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RE: [gthomas] GOT context

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  • joe lieb
    ... I have to agree with you on this. GOT does indeed give a mystical sort of explanation of the Kingdom of God which many people have found to be
    Message 1 of 10 , Apr 23, 2000
      I wrote:
      >>Also in GOT
      >>I find the concept of the 'Kingdom of God' thrown in
      >>without any
      >>explanation.

      Tom Biuso replied:
      >There are those who understand what the Kingdom is
      >without an external source but, rather, through the
      >context of GOT.

      I have to agree with you on this. GOT does indeed give a mystical sort of explanation of the 'Kingdom of God' which many people have found to be meaningful.
      But what I said next:
      >>The reader is meant to be familiar with
      >>it. But this concept,
      >>unique to Christianity, must be learned from a
      >>Christian source.
      was the main point of my argument.

      I was referring to the MANNER in which he talked about it.
      Look at saying 3:
      (3) Jesus said:
      If those who lead you say unto you:
      "Behold, the Kingdom is in heaven,"
      then the birds of the heaven
      will be before you.
      If they say unto you:
      "It is in the sea,"
      then the fish will be before you.
      But the Kingdom is within you,
      and it is outside of you.
      ...
      Here we see references to others who have been preaching that the Kingdom of God is in heaven. 'Thomas' disagrees. He similarly disagrees about the Kingdom of God being assigned to any physical place such as the sea. Clearly 'Thomas' is reacting to previous Christian writings.

      Tom Biuso continued:
      >There are also differences between
      >Mathew's Kingdom and Thomas' Kingdom. Bear in mind
      >that GOT contains some concepts independent from the
      >canonical gospels, and it assumes that the reader is
      >strictly reading Thomas' gospel.

      I also agree here. GOT's Kingdom of God is more esoteric. It is even paradoxical. since (eg) it is both inside and outside of a person. Thus 'Thomas' was appealing to a more intellectual audience, not the general public.

      Tom Biuso concluded:
      >Due to these
      >differences, I find it hard to classify GOT as a
      >Christian document, regardless of its ties to Jesus.
      >

      I am not sure what you mean here. There are four canonical gospels, each with a different version of Christianity. Why not a fifth?

      Regards,
      - Joe.




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    • Tom Biuso
      ... Hmmm I m not exactly sure what I meant. I suppose it s a frustration I have that the others seem tarnished somehow, maybe even contrived, not that I m
      Message 2 of 10 , Apr 24, 2000
        >>Due to these
        >>differences, I find it hard to classify GOT as a
        >>Christian document, regardless of its ties to Jesus.

        >I am not sure what you mean here. There are four
        >canonical gospels,
        >each with a different version of Christianity. Why
        >not a fifth?

        Hmmm I'm not exactly sure what I meant. I suppose
        it's a frustration I have that the 'others' seem
        tarnished somehow, maybe even contrived, not that I'm
        calling them entirely worthless, as there are things
        to be learned from them. GOT is honest and, to me,
        should not be put in the same category of Xianity as
        the 'others'. Thomas needs no classification. What I
        do know is that there is a pattern in life, our
        universe, everything, and of the gospels, only GOT
        follows the same tune.

        That said, I probably should never have opened my big
        mouth, and I apologize if I've offended anyone. If I
        have, by all means, feel free to just ignore me =P.



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      • Kanefer@aol.com
        tjbtech@yahoo.com wrote:
        Message 3 of 10 , Apr 24, 2000
          tjbtech@... wrote:
          <<Hmmm I'm not exactly sure what I meant. I suppose
          it's a frustration I have that the 'others' seem
          tarnished somehow, maybe even contrived, not that I'm
          calling them entirely worthless, as there are things
          to be learned from them. GOT is honest and, to me,
          should not be put in the same category of Xianity as
          the 'others'. That said, I probably should never have opened my big
          mouth, and I apologize if I've offended anyone. If I
          have, by all means, feel free to just ignore me =P.>>

          Oh, why is it easier to say something about what we disagree with than
          what we agree with?! I wholeheartedly agree with the above. The other
          gospels seem almost like reverse of Pygmalion's sculpture - where the living
          truth of what was said would be transformed into some statue. Statue for
          idol-worshippers.
          With GoT, we have the sayings divested of their context. Maybe, this
          suggests "sculpting," but that it is Beauty standing bare naked.

          Sincerely, Patti
        • joe lieb
          ... Tom!! Thanks for the swift reply. I am very glad that you have communicated your impressions of GOT to me. It seems that perhaps you feel something of the
          Message 4 of 10 , Apr 24, 2000
            I wrote:
            >>There are four canonical gospels,
            >>each with a different version of
            >>Christianity. Why not a fifth?

            Tom Biuso replied:
            >I suppose it's a frustration I have
            >that the 'others' seem tarnished somehow,
            >maybe even contrived, not that I'm
            >calling them entirely worthless, as
            >there are things to be learned from them.
            >GOT is honest and, to me,
            >should not be put in the same category
            >of Xianity as the 'others'. Thomas needs
            >no classification. What I do know is
            >that there is a pattern in life, our
            >universe, everything, and of the gospels,
            >only GOT follows the same tune.
            >That said, I probably should never have
            >opened my big mouth, and I apologize if
            >I've offended anyone.
            >If I have, by all means, feel free
            >to just ignore me =P.

            Tom!!
            Thanks for the swift reply. I am very glad that you have communicated your impressions of GOT to me. It seems that perhaps you feel something of the trepidation that I feel before I put a message up for this egroup: Is what I am saying going beyond scholarship too far into religion? Is what I am saying getting too far away from religion so as to be blasphemous ( and offensive ) ? Is what I am saying too obvious? Is what I am saying so peculiar as to be irrelevant? Perhaps what I am saying is truly stupid... (etc etc)

            Anyway they still haven't pulled the plug on me...er... perhaps. So I'll tell you why I was particularly interested in your relegation of GOT to inferior status. GOT was known to the ancient church fathers and they rejected it as blasphemous. But I cannot find anything in GOT that wildly conflicts with the four canonical gospels. (OTHERS MAY VERY WELL DISAGREE!) I conclude that The church fathers were really trying to put down the power of a rival Christian group by criticising their holy books. That is all that the criticism of GOT amounted to.

            BUT I MIGHT BE WRONG! GOT deliberately stirs up the reader. There might indeed be something particularly offensive in it that the church fathers could not abide.

            Best wishes, Tom,
            - Joe.




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          • joe lieb
            I wrote: Patti
            Message 5 of 10 , Apr 26, 2000
              I wrote:<<GOT on the other hand (cf Mathew) is clearly written for a select group since the sayings in GOT are 'secret'. ... It is for a niche market. >>

              Patti replied:
              <Well, it could be that the sayings recorded in GOT are "secret" for their being "obscure," their meaning not readily apparent. >


              Patti,
              I think that you are right that many of the sayings in GOT are simply obscure. My point still remains that GOT was written specially for a niche market. Perhaps it specially appealed to those who like puzzles or those who like dealing in the obscure.

              In particular you have pointed out saying 19 about the five trees. Amazingly no expert responded with a clearcut answer as to what they are.

              ------------------
              But saying 13 particularly impresses me:
              ...
              He took Thomas aside,
              and said three words to him.
              When Thomas returned,
              his companions asked:
              What did Jesus tell you?
              And he replied:
              If I related even one of the words
              he told me, you would gather stones,
              and hurl them at me, whereupon fire would leap from
              the stones,and burn you.


              Here GOT deals with the subject of obscure sayings. It says that some of Jesus' sayings HAVE to remain obscure because they are too powerful. If they were brought out in the open then poeple would turn to fury.

              There is another aspect to saying 13.
              It implies that Jesus could control the world JUST BY HIS WORDS and so is divine. This is one thing that intrigues me about GOT. In Mathew Jesus is shown to be divine by, in addition to his words, his miracles and his resurrection. In GOT the special nature of Jesus is derived just from the obscurity/mysticism/(whatever) of his words alone.

              If Mike Grondin is following this I would dearly like some clarification on the Coptic word for 'word'. I tend to think that what Jesus said to Thomas were WORDS, but some translators have him telling Thomas 'things' or 'sayings'.


              Sincerely,
              - Joe.



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            • Kanefer@aol.com
              Joe wrote:
              Message 6 of 10 , Apr 27, 2000
                Joe wrote: <<My point still remains that GOT was written specially for a
                niche market. Perhaps it specially appealed to those who like puzzles or
                those who like dealing in the obscure.>>>

                Oh, I meant that perhaps the disciples had merely recorded those sayings that
                they did not understand, but not for purpose of niche market. (Look,
                Isaiah's sayings are hard to understand, too). But then, it may be that they
                had superstitious regard for these sayings that they didn't understand
                But least of all that those sayings were Intended to be hard to understand.

                >>>In particular you have pointed out saying 19 about the five trees.
                Amazingly no expert responded with a clearcut answer as to what they are.>>>

                Maybe, saying 19 refers to Isaiah 61:3, which would mean that Jesus was
                talking to five disciples at the time.

                >>>>But saying 13 particularly impresses me:../ .He took Thomas aside, and
                said three words to him. When Thomas returned, his companions asked: What
                did Jesus tell you? And he replied: If I related even one of the words he
                told me, you would gather stones, and hurl them at me, whereupon fire would
                leap from the stones,and burn you./ Here GOT deals with the subject of
                obscure sayings. It says that some of Jesus' sayings HAVE to remain obscure
                because they are too powerful.>>>>

                I disagree. Saying 13 begins: Jesus said to his disciples, "Compare me to
                something and tell me what I am like."
                I think this was actually verbatim quote of Isaiah (spec. 46:5). The
                disciples did not know these scriptures. (And, if they would love Jesus as
                idol, then they would only be like idols, not like God). It may be that
                Thomas was only one who answered righteously, (like in 46:7) and so Jesus
                took him aside and told him other next sayings of Isaiah that appeared to
                Thomas contentious & blasphemous to utter from his own mouth, including -
                "Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I
                am God, and there is none like me...."(46:9...) This might make them stone
                him, making them enemies (fire from stones = hot coals).

                Sincerely, Patti
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