The logic of the Nag Hammadi collection.

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Geocalyx
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Re: The logic of the Nag Hammadi collection.

Post by Geocalyx » Wed Oct 28, 2020 10:56 am

also if monks wrote them then they were just as likely to be making money by copying heretical works and selling them, that might explain the odd slightly more orthodox text in unexpected places. that's the monks conscience deciding that this will 'make it ok'
Copying? From who?

Some guys who expected to preach the crazy Gospel of Judas literally to an even more insane audience?

Edit: btw
there was a known gnostic community living near where the texts were discovered, maybe it was their collection? yep a known gnostic group in exactly the right spot
gnostic... so yeah, what does that word mean again?

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DCHindley
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Re: The logic of the Nag Hammadi collection.

Post by DCHindley » Wed Oct 28, 2020 3:43 pm

mlinssen wrote:
Wed Oct 28, 2020 8:52 am
DCHindley wrote:
Sat Oct 24, 2020 9:12 pm

This great thing that has just been done can be found here:

(Hindley, David C) Analysis of Plato Republic Bk IX (588a-589b) NHL & 2 Translations (2013-02-16).pdf


The original file had to do with the parallels between the Coptic translation of Plato's Republic and the Gospel of Thomas (several sayings), so for those who get into this kind of thing, here is Ben's updated file. The Greek is the edition preserved on www.Perseus.org.
Dear DCHindley, that sounds interesting! Do you have those parallels somewhere? Thomas certainly got some from Philo, and Socrates / Plato shadows much of the Western world of course

Martijn

[EDIT] You likely refer to your pdf, sorry.

I find Philo very enlightening in the light of logion 7
(40) Unless, indeed, any one would say that a man who has bought a lion has become the master of the lion, when if he merely look with a threatening glance at him he will soon learn to his cost what kind of a master, what a savage and ferocious tyrant he has purchased. What shall we say then? Shall we not look upon a wise man as more difficult to enslave than a lion, when he in his freedom and invincible soul has much more courage than any creature can have which consists of a body which is by nature a slave, however great his strength may be by which he resists his masters.
What passage in Philo?

I did not cast my net that far, I'm afraid.

What surprised me was the interest in the nature of the rational soul which some of the books NHL seems to be fixated on. I believe that this was already mentioned by someone else.

That seems like a subject we would expect to find in Philo, seeing how he was so heavily influenced by Plato.

Plato thought the Cosmos itself had a Soul, which he called a "world soul." Plato speculated that individual souls were connected somehow to this world soul. The section of the Republic on the lion contrasted with the rational soul is really a discussion about souls in general.

DCH

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DCHindley
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Re: The logic of the Nag Hammadi collection.

Post by DCHindley » Wed Oct 28, 2020 4:01 pm

Seven fragments of Plato were published the first two volumes of the Oxyrhynchus Papyri:

XXIII. Plato, Laws IX
XXIV. Plato, Republic X
CCXXVIII. Plato, Laches
CCXXIX. Plato, Phaedo ......
454. Plato Gorgias
455. Plato Republic iii
456. Plato Republic iv

I do not believe that any fragments published so far are from Philo.
DCH

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: The logic of the Nag Hammadi collection.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Oct 28, 2020 4:17 pm

DCHindley wrote:
Wed Oct 28, 2020 4:01 pm
Seven fragments of Plato were published the first two volumes of the Oxyrhynchus Papyri:

XXIII. Plato, Laws IX
XXIV. Plato, Republic X
CCXXVIII. Plato, Laches
CCXXIX. Plato, Phaedo ......
454. Plato Gorgias
455. Plato Republic iii
456. Plato Republic iv

I do not believe that any fragments published so far are from Philo.

(Hindley, David C) Analysis of the subjects of the Oyrhynchus Papyri in Grenfeld & Hunt.doc

DCH
There is this: https://brentnongbri.com/2018/05/13/the ... alexandria.

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mlinssen
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Re: The logic of the Nag Hammadi collection.

Post by mlinssen » Wed Oct 28, 2020 10:41 pm

DCHindley wrote:
Wed Oct 28, 2020 3:43 pm

What passage in Philo?

I did not cast my net that far, I'm afraid.
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/yonge/book33.html

davidmartin
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Re: The logic of the Nag Hammadi collection.

Post by davidmartin » Thu Oct 29, 2020 2:13 am

Geocalyx wrote:
Wed Oct 28, 2020 10:56 am
Copying? From who?

Some guys who expected to preach the crazy Gospel of Judas literally to an even more insane audience?
I'll agree some of these texts are challenging to sanity (cough Zostrianos cough)
However they're not all that extreme and anyway i guess there surely was an audience for this stuff, or it wouldn't exist at all
I see crazy spiritual stuff is popular today as well, why not then?
Yeah i can see a monk being given a codex and paid to create a copy, why not?
There is a way to prove that actually - were the codexes blank before being written or not? This is known but i can't remember which
you don't have to be heretical to do that, just willing to bend a few rules
i find it harder to see the monks using these texts though if they were anything approaching orthodoxy
>there was a known gnostic community living near where the texts were discovered, maybe it was their collection? yep a known gnostic group in exactly the right spot

gnostic... so yeah, what does that word mean again?
Here's the place I got this from (Nag Hammadi library in english by Robinson), what do you think?

Note: the location described here is right where Nag Hammadi collection was found

"Early in the fifth century C.E. Shenoute, Abbot of the White Monas­ tery at the same Panopolis where Pachomius had founded monasteries and from which the “ philosopher” had come, attacked a group at the nearby temple of Pneueit that called itself “ kingless,” worshipped the “ demiurge,” and would not accept Cyril, Archbishop of Alexandria, as their “ illuminator.” These terms, which Shenoute seems to borrow from the group, are so well-known in the Nag Hammadi library that it may have been a Christian Gnostic, perhaps a Sethian group, even though in his polemic Shenoute calls them pagan heretics. He seized their “ books full of abomination” and “ of every kind of magic.” Indeed, series of vowels and unintelligible magic words (Plotinus called it “ hissing” ) oc­ cur in the Nag Hammadi library itself. Actually Pachomius himself wrote to the heads of his monasteries using a code that even his succes­ sors could not decipher! Hence the Nag Hammadi library and Pacho- mius’ “ books of spiritual letters” may not have been entirely different in appearance from what Shenoute would call a book of magic. Shenoute threatened the heretics: “ I shall make you acknowledge ... the Arch­ bishop Cyril, or else the sword will wipe out most of you, and moreover those of you who are spared will go into exile.” Just as the Dead Sea Scrolls were put in jars for safekeeping and hidden at the time of the ap­ proach of the Roman Tenth Legion, the burial of the Nag Hammadi li­ brary in a jar may also have been precipitated by the approach of Roman authorities, who by then had become Christian"

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mlinssen
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Re: The logic of the Nag Hammadi collection.

Post by mlinssen » Thu Oct 29, 2020 3:47 am

davidmartin wrote:
Thu Oct 29, 2020 2:13 am

Yeah i can see a monk being given a codex and paid to create a copy, why not?
There is a way to prove that actually - were the codexes blank before being written or not? This is known but i can't remember which
http://gospel-thomas.net/x_facs.htm

There's a blank page in the gospel of Thomas, between page 48 and 49 of Codex II

perseusomega9
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Re: The logic of the Nag Hammadi collection.

Post by perseusomega9 » Thu Oct 29, 2020 5:49 am

davidmartin wrote:
Thu Oct 29, 2020 2:13 am
>there was a known gnostic community living near where the texts were discovered, maybe it was their collection? yep a known gnostic group in exactly the right spot

gnostic... so yeah, what does that word mean again?
Here's the place I got this from (Nag Hammadi library in english by Robinson), what do you think?

Note: the location described here is right where Nag Hammadi collection was found

"Early in the fifth century C.E. Shenoute, Abbot of the White Monas­ tery at the same Panopolis where Pachomius had founded monasteries and from which the “ philosopher” had come, attacked a group at the nearby temple of Pneueit that called itself “ kingless,” worshipped the “ demiurge,” and would not accept Cyril, Archbishop of Alexandria, as their “ illuminator.” These terms, which Shenoute seems to borrow from the group, are so well-known in the Nag Hammadi library that it may have been a Christian Gnostic, perhaps a Sethian group, even though in his polemic Shenoute calls them pagan heretics. He seized their “ books full of abomination” and “ of every kind of magic.” Indeed, series of vowels and unintelligible magic words (Plotinus called it “ hissing” ) oc­ cur in the Nag Hammadi library itself. Actually Pachomius himself wrote to the heads of his monasteries using a code that even his succes­ sors could not decipher! Hence the Nag Hammadi library and Pacho- mius’ “ books of spiritual letters” may not have been entirely different in appearance from what Shenoute would call a book of magic. Shenoute threatened the heretics: “ I shall make you acknowledge ... the Arch­ bishop Cyril, or else the sword will wipe out most of you, and moreover those of you who are spared will go into exile.” Just as the Dead Sea Scrolls were put in jars for safekeeping and hidden at the time of the ap­ proach of the Roman Tenth Legion, the burial of the Nag Hammadi li­ brary in a jar may also have been precipitated by the approach of Roman authorities, who by then had become Christian"
it's also important to note that the sexual ascetism that was found in early christian 'gnosticism' was absorbed into Orthodox monasticism along with many other 'gnostic' ideas (e.g. aerial tollhouses) and practices. Though a monastic community may fall under the orthodox penumbra, in these early times there's not a lot of distinction between 'gnostics' and monastics.

Geocalyx
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Re: The logic of the Nag Hammadi collection.

Post by Geocalyx » Thu Oct 29, 2020 10:48 am

"Early in the fifth century C.E. Shenoute, Abbot of the White Monas­ tery at the same Panopolis where Pachomius had founded monasteries and from which the “ philosopher” had come, attacked a group at the nearby temple of Pneueit that called itself “ kingless,” worshipped the “ demiurge,” and would not accept Cyril, Archbishop of Alexandria, as their “ illuminator.” These terms, which Shenoute seems to borrow from the group, are so well-known in the Nag Hammadi library that it may have been a Christian Gnostic, perhaps a Sethian group, even though in his polemic Shenoute calls them pagan heretics. He seized their “ books full of abomination” and “ of every kind of magic.” Indeed, series of vowels and unintelligible magic words (Plotinus called it “ hissing” ) oc­ cur in the Nag Hammadi library itself. Actually Pachomius himself wrote to the heads of his monasteries using a code that even his succes­ sors could not decipher! Hence the Nag Hammadi library and Pacho- mius’ “ books of spiritual letters” may not have been entirely different in appearance from what Shenoute would call a book of magic. Shenoute threatened the heretics: “ I shall make you acknowledge ... the Arch­ bishop Cyril, or else the sword will wipe out most of you, and moreover those of you who are spared will go into exile.” Just as the Dead Sea Scrolls were put in jars for safekeeping and hidden at the time of the ap­ proach of the Roman Tenth Legion, the burial of the Nag Hammadi li­ brary in a jar may also have been precipitated by the approach of Roman authorities, who by then had become Christian".
Cool, so a certain group of people that did not accept archbishop Cyril lived there. But why would they call themself "kingless" if they "worshipped" anyone? Other than that, I agree, this must be the group.

Here is the point of my idea, though: these people weren't early Christian monks gone awry, they were "pagan" philosophers of several different, sometimes opposing, persecuted schools writing against state monopoly on mind.

Again I try to elaborate: monks hold on to faith. The NHC itself never regards faith in high esteem.
Basilides, Valentinus etc. are mentioned in there, but never favorably.
The NHC professes reason and literal "common sense". Not mystical experiences triggered by acts of piety, even if they are often the literary framework for teachings - it regards new-age, or the "wide path" even worse than paganism and monotheism. (In Zostrianos, I think? Maybe it was in Melchizedek)
It's repeatedly stated that "whoever has an understanding mind, will understand". Never "humility brings salvation" and such.
Bottom line. All of the texts - every single one - swears to mind, reason and understanding. This is too much of a coincidence for a random eclectic collection of heretic writings, and not in line with things I commonly associate with monasticism for my taste.

Just ... consider judging the collection on its own merits or something. Fixing the books so they fit some reported third-party scheme is missing the point in my opinion, and just serves to muddy the waters of early Christianity. As in, there has had to be a Valentinus somewhere, but none of his stuff can be reliably found here.

davidmartin
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Re: The logic of the Nag Hammadi collection.

Post by davidmartin » Fri Oct 30, 2020 3:14 am

All of the texts - every single one - swears to mind, reason and understanding. This is too much of a coincidence for a random eclectic collection of heretic writings, and not in line with things I commonly associate with monasticism for my taste
I agree for the most part. There's a few texts that might not be out of place in a monastic scene but mostly i'd agree, especially when there's known local community of folk that actually would use these texts thanks to Shenoute recording their existence

I see the entire ancient world as dominated by Greek philosophical thought it was hugely influential, and the emphasis on mind fits right in with that for sure. Almost all of the known Gnostics seemed to go that way. Not so sure the church fathers were immune to that!

I don't know if we can expect all early Christian groups to share the same idea of what faith means exactly so there has to be room for some differences depends how big you make that circle

But when you look at Christian origins there's an emphasis more on Spirit than Mind which comes from Jewish roots I recon
that's why i hold the Odes of Solomon to be the shining star of early Christian texts for clearly showing these origins

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