Thomas, Saying 39a and 39b

Thomas Saying 39 a and b

Friday, June 14, 2019

Saying 39.

39a Jesus said: The Pharisees and the scribes have taken the keys to knowledge and hidden them. They did not go in, and they did not permit those desiring to go in to enter.

39b You should be as clever as snakes and as innocent as doves.

Sayings 39 a and b at first glance don’t seem to have anything to do with each other, the first describing the failings of the scribes and the Pharisees in neither learning nor letting others learn the truth; the second admonishing his disciples to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves. But as they are coupled, presumably they are coupled for a reason.

Amigos? What say you?

Previous Saying?

The presence of Jesus was an opportunity for transformation that could be seized or missed, but in any case would be a limited-time window. Once he was gone, there would be no similar opportunity.

So, connecting the three, as usual – the one under consideration (in two parts, in this case) and the preceding –

The scribes and the Pharisees, literalists, did not grasp the true manning, and – by holding others to their own literal meaning – prevented others from grasping what they themselves could not. It was up to Jesus’ disciples – who would have benefitted from the presence and who would henceforth be animated and transformed and sustained by the spirit, to be wise and gentle; that is, to have eyes open and heart open too.

Rough paraphrase, but a good one. So you see the progression is an easy one, but if you once go off the main line, you will continue to stray.

Easy to get lost without some kind of check.

That’s the purpose of community, and of access to the spirit. Yet entire communities may go astray, and the messages of the spirit be misconstrued. Nothing is sure-fire over time.

Every tradition decays, you mean.

Let’s say, the smart money bets that way. Look to your civilization around you.

You don’t need to rub it in, it’s obvious.

Be well.

That’s it? Just two pages?

You are not in the proper place to deal with Saying 40, not that it is particularly difficult.

If you say so. Okay, next time.

 

 

 

 

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