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Thread: Thomas' Gospel.

  1. #91
    The Gnu Normal Pompey Bum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MANICHAEAN View Post
    Coptic Saying 39.

    Jesus says, "The Pharisees and the scholars have taken the keys of knowledge; they themselves have hidden them. Neither have they entered, nor have they allowed those who want to enter, to do so. As for you, be as sly as snakes and as simple as doves."

    This saying seems to stereotype the characteristics of the "Pharisees and scholars." A bit surprised no mention of "hypocrites," so prevalent in Matthew.

    But still a bad press holding the keys to a knowledge they have not understood themselves, nor enabled others to acquire it.

    There is also an irony in the advice to keep a low profile in spiritual seeking; ( mild and non confrontational like a dove, and stealthy like a snake.) The figure of Jesus seems not to have followed his own advice in this instance.
    This is a parallel with Jesus' famous Commission of the Twelve in Matthew 10:16: Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. On the surface, Thomas is using the saying in a similar way, although his notion of wolves may be different. Scholars and Pharisees would have been two kinds of Jewish authorities at the time. These figures are being criticized for not following a wisdom tradition as the Thomas community does (they will not help you and they will mislead others). It's not clear, though, that this advice is being given to missionaries as is in Matthew 10:16. The metaphor of sly serpents is striking since snakes were sometimes associated with gnostic traditions. But the overall meaning of the saying seems similar to the version in Matthew: be ready to outwit the wolves without becoming a wolf yourself. For the record, Matthew 10:16 is an important saying to me--something of a life verse, I suppose.
    Last edited by Pompey Bum; 08-20-2018 at 11:06 AM.
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  2. #92
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    We now move onto the Coptic version of the Gospel of Thomas, which consists of 114 sayings and were discovered hidden in jars in the desert near Nag Hammadi.

    Additional dimensions to this find are that this is only part, ( or in this case, the Second Tractate) bound into the second codex ( or book.) This codex in fact seems to bear witness to a comprehensive diversity of interests, of those producing this work.

    The full codex contains the following:
    1. The Apocryphon of John (Tractate 1), a revelation dialogue between the Saviour and the disciples about the creation, human condition and the salvation of humanity.
    2. The Gospel According to Philip (Tractate 3), a collection of short discursive treatments of primarily Valentinian Christian sacramental theology.
    3. The Hypostasis of the Archons (Tractate 4), a revelation dialogue that interprets the first six chapters of Genesis.
    4. A Treatise Without Title on the Origin of the World (Tractate 5), an exploration of the nature of the cosmos, the nature of humanity, and the end of both.
    5. The Expository Treatise on the Soul (Tractate 6), a narrative describing the fate of the soul in the world.
    6. The Book of Thomas the Contender Writing to the Perfect (Tractate 7), a revelation dialogue between Jesus and his twin brother Thomas.

    Current judgement seems to be that this collection into one codex does not necessarily indicate that they were considered to be similar or related. What is agreed is that this Coptic version presents the most complete extant text of the Gospel of Thomas.

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