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Early Christian Texts Discussions
Presented by the Tanho Center

The Thunder: Perfect Mind

Monday, July 22, 2019
Presenter: Hal Taussig

Listen to the discussion on YouTube (below). Audio starts after the introductory slides.

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The Tanho Center is dedicated to the study and interpretation of the large range of early Christ movement texts discovered in the last 150 years. By incorporating recently discovered texts into contemporary practices, we hope to signify exactly what tanho means in Coptic: “to make or be alive.”

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The Thunder: Perfect Mind

13  I was sent out from power
I came to those pondering me
And I was found among those seeking me
Look at me, all you who contemplate me
Audience, hear me
Those expecting me, receive me
Don’t chase me from your sight
Don’t let your voice or your hearing hate me
Don’t ignore me any place, any time
Be careful. Do not ignore me

I am the first and the last
I am she who is honored and she who is mocked
I am the whore and the holy woman
I am the wife and the virgin
I am he the mother and the daughter
I am the limbs of my mother
I am a sterile woman and she has many children
I am she whose wedding is extravagant and I didn’t have a husband
I am the midwife and she who hasn’t given birth
I am the comfort of my labor pains
I am the bride and the bridegroom
And it is my husband who gave birth to me
I am my father’s mother,
my husband’s sister, and he is my child
I am the slavewoman of him who served me
I am she, the lord 14 of my child

But it is he who gave birth to me at the wrong time
And he is my child born at the right time
And my power is from within him
I am the staff of his youthful power
And he is the baton of my old womanhood
Whatever he wants happens to me

I am the silence never found
And the idea infinitely recalled
I am the voice with countless sounds
And the thousand guises of the word
I am the speaking of my name

You who loathe me, why do you love me and loathe the ones who love me?
You who deny me, confess me
You who confess me, deny me
You who speak the truth about me, lie about me
You who lie about me, speak the truth about me
You who know me, ignore me
You who ignore me, know me

I am both awareness and obliviousness
I am humiliation and pride
I am without shame
I am ashamed
I am security and I am fear
I am war and peace

Pay attention to me
I am she who is disgraced and she who is important
15 Pay attention to me, to my impoverishment and to my extravagance
Do not be arrogant to me when I am thrown to the ground
You will find me among the expected
Do not stare at me in the shit pile, leaving me discarded
You will find me in the kingdoms
Do not stare at me when I am thrown out among the condemned
Do not laugh at me in the lowest places
Do not throw me down among those slaughtered viciously

I myself am compassionate
And I am cruel
Watch out!
Do not hate my compliance and do not love my restraint
In my weakness do not strip me bare
Do not be afraid of my power

Why do you despise my fear and curse my pride?
I am she who exists in all fears and in trembling boldness
I am she who is timid
And I am safe in a comfortable place
I am witless, and I am wise

Why did you hate me with your schemes?
I shall shut my mouth among those whose mouths are shut
and then I will show up and speak

16 Why then did you hate me, you Greeks?
Because I am a barbarian among barbarians?

I am the wisdom of the Greeks and the knowledge of the barbarians
I am the deliberation of both the Greeks and barbarians
I am he whose image is multiple in Egypt
And she who is without an image among the barbarians
I am she who was hated in every place
And she who was loved in every place

I am she whom they call life
And you all called death
I am she whom they call law
And you all called lawlessness

I am she whom you chased and she whom you captured
I am she whom you scattered
And you have gathered me together
I am she before whom you were ashamed
And you have been shameless to me
I am she who does not celebrate festivals
And I am she whose festivals are spectacular

I, I am without God
And I am she whose God is magnificent
I am he the one you thought about and you detested me
I am not learned, and they learn from me
I am she whom you detested and yet you think about me
I am he from whom you hid
And you appear to me

Whenever you hide yourselves, I myself will appear
17  For ⌊………⌋ you ⌊…⌋I myself ⌊…….⌋ you⌊..⌋
⌊…….⌋Those who have ⌊….⌋
⌊…..⌋to it ⌊…..……..⌋take me⌊………….⌋from within⌊……….⌋
Receive me with understanding and heartache
Take me from the disgraced and crushed places
Rob from those who are good, even though in disgrace

Bring me in shame, to yourselves, out of shame
With or without shame

Blame the parts of me within yourselves
Come toward me, you who know me
and you who know the parts of me
Assemble the great among the small and earliest creatures

Advance toward childhood
Do not hate it because it is small and insignificant
Don’t reject the small parts of greatness because they are small
since smallness is recognized from within greatness

Why do you curse me and revere me?
You wounded me and you relented
Don’t separate me from the first 18 ones
you⌊……….⌋
throw away no one⌊………..⌋
turn away no⌊………….⌋she who⌊…..
I know those
And the ones after these know me

But I am the mind⌊…….⌋and the rest⌊………⌋
I am the learning from my search
And the discovery of those seeking me
The command of those who ask about me
And the power of powers
In my understanding of the angels
Who were sent on my word
And the Gods in God, according to my design?
And spirits of all men who exist with me
And the women who live in me

I am she who is revered and adored
And she who is reviled with contempt
I am peace and war exists because of me
I am a foreigner and a citizen of the city

I am being
I am she who is nothing
Those who do not participate in my presence, don’t know me
Those who share in my being know me

Those who are close to me, did not know me
Those who are far from me, knew me
On the day that I am close to you 19 ⌊………….⌋ are far away
⌊……..⌋on the day that I⌊……..⌋from you⌊……..⌋

⌊……….⌋of the heart⌊…..⌋
⌊…….⌋of the natures
I am he⌊…….⌋of the creation of the spirits⌊….⌋request of the souls
⌊……⌋control and the uncontrollable
I am the coming together and the falling apart
I am the enduring and the disintegration
I am down in the dirt and they come up to me
I am judgment and acquittal

I myself am without sin, and the root of sin is from within me
I appear to be lust but inside is self-control
I am what anyone can hear but no one can say
I am a mute that does not speak and my words are endless
Hear me in tenderness, learn from me in roughness
I am she who shouts out and I am thrown down on the ground
I am the one who prepares the bread and my mind within
I am the knowledge of my name
I am she who shouts out and it is I that listens

20 I appear and⌊………⌋walk in⌊…………⌋seal of my⌊………..⌋
⌊…….⌋I am he⌊…………⌋the defense⌊…….⌋
I am she they call truth, and violation⌊…….⌋
You honor me⌊………⌋and you whisper against me
You conquered ones: judge them before they judge you
Because the judge and favoritism exist in you
If he condemns you, who will release you?
If he releases you, who can detain you?

Since what is your inside is your outside
And the one who shapes your outside is he who shaped your inside
And what you see on the outside, you see revealed on the inside
It is your clothing

Hear me, audience, and learn from my words, you who know me
I am what everyone can hear and no one can say
I am the name of the sound and the sound of the name
I am the sign of writing and disclosure of difference
And I 21

⌊……………………⌋light⌊…….⌋
⌊……..⌋and⌊……..………⌋hearers⌊……..⌋to you⌊………⌋
⌊…..⌋the great power.
And⌊……..⌋will not move the name…
⌊…..⌋he who created me
But I will speak his name
Look then at his pronouncements and all the writings that have been completed
Listen then, audience
And also you angels
Along with those who have been sent
And spirits who have risen from among the dead
For I am he who exists alone
And no one judges me

Since many sweet ideas exist in all kinds of sin,
Uncontrollable and condemning passions
And passing pleasures that people have
Until they become sober and go up to their resting place,
And they will find me in that place
They will live and they will not die again

Translation by Hal Taussig, Jared Calaway, Maia Kotrosits, Celene Lillie, and Justin Lasser.