From Sinai to "The Thunder" at Nag Hammadi
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 Nag Hammadi 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