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Rose_spell's Life
Life lessons, stupidity, craziness
“And he said, “Whoever discovers the interpretation of these sayings will not taste death. Jesus said, “Let one who seeks not stop seeking until one finds. When one finds, one will be troubled. When one is troubled, one will marvel and will reign over all.”
-Gospel of Thomas, 1:1- 2: 4

These are the opening verses for the Gospel of Thomas, a book found within the infamous Dead Sea Scrolls. The Dead Sea Scrolls were a group of texts [most likely written by the Essenes] that were discovered in caves near the Dead Sea in the late 1940s. Their unearthing caused a lot of controversy between many of the scientists and archeologists whom discovered and read the documents and much of the traditional religious community, because at first glance, the readings in these new additions to the biblical texts appear to contradict the Bible’s teachings. But after looking in-depth at some of these documents, specifically for this reflection The Gospel of Thomas, one can see it possible to find parallel teachings and ideas from the rest of the biblical teachings through many of the questions, parables, and other confusions that the author of the Gospel leaves us with.
Before continuing to the content of the Gospel of Thomas, or the Hidden Sayings of Jesus, I think that it’s important to discuss the individual and significance of Judas Thomas or “doubting Thomas” as depicted in the New Testament’s Gospel of John. According to Marvin Meyer in his book The Gnostic Gospels of Jesus, “Thomas was the twin brother of Jesus and as such the ideal person to function as guarantor of the Jesus tradition” which means he was in a way worthy enough to be the recorder of Jesus’ sayings at this time. Also according to Meyer and is easily seen within the texts, Jesus is not viewed as the Messiah, but simply as a teacher (even though this position is denied in verses 13:4-5). He is merely teaching his Gospels to be a greater followers of the faith, may it be seen as Jews or Christians.
The introductory of this manuscript was not decided by chance or guess work; incidentally, I see the above passage as a perfect opening to not only my argument that the passages in the text are comparable to those in the Bible, but also the following words supposedly given by Jesus. I view it as a brief summary of the confusion to follow. The texts within the Gospel of Thomas are as, if not more, vague and puzzling as the above. The texts were written not to give answers, but to make one question and interpret. One can relate to the disciples as they ask the questions they do, such as how the world will end, what heaven is like, and if the procedures and rituals done for blessings are necessary. And if this tale tells of a true session with Jesus, one can almost feel the frustration that the disciples must have felt when greeted with answers that the Jesus in the Gospel reveals. But I believe the first paragraph says it best with “when one is troubled, one will marvel…” which I take to mean that we are not supposedly to necessarily understand all that our religion tells us, but keep asking questions to understand what is important to us as an individual and as a member of a religious community.
One thing that troubled me about the Gospel of Thomas was every sentence seemed to be a metaphor or a parable. His teachings talked about everything from being like the fisherman, knowledge like a grapevine (40:1), and heaven like a mustard seed (20:2). All of these comparisons leave a lot to be desired, and just end up leading one in circles. I think that this technique is used to either lead one on without actually having to answer the question or to keep the people asking questions. As said before, I truly believe that the texts were used as a way to show people that religion is not meant to answer questions, but get people to ask more questions.
Another ambiguous thing that I found after initially reading the text was the verses that were so confusing and easily misunderstood. One such verse is the final paragraph that says
“Simon Peter said to them, ‘Mary should leave us for females are not worthy of life.’ Jesus said, ‘Look I shall guide her to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every female who makes herself male will enter heaven’s kingdom.’”
-Gospel of Thomas 114:1-4
Upon reading this passage, I admit that I was immediately drawn back to the apparently bold attack on the female population. I thought that either the author of the Gospel misinterpreted or mistranslated the passage or Jesus was a male chauvinist. But if one looks at the text as a whole picture, instead of just separate verses, it is clear to see parallels in the text that make it easier to understand. In this case, verse 22:4-7 states that ".When you make male and female in to a single one, so that the male will not be male not the female be female.then you will enter [the kingdom]." These two quotes relate to one another, because when Jesus says that woman are not worthy of entering the kingdom, it just means that in the kingdom of Heaven, gender does not affect the admittance into Heaven.
Not only is it necessary to combine some of the passages in the Gospel itself, but also comparing it to some outside sources, most specifically the Bible verses. For example, one of the most famous and controversial passages in the Gospel of Thomas is verse 55, which says, "Jesus said, "Whoever does not hate father and mother cannot be a disciple of me, and whoever does not hate brothers and sisters and bear the cross as I do will not be worthy of me." This verse corresponds to Matthew 10:37-:38, which says that, "Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me." These verses work together to say the same thing. The word hate in this context does not pertain to having evil intentions toward, but being able to disregard completely. In this light, both texts say that whoever puts family above the Lord, will not be granted access to the kingdom of Heaven.

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