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Re: Gospel of Thomas not Gnostic???

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  • hey_market
    I think we are in agreement, and more than that, I wouldn t be surprised at all if the Gospel of Thomas was a Manichean document. AT first glance, this
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 9, 2002
      I think we are in agreement, and more than that,
      I wouldn't be surprised at all if the Gospel of
      Thomas was a Manichean document. <br><br>AT first
      glance, this would seem to explain the seeming
      Buddha-like (or even Confucian) wisdom of Christ, given the
      Manichean penchant for syncretism. However, of course, this
      would be anachronistic since Manicheans didn't mingle
      with that milieu until centuries later. <br><br>Of
      course, it has been suggested that Jesus himself may have
      mingled with Buddhists, or Hindus. Howegver, there's no
      proof of this, and as PMCV has pointed out on many
      occasions, there is no compelling reason to insist on
      Eastern roots to explain the esoteric wisdom of the
      figure of Jesus Christ. <br><br>The wisdom of the Jesus
      of Thomas is Manichean, being decidedly anticosmic
      and docetic and ultimately exceptionally positive.
      But one might legitimately point in other directions
      to other sources as well.<br><br>And, as you note,
      these may even come from otherwise Orthodox sources.
      But surely if it did, then these Orthodox sources
      were highly unorthodox as to their orientation, even
      if they were a bit more straightforward in their
      mode of expression (i.e., less elaborately
      mythologic).<br><br>Nonetheless, one thing is certain, the Gospel of Thomas stands
      apart from the rest of Nag Hamadi as much as it hangs
      together with it. That said, it must be noted that the
      very nature of the Nag Hamadi is that it embodies
      diverse forms of expression and diverse myths.
      Multiplicity of expression (literally unorthodox) clearly was
      seen as a virtue that opened more doors to divinity.
      And yet, most of the Nag Hamadi writings (with the
      exception of some moral or philosphical works) share a
      common, albeit unique, labyrinthine, and relatively alien
      style of expression. It's as if the bulk of the writers
      in Nag Hamadi were from another realm (a notion they
      would no doubt readily agree with), while Thomas seems
      more approachable--more of this world, or rather
      spanning both worlds, even as attempts to launch us out of
      the world of matter.<br><br>In short, the Gospel of
      Thomas is undoubtedly a strong stylistic departure from
      the rest of the collection. On the surface, it is a
      far more simple work, even if no less cryptic.
      <br><br>Like the Christ on the cross in Thomas, we shouldn't
      be deceived by appearances. This is complex stuff,
      but the surface presentation is different.<br><br>As
      such, this does give rise to the legitimate question as
      to whether or not the Gospel of Thomas was derived
      from the same sources (the usual suspects) associated
      with the rest of the library. <br><br>And in some
      respects, whoever this source may have been, their styling
      might be said to be closer to Hermetic than Manichean.
      However, as to the bigger issue of cosmic attitude and
      contents, the work more closely matches the latter.
      <br><br>In any case, I think all of these groups drank from
      the same river, even if the water of gnosis that
      subsequently flowed from their mouths was either etic or emic.
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