Re: [GTh] Re: GTh 35
- On Fri, Oct 29, 2010 at 7:20 AM, Jack Kilmon <jkilmon@...> wrote:
About 40% of Thomas sayings are, or contain, material original to Jesus. Others are total inventions for their Gnostic agenda or things that Jesus might have said with a Gnostic twist.
I don't know if we can have that much certitude in regard to the evidence of Gnostic (with a capital G) influence on the Gospel of Thomas. The Jesus Seminar commentary in its "The Five Gospels" is perhaps a prime source for objections to the authenticity of many GTh sayings on the grounds of their Gnostic characteristics. However, even here I found the following clarification:
"...it is not easy to decide whether Thomas is really gnostic or whether it only shares some features of gnosticism, many of which are also found in emerging orthodox Christianity.
Perhaps it is best to describe Thomas as reflecting an incipient gnosticism. There are, after all, a number of ways in which Thomas is not gnostic at all. Thomas has no doctrine of the creation; it provides no account of the fall. It contains nothing about an evil creator god. Moreover, Thomas seems to know Judaism in its basic, orthodox form. In addition, many sayings found in Thomas are not gnostic: they are close parallels to sayings found in the canonical gospels, and in some cases, the Fellows of the Jesus Seminar found them to be earlier versions of canonical sayings and parables. The sayings and parables that sound gnostic are best described as having gnostic tendencies".
I certainly have no problem with Thomas, or even the teachings of the the actual Jesus, reflecting in places an incipient gnosticism (with a small g). There is no reason why later writers, characterized as Gnostics, couldn't have borrowed a few ideas or a few expressions from Thomas, and developed them into a far more speculative ideology. It is quite possible, too, that early Orthodox scribes may have deleted from the NT gospels any expressions that sounded too much like the then emerging, proto Gnostic ideology. My point is that at this juncture we just can't make statements with any degree of certitude on one side of the argument or the other. We should never stop asking questions, though. Thanks.