Re: [GTh] But I have said - GTh46.2
- Hi Mike,
Thanks for the thoughtful response, Mike.
I agree [L.57] is a stronger example, and when first I encountered it, I
designated it as a clear Apocalyptic Saying. It has a single attestation
in Matthew's Gospel ( From Special Matthew) where it is unquestionably
presented as such, and the only significant variation is that in Thomas
no mention of the wheat being gathered into the barn, is made. I think
the original parable was simply about why God allows evil men and good
men to co-exist and why he does nothing about it right now- it would
uproot the intended and desired growth and development of the good men.
So wait until the desired crop is fully matured- harvest day. Matthew
may have changed it to an end-time separation of the sheep from the
goats, or the good fish from the bad on Judgment Day. That does not mean
we should be reading it that way in Thomas or that it was intended to be
read that way. I guess the question is what "the day of the harvest"
meant to the Thomasines.
I think the Thomas crowd also believed that a selection process for
entry to the Kingdom was involved. But since the Kingdom was here, the
sorting and selection for admission or entry to it was now going on. And
just like in the Matthew examples some would be found acceptable, and
some not. The spiritually mature or spiritually ready presumably get
admitted. The Wise Fisherman who nets the fish, selects the Fine Big
Fish ( mature, developed) and throws the smaller back. The Wise man of
understanding comes quickly when the crop is ripe (mature) and plies the
sickle. The Man who sowed good seed discards the weeds and gathers his
wheat. For the Thomasines, the Day of the Harvest might have meant that
day in which the individual is actually selected and taken into the
Kingdom. It's hard to say. But your point is taken.
I think Deconick's approach makes a lot of sense too. As expectations of
Judgment Day and the Parousia faded, as well they might have by the end
of the First Century and the beginning of the Second, thinking
Christian's may have gravitated to the "Kingdom is already here" sayings
of Jesus and focused their speculations on how to enter that kingdom in
the here and now, whereas the groups of Christians adhering to the old
Messianic/Parousia/Judgment Day scenario re-entrenched, stayed the
course, eventually becoming the modern Church. My point is that late or
early, there was a bifurcation with the Thomas crowd apparently on the
leading edge of "Realized Eschatology" exploration, speculation and
innovation, and going their own way.
Davie's idea is indeed interesting, but my own view on this logion and
others like it is that the Thomasines envisioned the process of entry to
the Kingdom as a return to the Pre-Fall state of Adam and Eve and a
consequent re-entry to Eden, and further, that they believed this was
accomplished one by one, individually.
In Thomas, individual, rather than collective "salvation" seems the
focus, and it's up to the individual, him or herself, to win entry to
I take your point about lumping too many things together- and perhaps I
have here- using Realized Eschatology to describe the Gospel of Thomas
position on the Kingdom. You are right. It might be more useful to
divide those elements up and look at each of them individually. My
problem with Thomas, is that we can get so easily get lost in the
minutia and the non-homogeneous and sometimes conflicting material that
we miss spotting the common overarching themes. So from time to time, I
try to stand back and try to view the sweep and thrust of Thomas and a
whole to see if I can discover what, in at least broad and general
terms, we can say about the beliefs the people this gospel served had in
common, and how these might have differed from the emerging Church's- no
easy task given the complexity of the material. So although my
conclusion is a generality, and only operates in overview, the
conclusion seems well grounded and useful- although, like any other
proposal about Thomas, some specific sayings can be found that argue
Thanks Mike. You always get me thinking.