- Hi jt,
Thank you for your post. The Clement letter wears the garment of speculation here. I did not realize at first that the artifact was probably a copy from the 17th c. That is, if Smith did not produce a forgery as one writer suggests. Perhaps the relic should be placed in Jame's 'bone box' for now to be examined with finer more advanced tools.
Thank you for the idea of the 'enacted parable.' Did it come before or after Thomas? (This seems to me to be a chicken and egg argument again.) What worries me about this 'Mark' question is that the gospel does not show up in any of the Gnostic texts mentioned in our glossary. (Please correct me if I am wrong) We spend so much time with it I think we get like the 'blind men,' studying it.
I don't think we see any enacted parables in the GThom. We certainly have parables, and they can be sorted out as different literature from the rest of what is in Thomas. I think the rest of Thomas are precepts. I recently wrote a study on the precepts in the "Bubishi." This once secret text is known to have come from at least in part from the famous Shoalin Temple.
"Precepts are short statements something like parables. They are statements meant to be allegorical, but most important they are to be used as 'applied phrophetics.' Unlike koans the precept is not a question without an answer, it is a statement that can be applied through its own wisdom, to those that would apply it. Precepts are demonstrable, and self evident in their nature, therefor they become tools of wisdom in the past, the now, and the future....." (The Essence of Kenpo Gukui, The Eight Precepts of Quanfa" by Saunders, 2004)
The boy in the SGM is a character in the enacted parable that is learning 'precepts,' i.e. the teaching of Jesus.
In terms of the concept of 'garment' the naked boy in white linen seems to be very symbolic of life, and death, and the: Pneumatophoroi: One who has united his soul with the 'light' (Sophia, Wisdom) achieving gnosis which is thought in Christian Gnosticism to be a union with the Holy Spirit. A common name for those who have reached this state are 'spirit bearers.' Those having reached this state are mentioned in "Acts" and Pauline works. Thought to wear the Holy spirit like a garment.
Consider how the precepts of the GThom and the parables are in seemingly 'straight up' harmony.
Parable: Stories with a point that Jesus is believed to have spoken to the multitudes around Galilee. (See the Gospel of Thomas, Sayings 8, 9, 20, 57, 63, 64, 65, 76, 96, 97, 98, 107,109. According the "Apochryphon of James" and "Pistis Sophia" the parables are passages which relate or are intentional mysteries. In Greek (parabole), meaning comparison, or similitude, placing beside or together. Clement of Alexandria writes:
"Wherefore the holy mysteries of the prophecies are veiled in the parables -- preserved for chosen men, selected to knowledge in consequence of their faith; for the style of the Scriptures is parabolic. Wherefore also the Lord, who was not of the world, came as one who was of the world to men. For He was clothed with all virtue; and it was His aim to lead man, the foster-child of the world, up to the objects of intellect, and to the most essential truths by knowledge, from one world to another.
Wherefore also He employed metaphorical description; for such is the parable, -- a narration based on some subject which is not the principal subject, but similar to the principal subject, and leading him who understands to what is the true and principal thing; or, as some say, a mode of speech presenting with vigour, by means of other circumstances, what is the principal subject." (Stromata, Bk VI, et sec.)
Now consider what I stated earlier, "The boy in the SGM is a character in the enacted parable that is learning 'precepts,' i.e. the teaching of Jesus." ( It does not escape me here that the Alexandrian 'crew' would send all the rest of Christianity on a quest for the 'holy grail' (SGM), then write the GThom on white linen and have it made into a suit).
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