David Brakke on Gnosticism and the Gospel of Thomas

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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mlinssen
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Re: David Brakke on Gnosticism and the Gospel of Thomas

Post by mlinssen »

andrewcriddle wrote: Mon May 03, 2021 8:13 am The Gospel of Thomas clearly requires interpretation.
These are the secret sayings that the living Jesus spoke and Didymos Judas Thomas recorded.

1. And he said, "Whoever discovers the interpretation of these sayings will not taste death."
There may be a difference between the plain meaning of Thomas, which I agree is not Gnostic in the narrow sense, and the way the original authors of Thomas wished enlightened readers to understand it.

Andrew Criddle
Exactly that

It is a text meant for self study. I've kicked off the first 13+1 logia, that should get people in the right direction

Maybe when I'm retired I'll do the remainder...
davidmartin
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Re: David Brakke on Gnosticism and the Gospel of Thomas

Post by davidmartin »

The stereotype gnostic idea - a secret piece of knowledge that once understood allows one to become a god. Bonus points if it's a password that permits ascent past hostile entities!
I recon there were gnostics who met this stereotype, what with the magical papyri and some of the patristic accounts, etc
But back to Thomas, it doesn't really fit this pattern too well
The duality of spirit and matter isn't too useful IMO anyway - what if matter isn't held contemptable, it's just that spirit is so much better? Thomas seems to be against seeing things purely in dualistic terms so can it be categorised by those same terms?
The Gnostics attached a cosmological myth to the origins of matter and spirit but if these have the same origin that myth falls apart pretty quick, so Thomas might have been heretical to gnostics just as much as it was apparently to orthadoxy, if Thomas is vague or suggestive on this point. All i'm saying is Thomas shouldn't be forced into a box unless you can find a box it fits perfectly in

PS No i didn't listen to Brakke and i'm sure he's making some great points and stirring debate which is a good thing, not sure about the Platonic background to Thomas he's seeing though makes sense to me
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Re: David Brakke on Gnosticism and the Gospel of Thomas

Post by mlinssen »

davidmartin wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 12:59 am The stereotype gnostic idea - a secret piece of knowledge that once understood allows one to become a god. Bonus points if it's a password that permits ascent past hostile entities!
I recon there were gnostics who met this stereotype, what with the magical papyri and some of the patristic accounts, etc
But back to Thomas, it doesn't really fit this pattern too well
The duality of spirit and matter isn't too useful IMO anyway - what if matter isn't held contemptable, it's just that spirit is so much better? Thomas seems to be against seeing things purely in dualistic terms so can it be categorised by those same terms?
The Gnostics attached a cosmological myth to the origins of matter and spirit but if these have the same origin that myth falls apart pretty quick, so Thomas might have been heretical to gnostics just as much as it was apparently to orthadoxy, if Thomas is vague or suggestive on this point. All i'm saying is Thomas shouldn't be forced into a box unless you can find a box it fits perfectly in

PS No i didn't listen to Brakke and i'm sure he's making some great points and stirring debate which is a good thing, not sure about the Platonic background to Thomas he's seeing though makes sense to me
Bolding mine

Thomas rejects everything that can be rejected really, and in order to do that of course he has to name it.
But he alternates through the different definitions of flesh, body, spirit and indeed continuously stresses, and even woes, dependence of one upon the other as well as one driving the other. The only way I can interpret that is that he rejects the division per se, the duality of it all
davidmartin
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Re: David Brakke on Gnosticism and the Gospel of Thomas

Post by davidmartin »

mlinssen wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 6:29 am Thomas rejects everything that can be rejected really, and in order to do that of course he has to name it.
But he alternates through the different definitions of flesh, body, spirit and indeed continuously stresses, and even woes, dependence of one upon the other as well as one driving the other. The only way I can interpret that is that he rejects the division per se, the duality of it all
that's what i find most interesting
it's suggesting one can unite opposites while still separating good from evil - which gets resolved by going beyond 2 dimensional thinking
so both duality and non-duality work together in it, a bit like quantum mechanics seems to do impossible things
If this were so, it's a major problem to a pure Gnostic mindset that embraced duality big time for it's solution. Thomas is mystical yeah, but gnostic?
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Re: David Brakke on Gnosticism and the Gospel of Thomas

Post by mlinssen »

davidmartin wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 3:23 pm
mlinssen wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 6:29 am Thomas rejects everything that can be rejected really, and in order to do that of course he has to name it.
But he alternates through the different definitions of flesh, body, spirit and indeed continuously stresses, and even woes, dependence of one upon the other as well as one driving the other. The only way I can interpret that is that he rejects the division per se, the duality of it all
that's what i find most interesting
it's suggesting one can unite opposites while still separating good from evil - which gets resolved by going beyond 2 dimensional thinking
so both duality and non-duality work together in it, a bit like quantum mechanics seems to do impossible things
If this were so, it's a major problem to a pure Gnostic mindset that embraced duality big time for it's solution. Thomas is mystical yeah, but gnostic?
Thomas is not that mystical, it is a fairly clear and logical text about how we become dualised when we grow up. It certainly isn't Gnostic, his entire "theory of origin" is that we came from the light

I'd be interested in your opinion on my Thomas Commentary

https://www.academia.edu/46974146/Compl ... ary_Part_I

Get it while it's hot! :cheeky:
davidmartin
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Re: David Brakke on Gnosticism and the Gospel of Thomas

Post by davidmartin »

mlinssen wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 11:43 pm
davidmartin wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 3:23 pm
mlinssen wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 6:29 am Thomas rejects everything that can be rejected really, and in order to do that of course he has to name it.
But he alternates through the different definitions of flesh, body, spirit and indeed continuously stresses, and even woes, dependence of one upon the other as well as one driving the other. The only way I can interpret that is that he rejects the division per se, the duality of it all
that's what i find most interesting
it's suggesting one can unite opposites while still separating good from evil - which gets resolved by going beyond 2 dimensional thinking
so both duality and non-duality work together in it, a bit like quantum mechanics seems to do impossible things
If this were so, it's a major problem to a pure Gnostic mindset that embraced duality big time for it's solution. Thomas is mystical yeah, but gnostic?
Thomas is not that mystical, it is a fairly clear and logical text about how we become dualised when we grow up. It certainly isn't Gnostic, his entire "theory of origin" is that we came from the light

I'd be interested in your opinion on my Thomas Commentary

https://www.academia.edu/46974146/Compl ... ary_Part_I

Get it while it's hot! :cheeky:
Yeah that is good I read about half and learned something 'reign over his all', that makes a lot more sense now
a king who works cause of having personal sovereignty?

Thomas says what it needs to say compactly like a zip file!
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Jax
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Re: David Brakke on Gnosticism and the Gospel of Thomas

Post by Jax »

Really enjoying the lectures!
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