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Originally posted by NOTurTypical
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.
Originally posted by adjensen
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.
Originally posted by adjensen
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.
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.
Originally posted by Longdead33
There was an interesting interview about the Bible and forgery on Coast to Coast AM by Bart Ehrman.
As to the dating of the Nag Hammadi texts, the manuscripts themselves date from about 350-400 AD. This is based on the datable papyrus used to thicken the leather bindings and the Coptic script. But these codices are believed to be Coptic translations of Greek texts, so the original texts would be significantly earlier.
In Jer. 1:5, God says, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you." This is a biblical implication that we existed in some form before we were born. There are numerous non-scriptural references to the pre-existence of our souls. Here is a sampling :
"With the soul of Adam, the souls of all the generations of man were created. B. Chagiga 2B (ancient text).
"Jesus said, 'If they say to you, From where have you originated? say to them, 'We have come from the Light, where the Light has originated through itself.'" The Book of Thomas, Nag Hammadi Texts.
....Origen, "the most prominent of the church fathers with the possible exception of Augustine," taught the pre-existence of the soul. (Encyclopedia Britannica) In AD 553, the Emperor Justinian convinced the pope to convene the Council of Constantinople which condemned the ideas of Origen. Those who continued to believe in pre-existence and rebirth were persecuted, and this campaign of slaughter effectively forced the concept underground. Had it not been for the council, the Christian Church might well have been teaching pre-existence and rebirth as a basic doctrine all these years.
1 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents....
Most of the written material is very esoteric, often written in
Aramaic. Some of the prominent works dealing with this subject
are the "Zohar" (1st century) and the Arizal's "Shaar HaGilgulim"
(16th century). In the Bible itself, the idea is intimated in
Deut. 25:5-10, Deut. 33:6 and Isaiah 22:14, 65:6.
Many sources say that a soul has a maximum of three chances in
this world. One example given is that the great Talmudic sage
Hillel was a reincarnation of the Biblical figure Aaron.
The soul only comes into this world in the first place in order
to make a spiritual repair. If that is not fulfilled by the end
of one's lifetime, then the soul will be sent down once again.
The return trip may only be needed for a short time or in a
limited way. This in part explains why people are born with
handicaps or may live a brief life.
In centuries past the teachings of the Kabbalah were closely guarded but the sacred texts also predicted a time when the teachings could be accessed by anyone. Today the Kabbalah is experiencing a tremendous resurgence of popularity and is being taught by Rabbis in living room study groups or classes offered through local synagogues. Non-Jews are also flocking to Kabbalah classes being held in local libraries and adult education programs. While most mainstream Jews in our modern world do not court reincarnation, Kabbalists are unshakably wedded to it. The three greatest books of Kabbalism are the Sepher Yetzirah, The Book of Formation; the Sepher ha Zohar, The Book of Splendor; and the Apocalypse, The Book of Revelation. The following is a quote from the Sephar ha Zohar.
The souls must re-enter the Absolute, from whence they have emerged. But to accomplish this end they must develop the perfections; the germ of which is planted in them. And if they have not developed these traits in this one life, then they must commence another, a third, and so forth. They must go on like this until they acquire the condition that allows them to associate again with God. The Zohar
The "germ" that is planted in them which leads to the "perfections" is the I AM; it is our oneness in Christ.
(7) Jesus said, "Blessed is the lion which becomes man when consumed by man; and cursed is the man whom the lion consumes, and the lion becomes man."
Originally posted by adjensen
reply to post by Myrtales Instinct
Given that Thomas is not a part of scriptural canon, and there are people today who wonder about it, or who think it might have been included at one time, and was removed, and my intent is to demonstrate, not the "right" or "wrong" of Thomas, but the problems that the orthodox church had with it, and still has to this day. It was not excluded from canon arbitrarily (most likely -- if it was relatively unknown at the time, it might have been,)