The gnostic book of….Romans?! And the Johannine “Comma”

March 6, 2009 at 12:22 am ("Like it says on the tin.", Gnostic Texts, my funny valentine, Reading)

Say it ain’t so! But look what I just stumbled across:

(Following has been taken from the NKJV, with the NU Text footnotes preferred and insert words removed.)

Rom. 14:1 Receive one who is weak in the faith, not to disputes over doubtful things. 2 For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables.

Hah! Yeah I’ve been there before. You wouldn’t believe how popular vegetarian restaurants were, amongst the members of the church, back in the day. Best way to “know for sure” after all. 😛

3 Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. 4 Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. 5 One person esteems day above another; another esteems every day. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.

“Men create gods. That is the way it is in the world. Men create gods, and worship their creation. It would be better for gods to worship men!” Gospel of Philip

6 He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. 7 For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.

Presumably these verses are where the universalists take their dogma from.

9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

The NKJV footnote reads: “NU-Text omits and rose.” This would be consistent with the metaphysically-manifesting christological figure in The Secret Book of John, and perhaps an oblique reference to the ascent through the spheres from the Faith of Wisdom texts? Compare also with this passage from On the Exegesis of the Soul: “Now it is fitting that the soul regenerates herself and become again as she formerly was. The soul then moves of her own accord. And she received the divine nature from the father for her rejuvenation, so that she might be restored to the place where originally she had been. This is the resurrection that is from the dead.”

10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God.

The NKJV notes, once again, that “of Christ” was a later addition, and the verse initially read as above. I no longer see this verse in an apocalyptic light, nor do I see this verse  as prophesying some future Great White Throne Judgement. I believe now that this verse exhorts an ongoing self-judgement (“men create gods”) that it would benefit us all to undertake. See also “Baptism by Fire”.

Now on to “the Johaninne Comma”, which I didn’t even realize existed. Here we have Version A, the popular form of the verse that is extant in all of the literal fundamentalist Christian world today (“The Empire never ended.”)

John 5:7 “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8 “And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.”

Let us examine the text without the added “comma”:

John 5:7 “For there are three that bear record, 8 the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.”

This maps quite nicely to the neocortex, the cerebral cortex, and the paleocortex, although surely the verse could not have been understood in those terms two thousand years ago.

They would not have understood (except perhaps dimly, the way the author of the Gospel of Philip did) that the narratives they gained such powerful transformative effects by, actually came from within themselves, and were not bestowed by some literalized, anthropomorphized externalized entity. Or maybe they did understand that, and it has just unfortunately been lost in translation, three thousand years on.

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Approaching Darkness (Solstice Thoughts)

December 23, 2008 at 9:53 pm (Gnostic Texts, Reading, Un-Lectionary)

The concept of neti neti or apophatic theology has always held great appeal for me. Is this another Pascalian wager, or does it perhaps reflect some form of Universal Truth?

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