Is there a similar progression to the sayings in Thomas 22.1-7? I would love to see it, because at the moment it looks to me like the only reason Thomas has a saying about eyes and hands and feet at this point is because Matthew and Mark have a saying about eyes and hands and feet at this point. I am more than willing to be persuaded otherwise, but that is how it appears to me here and now.
Now that is the real challenge, of course
First off all, hands and feet are quite a trademark in Thomas: 1 verb with hands (fill-hands), 6+1 adjectives (from-the-hand-of, by-the-hand), 7 nouns (hand), plus 2 for right hand and left hand.
Feet? 3 occurrences of the plural, 5 of the singular. And 2 verbs: stand on foot.
So, plenty of those in Thomas: 17 and 10
But why does Thomas follow up his children and kingdom with hands and feet, is the question. And unfortunately, the only way out there is interpretation, there are no literal textual leads in the text of logion 22
Babies drinking milk are at the centre of the scene, IS pointing them out is what draws the attention: these little persons taking milk, they liken to those who enter the kingdom!
Naturally, the dumb disciples bite. "So if we become little persons, we will enter the kingdom?" - and they skip the milk part, and add the future tense.
IS corrects them, of course, and points them once more to the point of making the two one, and follows an elaborate set of examples like the old and new wine, logion 47:
Thomas is lovely concise and complete here: he first posits his theorem that no one can handle two objects simultaneously, inanimate (47a) or animate, when he elaborates on that in serving two masters at the same time (47b). Then he zooms in on the aspect of time by exemplifying one side of the coin (47c), building a case for the fact that it takes time to transition from one object to the other object, from old to new.
Switching back to inanimate objects he then handles the compatibility of these specific two objects, the old and the new, while shedding light on both sides: they are mutually incompatible because new destroys old and old splits (sic) new (47d). And then in (47e) he falls back on the example in (47c) with this time looking at the other side of the coin: (47c) shows that old doesn't immediately desire new, (47e) shows that new doesn't desire or endure (a piece of) the old.
Thomas is perfectly balanced, unbiased, looking at old and new from both sides
Likewise, the set of examples unfolds here:
"Continue to make the two one" is the general instruction (that will allow you to enter the kingdom) and Thomas elaborates on that with two examples: make the inward part like the outward part (and vice versa), and the heaven part like the ground part: all "parts" - yet all of them concepts, and none tangible.
Clear opposites, all of these
So then he moves a step up, and gets a little closer to reality: male vs female. More tangible, yet still fairly conceptual at start, when he instructs to "make the male female-dom to one alone".
Are these opposites? Not really, more like two of a kind, parts of a pair. They are somewhat opposite yet they also belong together.
Moving closer, he explains that the goal should be that male shouldn't be made male nor female be made female: again, two examples
And then he finally moves to tangible subjects, although those still are concepts - because it is all about concepts what he is trying to tell, the entire idea of the kingdom is about concepts and concepts alone
So finally, he moves down to the last set, the third set...
The instruction right here? "Make eyes in the place of an eye", and it is a pun on the well-known Thomasine 'hear-hear': use your eye well, very well, open your eye so wide that it becomes eyes - or something the like.
And then he furthers the singular-plural set, and continues with tangible objects just like eyes: hands and feet - and again, we see two examples. Hand versus hand, feet versus feet, and it is all in perfect balance once again: eyes is plural, eye is singular - and he follows up with hand first, and then feet.
Are hands and feet opposites? No. Two of a kind? No. Counterparts? No. Yet we do see them "together", and we do treat them like opposites, don't we? Odd, isn't it? And thus we are delivered by Thomas on the doorstep of our destination: to think about the image that we assign to our concepts...
The end? The end is the summary, just like the beginning to logion 47: no one can serve two masters. Right here, Thomas has slowly guided us from opposites to counterparts, conceptual to tangible, but the entire subject has been concepts: images - and that is the double whammy at the end, the clue. Make an image in place of an image: replace the images in your head, contemplate the concepts in your mind
It is mesmerisingly beautiful, all of Thomas is. But not if you try to relate it to the canonicals, not if you go straight into some assumed biblical interpretation, not if you think that Thomas tells about a Jesus, any Jesus that we know.
I have tried, of course, to find the Christian Jesus in Thomas - that's what everyone does I think, unless one has never heard of the Christian Jesus.
I have tried, for months, and have gone through all parallels, with great thanks to Steven Davies and his misericordia site. But I have horribly and utterly failed to find either one in either, I simply can't, and I have given up that little quest: only with tremendous effort can one continuously try very hard to make Christian sense of Thomas - and one will fail miserably most of the time
Thomas is deeply philosophical, challenging, and is the greatest poet of prose that I have ever encountered. His work is truly magnificent and it will keep me busy for another few years - but it's all worth it