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12933Re: Is the Gospel of Thomas Gnostic?

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  • pmcvflag
    Jan 20, 2007
      Hey Andrew

      >>>I will give away a copy of GTCW. But I'll be more than dishonest,
      I'll be totally subjective--I'll give the book to the person who
      posts the baseball article that I like best.<<<

      Fair enough. In truth I doubt you will see many people here
      scrambling for a copy of Davies' book. More important to me is that
      the points of debate about Thomas are presented accurately.

      I have often raised the question in this forum as to whether Thomas
      is Gnostic when people have assumed it is. Likewise I have pointed
      out Gnostic elements when people have assumed it is not. I am not
      uncomfortable with the ambiguity. Of course, I have my own ideas
      about the issue.

      >>>My "on the other hand" was an attempt to see some validity in
      Ehrman's analogy by applying it to other writings. Perhaps the
      Exegesis isn't such a good example either. It could be looked at as
      a Christian Platonic writing, and it certainly lays out a myth.<<<

      The line between "Gnosticism" and other forms of Christian Platonism
      is not always clear and easy to outline. There is some fuzzy ground

      As far as finding validity in Ehrman's analogy, it may be better to
      think of it for what it was.... simply an attempt to put a logical
      point that would not be desputed in any academic setting into plain
      lingo that the layperson would hopefully understand. The reason for
      the point is that there have been a number of people out there
      debating the categorization of Thomas based on a sort of flawed
      modus ponens argument. Whether or not Ehrman is correct in
      constructing a case for a Gnostic core in Thomas, his deconstruction
      of that modus ponens argument is logically valid and correct.

      A full construction of a hermeneutic core simply can't be built or
      discounted based ONLY on subtle contexts or the lack of the
      explicit. Let me give you an example by asking you a question about
      commentary that may relate to Ehrman's analogy.

      From a sports reporter....

      "... OH, he caught it midfield. Wow! He.. is.. driving... it...
      home. Looks like the tide is turning in this game."

      Now, how do you know what is going on here? How can you demonstrate
      that this is about baseball? I would challenge you to do so. If you
      can then maybe Ehrman's point is all wrong.

      >>>No, the last paragraph wasn't connected with Ehrman's analogy.
      When I posted the original question I was hoping to think about
      Thomas differently. What do you make of the strong parallels to
      Philo in Thomas?<<<

      I think that the parallels between Philo and the Tripartite Tractate
      are far more explicit. I doubt anyone would deny the implications
      (and connections) that Gnostic thinking and Jewish Platonism of the
      sort that Philo represents have toward each other. These strains of
      thought are very close and surely fed into each other to some
      extent. Of course we do also see non-Gnostic forms of Christian
      Platonism as well, such as Origen or Clement. However, I would point
      out that in the case of Thomas we are talking about more than the
      mythological structure, we need to take into account an explicit
      soteriology that is closer to the Gospel of Truth.

      I would be interested to hear you construct an argument for
      attributes of Christian Platonism (as a category) that would exclude

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