Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Apocryphote of the Day: 3-25-09

O soul, backslider,
sober up and shake off your drunkenness
which is the work of ignorance!

If you backslide and are governed by the body,
you dwell in savageness.

When you descended,
when you were embodied,
you were born.

Come into being inside the bridal chamber.
Be enlightened in the mind.

Teachings of Silvanus 94.19-29 (Alexandrian Christian text, late second century)

1 comment:

Frank McCoy said...

O soul, backslider,
sober up and shake off your drunkenness
which is the work of ignorance!
Compare Philo (Ebr., 161, "Let us, then, never drink so deep of strong liquor as to reduce our senses to inactivity, nor become so estranged from knowledge as to spread...the darkness of ignorance over our soul."
This passage from Silvanus is a key to understanding Th 28.2-3a, "I found all of them drunk. I didn't find anyone among them thirsty. And did my soul give pain over the sons of men. For they are blind men in their heart and do not see outward."
"I found all of them drunk" *with ignorance*
"I didn't find anyone among them thirsty" *for knowledge* Compare Philo (Post, 138), "The keen scholar on seeing that...she has drawn knowledge in its various forms, runs towards her, and, when he meets her, beseeches her to satisfy his thirst for instruction."
This directly relates to Th 108, "Whoever drinks from my mouth will become as I am. I myself will become that person, and what is hidden will be revealed to him." Whoever drinks of the knowledge flowing from Jesus will gain the keys of knowledge hid by the Pharisees (Th 39). Whoever fully drinks of this knowledge will no longer have a pupil-teacher with Jesus, but will have equality with Jesus, making them one and the same in some significant sense. Jesus is, here, a Logos-like figure--compare Mig 174, where Philo states, "For as long as he falls short of perfection, he has the Divine Logos as his leader...But when he arrives at full knowledge, he will run with more vigorous effort, and his pace will be as great as that of him who before led the way; for they will both become attendants on the All-leading God".
"They are blind men" *in that their souls have been blinded by ignorance* Compare Philo (Ebr,157), "An exactly similar result in the soul is produced by ignorance, which destroys its powers of seeing and hearing."
"In their heart", *which is the eye of their soul*
This directly relate to Th 34, "If a blind man should lead before him a blind man, they, the two, fall down into a pit." If both a teacher and a pupil are blinded in their hearts, the eyes of their souls, due to ignorance, the enterprise is doomed to failure.
"And do not see outward" *with the heart, the eye of the soul.*
This directly relates to Th 26 "You see the mote in the eye of your brother, but you do not see the beam in your eye. You should cast the beam out of your eye. Then you will see outward to cast the mote out of your brother's eye." The setting presumes a pupil (mathetes)--teacher relationship. You, the pupil, perceive the "speck" of ignorance in the heart, the eye of the soul, of your teacher, but fail to perceive the huge mass of ignorance in your heart, the eye of your soul, that effectively blinds it, so that it cannot see outward. What you need to do is to learn from your teacher all this teacher's knowledge, so that the eye of your soul can see outward. Only then are you in a position to criticise your teacher for having a "speck" of ignorance.