The Thunder, Perfect Mind, from The Nag Hammadi Library. This site includes the entire Nag Hammadi Library, as well as a large collection of other primary. Thunder Perfect Mind – or How Nonsense Makes Sense Nanna Liv Elkjær Olsen Thunder Perfect Mind (NHC VI,2) is one of the most strange and mysterious. THE THUNDER: PERFECT MIND (VI,2). Introduced and translated by. GEORGE W. MacRae. Edited by. DoUGLAS M. PARROTT. The title appears to be double.
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The Thunder, Perfect Mind Commented by Frater Apollonius 4◦=7▫ ATAT. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. The goddess speaks first, in her higher. computerescue.info - Download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online. I was sent from the Power And I have come to those who think upon me. And I was found among those who seek after me (13,). Look at me, you who think.
This apophaticism neither reveals nor conceals what true gnosis is. It only signifies it, gives hints at it by displaying how far from acquiring it the reader is. The distance to the attainment of true gnosis can be measured by the degree to which the expectations were disrupted. Affirmation and Double Bind In its antithetical play of affirmations Thunder draws in a wide range of concepts in order to regain strength in the new tensions created.
These antithetical affirmations destabilise not only the meaning but also the valuations of the concepts.
Gnostic Scriptures and Important Texts
And] on the day when I am 3 [far away] from you, [I am] 4 [close to] you. Moreover, it pays respect to the notion that while the divine is present alike to all things, all things are not present alike to the divine, cf. Proclus, Stoicheiosis Theologike, prop.
See also Fish, Surprised by Sin.
In the following passage the female revealer addresses herself directly to the audience with the concepts love and hate, denial and confession, truths and lies, knowledge and ignorance.
Within such a semantic field the implied reader would know exactly how to orientate himself. But as the female revealer commands not only those who deny her to confess her, and so forth, but also the opposite, those who confess her to deny her, the horizon is lost: Thunder You who tell 21 the truth about me, lie about me! And you who 22 have lied about me, tell the truth about me!
First of all, if the antithetical affirmations were formerly taken as referring to different aspects of the female revealer in a time-space-continuum, then this opportunity is now lost when the female revealer scorns her adherents for being insufficient and inconsistent in their approach to her.
This reproach is a strong critique of perceiving the double propositions as referring to sequential modulations, and of paying respect to only side of her being. Even if the constituents of the antithetical oppositions refer to different aspects of her, they are to be brought into focus simultaneously in order to bring her fullness into view.
Secondly, ignorance is usually defined in relation to knowledge as its deviant, knowledge being the defining term or Archimedean point. But when ignorance and knowledge are equally bad — or equally good, for that matter — they can with equal right take the place at the centre of the semantic system. When the centre of the system, the defining term, is exchangeable this opens up for an endless play of reversal and revaluation which makes the semantic system extremely fluid, as every signification and valuation can and must be drawn into suspicion.
Since the oppositional pair of knowledge and ignorance is repeated elsewhere in the text Thirdly, whatever the adherents do, they obviously fail. When the antithetical affirmation is reformulated as an antithetical commandment an insoluble dilemma or double bind16 occurs, because one cannot obey one commandment without by the same token neglecting the other.
Such double binds are not an unknown phenomenon within the history of religions. Thus in the Zen koans, double binds are used as devices for achieving enlightenment, as when e. If you say it is not real, I will strike you with it. Either one can accept and endure the double bind as an existential condition, or one can transcend it by undoing its principle. Now, a koan may indicate its own solution, and this may count for Thunder also.
The double binds of Thunder circle around the four core approaches to the divine; confession, emotion, cognition, and discourse. As long as the adherents signify anything - and signification is here to be understood in the widest possible sense - they do wrong, because by doing this they are inescapably caught in bipolarity and partiality because of the inadequacy of the human language and cognition in relation to the female revealer as coincidentia oppositorum.
The Thunder, Perfect Mind
Because the nature of the female revealer violates the rule of non-contradiction, any reference or signification which implies some kind of delimitation is in need of correction. Or in other words, whatever truths one can tell about 15 Cf.
Nor does any resolution of antithetical principles occur. Jackson, Jay Harley and John H.
Similar examples are ample. See also Frits Staal, Exploring Mysticism. Thomas P.
Either one can accept and endure this double bind as an existential condition. Thereby one would fling oneself into an infinite semiosis where each saying may present the female revealer momentarily before the mind fixes itself to it and is restrained by it, and an unsaying is needed, this also having only momentary value.
Alternatively, one may annul the principle of the double bind by abstaining from the game completely. When love and hate, ignorance and knowledge, truthfulness and lying, confession and denial are equally wrong and equally right, a possible solution to the dilemma is to transcend signification as such. And when doing this one sets oneself free from all binding, all emotions, confessions and cognitions, thereby attaining a state of dispassionate passion, learned ignorance and ineffable silence.
When all distinctions are annihilated the self is as if it had not yet come forth from its original source. However, to be honest to the text, it must be admitted that no hints are given as to any evaluation between these two options. How Nonsense Makes Sense The paradoxical style of Thunder amounts to mere nonsense, but this is not necessarily a hindrance for a modern scholarly approach.
Instead of seeing the antithetical play of affirmations as an obstacle for understanding I suggest reading Thunder with a focus on the textual performance as a process which involves the reader much more directly. As soon as one realises that the text, in spite of its heavy overload of data, works to convey meaning not in an informative way, but in a performative one by perpetually deferring, defying, disrupting and destructing meaning, and forcing the reader into insoluble dilemmas, it becomes obvious how the text makes sense.
Select Bibliography Buckley, Jorunn J. Fish, Stanley.
Is there a Text in this Class? The Authority of Interpretive Communities. Hart, Kevin. The Trespass of the Sign.
Deconstruction, theology and philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Layton, Bentley. Peabody: Hendrickson, , MacRae, George W. Leiden, Brill, ???? Sells, Michael A. Mystical Languages of Unsaying.
Table of contents
Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, Translation with Annotations. Although the monologue consists almost entirely of self-descriptions and exhortations directed to the reader, three short passages refer to the mythic setting of the savior's words: BJn 4: These allusions to the gnostic myth however ambiguous , the identification of the speaker as 'afterthought' Further support for this reading comes from [ The Hypostasis of the Archons ] Nevertheless, some scholars have doubted that [ The Thunder, Perfect Intellect ] bears any relation to gnostic myth.
Birger A. Pearson writes, "Two of her pronouncements in this section provide clues as to the speaker's identity. The first one, 'It is my husband who begot me' 13, , fits the figure of Eve in the Bible, born from her husband's rib Genesis 2: The second one suggests a heavenly projection of Eve: Silence and Epinoia are designations for Barbelo and Sophia in Gnostic mythology, and both should be understood as heavenly projections of Eve.
Epinoia is also specifically associated with Eve. In the Apocryphon of John , a heavenly Eve comes as a 'helper' to Adam, 'a luminous reflection epinoia who comes out of him, who is called "Life"' The identification of the speaker in Thunder: Perfect Mind with Eve-Sophia is made all the more plausible when we compare a passage in the treatise On the Origin of the World. Eve is referred to as 'the first virgin, the one who without a husband bore her first offspring. Perfect Mind: In sum, Thunder: Perfect Mind is a piece of Gnostic literature that is quite unique and difficult to classify.
Its author is completely unknown, as is the date of its composition second century?I myself will hide from you. This does not necessarily mean that the author did not know about this Aristotelian rule, only that it does not have any relevance to this very entity.
In fact, Thunder seems to echo significantly parts of two overlapping major ancient literary traditions: a literature of divine self-presentation called aretalogies, and wisdom mythology. Need an account? Or in other words, whatever truths one can tell about 15 Cf.
We suspect that more major meanings are still to come as twenty-first-century consciousness takes the next steps in encountering this text. I am she who is honored and praised and who is despised scornfully.. Following the logic of the other antitheses she must be something even more supreme or even more original than substance and non-substance, though again, a principle which is not only all-encompassing, but also all-pervading.
I am a non-speaking mute and great is my multitude of utterances 19,
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