12914Re: Is the Gospel of Thomas Gnostic?
- Jan 13, 2007My apologies to everyone for starting this topic and then letting it
--- In email@example.com, "spcdbrs" <space.debris@...> wrote:
> I think the question can be controversial because answers depend on
how one defines
> "Gnostic." Some scholars now consider GoT to be non-Gnostic because
of the fact that it
> doesn't get into the emanation of the Aeons, the Sophia myth, or
other distinctive features
> of Sethian and Valentinian thought.
Yes, that's a good indication of it not belonging to a developed
Gnostic system. (If it is Gnostic, it's closer to Valentinian thought
than Sethian surely.) The Gospel of Truth is relatively free of
Gnostic jargon, but it does have a few explicit references to the
pleroma and aeons,as does the Gospel of Philip.. I'm not much in
sympathy with scholars like Ehrman who read Thomas with a Gnostic
context but don't address Thomas' lack of specifically Gnostic
> Even so, the Gospel of Thomas has important points in common with
> Valentinian views, particularly on the issue of soteriology -- for
the GoT, salvation
> ultimately depends on a profound understanding of spiritual matters
> others, cosmological issues on which Gnostics would agree, e.g.
logion 56), rather than on
> faith, ritual, or good works. It also stands close to Gnosticism in
its generally ascetic tone.
Gnostics weren't the only ascetics, for instance, Richard Valantasis
interprets Thomas in terms of Syrian asceticism. On the other hand,
parts of Thomas are anti-ascetic, e.g. 14, "If you fast you will bring
sin on yourselves..."
> Therefore, it is a text that readily lends itself to interpretation
from a Sethian or
> Valentinian viewpoint, and thus I think it is not surprising to find
> between Sethian and Valentinian texts (Apocryphon of John and Gospel
of Philip) in Nag
> Hammadi Codex II.
The Sentences of Sextus and The Teachings of Silvanus are also in the
NHL but neither are Gnostic.
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