Re: [GTh] Re: SOM in GOT 86
----- Original Message -----
From: "George Duffy" <gduffy@...>
Sent: Sunday, April 22, 2001 10:58 PM
Subject: [GTh] Re: SOM in GOT 86
Dear George Duffy:
You have done a very thoughtful analysis of GTh 86. Unfortunately, I
think your analysis goes off course in paragraph 2:
> 2. If the SOM expression was intended as a title for Jesus, then the
> point of the saying would be that Jesus is somehow to be pitied or
> seen as suffering. Either he has no place to sleep, or he must
> around the countryside uncomforted, or he has no spiritual rest (i.e.
> he's troubled or has lost his way). Nowhere in GTh are there echoes
> of this kind of self awareness or sense of limitation on Jesus' part.
> The poverty, suffering and hunger spoken about in GTh 54, 58 and 69
> are not spoken of in terms of limitation or unrest, but of blessings.
In particular, I think, your first sentence is incorrect. Rather, I
suggest, the point of the saying regards the personal sacrifices involved
in becoming a disciple of Jesus. However, I think you are correct in
thinking of GTh 54, 58 and 69 when discussing GTh 86. Finally, I suggest,
the SOM is, in fact, a title of Jesus in GTh 86..
A clue as to the meaning of this saying is found in Philo's essay, Som. i
125. Here, while discussing what he calls the disciples of the Logos, he
declares, "To these men a soft bit of ground is a costly couch; bushes,
grass, shrubs, a heap of leaves their bedding; their pillow some stones or
mounds rising a little above the general level. Such a mode of life as this
the luxurious call hard faring, but those who live for what is good and
noble describe it as most pleasant; for it is suited to those who are not
merely called but really are men." Here, we learn, one who is a disciple
of the Logos literally has no place to lay his
head. When he gets weary, he uses whatever is at hand, even if it only be
In GTh 86, Jesus declares that he has no place to lay his head. Since
this is also the case for one who is a disciple of the Logos, this leaves
us, I suggest, with three credible choices. First, this is a coincidence
signifying nothing. Second, Jesus was a disciple of the Logos. Third,
Jesus believed himself to be the Logos incarnate on earth and practiced the
life-style of a disciple of a Logos in order to demonstrate, by his own
example, what sort of life-style he expected his disciples to follow.
There is a way to test whether this is a coincidence. That is, if it is
a coincidence, then there should be no other passages in GTh in which Jesus
endorses the life-style of a disciple of the Logos. If it is not a
coincidence, then there should be other passages in GTh in which Jesus
endorses the life-style of a disciple of the Logos.
In this regard, it is significant that there are passages in GTh where
Jesus appears to endorse the life-style of a disciple of the Logos.
For example, in Ibid., 124, Philo declares, disciples of the Logos are
"men keen to get
things most easily procured, who are never ashamed of an inexpensive cloak,
but on the contrary, regards those which cost much as matter for reproach."
Compare GTh 36, "Jesus said, 'Do not be concerned from morning until evening
and from evening until morning about what you will wear.'" Also compare GTh
78, "Jesus said, 'Why have you come out into the desert? To see a reed
shaken by the wind? And to see a man clothed in fine garments like your
kings and your great men? Upon them are the fine (garments), and they are
unable to discern the truth."
Again, in Ibid, 124, Philo declares, disciples of the Logos are "men
for the sake of acquiring Virtue (i.e., the Spirit/Sophia) to submit to
hunger and thirst and heat and cold and all else that is hard to put up
with." Compare GTh 58, "Jesus said, 'Blessed is the man who has suffered
and found life.'"
Too, in Ibid, 124, Philo states, disciples of the Logos are "men superior
to the temptations of money, pleasure, popularity, regardless of meat and
drink and of the actual necessities of life, so long as actual lack of food
does not begin to threaten their health." Here, we learn, the disciples of
the Logos renounce everything worldly, including possessions, and, as a
result, are subject at times to not having adequate food. Compare GTh 54,
"Jesus said, 'Blessed are the poor, for yours is the Kingdom of Heaven.'"
Also compare GTh 69, "Blessed are the hungry, for the belly of him who
desires will be filled." Finally, compare GTh 110, "Jesus said, 'Whoever
finds the world and becomes rich, let him renounce the world."
The bottom line: In GTh, there are a number of passages in which Jesus
endorses the life-style of a disciple of the Logos. Hence, it is unlikely to
be coincidence that, in GTh 86, Jesus states that he (just like a disciple
of the Logos) has no place to lay his head.
This makes it most likely that either the second or the third option is
the correct one. The second is that Jesus was a disciple of the Logos. The
third is that Jesus believed himself to be the Logos incarnate on earth and
practiced the life-style of a disciple of a Logos in order to demonstrate,
by his own example, what sort of life-style he expected his disciples to
Here, I think, the evidence is quite clear. As I have shown in several
recent posts, there are a number of passages in GTh in which Jesus speaks as
the Logos. Further, as I have also shown in several recent posts, Jesus
claims to be the Logos in at least four gospel traditions: the Thomas, the
Markan, the Q, and the Johannine traditions. Such a four-fold muliple
attestation by apparently independent gospel traditions means that, most
likely, the real Jesus of history did believe himself to be the Logos
incarnate on earth. Therefore, I conclude, the most likely reason why
Jesus, in GTh 86, states that he (just like a disciple of the Logos) has no
place to lay his head, is that he believed himself to be the Logos incarnate
on earth and and practiced the life-style of a disciple of the Logos in
order to demonstrate, by his own example, what sort of life-style he
expected his disciples to follow.
This, in turn, means that, most likely, the reason why Jesus calls
himself the son of man (or: Son of Man) in GTh 86 is that he deemed it to
be a title of himself as the Logos. Indeed, because the Logos is the Man
and because of the Jewish equation of man = son of man, it is the case that
the Logos is the Son of Man.
I would like to make one final point. That is, the Q tradition account
of this saying is uttered by Jesus in response to a person who declares that
he will follow Jesus wherever he goes, i.e., who declares that he wants to
become a disciple of Jesus. This re-inforces the point that the basic
meaning of this passage is that anyone who wants to become a disciple of
Jesus, the Logos, will follow a life-style in which she or he has no place
to place his or her head. Jesus, in effect, was telling this person to take
into account all the personal sacrifices involved in becoming becoming his
making a firm decision to become his disciple.
Maplewood, MN USA
You wrote in re GThom86:
>This interpretation has three things going for it, in my view. First,<SNIP>
>it reveals GTh 86 to be pithy and powerful, two characteristics
>generally attributed to Jesus' aphorisms. . .
>Second, it echoes a common theme in Thomas, that of conflictingAnd I wrote in re a portion of your letter which ended with the above that I
>internal natures, the pre-Fall identity vs. the post-Fall identity.
>Third, if indeed Jesus was a mystic/teacher, you would expect that he
>would teach what for mystics everywhere is almost a truism: To find
>peace or "rest" you must identify with what is most divine in yourself
>and disconnect from everything that is not. So I see the Jesus of
>Thomas as more interested in this kind of "rest" than in the comfort
>of having a home or shelter.
found 'little to agree with' in it. I read in too much of a damn hurry for which
I apologize. I am in reasonably close agreement with all three of these
propositions and they are certainly worth noting. But in disagreement with the
snipped portion I fail to see how the excellent points you have made apply to
your interpretation of SOM as 'mankind' and not mine of SOM as a self reference
of Jesus as human being, his aphoristic self, to Jesus as prophet, who spreads
the word of the HS. Think about it. Its something of a gestalt.
Best wishes, Odell
Prof. Geology Em., W&L