Looking at the Gospel of Thomas

Friday, May 10, 2019

3:40 a.m. I am very interested in where this is going. There are sayings in the Gospel of Thomas that I think I understand and others that I don’t, and as long as we’re not assuming that Jesus himself is talking to us, I ought to be able to bring through what after all might be only your opinion (or mine) on specific things. As it is a “sayings” gospel rather than a narrative of events, we may wind up going through the entire thing. That’s unless you have another way to go about our investigation.

Well, it would be worthwhile for you – for everybody interested in the subject – to go through the synoptic gospels [Matthew, Mark and Luke] at least, bearing in mind what we said, that Jesus is saying how the 3D world is, and how the world is not, the center of human existence. Reading his words bearing this in mind should give a different slant on things than perhaps the reader will have had. And, if you will assume that this is what Jesus had in mind throughout his life, the doings attributed to him may become clearer, as well, bearing in mind that the evangelists were recording what they regarded as to the point. They didn’t mention the color of his hair, nor other such trivia, or, we should say, ephemera. What they recorded, they recorded for a purpose. They were testifying to something, for a reason, that is, with a goal. Keeping that in mind will also help clarify your thoughts. We will not turn this into Bible Study, so if you are to get that, you will have to get it on your own, and, indeed, once you have the key, it is not difficult. Let us stick to the difficult issues.

I take it we will not examine the questions separately – how 3D is and is not central.

It would be an artificial division, for the question is one question phrased as two.

Yes, I suppose I can see that. Okay, ready if you are. Do we begin with the beginning of the book or do I skip around finding things that puzzle me, or what?

Let us rather begin at the beginning and skip those that seem obvious to you.

Well, we begin nonetheless at the beginning, because the very first saying is, if not cryptic, at least subject to more than one interpretation.

If that is to be your criterion, we will peruse the entire book, not that this would be a problem.

Well, it might become a copyright problem, if I ever wanted to turn this into a book. We will be using the translation by Stevan Davies, copyrighted 2002, which means more or less when Rita and I were engaged in our weekly talks with TGU. He has his own commentary on every left page of the book, much of which tells me he didn’t understand the book! I doubt we’d get permission to quote the entire book.

And is that your priority?

No. All right, let’s proceed. The sayings are numbered, and I will retain the numbers in case that becomes of use in discussion. I will omit Davies’ marginal notes explaining matters of fact, as well as those offering his speculation or explanation of various sayings.

“These are the hidden sayings that the living Jesus spoke and that Didymus Judas Thomas wrote down.

“1. And he said: Whoever finds the correct interpretation of these sayings will never die.”

The difficult but necessary thing, if you are to gain anything from this long exercise, is that you keep firmly in mind the idea that Jesus intended to convey how the 3D life was, and how it wasn’t, central to the individual. In effect, he was sorting out people’s unconscious ideas and assumptions for them, and as he was having to do it according to the level of his listeners, he spoke often in parables, attempting or rather intending to bypass the conscious mind’s defenses and automatic reactions, and move directly to the essence of the individual. You might say he was attempting to clear a channel for them, giving them greater connection between their conscious 3D mind and their non-3D awareness of which they might have no notion, no awareness. The people of 2000 years ago were products of a different culture, with different ideas. And he was dealing with anyone who came to listen to him, from whatever motive.

But these are records of his hidden teachings, and remember, in the written text you have only part of the record. The remainder – in fact the far greater portion – was in the memory and in the words of those who knew him and those who learned from them. You might think of this as a book of reminders, even more than a book of sayings, and certainly a book of sparks rather than a book of signposts.

And at that – I gather from something the author of the gospel says later – there were other sayings not recorded at all, perhaps not shared even with the inner circle, hence lost to us.

Jesus was not speaking for attribution in that way. It is natural for you – for anyone coming to his story after the fact – to see it in terms of its legacy, but Jesus did not live his life for what would be remembered, any more than you do, or anyone does. He met the moment, and some things were remembered. But he was not living for those who would follow, but for those with him. Now, this is untrue to a degree, but mostly it is truer than not.

So, the first saying?

The puzzling bit, to you, is “will never die”?

I can explain it, but in so doing, I feel like I’d be explaining it away. So I’d rather have your take on it.

You think: Everybody is going to die physically, so it doesn’t mean that. But nobody’s going to die in the sense of immortality, so he can’t mean that either.

And I get it!

Essence to essence communication: There is nothing like it. This is teacher-pupil, only with the teacher physically absent. So tell what you got, and we will correct or object or agree, as appropriate.

It is about crystallization of the individual. If they can get it, they will become permanent; if not, they will (or may, anyway) not become a permanent node in the non-3D human mind.

That is close enough, but muddled in your conception of crystallization. If you will return to earlier conversations, you will remember that the issue is one of permanence of point of view, rather than permanence of essence (since essence cannot die).

Otherwise, yes, that is the point. And how were they to know this without Jesus telling them? But do not think he said no more than this. These sayings were for the community that lived after he was gone, to use as reminders. The meaning of the saying would have been passed on orally, not in writing. In your day, it might well be different, because the balance between spoken and written – or typed! – has shifted. But in that time, even among the most educated, and certainly among the most esoteric circles, the bulk as well as the innermost gist was conveyed person to person, not person to tablet.

Now, it may be that some of your fellow explorers will have commentary, and that will assist the process. But this is enough concerning the first saying.

Well, an encouraging start; thank you.

 

4 thoughts on “Looking at the Gospel of Thomas

  1. I’m not sure I get “a permanent node in the non-3D human mind.”
    I can see where getting this would change a person’s final contribution, but I’m not sure of the “node” part.

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