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Life Arts

From Sinai to "The Thunder" at Nag Hammadi

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From Sinai to  "The Thunder"  at Nag Hammadi

Dear friends,

Yesterday I shared with you some thoughts about the Book of Ruth, traditionally read on the festival of Shavuot (which begins Saturday evening).  (If you missed yesterday's letter, it is  here.)   Since one aspect of Shavuot is that it celebrates the Revelation at Mount Sinai, we continue our exploration of its meanings with two documents that focus on Anokhi, I -- the supernal  I  that speaks at Sinai.

Recently, Phyllis & I and Rabbi Nancy Fuchs Kremer took part alon g with about 15 Christians in a discussion of a number of religious texts written in the first two centuries of the Common Era. Most were clearly Christian, but the early Church had not included them in what became known to Christians as the "New Testament." Should they have been? Should they, even now?

One of the texts, found in the Nag Hammadi collection, was not in any clear sense Christian. It did not mention Jesus, or Christ, or the apostles. It was called "The Thunder: Perfect Mind,"  but one of the scholars present said this title had been appended much later, and that it had no connection with the content.

When I read it, however, I felt and said that its title, "The Thunder," was precisely about its content -- for the whole text felt like The Thunder that spoke at Sinai.  Someone asked whether I meant it was/ is a midrash on Sinai. "No!" I said, "It IS Sinai." 

Here is "The Thunder." Perhaps you will find Her as holy, as awe-inspiring, as I did.  Perhaps not. Readin g  Her for Shavuot,  do you hear Her teachi n g  us how to live? To think, to feel, to commune, to be silent? If so, how? I welcome your responses.

With blessings of sharing and caring,  shalom and salaam, healing and wholeness --  Arthur

Excerpts from  The Thunder: Perfect Mind

(Translated by Rev. Hal Taussig and others from a text

in Coptic from the NaHammadi library,

1st 2 centuries of the Common Era.)

I [in Coptic, Anokh] am the first and the last      

I am she who is honored and she who is mocked

I am the prostitute and the holy woman      

I am the wife and the virgin

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Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Ph. D., founded (in 1983) and directs The Shalom Center , a prophetic voice in Jewish, multireligious, and American life that brings Jewish and other spiritual thought and practice to bear on seeking peace, pursuing justice, (more...)

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Did not Jesus claim to be the alpha and the omega,... by David Chester on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 10:47:21 AM
You also need to read LUCIFER... by Jack Heart on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 6:39:50 PM
It is a testimony of contradictions thoughout, mea... by JAHGIRL on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 1:42:52 PM
The Tao te Ching begins with, "The Tao that can be... by Walter J Smith on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 5:26:03 PM
Christianity is only a Jewish sect when all is sa... by Jack Heart on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 6:36:45 PM
This is astoundingly beautiful, Arthur. Than... by Robert McNiff on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 12:42:01 AM
Zen.... by molly cruz on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 1:32:19 PM