“And he said ‘whoever finds the interpretation of these sayings will not experience death. ”” It was an intriguing opening. Marvin Meyer, in The Gospel of Thomas: The Hidden Sayings of Jesus, p. 68, suggests that Sirach 39:1-3 means the same as Thomas’ first line: ” The wise men will seek out the wisdom of all the ancients, and will be occupied in the prophets. He will keep the sayings of renowned men, and will enter withal into the subtleties of parables. He will search out the hidden meanings of proverbs, and will be conversant in the secrets of parables.
Since the other Gospels of the New Testament were still being written or not yet written, Thomas could not be directing followers to the Synpotic Gospels, because they would not have been available.
Thomas had to mean the figurative – to ponder on them – to think about them, and to find the deeper meaning behind them in order to find eternal life. Thomas expressed his belief simply and plainly, just as when he recognized Christ after he had risen in John 20:28, “My Lord and my God! The simplicity sounds like it could have been Thomas.
Thomas was hardly quoted in the other Synoptic Gospels, but the words Christ said to Thomas in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” constructed one of the very foundational beliefs of Christianity. If one assumed Thomas was “a man of few words,” it would explain why he didn’t attempt to frame anything Jesus said, or to “speak” to a specific audience, such as Mark, Matthew and Luke.
This, too, offered credence to the writer being Thomas. If again, taken at first glance, the Gospel of Thomas posed some really fascinating questions: did Thomas’ writing increase or decrease the validity of other New Testament writings? Since the most complete version was just discovered mid-twentieth century, was there a case to include it as part of the New Testament? Did it fundamentally change the message of “good news” of the New Testament?
However, the source for the text was a case for at least a partial denial of the text being authentically factual sayings of Jesus. Since Gnostics as the source must have been considered, all those questions may have been irrelevant since Gnostics were known for taking the religion or philosophy of the day and adapting it – sometimes twisting it – to suit their own beliefs. Gnostics believed that, if one possessed some “secret” knowledge or spell, one could escape their own body and this existence, which was corrupt and evil.
They, too, were looking for a Savior. Their view was different from the earthly king being sought by the Jews. It was more of a universal being that would lift them out of the corruption of this world. At first glance, it sounded similar to early Jewish or Christian faith, but their beliefs were much more rooted in mysticism. Many Gnostic sects abandoned the belief in the death and resurrection of Christ. Some scholars believed the Gnostics were early Christians; however, now many theorize Gnostics had their beginnings in India or, even Babylon.
What cannot be discounted were the undeniable parallels, such as the one in 100 of Thomas, “They showed Jesus a gold coin and said to him, ‘Caesar’s men demand taxes from us. ’ He said to them. ‘Give Caesar what belongs to Caesar, give God what belongs to God, and give me what is mine. ’’ which was remarkably similar to Mark 12:17. Another parallel was 10 “Jesus said, “I have cast fire upon the world, and look, I’m guarding it until it blazes. ” When comparing it to Luke 12:49, “I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! They were amazingly similar, but invite very different interpretations. What seemed most likely, after having read the Synpotic Gospels and Thomas, was that Gnostics could have obtained a copy of the “Q” source. It’s possible, too, the Gnostics amended the early writings to suit their own belief systems, which seemed much more obvious in Mary than in Thomas. Thomas unadulterated may have been the “Q” source. Until and unless other documents are discovered to verify or dismiss the current theories, we’ll all be doubting Thomases.
Cite this The Gospel of Thomas
The Gospel of Thomas. (2016, Nov 14). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/the-gospel-of-thomas/