Re: [GTh] Acrostics
- Bill Foley writes:
One would never say of a man that he is the tao, and I think the koans proper
start back only to the 9th century or so when zen was taking shape. The idea
is cool though;
Information about the relationship of Chinese philosophy and the Western Med. Christian movement keeps changing. Budhism was well established in India by the time of J. and there is new archeological evidence to suggest that the Brahmans and Chinese were more closely related than previously thought. Chinese Confuscianism, Taoism and Budhism were all embraced in most parts of China before Budhism was adopted by Emperor Ashoka in India 273 B.C.
Clement mentions the Brahmins but not the Chinese; first I
know of any interaction is with the Huns in the 4th and 5th centuries, and
the Battle of Sogogard or whatever its name was in Persia when some Romans
ended up slaves to the Chinese.
Martin Palmer's "The Jesus Sutras" reveals a series of Chinese bits of information as to Christianity developing in China all the way up to North Eastern China, Xian 341 A.D. Palmer's work suggests that Christians as far back a Tatian established a Christian network all accross China. By the time of Eusebius they had been wiped out. No doubt the Eastern sects related to expansion to China had long fallen out of favor with the Western Orthodox croud from Rome. Rome probably did not know they existed past Tatian.
A common relic of these Eastern sects is an equalateral cross found in India and China all along the Silk Routes. Tatian seems to be connected with them but more than one Syrian sect was thought to have established missions in India, not to mention the Thomas church in Madras.
By the time Thomas was written one caravan a month was arriving at points west, like Damascas, some established by Alexander. It is logical that the author of Thomas knew what was needed to make Jesus marketable to Easterners and with their Oriental philosophy. The sayings of Thomas are very much like the precepts of Lau Zi and his followers from the fourth century B.C. However, it must also be understood that Hellenized cultures had shared this type of knowledge and put it in their own terms.
The acrostic tricks of both East and West would have been appreciated as shared forms of amusement between cultures. Thomas as an instrument is meant to be a Gospel, or tool of evangelism to Gentiles, an idea known to have been implemented in the First Century. And of course, Thomas became heretical as it definately failed to meet up to many expectations of 'church fathers' who wanted to take control of salvation through the church.
Platter Flats, OK
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