- I believe this is my first time posting to this group however I have just
finished a thesis on the Gospel of Thomas and have been drawn in by the
spiritual nature of the text. Within my thesis I discuss the metaphorical
language involved in making a religious language. I looked specifically at
the use of the word fire throughout the text. Where patti and many others
pull in the use of outside sources I have chosen not to, except in rare
cases. This choice is because the enigmatic text provides very few facts as
to the context by which it was written. So I have tried staying within the
work of GoT itself. In looking at the word 'fire', I found 3 instances of
the word being used. The first is in #13, the third is #16. In #16, jesus
reveals that it is not peace that he has come to earth as most people think.
"They do not know that it is dissension which I have come to cast upon the
earth: fire, sword, and war." It seems from this saying that fire is a bad
thing and is somehow referential to the idea of hell as a general western
influenced mind has characterized it. But if we are to think about the
implications of fire during the time the text was written we realize that
there were very few options for light and heat, both produced by fire. So
the metaphors of fire can be taken very differently with the context. In
saying 82, the fourth place the word fire is used in the text, we are faced
with a new context of the word fire. "He who is near me is near the fire,
and he who is far from me is far from the Kingdom." From this saying it
seems clear that this idea of fire is somehow representative of the Kingdom
of Heaven. Saying 10, seems to follow this line of thinking as well. jesus
places himself in a position much like that of a guardian of the world. "I
have cast fire upon the world, and see, I am guarding it until it blazes."
However using the rest of the text of GoT could it be possible that fire is
symbolic for the Kingdom of Heaven? the question that arises in my mind then
is what is meant by casting stones upon thomas? Is this a reference to
death? Now the idea of death is an interesting topic which I think should be
covered in relation to this problem of casting stones in #13.
I thnk it is important to remember that where death in most people's
minds is negative, it should neither have positice nor negative connotations
as it is not really an end but a beginning. How mad is this idea of death
anyway? How can something be born of God, of Love, and of eternal Life, and
still die? One way or another the idea of fire, and the consumption thereof,
is not an idea of death, but one of eternal life.
I am sorry if I have interjected too many of my own thoughts and feelings
that uphold my theodicy however i thought there could be something valid in
my analysis that all of you would enjoy.
Peace, Love, and Light
Daniel J. Crawford
- Mike wrote: <<We have been over this same ground several times, and you
continue to fly in the face of plain facts. J uses the singular 'you'. He is
addressing Thomas (who has just spoken) and Thomas alone. Your suggestion
that J is not speaking to Thomas alone is neither plausible nor respectable.
scientific terms, you're denying the data in order to save your theory.>>
Please forgive if I gave such an impression. As I noted at the end of a
submission recently which may have escaped notice & was not posted:
>>Perhaps, Jesus was speaking in context of the Isaiah scriptures, sothat, when Thomas subjectively replied - as idol - "Master, my mouth is
utterly unable to say what you are like.", of course Jesus was not Master of
the idol. Sort of a banter, where Jesus corrects that.>>
If it is true that Jesus was talking to Thomas alone, it may be that
Jesus then went on to say how that because Thomas is drunk, he has become
high on what Jesus is saying for to call Jesus "Master" in such a context.
Whether Thomas inadvertently quoted the next part of Isaiah by admission
of an inability, or purposefully quoted is unclear. Thomas' subjectively
speaking as idol to quote next part of Isaiah, yet in the same breath
referring to Jesus as "Master" was the flaw for reproof.
Did Thomas understand that this quote of Isaiah pertained to a question
asked by God? And, that the idol would be unable to call man "Master," even
as the man himself made the idol of wood or gold? (Isaiah 45:9 "Let the
potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him
that fashions it, What do you make?")
Jesus took Thomas aside surely to teach or remind him about that next
part of Isaiah.
Here is not a matter of admitting one is wrong, but of "seeking till one
The important thing to note here is that Jesus and any believer in the
God of Israel would never think of themselves master or disciple of the idol.