The Gospel of Thomas Group Project

including those referred to as 'spiritual' by those concerned
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Re: The Gospel of Thomas Group Project

Postby Lúthien » Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:44 am

ginnie wrote:I would be interested in hearing more of these Amazonian Shamans. I have met a number of neo-pagans and while many are sincere, I always get the feeling that they are so individualistic that they tend to just dig shallow wells that don't truly hit water, yet when it rains it's cause for great excitement followed by self congratulation.

That's a remarkably spot-on description of what I've seen happening time and again on IV - such as here or here. Or here
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Re: The Gospel of Thomas Group Project

Postby Ginnie » Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:30 pm

We had a huge flood a week ago, with 100k people evacuated out of flooded areas. That meant many of my co-workers were woken in the middle of the night and evacuated which mean I picked up a lot of shifts. Given that I'm already something of a workaholic, that meant extreme hours. I've been doing a lot of research for the first sentence and man you could write a BOOK on that one sentence and I'm finding it a lot of fun, I just realised I missed a crucial element and it was staring right at me!


I can only hope you guys will find it worth it. lol
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Re: The Gospel of Thomas Group Project

Postby Lúthien » Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:33 pm

Right, serious business time now

*rolls up sleeves*

4) Jesus said, "The man old in days will not hesitate to ask a small child seven days old about the place of life, and he will live. For many who are first will become last, and they will become one and the same."


The first one: "The man old in days will not hesitate to ask a small child seven days old about the place of life, and he will live."
This one doesn't seem very difficult. I think that it means: Don't become cocky / conceited. Even if you have the largest amount of skill and experience, never cease to take the experiences of the (seemingly) least experienced seriously. Only thus can you *live* - probably meant in a wider context, such as "only thus you can maintain an open mind / keep in touch with reality / can you prevent getting stuck".

The part "For many who are first will become last, and they will become one and the same": as far as this is meant as a continuation of the first sentence (which I gather from the use of "for"), I'd say that it reminds me of "the dialectics of lead": if you're running ahead of the crowd, chances are that this will eventually disadvantage you.
In a more moral sense, though, it might be a warning against ago-driven development.


5) Jesus said, "Recognize what is in your sight, and that which is hidden from you will become plain to you. For there is nothing hidden which will not become manifest."

I'd interpret this as: "If you are very well aware of the limitations of your knowledge, you will thereby learn more about the things that are outside of your knowledge.".
"For there is nothing hidden which will not become manifest." might mean that this goes for everything: meaning that there is nothing that is essentially un-knowable.


6) His disciples questioned Him and said to Him, "Do you want us to fast? How shall we pray? Shall we give alms? What diet shall we observe?"
Jesus said, "Do not tell lies, and do not do what you hate, for all things are plain in the sight of Heaven. For nothing hidden will not become manifest, and nothing covered will remain without being uncovered."

TBH - I can only make of this something like: disciples are asking for all sorts of detailed directions on How to Live a Good Life.
I imagine Jesus sort of rolling his eyes listening to all that, answering in so many words that they shouldn't worry about following (static) prescriptions, procedures, rules; but should work on developing a high sense of morale, so that they might be the judge of "what's good" themselves.

This includes "not doing what you hate", because it makes no sense to do that. If you hate something, it's either not good; or in case that it is a good thing, you yourself are lacking somewhere - so you better work on that.

All things are plain in the sight of Heaven: all that nitty-gritty is irrelevant; what counts is not that you "act good in a cosmetic way", but that you truly act good on intention.

"For nothing hidden will not become manifest, and nothing covered will remain without being uncovered." Same thing: it's not about performing certain things that merely *look good*; it's about truly *being OK*, because everything counts in this respect.
For example: someone who, on the surface, seems wise and generous, but who does this merely for Public Relation purposes and is secretly and privately a jerk - he might fool a great many people, but he surely can't fool the sight of Heaven (nothing covered will remain without being uncovered).

All in all: be humble, and never count yourself superior. Respect even the least and most insignificant. Don't "act good": "be good".
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Re: The Gospel of Thomas Group Project

Postby Lúthien » Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:35 pm

ginnie wrote:We had a huge flood a week ago, with 100k people evacuated out of flooded areas. That meant many of my co-workers were woken in the middle of the night and evacuated which mean I picked up a lot of shifts. Given that I'm already something of a workaholic, that meant extreme hours.

I wonder, what sort of work do you do?

ginnie wrote:I've been doing a lot of research for the first sentence and man you could write a BOOK on that one sentence and I'm finding it a lot of fun, I just realised I missed a crucial element and it was staring right at me!
I can only hope you guys will find it worth it. lol


I hope I didn't over-simplify it then :s

But sure, it is certainly worth it.
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Re: The Gospel of Thomas Group Project

Postby Ginnie » Sun Jul 07, 2013 10:23 am

HERE IT IS! I hope it's understandable and if not, I'll answer any questions.

Gospel of Thomas Verse 4
The man old in days will not hesitate to ask a small child seven days old about the place of life and he will live. For the first will become last and they will become one and the same.

 
On face, this is an absurd verse. Older men do not ask infants about the place in life or anything of import. This is an interesting verse because on the surface it seems that the ideas within it don't go together, at least initially. With a closer look a theme develops surrounding the virtue of humility or humbleness.


In a scriptural setting the words child and children have a number or meanings. There are times when it speaks of actual children, and times when it's used to describe an unflattering psychological or spiritual immaturity of adults. Such as this verse shows; "But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets and calling unto their fellows." (Matt 11:16)

Very often the converted are called "children" denoting where they are spiritually speaking.


1 John 2:11 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. (deviate err)
1 John 2:12 I write unto you little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his names sake.


In these two verses it can be seen that children is used to signify those who have undergone conversion/awakening.
There are also times when child/children is used to speak of an initiatory level of spiritual development such as can be found in (1 John )I write unto you fathers, because you have known him that is from the beginning, (spiritual maturity a more permanent transformation) I write unto you young men, because you have overcome the wicked one (transformation/salvation), I write unto you, little children because you have known the father. (awakening/conversion)

 
The idea that we have a spritual being/soul in embryonic form is riddled throughout the texts. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone but if it die, it shall bring forth much fruit. (John 12:24) The grain of wheat is the embryo which is destroyed in the process of bringing forth spiritual abundance.

 
Matthew 18:2-5 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them.And said, Verily I say unto you, except you be converted, and become as a little child, you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Whoso ever therefore shall humble himself as a little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whosoever shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth

 
Becoming as a little child is confusing, some take it to mean that knowledge is not important, that study and wisdom are unnecessary. That we are to become innocent again, when this is not possible. As in the Garden of Eden what is known thru eating of the fruit of good and evil cannot be then unknown. So then, what does it mean to become as a child? The answer is given in a clearer manner in (1 Cor 14:22) Bretheren, do not be children in understanding, however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature. It is the becoming free of malice which is the ability that is developed.


If you look at passages in which malice is used you see along with it a number of sins (errors/deviation from our aim of purification of the heart) are mentioned. Being filled will all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, ful of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity, whisperers. Romans 1:29. It's important to look at these verses from an adult perspective, free from the emotional reactions we've been taught to have. Becoming aware of your inner world and what it is comprised of, finding that which assists your aim and also that which hinders it. If your aim is to be free, these egoic manifestations need to be worked on and by that I mean observed. Naming them as bad, undesirable is the act of futility and childish, the self needs to be observed in action, without trying to change anything, and it is thru this passive act that transformation can happen.

 
There arises yet another question, why the use of little to preface the word child? Is there something more to the use of this adjective?


Acts 26:22 Having therefore obtained of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come.
Even in common parlance 'small' means humble, "of humble origin'. In Acts 26:22 this is how it's used and it is used explicitly to mean humble in Matt 18:4 Whoso ever therefore shall humble himself as a little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. It even goes so far as to say that becoming humble is a prerequisite for entering the Kingdom of Heaven.

Luke 18:17 And said, Verily I say unto you, except you be converted, and become as a little child, you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

The last portion of the first part is 'why 7'?
On the seventh day God rested from his labors and creation is finished (Gn 2:2).

The significance of a child seven days old becomes clearer when we look at the number seven and what it may signify.

Seven signifies the completion of an act of creation. This is significant as creation can be contrasted with invention. Creation is out of our control, we can't make ourselves forgive, something has to happen a transformation of energy. Invention is taking parts of creation to make something new but creation is always a mixing of higher and lower energies to bring forth something new. A child seven days old is the creation of a new man. This new man is the initial transformation which is not mature yet newly born.


Our old man is asking the newly awakened about the place of life. Where can this life be found? Upon transformation there is a vivification of the person, into a new life of spirit. It can only be found within.

Mathew 7:14 Because straight is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few that be that find it.

Matthew 16:25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

John 1:4 In him was life and the life was the light of men.

John 4:14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springs up into everlasting life.
John 6:33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven and giveth life unto the word

John 12:25 He that loveth his life shall lose it, and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it until life eternal.

Here are a few passages that speak of 'life'. There are two senses in which this word 'life' is used, firstly it is used to speak of a transformative life, and also there are the two verses; \Matt 16:25, and John 12:25 and both these talk of the pre-transformational life. Both of these verses talk about the need to hate your life, in order to have a second, and non-perishable life. This first life is the life of the ego, if you care to save it, you lose your possibility of a life of being.



Giving up the life of ego is that of examination of your ego, but not only that, there are efforts, silent efforts to sacrifice the rewards of ego. Allowing others to be first, and humbling yourself, not just to feel some sort of virtue but the excercise allows you to see the ego. When we humble ourselves, it pains the ego to do so. It's been trained to want to 'shine' and take it's place of honour as high as it can go. Letting go of the fruits of ego let's you see it in action. It is these acts of humility that allow for something new, a consciousness that is allowed to develop.


"And they shall become one and the same" Meaning they meet in a unification of being, unified and consistent in will. It is our will that is inconsistent because our being lacks unity.



I realise this took much longer than I hoped, I could probably take a few days more to go over it and fix this and that but I'm going to put it up and I can edit a bit later.
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Re: The Gospel of Thomas Group Project

Postby Lúthien » Mon Jul 29, 2013 5:47 pm

You know: I would really like to know whether or not I am interpreting this text too shallow, because - if I am honest - I do not find it very difficult to make sense of at all.

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