:58 2005

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