Monday, December 10, 2018

Nag Hammadi Library

For the past several months I have been researching and exploring the Apostolic Johannite Church which offers a free school where new members can learn more about the thought, practice, community, and history of the Apostolic Johannite Church. One of the topics of discussion led me to the subject of the Nag Hammadi Library and I thought I'd share this on my website.

The Nag Hammadi Library is a collection of 13 books containing over 50 texts including a number of the Gnostic Gospels, the Corpus Hermeticum, and a partial translation of Plato's Republic. The most famous Nag Hammadi codex is the only known complete copy of the gospel of Thomas. These texts are dated between the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, and were thought to have been destroyed during the early years of the Roman Catholic Church and their attempts to establish their orthodoxy. Some theorize that some early Christians tried to destroy these Gnostic writings because they contained secret teachings about Jesus and Christianity. Many Christians today decry the Nag Hammadi Library as heretical and forgeries "that espouse false doctrines about Jesus Christ, salvation, God, and every other crucial Christian truth."

This collection was discovered in December of 1945, but the translation wasn't completed until the 70s. They were found by a farmer named Muhammed al-Samman and his brother who found the documents in sealed jars that had been buried in the Jabal al-Ṭārif caves near the town of Hamrah Dom in upper Egypt.

Some scholars believe that this collection had belonged to a nearby Pachomian monastery and were buried after Saint Athanasius condemned the use of non-canonical books in his Festal Letter of 367 A.D. The Nag Hammadi Library were originally written in the Coptic language and are currently housed in the Coptic Museum in Cairo, Egypt. They take their name from the nearest major city (12-km SW of Hamrah Dom).

When al-Samman took these manuscripts home, his mother burned some of them out of fear of their "dangerous effects." Their significance went unacknowledged for some time. It wasn't until 1948 when a Coptologist, Jean Doresse, at the Coptic Museum published a reference to them. The remaining documents found their way to the Egyptian Department of Antiquities which came from a Coptic Priest who had received them from the brothers. After the 1952 revolution, the Nag Hammadi Library was given over to the Coptic Museum in Cairo. One of the documents was sold out of Egypt and made its way into the hands of Carl Gustav Jung. After his death in 1961, there was quarrel over ownership, but by 1975 it had made its way to the Coptic Museum and finally reuniting the codices.

Here is a list of the documents of the Nag Hammadi Library:
  • Codex I (also known as The Jung Codex):
The Prayer of the Apostle Paul
The Apocryphon of James (also known as the Secret Book of James) 
The Gospel of Truth 
The Treatise on the Resurrection 
The Tripartite Tractate 
  • Codex II: 
The Apocryphon of John
The Gospel of Thomas
The Gospel of Philip
The Hypostasis of the Archons
On the Origin of the World
The Exegesis on the Soul
The Book of Thomas the Contender
  • Codex III: 
The Apocryphon of John
Holy Book of the Great Invisible Spirit (The Gospel of the Egyptians)
Eugnostos the Blessed
The Sophia of Jesus Christ
The Dialogue of the Savior
  • Codex IV: 
The Apocryphon of John
Holy Book of the Great Invisible Spirit (The Gospel of the Egyptians)
  • Codex V: 
Eugnostos the Blessed
The Apocalypse of Paul
The First Apocalypse of James
The Second Apocalypse of James
The Apocalypse of Adam
  • Codex VI: 
The Acts of Peter and the Twelve Apostles
The Thunder, Perfect Mind
Authoritative Teaching
The Concept of Our Great Power
Republic by Plato (an alternate gnostic translation)
The Discourse on the Eighth and Ninth (a Hermetic treatise)
The Prayer of Thanksgiving (a Hermetic prayer)
Asclepius 21-29 - another Hermetic treatise
  • Codex VII: 
The Paraphrase of Shem
The Second Treatise of the Great Seth
Gnostic Apocalypse of Peter
The Teachings of Silvanus
The Three Steles of Seth
  • Codex VIII: 
Zostrianos
The Letter of Peter to Philip
  • Codex IX: 
Melchizedek
The Thought of Norea
The Testimony of truth
  • Codex X: 
Marsanes
  • Codex XI: 
The Interpretation of Knowledge
A Valentinian Exposition, On the Anointing, On Baptism and On the Eucharist
Allogenes
Hypsiphrone
  • Codex XII:
The Sentences of Sextus
The Gospel of TruthFragments
  • Codex XIII: 
Trimorphic Protennoia
On the Origin of the World
References

1. McRae, M. (2018, April 15). Scholars Have Found a Rare Copy of Heretical Writings on Jesus And His 'Brother'. Retrieved from Science Alert: https://www.sciencealert.com/greek-first-apocalypse-james-nag-hammadi-library-teaching-tool 

2. The Nag Hammadi Codices and Gnostic Christianity. (2018, October 12). Retrieved from Bible History Daily: https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/post-biblical-period/the-nag-hammadi-codices/ 

3. The Nag Hammadi Library. (n.d.). Retrieved from The Gnostic Society Library: http://gnosis.org/naghamm/nhl.html 

4. What is the Nag Hammadi library? (n.d.). Retrieved from Got Questions: https://www.gotquestions.org/Nag-Hammadi.html

5. Nag Hammadi Library. (n.d.) Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nag_Hammadi_library

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Ephraim Kirby Award

Figure 1
Similar to the Order of the Secret Vault, the General Grand Chapter created an award to recognize Companions who have attained the past presiding rank in their Grand York Rite bodies (Grand Lodge, Grand Chapter, Grand Council, and/or Grand Commandery) and who have then gone on to continue their work and commitment to service even beyond the term of their office, or beyond the normal boundaries of dedication. A Custodian, appointed for each constituent Grand Chapter, selects and nominates candidates whom they determine merit this award. The recipients must be Royal Arch Masons in good standing. When this award was formed in 2014, there could be three recipients; in 2015, two recipients; and after that, there can be only one recipient each year from a Grand Chapter's jurisdiction. The jewel of the award (see Figure 1) is suspended from a red ribbon and worn under the collar. This award is named after the Companion who served as the first General Grand High Priest of the General Grand Chapter in addition to several other Masonic and non-Masonic accomplishments.

Figure 2
Ephraim A. Kirby (Figure 2) was born on February 23, 1757, in Woodbury, CT. He attended Yale University, but left before receiving a degree. He served in the Cavalry as a Lieutenant in a Rhode Island Company during the American Revolution taking part in the Battle of Bunker Hill, Battle of Elk River, roughly 17 other battles. At Elk River, he received several saber cuts to his head. He was in a coma for several weeks. He awoke, recovered, and returned to the war.

After the war, he returned to Connecticut where he married Ruth Marvin and began practicing law in Litchfield. In 1787, Yale University gave him an honorary Master of Arts degree. In 1789, he performed the first court reporting when he compiled and published the first volume of law reports in America. From 1791 to 1801, Kirby served in the Connecticut General Assembly before becoming the Director of the Western Reserve in Ohio.

President Jefferson appointed Kirby as Supervisor of Internal Revenue for Connecticut, which he served as until September of 1802. On April 6, 1804, Kirby was appointed the first Superior Court Judge of the Mississippi Territory. Before learning that he had been appointed as Governor of the Mississippi Territory, Kirby died of Yellow Fever on October 4, 1804, at Fort Stoddert. His burial spot in Fort Stoddert is unknown.

He was initiated into St. Paul's Lodge No. 11 in Litchfield, CT, in 1781, and served as its Worshipful Master three times. He was at the convention that formed the Grand Lodge of Connecticut and served as Secretary for the convention. He would go on to serve as Grand Senior Warden from 1795 to 1797. Not much is known of his early Capitular career, but it is known that he is a member of the Mark Lodge in New Town, CT. When the Grand Chapter of Connecticut was organized at Hartford, CT, on May 17, 1798, Kirby was elected its first Grand High Priest. On October 24, 1798, he attended the convention that created the General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of the United States. At this convention he was elected as the first Most Excellent General Grand High Priest and served from 1798 until his death in 1804. Some hypothesize that Kirby was selected over Thomas Smith-Webb to ensure that Connecticut and Rhode Island would be part of the General Grand Chapter

Thursday, November 22, 2018

A Decade in Chivalric Masonry

Today marks my 10th anniversary as a Knights Templar. I had the honor of being dubbed and created a knight by the then Worshipful Master of my Lodge. The ceremony for the Order of the Temple was so impressive that it stands out as one of the most memorable moments in Freemasonry for me, next to getting Raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason and being initiated into the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis (SRICF).

I have the honor of currently serving as Eminent Commander of my Commandery, Eminent Grand Standard Bearer of the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Idaho, and member of the Committee on Social Committee of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the USA.

I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving.

Tarot Card of the Month: Temperance

The Tarot Card for November is Temperance. Temperance is also referred to as Art or Equilibrium. Temperance is the Fourteenth of the Major Arcana in Tarot. Temperance is associated with the planet Jupiter, the element of fire, and the zodiacal sign of Sagittarius.

Temperance represents balance, moderation, patience, and peace. Temperance reminds us that harmony comes from the union of dualities. In Freemasonry, Temperance is a cardinal virtue and defined as "that due restraint upon our affections and passions which renders the body tame and governable, and frees the mind from the allurements of vice." One must exercise caution in his action, speech, thought, feeling, judgment, and life.

Temperance is depicted by a winged angel, considered both male and female, pouring water from a cup in her left hand to a cup in her right. The angel is wearing a white robe with a golden triangle within a square. The angel has one foot on the ground and one in the water. On one side of the angel are golden lilies and on the other shows a mountain with a setting sun.

The angel upon the earth represents one's interaction with both the material and the divine. The androgynous nature of the angel represents balance between the sexes. The pouring of water between cups represents the act of finding the right balance between two sides. The golden triangle is said to be an ancient symbol of healing. It is also interesting to see the alchemical symbol of fire contained within the square, another emblem to represent the earth. Combined they represent the sacred flame, the soul of man, contained within the body; Temperance is a reference to the soul. The foot in the water represents the subconscious and the foot on the ground represents the material world. The mountains in the distance represent a future journey to be taken that will bring spiritual fulfillment.


Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thanksgiving

By Jamie Harris Coleman

Thanksgiving should be every day
Instead of once a year. 
Give thanks each day, give thanks each night, 
To Christ who is so dear. 

Give thanks each day, give thanks each night, 
For all the Lord has done. 
He’ll help us fight our battles 
Until the victory’s won. 

Give thanks unto the Savior, 
His joyous praises sing; 
In the ears of every Christian 
Let the name of Jesus ring. 

Give thanks to Him each morning, 
Give thanks at noon and night. 
Ask Him for daily blessings, 
And stand up for the right. 

Let each day be Thanksgiving, 
For the blessings from above, 
For guidance and protection 
And His eternal love.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Anti-Mason Disinformation: Jintao, Putin, & Bush

I see this picture of Hu Jintao, Vladimir Putin, and George constantly circulating on the Internet. Anti-Masons and conspiracy theorists alike claim that this picture was taken at a secret Grand Lodge meeting and that all those in attendance are secretly Freemasons. This claim is taken further, and said that they act like enemies, but as they are all supposedly Masons that they all serve evil and this is just part of the Hegelian Dialectic (manufactured conflict). They believe Freemasonry is involved with creating chaos in order to establish our order onto the world.

In reality, this picture of those three men comes from the 2006 APEC meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam. APEC standards for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation which is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to leverage the growing interdependence of the Asia-Pacific. It is composed of 21-members who aim to create greater prosperity for the people of the region by promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth and by accelerating regional economic integration. Each year, one of the 21-members hosts the annual meeting and it has become the custom to try on the host country's traditional costume. It was Bill Clinton, a non-Mason, who started this custom when he had leather bomber jackets for each of the world leaders in attendance. In 2006, the members wore robes known as silk "ao dai" with golden lotus flowers. This flower was chosen as it is a traditional Vietnamese symbol for nobility and purity. You can see the pictures over the years here: https://www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2011/nov/14/apec-summits-what-leaders-wore-in-pictures


Sunday, November 11, 2018

Happy Veterans Day

To my Brothers and Sisters in Arms, who are serving or have served, Happy Veterans Day!


The High Council and the Idaho Rose Circle

The last two days I've spent in Louisville, KY, at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the High Council of the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis (SRICF). This meeting was held at the historic Brown Hotel. This hotel is absolutely beautiful and a perfect place for this prestigious order to meet. 

I had an amazing time meeting all of the Fratres from all over the world. The meetings were meaningful and educational; there were presentations given by Piers Vaughn, W. Stephen Burkle, and Ian Robertson. I particularly enjoyed attending the Celebrants Workshop and the educational materials that were given out. More importantly, the Supreme Magus of the SRICF authorized the formation of the Idaho Rose Circle. The Rose Circle is equivalent to a Lodge Under Dispensation. I spent the last night talking with the Supreme Magus and the Senior Deputy Supreme Magus who spoke words of encouragement and said they look forward to granting us a charter in the upcoming year. 

I now am heading back to Idaho energized and ready to get the Fratres to work into getting the Idaho Rose Circle off of the ground. I have a set of goals and aims in hopes that it will set us on a path to success.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Words & Phrases: College

The Words & Phrases series will be looking at terms that are sometimes used in Freemasonry but are not commonly used. As the Grand Lodge of Idaho just approved the resolution on recognition of the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis, I'll be starting with the term "college" which is the name given to the basic organizational unit of that order. 

"College" is defined as a body of clergy living together and supported by a foundation, or a building used for an educational or religious purpose. The term "college" is rooted in the Latin word "collegium" meaning "community, society, or guild" and is used in the context of "a body of scholars and students." This definition and etymological root perfectly align with the purpose and mission of the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis and the York Rite College, as well, as both of those orders are dedicated to education and research.

The oldest known collegiate institution is the University of Karueein that was founded in 859 AD in Fez, Morocco. The oldest college in Europe is the University of Bologna in Italy and was founded in 1088. The oldest university in Germany is the University of Heidelberg which was founded in 1386 (during the lifetime of Christian Rosenkreutz, the founder of Rosicrucianism). An interesting note to see the correlation between the robes of college graduations and the attire for Chief Adepts or High Council officers (see the picture). According to Columbia University, the practice of gowns and hoods dates back to the 12th century when this regalia was worn by clergy, and their students adopted the same garb. For one thing, the gowns provided warmth in unheated buildings and served as a way to set the student apart from his fellow citizens. Knowing the religious roots of colleges and universities as well as the roots of Rosicrucianism, it is not surprising to see similar clothing.



Thursday, November 1, 2018

A Decade in Capitular & Cryptic Masonry

Today marks my 10th year as a Royal Arch Mason and Cryptic Mason. I knew after I was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason that I wanted to join the York Rite: There were two Masons in my Lodge that I looked up to and they were both York Rite, and, being a historian, I found the York Rite more appealing than the Scottish Rite. I went through when I was Senior Warden of my Blue Lodge and these degrees were very timely as they helped prepare me to serve my Lodge as Worshipful Master. 

This decade has flown by and I am surprised at how much I have accomplished. I am honored to be serving as Most Excellent Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Idaho and as the Right Illustrious Grand Principal Conductor of the Work for the Grand Council of Cryptic Masons of Idaho. I am celebrating this anniversary while on the road for work in Montana.