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Gospel Of Thomas Assassin Parable


MOW
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I'm a relatively new member here and thought I'd try a new post.

A couple of years ago I became aquainted with the Gospel of Thomas. As

an African-American UMCer( now UCCer) growing up I had never heard of it. One Sunday a guest layspeaker mentioned it as the scripture for that day was the "Doubting Thomas" story in the Gospel of John . She felt that Thomas got a bad rap and that many Christians regard him as only a little higher than Judas Iscariot. She also mentioned that like John he also has a Gospel in his name that was not included in the "official" canon. So after church I stopped at Borders and picked up a copy and blown away by it. So many of the concepts and ideas that Jesus spoke in it I'd alwas felt.

 

Anyway the reason for the post is I 've always been stumped by the parable of the assassin in the Gospel of Thomas i.e Jesus likens the Kingdom of God to a

man who wants to kill a much more powerful man so he draws his sword in his house and drives it into a wall and when he is able to do this he knows his hand is strong enough and he kills the powerful man. I think it might comparable to the parable about binding the strong man but I'm not sure.

 

Any ideas?

 

MOW

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Anyway the reason for the post is I 've always been stumped by the parable of the assassin in the Gospel of Thomas i.e Jesus likens the Kingdom of God to a

man who wants to kill a much more powerful man so he draws his sword in his house and drives it into a wall and when he is able to do this he knows his hand is strong enough and he kills the powerful man. I think it might comparable to the parable about binding the strong man but I'm not sure.

 

Any ideas?

 

 

I did a small amount of research on this on-line and no one appears to have anything particularly enlightening to say about this parable. It's interesting and somewhat amusing to me that "scholarship" accords this as an actual saying of the authentic Jesus simply because they find it doubtful that anyone, namely the early church, would have put these violent and disturbing words into Jesus's mouth otherwise. I want to say that people put disturbing words through their own interpretation into Jesus's mouth all the time, but then I'm no scholar.

 

98 Jesus said: The kingdom of the Father is like a man who wanted to kill a powerful man. While he was in his own house, he drew the sword and drove it into the wall, that he might determine that his hand would be strong enough. Then he slew the powerful man.

 

Most interpreters seem to give this an interpretation of "preparedness", but that doesn't satisfy, at least not me. "Jesus" says that this man is "like" the Kingdom of the Father who "while in his own house"...and so, to my mind, is reminiscient of the "mote and beam" parable and suggests that before the "powerful man" can be slain, we must deal with our own "will to power" within our "own house". It's also curious (and highly speculative I might add) to think that Jesus may have been "the sword that was driven into the wall" and by the strength of this "crucifixion", "the powerful man" was slain.

 

any other thoughts?

 

lily

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It is my belief that more research into the body of wisdom literature from which this saying is extracted may be needed before discussion of these things among us might proceed in a meaningful way. My suggestions in this regard would be:

 

www.webcom.com/~gnosis/thomasbook/intro.html

This is a website that begins a book by a Yale Professor, Herbert Christian Merillat. The chapters are short, the language is layperson-friendly, and lets you know just about all you can find out about the apostle and brother of Jesus, Judas Thomas, or Thomas Didymus (twin-twin) in the greek.

 

The Secret Teachings of Jesus.....Four Gnostic Gospels, Translated by Marvin W. Meyer

Random Houise, New York, 1984

 

The Gnostic Gospels, Elaine Pagels, Vintage Books-Random House, New York, 1979

 

These materials will lead you to the mystic Jesus, and some meanings of his presence here among us so long ago that were buried by church authorities. Enjoy the journey, even though it is all technically heresy. :rolleyes:

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It is my belief that more research into the body of wisdom literature from which this saying is extracted may be needed before discussion of these things among us might  proceed in a meaningful way. My suggestions in this regard would be:

 

These materials will lead you to the mystic Jesus, and some meanings of his presence here among us so long ago that were buried by church authorities. Enjoy the journey, even though it is all technically heresy.  :rolleyes:

 

Elaine Pagels doesn't deal directly with this "saying" in her, "The Gnostic Gospels", nor does Meyer or Barnstone offer any interpretation of their translations of the "Gnostic Bible" and Harold Bloom has next to nothing to say about saying 98, except to recommend a comparison with "Q" source 35 found in Matthew 11:12-13 and Luke 8: 19-21. (Bloom interprets Marvin Meyers translation of the Gospel of Thomas published by Harper Collins) Each of these books I have in my personal library and I have searched on-line as well.

 

Perhaps to have a "meaningful" discussion we will have to rely on our intuitions rather than books.

 

I assume from your post that you have searched these things out with some thoroughness already. How do you, Flowperson, interpret saying 98 based on your studies of the subject?

 

lily

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It's interesting and somewhat amusing to me that "scholarship" accords this as an actual saying of the authentic Jesus simply because they find it doubtful that anyone, namely the early church, would have put these violent and disturbing words into Jesus's mouth otherwise. I want to say that people put disturbing words through their own interpretation into Jesus's mouth all the time, but then I'm no scholar.

I find this Jesus Seminar-type phenomenon fascinating as well, although there is a bit of good historian logic to it. But it always rests on the historian's assumptions of what the early church "would not have said."

 

98 Jesus said: The kingdom of the Father is like a man who wanted to kill a powerful man. While he was in his own house, he drew the sword and drove it into the wall, that he might determine that his hand would be strong enough. Then he slew the powerful man.

With the very armchair exposure I have to Jungian and depth psychological readings of scripture sayings, it "feels" to me at first glance to be saying: If you would take it upon yourself to slay the powers you see at work in the world, you had better slay the powers at work in your body/soul/house first. It seems that's about what you suggested anyway. :)

 

It's also curious (and highly speculative I might add) to think that Jesus may have been "the sword that was driven into the wall" and by the strength of this "crucifixion", "the powerful man" was slain.

That's really interesting!

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My intuition tells me that this saying and several others in Thomas relate human emotion and the material effects of our presence within surrounding quantum realities. They may lead us to beginnings of understanding as to how human immersion in the quantum realities of our environments, and of which we are composed, can change realities through our powers of observation.

If we are slowly evolving into more "Christlike" beings, which I believe is the whole point of the New Testament, then this would be one interpretation that fits with the cultural turmoil that we are all experiencing these days.

Mysticism blurs the boundaries around us into bridges to new beginnings. Jesus was a rebel and a mystic. We are led to use the messages imparted by the "signs and wonders" in these materials to navigate our ways into new futures .This is why these materials have been so threatening to established orthodoxy throughout history.

I believe that you are correct in assuming that saying 98 is a parable demonstrating the use of one's "will" in overcoming opposition, even when it is outside the walls that immediately surround us. The use of the sword imaqe is a figurative tool used in this literature to be representative of the force of will that eventually accomplishes the desired effects.

If only asserting one's will to accomplish desired results outside of one's self could be considered to be violence in this new set of realities that we are entering, then our gradual and collective loss of privacy and erosion of access to higher education for the "working " classes might be considered to be but a portion of orthodoxy's reactions to the onset of this phenomenon. :rolleyes:

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My intuition tells me that this saying and several others in Thomas relate human emotion and the material effects of our presence within surrounding quantum realities. They may lead us to beginnings of understanding as to how human immersion in the quantum realities of our environments, and of which we are composed, can change realities through our powers of observation.

Huh?

 

I believe that you are correct in assuming that saying 98 is a parable demonstrating the use of one's "will" in overcoming opposition, even when it is outside the walls that immediately surround us. The use of the sword imaqe is a figurative tool used in this literature to be representative of the force of will that eventually accomplishes the desired effects.

Actually, I believe (correct me if I'm wrong, Lily) that Lily and I suggested the saying had to do with overcoming one's will to power within one's own house, not using one's will to achieve one's desires in the quantum plane.

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My intuition tells me that this saying and several others in Thomas relate human emotion and the material effects of our presence within surrounding quantum realities. They may lead us to beginnings of understanding as to how human immersion in the quantum realities of our environments, and of which we are composed, can change realities through our powers of observation.

 

Gospel of Thomas - Saying 98 as translated by Meyer

 

"Jesus said, "The father's kingdom is like a person who wanted to put someone powerful to death. While at home he drew his sword and thrust it into the wall to find out whether his hand would go in. Then he killed the powerful one."

 

This translation is different from the one I originally posted. The first had the man thrust the sword into the wall to determine if his hand was strong enough...in this second translation he does so to determine whether his hand would go "through" the wall. It seems an important difference, especially if we are going to "talk" quantum realties and such, which I admit to having some resistance to, but am willing to work through. The commentators on The Gospel of Thomas that I have read understand the message of this gospel as ultimate union and lack of separation. There are no walls. In other words, there is no separation between the man who is like the kingdom of the father and the powerful man. They are one. This seems to be what you are saying, Flow, or am I misunderstanding?

 

lily

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Yes Lily I think you see the concept of unity that I was referring to. The ultimate unity is that of the quantum field, of which everything in our universe is composed. Or, a reality concept in which everything is connected. All through the gnostic writings we are presented with the concept and challenge of unity, whereas the purpose of the dark one is to separate the unity that was originally created into manageable bits so that material exploitation might take place. The trick of continuing our existence is to keep a reasonable balance between the unification process and the necessary exploitations.

Of course we couild not continuie to exist without exploitation of our environments. This parable refers to a system of thought that might render material barriers more transparent in order to facilitate our transcendence of them. Again, the sword , wall, hand, and powerful man references, at least in my opinion, are used here to explain these ultimate relationships between humans and their environments in somewhat understandable and familiar terms. There are always walls around us. There are always swords available to project our powers, if we so choose. Our hands always proceed us when we feel our way into strange places. Powerful men are always around us to stop, or at least slow down, such explorations that might upset delicate balances.

As a suggestion I would recommend any physics text that might provide you with explanations of quantum complimentarity, or local-non-local effects. Such information may help you get your arms around the concept of the unity I'm referring to. I connote the term "the Kingdom" as a surrogate for the quantum unity I've been speaking of.

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As a suggestion I would recommend any physics text that might provide you with explanations of quantum complimentarity, or local-non-local effects. Such information may help you get your arms around the concept of the unity I'm referring to. I connote the term "the Kingdom" as a surrogate for the quantum unity I've been speaking of.

Actually, I'm quite well-versed with quantum mechanics, and I agree that it has enormous implications for how we think about pretty much everything. I'm just highly skeptical of attempts to read it back into ancient manuscripts.

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As a suggestion I would recommend any physics text that might provide you with explanations of quantum complimentarity, or local-non-local effects. Such information may help you get your arms around the concept of the unity I'm referring to. I connote the term "the Kingdom" as a surrogate for the quantum unity I've been speaking of.

Actually, I'm quite well-versed with quantum mechanics, and I agree that it has enormous implications for how we think about pretty much everything. I'm just highly skeptical of attempts to read it back into ancient manuscripts.

 

I wouldn't claim to be well-versed, but I've done my share of reading. Frankly, I don't think more study is necessarily useful. Physics, in particular, has to be apprehended by the "minds eye" or intuited, in my opinion...one can't "get it" intellectually, and so by extension, if one can apprehend it intuitively, one doesn't need to study up. The Reality of unity is not something one needs quantum mechanics to grok. One can be brought to an immediate apprehension of it through such things as the parables of Jesus.

 

lily

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"grok"

 

 

Ahhh... one of my favorite books - "A Stranger in a Strange Land"... sounds remarkably contemporary, don't y'think?? :lol:

 

As for quantum physics... I agree Lily. The intellectual and scientific explanations are interesting (if dry :>), but the reality... ahhhhhhhh, beautiful.

Edited by Cynthia
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The intellectual and scientific explanations are interesting (if dry :>)

Actually I find quantum physics to be a lot like Bach... the intellectual and the aesthetic coming together to create this utterly transcendent new thing. Math can be a lot like poetry at its most elegant. Symmetry... economy of expression... But then I sit around and program computers all day (when I'm not writing here) so who am I to talk? ;)

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Wow! I 've really enjoyed the replies I've read. I can't say I've understood

everything but I'm trying( They don't talk like this in Bible class). I seem to get the idea from some of the posts that one person can be both the assassin and the powerful man at the same time In this way Jesus' parables can be like dreams where the dreamer is all the charecters in the dream.

 

The thing I liked about the Thomas Gospel was the idea that the Kingdom of God

(UCCers prefer Realm of God) seems to be a state of awareness rather than place. A state of awareness that's always present and not some place you go to when you die or some utopian kingdom that you sit around and wait for. The statement Jesus makes at the beginning of the Gospel that if they tell you it's in the sky the birds will get there first or if they say its in the sea the fish will get there first was priceless to me.

 

BTW a man named John Crossan did the introduction to the version of the book I have . Its OK but toward the end of it he says that celibacy and aceticism are required to find the primorial state according to the Thomas Gospel . I don't think it says that at all and I don't know where he got that idea.

 

MOW

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"Math can be a lot like poetry at its most elegant. Symmetry... economy of expression"

 

Fred - I understand that people experience it that way... it must be wonderful. I sometimes get that with symbols or nature - a trancendent concept that is so clear, so awesome, and so beyond words.b :) I wish I could see it in math like you do!!

 

I had a cool experience meditating recently. It was a small group and they had some neat music on... I somehow flew on the music - quite moving and wonderful.

 

" A state of awareness that's always present and not some place you go to when you die or some utopian kingdom that you sit around and wait for. The statement Jesus makes at the beginning of the Gospel that if they tell you it's in the sky the birds will get there first or if they say its in the sea the fish will get there first was priceless to me."

 

I love the glimpses I get of that state! Thich Nhat Hanh says that when a monk can meditate with no thoughts for 4 hours, they have reached a meaningful point.

Sigh.... Honestly 5-10 minutes is great for me! Perhaps when I'm 90 or so... but then somebody will probably just bury me!!! LOL

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Its OK but toward the end of it he says that celibacy and aceticism are required to find the primorial state according to the Thomas Gospel .

 

Gnosticism, overall, teaches that this world was created by the "demiurge" and that it is an evil, fallen, horrible place to be completely rejected. This includes marriage, sex, any form of pleasure or any attatchment to this world.

 

Thomas is on the cusp of being Gnostic. The Gnostic teachings aren't as overt in Thomas as they are in other Gnostic texts, but the flavor is there. Most scholars consider Thomas to be a Gnostic text, mostly because of the last verses (if I remember correctly), but some scholars don't think Thomas is Gnostic at all.

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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(

I can't say I've understood

everything but I'm trying

 

Me too.

 

 

I seem to get the idea from some of the posts that one person can be both the assassin and the powerful man at the same time In this way Jesus' parables can be like dreams where the dreamer is all the charecters in the dream.

 

This seems like an honest and useful way to approach the parables to me.

 

 

The thing I liked about the Thomas Gospel was the idea that the Kingdom of God

(UCCers prefer Realm of God) seems to be a state of awareness rather than place. A state of awareness that's always present and not some place you go to when you die or some utopian kingdom that you sit around and wait for.

 

This was a very important realization for me too! and I'm still exploring its implications.

 

 

BTW a man named John Crossan did the introduction to the version of the book I have . Its OK but toward the end of it he says that celibacy and aceticism are required to find the primorial state according to the Thomas Gospel . I don't think it says that at all and I don't know where he got that idea.

 

 

Well, I'm not an expert on the subject, but gnostic Christians, as the author of the Gospel of Thomas certainly was, tended toward a radical and ascetic mysticism. This, in fact, was one of the chief complaints of the orthodoxy against them, who "affirmed the value of ordinary employment and family life", and felt that the practices of the gnostics were elitist, too difficult, and impractical for ordinary men.

 

I'm glad that you are enjoying the discussion. ;) I am too.

 

lily

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There was an interesting exchange on beliefnet last year between Elaine Pagels and another theologian that was pretty good. It discussed the Gospel of Thomas and whether it was Gnostic or not and why each of the authors felt the way they do. (I imagine Crossan considers Thomas to be Gnostic and so believes that chastity and asceticism are necessary?)

 

Here is some of Elaine Pagel's reply. I snipped it where I could.

 

From: Elaine Pagels

To: Ben Witherington III

Date: May 1, 2004

 

Dear Ben,

 

Thank you for your letter, which helpfully clarified various viewpoints on these early gospels—and on the early Christian movement. As I read it, you make two basic points:

 

First, that sources like the Gospel of Thomas, being "Gnostic," must be late sources—coming from the second century, or later—and therefore have nothing to do with the beginnings of the Christian movement.

 

Second, that what we find in the Gospel of Thomas is "at odds with what we find in New Testament texts"—that is, confession of Jesus as the "crucified and risen Lord."

 

What those of us working on these texts have come to conclude, in the course of extensive research on the Gospel of Thomas and the New Testament gospels, is that the first point is wrong, and the second is questionable. Instead, we're convinced of the following:

 

First: The Gospel of Thomas is not "Gnostic," but a "gospel" compiled from various sayings traditions, probably around the end of the first century (my dating).

 

Second: Instead of being "at odds" with what we find in the canonical gospels, the Gospel of Thomas presupposes what Mark tells of Jesus' life, teachings, death, and resurrection—and claims to go beyond it. Thomas depicts the Risen Jesus speaking not of "forgiveness of sins" and "faith," but encouraging each one to "seek, and you shall find" a relationship to God.

 

Both of your points are assumptions all of us, I would guess, were taught in graduate school. The earliest editors of "Gnostic" texts thought that they were dualistic, escapist, nihilistic, involving "esoteric ideas about aeons and demiurges," as you yourself write. As my former teacher at Harvard, Krister Stendhal, said to me recently about these texts, "we just thought these were weird."

 

But can you point to any evidence of such "esoteric ideas" in Thomas? Anything about "aeons and demiurges"?Those first editors, not finding such evidence, assumed that this just goes to show how sneaky heretics are—they do not say what they mean. So when they found no evidence for such nihilism or dualism—on the contrary, the Gospel of Thomas speaks continually of God as the One good "Father of all"—they just read these into the text. Some scholars, usually those not very familiar with these sources, still do.

 

So first let's talk about "Gnosticism"—and what I used to (but no longer) call "Gnostic Gospels." I have to take responsibility for part of the misunderstanding. Having been taught that these texts were "Gnostic," I just accepted it, and even coined the term "Gnostic gospels," which became the title of my book. I agree with you that we have no evidence for what we call "Gnosticism" from the first century, and have learned from our colleagues that what we thought about "Gnosticism" has virtually nothing to do with a text like the Gospel of Thomas—or, for that matter, with the New Testament Gospel of John which our teachers said also showed "Gnostic influences."

 

(snip)

 

A further indication that Thomas is not "Gnostic," by your own definition, is that it does use the Old Testament in a very positive way—just as the Gospel of John does. Both frame their views of the gospel with midrashic interpretations of Genesis 1. Recognizing this has led scholars far beyond what you learned as a graduate student from Bruce Metzger, and what I learned in graduate school. That's why those of us working in this field have come to recognize these texts not as "Gnostic"—whatever that fuzzy term meant—but as early Christian, and immersed, like all the early Christian sources we know, in the Hebrew Bible.

 

(snip)

 

Instead of offering a wholly different teaching, then, the Gospel of Thomas, like John's "farewell discourses," claims to go beyond what one already has learned. Nothing here suggests that faith does not matter—in fact, it is assumed; but what is also assumed is that some will now want to go beyond belief—beyond the elementary teaching—in a process of spiritual inquiry. Teachers like this cited Paul as their model—as in I Corinthians 2 he declares that, so long as he was speaking to immature Christians—"babies in Christ"—he "decided to acknowledge nothing, among you, except Jesus Christ crucified," although, he says, "we do speak wisdom among those who are mature—the hidden wisdom of God, which God ordained before the ages (aeons) for our glory." Paul goes on to allude to matters that can be discerned only by those who have attained to a level of spiritual insight—"the deep things of God." The gospel of Mark (Mk 4:11f) has Jesus explain to his disciples that "to you is given to know the mystery of the Kingdom of God, but to those outside, everything is in parables." So we find in the New Testament gospels and in Paul's letters hints of teaching that are not among the elementary and essential ones on which these writings focus.

 

(snip)

 

Like you, I love this tradition, and work on these sources because they work on me as well. The fact that we do not agree on every point has much to do with the difficulty of making certain historical judgments about first century sources—and also with the various ways we understand the beginnings of Christianity, and what it means for us today. Many will take up these questions in the future, and teach us to see new elements in the history of the faith that we share.

 

Thank you for the spirit of collegial discussion in your e-mails, and for stating your views so clearly. I look forward to continuing our discussion offline, perhaps when we meet at conferences.

 

Yours sincerely, Elaine

 

Oops, here's the link to the whole exchange. :)

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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Thank you Aletheia for posting the wonderful letter. One of the benefits of communicating with really smart people is that they come up with individually original concepts, something that today's world discourages through its institutions, unless a team efort is involved.

One of the truly unique things that has always awed me about Jesus' visit with us is that his concepts and ideas were totally original, and as we uncover the roots of early documents such as Thomas, we can only begin to grasp the length and breadth of what he was aiming at for us all. I find it interesting that Pagels and her colleagues overturned basic assumptions about the early writings, and perhaps uncovered the true reason for the demonizing of the Gnostic sects so early on in Christian history. The concepts of a limitless realm of God and an ability to access that realm simply through individual modes of meditation and thought must have been very threatening to empires that existed soley to control and plunder. Instead of offering blood and monetary sacrifices to the gods in order to placate them and their vengeful ways, all one had to do was to think ,gesture, and pray, alone or together with fellow believers in order to access the limitless realm of the God of the Universe. WOW! :D

Edited by flowperson
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... all one had to do was to think ,gesture, and pray, alone or together with fellow believers in order to access the limitless realm of the God of the Universe. WOW!  :D

Accessing the limitless realm of God also involves doing justice and showing compassion, not just sitting and meditating. But you already knew that. :)

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The concepts of a limitless realm of God and an ability to access that realm simply through individual modes of meditation and thought  must have been very threatening to empires that existed soley to control and plunder. Instead of offering blood and monetary sacrifices to the gods in order to placate them and their vengeful ways, all one had to do was to think ,gesture, and pray, alone or together with fellow believers in order to access the limitless realm of the God of the Universe. WOW!  :D

 

hmm, well? I dunno. It seems to me that there were mystery religions already well established during the time of Jesus that offered access to the gods through such means as meditation, incubation, and initiations. The Essenes come to mind, as do the Eleusinians. Mysticism has always run parallel, if not counter, to orthodoxy. The problem between the so-called gnostic Christians and the orthodox Christians, which is I suppose what we are discussing, did indeed have roots in a battle between those who saw the wisdom in a tradition with well-defined and established doctrines that would be universal to all who called themselves "Christian", and those who believed in an on-going revelation of Truth open to all who "knocked". One of the criticisms directed against the gnostic Christians, was that they were always seeking and never coming to the knowledge of the ultimate truth, which the orthodoxs believed they already had in Christ crucified. The "gnostics" believed that this was only the beginning, and that there are "hidden" things in God that required going beyond where orthodoxy wished to stop. It really, according to my studies, had little to do with "empires that existed solely to control and plunder". This was a battle between Christians, not of Christians and empires. Both sides were (and are) guilty of considering the other illegitimate, and as fate had it, orthodoxy gained the upper hand. In my opinion, both orthodoxy and "the way of gnosis" are important.

 

Have any of you seen the movie, "Searching for Bobby Fischer"? It's about this kid who is a natural born chess genuis who has two teachers; an orthodox, classical chess teacher who his father pays to teach him, and a street bum who plays speed chess in the park for cash. In the end, you realize how both teachers, through the mediation of the kids own gifts and passion, made the kid a chess master. It's kinda like that...

 

lily

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"The thing I liked about the Thomas Gospel was the idea that the Kingdom of God

(UCCers prefer Realm of God) seems to be a state of awareness rather than place. A state of awareness that's always present and not some place you go to when you die or some utopian kingdom that you sit around and wait for. The statement Jesus makes at the beginning of the Gospel that if they tell you it's in the sky the birds will get there first or if they say its in the sea the fish will get there first was priceless to me."

 

I am new here, so please forgive me if i mess up the format or content. Also, I haven't read all of the commentary, so I apologize if I go off-topic or if I am repetitive.

 

I am struck by MOW's insight's into Thomas, especially the above. I agree that the Kingdom of God, as described by Jesus, is a state of awareness, and not a place. See Luke 17:20-22 (New International Version)

New International Version (NIV)

Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

 

The Coming of the Kingdom of God

20Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, 21 nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within[a] you."

22Then he said to his disciples, "The time is coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it.

 

 

I like Thomas, because: 1) it is a relatively new enlightenment, which was not not "censored" by "early church" "fathers", and 2) concentrates on Jesus' "sayings" and therefore teachings, rather than his birth and death. BUT, we have to recognize, that it was written at least contemporaneous to, and possibly after, Gospel John (120-240 AD). As such, it DOES have questionable, if not interesting, insights into Jesus' teachings. The question in my mind remains open as to the authenticity and relevancy of this particular Logia (98?). If we are Christians (little followers of Christ [Jesus]), we should care about what he ACTUALLY said, not what people think he said, whether 200 AD or 2100 AD.

 

We should focus upon what God is telling us now in the context of what He has always told us.

 

reply privately to cjfhome@comcast.net

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>I like Thomas, because: 1) it is a relatively new enlightenment, which was not not "censored" by "early church" "fathers", and 2) concentrates on Jesus' "sayings" and therefore teachings, rather than his birth and death. BUT, we have to recognize, that it was written at least contemporaneous to, and possibly after, Gospel John (120-240 AD). As such, it DOES have questionable, if not interesting, insights into Jesus' teachings. The question in my mind remains open as to the authenticity and relevancy of this particular Logia (98?). If we are Christians (little followers of Christ [Jesus]), we should care about what he ACTUALLY said, not what people think he said, whether 200 AD or 2100 AD.

 

 

Well what Jesus *actually* said, no one actually knows. I think all the scriptures were written at least 50 years afterwards. SO I don't know why Thomas is more inaccurate than the Gospels in the Bible used today.

 

--des

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I believe that it was in Beyond Belief by Elaine Pagels that the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of John were in competition, being written about the same time. She relates the doubting Thomas story as a smear tactic to increase numbers who followed John... this struck me as strangely comforting... people are people. No significant changes over the past 2000 years.... perhaps we're not getting worse, we just are.

 

Any thoughts?

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