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was the Tnomas commujnity a religion of the book?

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  • Jim Bauer
    Awhile back, in the discussion of #95 and #109, the idea was put forth that the treasure was a bible . I sincerely doubt that as, at least IMO, the bible
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 21, 2002
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      Awhile back, in the discussion of #95 and #109, the idea was put forth that the "treasure" was "a bible". I sincerely doubt that as, at least IMO, the bible did not exist at that time. However, there are without a doubt "religions of the book" where the book--Torah (OT), Bible (including NT), or Quran--has attained some sort of semi-divine status in its own right. As I understand it, the Quran is technically not even translatable; it must be read in the original tongue. Although the opening section of Thomas states, "whoever experiences the meaning of these words will not experience death" it doesn't strike me as that this asserts that Thomas is a religion of the book, rather, I get the impression that the exact opposite is the truth--like the Gnostic scriptures the book is only there for the people who need it and the enlightened man is free to abandon it.

      I'd like to know how some of the other list members feel about this.

      Jim Bauer


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • David C. Hindley
      ... was put forth that the treasure was a bible . I sincerely doubt that as, at least IMO, the bible did not exist at that time. However, there are
      Message 2 of 2 , Mar 23, 2002
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        Jim Bauer reflects:

        >>Awhile back, in the discussion of #95 and #109, the idea
        was put forth that the "treasure" was "a bible". I
        sincerely doubt that as, at least IMO, the bible did not
        exist at that time. However, there are without a doubt
        "religions of the book" where the book--Torah (OT), Bible
        (including NT), or Quran--has attained some sort of
        semi-divine status in its own right. As I understand it,
        the Quran is technically not even translatable; it must be
        read in the original tongue. Although the opening section
        of Thomas states, "whoever experiences the meaning of these
        words will not experience death" it doesn't strike me as
        that this asserts that Thomas is a religion of the book,
        rather, I get the impression that the exact opposite is the
        truth--like the Gnostic scriptures the book is only there
        for the people who need it and the enlightened man is free
        to abandon it.

        I'd like to know how some of the other list members feel
        about this.<<

        When I first read Dave Stanforth's post I sort of dismissed
        it, but the way you restated it above causes me to rethink.

        A while back, in a discussion about a pair of related
        sayings (55 & 101) in GoT and their relationships to sayings
        in the synoptics, I had suggested that the GoT appeared to
        be loose commentaries built upon lone sayings from one of
        the gospels.

        For instance, Got 55/101:

        GOT 55 Jesus said, "Whoever does not 'hate his father and
        his mother' [Luk 14:26] cannot become a disciple to Me [a
        paraphrase of 'deny himself' in Mar 8:37; Mat 16:24; Luk
        9:23?]. And whoever does not 'hate his brothers and sisters'
        [Luk 14:26] and 'take up his cross' [Mar 8:37; Mat 10:37,
        16:24; Luk 9:23] in My way will 'not be worthy of Me.' [Mat
        10:38]"

        The "seed" citation was apparently from the tradition of
        Luke 14:26 (outside of GoT "hate" is unique to Luke) with a
        dabble of commentary about becoming a disciple to Jesus
        paraphrased, I think, from the same tradition as Luke 9:23's
        "deny himself," (although it could also have come from the
        same tradition as used by Matthew or Mark). Yet he seemed to
        be aware of Mat 10:38 ("not worthy of me"). So far, GoT 55
        could be seen as building on pericopes in Luk by adding
        commentary from Matthew.

        GOT 101 <Jesus said,> "Whoever does not 'hate his father and
        his mother' [Luk 14:26] as I do 'cannot become a disciple to
        Me' [apparently picking up this phrase from GoT 55]. And
        whoever does [not] 'love his father and his mother' [Mat
        10:37] 'as I do' [also apparently picking up this phrase
        from GoT 55] 'cannot become a [disciple] to Me' [ditto]. For
        My mother [gave me falsehood], but [My] true [Mother] gave
        me life."

        Saying 101 actually builds upon 55 by utilizing 55's
        "disciple" paraphrase and replacing 55's use of the
        tradition of Matt 10:38 with 55's interpretative gloss "in
        My way," yet still adds a comment derived from the tradition
        of Mat 10:37. It ends with an interpretative conclusion,
        that appears to be similar to Dave Stanforth's idea that Got
        109 intended to show that the "field" (scripture) has a
        "treasure" (wisdom) buried in it that the keepers of the
        scriptures did not perceive, but which was worked out by
        others who inherited the tradition.

        In short, the GoT may operate on the philosophy that the
        traditional Christian sacred tradition, while apparently
        unproductive (to them) on the surface, still contains
        treasures for the perceptive interpreter. The mechanism for
        finding these treasures seems to be through a process of
        conflating bits of different versions of sayings traditions
        together in order to create entirely new meanings from them.

        Respectfully,

        Dave Hindley
        Cleveland, Ohio, USA
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