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Re: [GTh] A Twin of Jesus

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  • fmmccoy
    I m reading a book by Bart D. Ehrman called Lost Christianities (Oxford University Press, 2003). In it, while discussing the Acts of Thomas, he states (pp.
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 13, 2003
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      I'm reading a book by Bart D. Ehrman called Lost Christianities (Oxford
      University Press, 2003).

      In it, while discussing the Acts of Thomas, he states (pp. 39-40):

      "One of the most striking features of the text is that it assumes that this
      apostle Thomas was Jesus' brother. The name *Thomas* is an Aramaic
      equivalent of the Greek word *Didymus*, which means 'twin.' Thomas was
      allegedly Jesus' identical twin, otherwise known as Jude (Mark 6:3), or
      Didymus Judas Thomas.

      One might wonder how some early Christians could have thought that Jesus had
      a twin brother. If, after all, his mother was a virgin, and, presumably,
      Jesus was the unique Son of God that she bore, how could she at the same
      time bear a mortal brother, his twin, his twin? Unfortunately, none of the
      texts that present or presuppose the tradition gives us any hint.

      We do know of a parallel situation in ancient Greek and Roman mythology,
      however, instances of a a son of a god who is born to a mortal and who has a
      twin brother, whose father was human. The best example is the Greek god
      Heracles (Roman Hercules), whose mortal twin was Iphicles."

      This raises the possibility, perhaps even likelihood, that the idea of
      Didymus Judas Thomas having been a mortal twin of a divine Jesus arose in an
      area where the worship of Heracles (Hercules) was popular.

      In this respect, it is noteworthy that the worship of Heracles (Hercules)
      was popular in Tyre, where Heracles was identified with a local deity named
      Melqart. Indeed, an island just south of the city of Tyre, now submerged,
      that helped to shelter Tyre's Harbor of Egypt from storm waves, was called
      the Island of Hercules.

      This goes along with other evidence, which I have presented in earlier
      posts, that the Thomas community was centered at Tyre.

      Frank McCoy
      1809 N. English Apt. 15
      Maplewood, MN USA 55109
    • sarban
      ... From: fmmccoy To: Sent: Monday, October 13, 2003 1:08 PM Subject: Re: [GTh] A Twin of Jesus ... this
      Message 2 of 2 , Oct 17, 2003
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        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "fmmccoy" <FMMCCOY@...>
        To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Monday, October 13, 2003 1:08 PM
        Subject: Re: [GTh] A Twin of Jesus


        > I'm reading a book by Bart D. Ehrman called Lost Christianities (Oxford
        > University Press, 2003).
        >
        > In it, while discussing the Acts of Thomas, he states (pp. 39-40):
        >
        > "One of the most striking features of the text is that it assumes that
        this
        > apostle Thomas was Jesus' brother. The name *Thomas* is an Aramaic
        > equivalent of the Greek word *Didymus*, which means 'twin.' Thomas was
        > allegedly Jesus' identical twin, otherwise known as Jude (Mark 6:3), or
        > Didymus Judas Thomas.
        >
        > One might wonder how some early Christians could have thought that Jesus
        had
        > a twin brother. If, after all, his mother was a virgin, and, presumably,
        > Jesus was the unique Son of God that she bore, how could she at the same
        > time bear a mortal brother, his twin, his twin? Unfortunately, none of
        the
        > texts that present or presuppose the tradition gives us any hint.
        >
        > We do know of a parallel situation in ancient Greek and Roman mythology,
        > however, instances of a a son of a god who is born to a mortal and who has
        a
        > twin brother, whose father was human. The best example is the Greek god
        > Heracles (Roman Hercules), whose mortal twin was Iphicles."
        >
        > This raises the possibility, perhaps even likelihood, that the idea of
        > Didymus Judas Thomas having been a mortal twin of a divine Jesus arose in
        an
        > area where the worship of Heracles (Hercules) was popular.
        >
        > In this respect, it is noteworthy that the worship of Heracles (Hercules)
        > was popular in Tyre, where Heracles was identified with a local deity
        named
        > Melqart. Indeed, an island just south of the city of Tyre, now submerged,
        > that helped to shelter Tyre's Harbor of Egypt from storm waves, was called
        > the Island of Hercules.
        >
        > This goes along with other evidence, which I have presented in earlier
        > posts, that the Thomas community was centered at Tyre.
        >
        I'm reading Ehrman's book too it's very interesting.
        About Thomas as Jesus's twin, I suspect it has some
        connection with the idea of the "heavenly twin" in the
        teaching of Mani. (Maybe not direct borrowing but I
        think the ideas have to be linked somehow.)

        Andrew Criddle
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