a gnostic Jesus

The Gospel of Thomas was discovered in the Nag Hammadi library, a collection of gnostic texts discovered in 1945. Most scholars date the original Gospel of Thomas to the middle of the second century. One of the most interesting facets of this text is that it is a “sayings” gospel. It does not provide narrative, but only a list of sayings by Jesus (almost no one believes they are authentic quotes). Contrast to this the four gospels in the Bible; each can be described as a passion narrative with a long intro. In other words, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John focus on the death and resurrection of Jesus. The Gospel of Thomas does not mention the death and resurrection of Jesus, only quotes. The quotes listed in the Gospel of Thomas somewhat mirror Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. But sometimes the quotes widely vary from what it found in the Bible:

77 Jesus said, “I am the light that is over all things. I am all: from me all came forth, and to me all attained. Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there.”

It may be hard to understand the exact point of this verse. The Gnostics wrote very cryptic sayings. The point of Gnosticism was so that only a select few would understand the true meaning.

If the Gnostics were mirroring the Mystery religions, this text might be proclaiming something like a focus item. The Mystery religions held mundane items as contemplative objects mean to inspire spirituality. Splitting a piece of wood or lifting stones might be a contemplative action.

But if the Gnostics were mirroring the Platonists, this verse might really be a claim for omnipresence of Jesus. Jesus might be said to be in all things. They have Jesus saying “I am all”, which might be related to Plato’s theory of Forms. Jesus is everywhere and nowhere, representing perfection.

If the latter is true, the Gnostic were much closer to the Calvinist’s perceptions of Jesus than the Calvinists might like to admit.

About christopher fisher

The blog is meant for educational/entertainment purposes. All material can be used and reproduced in any length for any purpose as long as I am cited as the source.
This entry was posted in Gnostics, History, Jesus, Mystery Cults, Omnipresence, Theology. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to a gnostic Jesus

  1. Tom Torbeyns says:

    Omnipresence I guess?

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