are IMO to be understood allegorically
and not as historical claims as to where
Philo got his ides from."
I don't understand completely if Philo and what he understands is relevant to the GThom, unless it is to get a better understanding of pre-Christian gnosticism. I have to agree with Ehrman's idea in "Lost Christianities" that the Gnostic texts presume some knowledge that readers of the time understood. They presume an understanding that we don't exactly get.
This might connote some close community or secular ties with this literature. Certainly the understanding, presumed to be a form of gnostic belief, existed from the earliest of times in the first Christian communities.
Following the more Orthodox sects is easier, trying to figure out what is hidden in allegory, when the secret itself could be the allegory, is more complex. Especially if they always hid it.
Thomas concerns secrets, starting with its alternate title, Secret Sayings," and, "These are the words of the living Jesus......" Thomas has to be designed as a secret document. It is more obvious than just what it states, because if these are the words of the 'living Jesus' they are indicated as secret sayings, therefor they are, the secret sayings of the living Jesus. This is implied, no? I think the sayings about giving holy things to dogs and pigs applies to this idea. Thomas was not for anyone who would or could not aspire to being gnostic.
Whatever the boundaries or specifications of Plato or Philo as to gnosis, the ground floor of gnosis with Jesus, are the words of Jesus. Jesus wisdom. This is the most obvious in determining types of gnosticism that can be attributed to Thomas. We can then determine what did and did not effect the gnostic characteristics of Thomas. I think it is safe to say that we can determine gnostic characteristics in Thomas.
One commonality of early Gnostics seemed to be understanding the earthly state is flawed. It stands to reason that the GThom would seek to specify these flaws, as do many of the other Gnostic texts, especially those concerning 'Sophia' and creation myths. It is easy to find the flawed in Thomas. I think that is part of the point.
All the Thomas parables are about those who are in one way or another flawed and are certainly without gnosis or Christian Gnosis. Thomas parables are written with a common feature that can be explained in a very artistic classic manor. They can all be seen as if they were a picture, or one of the more complex drawings from the Book of Jeu. The parables work like classic paintings, only they are read, not seen, but pictured. Then contemplated. We all find out our own psyche(s) differ in what is pictured. This is probably also intended for this type of literature.
The only thing that can go beyond the scope of the picture in the parable, is for the reader to do it. You can enter the situation of the parable as if you were part of the picture, and add yourself to the characters of this moment in time, then move on. You can add just those in the GThom, or just those others from the other parables. You can enter as yourself. As you imagine yourself from the first parable to the last something is else is happening.....
As you read the GThom for the first time, and thereafter, in full, you go from parable to parable gathering Jesus wisdom on the way. You also gather what the parables tell you about the faults of the flawed.
Remember at this point the reader is still reading and contemplating Thomas. What happens next is what has always been in front of our faces, we solve the 'parable world' problems with our own, and Jesus wisdom. And, at the end of the GThom were the reader turns away and goes back to his own world, were he sees the flawed and the faulty. Those parable pictures become a reflection into the reader's own world. Some can benefit, some will never see the flaw(s) in one's self.
The world can become a parable. You get to be the 'star' of the picture where the ear sees, and the eye hears. You get to know and avoid the worst earthly faults. If the things you contribute with Jesus wisdom and the parables work, in real life, and make your life better that seems to be a self-evident sign that the GThom may be real Jesus wisdom.
Success never fails. You do have to see the allegory within the allegory, or you fail. I mean here something like only comprehending a literal meaning to a parable, and not looking for double or multiple allegorical in the text. We can show this by our own experience in this group, like back in the "mustard seed' discussion days. The parables set a stage to play out. Our individualism makes our own perception of things 'our own' but using Thomas wisdom adds a commonality. This may also be intentional to the literature characteristics of the parable.
Show Philo or Plato this kind of self-evident application to their Gnosticism and I think it would be adapted into their philosophy. The opposite might also apply, like Clement who obviously considered many philosophies in his own life and spirituality. What looks common to their philosophies of gnosis or their scheme is a perfection in the pleroma, a faulty form in the body, on earth, and the development of the human psyche to realize all three.
The parable of the 'sword and the wall,' can be seen as also using a picture. Putting 'the sword into the wall with the steady hand,' is essentially the same task as imagining a parable as a picture. In the case of saying 98, we have a picture of someone using a 'picture' symbolized as the wall, and imagined as his intended victim, and practicing the methodology.
The methodology, what happens between the time the sword hits the wall or target, can be a massive amount of information. This would include all kinds of considerations, or possibly more correct here, 'reflections.'
Platter Flats, OK
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]