Sunday, October 17, 2004

From Within You

In the early eighties, I picked up a copy of the Nag Hammadi Library, a book with english translation of ancient manuscripts found in the Egyption dessert in the forties. It is mostly gnostic material and very boring, with one major exception, a work titled "The Gospel of Thomas". It consists mostly of short sayings of Jesus in quick succession, in apparent random order. Scholars agree that it was written no later than mid-2nd century of the Christian era and some place it in the first century. It is short, only 114 verses. About two-thirds of the sayings are identical or similar to material in the gospels. Reading through it the first time was exciting because of the unpredictable nature of the material. In between somewhat familiar passages would be some rather wild and unexpected ones. Some of the sayings had a Zen feel to them. I do not take this book as representing what Jesus actually said, but believe it was a flawed but honest take on what some early christians perceived. Here is an example.

Verse 70 Jesus says: When you bring forth that which is within you, this that you have shall save you.

Now this statement taken by itself can mean almost anything we want it to, good or bad. But I kinda think it does contain a truth. One of discernment can and should bring forth what is within. For further information regarding the Gospel of Thomas, there is The Gospel of Thomas home page and the Gospel of Thomas Commentary, for starters.

No comments:

Blog Archive