Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
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Rees, Robert A.
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Treasures in the Heavens I 55 something totally alien to human experience, something which "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man/' they must be none the less real.120 "For the plan of Salvation," as E. Soggin has recently put it, "only exists when we are dealing with reality, not with artificial contrivances ... as Hesse notes, 'We are only interested in what really took place, all the rest being of little or no concern whatever.' "121 Likewise the religion of Egypt "n'est pas une mystique, mais une physique" as we are now discovering.122 This attitude, diametrically opposite to that of Christian and Jewish scholars (e.g., C. Schmidt) in the past, is gaining ground today. The old literalism has been dismissed as Gnostic, and indeed much of the appeal of Gnosticism lay in its exploitation of certain "cosmist" aspects of early Christian teaching; but the basic teachings of Gnosticism and Neoplatonism were spiritualized concepts which followed the prevailing line of the schools and ran directly counter to the old literalism of the Treasures in Heaven.128 While our sources contain "extremely confused and contradictory records of creation," all seem to betray "a single organic foundation."124 And while the relationship between them all still remains to be established, it becomes clearer every day that there was a relationship.125 The cosmist" idea is not the monopoly of any group, Gnostic or otherwise. Indeed, cosmism was essentially anti-Gnostic.126 The Doctors of the Christians and the Jews who adopted the Neoplatonic and Gnostic ideas of the schools opposed the old literalism with all their might, so that to this day cosmism has remained the very essence of heresy.127 Still, the very Fathers who opposed the old teaching admitted that it was the original faith of the saints, and they could not rid themselves of it without a real struggle.128 In view of its age, its universality, its consistency, and its scientific and aesthetic appeal, the doctrine of the Treasures in the Heavens should be studied more closely than it has been. What we have presented in intensely concentrated form is enough to show that references to treasures in religious writings may well conceal far more than a mere figure of speech. NOTES 1We have treated this theme in "Sparsiones," Classical Journal, 40 (1945), 515-43. 2Secrets of Enoch, v:i, cf. vi:i; Jerem. Ii:i6; Ps. cxxxv:7; Job xxxviii:22; I Enoch, xviii:i; Slavonic Enoch (in J. A. T. Robinson, Apocrypha Anecdota [Cambridge, 1897], II, lviii); Pseudo-Philo, xxxii:7 (in M. R. James, Antiquities of Philo [SPCK, 1917], 176). "Clouds of radiance drip moisture and life," Psalms of Thomas, i:ii (A. Adam, in ZNTW, Beih. No. 24, , 2); text in A Manichaean Psalm-book (Stuttgart, 1938), 203-228. On the heavens as a general storehouse and treasure-house, K. Ahrens, in ZMDG, 84 (1930), 163, discussing Koran, xv:2i; cf. Ben Sirach, xliii :14ft. In the Enuma Elish, Tab. vii:8, God's "treasure is the abundance which is poured out over all." On the relevance of this source, see W. Bousset, Hauptprobleme der Cnosis (Gottingen, 1907), 246. 3They are "for a blessing or a curse as the Lord of Spirits willeth," I Enoch, lix:iff.; lx:22. They must undergo a transformation to be useful to man: Deut. xxviii:i2; 7 Enoch, xviii:2; and Ix:i5, 21-22; 777 Baruch, x:9-io. They may serve "against the day of battle and war," Job xxxviii:22, for unless benignly restrained they are dark and destructive, J. A. T. Robinson, Apocrypha Anecdota, lviii, citing Testament of Levi, iii:2; cf. Od. Sal, xvi:i6; Pseudo-Philo, xv =5. 4"I am the Treasure of Life who descended upon the King of Glory, so that he was radiant in his understanding," M. Lidzbarski, Das Johannesbuch der Mandaer (Giessen, 1905), 203, No. ^y. God holds the keys to control and administer the treasure, K. Ahrens, in ZMDG, 84, (1930), 163; he restrains the elements as by a dam, I Enoch, Ix.-iff., keeping them "sealed up,"