Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thunder: Perfect Mind - variation from a female author ??

 “Good evening Professeur.”  I slipped into my favorite comfy chair in the lounge.  The Professeur had finally returned from Paris and I’d cornered him as soon as I could.
“Good evening Jeanne-Marie.  How has your day been.”  His latte looked lost in his hand.  I curled my fingers around the warmth of my own cup, gratefully inhaling the mellow scent of Chai tea.
“Well, we’ve developed a good backlog of scanned images, so it’s probably time I stopped helping Henri and started doing some translating.  I’m just a little unsure how to begin.”
He gave me a slightly puzzled look and gestured for me to continue.
“I completed the translation of that first document you gave me, the Thunder scroll.  While it’s beginning is very similar to the copy found in the Nag Hammadi cache, the one Robinson describes, it takes quite a different tack as it progresses and ends quite differently.  Here, let me show you.”
I handed him the hand written version of the translation I’d input back into the computer system.
Thunder, Perfect Mind
For I am the first and the last
I am the honored one and the scorned one
I am the holy one and the harlot
I am the wife and the virgin
I am the mother and the daughter
I am the barren one and many are my children
I am the wife whose wedding celebration was great and I have yet to take a husband
I am the midwife and she who does not bear
I am the solace of my labor pains
I am the bride and the bridegroom and it is my husband who begot me.
I am the mother of my father and the sister of my husband, for he is my off-spring
I am the widow of the heart and the heart of all wisdom
I am the silence that is incomprehensible and the memory that every child comprehends
I am the sound so loud it cannot be ignored, that no-one hears
I am the voice which never speaks, to which every living being listens
I am the silence that echoes down the ages, soft as the wind, dry as the rain
I am the utterance of my name
I am the alpha and I am the omega.
I am the first, the female, creator
I am the living and the dead
I am the believer and the unbeliever
I am the saved and the lost
I am the last, alone in the grave.
Where I walk, seeds quicken
Where I rest, trees blossom
Where I sleep, life grows strong
Where I walk not, lies barren and dry
I am the sun, the moons and the stars
I am the first and last, creator and destroyer and I am woman
I am Sophia
“The writer is obviously a woman, which makes it absolutely unique.  We have no identifiable writings of women from that era, other than a fragment of the Gospel of Mary Magdalene and our only copy of that is barely more than a single page.  Not only that, but the whole tone of the poem is Gnostic.   As I’ve been scanning the other documents into the database I’ve been reading bits and pieces and come to some tentative conclusions.   Many of the other scrolls in the cache seem to be writings similar to the Nag Hammadi Gnostic documents.  Some are duplicates of what we already have from Nag Hammadi and other finds, although in much better condition.  Many of the other scrolls look to be previously unknown.
Now, every amphora that Henri and I have opened so far has contained scrolls.  Every single jar so far has been perfectly sealed, the scrolls inside beautifully preserved.  Henri’s conservation process is working flawlessly and we’re now up to our ears in images of documents.  The process is working well, so well it’s beyond my wildest hopes.  The scrolls look as if they were written just yesterday.  The scanned images are clean and clear.  The text is crisp.  The use of the language in the scrolls suggests the writers were well educated and very comfortable with the art of writing.  I say writers plural because from the several scrolls I’ve skimmed through, the handwriting appears to be the work of several different scribes.  We’ve clipped samples from each set of documents and sent them off for radiocarbon dating.  All the documents that have been dated so far show origins between 100 BC and 100 AD.  The rougher quality documents seem to be created in the last years BC, while the better quality documents tend to date to the early first century AD.
Unlike the ‘Thunder’ document which was in Aramaic, almost all the other documents I’ve looked at have been written in Greek, with a few of the older documents in either Coptic or Hebrew.  The quality of the writing varies quite a bit too.  The better copies appear to be re-written versions of texts found in the older or poorer quality scrolls.  Quite often they’re Greek translations from original Coptic and Hebrew manuscripts.  A few of these documents we already know from the Nag Hammadi and Dead Sea finds, though what we have are better copies and more complete.  There are also definitely new, previously unknown documents, but they all follow a similar version of Gnosticism, a common creed so to speak.

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