Sunday, May 26, 2019
Gospel of Thomas, Saying 17.
Jesus said: I will give you that which eyes have not seen, ears have not heard, hands did not touch, and minds have not conceived.
Offhand, seems to me to say, direct knowledge of the non-3D aspects of the world. But this is only an offhand guess, not a considered response. Guys?
Nothing wrong with that horseback guess, only put it into context (as always) in two ways: remembering the previous sayings, and remembering that the written gospel was a precis for facilitation of oral teaching.
Yes. Well, the previous saying indicated that the presence, the reality, the fact of Jesus would stir up contention among our various component strands. The one before pointed us toward non-3D beings or, let’s say, non-3D aliveness. And the second reminder, that this would be read and discussed, reminds me that it was not intended to be kept secret from any who wanted to know and were capable of understanding.
Very well. Little here requiring explanation. Jesus promised to give them greater awareness, first-hand experience, all in pursuit, as he said, of life more abundantly, with the ultimate purpose of them seeing life and therefore living life as it is, rather than as any fog of inability to see straight would lead them.
We got stalled, mid-sentence. I’m not sure the sentence ended as it should have.
Let’s say, then, rather than seeing life only though dreams, prejudice, superstitions, distractions, inability to concentrate, emotional interference. Better?
It gives a vivid idea of the obstacle course we run.
However, bear in mind, learning to see straight, to think clearly, to feel appropriately, is only the first step. From there it becomes a question of what you see, think, feel when you do see straight. Seeing is not looking. Seeing is looking and perceiving, that is, making sense of what you see. It isn’t automatic.
We need guides, in other words.
Guidance comes “internally” and “externally,” in 3D life. It’s a matter of holding intent, and paying attention. Similar words, but not identical. Similar processes, but not identical.
So when Jesus would no longer be in 3D, the disciples would nonetheless have the Holy Spirit.
That is how it looks from a 3D point of view. Can you see – once we point it out – that internal and external, being merely 3D appearance, cannot be [separate in] reality even in matters of the spirit or of mental operations or of perception?
I can. What the Christians called the Holy Spirit was not (is not) external to them – there being no such thing as “external.” Therefore in a real sense, it, and Jesus, and everything are internal, that is, integral to the one that is everything, of which we are all part.
You’re learning. But then, you have had the advantage of a Catholic School education and the rejection of that education and then the seeing it with new eyes. Easier for you in this case than for, say, Colin Wilson, who knew not the belief structure from inside, but only from outside.
Once you readjust to realize that there is no separate “external” world, that it is a part of you as you are of it, then many things may become clear.
A lot of things that seem like superstition make sense, or at least you can feel how they make sense, even if you can’t know it.
And some thing are superstitions. There is no more certainty here than elsewhere. You always have to remind yourself that you may be mistaken.
Thank you, Mr. Cromwell. [Oliver Cromwell famously sent a message to disputing theologians: “I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, to consider that you may be mistaken.”]
Nonetheless, he was theologically on firmer ground than those he admonished (unsuccessfully). Now, this is a short session, but nothing wrong with that. More another time.
It’s true, I’m feeling lazy. Next time, then.
Hamilton as Secretary of the Treasury
Alexander Hamilton served as the first Secretary of the Treasury for only a little more than five years, from on September 11, 1789, to January 31, 1795. Yet in that time, he did the work that established the nation’s finances, even though Gallatin would soon revise much of Hamilton’s structure.
In considering Hamilton’s role in the cabinet, it is worth remembering that he, like his colleagues, looked backward as well as forward. Their only applicable governmental models were British (because of their heritage) and Dutch (because that was a viable republic). Although we think of the Secretary of State as the senior Cabinet member, it was natural for Hamilton to look to the British model, where the Chancellor of the Exchequer rated only below the prime minister. Since Washington was head of state as well as head of government, presumably Hamilton would fall heir to certain responsibilities and perquisites that would otherwise be those of the prime minister. So when Hamilton meddled in the affairs of State and War departments, presumably he regarded his interference as proper. What Jefferson and Knox thought was another story. And in fact Washington did often request Hamilton’s advice and assistance in non-Treasury matters, in a sense using him in his familiar role as staff officer.
Hamilton’s tenure as Treasury Secretary is noted for five reports he sent to Congress.
First, in January, 1790, came his Report on Public Credit. Here he proposed that the federal government assume state debts incurred during the Revolution. We won’t go into the objections to the idea, voiced by Jefferson and Madison among others, save to say that serious questions were involved. Hamilton got his way by making a deal with the southerners, agreeing that the permanent national capital would be on the Potomac River, rather than in Philadelphia or elsewhere.
In April, Hamilton submitted a report on imports. Figuring that the United States required $3 million a year for operating expenses plus enough to repay the debt, he proposed increasing the average rate to between 7 and 10 percent from 5 percent, adding numerous items to the list, and passing an excise tax. Congress refused to pass the excise tax, but the tariff increases passed.
In December, Hamilton issued a second Report on Public Credit, often called the Report on a National Bank. Building on the theories of Adam Smith, studies of the operation of the Bank of England, and his own first- and second-hand banking experience, Hamilton suggested that Congress should charter a National Bank, privately held, but publicly funded, similar to the Bank of England, to serve several purposes: (1) monetize the national debt by issuing federal bank notes; (2) process revenue fees and perform fiscal duties for the federal government; and (3) provide a supply of money for businesses. The federal government was to appoint five of the twenty-five bank directors and hold 25% of the Bank’s stock, the money for which it would borrow the money from the bank, and repay in ten annual installments. Private investors would select the other directors and provide the other 80% of the stock.
Representative James Madison objected that Congress did not have the Constitutional authority to grant charters of incorporation. Washington consulted his cabinet as to the bill’s legality. Jefferson and Randolph said it went beyond the enumerated powers, but Hamilton issued a rebuttal that introduced the doctrine of implied powers. As Hamilton put it, “Necessary often means no more than needful, requisite, incidental, useful, or conductive to.” Washington signed.
In January, 1791, Hamilton reported on the Establishment of a Mint, which introduced a national currency. Since the Spanish dollar was the most circulated coin in the United States at the time, Alexander Hamilton proposed minting the U.S. dollar, in decimal form rather than the Spanish “pieces of eight.” Although he personally preferred a single gold standard, he proposed a bimetallic currency, deliberately overpricing gold so as to receive an influx of silver from the West Indies. Congress enacted his ideas in the Coinage Act of 1792, which authorized a ten-dollar Gold Eagle coin, a silver dollar, and fractional money ranging from one-half to fifty cents, and in the creation of the United States Mint in Philadelphia. Coining commenced in 1795.
Finally, in December, 1791, Hamilton issued his Report on Manufactures, which had been requested by Congress nearly two years earlier. In the report, he quoted from The Wealth of Nations but rejected Smith’s ideas of government noninterference; and said that if the United States remained predominantly agrarian, we would be at a disadvantage vis-a-vis Europe. He suggested that the government could assist manufactures by protective tariffs duties on anything that was also manufactured in the United States, and withdrawing the duties on raw materials needed for domestic manufacturing. His proposals for subsidies failed, but virtually every tariff recommendation put forward in the report was adopted by Congress in early 1792. These tariffs were somewhat, but not overly, protectionist: Hamilton didn’t want to discourage imports, because the duties on them were critical to the government’s income.
Historian John Chester Miller has pointed out that, by 1792, “the heavy war debt dating from the struggle for independence had been put in the course of ultimate extinction, the price of government securities had been stabilized close to their face value, hoarded wealth had been brought out of hiding, a system of debt management had been created, the power of the Federal government had been decisively asserted over the states, foreign capital had begun to pour into the United States, and the credit of the Federal government had been solidly established.”
Like Hamilton or dislike him, no one could dispute his ability and energy.
Saturday, May 25, 2019
2:05 a.m. Thomas, Saying 16:
16a Jesus said: People think, perhaps, that I have come to throw peace upon the world. They don’t know that I have come to throw disagreement upon the world, and fire, and sward, and struggle.
16b [For] there will be five in one house. Three will oppose two. Two will oppose three. The father will oppose his son and the son oppose his father. And they will stand up and they will be alone [monochos].
Each time we do this, I am struck by how superficially I have read the material until I have to write it out longhand. You can’t skim while writing. So, what do we make of this one, beyond the obvious?
Perhaps state the obvious, as a beginning.
All right. At first it doesn’t seem much different from what we get in other gospels, that Jesus came to bring strife to the world. “I bring not peace but a sword,” if I remember correctly. I always took that to mean that somehow he – who he was, what that meant – would become a point of contention and that would be a good thing, a productive thing. Of course ever since World War I, anything that promises peace is welcomed, at least in the West, and anything that promotes contention is seen as a bad thing.
And beyond the obvious?
I can’t help wondering if three against two and two against three means more than numbers arbitrarily chosen.
I don’t know what is special about the world monochos, that the translator should include it in brackets to clarify the meaning of alone, but “they will stand up and they will be alone” is not particularly clear to me.
Very well. The previous saying?
We decided it referred to our non-3D and 3D nature. And, interesting that you say that. Did you mean to spark the idea that comes to me?
Whether we did or didn’t, tell the idea, or rather, follow the thought.
Suddenly I wondered if this saying could refer to the effect of Jesus on us internally, each of us individual/communities? Presumably we would (or anyway might) have strands that reacted antagonistically to each other. It would force us to choose what we value, who we want to be. Until now I had been thinking the saying referred to people in society, not also to the society within each of us.
Say this is so. Why would it be Jesus, particularly, having this effect?
I don’t know that he ever says it would only be him.
Regardless, why him?
I suppose if we regard him as an example of perfect synchrony between 3D and non-3D, maybe something within us naturally relates. An example of charisma, in effect, the attractiveness of wholeness.
Not only the attractiveness: To some it is a threat.
Yes, we’ve seen it in our day with Kennedy, and Franklin Roosevelt before him, to name only two. People were taken by them or violently rejected them, with a smaller middle ground than usual
And they were nowhere near as unified as Jesus. He filled a certain type of man with overwhelming fear and therefore hatred. This in addition to – or perhaps it would be closer to say by the same process as – filling others with love and devotion to the point that they would and did walk away from their old lives without looking back.
Now, consider. Jesus came into the world to exemplify perfect congruence between 3D and non-3D, or, as it would have been phrased then, between himself as a man, and God. The natural effect of wholeness is attractiveness or repulsion, depending upon the nature of the person responding, and this reaction is outside the control of the conscious 3D mind. That is, it is not a matter of making a decision; one’s nature decides instantly. You might say, decides in advance. But given that you as individuals consist of other 3D individuals in other times, that are nonetheless alive within you – what do you do if this one, this bundle itself of traits and values – is instantly attracted and another is instantly repulsed? There is no reason to expect things to balance out; rather, three against two, two against three.
“And they will stand up and they will be alone”?
Take a second and ponder that – and your readers should too – before continuing.
Sounds to me like, “they will become alert, and will decide, regardless of what other aspects may do” – or, perhaps, let’s say in ignorance of what other aspects will do.
So this is the individual process – that is, the process within the individual – that his presence precipitates. The equivalent process between individuals, the common understanding of the saying, is actually less observable.
Less observable? Don’t we mean less intense?
Yes, that will do. Within an individual, the process of division has no modulation. It is not a matter of “externals” – that is, of slowed-down, apparently unconnected, reactions – but of internals, which means not only immediate but, often enough, out of range of observation. Knowing what you think and feel is often quite difficult, as life will have demonstrated to you. One external individual in relation to another is, in effect, one set of compromises or adjustments in relation to another set of compromises or adjustments. There is apt to be less extremism between individuals as experienced in 3D than within them.
And this situation helps us, how?
It is better to know than to not know, to be awake and alert than asleep and oblivious, to use your time in 3D than to let it slip by. You understand, we are not speaking of externals.
This is connected with “I have come that you may have life more abundantly,” isn’t it?
What your day finds hard to understand is how profoundly the human situation changed when Jesus lived among the world of his day. Things fundamentally changed, and continued to change as the altered consciousness spread from person to person, and found communities, and raised children into it. The story of Christianity when told as external conversion of opinions misses the reality entirely, and of course when it was coopted and coerced into being an arm of the state, or even as a pillar of society without coercive powers, this was not only beside the point but contrary to the point. However, all this lay in the future, which as always would have to take care of itself. What Jesus did was change what it meant to be human. It took a while to spread, but from his ministry dates a new kind of 3D relation to the non-3D. Such increased access cannot be revoked; you can’t go home again, and why would you want to? Only, no step is ever final. Now it is time for another (and not the first since then, either), and it is spreading through the world, as it always does, not externally but internally.
Enough for the moment. Our thanks for your attention and for the work involved in pondering new material, new ways of perceiving.
And as always our thanks for the information.
Thursday, May 23, 2019
10:25 p.m. Saying 15:
Jesus said: When you see someone not born from a woman, prostrate yourselves and worship him; he is your father.
Certainly cryptic enough. And it seems to me maybe that quotation I cited the other day was not from Jung, though that’s what the guys said. But I wouldn’t know where to find it.
Friday, May 24, 2019
5:20 a.m. I guess I’m ready if you are. I can’t make much of this one, offhand. (Though, I keep saying that, and you do keep making sense of them.) So –?
The preceding sayings?
Getting hard to summarize them. Why don’t you do it?
Remember the aim: to clarify the human condition in light of 3D/non-3D interactions. Who are you, really? What are your origins, limitations, and possibilities? This one says, here is another clue, one you would be unlikely to come to without assistance.
How can someone be not born from a woman?
Either it is a metaphor, or it describes something unknown to us. I suppose I have read somewhere one of those irritatingly cryptic sayings of one of my contemporaries or near-contemporaries saying there are two ways to enter this life, and one is through the female body – and that is all it said, leaving the impression that he could say more if he chose (only he didn’t choose) – or that he was a fraud. But to have Jesus recorded as saying it, well, his message was to live with integrity, so if in anything he was to lie or even to pretend, his authority would collapse.
Meaning, you are forced to assume this saying means something, whether or not you can figure it out.
That’s about it. As you say, how can anyone be not born from a woman?
Look, though, at the whole statement at once, not one element at a time. How can he be your father? Why should you worship him?
It’s all Greek to me. Again, I get the feeling that you don’t know either.
At any rate, you are clear that you do not.
And if we do not know, our authority falls to the ground, as we are postulated to know everything.
Well that’s still my assumption, on a practical level, yes.
Go rest a while, and return to this.
While you look something up?
If you wish to think of it that way.
It isn’t like you haven’t known for hours what this saying is.
7:30 a.m. So I rested, I slept, dreamed. I’m willing to go at it again, but without a lot of expectation. How can someone be not born from woman? I say “someone,” but it can only be a man, if we are to recognize him as our “father.” So, what is it about, really?
You know from other scriptures that Jesus talked of being born again, of water and the spirit.
Yes, that one always puzzled his contemporaries, his listeners.
Later it became widely understood to mean, attaining a new conscious life, a new beginning, one might say.
Can’t say as I remember hearing it described that way.
Well, look at it.
All right. Funny, the movie “Limitless” comes into mind.
It is a very good metaphor. Eddie Morra lives in a different world once he totally absorbs the increase in perception and cognitive ability. Now he has superhuman abilities, as it were. It is only an analogy, but it does have its instructive aspects. What Jesus was offering, you will recall, was life more abundantly.
So if we meet someone who has become so fundamentally transformed, so awakened and realized, we are to bow low and consider him our father?
Look behind the human face to the non-3D reality being addressed.
Hmm. Meaning, bow low to the greater being from which we sprang, and not to the person expressing it?
Doesn’t that make greater sense?
I don’t see the advantage of confusing that higher being with the 3D person through whom it expresses.
The point is that then there isn’t a difference between them; that the 3D person and the greater being it expresses are one.
“I and my father re one.”
Well, that is an interesting take on it. I can’t very well argue with it, given that I couldn’t come up with anything at all. Now tell me, why couldn’t we get this at 5:30 in the morning? It isn’t like that was a long time ago. It isn’t like coffee was involved, since I’ve given it up at least temporarily. It isn’t for the sake of the little dreams I had, forgotten now but no big deal even at the time. What is the difference?
We have told you that different moments have different connective possibilities. What is available at one moment may not be available at another moment.
In this case, I can’t see why. The connections you just provided are long familiar to me in other contexts, and you didn’t have to lead me to them by a process of reasoning or of association. So how did time enter into it?
That is going to have to remain one of life’s mysteries.
We never set up to explain everything. Let’s stick to the point.
Well, all I can say is, I’ll be damned.
You won’t, however. Now listen, there is no need for you to begin with another saying merely because this is short. Send it out, and then do other things.
Yes, I think I will. Thanks. Maybe someday you’ll enter into how lapse of time entered into this. Till next time.
Tuesday, May 21, 2019
9:50 p.m. It proved helpful to write out the long saying in advance. I’ll do it again. Saying 14:
14a Jesus said to them: If you fast you will bring sin to yourselves, and if you pray you will be condemned, and if you give to charity you will damage your spirits.
14b When you go into a region and walk around in the rural areas, whenever people receive you, eat whatever they provide for you, and heal their sick.
14c For what goes into your mouth will not defile you, but what comes out of your mouth can defile you.
Wednesday, May 22, 2019
3:55 a.m. All right, friends. Shall we tackle Saying 14? Parts b and c are familiar from other gospels. Perhaps they were cryptic or secret for a while. But their relation to part a escapes me, or rather, the definitiveness rather than the potential of part a escapes me. I could easily see it if the saying said, “you might” rather than “you will,” but the translator seems to have been careful even if he didn’t always understand the meaning of what he was translating, so I work from the assumption that the saying does mean “will” and not “may.” So, clarification, please? Why would performing righteous actions lead to sin, condemnation, and damage to one’s spirit?
And the context provided by the preceding sayings?
I don’t see the connection. And I may have to go back to bed for a bit.
Go, then. But don’t put your mind on it, let it go until you return to it.
5:10 a.m. Okay, let’s try again.
Your assumption is that the intended meaning is, “External actions do not guarantee righteousness,” more or less. So, you are bothered that the saying seems to say that righteousness will lead one astray.
I suppose so, yes.
What if one is required by life to do one’s share of good and evil, and that to attempt to be wholly good, to do nothing but good, would be one-sided rather than admirable, fanatical rather than whole?
I’d have a difficult time believing that Jesus, say, knowingly did evil, chose to do evil.
And there you are, you see.
I do not see.
Here is a saying you would revolt against. It would not be impossible to conceive of others. In another corner of your mind you remember the saying of Carl Jung that it is better to be whole than to be good.
I hadn’t thought of it for a while, but yes, I do. Something like when a man realizes that it is better to be whole than to be good, then his path really becomes difficult, something like that.
Why should it be different for the most complete, whole man who ever existed?
Meaning, I take it, that we still don’t understand good and evil very well.
Meaning that you have forgotten or put into a closet what you have been told and did at one time understand about the difference between reality and the 3D assumption of duality, the “perception of things as good and evil” that was the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden.
It’s true, I wasn’t thinking in those terms. It’s hard sometimes to associate sets of ideas when they seem to cut against each other.
And that is when it is most useful to do so.
So, then, a possible meaning is, what? Don’t think you can be entirely good? That we can’t be good merely by following rules, I understand. But that we can’t be good not due to human frailty but due to the nature of things, that’s harsh. Is it also true?
Look at it another way, and much will come clear. Why should you – any of you – expect to be a thing apart from everyone else? To strive for perfection (whatever one’s definition of perfection) is one thing. To attain it is not possible, nor even desirable.
Not even desirable.
It would reinforce too limited an ideal. We keep reminding you, an ideal that can be lived is not an ideal but a goal. An ideal is sufficiently high that it can only be lived toward.
So maybe Jesus told Thomas a couple of advanced truths about the way the world really is, and Thomas rightly told the others they were in no way ready to hear it.
Surely that is obvious.
Well then, what are we to do? How is this to help us, beyond opening our eyes to the way things are rather than the way we would like them to be, or the way we think they are?
That in itself is the help. It is always better to see through the illusions one has been taking for real, only one must be ready for the newer truth.
Okay, so now we are reminded that it is better to be whole than to be good, however that plays out, how are we to live the saying?
Continue on the examination of the book. That wasn’t the culmination, by a long shot. It wasn’t even the end of the beginning.
And I remember – belatedly – that these sayings were not secret from the early community, only from the world. So they would have been familiar with this one too, and at least some of them would have been led through its implications.
Yes, and the implications are not – as will be thought immediately by the superficial – that it doesn’t matter what you do and, in fact, doesn’t matter what you value, good or evil. It is a more subtle point, easily lost (and therefore such sayings are hidden, lest just that kind of misunderstanding seem to get endorsement) which is that good and evil themselves are not what they seem. There would have been talks about that, no less.
So, don’t expect actions to overcome essence; don’t observe taboos as if they were in and of themselves valid; remember that it is not what you are but what you do that changes you.
I sort of see where you get that last, but I don’t think many people will say that’s what 14c means.
No, they may stop at the obvious, that one should be careful of one’s actions and need not avoid certain taboos. But it is also deeper than that. You are good and evil; you express good and evil (in that you act as conduits for vast impersonal forces that are beyond good and evil, and you are also conduits – generators, almost – of vast personal forces arising from your particular makeup.
And – I seem to see you saying – there’s nothing wrong with it.
You may not like it, you may wish it were otherwise, but that is the truth, and nothing beats the truth.
Difficult to see how to live this. Should we choose to do evil? Surely not.
Now you are into difficult territory. We return to situational ethics, as we discussed a while ago. Do not do what is wrong to you. That [i.e., not doing what is wrong to you] will satisfy your nature. You are not created to represent the [whole] world; you are created to represent one thin sliver of the world. Whatever you do that is true to that sliver will be accepted. Trying to be something else may itself be of the nature of your sliver, or how could the urge arise? But, you see, there is no one pattern that could be right for one and all. Live your nature and that is the best you can do. If your nature calls you to become more than you are, so much the better, but it has to be in your nature or you will never feel so called.
A lot to chew on, here.
That’s the idea. Discussion among you will lead you farther, as it did in the time of the first disciples, and as it does her and there to this day.
Enough for the moment. And, do take a day off.
If you say so. Okay, thanks as always.
[In typing this up, I thought perhaps I could find that Jung quotation in my quotation files. Didn’t find it, but found a wealth of others (many from his Memories, Dreams, Reflections), very appropriate to this topic. Here is one. A. I. Allenby visited Carl Jung soon after World War II. This excerpt from his description of his visit is from the book C. G. Jung Speaking, page 158.
[Another time Jung reverted to the problem of self-doubt, using a further example by way of illustration. “Our needs and desires are always active,” he said. “Trouble occurs only if they are active in the unconscious, if we do not take them consciously in hand so as to give them a definite form and direction. If we refuse to do this we are dragged along by them to become their victim. Then they are like a sledge rushing downhill snow, with no one at the steering-ropes. You must place yourself firmly at the steering-ropes, not hang on at the back or, worse, be unwilling to take the ride at all – that only lands you in panic. Our unconscious energies give momentum to our journey through life and, if we direct our course, our actions will have strength; we may even sense that God is behind us.”]
Tuesday, May 21, 2019
6:50 a.m. Taking a day off from Thomas probably. But I entered the saying, and I can transcribe it into the computer, and I will be that far ahead. Nothing wrong with a day off, once in a while.
Jesus asked his disciples: Make a comparison, what am I like? Simon Peter replied: You are like a righteous messenger. Matthew replied: You are like an intelligent lover of wisdom. Thomas replied: Teacher, I cannot possibly say what you are like. Jesus said to Thomas: I am not your teacher; you have drunk from and become intoxicated from the bubbling water that I poured out. Jesus took Thomas and they withdrew. Jesus said three things to him. When Thomas returned to the other disciples, they asked him: What did Jesus tell you? Thomas replied: If I tell you even one of the sayings that he told me, you would pick up stones and throw them at me, and fire would come out of those stones and burn you up.
11 a.m. All right, a couple of errands taken care of, might as well at least try to address this puzzling saying. Rather than my taking a crack at it, how about if you fine friends lead the way?
We can do that. Though, it would have been all right to take the day off. As you have been told before, ultimately it helps.
I understand. But, let’s do it anyway.
Your first question, in reading this one, was whether it was particularly important that the Saying specifically mention Simon Peter’s and Matthew’s responses before getting to Thomas. Surely you don’t think that a gospel of Sayings, the fruit of a long oral tradition and the material to be used to guide future discussions, could have any extraneous elements in it. Surely they would have been worn off in the many retellings before it was written, don’t you think?
I don’t know. Wouldn’t it depend upon the identity of the author of the written account? But no, come to think of it, I guess not. So why was it important to list those two responses? To show the relative incomprehension of the others? To recall two ways Jesus was seen?
You will remember, James the Just was to be their leader, yet Simon Peter was “the rock upon whom I will found my church.”
If that isn’t a later interpolation.
Interpolation or not, Peter’s influence on the early church can scarcely be disregarded.
And Matthew was the evangelist whose gospel is always placed first, though apparently not the first to have been written.
You are searching for plausible reasons for Peter and Matthew to be specifically cited here. What if they were the only ones to respond before Thomas, and of course no one would venture an opinion after Jesus took Thomas to the side and told him things.
So the significance of this is –?
Examine every part of a saying, or a scripture in general, as oral traditions, too. There are no irrelevancies in oral tradition, because although many seeming irrelevancies are included, it will be found that each illumines some aspect of what is to be told or it would not have been endlessly repeated.
Well, a “righteous messenger” indicates seeing Jesus as perhaps more the conduit of a message than as a phenomenon in himself.
Yes, very good. It misses the extraordinary nature of Jesus. Perhaps takes it for granted, but certainly puts the center of gravity elsewhere.
And “an intelligent lover of wisdom” seems more like a philosopher. Again, not wrong, but sort of missing the most important thing.
But we then see Thomas saying he couldn’t possibly say. I assume that Jesus responds not so much to the statement as to something he sees of Thomas’ state of being.
Both, rather. To say he couldn’t say was a good answer, because of what lay behind it. Had he said the same words, but meaning “Beats me,” neither the meaning nor the result would have been the same.
And Jesus told him three things, which we never learn. Will we ever learn them?
Without answering that question directly, consider this. Why assume you have not already heard those things, perhaps many times. Perhaps as dogma or ritual responses?
That puts a different slant on Jesus saying that there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed.
You could look at it that way. Time tends to uncover secrets, even as it renders the well-known obscure or even forgotten.
And then we come to the completely opaque: Thomas says to his inquiring fellow disciples that if he were to tell them even one of the things Jesus had said, (a) they’d try to stone Thomas, and (b) the stones would emit fire that would burn them up. What sense is to be made of this?
What does it seem to say to you?
Thomas thinks they would either be jealous, or, more likely, would think he was blaspheming. That’s (a).
Does this argue a lack of faith by Thomas in his fellow disciples? Remember, this is not a private letter, nor a journal entry. This was preserved to be part of an on-going oral commentary tradition, presumably for some constructive aim. So why include it?
When you put it that way, all I can think is that the future communities would be on record that Jesus had told Thomas secret things – secret even from the others, that might have been considered scandalous by them and might have tempted them to violence, either thinking themselves justified or losing control.
And what purpose would that serve?
It would increase Thomas’ stature, I suppose.
And you think that would be an appropriate sentiment in a scripture?
No, I don’t. But it would.
It would, but it was not inserted for that purpose. There’s a difference.
Maybe to reassure them that not even the disciples knew everything at the time, and that enlightenment (if we should call it that) is a process rather than one fast leap.
What about (b)?
I don’t have any idea. For this one, we really need you.
Isn’t it to say, in effect, that nature – or supernature, say – would defend Thomas if that were to happen? That the very weapons they intended to use against him would turn against them and destroy them?
Maybe. I can’t say I see the point or the helpfulness of this saying.
The sayings have been building one upon the other, each new one upon all the others together. The overall theme is still: What is the proper place of 3D in your lives. In that context, what does this saying add?
What I missed till now, re-reading it, is something I’d seen earlier and had forgotten. Thomas absorbed something from Jesus’ very presence that changed him and made him eligible to hear these very dangerous truths. Or, let’s say, truths that may be dangerous (and completely futile) to express to the uninitiated.
Exactly so. Jesus said I am not the one who taught you that: You picked it up on your own, as a side-effect of being in my presence. Not mere physical presence, for all of them had had that, and indeed still were having it. Call it, the non-3D-connected energetic presence of Jesus. Thomas, perceiving it, had graduated, one might say.
The point of this Saying, as all of them ultimately, is that humans are far more in potential than they are in actuality – but that situation can be changed, and Jesus had come to show them how.
And enough for now.
I’ll have to re-read this and think about it. thanks as always.