Re: [GTh] #37
- Well, Rick. This was a good reply.
Might I suggest however that looking within the four corners of the
saying, the Edenic/Paradise material is not all that "esoteric"..
Firstly this seems to be a four-point saying.
1) When are the disciples going to encounter Jesus again? This like
logion 12 contemplates the imminent departure (ascension?) of Jesus.
He's going to be gone. This is like the "Father's house has many
mansions" address in John. The Question seems to be when they are
going to see him AGAIN, and where. (The answer seems to be- when they
arrive in Paradise. (Five Trees saying)). The logion contemplates
2) Next we have the three point answer. 1) When they can strip naked
publically, 2) when they can do so without shame, and 3) when they
can do so without FEAR, THEN they will see Jesus again. Our author
here seems to be clearly flagging Genesis 2 where, after the
disobedience, A & E (1) realized they were naked (2) hid themselves
in shame of their nakedness, and had to be clothed, and (3)
experienced fear of God. The last line- "and you shall not fear"
addresses this last issue. Prior to the Fall, these were not issues.
The author seems to be saying "when you acquire the state of pre fall
Adam, you will see me again"- that is- when you reverse the Fall of
Man and re-enter Paradise. Jesus will meet them in Paradise. In the
cool of the evening.
This is not unlike the Lukan material where Jesus, dying on the
cross, says to the "good thief" "Today you shall be with me in
True, you have to unravel this, but is it really all that esoteric or
hidden? Sophomoric unravelling..
But yes, I agree, this is "late" in my opinion. But let no one say
our Thomas authors ignored and did not apply the Genisis myth to
Thomas and did not attempt to re-work the "fall of man"- Edenic
In order to get their initiates to the pre-fall state, they would
have had to circumvent or bypass the Fall of Man material in
Genesis. No Fallen man gets in to Eden The angels with the flaming
swords (Archons?) and all that.
Surely, this is Edenic.
--- In gthomas@y..., "Rick Hubbard" <rhubbard@m...> wrote:
> [Frank Wrote regarding GTh 37]
> This passage starts off with a *very* puzzling situation. That is,
> disciples ask when he will appear to them and when they will be
able to see
> him. Since they're talking to him, he presumably is with them and
> presumably can see him--so why this question?
> This puzzling situation is compounded by Jesus' reply, in which he
> them what they need to do in order to "see the son of the living
> sound like he is talking about someone other than himself!
> It's all very confusing.
> A good deal of this perceived "confusion" that Frank mentions can be
> resolved by, first, abandoning the assumption that GTh 37 preserves
> actually uttered Jesus, and second, by paying close attention to the
> inherent structure of the saying. The latter is the most important
> It seems to me that it is almost beyond question that the
> this pericope derives from an evangelist who was seeking to promote
> own particular understanding of Jesus.
> I'm convinced that evidence of editorial tinkering is unmistakable
> carefully examines the present structure of GTh 37. It is
> means of an artificial context (i.e., two questions asked by un-
> disciples: "When will you appear and when will we see you?"). In
> words, the reader is set-up to understand the saying in a
> The introductory lines subtly help the reader interpret the saying.
> questions placed on the lips of the disciples at the very beginning
> saying direct the reader to the very end of the saying to find the
> ("... then y'all will see the son of the living one...").
> The editor indeed seems to have wanted to associate Jesus with the
> the "living one" (although I suggest this does not necessarily need
> construed as evidence of a full-blown Son of God motif). By doing
> however, the portion of the saying that would otherwise be central
> absence of the editor's "supplied context") recedes into the
> If one expunges the editorial material from GTh 37 (i.e., lines
> 39:29a) the residue probably resembles the form of the saying prior
> "Jesus said, `When you disrobe without being ashamed and take up
> garments and place them under your feet like little children and
> them, then will you see the son of the living one, and you will not
> Since we are no longer distracted by the two questions about seeing
> it seems to me that the saying is greatly simplified so that its
> can come into better focus.
> In earlier comments in this thread, three more or less plausible
> have been offered about how to understand the subtext of GTh 37
> 've attributed them correctly).
> Randall E. Wilson pointed out that in literature associated with
> "garments" are frequently used as symbolic references to humanity's
> imprisonment in the world:
> [Randall] "They [garments] signified things belonging to the dead
> world of the body. They [Gnostics?] were to discard these
> in order to gain the return of their spiritual robe of light. This
> originally theirs, before they `came into being' as related in the
> myth, The Hymn of the Pearl."
> Jim Bauer (citing Jonathan Z. Smith) argues that an oblique
> baptismal initiation is present in GTh 37:
> [Jim] "...evidence that the Thomas community was a baptist group
> sect], in which case `trampling your clothes underfoot' means that
> disciples were preparing to jump into the river or however this
> Ron Mcann and Mike Grondin both agree that there are certain Edenic
> present in the saying:
> [Ron] "There is an Edenic theme that runs through Thomas whereby
> initiate, unlike Adam, may acquire or re-acquire the pre-Fall state
> The Thomas initiate is after Paradise . `Stripping off your
> have meant those who sought the Paradise."
> [Mike] " any clothing at all, no matter how generic, could be
regarded as a
> symbol of the loss of innocence (and eternal life) associated with
> "fall". Young children -with their disregard for clothing - could
be seen to
> recapitulate the Edenic state and thus serve as models for adults
> if they wished to return to a state of innocence which cannot be
> since it has no knowledge of sin (or so the story goes)."
> All three of these perspectives properly ignore the questions
> Jesus." They therefore share a common strength. These three
> also share the assumption that there is/was some esoteric
> religio-philosophical substrate beneath the saying. Whether this
> is a common strength or a common weakness remains to be seen. But
> case, none of the suggestions seem to have produced a chorus
> which suggests that there is yet no consensus.
> Since there is no consensus about the "background" of GTh 37, and
> not certain it is absolutely necessary to find some esoteric
> significance under every phrase turned up in the text of Thomas,
> that as a license to submit yet another suggestion.
> My point of departure is the conclusion to Mike's latest note on
> [Mike]: "What puzzles me, however, is that if the GThomists took
> end-world scenario literally, this would seem to have been oddly
> with their preference for symbolization and metaphorical
> just about everything else."
> First, I don't deny that there seems to be an abundance of
> metaphor present in Thomas. However, I suggest that some of those
> are real and some are products of our own efforts to understand the
> form of the document. There is a strong propensity, I think, to
> symbolism and metaphor that sometimes prevents us from seeing the
> esoteric components of the sayings.
> With that in mind, consider the possibility that the shedding of
> trampling them under-foot may have **originally** been nothing more
> kind of social protest that visibly (and I DO mean **visibly**)
> cultural conventions. Such phenomena were not uncommon in antiquity
> (consider the outrageous behavior of the Cynics).
> In any case, I think it is doubtful that GTh 37 **originally** had
> to do with "seeing Jesus," gnosticism, baptism, or Eden (NB the
> word is **originally**). It remains an unanswered question whether
> all) of those eventually became associated with this logion,
> some satisfactory method of parsing the strata of Thomas emerges, I
> can know anything about how, when, or why the mundane was displaced
> esoteric (here or elsewhere in Thomas).
> Rick Hubbard
> Humble Maine Woodsman