The First Synod of ATS Part II: The Gospel of Thomas

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posted on Apr, 20 2013 @ 07:53 PM
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reply to post by Akragon
 


I suppose obscure statements mean different things to different people...

But we mean the same thing.




You will not be punished for your sins,
you will be punished by your sins.




Originally posted by Akragon
This is reiterated in the gospels... It means, it doesn't matter what you eat... food does not defile the spirit like the jews believed...(unclean meats, washing hands) its what you say that can defile you...


I know what the jews believed.

That eating unclean meat and the whole desert-life-hands-thing.

Jesus told us that we cannot commit a "sin" by eating something or having bodily movements,

but as soon as we speak or act against others,

we become responsible and punishable for (or defiled by) our actions or words.

Thanks for your reply.




posted on Apr, 20 2013 @ 08:03 PM
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Originally posted by Akragon
Jesus had literally thousands of followers, I have serious problems believing that only three people out of all of them wrote anything about a man who walked on water, healed the sick, raised the dead..etc etc

Two issues:

1) Jesus didn't have thousands of followers in his lifetime (ie: that knew him)

2) Writing in the First Century wasn't like writing in the 21st -- literacy wasn't widespread, scribes and materials were scarce and expensive (particularly for the peasants who made up the early Christian community) and oral histories were still the predominant form of passing information along. In addition, the first generation of Christians believed that Christ's return was imminent, and it wasn't until the Apostles started dying off that it became clear that wasn't necessarily the case, and someone should write down their stories while they were still around to tell them.


Im not really in favor of such an early dating for Thomas... but I do believe its likely from the first century which puts it on par with much of the NT... as far as dating is concerned.

As I have noted before, either Thomas is a composite work, with bits from the First and most of it from the Second, or it is completely a Second Century work, because the form of Gnostic Christianity it relates did not exist until the mid-Second Century.

I am personally of the belief that the bits we know have counterparts in the New Testament, and potentially a few other sayings, originate in "Q" or some early sayings gospel, but the majority of it post-dates the canonical texts by at least 60 years.



posted on Apr, 20 2013 @ 08:33 PM
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reply to post by adjensen
 



Jesus didn't have thousands of followers in his lifetime (ie: that knew him)


Unfortunately we don't know that for certain... Luke tells of a minimum of 70 disciples... IF he "appointed" these 70 people they must have been relatively close to him... and the earliest text actually written about him didn't come until 30+ years after his death... and that is speculative.


Writing in the First Century wasn't like writing in the 21st -- literacy wasn't widespread, scribes and materials were scarce and expensive (particularly for the peasants who made up the early Christian community) and oral histories were still the predominant form of passing information along.


I realise this... but oral traditions could explain why Thomas is titled as it is... Perhaps Thomas has his own followers who also passed down these oral traditions through generations until someone finally decided to write what he heard down... Perhaps some of the things Thomas heard were also changed because of "the telephone game theory" as well...

Though again, even if writing materials were hard to come by... IF someone witnesses the life of a man such as Jesus... that person will find a way to write his testimony down or at least have it remembered for future generations. I just don't believe only three people wrote something about him.

Plus if you take into account Lukes gospel which is a "collected" work... There were definitely more people that knew him.... and most definitely more writing about him, which brings be back to what I said before.... There must be material that is hidden away, likely in the Vatican library or some obscure church basement that has never seen the light of day.


I am personally of the belief that the bits we know have counterparts in the New Testament, and potentially a few other sayings, originate in "Q" or some early sayings gospel, but the majority of it post-dates the canonical texts by at least 60 years.



Well we both know Q doesn't exist as far as the world knows... but again the Q theory is more evidence that someone else knew of him... IF Q existed, who wrote it?

there is clear evidence that all of the synoptics and Thomas have similar sayings.... some are verbatim...

So we're left with a few theories...

1. Q... IF it exists is a direct witness to Jesus

2. Q doesn't exist... and the writers of the gospels are direct witnesses of his life... which also likely points to the writer of Thomas being a direct witness as well in some way

3. Q was a direct witness, and it didn't survive because there was information within it that the church didn't want released




posted on Apr, 20 2013 @ 09:11 PM
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Originally posted by Akragon

Originally posted by vethumanbeing
reply to post by Akragon
 


Akragon is your purpose to compare and contrast Thomas's sayings to those recorded in the Bible therefor giving Thomas some credence or verification? I like this one 18. The disiples said to Jesus, Tell us how our end will be. Jesus said, "Have you disovered, then, the beginning, that you look for, the end? For where the beginning is there still the end be. Blessed is he who will take his place in the beginning; he will know the end and experience death". Thomas seems very much more of a philosopher than the others/or proclaiming itself an actual recorder of Jesus's words more of a soothsayer reinterpreter; or NOT as actually hearing the words understanding them and transcribing them (no wonder not included).
edit on 20-4-2013 by vethumanbeing because: (no reason given)



Akragon
It doesn't make sense... and considering the comparisons I believe without a doubt that there is a direct connection to Jesus in Thomas.I also believe that there has been documents hidden by the church that tell a different side of the Jesus story that they didn't want to tell.... and its very possible that the gospel of Thomas is evidence of this "other side" Who hides scripture in caves?


The Essenes who for whatever reason had to. Their community was overrun by direction of the Pharasee, they knew this was going to happen as they were seerers. You know as well as I where these writings originated from and who decimated that Qumran community as well as I do.


Akragon
I'll tell you who... someone who sees spiritual value in a text that is on the list to be destroyed! Just as the gnostics were eradicated... Thomas was a different view of Jesus and someone or a group never wanted it to come to light.... There was obviously more then four copies of it at one point in history... yet we only have one full document and a few scraps.Personally I can clearly see some unscrupulous characters and activities in the first 300 some odd years of the church... and nothing has changed since those days.For example, lets take Marcion... there is absolutely nothing left of his writing. The only things we know of him is from reconstructions of writing from people that were already against him. Now if one wants to find information on someone.... Do you go to said persons enemy to find out what they're about? I think not...Im not really in favor of such an early dating for Thomas... but I do believe its likely from the first century which puts it on par with much of the NT... as far as dating is concerned. And until the some hidden information about Jesus comes to light (which will likely never happen) Thomas is the closest thing we have to him outside of the gospels


This entire idea of destroying texts that could help unify or quantify IN CLARITY is beyond me. THE gnostics had to be destroyed because they actually talked to a God Form as they percieved it and in so saying would wreck or rectify a TRUTH; why them, why are they the annointed ones? Because they were in communication with a God Source and THE OTHERS WERE NOT. Nothing like a Pharasee or Saduccee to become slightly beligerant regarding ENTITLEMENT; then/thus bring on the Roman Constabulatory OverLords (nice combination of obliteration). I like Thomas very much as he seems to bring in a human element to the construct of Jesus Ideology. You realize the Orthodox are actually a combine of the weath/money and oral traditions. Why the fear of the Essenes, because they held the key to true communication with Yahweh without any seeking of personal gain; this revelation could have railroaded all of the others (orthodoxy included) future endevours. Although the Romans carried out the crucifixion it was within Herods district; a handshake deal that survives today as to me awkward and ridiculous as it is. Jesus rejected both Pharasee, Saducee, embraced the Essene; what other outcome other than crucifixion was his destiny? No one speaks of that legacy of teachings he recieved when a young man.
edit on 20-4-2013 by vethumanbeing because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 20 2013 @ 09:25 PM
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reply to post by vethumanbeing
 


Actually I see a lot of gnostic writing as a spiritual side of the same coin... the other side of said coin being the gospels in the bible.

For example...

Understanding the Indescribable

A description of God which is far beyond anything found In the bible...

And personally I don't believe YHWH or Jehova or anything even related is the Father of Jesus... They are Likely tribal Gods of some sort.




posted on Apr, 20 2013 @ 09:39 PM
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reply to post by adjensen
 



But that returns us to the question of why Thomas, rather than Jesus. It appears to be an enabling or endowing phrase, and while but you and I, and the Gnostics, would say that Jesus had authority to make such a revelation, does Thomas?


Maybe Thomas is used because he is the only person within the NT that actually referred to Jesus as "his God"...

Quite the profound statement from Thomas, and its used as an argument that Jesus was in fact God on the regular...




posted on Apr, 20 2013 @ 09:43 PM
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Originally posted by Akragon
reply to post by vethumanbeing
 


Actually I see a lot of gnostic writing as a spiritual side of the same coin... the other side of said coin being the gospels in the bible.

For example...

Understanding the Indescribable

A description of God which is far beyond anything found In the bible...
And personally I don't believe YHWH or Jehova or anything even related is the Father of Jesus... They are Likely tribal Gods of some sort.


Well now. This is first time someone actually (without me alluding to it) describes some of my thoughts about it all. I have this idea Jesus was formed/incubated in the temple of the Sun Teotihuacon Mexico as a 9 dimensional being 200 BC by pagans to insert/introduce a new idea paradym (a change for the better): that would be Pleiadian Maya Originals (they split at AD 1) , not early late or classic period- somethings from the 5th dimension, tribal yes but what do I know?
edit on 20-4-2013 by vethumanbeing because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 20 2013 @ 10:35 PM
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reply to post by vethumanbeing
 


You should take a look at my thread on The Apocryphon of John...

In said text you'll fund similarities to all the names used in christian religions for "God" including adonai... Yehweh and elohim....

Mind you i make a mess of the text in my thread... But its all in good fun anyways

Things Hidden in Silence




posted on Apr, 20 2013 @ 11:22 PM
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Originally posted by Akragon
reply to post by adjensen
 



Jesus didn't have thousands of followers in his lifetime (ie: that knew him)


Unfortunately we don't know that for certain... Luke tells of a minimum of 70 disciples... IF he "appointed" these 70 people they must have been relatively close to him... and the earliest text actually written about him didn't come until 30+ years after his death... and that is speculative.

Oh, I think that there were more than 12, just not "thousands". There were certainly thousands of witnesses, but not thousands of followers, who knew anything other than what they'd personally seen.



Writing in the First Century wasn't like writing in the 21st -- literacy wasn't widespread, scribes and materials were scarce and expensive (particularly for the peasants who made up the early Christian community) and oral histories were still the predominant form of passing information along.


I realise this... but oral traditions could explain why Thomas is titled as it is... Perhaps Thomas has his own followers who also passed down these oral traditions through generations until someone finally decided to write what he heard down... Perhaps some of the things Thomas heard were also changed because of "the telephone game theory" as well...

No, the oral tradition of the time wasn't subjected to Chinese Whispers, because it was quite different than that -- one person gets a message, passes it along to another, and so forth. In a non-literate society, far more emphasis is placed on message and memory accuracy and multiple paths are used. You don't tell one person, you tell twenty. Among those 20, a consensus emerges -- it may not be the exact original story, but it is far closer to the truth than if you sent the message down a single line of 20 people.

In addition, in my personal opinion, the four canonical Gospels were either written by eyewitnesses, or with their assistance. See Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony by Richard Bauckham for an interesting cultural and statistical analysis.


Though again, even if writing materials were hard to come by... IF someone witnesses the life of a man such as Jesus... that person will find a way to write his testimony down or at least have it remembered for future generations. I just don't believe only three people wrote something about him.

It's possible, but bear in mind that writing was an expensive and limited action, and the church wasn't interested in the works of people that didn't have an apostolic connection, so, outside of the twelve, there wasn't much of a market that would be interested in "My Life With Jesus" by disciple X.


There must be material that is hidden away, likely in the Vatican library or some obscure church basement that has never seen the light of day.

Realistically, if there was anything earthshaking that was relevant to orthodox Christianity in the Vatican libraries, they'd have released it long ago, and if there was anything earthshaking that was contrary to orthodox Christianity in the Vatican libraries, they'd have destroyed it long ago.


Well we both know Q doesn't exist as far as the world knows... but again the Q theory is more evidence that someone else knew of him... IF Q existed, who wrote it?

My guess is Matthew -- of all the Apostles, he's the only one that we know for a fact had to be literate. The rest of them could be, but a tax collector had to be.


3. Q was a direct witness, and it didn't survive because there was information within it that the church didn't want released

The church didn't really have the power to suppress a widely circulated document at that stage of its existence. If "Q" existed, it most likely did in a very limited circulation, and once more "fleshed out" versions of the stories existed, interest in "Q" waned (much like "real readers" appreciate Moby Dick than they do the Cliff's Notes version of it.)



posted on Apr, 20 2013 @ 11:27 PM
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Originally posted by Akragon
reply to post by adjensen
 



But that returns us to the question of why Thomas, rather than Jesus. It appears to be an enabling or endowing phrase, and while but you and I, and the Gnostics, would say that Jesus had authority to make such a revelation, does Thomas?


Maybe Thomas is used because he is the only person within the NT that actually referred to Jesus as "his God"...

John's overuse of the character of Thomas has led some (I want to say Ehrman, but I don't remember for sure,) to say that Gospel of John is a refutation of Gospel of Thomas, by portraying Thomas in a negative manner.

I don't see that, at all. To me, John addresses the Ebionite and, to a lessor extent, the Docetist, heresies, but I don't see any direct Gnostic influence there (so it may reflect a reaction to a version of Thomas that is non-Gnostic, though I think that's a bit of stretch.)



posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 03:12 AM
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LAYTON

(18) The disciples said to Jesus, "Tell us how our end will come to pass." Jesus said, "Then have you laid bare the beginning, so that you are seeking the end? For the end will be where the beginning is. Blessed is the person who stands at rest in the beginning. And that person will be acquainted with the end and will not taste death."

so what is the beginning??



posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 03:56 AM
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reply to post by sevens8
 


The beginning is birth obviously...

Blessed is the person who knows where he/she goes at the end...

For the end is the same place as before the beginning




posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 04:47 AM
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adj


But that returns us to the question of why Thomas, rather than Jesus...Jesus had authority to make such a revelation, does Thomas?


As I've shown, Paul already had, in the very earliest Christian literature, based on his personal experience of the risen Jesus. DJ Thomas here could be restating "what every Gentile knows" even early on in the Gentile church, perhaps spinning it so that reading the naturally-living Jesus' sayings is a specific way to nurture the salvific faith that the risen Jesus discussed with Paul.

Also, without plunging us into the notorious John versus Thomas controversy, John 8: 51 does attribute to the naturally-living Jesus,

Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.

Compare 6: 48-51 and 11: 25-26. That some people would avoid death altogether by some kind of relationship with Jesus is well attested as a Gospel-era, mainstream Christian belief. And, of course, modification or de-emphasis of that belief is the message of 21: 20-23.


And even if he does, wouldn't it seem more "valid", for want of a better word, if Jesus said it?


Evidently, John will think so, but before John, there was already another route for Jesus to have said it, through Paul. John 21: 20-23 suggests that there was still a third basis for the belief, a misunderstanding of Jesus' words, but nevertheless a "word spread among the brothers" that a specific individual (at least) wouldn't die in any usual sense.

(And since you're a Catholic, the RCC teaches what could be a fourth route in apostolic times: that Mary of Nazareth may have avoided death, which distinguishes Roman Catholic from Eastern Orthodox dogma, that the Roman church is silent on the question of whether she ever died. So, let's see. Jesus first, but of course he had to die. His mother second, maybe, but it would make sense that she might be spared. Then, his very best friend, too... That's three, and if there are three, then, hey, maybe me - if I'm devout.)

I don't think there is anything to explain about an editor-compiler simply stating the belief, because I believe that Thomas' first readers already held or knew about the belief, or something much like it.

As with John, there may be reasons why Thomas in particular might have appealed to some Gnostics, and perhaps they tuned it up to suit their purposes. As you know, that is what I think happened to the sayings to yield the Coptic Gnostic text we're working with. If so, then I can hardly be surprised if the authorship preface got buffed, too.

The other witness to the preface is one of the Greek papyrus fragments, Oxyrhynchus 654.1-5, physically from ~ 250-300 CE. It's in bad shape.

www.agraphos.com...
upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d6/P._Oxy._654.jpg
(A direct link fouls the ATS link parser - paste this in a current browser's go to box)

The word "Thomas" is there, but not anything about a twin, except, of course, that that's what the name means, just as "Paul" means "small." Nice to know, but not necessarily meaningful, especially since what divides you and me is the likeliness of a very early Thomas core.

Akragon


I'll tell you who... someone who sees spiritual value in a text that is on the list to be destroyed! Just as the gnostics were eradicated...


There is no evidence that Gnostics were eradicated. All we know is that their ideas didn't continue to attract adherents. And, if we're asking questions, I have one: Who owns that many books in the first place? A church or monastery library comes to mind. So, as a matter of discipline, they can't hold the books, but they do think they might be able to hold them again in the future. One interpretation of the cache's reaching us is that nobody bothered to retrieve them, first for discipline, and maybe later for lack of interest and forgetfulness.

Yes, I know, the church is very bad, etc. etc. But even very bad people might have enemies who can't make the cut, and need only be ignored to wither away in good time. For example, maybe there are enemies who are itching to be rid of their encumbering fleshy life on earth...
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edit on 21-4-2013 by eight bits because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 07:40 AM
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reply to post by eight bits
 




There is no evidence that Gnostics were eradicated. All we know is that their ideas didn't continue to attract adherents.




I don't know about that one brother...


Have you read any of Irenaeus: Against Heresies?

Clearly he was speaking of gnostics... And the early church didn't treat heretics well...

Like marcion their writing, and sometimes their people were destroyed

www.newadvent.org...


The Christian teachers of the first three centuries insisted, as was natural for them, on complete religious liberty; furthermore, they not only urged the principle that religion could not be forced on others — a principle always adhered to by the Church in her dealings with the unbaptised — but, when comparing the Mosaic Law and the Christian religion, they taught that the latter was content with a spiritual punishment of heretics (i.e. with excommunication), while Judaism necessarily proceeded against its dissidents with torture and death.

(2) However, the imperial successors of Constantine soon began to see in themselves Divinely appointed "bishops of the exterior", i.e. masters of the temporal and material conditions of the Church. At the same time they retained the traditional authority of "Pontifex Maximus", and in this way the civil authority inclined, frequently in league with prelates of Arian tendencies, to persecute the orthodox bishops by imprisonment and exile. But the latter, particularly St. Hilary of Poitiers (Liber contra Auxentium, c. iv), protested vigorously against any use of force in the province of religion, whether for the spread of Christianity or for preservation of the Faith. They repeatedly urged that in this respect the severe decrees of the Old Testament were abrogated by the mild and gentle laws of Christ. However, the successors of Constantine were ever persuaded that the first concern of imperial authority (Theodosius II, "Novellae", tit. III, A.D. 438) was the protection of religion and so, with terrible regularity, issued many penal edicts against heretics. In the space of fifty seven years sixty-eight enactments were thus promulgated. All manner of heretics were affected by this legislation, and in various ways, by exile, confiscation of property, or death. A law of 407, aimed at the traitorous Donatists, asserts for the first time that these heretics ought to be put on the same plane as transgressors against the sacred majesty of the emperor, a concept to which was reserved in later times a very momentous role. The death penalty however, was only imposed for certain kinds of heresy; in their persecution of heretics the Christian emperors fell far short of the severity of Diocletian, who in 287 sentenced to the stake the leaders of the Manichæans, and inflicted on their followers partly the death penalty by beheading, and partly forced labor in the government mines.



edit on 21-4-2013 by Akragon because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 22 2013 @ 07:23 AM
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Akragon


Have you read any of Irenaeus: Against Heresies?

Clearly he was speaking of gnostics... And the early church didn't treat heretics well...

Like marcion their writing, and sometimes their people were destroyed


Have you looked when Irenaeus died? About 202. Nobody with weapons gave a flying fatootie what Irenaeus liked or disliked. Marcion was a generation or so before Irenaeus. Having no recourse to the punishments of the state, the proto-orthodox church savaged Marcion by giving him back the money he had donated to the church. Ouch.

Marcion's status as a Gnostic is disputed. One problem is that Irenaeus seemed to think that just about any heresy could be tied to the Gnostics. That isn't a common modern view.
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edit on 22-4-2013 by eight bits because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 22 2013 @ 09:02 AM
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Originally posted by eight bits
Marcion's status as a Gnostic is disputed.

I've never seen anyone claim that he was -- while their theologies had some points in common, Marcion was more about the complete rejection of Judaism, but apart from that, he seemed to have been 100% behind Paul's teachings on the nature of Christ and the resurrection, which the Gnostics were not.



posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 06:12 AM
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Originally posted by adjensen
You're cherry picking, Akragon


He always cherry picks. Usually cherry picks on apostle Paul. But with the scriptures, you take it all or you take none of it.



posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 03:24 PM
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Originally posted by lonewolf19792000

Originally posted by adjensen
You're cherry picking, Akragon


He always cherry picks. Usually cherry picks on apostle Paul. But with the scriptures, you take it all or you take none of it.


Well that is a blatant lie...


I rarely cherry pick... And when i do i admit to it....

In this case there is a reason for it... Which i already explained

*sigh*

Up to your usual trolling eh?

No contributions to the thread... Just slandering me...

Stay True to form


edit on 23-4-2013 by Akragon because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 05:05 PM
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Originally posted by Akragon
And of course there is a possibility that Jesus said everything in this book, theres really no way to prove it...

but we can speculate



Possibly...but given that Thomas most likely predates the gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke, shouldn't it be the other way around...shouldn't you be comparing them to Thomas for clarification of what he actually may have said, as opposed to what may or may not have been added or omitted for dramatic licence, and or, to enable doctrine?



posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 05:17 PM
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Originally posted by KilgoreTrout

Originally posted by Akragon
And of course there is a possibility that Jesus said everything in this book, theres really no way to prove it...

but we can speculate



Possibly...but given that Thomas most likely predates the gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke

Thomas doesn't predate the gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke. Or John, either, for that matter.





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