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  • Tom Saunders
    Mike, There are numerous possibilities in Thomas which would suggest some form of alignment to a model, or acrostic matrix. But which model? There is also
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 4, 2002

      There are numerous possibilities in Thomas which would suggest some form of alignment to a model, or acrostic matrix. But which model? There is also the possibility that the arrangement of the GThom is to generate attempts at figuring out its hidden matrix so the "Spirit of Thomas" himself can laugh at us from the grave trying to do it. I would not put it past him.

      I have submitted a lot of posts to this group suggesting there may be ties to Oriental philosophies common to all of the Orient by the time of Christ. Especially the theme of "Heaven and Earth" is all pervasive in Oriental philosophy, the terms 'tao' and 'logos' mean the same thing, and concepts of spirit and chi are identical in many ways. By the time of Jesus the ties of Hellenized society and the philosophical concepts of the East had been long shared due to the exploits of Alexander, and the established silk trade routes.

      You cannot discount the possibility that the GThom was meant as an instrument of evangelism for not just one type of Gentile. Thomas, may have had the East in mind since his trek from the Apostles village. This would mean that the context of the text at least in part was meant to conform with the generally held conceptions, 'heaven and earth, rest and motion' of the Orient rather than Jewish or Pagan models. This would allow for the use and suggest knowledge a very broad range of acrostic tools including those related to koans, and Taoist edicts.

      There is one relative and shared characteristic of form in Oriental philosophies in application of theory to practice from a model. Regardless of the country or culture, yin and yang concepts always intersect with notions of movement and rest. Therefore, any model (form) be it a posture or a written saying, is seen in terms of its phases, structure, and analysis, "in all ways."

      Generally all oriental or related structures (postures, edicts, koans, etc.) will tend to conform to work with more than one model or for the benefit of more than one purpose. Both oriental meditation postures and martial postures are expressed (illustrated) as symbols of the acts of the transition of rest or composure to offensive and defensive, (yin-yang) motion. One symbol, is meant to symbolize multiple interpretations or actions at once, to be applied.

      Certainly the GThom was written from more than one model, (Q, Mk, Lk. the parables, etc.) and was meant for more than one kind of Gentile. It stands to reason that you could fit the form of the text to a number of models. I like the cross, and 'tree of life.' And, there is the ancient Oriental edict (shared by all oriental philosophies generally) , "Man is the Same as Heaven and Earth."

      You should in no way be discouraged from molding the GThom to a model. Go for it!

      Tom Saunders
      Platter Flats. OK

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    • Tom Saunders
      Malin, I just finished Crossan s chapter in The Birth of Christianity where he states that the GThom is far too early to be Gnostic. I tend to agree.
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 6, 2002

        I just finished Crossan's chapter in "The Birth of Christianity" where he states that the GThom is far too early to be Gnostic. I tend to agree. Gnosticism and what we call Gnostic is a development in Christianity that is diverse and more of a species rather than genus in its nature.

        Gnosticism developed later in Christianity and took too many forms to equate Thomas as more than a sympathetic document used later by diverse Gnostic sects, (and others). But there may be some basis for equating mysticism to it. This is in regard to the apocalyptic type of diversity seen in the Q Gospel. This difference may represent an early rift between epistemologies before or about the Pauline era in very early Christianity.

        The conflict between Jewish law or ideals in general had to be made clear to early Christians. Thomas may actually be an attempt to clarify this position, as well as establish the belief system to Gentiles. The Jewish model formulates God as a force who can control from the cosmos. This is somewhat the model Paul proposed.

        Thomas constructs another picture of the cosmic force. God does not come out of the cosmos and smite you down. You just die and are assimilated to darkness. Salvation is a tool learned and practiced as you gird your loins from the world and guide your soul back to the light from which you came.

        Tom ( I write 'Christian Thomist' on my name badge) Saunders
        Platter Flats, OK

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