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Dale R. Broadhurst
& Vernal Holley

Gospel of Thomas Pericopes
(Roy, Utah: manuscript, 1997, 2010)
  • Introduction
  • "Q" Resources   "Thomas" Resources
  • Text of "Q"   Text of "Thomas"
  • 2003 Risto Uro paper

  • Comments

  • Copyright © 1997 by Vernal Holley -- All rights reserved.


    Thomas Pericopes

    The ancient text known as "The Gospel of Thomas" is comprised almost entirely of short sayings attributed to Jesus. There are, however, a few sections of Thomas which contain enough additional material to be classified as "narrative pericopes." One such narrative can be found in the coupling of the text's logion 12 and logion 13. This web-page is devoted to the study, theorizing and probable implications associated with these narrative passages.

    (under construction)


    The "Scholars' Translation" of
    The Gospel of Thomas

    Stephen Patterson and Marvin Meyer

    These are the secret sayings that the living Jesus spoke and Didymos Judas Thomas recorded.

       01 And he said, "Whoever discovers the interpretation of these sayings will not taste death."

       02 Jesus said, "Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will marvel, and will reign over all. [And after they have reigned they will rest.]"

       03 Jesus said, "If your leaders say to you, 'Look, the (Father's) kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is within you and it is outside you.

    When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that you are children of the living Father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you live in poverty, and you are the poverty."

       04 Jesus said, "The person old in days won't hesitate to ask a little child seven days old about the place of life, and that person will live.

    For many of the first will be last, and will become a single one."

       05 Jesus said, "Know what is in front of your face, and what is hidden from you will be disclosed to you.

    For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed. [And there is nothing buried that will not be raised."]

       06 His disciples asked him and said to him, "Do you want us to fast? How should we pray? Should we give to charity? What diet should we observe?"

    Jesus said, "Don't lie, and don't do what you hate, because all things are disclosed before heaven. After all, there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, and there is nothing covered up that will remain undisclosed."

       07 Jesus said, "Lucky is the lion that the human will eat, so that the lion becomes human. And foul is the human that the lion will eat, and the lion still will become human."

       08 And he said, The person is like a wise fisherman who cast his net into the sea and drew it up from the sea full of little fish. Among them the wise fisherman discovered a fine large fish. He threw all the little fish back into the sea, and easily chose the large fish. Anyone here with two good ears had better listen!

       09 Jesus said, Look, the sower went out, took a handful (of seeds), and scattered (them). Some fell on the road, and the birds came and gathered them. Others fell on rock, and they didn't take root in the soil and didn't produce heads of grain. Others fell on thorns, and they choked the seeds and worms ate them. And others fell on good soil, and it produced a good crop: it yielded sixty per measure and one hundred twenty per measure.

       10 Jesus said, "I have cast fire upon the world, and look, I'm guarding it until it blazes."

       11 Jesus said, "This heaven will pass away, and the one above it will pass away.

    The dead are not alive, and the living will not die. During the days when you ate what is dead, you made it come alive. When you are in the light, what will you do? On the day when you were one, you became two. But when you become two, what will you do?"

       12 The disciples said to Jesus, "We know that you are going to leave us. Who will be our leader?"

    Jesus said to them, "No matter where you are you are to go to James the Just, for whose sake heaven and earth came into being."

       13 Jesus said to his disciples, "Compare me to something and tell me what I am like."

    Simon Peter said to him, "You are like a just messenger."

    Matthew said to him, "You are like a wise philosopher."

    Thomas said to him, "Teacher, my mouth is utterly unable to say what you are like."

    Jesus said, "I am not your teacher. Because you have drunk, you have become intoxicated from the bubbling spring that I have tended."

    And he took him, and withdrew, and spoke three sayings to him.

    When Thomas came back to his friends they asked him, "What did Jesus say to you?"

    Thomas said to them, "If I tell you one of the sayings he spoke to me, you will pick up rocks and stone me, and fire will come from the rocks and devour you."

       14 Jesus said to them, "If you fast, you will bring sin upon yourselves, and if you pray, you will be condemned, and if you give to charity, you will harm your spirits.

    When you go into any region and walk about in the countryside, when people take you in, eat what they serve you and heal the sick among them.

    After all, what goes into your mouth will not defile you; rather, it's what comes out of your mouth that will defile you."

       15 Jesus said, "When you see one who was not born of woman, fall on your faces and worship. That one is your Father."

       16 Jesus said, "Perhaps people think that I have come to casy peace upon the world. They do not know that I have come to cast conflicts upon the earth: fire, sword, war.

    For there will be five in a house: there'll be three against two and two against three, father against son and son against father, and they will stand alone.

       17 Jesus said, "I will give you what no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, what no hand has touched, what has not arisen in the human heart."

       18 The disciples said to Jesus, "Tell us, how will our end come?"

    Jesus said, "Have you found the beginning, then, that you are looking for the end? You see, the end will be where the beginning is.

    Congratulations to the one who stands at the beginning: that one will know the end and will not taste death."

       19 Jesus said, "Congratulations to the one who came into being before coming into being.

    If you become my disciples and pay attention to my sayings, these stones will serve you.

    For there are five trees in Paradise for you; they do not change, summer or winter, and their leaves do not fall. Whoever knows them will not taste death."

       20 The disciples said to Jesus, "Tell us what Heaven's kingdom is like."

    He said to them, It's like a mustard seed, the smallest of all seeds, but when it falls on prepared soil, it produces a large plant and becomes a shelter for birds of the sky.

       21 Mary said to Jesus, "What are your disciples like?"

    He said, They are like little children living in a field that is not theirs. when the owners of the field come, they will say, "Give us back our field." They take off their clothes in front of them in order to give it back to them, and they return their field to them.

    For this reason I say, if the owners of a house know that a thief is coming, they will be on guard before the thief arrives and will not let the thief break into their house (their domain) and steal their possessions.

    As for you, then, be on guard against the world. Prepare yourselves with great strength, so the robbers can't find a way to get to you, for the trouble you expect will come.

    Let there be among you a person who understands.

    When the crop ripened, he came quickly carrying a sickle and harvested it. Anyone here with two good ears had better listen!

       22 Jesus saw some babies nursing. He said to his disciples, "These nursing babies are like those who enter the kingdom."

    They said to him, "Then shall we enter the kingdom as babies?"

    Jesus said to them, "When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be female, when you make eyes in place of an eye, a hand in place of a hand, a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then you will enter [the kingdom]."

       23 Jesus said, "I shall choose you, one from a thousand and two from ten thousand, and they will stand as a single one."

       24 His disciples said, "Show us the place where you are, for we must seek it."

    He said to them, "Anyone here with two ears had better listen! There is light within a person of light, and it shines on the whole world. If it does not shine, it is dark."

       25 Jesus said, "Love your friends like your own soul, protect them like the pupil of your eye."

       26 Jesus said, "You see the sliver in your friend's eye, but you don't see the timber in your own eye. When you take the timber out of your own eye, then you will see well enough to remove the sliver from your friend's eye."

       27 "If you do not fast from the world, you will not find the kingdom. If you do not observe the sabbath as a sabbath you will not see the Father."

       28 Jesus said, "I took my stand in the midst of the world, and in flesh I appeared to them. I found them all drunk, and I did not find any of them thirsty. My soul ached for the children of humanity, because they are blind in their hearts and do not see, for they came into the world empty, and they also seek to depart from the world empty.

    But meanwhile they are drunk. When they shake off their wine, then they will change their ways."

       29 Jesus said, "If the flesh came into being because of spirit, that is a marvel, but if spirit came into being because of the body, that is a marvel of marvels.

    Yet I marvel at how this great wealth has come to dwell in this poverty."

       30 Jesus said, "Where there are three deities, they are divine. Where there are two or one, I am with that one."

       31 Jesus said, "No prophet is welcome on his home turf; doctors don't cure those who know them."

       32 Jesus said, "A city built on a high hill and fortified cannot fall, nor can it be hidden."

       33 Jesus said, "What you will hear in your ear, in the other ear proclaim from your rooftops.

    After all, no one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, nor does one put it in a hidden place. Rather, one puts it on a lampstand so that all who come and go will see its light."

       34 Jesus said, "If a blind person leads a bind person, both of them will fall into a hole."

       35 Jesus said, "One can't enter a strong person's house and take it by force without tying his hands. Then one can loot his house."

       36 Jesus said, "Do not fret, from morning to evening and from evening to morning, [about your food--what you're going to eat, or about your clothing--] what you are going to wear. [You're much better than the lilies, which neither card nor spin.

    As for you, when you have no garment, what will you put on? Who might add to your stature? That very one will give you your garment.]"

       37 His disciples said, "When will you appear to us, and when will we see you?"

    Jesus said, "When you strip without being ashamed, and you take your clothes and put them under your feet like little children and trample then, then [you] will see the son of the living one and you will not be afraid."

       38 Jesus said, "Often you have desired to hear these sayings that I am speaking to you, and you have no one else from whom to hear them. There will be days when you will seek me and you will not find me."

       39 Jesus said, "The Pharisees and the scholars have taken the keys of knowledge and have hidden them. They have not entered nor have they allowed those who want to enter to do so.

    As for you, be as sly as snakes and as simple as doves."

       40 Jesus said, "A grapevine has been planted apart from the Father. Since it is not strong, it will be pulled up by its root and will perish."

       41 Jesus said, "Whoever has something in hand will be given more, and whoever has nothing will be deprived of even the little they have."

       42 Jesus said, "Be passersby."

       43 His disciples said to him, "Who are you to say these things to us?"

    "You don't understand who I am from what I say to you.

    Rather, you have become like the Judeans, for they love the tree but hate its fruit, or they love the fruit but hate the tree."

       44 Jesus said, "Whoever blasphemes against the Father will be forgiven, and whoever blasphemes against the son will be forgiven, but whoever blasphemes against the holy spirit will not be forgiven, either on earth or in heaven."

       45 Jesus said, "Grapes are not harvested from thorn trees, nor are figs gathered from thistles, for they yield no fruit.

    Good persons produce good from what they've stored up; bad persons produce evil from the wickedness they've stored up in their hearts, and say evil things. For from the overflow of the heart they produce evil."

       46 Jesus said, "From Adam to John the Baptist, among those born of women, no one is so much greater than John the Baptist that his eyes should not be averted.

    But I have said that whoever among you becomes a child will recognize the kingdom and will become greater than John."

       47 Jesus said, "A person cannot mount two horses or bend two bows.

    And a slave cannot serve two masters, otherwise that slave will honor the one and offend the other.

    "Nobody drinks aged wine and immediately wants to drink young wine. Young wine is not poured into old wineskins, or they might break, and aged wine is not poured into a new wineskin, or it might spoil.

    An old patch is not sewn onto a new garment, since it would create a tear."

       48 Jesus said, "If two make peace with each other in a single house, they will say to the mountain, 'Move from here!' and it will move."

       49 Jesus said, "Congratulations to those who are alone and chosen, for you will find the kingdom. For you have come from it, and you will return there again."

       50 Jesus said, "If they say to you, 'Where have you come from?' say to them, 'We have come from the light, from the place where the light came into being by itself, established [itself], and appeared in their image.'

    If they say to you, 'Is it you?' say, 'We are its children, and we are the chosen of the living Father.'

    If they ask you, 'What is the evidence of your Father in you?' say to them, 'It is motion and rest.'"

       51 His disciples said to him, "When will the rest for the dead take place, and when will the new world come?"

    He said to them, "What you are looking forward to has come, but you don't know it."

       52 His disciples said to him, "Twenty-four prophets have spoken in Israel, and they all spoke of you."

    He said to them, "You have disregarded the living one who is in your presence, and have spoken of the dead."

       53 His disciples said to him, "is circumcision useful or not?"

    He said to them, "If it were useful, their father would produce children already circumcised from their mother. Rather, the true circumcision in spirit has become profitable in every respect."

       54 Jesus said, "Congratulations to the poor, for to you belongs Heaven's kingdom."

       55 Jesus said, "Whoever does not hate father and mother cannot be my disciple, and whoever does not hate brothers and sisters, and carry the cross as I do, will not be worthy of me."

       56 Jesus said, "Whoever has come to know the world has discovered a carcass, and whoever has discovered a carcass, of that person the world is not worthy."

       57 Jesus said, The Father's kingdom is like a person who has [good] seed. His enemy came during the night and sowed weeds among the good seed. The person did not let the workers pull up the weeds, but said to them, "No, otherwise you might go to pull up the weeds and pull up the wheat along with them." For on the day of the harvest the weeds will be conspicuous, and will be pulled up and burned.

       58 Jesus said, "Congratulations to the person who has toiled and has found life."

       59 Jesus said, "Look to the living one as long as you live, otherwise you might die and then try to see the living one, and you will be unable to see."

       60 He saw a Samaritan carrying a lamb and going to Judea. He said to his disciples, "that person ... around the lamb." They said to him, "So that he may kill it and eat it." He said to them, "He will not eat it while it is alive, but only after he has killed it and it has become a carcass."

    They said, "Otherwise he can't do it."

    He said to them, "So also with you, seek for yourselves a place for rest, or you might become a carcass and be eaten."

       61 Jesus said, "Two will recline on a couch; one will die, one will live."

    Salome said, "Who are you mister? You have climbed onto my couch and eaten from my table as if you are from someone."

    Jesus said to her, "I am the one who comes from what is whole. I was granted from the things of my Father."

    "I am your disciple."

    "For this reason I say, if one is whole, one will be filled with light, but if one is divided, one will be filled with darkness."

       62 Jesus said, "I disclose my mysteries to those [who are worthy] of [my] mysteries.

    Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing."

       63 Jesus said, There was a rich person who had a great deal of money. He said, "I shall invest my money so that I may sow, reap, plant, and fill my storehouses with produce, that I may lack nothing." These were the things he was thinking in his heart, but that very night he died. Anyone here with two ears had better listen!

       64 Jesus said, A person was receiving guests. When he had prepared the dinner, he sent his slave to invite the guests. The slave went to the first and said to that one, "My master invites you." That one said, "Some merchants owe me money; they are coming to me tonight. I have to go and give them instructions. Please excuse me from dinner." The slave went to another and said to that one, "My master has invited you." That one said to the slave, "I have bought a house, and I have been called away for a day. I shall have no time." The slave went to another and said to that one, "My master invites you." That one said to the slave, "My friend is to be married, and I am to arrange the banquet. I shall not be able to come. Please excuse me from dinner." The slave went to another and said to that one, "My master invites you." That one said to the slave, "I have bought an estate, and I am going to collect the rent. I shall not be able to come. Please excuse me." The slave returned and said to his master, "Those whom you invited to dinner have asked to be excused." The master said to his slave, "Go out on the streets and bring back whomever you find to have dinner."

    Buyers and merchants [will] not enter the places of my Father.

       65 He said, A [...] person owned a vineyard and rented it to some farmers, so they could work it and he could collect its crop from them. He sent his slave so the farmers would give him the vineyard's crop. They grabbed him, beat him, and almost killed him, and the slave returned and told his master. His master said, "Perhaps he didn't know them." He sent another slave, and the farmers beat that one as well. Then the master sent his son and said, "Perhaps they'll show my son some respect." Because the farmers knew that he was the heir to the vineyard, they grabbed him and killed him. Anyone here with two ears had better listen!

       66 Jesus said, "Show me the stone that the builders rejected: that is the keystone."

       67 Jesus said, "Those who know all, but are lacking in themselves, are utterly lacking."

       68 Jesus said, "Congratulations to you when you are hated and persecuted;

    and no place will be found, wherever you have been persecuted."

       69 Jesus said, "Congratulations to those who have been persecuted in their hearts: they are the ones who have truly come to know the Father.

    Congratulations to those who go hungry, so the stomach of the one in want may be filled."

       70 Jesus said, "If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will save you. If you do not have that within you, what you do not have within you [will] kill you."

       71 Jesus said, "I will destroy [this] house, and no one will be able to build it [...]."

       72 A [person said] to him, "Tell my brothers to divide my father's possessions with me."

    He said to the person, "Mister, who made me a divider?"

    He turned to his disciples and said to them, "I'm not a divider, am I?"

       73 Jesus said, "The crop is huge but the workers are few, so beg the harvest boss to dispatch workers to the fields."

       74 He said, "Lord, there are many around the drinking trough, but there is nothing in the well."

       75 Jesus said, "There are many standing at the door, but those who are alone will enter the bridal suite."

       76 Jesus said, The Father's kingdom is like a merchant who had a supply of merchandise and found a peal. That merchant was prudent; he sold the merchandise and bought the single pearl for himself.

    So also with you, seek his treasure that is unfailing, that is enduring, where no moth comes to eat and no worm destroys."

       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 apiece of wood; I am there.

    Lift up the stone, and you will find me there."

       78 Jesus said, "Why have you come out to the countryside? To see a reed shaken by the wind? And to see a person dressed in soft clothes, [like your] rulers and your powerful ones? They are dressed in soft clothes, and they cannot understand truth."

       79 A woman in the crowd said to him, "Lucky are the womb that bore you and the breasts that fed you."

    He said to [her], "Lucky are those who have heard the word of the Father and have truly kept it. For there will be days when you will say, 'Lucky are the womb that has not conceived and the breasts that have not given milk.'"

       80 Jesus said, "Whoever has come to know the world has discovered the body, and whoever has discovered the body, of that one the world is not worthy."

       81 Jesus said, "Let one who has become wealthy reign, and let one who has power renounce ."

       82 Jesus said, "Whoever is near me is near the fire, and whoever is far from me is far from the (Father's) kingdom."

       83 Jesus said, "Images are visible to people, but the light within them is hidden in the image of the Father's light. He will be disclosed, but his image is hidden by his light."

       84 Jesus said, "When you see your likeness, you are happy. But when you see your images that came into being before you and that neither die nor become visible, how much you will have to bear!"

       85 Jesus said, "Adam came from great power and great wealth, but he was not worthy of you. For had he been worthy, [he would] not [have tasted] death."

       86 Jesus said, "[Foxes have] their dens and birds have their nests, but human beings have no place to lay down and rest."

       87 Jesus said, "How miserable is the body that depends on a body, and how miserable is the soul that depends on these two."

       88 Jesus said, "The messengers and the prophets will come to you and give you what belongs to you. You, in turn, give them what you have, and say to yourselves, 'When will they come and take what belongs to them?'"

       89 Jesus said, "Why do you wash the outside of the cup? Don't you understand that the one who made the inside is also the one who made the outside?"

       90 Jesus said, "Come to me, for my yoke is comfortable and my lordship is gentle, and you will find rest for yourselves."

       91 They said to him, "Tell us who you are so that we may believe in you."

    He said to them, "You examine the face of heaven and earth, but you have not come to know the one who is in your presence, and you do not know how to examine the present moment.

       92 Jesus said, "Seek and you will find.

    In the past, however, I did not tell you the things about which you asked me then. Now I am willing to tell them, but you are not seeking them."

       93 "Don't give what is holy to dogs, for they might throw them upon the manure pile. Don't throw pearls [to] pigs, or they might ... it [...]."

       94 Jesus [said], "One who seeks will find, and for [one who knocks] it will be opened."

       95 [Jesus said], "If you have money, don't lend it at interest. Rather, give [it] to someone from whom you won't get it back."

       96 Jesus [said], The Father's kingdom is like [a] woman. She took a little leaven, [hid] it in dough, and made it into large loaves of bread. Anyone here with two ears had better listen!

       97 Jesus said, The [Father's] kingdom is like a woman who was carrying a [jar] full of meal. While she was walking along [a] distant road, the handle of the jar broke and the meal spilled behind her [along] the road. She didn't know it; she hadn't noticed a problem. When she reached her house, she put the jar down and discovered that it was empty.

       98 Jesus said, The Father's kingdom is like a person who wanted to kill someone powerful. While still at home he drew his sword and thrust it into the wall to find out whether his hand would go in. Then he killed the powerful one.

       99 The disciples said to him, "Your brothers and your mother are standing outside."

    He said to them, "Those here who do what my Father wants are my brothers and my mother. They are the ones who will enter my Father's kingdom."

       100 They showed Jesus a gold coin and said to him, "The Roman emperor's people demand taxes from us."

    He said to them, "Give the emperor what belongs to the emperor, give God what belongs to God, and give me what is mine."

       101 "Whoever does not hate [father] and mother as I do cannot be my [disciple], and whoever does [not] love [father and] mother as I do cannot be my [disciple]. For my mother [...], but my true [mother] gave me life."

       102 Jesus said, "Damn the Pharisees! They are like a dog sleeping in the cattle manger: the dog neither eats nor [lets] the cattle eat."

       103 Jesus said, "Congratulations to those who know where the rebels are going to attack. [They] can get going, collect their imperial resources, and be prepared before the rebels arrive."

       104 They said to Jesus, "Come, let us pray today, and let us fast."

    Jesus said, "What sin have I committed, or how have I been undone? Rather, when the groom leaves the bridal suite, then let people fast and pray."

       105 Jesus said, "Whoever knows the father and the mother will be called the child of a whore."

       106 Jesus said, "When you make the two into one, you will become children of Adam, and when you say, 'Mountain, move from here!' it will move."

       107 Jesus said, The kingdom is like a shepherd who had a hundred sheep. One of them, the largest, went astray. He left the ninety- nine and looked for the one until he found it. After he had toiled, he said to the sheep, 'I love you more than the ninety- nine.'

       108 Jesus said, "Whoever drinks from my mouth will become like me; I myself shall become that person, and the hidden things will be revealed to him."

       109 Jesus said, The (Father's) kingdom is like a person who had a treasure hidden in his field but did not know it. And [when] he died he left it to his [son]. The son [did] not know about it either. He took over the field and sold it. The buyer went plowing, [discovered] the treasure, and began to lend money at interest to whomever he wished.

       110 Jesus said, "Let one who has found the world, and has become wealthy, renounce the world."

       111 Jesus said, "The heavens and the earth will roll up in your presence, and whoever is living from the living one will not see death."

    Does not Jesus say, "Those who have found themselves, of them the world is not worthy"?

       112 Jesus said, "Damn the flesh that depends on the soul. Damn the soul that depends on the flesh."

       113 His disciples said to him, "When will the kingdom come?"

    "It will not come by watching for it. It will not be said, 'Look, here!' or 'Look, there!' Rather, the Father's kingdom is spread out upon the earth, and people don't see it."

    [Saying added to the original collection at a later date:]

       114 Simon Peter said to them, "Make Mary leave us, for females don't deserve life." Jesus said, "Look, I will guide her to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every female who makes herself male will enter the kingdom of Heaven."

    Scholars Version translation of the Gospel of Thomas taken from *The Complete Gospels: Annotated Scholars Version.* Copyright 1992, 1994 by Polebridge Press. Used with permission. All rights reserved.


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    Authority and Autonomy

    1. 'Who will be our leader?'

    A feature that has often invited comments in Thomasine scholarship is the juxtaposition of sayings on James' leadership in Gos. Thom. 12 and on Thomas' 'wordless confession' in Gos. Thom. 13.

    The disciples said to Jesus, 'We know that you are going to leave us. Who will be our leader?' [1] Jesus said to them. 'No matter where: you are, you are to go to James the Just, for whose sake heaven and earth came into being.' (Gos. Thom. 12.)

    1 Jesus said to his disciples. 'Compare me to something and say what I am like.'

    2 Simon Peter said to him, 'You are like a righteous messenger.'

    3 Matthew said to him, 'You are like a wise philosopher.'

    4 Thomas said to him, 'Master, my mouth is utterly unable to say what you are like.'

    5 Jesus said, 'I am not your master. Because you have drunk, you have become intoxicated from the bubbling spring that I have tended.'

    6 And he took him, and withdrew, and told him three things. "'When Thomas came back to his friends, they asked him. 'What did Jesus say to you?' Thomas said to them: 'If I tell you one of the things he said to me, you will pick up rocks and stone me, and fire will come from the rocks and devour you.' (Gos. Thom. 13.) [6]

    The appearance of the two figures is indeed striking. James and Thomas are highlighted in two sayings which follow each other, but the question of how exactly the authority of these figures should be related does not receive any explanation and is left for the reader to decide. According to one influential interpretation. Thomas' special position in Gos. Thom. 13 serves as something of a corrective to the claim about James'

    1 Transl. modified from Miller 1994.


    leadership in the previous saying. [2] This, however, opens up a number of further questions. Why is James' authority retained in the first place if Thomas' position as the recipient of the special revelation and the guarantor of the gospel tradition (cf. Prologue) supersedes that of James? [3] Is Gos. Thom. 12 a fossilized remnant of an earlier phase of the tradition which still appealed to the authority of James? [4] Or is the cluster of sayings 12 and 13 an example of a subtle irony used by the author of the gospel to undermine the 'ecclesiastical' authority represented by James? [5] Or should James' and Thomas' positions be regarded as parallel or complementary rather than competing ones? [6]

    2. Apostles as Symbols

    A common presupposition behind many interpretations of Gos. Thom. 12-13 is that they take the figures of James and Thomas in the text as representatives of specific groups or traditions in early Christianity. [7] Whatever is known of James and Thomas as historical persons, they later became symbols which some early Christian groups could appeal to as the ideal leaders of the heroic beginnings and guarantors of the truth of their traditions. Although many authors used the concept of apostles (e.g., Ephesians; Ignatius; 1 Clement) or the idea of the 'twelve apostles' (Luke) generally, it has been observed that certain communities claimed a link with a particular apostolic figure ('Johannine Christianity' probably being the clearest example). [8] Moreover, scholars have not infrequently seen controversies between

    2 Koester has argued in several publications that James' authority is 'surpassed' or superseded by that of Thomas in Gos. Thom. 13. see Koester 1971, 136 and 1989, 40, In another instance, however, Koester formulated this somewhat differently. The contrast between James and Thomas seeks to strengthen the tradition of Thomas against the authority of James, 'without denying the latter's claim to leadership in ecclesiastical matters'; see Koester 1982, 152- 2. See also Marjanen 1996, 40-2; 1998a, 119.

    3 Patterson 1993a, 116n. 13.

    4 Quispel (1967, 97-8) attributed Gos. Thom. 12 to a 'Jewish-Christian' source and saying 13 to an 'encratite' source. Patterson has suggested that sayings 12 and 13 represent subsequent layer in the compositional history of the gospel. See Patterson 1993a, 118-20. Patterson's idea has been followed by Crossan (1991, 427-8. 1998, 247-56). For a discussion of different theories about Thomas stratification, see below, pp. 118- 26.

    5 Valantasis 1997, 73.

    6 Patterson 1993a, 116 n. 13; see also Koester 1982, 152-3 (above n. 2).

    7 These alternatives are not, of course, exclusive, since group-identity must have been heavily dependent on the idea of a common tradition.

    8 Koester 1982, 6-8.


    groups which venerated the heritage of different apostles and figures of authority in critical stories or remarks of one apostle in some text which is interpreted as an attempt to restrict or decrease me the influence of the corresponding group. [9] Such controversies may be traced back to the conflicts between the actual historical persons (for example, between me historical Paul and Peter or James), but for later Christian generations, the apostolic figures became weapons for both strengthening one's own claim and opposing that of others.

    There is no doubt that. for early Christians, figures like James and Thomas were powerful symbols that played an important role in the legitimation of the traditions of various early Christian groups. Both names can be associated with a particular geographical area; James with Jerusalem and 'Judas Thomas' with eastern Syria. [10] In the prologue to the gospel, Thomas is described as a figure of authentication, [11] who wrote down the 'secret words' of the 'living Jesus' and who thus has a special position among the disciples as a recipient of Jesus' teaching. In some other early Christian writings, James has a role similar to Thomas in the zzz Gospel of Thomas. [12] The high status of James in Gos. Thom. 12 may be contrasted with the silence or suppression of James in many early Christian writings (see below). This seems to give at least some indirect evidence for the claim that controversies continued to be projected onto the apostolic figures during subsequent Christian generations.

    However, reading early Christian history through the images of apostles is not without problems. We do know that different groups and authors -- both geographically and theologically -- could appeal to the authority of the same apostle, Paul came to be venerated both in 'gnostic' [13] and 'ecclesiastical' circles (cf. Pastorals). Peter was honoured

    9 This approach is, of course, as old as the so-called 'Tubingen school' established by Ferdinand Christian Baur. He interpreted the first two Christian centuries in the light of a bitter conflict between the followers of Peter and those of Paul. A more recent example is Smith 1985, which looks for 'anti-Peter' and 'pro-Peter' traditions in early Christian writings. Smith does not, however, trace a single Petrine group as Baur did, but rather a number of different groups stemming from widely divergent backgrounds (ibid., 211).

    10 For the east Syrian origin of the name 'Judas Thomas', see pp. 10-15 in this book. For recent studies on James see below, note 23.

    11 See especially Dunderberg 1998b, 65-88.

    12 Cf. the Apocryphon of James, which mentions the 'secret books' revealed to James and Peter (or to James alone) and written down by James.

    13 For the second-century gnostic interpretation of Paul, see Pagels 1975.


    as a foundational figure in the congregations of Rome and Antioch. [14] Moreover, using stories of the apostolic figures as keys to the conflicts between early Christian groups can be very tricky. A good example is the presentation of Peter in the Gospel of Matthew. It is difficult to decide whether Matthew is promoting Peter's authority as one who has been given the power of the keys (Matt. 16:19), or undermining his authority as 'a man of little faith' (14:31) who utters satanic words (l6:33) and finally denies his master (26:69-75). In his characterization of Peter, Matthew is surely doing more than simply giving a transparent presentation of a contemporary 'Petrine group' [15] We should be cautious not to make textual characters into kinds of mirror images [16] which directly reject their historical counterparts, whether one thinks of factual historical persons or groups that later identified themselves as the true cultivators of these persons' heritage. Instead, I think, we should take seriously the symbolic nature of these images and realize that their use may be motivated by several concerns, some of which may deal with the narrative logic, others with ideological or 'church-political' realities. [17] This may, as seems to be the case in Gos. Thom. 12-13, result in a rather complicated network of meanings which is not easily deciphered into a clear historical interpretation.

    One explicit concern in Gos. Thom. 12 is the issue of leadership. The disciples ask who will hold the leading position among them after Jesus' departure, to which Jesus clearly answers that the position belongs to James the Just. The dialogue in Gos. Thom. 13 begins as a discussion about the right Christological confession, but the saying deals with the issue of leadership as well. Thomas' answer, 'Master, my mouth is utterly unable to say what you are like,' is qualified by Jesus with the words 'I am not your master.' [18] On the basis of this saying some scholars have suggested that the Gospel of Thomas champions a

    14 Rome revered the memory or both Paul and Peter. whereas Peter also came to be revered as a foundational figure in Antioch. For the references, sec Bauer 1971. 111-18.

    15 Syreeni's recent narrative-critical analysis of Peter in Matthew from the perspective of his 'three-world model' (1999) demonstrates well the multidimensional nature of Peter's character. According to Syreeni, Matthew's Peter is a 'highly ambivalent ecclesiastical symbol' (ibid., 132).

    16 I owe this metaphor to Syreeni 1999, 109.

    17 Cf. Syreeni's (ibid., 116-20) distinction between character (textual phenomenon), person (historical and social reality) and symbol (ideological dimension).

    18 The Coptic word {----}, a derivative from verb {----} ('write'), can be translated either as 'master' or 'teacher.'


    'masterless' ideal of discipleship and opposes hierarchic understanding of community life." This suggestion leads us to intriguing questions. How is Thomas' 'masterless' ideal related to the development of leadership roles in other early Christian groups? Is Thomas against any kind of ecclesiastical authority? How should one interpret James' leadership from this perspective?

    The Gospel of Thomas gives only a few and partially contradictory hints of how organizational roles are envisioned in the gospel. We may, however, shed some more light by comparing Thomas' few statements with more extensive discussions on leadership in other early Christian documents. In this chapter my primary point of comparison is the Gospel of Matthew. I have several reasons for such a choice. Matthew is among those early Christian documents which foster a highly egalitarian model of community life similar to that in Thomas. At the same time, Matthew highlights the ecclesiastical authority of Peter the Rock in Matt 16: 18-19, which provides an analogy to the authority of James the Just in Gos. Thom. 12. [20] Finally, the whole pericope of Matt. 16:13-23 has its closest parallel in Gos. Thom. 13, which makes it difficult to escape the question of the relationship between the Matthean and Thomasine traditions. [21]

    3. James' Leadership

    The disciples' question in Gos. Thom. 12 (literally 'Who will be great over us?') bears some resemblance to me synoptic stories in which the disciples discuss the issue of who is the 'greatest' among them (cf. Mark 9:33-7 and parallels; see also Mark 10:35-45 and parallels). In these stories Jesus does not designate any of the disciples as having a special position, but rather gives a general lesson on humble leadership by referring to slaves and children. It is hardly possible that Gos. Thom. 12 would have been modeled on the pattern of these synoptic stories. [22]

    19 Marjanen 1996, 40-2; 1998a. 120; Valantasis 1997, 73.

    20 Hengel 1985, 79.

    21 A comparison between Thomas and Matthew has seldom been made. Koester (199Oa, 103-7) typically compares Thomas with Matthew only in connection with parables. Thomas' relation to Q, Mark. and John receives the major attention.

    22 Grant and Freedman (1960, 124-5) argue that the saying is based on John 14:5 as well as on Mark 9:34; 10:43 and the parallels. Yet me parallelism between the Johannine passage and the disciples' question in Gos. Thom. 12:1 is remote. As to the synoptic parallels, even Schrage (1964, 51), who generally strongly argues for Thomas' dependence on the canonical gospels, concludes that the question must be left open in this case.


    It is most likely that the saying represents a tradition which belongs to the same category as Jesus' words on Peter's leadership and commission (Matt. 16:17-18; cf. also John 21:15-19).

    In the canonical gospels James is mentioned only in passing in a few instances among Jesus' siblings (Mark 6:3; Matt. 13:55). Although in Acts he is depicted as the leader of me Jerusalem church. his role is largely eclipsed by those of Peter and Paul. Recent scholarship on James has become increasingly aware that James played a much more prominent role in the earliest decades of me Jesus movement than one is able to conclude on the basis of the New Testament. [23] The letters of Paul, and Acts, to be sure, contain some important clues supporting the suggestion of James' leading position in the Christian movement from the very beginning, [24] Non-canonical sources and Josephus confirm this conclusion and suggest that during the first and second centuries James was venerated among many groups as the most prominent authority next to Jesus. [25] Some of the sources, most notably the Gospel of Hebrews, [26] describe James as being appointed to his position and legitimated by Jesus himself, Just like Peter in the canonical texts. With its explicit statement about the position of James as a successor of Jesus, Gos. Thom. 12 can be seen as being part of such traditions.

    There are further indications that Gos. Thom. 12 derives from a group that took James' 'primacy' seriously. The saying uses the epithet 'Just' or 'Righteous' {----}, which does not appear in the New Testament but is instead found in many of the sources that seem to preserve traces of James' priority. [27] It has sometimes been argued that

    23 See Hengel 1985; Pratscher 1987: Ward 1992; the articles published in Chilton and Evans 1999; and especially Painter 1999.

    24 See Gal. 1:17-19; 2:1-14; 1 Cor. 15:7; Acts 1:14; 12:17; 15; 21:17-26.

    25 Crossan (1998, 463) makes this point succinctly: 'If you read a non-Christian source such as Josephus... you would know only two individuals in earliest Christianity: one is Jesus himself and the other is his brother James.'

    26 The Gospel of Hebrews reported James' participation in the last supper and Jesus' appearance to him after the resurrection; see Jerome, Vir. ill. 2 (= Gos. Hebr. 7). Also some traditions preserved by Eusebius seem to presuppose the direct appointment of James by Jesus, and James' leading position in Jerusalem right after the resurrection; see the quotation from Outlines Book VIII of Clement of Alexandria in Hist. eccl. 2.1 and 7. 19.1 (but compare with the quotation from Book VII of Clement's work and Hist. eccl. 2.23.1 ); for an analysis, see Painter 1999, 105-58. esp. 114.

    27 Gos. Hebr. 7; 1 Apoc. Jas. 32.2-3; 2 Apoc. Jas. 44.14; 59.22; 60.12; 61.14; Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 2.23.7.


    the epithet was given to him because of his martyrdom, [28] but it is possible that the name was already used during James' lifetime because of his exemplary and pious lifestyle. [29] The peculiar characterization of James as the one 'for whose sake heaven and earth came into being' is often noted as a typical Jewish expression which is used of such exemplary righteous persons as Abraham, Moses, David, Hanina ben Dosa Of me Messiah. [30] These features strongly support the view that Gos. Thom. 12 goes back ultimately to the circles who venerated James as the most important leader of the Christian movement after Jesus. [31] It is natural to think that these circles were in some way connected with, or rooted in, the Jewish-Christian community in Jerusalem.

    There are, on the other hand, signs that in the present context the meaning of me saying is modified with several intratextual references. There is a catchword connection with the statement in the previous saying that 'this heaven (---) will pass away, and the one above it will pass away' (11:1). The statement may be seen as relativizing James' authority as something which is temporary and will pass away. A variant of this saying is found in Gos. Thom. 111 ('The heavens and me earth will be rolled up in your presence'), which is glossed with an editor's comment ' Does not Jesus say, "Those who have found themselves, of them the world is not worthy"?' [32] The latter part of this comment repeats the phrase which is also found in Gos. Thom. 56 and 80, two closely parallel sayings on the world as a 'body' or 'corpse.' As I have argued, these sayings may be seen as characterizing the world and the human body as something external to a person's true domain. [33]

    28 Ward 1992, 801, with references to Wisd. of Sol. 2:17f. Matt. 23:29,35; James 5:6 and Isa. 3:10 (Hegesippus quoted the last one in his description of James' death; see Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 2.23.15); see also Painter 1999, 157.

    29 Hengel 1985, 80. This does not mean, however, that Hegesippus' description of James (Hist. eccl. 2.23) as a Nazirite and extreme ascetic is historically accurate.

    30 Scholars usually refer to Ginzberg 1925. Menard (1975, 97) states that the expression makes Gos. Thom. 12 'juif d'apparence, mais antijuif dans son interpretation,' since it elevates James to the same position as the Torah, Abraham, Moses, and the Messiah. It is much more probable, however, that the characterization of James merely underscores his exemplary piety without any 'anti-Jewish' overtones.

    31 Similar language is used of James in the Second Apocalypse of James 55.24-5 ('You are whom the heavens bless') and 56.2-5 ('For your sake they will be told these things), and will come to rest, for your sake they will reign [and will] become kings...'). Transl. C. W. Hedrick in Parron 1979.

    32 Transl. from Miller 1994. Schenke (1994, 19-20) sees here a trace of a commentary from which Thomas' sayings have been extracted (see below, pp. 127-9).

    33 See pp. 69-70 in this book.


    A careful reader of Jesus' sayings in the gospel is thus able to gather that James' leadership, praised in saying 12, belongs ultimately to the sphere of the temporary and the external. Those who understand and 'have found themselves' are superior to the world ('the world is not worthy of them') [34] and are therefore also superior to their leaders, while the latter are seen as part of the transient structures of this world. Moreover, it should be noted that, already at the beginning of the gospel, Thomas' audience had been encouraged to take a critical attitude toward religious leaders who naively teach that the kingdom is in heaven or in the underworld (Gos. Thom. 3). It is somewhat unclear whether the saying refers to the teachers or leaders who were recognized as such by Thomas' audience, [35] but in the light of what is said about their teaching, it seems obvious enough that they were Christian leaders.

    Another trait of saying 12, which is modified by its context within the collection as a whole, is the localization of James' authority. It is possible that originally the somewhat surprising exhortation 'wherever you are, you are to go to James' could be explained by me fact that, in the tradition, James' leadership was firmly placed in the 'mother church' of Jerusalem. [36] However, in the Thomasine perspective, such localization of authority may be contrasted with the rejection of any attempt to localize the kingdom or Jesus' presence (e.g., Gos. Thom. 3; 24; 77:2; 91; 97; 113). When the disciples ask Jesus to show 'the place' where he is, Jesus turns their attention to the 'light within a person of light' (24). [37] James, in contrast, does have a place where he is, and the disciples are asked to go to him. This creates a tension between the basic thrust of Gos. Thom. 12 and some central theological emphases of Thomas found elsewhere in the gospel. These considerations lead us to a closer examination of Gos. Thom. 13 since this saying is commonly

    34 Cf. also Heb. 11:38. The expression is also found in rabbinic literature (e.g. Mek. 5a; Sanh. 11:1).

    35 The Coptic version uses the expression {----}, which is best translated as 'those who lead you,' the verb {----} being an equivalent of the Greek {----}; see Crum 1939, 327. The Greek form {----}; 'those who attract' or 'draw you on') may also be understood as referring to outside leaders or propagators; see Uro 1990, 15 n. 38, 18 (cf. the synoptic parallels in Mark 13:21-3; Matt. 24:23-6; Luke 17:20-3).

    36 Cf. Patterson (1993a, 151), who sees here an indication that Thomasine Christians are dispersed and itinerant.

    37 The 'the place of life' in Gos. Thom. 4, though seemingly local, is in essence a 'non-place', a primordial place beyond time and space (cf. also 50:1).


    seen as functioning as a redefinition or modification of James' leadership in the preceding saying.

    4. Thomas and Peter

    The form of Gos. Thom. 3 is closely related to the synoptic accounts of Peter's confession in Mark 8:27-33 and parallels (cf. also John 6:66-71). Each of the synoptic versions has Jesus asking the disciples about their opinions of him, with a number of different characterizations of Jesus' identity given, culminating in the final confession of one of the disciples and Jesus' response. Except in Luke, a private discussion follows the scene of the confession in each gospel, although in Mark (8:32) and Matthew (16:22) it is Peter who takes Jesus aside to rebuke him, whereas in Thomas, Jesus tells Thomas 'three things' or 'words' {----} in private (Gos. Thom. 13:6-8). Only in Matthew and Thomas does Jesus' response contain a reference to the divine source of the confession (cf. the blessing in Matt. 16:17 and Thomas' intoxication in Gos. Thom. 13:5) which is affirmed with the unique role that Jesus assigns to the disciple who has given the appropriate answer. Mark has only the command to keep Jesus' identity a secret (cf. also Matt. 16:20; Luke 9:21). The closeness between the Matthean and Thomasine versions is reinforced by the fact that the previous saying on James' leadership (Gos. Thom. 12) can be seen, as argued above, as an analogy to the 'investiture' of Peter in Matt. 16:17-19.

    In spite of these affinities between Matt. 16:13-20 and Gos. Thom. 13, it is not likely that Thomas is directly dependent on the Gospel of Matthew (or Matthew on Thomas, for that matter). [38] The similarities between the Matthean and Thomasine accounts lie more in the general structure of the account than in details that would indicate scribal reworking. [39] To be sure, one could argue that this structure has resulted from Matthew's redactional composition, because he added the blessing and the appointment of Peter to Mark's Story, where they are absent. In that case one could consider the possibility of 'secondary orality,' that is, the influence of Matthew's literary redaction on the oral tradition


    38 Pace Smith (1985, 115), who argues that logion 13 is 'a Gnostic version of the Matthean Caesarea Philippi event' (Smith's italics). Cf. Gartner (1960, 114), who add that Gos. Thom. 13 is 'evidently an edited and expanded form of Mark 8:29'; see also Wilson 1960, 112.

    39 For scribal and oral cultures, see below. pp. 109-15.


    drawn upon by Thomas. [40] On the other hand, it is not at all clear that the abrupt silencing command in Mark 8:30 was the only way in which the story was traditionally told until Matthew's pen reformulated it. Most scholars are unwilling to regard all of Matt. 16: 17-19 as Matthew's creation. One solution to the problem is to place these verses in some other pre-Matthean setting, for example, in a post-resurrection appearance story [41] or in the context of the Last Supper (cf. Luke 22:31-4), [42] but these assumptions can rightly be contested. [43] While many scholars have sought to trace a separate pre-Matthean tradition [44] or individual sayings behind Matt. 16:17-19, [45] some have argued that there is no better setting for Matt. 16:17-19 in the gospel history than the confession at Caesarea Philippi. [46] The former view leaves us with an isolated tradition or traditions (the 'rock saying' v. 18, [47] and 'binding and loosing' v. 19bc [48]), but it must be admitted that the latter argument has some force. It is natural to think that the appointment of Peter as the foundational 'rock' in v. 18 was preceded by some kind of positive initiative on Peter's part. The 'confession' is the best context we can imagine. This argument could be used to support the view that all

    40 Uro 1993. Cf. also Saunders 1963, 59.

    41 E.g., Bultmann 1968, 259. Some scholars limit the post-resurrection addition to verses 16:18-19, while 16:17 is taken basically as Matthew's composition or creation; set Vogtle 1973; Brown et al. 1973, 86-91.

    42 Cullmann 1967, 205-7.

    43 Cullmann's suggestion has not gained much following (Brown et al. 1973, 85). Much more common is the claim that Matt. 16:17-19 (or part of it) was originally a post-resurrection tradition. Bultmann (1968, 259) referred to 'a clear parallel' in the post-resurrection episode in John 21:15-19 (cf. also 20:22-3) and argued that this tradition derived ultimately from the first appearance of the risen Christ to Peter (cf. 1 Cor. 15:5). Yet the parallalism with John 21:15-19 is not as 'clear' as Bultmann suggests; for criticism, see Robinson 1984, 87-8; Davies and Allison 1991, 608-9. Moreover, in whatever context Peter's confession was originally told, the confession, the blessing and the investiture make a good story. The suggestion that a lost account of the first appearance to Peter was later replaced with stories like Matt. 16:13- 20 and John 21:15-19 is strained.

    44 E.g. Kunzel 1978, 180-93.

    45 E.g., Robinson 1984; Luz 1990, 453-9.

    46 Davies and Allison 1991, 606- 7, They also argue that 'many of the arguments against a dominial origin are not as persuasive as often thought, and there are weighty points to be made on the other side' (ibid., 615). See also the arguments for the authenticity of Matt. 16:17-19 in Meyer 1979, 185-97. In my opinion, however, a much more natural setting for the origin of the tradition is a later time when the issues of legitimization and leadership had become acute.

    47 Cf. John 1:42; Eph. 2:20; Rev. 21:14.

    48 Cf. Matt. 18:18 and John 20:23.


    of Matt. 16:17-19 is more or less Matthew's creation. Yet one cannot exclude the possibility that Matthew used an existing story in which not only an abrupt command to silence but also an affirmation and Peter's appointment followed the confession. Perhaps the most weighty point in support of the latter conclusion is Matthew's ambivalent attitude toward Peter's ecclesiastical authority. Would Matthew have created the sayings on Peter's investiture just to be able to formulate an ironic contrast between Peter as a 'rock' and as a 'stumbling block' (Matt. 16:23)? [49]

    Should one then regard Gos. Thom. 13 as a polemical response to the tradition behind (or born of) Matt. 16:13-20, elevating Thomas' authority and undermining that of Peter? [50] In Thomas it is Peter who, together with Matthew, gives an inadequate answer, whereas in the synoptic accounts the inadequate answers are presented as popular opinions and not as opinions of particular disciples. Thomas' formulation can thus be seen as accentuating Peter's (and Matthew's) inadequacy. [51] It has been also noted that in Gos. Thom. 114 Peter similarly gives an opinion that Jesus corrects.

    On the other hand one should not overemphasize Peter's lack of understanding in the Gospel of Thomas. The incomprehension of the disciples is a well-known theme in the gospel tradition, the most striking example being the Gospel of Mark, [52] but this theme is in no way restricted to Mark. For example, just before Peter's confession, Matthew can depict the disciples as complete fools who are not able to understand a simple figure of speech, i.e., the 'leaven' of Pharisees and Sadducees (Matt. 16:5-12; cf. Mark 8:14-21). Thomas elaborates the traditional theme of incomprehension in several sayings in which the disciples' (or the audience's) failure has an important rhetorical function in contrasting the human situation to Jesus' divine revelation. [53] Thus, if Thomas were to be described as 'anti- Petrine' it should also be

    49 Cf. Mark 8:33, in which the 'stumbling block' is lacking. Some scholars have emphasized the irony in Matthew's presentation; see, e.g., Stock 1987. The ambivalence of Matthew has made the pericope an easy target of a deconstructionist analysis; see Bubar 1995.

    50 Smith (1985, 116) sees an 'anti-Peter stance' in sayings 12 and 13. Note also that scholars have often interpreted Matt 16:17-19 as being polemical; e.g., Manson 1957, 203-4 (against Paul) and Davies 1964, 338-9 (against James).

    51 It has sometimes been suggested that Matthew and Peter stand as representative figures for the apostolic tradition contained in the gospels of Matthew and Mark, the latter gospel being guaranteed by the authority of Peter; see Walls 1960-1, 267; Smith 1985, 115.

    52 Raisanen 1990, 195-222.

    53 Typically Gos. Thom. 43; see also Gos. Thom. 22; 24; 51; 52; 53; 91; 92; 99; 104; 113; 114.


    characterized as showing antipathy toward the (male) [54] disciples in general (except for Thomas, of course). More consistently than in Mark, which is the most striking example of the synoptics in this respect, the disciples in Thomas never explicitly say that they understand Jesus' teaching. [55] Thomas' description of Peter must therefore be put into a broader context than that of specifically anti-Petrine polemics. Peter is a rank-and-file disciple just like Matthew, but there is no strong case for the view that Gos. Thom. 13 should be read as a deliberate attack against Peter's leadership or against a group that venerated Peter's authority. [56] A far more probable explanation is that the saying uses the motif of the disciples' incomprehension as a foil to elevate one particular disciple, that is Thomas, as a recipient of special revelation. The inability of the other disciples to deal with such deeper enlightenment becomes evident at the end of the saying, where it is said that, had the other disciples been told one of the things revealed to Thomas, they would 'pick up stones and throw them' at Thomas. [57]

    Even though it may be difficult to describe the precise relationship between Gos. Thom. 13 and its synoptic parallels in terms of tradition history, some differences and similarities can be observed in the gospels' use of the secrecy motif. In Mark 8:27-30. Peter utters the messianic confession as the spokesman of the disciples: Jesus addresses and responds to all of them. There is no indication that Peter has reached understanding or received a revelation beyond those of the other disciples. In Matthew's version, Peter dearly occupies a unique position, even though in the context of the whole gospel his confession

    54 It seems that the female disciples are not depicted as ones who completely lack understanding; see Marjanen 1996,41 (1998c, 92).

    55 The incomprehension of the disciples as one of the main themes of Thomas was pointed out by Sellew 1997b, 339-46. Can the Thomasine Jesus, then, be seen as speaking over the head of the disciples to the elect and solitary? Cf. sayings 19 and 21. which seem to make a distinction between the audience and the 'true disciples.'

    56 Cf. Berger 1981. Berger points out that the role of Peter in Gos. Thom. 13 is not merely connected with Peter's person. 'Was nach der Mehrzahl der Texte von Petrus gilt, kann in anderen Texten auch von Johannes, Jacobus, Thomas oder anderen gesagt werden' (ibid., 282).

    57 Many speculations have been presented about the 'three secret words' told to Thomas by Jesus. There is no way of knowing whether there ever was a fixed tradition about the content of these words, but the reader of the gospel could hardly have missed the connection between the 'secret words' written down by Thomas (prologue) and the 'three words' uttered to Thomas in Gos. Thos. 13:6. For the issue and further references, see Dunderberg 1998b, 72-3.


    or the power given to him are not as unique as one would expect on the basis of the episode in Matt. 16:13-20 (cf. 14:33; 18:18). [58] Compared with other gospels, Thomas is most consistent in its emphasis on the incomprehension of the other disciples and in its description of Thomas' unique position as the recipient of a special revelation. In Thomas only one chosen disciple fully understands that Jesus' identity is unutterable. Yet there is an interesting similarity between the Markan secrecy motif and the Gospel of Thomas: both gospels emphasize the esoteric nature of Jesus' teaching (cf. the mysterion of the kingdom in Mark 4:11 and, for example, in Gos. Thom. 62) and, at the same time, both gospels suggest that even the closest circle of Jesus' followers did not comprehend much or any of his teaching. [59]

    In Thomas there is not, of course, any 'Messianic Secret' in the proper sense, since Jesus' identity is not understood in terms of messiahship or of any other Christological title. As a matter of fact, Gos. Thom. 13 can be seen as opposing such Christological categorizations as Peter's confession in the synoptic accounts represents. It should be noted, however, that the inadequate characterizations of Jesus ('a righteous messenger'; cf. Gos. Thom. 88; 'wise philosopher') are not polemically formulated against messianic interpretations or any other synoptic type of Christologies, but rather change the culturally particular and historical figures (John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah) into more general categorizations. In this respect, Gos. Thom. 13 may be described as a cultural translation [60] of a story like the one in Matt. 16:13-20, with Thomas taking the role of the perceptive disciple and providing a model for an alternative interpretation of Jesus' teaching.

    58 It is a much-debated question whether Peter in Matt. 16:13-20 is exalted to a place above the other disciples or whether he continues to act as the spokesman of other disciples. However one interprets Matthew's overall view of Peter, it seems obvious that in this particular passage Peter is clearly singled out from the other disciples and given a unique position. For the issue, see Schweizer 1974, 138-70 (an English translation of this chapter is Schweizer 1983); Brown et al. 1973, 87; Kingsbury 1979; Wilkins 1988; Overman 1990, 136-40.

    59 Would it be possible to see the social situations of Mark and Thomas having anything in common, as they both combine the esoteric mystery and incomprehension? It is interesting that scholars have often sensed an inner- Christian conflict behind Mark's messianic secret; see: for example. Raisanen (1990, 242-58), who suggests that Mark was engaged in a debate with 'Q-type' Christians. Some features in Thomas seem likewise to reflect an inner- Christian conflict (see below).

    60 Cf. Walls 1960-1, 267. Walls speaks of 'transmutation.'


    5. Thomas and James

    Even though Gos. Thom. 13 was probably not formulated specifically against Peter's authority, one cannot avoid the impression that in the present context the model of Thomas seems in some way to modify James' leadership in the previous saying. As noted above, there is a striking contrast between the 'masterless' ideal connected with Thomas in Gos. Thom. 13:5 and James' leadership position that is entrusted to him by Jesus in Gos. Thom. 12. Scholars have often referred to saying 108 as an indication that the model of Thomas in saying 13 is paradigmatic [61] and that the 'masterless' ideal can be achieved by anyone who drinks from the mouth of Jesus and becomes one with him. Becoming one and the same person with Jesus logically means that there can no longer exist any master-disciple relationship. The idea has no full New Testament equivalent, even though an 'ideological parallel' has sometimes been seen in John 15:15, in which Jesus no longer calls his disciples 'servants' but 'friends.' [62] This intimacy does not, however. blur the hierarchy between Jesus and his followers in the same radical manner as is the case in Gos. Thom. 108 (cf. John 15:1-6). [63] In the Thomasine saying the relationship is expressed in strongly symmetrical terms; not only does the one who drinks from the mouth of Jesus become like Jesus {----}, but Jesus himself 'becomes that person' {----}. In view of Gos. Thom. 2, this state could be described as the most advanced level of seeking, when, after having found, been disturbed, and marveled, one finally rules over all (cf. also Gos. Thom. 19). The hierarchical model of James' leadership does not seem to apply to those who have reached this level of spiritual perfection.

    Is this then a sign of religious elitism? Do the disciples in logion 12 represent those Christians who are less advanced in their seeking and therefore in need of the ecclesiastical authority symbolized by James? In the same vein, the motif of the incomprehension of the disciples (cf. above) could be understood as directed against Christians whose

    61 Patterson 1993a, 206; Marjanen 1996, 42-3; Dunderberg 1995b, 77-8.

    62 Brown 1962-3, 162. Cf. also Q 6:40.

    63 This also holds true for the other NT passages in which Jesus identifies himself with his disciples; cf. Matt. 10:40-2; 25:31-46; 1 Cor. 8:12; Acts 9:4-5; 22:8; 26:15. Perhaps closest to Thomas' idea comes Paul's Statements about his union with Christ (e.g., Gal. 2:20). For parallels in the Syrian Christian tradition, see above, p. 29, in this book.


    perception is defective. Even so, the idea of elitism is not emphatic. Nowhere in the gospel is there evidence for the view that Thomas makes a clear-cut distinction between levels of spiritual maturity [64] (let alone the 'Valentinian' distinction between three classes of the human race; i.e., the 'fleshly,' 'pneumatic' and 'psychic' [65]). Time after time the reader is encouraged constantly to watch, seek and find. The language is provisional and contingent, and there is no reason to think that Thomas suggests fixed stages in spiritual growth or any kind of class system.' [66] For most of the gospel a dualistic model between inside ('the elect') and the outsiders prevails, characteristic of most other early Christian writings. [67]

    Thus it seems that the best explanation for the appearance of James and Thomas in Gos. Thom. 12-13 is not the suggestion that Thomas divides the believers into two distinct and irreconcilable categories, between those in need of ecclesiastical authority and those who 'rule over all' and are under no authority. Thomas places much emphasis on the idea of spiritual growth, which necessarily presupposes some sort of religious elitism. but this elitism does not mean that the gospel elaborates a theory of fixed stages or levels symbolized by the figures of James and Thomas. Other reasons must be sought for the juxtaposition of the two sayings.

    A clue may be found in the fact that, in the Syrian tradition 'Judas Thomas' was believed to be the twin brother of Jesus, and Thomas may thus be understood as a counterpart to James, the brother to Jesus. [68] The Gospel of Thomas does not spell out the belief that Judas Thomas is the twin brother of Jesus and does not give an explanation for Judas' nickname 'Twin.' [69] The belief has, however, often been presupposed by

    64 Pace Lincoln (1977), who argues that, in the Thomasine community, there existed three levels of initiation identified in Gos. Thom. 2 as 'those who seek' (the first level), 'those who find and are troubled' (the second level), and those who have [been] initiated into deeper mysteries (cf. Gos. Thom. 62) and 'marvel and reign over the all' (the ultimate level).

    65 Irenaeus, Adv. haer. 1.7.5. For a recent discussion on determinism and the three-class division of the human race among the Gnostics, see Williams 1996, 189-212. Williams demonstrates how the caricature presented by Irenaeus does not march the picture inferred from the sources that were produced by Gnostics themselves.

    66 Note also that, contrary to the common interpretation, the 'eschatological reservation' has not disappeared in Thomas; Uro 1997, 223-4.

    67 This seems to be the case in the Valentinian writings as well. See Desjardins 1990.

    68 See also pp. 10-15 in this book.

    69 Scholars have often imagined a real disciple of Jesus whose name was Judas and who was at some point nicknamed 'the Twin,' Gunther (1980, 124) offers three possibilities why


    Thomasine scholars on the basis of the explicit references that are made in the Book of Thomas (138.1-21) and especially in the Acts of Thomas. [70] It is, therefore, possible to argue that the twin motif is later than the Gospel of Thomas, and sayings such as 13 and 108 contributed to the emergence of the tradition. [71] Yet, it is also possible that the combination of sayings 12 and 13 reveals knowledge of the twin symbolism. According to such an interpretation, Gos. Thom. 12-13 puts two brothers of Jesus side by side, James the Just and (Judas) the Twin, since the name of the latter was, in some circles, understood to mean that he was a twin brother of Jesus. [72] To develop this hypothesis further, one could argue that the Gospel of Thomas gives a glimpse of how this peculiar tradition on 'Judas Thomas' came into being. It has been assumed that the occurrence of James in logion 12 is a strong indication that the Thomasine trajectory emerged from and then confronted the Jewish Christianity which looked to the authority of James. [73] If, as the evidence above suggests, there was a branch of early

    the proper name Judas was dropped in the canonical gospel tradition: 1) 'If his proper name were "Jesus (Joshua)," this would have been suppressed, as was "Jesus (Barabbas)" in most mss. of Mt 27:16 (cf. Col. 4:11).' 2) 'Thomas was the one who resembled him in appearance, as the Acts of Thomas relates.' 3) '[H]is name was dropped because there were two others among the twelve so named.' De Conick (1997, 389) surmises that the 'name Judas fell out of favour because it was so clearly linked to the man who betrayed Jesus.' See also Dart 1986, 188. The evidence for reconstructing the historical 'Judas Thomas' is extremely meagre, however.

    Acts Thom. II; 31 (Gr.); and 39 (Gr. and Syr.); see also 34; 57 (Syr.); and 151-3. Dunderberg 1998b. 78. Cf. also Poirier 1997, 302. Poirier argues that the Acts of Thomas developed a fully fledged twin symbolism, which is based on -- but not found in -- the Gospel of Thomas.

    Several scholars have suggested that the figure 'Judas Thomas' was early identified with Judas/Jude, brother of James and Jesus (Mark 6:3; Jude 1); see Koester 1971, 134; Drijvers 1984a, 15; Dart 1986, 188. There is no direct evidence for this identification. It is quite uncertain that the apostle called {----} in Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13 would refer to 'Judas, the brother of James (and Jesus),' and in any case 'Judas (Thomas)' is not identified in Acts Thom. 1 with this apostle. For the latter, however, Klijn (1962, 158-9) has argued that the list in the beginning of the' Acts, being a quotation from some written gospel, may go back to some gospel harmony and to Greek traditions and therefore does not represent the Syrian Thomas tradition. Be that as it may, it seems that the 'Judas Thomas' tradition did not so much emphasize the physical brotherhood as the spiritual one. Cf. also Thom. Cont. 138.8-13: 'Now since it has been said that you are my twin and true companion, examine yourself and learn who you are, in what way you exist, and how you will come to be. Since you are to be called my brother, it is not fitting that you be ignorant of yourself' (transl. by Turner in Layton 1989; my emphasis).

    Saying 12 is usually taken as a strong argument for the view that at least some part of the Thomasine sayings derive from a Jewish-Christian tradition or trajectory; see, e.g., Gartner 1960, 47; Quispel 1967, 19. De Conick (1996b, 129) argues that


    Christianity that took its legitimacy from Jesus' family, [74] and the roots of Thomas are in that kind of Christianity, the emergence of the religious symbolism exploiting kinship language, such as the idea of Thomas' being the spiritual twin of the Lord, is easy to explain? [75] It may also be relevant to note at this point that Thomas seems to be familiar with the idea of a heavenly double (cf. Gos. Thom. 84), which is readily associated with the twin symbolism. [76]

    It is worth noting that mere are traditions in which James' kinship to Jesus is similarly used to demonstrate the unique relationship between Jesus and the apostle (James). The so-called First Apocalypse of James opens with the Lord's words to James, whose brotherhood to Jesus is understood in spiritual rather than in physical terms.

    See now the completion of my redemption. I have given you a sign of these things, James. my brother. For not without reason have I called you my brother, although your are not my brother materially. And I am not ignorant concerning you; so that when I give you a sign -- know and hear. Nothing existed except Him-who-is. He is unnameable and ineffable. I myself also am unnameable, from He-who-is, just as I have been [given a] number of names -- two from Him-who-is. (1 Apoc. Jas. 24.12-25). [77]

    A little later in the text, James is told that he will finally reach Him-who-is in a mysterious union: 'You will no longer be James; rather you are the One-who-is' (27.8-10). The identification here is similar to that expressed in Gos. Thom. 108, even though the latter does not refer to Thomas alone; James is a prototype of the Christian who ascends to the

    'logion 12 indicates that the Thomasites were tied closely to the law-abiding "Hebrews" of the primitive Jerusalem organization of which James was the leader.' For an argument that Thomas engaged in a conflict with Jewish- Christian groups, see Uro 2000, 319-20.

    74 There is no need to push the argument to the claim that there existed an early Christian caliphate, a dynastic form of successive leaders, who legitimated their position by their belonging ro the family of the Lord. Arguments against this view were presented by von Campenhausen (1950-1). It seems, nonetheless, clear enough that members of the Lord's family were influential in Jerusalem and in Jewish-Christian circles after Jesus' death, probably also after James' death (cf. the traditions on Simeon, who was said to be Jesus' cousin and the second bishop of Jerusalem; see Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 3.32.1-6; 4.5.1-4; 4.22.4; for an analysis, see Painter 1999, 105-58). It should be noted that von Campenhausen did not have the Nag Hammadi traditions on James at his disposal.

    75 Note also that the idea of spiritual family is strongly emphasized in Thomas; see Uro 1997.

    76 Layton 1987, 359-60.

    77 Transl. by Schoedel in Parrott 1979.


    heavenly realm (cf. 1 Apoc. Jas. 28.20-7). [78] These passages on James demonstrate that the notion of the ideal brother of Jesus who resembles him or becomes one with him in the divine mystery was used for both James and Thomas in early Christianity. This gives a reason to suggest that the juxtaposition of James and Thomas in Gos. Thom. 12-13 was motivated by their belonging to the Lord's family. In this respect it is also interesting that the Johannine 'Beloved Disciple,' who functionally resembles Thomas and James, [79] is also connected with Jesus' family by his guardianship of Jesus' mother (John 19:25-7). By this 'adoption,' the Beloved Disciple replaces the other brothers and in effect becomes a brother of Jesus. [80]

    The hypothesis suggested above is at best conjectural. However, given the popularity of the traditions in which various 'hereditary' claims were made, it is not implausible that the redactor responsible for the combination of sayings 12-13, and probably for the prologue as well, associated traditions about the figures of James and Thomas. The reason for this link was the redactor's belief that Thomas was the twin brother of Jesus and thus had more intimate knowledge of Jesus' identity than any other human being, including James the Just. Even though this hypothesis may shed some light on the origin of the mysterious figure of 'Judas the Twin,' it does not yet provide a fully satisfactory answer to the question of how James' leadership and the model of Thomas should be compared in Gos. Thom. 12-13. To be able to provide an answer we have to locate these sayings in the wider context of organizational debates in early Christian communities which transmitted Jesus' teachings.

    6. Thomas and Matthew on leadership

    Matthew has often been described as the most 'ecclesiastical' of the New Testament gospels, since the gospel alone uses the term ekklesia

    78 A striking parallel of applying me 'twin' motif to James can be found in the pseudepigraphic Letter of Ignatius to John, in which James is said resemble Christ 'in life and manner of conversation, as if he were his twin brother from the same womb; whom they say, he is like seeing Jesus himself in respect to all the contours of his body.' See Gunther 1980, 146 (transl. from Harris 1927, 57-8). This letter is, however, relatively late (see Funk-Bihlmeyer 1970, xxxiii).

    79 Dunderberg 1998b; 2002.

    80 Schmitt 1986, 119; see also Dunderberg 2002, 253.


    (16:18; 18:17), and it often deals with issues of Matthew's contemporary community very transparently, the most conspicuous example being the 'church order' of Matt. 18. [81] Yet by no means is it obvious how Matthew sees the various leadership roles and how far the institutional structures had been developed in his community. [82] The much- discussed question of Matthew's 'church' is closely intertwined with other issues of Matthean scholarship, such as Matthew's view of discipleship, his relation to contemporary Jewish leaders and formative Judaism. Obviously all these cannot be discussed in detail in this chapter. There are, however, a number of features in Matthew's 'ecclesiastical' concern that are relevant to our discussion on Thomas' view of leadership.

    Matthew's ideal is an egalitarian community in which 'all are brothers' or 'children' (Matt. 23:8-12; 18:1-6; 19:13-15). [83] Honorary titles, such as 'father,' 'rabbi' and 'instructor,' are specifically condemned (23:8-10). It is also worth noting that the disciplinary regulations concerning the erring brother in 18:15-20 mention no council of elders or other leaders. [84] In 18:17-18, the power of 'binding and loosing' is entrusted to all members of the ekklesia. This ideal egalitarianism notwithstanding, Matthew does show some signs of institutionalization and the emergence of various leadership roles. [85]

    81 Post-World War II studies on Matthew's church until 1980 are summarized by Stanton 1985, 1925-9. For more recent studies relevant to the issue, see White 1986; Krentz 1987; Overman 1990; Balch 1991; Maisch 1991; Stanton 1992a; Carter 1994; Saldarini 1994; Luomanen 1998.

    82 For discussion on leadership roles in Matthew, see von Campenhausen 1969, 124-48; Kunzel 1978, 167-79; Viviano 1990; Overman 1990, 113-24; Bartlett 1993, 58-88; Saldarini 1994, 102-7; Duling 1995; Stanton 1996.

    83 For Matthew's use of 'children' as a metaphor of discipleship, see Carter 1994, 90-114. Cf. a;so the much-discussed expressions 'little ones' (Matt. 10:42; 18:10,14) and 'one of the least of these' (25:40, 45); see Gray 1989.

    84 It may be wise not to use this silence as a positive argument for the view that the system of elders did not exist in Matthew's environment; von Campenhausen 1969, 128; Davies and Allison 1991, 786. Cf. Schweizer (1983, 140), who argues that the Matthean community 'seems to know neither elders nor bishops nor deacons.'

    85 Overman 1990, 113-24: see also Bartlett 1993, 76-82 and Duling 1995. Some have also laid stress on the charismatic and prophetic authority in Matthew's church. Schweizer, for example, believes that one can trace a trajectory from the Matthean community of 'little ones' to an anti-hierarchical 'ascetic Judeo-Christian group,' which produced the Apocalypse of Peter (NHC VII, 3); Schweizer 1983; cf. also Stanton 1992b. White (1986,75) suggests that Matt. 18 'reflects a pattern of organization that places minimal reliance on formally distinguished roles,' but also admits that it would be 'theologically naive' to 'conclude that the community's self-definition fundamentally agrees with its actual composition, character, and circumstances' (ibid., 85).


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    ... that teachers were important figures in the Matthean group. [86] Matthew's strong emphasis on humility and his denial of honorary titles may be taken as indirect evidence for the view that the gospel resists some expressions of an emerging hierarchy in his community or environment. Many scholars have seen in the denial of the "synagogue tides" in Matt 23:8-11 a sign that some Christian leaders inside or outside Matthew's group were in fact using these tides [87] or at least showing off in the manner that aroused Matthew's criticism. [88] One could also argue that Matthew's ambivalent presentation of Peter as a figure who is both the "rock," on which the church is built, and the "stumbling block" (16: 13-23) similarly reflects Matthew's reserved attitude toward emerging Christian leadership and legitimation of power in his environment. By democraticizing Peter's authority (cf. 18:18) and holding only to "archaizing" and undifferentiated types of leadership roles ("prophets," "scribes" or "sages"), [89] Matthew tries to maintain the ideal of a small house-church assembly, [90] in which every member has a special charisma and all the important decisions, such as the excommunication of a sinning member (18: 15-20; cf. 1 Cor 5; 6:1-11), are made collectively. Perhaps this "conservative" attitude of Matthew explains why he grants the supreme religious and judicial power to the non-Christian Jewish leaders (Matt 23:2-3; 5:21-26) rather than to some specific authority or body of authorities in his own group.

    The Gospel of Thomas shares Matthew's egalitarianism in that it problematizes Christian leadership and the master-pupil relationship

    86 Saldarini, Matthew's Christian-Jewish Community, 105.

    87 Schweizer, "Matthew's Church", 139; D.E. Carland, The Intetion of Matthew 23 (NovTSup 52; Leiden: Brill) 57-63; Duling, "The Mattheall Brotherhood," 166.

    88 Viviano, "Social World," 16.

    89 Viviano ("Social World", 14) characterizes Matthew's list of "offices" as being "conservative or archaizing."

    90 Cf. Stanton (A Gosptl for New People, 50-51), who estimates that "it would have been difficult to many more than 50 or so people to crowd into even quite a substantial house;" see also idem, "Communities of Matthew," 388, and Luomanen, Entering the Kingdom of Heaven, 272. Stanton concludes from this that Matthew must have written to a larger audience than to one small house-church. Such a social location would indeed explain some of Matthew's peculiarities, for example his teaching concerning itinerant teachers (false and good) and contradictions with respect to Jewish heritage. Matthew's "imprecision" with respect to his audience could be explained by the fact that the assemblies Matthew is writing for are diverse. This kind of situation also creates a need for more centralized leadership (cf. Luomanen, ibid.), a development which Matthew can be seen as resisting.


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    (Gos. Thom. 3 and 12-13; cf. also 88). Matthew's utopia seems to be based on such biblical promises as Isa 54:13 and Jer 31:33, according to which at the end of the days, the children of God will be taught directly without any human intermediary. [91] Thomas' vision is more radical and fundamental, since it plays down the role of Jesus himself as the supreme teacher. Jesus' words to Thomas "I am not your master" are almost antithetical to Matthew's "you have one instructor, Christ" (Matt 23:10). Whereas Matthew exphasizes equality under the overarching symbol of Jesus as the final and absolute interpreter of God's law, in Thomas the anti-authoritarian model is extended to the symbolic presentation of the equality between the ideal disciple, Thomas, and Jesus himself. Regardless of all of his emphasis on brotherhood and service, Matthew's symbolic world is ultimately a hierarchical one: the heavenly Father and the Son of Man rule at the top, next in order come the twelve disciples (Matt 19:28). [92] The hierarchy is not destroyed, but strongly conditioned by the warning that, as far as human beings are concerned, "many who are first will be last, and the last first" (19:30). The symbolic world of Thomas is based on the idea that there is no essential difference between humanity and Divinity, thus there is no heavenly court and hierarchy. [93] Every person is part of God and will eventually return to God, at least if trained to realize his or her divine nature. In this respect, Thomas represents a totally different conceptual world compated with Matthew and derives its basic ideological tenor from the ideology widely accepted in the Hellenistic world. In a sense

    91 J.D.M. Derrett, "Mt 28,8-10 a Midrash on Is 54,13 and Jer 31,33-34." Bib 62 (1981) 372-86; Krentz, "Community and Character," 566.

    92 This ethos can aptly be compared to what Gerd Theissen has called "love-patriarchalism" encountered in Pauline and especially in the deutero-Pauline and Pastoral Epistles. "This love-patriarchalism takes the social differences for granted but ameliorates them through an obligation of respect and love, an obligation imposed upon those who are socially stronger;" Theissen, "Social Stratification in the Corinthian Community," in idem, The Social Setting of Pauline Christianity: Essays on Corinth (edited and translated by J.H. Schutz; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1982) on p. 107.

    93 Gos. Thom. 15 may be understood as criticizing cultic adoration of anyone "born of woman" (cf. Gal 4:4; Q 7:28; Gos. Thom. 46) rather than as fostering hierarchic symbolism. See Valantasis, Gospel of Thomas, 81-82.


    the Thomasine Jesus resembles the Stoic teacher, who encourages his pupils to become their own teachers. [94]

    It is, however, obvious that a radical symbolic egalitarianism does not automatically generate actions that would aim at removing all social distinctions and patriarchal structures. Most Stoics, for example, did not understand their radically antihierarchica1 theory as a direct recipe for social and political action. [95] It would be an oversimplification to draw the conclusion mat the Matthean church was considerably more patriarchal than the Thomasine circles or that Thomas envisioned a fundamentally more egalitarian model of a Christian community than Matthew. In spite of their ideological differences, both gospels are suspicious of the Christian leadership structures that were developing in their environments under me auspices of the symbols of Peter and James. Both understand Jesus' role ultimately as that of a teacher, and it is therefore highly probable that the activity of teaching was of vital importance in both communities.

    It is possible, though. that the role that the female disciples Mary Magdalene and Salome occasionally have in Thomas (Gos. Thom. 21; 61; 114) signals a difference between the social worlds of these two gospels. [96] One could argue that women were encouraged to have a more active role in the Thomasine community than in the Matthean church, which may be seen as a community of brothers rather than that of siblings. [97]

    94 Cf. Epictetus, who ehorts his students to abandon other people's opinions: 'Will you not, then, let other men alone, and become your own pupil and your own teacher?' (Diatr. 4.6.11; Oldfather, LCL). See also Nussbaum 1994, 345.

    95 Engberg-Pedersem 1995, 267. This does not mean that the egalitarian and universalist ideal was simply an empty theory without any practical consequences. Epictetus' teaching on the slave-master relationship illustrates well the Stoic attitude: (I owe this example to Huttunen 2000). A gentle reaction to the disobedient behaviour of a slave at dinner is a thing that is 'acceptable to the gods' since one has to remember that slaves are 'kinsmen, brothers by nature, that they are the offspring of Zeus' (Oldfather LCL). Epictetus does not challenge the institution of slavery or the patriarchal rule in general, but teaches his students to look beyond 'these wretched laws of ours' to 'the laws of gods' (Diatr. 1.13.5) and to act gently and without anger. This comes close to what Theissen means by 'love-patriarchalism' (see above, note 92). As a matter of fact, it was a widespread ethical ideal in the Hellenistic world; cf. the ideology of 'benevolent patriarchalism' described in Martin 1995, 39-47.

    96 For the female disciples in Thomas, see Marjanen 1998c.

    97 This is not to say that Matthew ignored the role of the female followers of Jesus (see, e.g., Matt. 27:55-6). They may not be named among Jesus' 'disciples' (cf. Gos. Thom. 61:4), but it would be against the evidence to argue that Matthew aims at diminishing the communal and prophetic activity of women. See D'Angelo 1999; Mattila 1999; 2002.


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    The role that the women disciples have in Thomas may reflect the same Hellenistic universalism described above...


    (pg 103 text not yet transcribed)


    does not promote tightly organized assemblies, the internal logic of the gospel seems to presuppose some sort of loosely structured school in which the sayings of Jesus were read and meditated upon. Moreover, one may raise the question whether the emphasis on 'aloneness' in saying 30 should be set against Thomas' confrontation with a clearly defined Christian church which celebrated Jesus' presence in its cult meetings and deemed the Thomasine Christians more or less outsiders. If this assumption is on the right track, then we have one more important difference between the Thomasine and the Matthean critiques of leadership. Whereas Matthew still largely defines the ideal communal structure against non-Christian formative Judaism, Thomas is engaged in the criticism of Christian leadership and hierarchical , formation within Christian communities. However, given Matthew's reserved attitude toward the hierarchical structures that were emerging inside and outside his community, one may also see both gospels as resisting the church hierarchy developing at the turn of the second century. Ironically, it was Matthew who left in Peter's 'investiture' one of the strongest weapons for the legitimation of episcopal power. Thomas' radical model of teaching authority could hardly have been accepted by those who championed monepiscopacy in Christian communities from the early second century onwards. [108]

    The comparison between the Matthean and Thomasine views on leadership shows that. in spire of the different ideological frameworks, both gospels share an antihierarchical stance which may be set against the background of emerging church offices in their time. This can especially be seen in the ways in which both gospels deal with the major figures of ecclesiastical power, Peter and James. Yet a fundamental difference exists between their criticisms of church hierarchy. Whereas


    108 The criticism of church offices continued among the second and third century gnostic groups; see Pagels 1976; Koschorke 1978, 67-71. At the end of the second century, however, school and episcopacy still constituted two distinct institutions in Alexandria represented by Clement and Bishop Demetrius. Kyrtatas (1987, 141-2) stresses the social integration and the economic basis of the latter institution: The school 'tended to become, in a manner of speaking, secular. It divided Christianity into sects using intellectual criteria; it had no hierarchy in the strict sense and was in need of no special funds: a member became a teacher because of his learning... The monarchical episcopate, by contrast, can be termed more religious. It struggled to integrate all local communities into one church, it had a rigid hierarchy which depended on fixed salaries and organized charity -- hence the prime importance of finance; its members were promoted to successive grades through internal mechanisms inaccessible to outsiders.


    Matthew ultimately accepts the power of the keys, although strongly conditioning it with demands for humility, Thomas adds to James' leadership a different kind of model, one based on self-sufficiency and independence. Thomas exemplifies this model and, through the prologue of the gospel, becomes the guarantor of the tradition which promulgates this understanding of discipleship. Matthew's view became the Christian pattern whereas Thomas' model was pushed to the margin of Christian life and culture until its resurgence in postmodern religious mentality.


    Transcriber's  Comments

    Saint Thomas, as depicted by El Greco

    Thomas Pericopes

    (under construction)

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