Re: Gospel of Thomas not Gnostic???
- 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.