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Coptic martyr traditions and Coptic Thomas

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  • chaptim45
    I ve been reading other Coptic literature to further my knowledge of Coptic studies and ran across the Coptic martyrdom stories of St. Victor the General, and
    Message 1 of 4 , Apr 9 11:09 AM

      I've been reading other Coptic literature to further my knowledge of Coptic studies and ran across the Coptic martyrdom stories of St. Victor the General, and others.  I decided to look at some of the logia in Thomas' Gospel in light of the developing Coptic Christian tradition of martyrology.

      Thomas speaks of conflicts (L16) and persecution (L68), but it seems to me that Thomas favors believers who know persecution "in their hearts" (L69).  Thomas' Jesus speaks expects believers to "carry the cross"(L55), but that logia seems to be talking about the cost of losing family in the course of following Jesus, not the physical cross of martyrdom.

      I wonder if Coptic Thomas was to some degree in an opposing dialog with the early proto-orthodox Coptic churches on this issue of persecution.

      Tim Staker

      Indianapolis, Indiana

    • Mike Grondin
      ... It makes sense to me that Thomasines would see no spiritual value in martyrdom, since they placed no spiritual value on the death of Jesus. Associated with
      Message 2 of 4 , Apr 11 11:03 AM
        [Tim Staker]:
        > I wonder if Coptic Thomas was to some degree in an opposing dialog with
        > the early proto-orthodox Coptic churches on this issue of persecution.
         
        It makes sense to me that Thomasines would see no spiritual value in
        martyrdom, since they placed no spiritual value on the death of Jesus.
        Associated with that death was kingship and crown (of thorns), so there
        are orthodox Christian writings speaking of martyrs gaining a crown or
        kingship, whereas GThom (and those to whom Paul writes in one letter)
        associated kingship with the gaining of spiritual knowledge.
         
        Mike Grondin
      • chaptim45
        Mike, Yes, Thomas would likely have seen martrydom as missing the point. Martyrdom came to be understood by the traditional Christians as an instant ticket to
        Message 3 of 4 , Apr 15 8:58 AM
          Mike,

          Yes, Thomas would likely have seen martrydom as missing the point.
          Martyrdom came to be understood by the traditional Christians as an
          instant ticket to heaven in the afterlife. Whereas the Thomasine
          teaching professes that "heaven" or the "Kingdom" is here in the present
          (L3, L91)though it is hidden from those who do not seek it (L5, L109,
          L113).

          However, later Gnostics might have understood martyrdom as "taking off
          their clothes" (L21) and getting rid of the evil sarks.

          Tim Staker
          Indianapolis, Indiana


          --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Grondin" <mwgrondin@...> wrote:
          >
          > [Tim Staker]:
          > > I wonder if Coptic Thomas was to some degree in an opposing dialog
          with
          > > the early proto-orthodox Coptic churches on this issue of
          persecution.
          >
          > It makes sense to me that Thomasines would see no spiritual value in
          > martyrdom, since they placed no spiritual value on the death of Jesus.
          > Associated with that death was kingship and crown (of thorns), so
          there
          > are orthodox Christian writings speaking of martyrs gaining a crown or
          > kingship, whereas GThom (and those to whom Paul writes in one letter)
          > associated kingship with the gaining of spiritual knowledge.
          >
          > Mike Grondin
          >
        • Mike Grondin
          ... Hi Tim, I m more inclined to interpret this passage as DeConick does, namely as an encratic admonition to renounce the body as part of renouncing the
          Message 4 of 4 , Apr 15 10:51 AM
            [Tim Staker]:
            > ... later Gnostics might have understood martyrdom as "taking
            off
            > their clothes" (L21[.1-4]) and getting rid of the evil sarks.
            [flesh]

            Hi Tim,
            I'm more inclined to interpret this passage as DeConick does, namely
            as an encratic admonition to renounce the body as part of renouncing
            the physical world. But there's also a connection with proto-orthodox
            baptismal ritual, wherein the candidate is reported to have taken off their
            own clothes and put on a new white garment, symbolic of a new identity,
            now "dead to the world". There seems to have been a lot of ambiguous
            symbolic and metaphoric interplay going on, the understanding of which
            isn't helped by GThom, but it does seem to me that Gnostics generally
            felt that they had already undergone a figurative martyrdom, thus that
            a literal one was moot.
             
            Regards,
            Mike G.
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