Re: [GTh] was the Tnomas commujnity a religion of the book?
- 70) Jesus said, "When you bring forth that within you, that which
you have will save you. If you do not have that within you, what you
do not have within you will kill you."
Perhaps the treasure hidden in the field refers to that within us
which most don't bother to seek.
Thanks for drawing our attention to the Midrash Rabbah, Song
of Songs, 4.12.1 (from Meyer's TGOT), a tradition that is
clearly related to (although probably later than) the
tradition drawn upon by the author of GoT 109!
GoT 109: Jesus said, "The Kingdom is like a man who had a
[hidden] treasure in his field without knowing it. And
[after] he died, he left it to his son. The son did not know
(about the treasure). He *inherited* the field and sold
[it]. And the one who bought it went plowing and found the
treasure. He began to lend money at interest to whomever he
RSV Matthew 13:44: "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure
hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up; then in
his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that
Midrash Rabbah, Song of Songs, 4.12.1: Rabbi Simeon ben
Yohai taught, "It is like a person who inherited some land
that was a manure pile. Now the heir was lazy, and he went
and sold it at a very low price. The buyer went to work and
dug in it, and in it he found a *treasure,* and from that he
built a great palace. The buyer began going around in public
with servants following behind, from the treasure he got in
it. Seeing this, the seller was ready to choke and said,
"Ah, what have I lost!"
Since there is only one tenuous parallel between GoT 109 &
the Gospel traditions, I do not think that the author of GoT
109 created it through a process of conflation of previous
Christian traditions, which I had suggested to Jim was the
method of the author/editors of GoT. It does not appear that
the editor/author of GoT even was thinking of Mat 13:44, as
it is not there an example of digging at something worthless
that one inherited.
Instead I think it was included in GoT to represent the
philosophy of the Thomas community. The Midrash Rabbah on
Song of Songs was a similar justification, this time by
Rabbis, for deriving mystical interpretations from a book
(Song of Songs) that, on the surface, appears to be a lusty
song to be sung while drinking (and hence, valueless as
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
- The 'treasure' as such is referred to in The Gospel of Mary, and at least two other places in the Nag Hammadi as the mind. This is very specific to material wealth, being matter and perishable. The 'treasure' that survives material death is the bond between spirit and the soul, that is cultured with the mind. This is inside Jesus information aside from what the multitudes are thought to believe.
One problem with trying to figure out secular beleifs from information in parables is that parables are meant for the multitudes.
"(Matthew 13- 34. All these things spake Jesus in parables unto the multitudes; and without a parable spake he nothing unto them: (Matthew 13- 35. that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things hidden from the foundation of the world."
(Thomas 62) Jesus said : "It is to those who are worthy of My mysteries that I tell My mysteries. Do not let Your left hand know what Your right hand is about to do."
Mt 13-10. "And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
Mt 13-11. And he answered and said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given."
There are other references that reinforce this idea. Parables are not the best source for understanding religious philosophy except in a general sense because they are meant to be metaphoric.
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