Thoughts on The Gospel of Thomas


There is debate on when the Nag Hammadi Gospel of Thomas was written. Some scholars date it as early as 50 AD which would make it earlier than Mark written around 65 to 70 AD. The majority date it to the early to mid 2ND Century around 172 AD. Which is just after the four canonical gospels. (60 – 125 AD.) The Gospel of Thomas has long been known from references by Church Fathers as far back as the third century. Like the canonical gospels there is a relationship to the Hypothetical Q document. It is too “new” to be that Q document. The Nag Hammadi Gospel of Thomas is the most complete of existent Gospels of Thomas we have. Not all scholars agree that Thomas should be considered Gnostic. Paterson Brown has argued that the three Nag Hammadi Gospels of Thomas, Philip and Truth cannot be so labeled, since each, in his opinion, may explicitly affirm the basic reality and sanctity of incarnate life, which Gnosticism by definition considers illusory.

I am ready to accept The Gospel of Thomas as very important in what Jesus was teaching. It begins:

These are the secret words of Almighty God
which Lord Jesus Christ
uttered and were scribed by his disciple Thomas.

He said, “He who comprehends
The inner meaning of these words
Will be immortal.

On eternal life.

“Have you seen the beginning
that you may know the end?
where there’s a beginning
there’s no end.
Happy is the man or woman
who can stand bravely
at the beginning.
He or she shall know the
end and won’t taste death.”

On the Kingdom of Heaven:

Jesus replied, “It’s like a
grain of mustard, smaller than
other seeds, but when it falls
on ploughed ground it grows
a large stem and shelters the birds.”

On entering into His Kingdom:

Jesus replied,
“Make the two into One
and the inner as the outer
and the outer as the inner,
the above as below,
the male and female
into a single One.
So the male isn’t male and
the female isn’t female any more.
When you make two eyes
into a single eye,
a hand into a foot,
a picture into a picture,
then you’ll enter the Kingdom.

I’ll chose you,
as one from a thousand:
you’ll stand bravely,
being a single One.

On God who is at the heart of our being:

I am the light shining upon all things.
I am the sum of everything,
For everything has come forth from me,
And towards me everything unfolds.
Split a piece of wood, and there I am,
Pick up a stone and you will find me there.

Some say The Gospel of Thomas contradicts the canonical gospels and reject the whole because of the final logion where Peter announces abruptly, Mary Magdalene should leave us, for women are not worthy of this life.”

Simon Peter said to the
Lord and his disciples,
“let Mary leave us, because women
Are unfit for the Life Everlasting.”

Jesus replied,
“Wait, I’ll guide her soul,
To make her as a real man,
in that place which transcends
the differences between the sexes’
so she’ll become a living spirit.

For each woman who makes
herself male in this way
and overcomes all differences
will enter the Kingdom of Heaven!”

NO Jesus is not saying that a woman must turn into a man before she can enter the kingdom – that would be so out of character and against everything else Jesus taught.
Jesus is not saying Mary must become a man; He is saying Peter must grow beyond the prejudices of his age. Jesus is saying “If it’s so all-fired important to you guys trapped in the prejudices of your age to have her be male – poof! We’ll make her male. What’s the big deal. I will transform her into a living spirit.” See below repeated from above.

“Make the two into One
and the inner as the outer
and the outer as the inner,
the above as below,
the male and female
into a single One.
So the male isn’t male and
the female isn’t female any more.
When you make two eyes
into a single eye,
a hand into a foot,
a picture into a picture,
then you’ll enter the Kingdom.

When you are able
To make two become one, …
so that a man is no longer male,
and a woman, female,
but male and female
become a single whole …
making one image supersede another
–Then you will enter in.

We are all one in the Kingdom of Heaven.

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About thebows99krug

Hi, I am Eric, a retired librarian. I was born in St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto and raised in the downtown area north of the Art Gallery, south of the University of Toronto. I went to Orde Street Public School, Harbord C.I., University College at the UofT and the UofT's Faculty of Library and Information Science. I meet my wife Patricia at FLIS; our first date was on November 15, 1968. We were engaged February 14, 1969 and married on June 21, 1969. Our family includes son, James; daughter-in-law, Erin; (both writers), grand-daughters, Vivian and Eleanor; and Pooka, a small but fierce gray tabby. I would like to hear from any other class of '63 alumni of Harbord C.I. and class of '67 alumni of UofT's University College.
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