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Early Christian Heresy: Document Forgery and the Problem of The Gospel of Thomas

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posted on Mar, 8 2011 @ 01:52 PM
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Originally posted by NOTurTypical
reply to post by adjensen
 


S&F


Second Peter is almost universally held to have been written by someone other than Peter


It's the other way around. 1 Peter was written by a paid "ready writer" (Amanuensis) which was a common practice in the day. 1 Peter is very polished Greek. Peter wrote 2 Peter himself without the services of his "ready writer", it's Greek is very rough. Silvanus was Peter's "amanuensis".


Curious, I'd always heard it the other way around. Both Origen and Eusebius accepted 2 Peter, with some misgivings, though neither had anything bad to say about 1 Peter, though the text does seem to support Silas having been the scribe for 1 Peter, and no one is mentioned in 2 Peter, so you may be right. I've always had the view the Peter likely wasn't literate, as there would be little need for it in his profession as a fisherman.

Disproving the works of Peter is important for people like Kapyong (whatever happened to that guy) and others who want to demonstrate that there is no direct testimony for Christ, though I'm not sure what difference that would make. Life isn't a court of law, and I can't imagine someone hinging their beliefs on an issue like that.

Thanks for the insight!




posted on Mar, 8 2011 @ 02:19 PM
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I noted that one of the criteria for determining whether something was orthodox (correct teaching,)


I take it you're orthodox (whatever that means)

What makes orthodox material any more correct then any other denomination?

and...


Saying 63: Jesus said, "There was a rich man who had much money. He said, 'I shall put my money to use so that I may sow, reap, plant, and fill my storehouse with produce, with the result that I shall lack nothing.' Such were his intentions, but that same night he died. Let him who has ears hear."


Im wondering if you understand this, just to see if we're on the same page....

Let him who has ears hear...



posted on Mar, 8 2011 @ 03:00 PM
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This is a very interesting discussion, because ultimately, one's acceptance (or lack thereof) of the gospel of Thomas is going to come down to the very theme of the gospel itself - what does one's divine inner guidance say about the teachings in the gospel?

Interestingly, there is much debate over when the gospel may have been written, whether or not it's "gnostic" (a lovely label), whether or not the "church fathers" accepted it, and so forth and so on.

But here are some things to ponder:

None of us alive today (at least within the memory of this particular incarnation) were actually THERE to witness that gospel being authored, so we do not know who wrote it, or when it was written. Historians are not agreement about many of the issues pertaining to the gospel of Thomas, and so any and all speculation in regards to its "authenticity" is just that - speculation.

Now, we can analyze the evidence that we have and choose a side based upon speculation. But again, because it is impossible for any of us to know for sure (based upon physical research and evidence alone) whether or not it is authentic and divinely inspired, then we can not be certain that we have the truth.

Likewise, relying upon whether or not Origen, or the "Council of (whatever)" from centuries ago, or any church fathers, or the pope, or our pastor, determined that it should be deemed authentic, merely leaves us again guessing and in reality, relying upon others outside of us to do our thinking and deciding for us.

As with all things in life, the determination of the authenticity (or lack thereof) of this book ultimately comes from WITHIN. Do we hear the voice of, and feel the spirit of the divine Shepherd within the words of this gospel? And again, since the man Jesus Christ does not physically walk among us today, we can only answer that question by consulting the Christ within ourselves, the only "Christ" we've ever known in this lifetime.



posted on Mar, 8 2011 @ 03:07 PM
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The fact is it doesn't matter who wrote it....God did not! Thats all that really matters...other then that you're arguring about mans writings, some of which might be "inspired" but none the less....Mans word.

Gods message is there in the bible and in other scriptures all through out history, and yes...its inside you.

So who cares who wrote what...



posted on Mar, 8 2011 @ 03:19 PM
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reply to post by adjensen
 


Peter wrote 2 Peter personally from a prison cell. He'd already been condemned. It's his own rough Greek.


"Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me."

2 Peter 1:13-14




edit on 8-3-2011 by NOTurTypical because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 8 2011 @ 03:24 PM
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reply to post by AscendAlive
 



A large number of spurious documents emerged during the centuries following the ministries of the Apostles and were universally rejected by the early church. Copies of a group of these were found at Nag Hammadi (in Egypt) dating from the 3rd and 4th centuries, and these are uncritically accepted by Brown as accurate. These include The Gospel of Thomas, The Gospel of Philip, The Gospel of Mary, The Gospel of Truth, and about four dozen others.


Gnostic Gospels



posted on Mar, 8 2011 @ 08:51 PM
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Originally posted by Akragon


I noted that one of the criteria for determining whether something was orthodox (correct teaching,)


I take it you're orthodox (whatever that means)


Yes, I am. I'm not sure why you're critical of it if you don't know what it means, though.


What makes orthodox material any more correct then any other denomination?


Um... "Orthodox" is Greek for "correct teaching". What is orthodox is automatically correct, for those who are declaring it orthodox.
In the sense that I use the word, and that I consider myself an Orthodox Christian, I am saying that my beliefs are rooted in the early church (essentially, the Ecumenical Councils up through the Fourth Council of Constantinople.) Though I am Protestant, I believe that the roots of Protestantism are part of Orthodox Christianity.

If you are not an Orthodox Christian, then it may or may not be true for you, but it certainly is not orthodox. So, make no mistake -- saying that something is orthodox does not say that it is the truth, but we believe that it is the truth, so it is considered correct teaching. If one was a Gnostic, saying "the God of the Jews is a bumbling demiurge" would be orthodox.

The first time I started this book, I lost interest and gave up after the third chapter or so, but I reread it last summer and really appreciated its insights into core Christian beliefs. "Orthodoxy" by G.K. Chesterton



Saying 63: Jesus said, "There was a rich man who had much money. He said, 'I shall put my money to use so that I may sow, reap, plant, and fill my storehouse with produce, with the result that I shall lack nothing.' Such were his intentions, but that same night he died. Let him who has ears hear."


Im wondering if you understand this, just to see if we're on the same page....


The foolish man relies on himself and the temporary benefits of this world, rather than relying on God and his eternal promises. One of Christ's more frequent teachings.
edit on 8-3-2011 by adjensen because: Added quotes around the book title



posted on Mar, 8 2011 @ 09:30 PM
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Originally posted by AscendAlive
Now, we can analyze the evidence that we have and choose a side based upon speculation. But again, because it is impossible for any of us to know for sure (based upon physical research and evidence alone) whether or not it is authentic and divinely inspired, then we can not be certain that we have the truth.


Well, it is reasonably easy to compare Thomas to the Biblical Gospels -- we see similarity in parts, great difference in others. If the Bible is divinely inspired, then Thomas, or at least the contradictory parts, cannot be. Again, comes down to what you personally believe -- if you want to accept the Bible, then you have to toss out enough of Thomas to say that it is heretical. If you want to believe the Gnostics (or Marcion, I suppose,) then I doubt that there is anything in Thomas that you're going to vehemently disagree with. Which is a pretty strong argument that it is a Gnostic, not proto-orthodox, text.


Likewise, relying upon whether or not Origen, or the "Council of (whatever)" from centuries ago, or any church fathers, or the pope, or our pastor, determined that it should be deemed authentic, merely leaves us again guessing and in reality, relying upon others outside of us to do our thinking and deciding for us.


Someone (I want to say that it was Chesterton, but since I just posted a link to one of his books, I might be mistaken) said that "to dismiss tradition is to say that, once you're dead, your vote no longer counts." I don't know, entirely, why the early church fathers dismissed certain texts and kept others, because in many instances, they didn't see the need to document their findings. That's not surprising, but I don't believe that their dismissals or inclusions were arbitrary, and, as they were closer in time to the documents in question, I consider their opinion, whether backed up by tomes of refutation or not, to have value.


As with all things in life, the determination of the authenticity (or lack thereof) of this book ultimately comes from WITHIN. Do we hear the voice of, and feel the spirit of the divine Shepherd within the words of this gospel? And again, since the man Jesus Christ does not physically walk among us today, we can only answer that question by consulting the Christ within ourselves, the only "Christ" we've ever known in this lifetime.


Confession time here -- for a while, I seriously was considering becoming a Mormon, and part of that (not a big part, but it was in there) was this text, which appears in the Introduction to my 1981 version of The Book of Mormon:


We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true. Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost.


Gosh, says I, that sure seems sincere -- they're not telling me to believe it, but they're telling me that the truth will be revealed. After I started having problems with the whole religion, though, I thought it through, and I realized that saying this is an open invitation to find whatever truth you already believe is correct. If you're reading the Book of Mormon, you're not doing so because you think that it's a bunch of hoo-haw (well, not usually
) you're reading it because you want it to be true. Or at least enough people will that a statement like that cited above will produce more favour that discontent.

So, sure, evaluate everything from some internal sense of truth, but you have to recognize that, for a lot of things, our preconceived notions are going to do a whole lot of validation that we're unaware of. Though I present myself as being open to Catholicism, I will also admit that my Protestantism is so deeply engrained that I automatically kick back on a lot of Catholic doctrine, even if I'm accepting of it when I think it through.



posted on Mar, 8 2011 @ 10:50 PM
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No, no... I'm not offended. I'm here to speak to the people who do wonder about it and I want them to be able to wonder and meditate on the actual words themself without the label heresy attached to it because some collective think tank labels it so. There is a stigma that accompanies that word and there are good people who may wish to read it and actually get something good out of it.

My position is that the Gospel of Thomas gives hints that something extraordinary will happen to the disciple that keeps seeking. Though it was found alongside known gnostic texts, I'm just gently trying to point out it can actually be complementary to either view; mainstream or gnostic. I like the hint aspect of it because it encourages people to take a closer look at all the material involved.



posted on Mar, 8 2011 @ 10:58 PM
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reply to post by Myrtales Instinct
 


The Apostles Paul, Peter, James and Jude all wrote about the Gnostic heresy that was beginning to circulate at their times. It was bred in Alexandria, Egypt under the likes of Justin Martyr (100 A.D.) who was the first to mix Gnosticism with Christianity.

"In the teachings of Justin Martyr, we begin to see how muddy the stream of pure Christian doctrine was running among the heretical seats fifty years after the death of the apostle John." Historian Dr. Benjamin G. Wilkinson



posted on Mar, 8 2011 @ 11:52 PM
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reply to post by NOTurTypical
 


I've already said I'm not gnostic. Maybe you missed that part. I just see things from a bit of a different angle than most. Oh well, I'm still a good girl



edit on 9-3-2011 by Myrtales Instinct because: error



posted on Mar, 9 2011 @ 12:19 AM
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Originally posted by adjensen

Originally posted by Akragon


I noted that one of the criteria for determining whether something was orthodox (correct teaching,)


I take it you're orthodox (whatever that means)


Yes, I am. I'm not sure why you're critical of it if you don't know what it means, though.


What makes orthodox material any more correct then any other denomination?


Um... "Orthodox" is Greek for "correct teaching". What is orthodox is automatically correct, for those who are declaring it orthodox.
In the sense that I use the word, and that I consider myself an Orthodox Christian, I am saying that my beliefs are rooted in the early church (essentially, the Ecumenical Councils up through the Fourth Council of Constantinople.) Though I am Protestant, I believe that the roots of Protestantism are part of Orthodox Christianity.

If you are not an Orthodox Christian, then it may or may not be true for you, but it certainly is not orthodox. So, make no mistake -- saying that something is orthodox does not say that it is the truth, but we believe that it is the truth, so it is considered correct teaching. If one was a Gnostic, saying "the God of the Jews is a bumbling demiurge" would be orthodox.

The first time I started this book, I lost interest and gave up after the third chapter or so, but I reread it last summer and really appreciated its insights into core Christian beliefs. "Orthodoxy" by G.K. Chesterton



Saying 63: Jesus said, "There was a rich man who had much money. He said, 'I shall put my money to use so that I may sow, reap, plant, and fill my storehouse with produce, with the result that I shall lack nothing.' Such were his intentions, but that same night he died. Let him who has ears hear."


Im wondering if you understand this, just to see if we're on the same page....


The foolish man relies on himself and the temporary benefits of this world, rather than relying on God and his eternal promises. One of Christ's more frequent teachings.
edit on 8-3-2011 by adjensen because: Added quotes around the book title


So you say what is orthodox is correct yet a paragraph later you said...
"saying that something is orthodox does not say that it is the truth"



Yes, I am.(orthodox) I'm not sure why you're critical of it if you don't know what it means, though.


Im not critical of it...if its your believe then your welcome to it...


The foolish man relies on himself and the temporary benefits of this world, rather than relying on God and his eternal promises.


Interesting......so why did this man die then? I garentee he did not... Can you see the fault in the man's ways?

It has little to do with relying on God....

What would Jesus do if he was in this mans place...clearly hes not a foolish man...

You rely to much on whats in your book, and not enough on whats inside you


edit on 9-3-2011 by Akragon because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 9 2011 @ 12:20 AM
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Here is the problem i have with this or lack of one I should say;

1. I dont think from what you referenced of thomas that anything he said was untrue.

2. Remember what Jesus did say in the accepted gospel about the other people casting out demons in his name that werent disciples.

3. The spirit of truth is the spirit of truth not because the bible says so but because logic dictates that it is.
for an example hit me with any scripture new testament and I can show you the truth in it, though not necessarily the churches authority on the subject but just by using simple if/then thinking. Which is why book of thomas doesnt appear to be lacking.

4. The bible doesnt vaildate the spirit but rather the other way around. If someone is carrying a bible and thumping it telling you its the word of god they aren't lying, its just that his interpretation of the meaning is severly lacking normally. The reason I say this is JESUS said that he would die so god can come and dwell IN us and that when he had to go so another would come to teach us. Why did he do this, because the law had be given thru men and currupted and he wanted to set it straight...understand Isaih 58 tells my GODS intentions for me. So he would never let the lips of the devil poison his children. For the with the law is only death, but with Christ is life.

5. That part about salvation is true though. It seems rather complicated because so much is said on it in the gospel. Seemingly to contradict itslef if taken out of context ,which is done and why we have division to this day, If however the gospel is taken and understood as a whole. I asure you there are no errors in the logic only the interpretations.

6. I think almost all the books of the apocryphia I could argue that they should be included in the bible heck i can even argue the mormon books. Now I havent studied in depth could be wrong but what i have read. Fits right in.

7.Which makes me wonder a bit. If Peter was to be the rock...where is his church, for all I see is Pauls. Seriously think about this Peter wrote Acts i believe but then what. And also stop me if I am wrong but is Peter the son of John the Baptist. I ask because the book of John eludes to it.

good thread btw, good info



posted on Mar, 9 2011 @ 04:34 AM
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reply to post by jonathannas0187
 



.Which makes me wonder a bit. If Peter was to be the rock...


What Peter said was the "rock" or foundation of the church.



posted on Mar, 9 2011 @ 04:35 AM
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Originally posted by NOTurTypical
reply to post by jonathannas0187
 



.Which makes me wonder a bit. If Peter was to be the rock...


What Peter said was the "rock" or foundation of the church.



which is what specifically?



posted on Mar, 9 2011 @ 05:04 AM
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reply to post by Akragon
 



"And Simon Peter answered and said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God". ~ Matthew 16:16



posted on Mar, 9 2011 @ 05:07 AM
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Originally posted by NOTurTypical
reply to post by Akragon
 



"And Simon Peter answered and said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God". ~ Matthew 16:16


Alright....a lot of people understood that.

so....that would mean there was a lot of people that were "the rock"...peter wasn't exceptional...



posted on Mar, 9 2011 @ 05:10 AM
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reply to post by Akragon
 


Peter was the first to say it. Christ goes on in the next two verses to say that statement will be the foundation of His church. Jesus Christ is the foundation of the church, not Peter.




edit on 9-3-2011 by NOTurTypical because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 9 2011 @ 09:15 AM
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Originally posted by Akragon
So you say what is orthodox is correct yet a paragraph later you said...
"saying that something is orthodox does not say that it is the truth"


I'm sorry, perhaps the way I wrote it was confusing. "Orthodox" is what someone BELIEVES to be true. The orthodox (proto-orthodox at this point in history) doctrines that I am talking about are those that the early Christian church, which is today represented by Christianity, believed to be true. It doesn't MAKE them true, they could well be 100% wrong.

Again, if I was an atheist, an orthodox statement might be "there is no God." As far as I'm concerned, as an atheist, that is true, otherwise why would I believe it? But it doesn't change the truth of whether there is a God or not.



The foolish man relies on himself and the temporary benefits of this world, rather than relying on God and his eternal promises.


Interesting......so why did this man die then? I garentee he did not... Can you see the fault in the man's ways?

It has little to do with relying on God....

What would Jesus do if he was in this mans place...clearly hes not a foolish man...


I'm afraid that you're going to need to be a bit less mysterious if you'd like to make a point.

Why did he die? He didn't -- it's a parable. What would Jesus do in this man's place? He would have used his resources to further God's Kingdom, not to further himself and his temporary pleasures. That seems fairly clear, and is consistent with the other teaching in scripture, so I'm not sure why one needs to stretch the meaning to find something else.

But if you'd like to explain it, ears are waiting.



posted on Mar, 9 2011 @ 09:44 AM
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Originally posted by jonathannas0187
Here is the problem i have with this or lack of one I should say;

1. I dont think from what you referenced of thomas that anything he said was untrue.


Well, I'd start with the claim that he was the twin brother of Jesus, Judas. Absolutely no evidence of that being true.


2. Remember what Jesus did say in the accepted gospel about the other people casting out demons in his name that werent disciples.


He said that if good comes from something, to let it be done. If Thomas is a Gnostic document, its intention is to lead people away from orthodox teaching. If one is a Christian, this cannot be seen as a good thing.


5. That part about salvation is true though. It seems rather complicated because so much is said on it in the gospel. Seemingly to contradict itslef if taken out of context ,which is done and why we have division to this day, If however the gospel is taken and understood as a whole. I asure you there are no errors in the logic only the interpretations.


I wouldn't disagree with this. Vatican II called for dialogue, not only with the Eastern Orthodox churches, but the Protestant churches as well, in an effort to perhaps reconcile doctrinal differences and achieve some sense of being in communion with each other once again. But the differences, all matters of interpretation, are deep and difficult. Here's an example which is a Catholic response to a Reformed theologian's claim that disunity is the fault of the Catholic view of the Host (the wafer used in the Eucharist.)

How are you going to get beyond that? I, and others, believe that the only chance of it is to strip away doctrines which are not necessary to salvation, and returning to the original orthodoxy of the early church. We cannot possibly move forward by merging all of these contradictory doctrines, but perhaps we can move back to a place where they do not exist.

Likely impossible, though.


6. I think almost all the books of the apocryphia I could argue that they should be included in the bible heck i can even argue the mormon books. Now I havent studied in depth could be wrong but what i have read. Fits right in.


No, it doesn't. As I said, all of these books, even the Book of Mormon, have value, but most of them are of little value for Christianity, because they are not about Christianity. It's a bit akin to saying that books about the English language should be included in the required reading for a mathematics course. There is value in the English textbooks, but not much in learning maths.


7.Which makes me wonder a bit. If Peter was to be the rock...where is his church, for all I see is Pauls. Seriously think about this Peter wrote Acts i believe but then what. And also stop me if I am wrong but is Peter the son of John the Baptist. I ask because the book of John eludes to it.


I have never seen such a claim, and it seems impossible, given that Peter and John the Baptist are relative contemporaries, age wise. If you wish to cite a passage that implies this, I'd appreciate it.

As for Peter and Paul... to be honest, I view Paul's views best represented in the modern day Protestant church, while James is more in the Catholic one. That's not cut and dried, but there are bits of Paul's Epistles that present problems for Catholic doctrine, and Protestants mostly ignore James (incorrectly, in my opinion.)

Peter was Christ's successor, as far as leading the faithful goes, and he is traditionally held to be the first Pope, so one can argue that, regardless of whether he would agree with the stands and behaviours of the past 1,900 years, all churches are indebted to him.

Or, you can go with the notion that, because the Vatican is built on top of Peter's grave, Jesus was simply foretelling the future. I always found that one to be wryly amusing (though untrue.)



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