Re: [GTh] Two Thomases ?
- Hi Maurice,
In your first note to Judy, you wrote:
> ... in the Gospel of John, "Thomas" isUndoubtedly, the simple name is used in 20:26-28 because the
> referred to in two repeated ways . in 11:16, 20:24, and 21:02 he is
> referred to as "Thomas called the twin", whereas in 14:05, 20:26,
> 20:27 and 20:28 he is simply called Thomas (short and sweet).
> The point argued was twofold .1st is it possible that there are two
> Thomas' at play in the Gospel of John, and more importantly, if so,
> (2nd) why would the first Thomas (called the twin) not simply be
> referred to as "Thomas the (de facto) twin" period ?
character had already been specified as "called Didymos" in 20:24,
and there was no necessity to repeat that in the immediate vicinity.
The only unexplained simple name occurrence, then, is 14:05. My
suggestion is that 14:05 and 14:06 were a later addition to the text,
placed there specifically to contradict the implications of 14:02's
"In my Father's house are many dwelling places..." This and surrounding
text implies that, simply put, Christians aren't the only folks in Heaven.
Jesus prepares a place for his followers, but there's other places as
well. Looks to me like someone thought that that wasn't something they
wanted Jesus to say, so they decided to add the notorious 14:06 ("I am
the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father, but
through me.") That, of course, implies that there's only Christians in
Heaven. I think that Thomas was chosen simply as the foil questioner,
with the redactor probably giving no thought to adding "called Didymos".
I don't think there's any doubt but that this is the same character
mentioned elsewhere. (BTW, this portion of Jn came up in an argument
I had with a fellow on Ben Witherington's blog some months back, about
whether Christians believed that they were going to be the only folks in
Heaven. It was the first time I'd looked closely at the beginning of Jn14,
and it just jumps out at you, I'd say.)
In your second note to Judy, you wrote:
> Of possible further relevance, and if I am not mistaken, the namesNope. 'James' is the unfortunately-chosen English substitute for IAKOBOS,
> Judas and James are / were essentially synonymous at the time of
> GoT's writing.
which is better rendered 'Jacob'. 'Jacob' and 'Judas' weren't
By way of general remarks, it does seem to me that the choice of DIDYMOS
IOUDAS QWMAS is at least a small indicator that the Coptic text wasn't a
translation (at least not a simple one) from a Greek text - which is the
usual assumption. The tri-form name was apparently common in Syriac texts.
It also had a numeric symbolism (apparently lost on the Greeks): the
number of letters in the names (7+6+5) was the value of IH (18), while
the product of the sizes of the names (7*6*5) was the value of IS (210).
IH and IS, of course, were perhaps the commonest abbreviations of the
name 'Jesus' found in all the ancient texts. This is consistent with the
theme of becoming a twin of Jesus. For that and other reasons, my own
opinion is that the name had become associated with a particular way of
"following Jesus", and that poor Thomas (assuming he existed) probably
had nothing to do with the text.
- Top of the season to you Ariadne
Further to your recent post, indeed, most people read Thomas
while necessarily assuming that "the name of the person who
transcribed the sayings" is the one who wrote the gospel." But I tend
to lean in the same direction as you and Judy and Mike that there is
lots of room to suspect otherwise when it comes to the Gospel
of "Thomas". Of particular interest (from my bias at least) I have
even speculated (a bit like yourself) that there is perhaps more
to "Judas" than meets the eye. My take on him, however, has largely
been that because his name (ethymologically) means "praised one"
or "celebrated one", the scrivener of Thomas could have included his
name in the Incipit for purposes of simply telling the reader or the
hearer that that which follows is from a "praised" or "celebrated"
source, and that it literally should be taken to mean that the "new"
message or revelation contained therein should be "acclaimed" far
beyond its possible earlier (or even its misunderstood) "original"
meaning after all, Thomas' message is indeed at odds with many of
its New Testament inspired parallels.
Again in passing, I am not sure exactly where you are
headed in your comment on the "bridal chamber" and "spiritual unity",
and at the risk of sounding as though I am inciting you to "scoop
yourself" on your new manuscript, it would be interesting to hear
more specifics if you can find a moment to do so.
--- In email@example.com, "ariadneg33" <ariadne@...> wrote:
> Happy New Year Maurice and everyone,
> I am new to the forum and am an author on dreams and mysticism best
> Ariadne's Book of Dreams, Warner Books and my new book Divine
Complement. When I
> received your thoughts this morning in my email I wanted share some
of my thoughts and
> research on the topic of the "twin twin" perplexing puzzle in the
introduction of the
> The question arises who wrote the gospel? Someone who held a
mystery that he conveyed
> through a meaningful and often symbolic language as most mystics
do. I think that most
> scholars suffer with the title because they assume it is "the name"
of the person who
> transcribed the sayings or wrote the gospel. What if the name of
the scribe was not a
> name at all? If you use the etymology of the words Didymus and
Thomas meaning "twin"
> in the two languages, why not consider Judas for its etymology? It
is Hebrew for "Praise
> God", Yehuda. The title then would be deciphered as a code, Twin-
> Therefore, the author cleverly used three languages to convey
something of a mystery.
> And when we consider, so many of the sayings refer to the mystery
of unification "making
> the two one," the initiation of the Bridal Chamber, and to quote
Jesus, 'what will you do
> when you are two?" it now makes more sense. So who was the author
praising? You must
> understand the mystery of the Bridal Chamber, what the bridegroom
truly means and why
> spiritual unity is of such importance in the Gospel of Thomas to
begin to answer that
> question. Anyway, I have just finished an article on the Gospel of
Thomas that introduces
> my research from a new manuscript
> As far as John goes, I really wish he had never gotten a hold of
the Gospel of Thomas and
> began writing an altogether different doctrine. I agree that John
wrote his gospel to
> counter the Gospel of Thomas as Elaine Pagels has so wonderfully
pointed out. Why did
> he identify Thomas as Didymus, well because he was referencing the
Gospel of Thomas.
> That's all. And why did he later just call him Thomas, sweat and
simply he had already
> identified Thomas as synonymous with Didymus.
> Would love to hear your thoughts.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Judy Redman" <jredman@...> wrote:
I personally don't find the notion that Jesus was a twin particularly
> convincing. If you look at it from the perspective of Christian
myth, this would mean that said twin was also conceived by the Holy
Spirit and there is certainly nothing around that claims this or
tells Mary and Joseph which of the boys was to be called "Jesus." I
also have difficulty with the notion that the birth narratives would
not have mentioned a twin - surely this would have been something
miraculous and worthy of mention? I have less problem with the idea
that Jesus had a brother who was a twin - the twin of
one of his other siblings.
Hello again Judy ....
... your commentary on the twinship of Jesus is an excellent, common
sense, read. In the wake of you note, Mike Grondin also makes
excellent points on the issue by suggesting that tri-form names were
apparently common in Syriac texts. (I did not know this, but it
certainly adds to the argument that Thomas indeed leans in that
direction as a source.) Perhaps more importantly, Mike raises the
point that "This is consistent with the theme of becoming a twin of
Jesus. For that and other reasons, my own opinion is that the name
had become associated with a particular way of "following Jesus", and
that poor Thomas (assuming he existed) probably had nothing to do
with the text."
From a translation point of view, might Mike or yourself (I know from
your Blog that you are studying Coptic) offer up other
interpretations of the words Didymos / Tomas than the popular
word "twin", or is that about as far as it goes in either Coptic or
Aramaic ??? If there is / are other telltale meanings, we may indeed
have a strong hint here that Mike is absolutely correct in his
comment that "the choice of DIDYMOS IOUDAS QWMAS is at least a small
indicator that the Coptic text wasn't a translation (at least not a
simple one) from a Greek text - which is the usual assumption."
(Great observation, Mike ... )
Regards to both of you ... Maurice
> ... Mike Grondin ... makes excellent points on the issue by suggestingSorry, Maurice, but you're misquoting me here. I was referring only to
> that tri-form names were apparently common in Syriac texts.
the specific tri-form name used in Coptic Thomas. I have no idea about
any general convention. My immediate source is Stephen Patterson:
"It was Puech [_Gospel of Thomas_] who first drew attention to the
fact that the particular name for the apostle Thomas found in the
Prologue to the Gospel of Thomas, Didymus Judas Thomas ...
is associated especially with Christianity as it developed in eastern
Syria, in the area around Edessa."
(_The Gospel of Thomas and Jesus_, p.118)
The tri-form name is an integral part of the chiastic structure
of the Prologue, which was evidently designed with great care.
> From a translation point of view, might Mike or yourself [Judy] ...I can't locate it at the moment, but I have a recollection of once
> offer up other interpretations of the words Didymos / T[h]omas
> than the popular word "twin"...?
coming across an etymological comment indicating that 'Thomas'
came from a phrase that meant something like "two things". Maybe
that has some connection with "doubting Thomas" and/or the
warning about being "double-minded" in some Christian texts.
It may be that the names had this sense in addition to 'twin'.
> I can't locate it at the moment, but I have a recollection of onceStill can't locate the reference to this, but with respect to DIDYMOS,
> coming across an etymological comment indicating that 'Thomas'
> came from a phrase that meant something like "two things". Maybe
> that has some connection with "doubting Thomas" and/or the
> warning about being "double-minded" in some Christian texts.
> It may be that the names had this sense in addition to 'twin'.
a simple Greek dictionary indicates that it can mean 'double' or 'two-fold',
which is precisely the meaning(s) I had in mind. Also of interest is that,
according to Westcott (_The Occult Power of Numbers_), the number
five was occasionally called 'didymos', "... because it divided the
Decad into two equal parts".
Hopefully, it's clear that the two senses I'm trying to distinguish here
are (1) being a double or twin of someone/thing else, and (2) having
a dual nature, as in 'two-fold'. I suspect that both 'Thomas' and 'Didymos'
had both senses.
- Thank you Mike if you run across the etymology interpretation you were refering to let me
know. I found Westcotts reference to the number 5, which does suggest a slightly
different meaning of didymus in Greek. Where I am going with this is I believe the author
of this Gospel was conveying a mystery as well as and giving praise to someone important
to Jesus ministry. The mystery of spiritual unification, "making the two one" in my mind
relates to the original separation in Genesis, a condition that I call "split soul" (split
masculine and feminine) and one that is resolved through the bridal chamber, referred as
the Holy of Holies in Phillip. Rather than an outward ritual, as in baptism or any of the
rites conducted in Solomon's temple it was achieved through a self-realizing experience,
initated in the heart I believe that the mystery was conveyed in Jesus early teachings and
we find hints of it in Thomas. I have written a great deal on the bridal chamber in my
book, Divine Complement, a book about soulmates. Anyway, my research into Thomas
became an obsession because after I started interpreting the sayings I found more in
Thomas than I had imagined.
I am working on the premise that the Gospel of Thomas was Jesus own gospel, many
reasons for saying this. And that Mary Magdalene was the twin being praised. I am with
the early camp in dating this gospel, very early. I know that April Rice, for instance, dates
the 1st layer as early as 30 AD. I would not agree with stratifying the Gospel as Rice has
done and would say that about 83 to 89 of the sayings are close enough to Jesus'
authentic teachings and words.
- Ariadne says:
> I am working on the premise that the Gospel of Thomas wasI assume you mean April DeConick, who is currently a Professor at Rice
> Jesus own gospel, many reasons for saying this. And that
> Mary Magdalene was the twin being praised. I am with the
> early camp in dating this gospel, very early. I know that
> April Rice, for instance, dates the 1st layer as early as 30
> AD. I would not agree with stratifying the Gospel as Rice
> has done and would say that about 83 to 89 of the sayings are
> close enough to Jesus'
> authentic teachings and words.
University, seeing this sounds like her work. If this is who you mean, I am
not sure that she would agree with a dating as early as 30 CE. All I can
find in her most recent two books ("Recovering the Original Gospel of
Thomas" and "The Original Gospel of Thomas in Translation") is the date 50
CE as the beginning of the accretions on the kernel, so I'm wondering if you
have a reference for the 30 CE date?
"Politics is the work we do to keep the world safe for our spirituality" -
Judith Plaskow, Phoenix Rising, 2000
Rev Judy Redman
PhD candidate, Postgraduate member of Council & Uniting Church Chaplain
University of New England Armidale 2351
ph: +61 2 6773 3739
fax: +61 2 6773 3749
web: http://www-personal.une.edu.au/~jredman2 and
- Hi Maurice,
I agree that the one who is praised is not the author of the Gospel
and that a great deal of mystery lies within tri-fold name that could be viewed as a secret
code in three different languages, all languages spoken in Jesus' community. There
appears to be a motive of expressing inclusiveness in that.
Regarding the mystery of the bridal chamber. I suggest
familiarizing yourself with the Gospel of Philip 84:23-85:20 and 53:10-25 which describes
the anointing in the Bridal Chamber, the Holy of Holies and with my book, Divine
Complement which was published in 2006. You can access the entire book, on Google
books and chapters 2 and 3 are the relevant chapter in understanding Thomas as well as
Thomas saying 22 on "making the two one" expresses a
complete metamorphosis of the individual beyond a mere enlightened awakening,
one of unification of the divine aspects of the soul and one resulting in the rebirth
into one's masculine and feminine (god/goddess) nature so that the hand becomes the
instrument of God and one's image moves from human to the divine form.
According to the Gospel of Philip Jesus had accomplished the resurrection through the
living body not through death and had become Son of the Bridal Chamber through an
anointing described as with a fire of white light. The path of unification described in
Saying 22 is one that embraces the inner, the outer, the masculine, the feminine and one's
own power to perform the miracles of the hand. The Gospel of Philip tells us this
unification takes place in the Bridal Chamber. In my book, I define and describe the
initiation in the Bridal Chamber.
There are three in the equation, Didymus Judas Thomas, Twin-Praise God Twin. It seems
to be an equation of masculine and feminine unity or as I define it in my book "tri-unity"
with God. Therefore the one being praised in my mind would most naturally have been