In this excerpt, we are looking at where Origen quoted the
same place in the Gospel of Thomas a second time. The next
excerpt will be on Monday.
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This conclusion, that Origen regarded the saying found in
Thomas 82 as a genuine saying of Jesus, is confirmed by his
use of an abbreviated form, albeit paraphrased, of the saying
without any apparent qualms as to its authenticity. In his
fourth homily on Joshua, Origen was expounding the provision
of Jos 4:3, regulating proper behavior to the ark of the covenant:
>Finally, see what is said: "Let the people be at a distance
>from the ark of the covenant," it says, "by two thousand cubits."
>The priests and the Levites, however, are very near, and near
>enough so that the ark of the Lord and the divine Law are
>carried on their own shoulders. Blessed are those who deserve
>to be very close to God. But remember that it is written,
>"Those who draw near to me, draw near to fire." If you are
>gold and silver and have drawn near to the fire, you will shine
>forth more splendid and glowing because of the fire.
In contrast with his cautious introduction of the saying in his
homily on Jeremiah, Origen here merely said, "but remember that
is written" (sed memento quod scriptum est), an introduction
common to scriptural quotations.
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Stephen C. Carlson
Ph.D. student, Religion, Duke University
Author of The Gospel Hoax: Morton Smith's Invention of Secret Mark (Baylor, 2005)