- Original Christianity - Introduction to the Gospel of Thomas

Introduction to the Gospel of Thomas

What Is the Gospel of Thomas?

The Gospel of Thomas for Awakeing cover
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From the very beginning there were two Christianities. One was the Christianity we know today that developed in the Mediterranean world over the centuries. It accommodated itself to the current religious beliefs–especially those of the Roman emperors–and even absorbed and conformed itself to them to such an extent that after three centuries it became the state religion of the Empire presided over by the unbaptized and blatantly unchristian “Saint” Constantine.

He was only the first in a series of “vicars of Christ” (this expression originated with the Byzantine emperors and was taken up by the Bishop of Rome) who ruled over the Church as well as the state, and who, despite their often shockingly violent and immoral lives were declared saints of the state servant-church. Today this Christianity is divided into thousands of warring and warlike sects, a multi-headed monster.

The other Christianity was the religion learned by Jesus from his Essene family and during his “lost years” in India, then brought by him back to the “West,” to Israel. (See our publication, The Christ of India.) Rejected and martyred for teaching that religion, after his resurrection he returned to India and lived thirty or more years at peace in the Himalayas.

The Apostle Thomas eventually followed him to India. After some years Saint Thomas went to Ephesus to be present at the death of the Virgin Mary, then journeyed on to Israel and persuaded a large number of the Qumran Essenes to come with him into South India (the present-day Kerala) to practice the religion Jesus had taught (virtually in vain) to the Israelites. They agreed and did so, linking up with a vast number of Brahmins who had emigrated from Kashmir after becoming disciples of both Jesus and Saint Thomas. It is this Christianity that is found in the Gospel of Thomas.

In December of 1945, an Egyptian farmer near Nag Hammadi unearthed in his field more than fifty ancient Christian books, written in the Coptic (ancient Egyptian) language. Among them was the book now known as The Gospel of Thomas. Portions of three Greek copies of the Gospel of Thomas had been found about half a century before in Oxyrhynchus, Egypt. They are known as Oxyrhynchus Papyrus 1 (Oxy P 1), probably written not much later than the year 200; Oxy P 654, which can be dated to the middle or end of the third century; and Oxy P 655, dated not later than A. D. 250. The complete (Nag Hammadi) version in Coptic can be dated to about 340 A.D. The Coptic version is believed to be a translation of the Greek version.

According to the Pistis Sophia (Codex Askewianus), after his resurrection Jesus instructed Philip, Matthew, and Thomas to set down his words in writing. While Saint Thomas was in Israel visiting the Qumran community, Saint Matthew gave him a copy of his Gospel, and perhaps at that time Saint Thomas gave Saint Matthew a copy of his record of Jesus’ sayings which became copied and circulated among those of gnostic inclination. Since the Nag Hammadi discovery we now possess Saint Thomas’ complete Gospel. The translation I will mostly use in this commentary is that of Thomas O. Lambdin.

Read the first Chapter: Open Secrets

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Chapters in The Gospel of Thomas for Awakening

  1. The Open Secrets
  2. Seeking Is More Than Just Finding
  3. Seeking the Kingdom Realistically
  4. The One Goal
  5. From the Seen to the Unseen
  6. What Jesus Wants Us To Do
  7. Eat Or Be Eaten
  8. Fishing Wisely
  9. The Inner Field
  10. Guarding the Flame
  11. What Will You Do?
  12. Who Shall Lead?
  13. The Unspeakable
  14. When Virtue is Vice
  15. Father in Heaven; Father on Earth
  16. Divine Discord
  17. The Divine Gift
  18. The Origin is the End
  19. Original Being
  20. A Mustard Seed
  21. Disciples of Jesus
  22. How to Enter the Kingdom
  23. Unity of Vision
  24. Where is Christ?
  25. Love and Protect
  26. Seeing
  27. The Fasting and Sabbath of the Spirit
  28. How Jesus Saw the World
  29. Hidden Treasure
  30. One
  31. The Power of Unbelief
  32. Spiritual Strength
  33. Speak It Out
  34. The Blind
  35. The Secret of Spiritual Security
  36. Live Carefree
  37. Unashamed Before God
  38. At the Source
  39. The Religion of Ignorance
  40. Within God
  41. Spiritual Gain and Loss
  42. Move On
  43. Challenging the Master
  44. The Source of Good and Evil
  45. Great in the Kingdom
  46. Impossible Duality
  47. Peace That Moves Mountains
  48. Back to the Source
  49. Children of the Light
  50. Here and Now
  51. Seeing Yet Blind
  52. Outer Ritual or Inner Growth?
  53. Infinite Transcendence
  54. “Hate”
  55. True Understanding
  56. Wheat and Weeds
  57. Finding Life
  58. Live and Die Not
  59. “Lest Thou Also…”
  60. Who Will Die; Who Will Live
  61. The Path of Unknowing
  62. Awakened by Death
  63. Turning Ourselves Away
  64. Gullibility
  65. The Rejected is Truly Accepted
  66. All–and Nothing
  67. The Blessings of Persecution
  68. Life or Death Lie Within
  69. Admission
  70. Not a Divider
  71. Seeking the Harvest
  72. Thirsting in Vain
  73. Who Shall Enter?
  74. Unfailing Treasure
  75. The All Speaks
  76. Well-dressed Ignoramuses
  77. True Blessedness
  78. A Duplication
  79. Balancing the Inner and the Outer
  80. Near and Far
  81. Seeing the Unseeable
  82. Seeing Your Unknown Side
  83. Our Forefather Adam
  84. Blessed Homelessness
  85. Doubly Wretched
  86. Onward and Upward
  87. Twofold Life
  88. The Yoke of Christ
  89. Knowing the Unknown
  90. Asking and Hearing
  91. Give Not…
  92. Seeking and Knocking
  93. Right Generosity
  94. The Expanding Kingdom
  95. The Fulfilled Universe
  96. Taking Stock
  97. The Spiritual Family
  98. Three Debts
  99. Father and Mother
  100. Exoteric Religion
  101. Ready for Invasion
  102. Penitential Discipline, Anyone?
  103. Daring to Know
  104. Ending Duality
  105. “I Love You More…”
  106. At the Source
  107. Finding the Hidden Treasure
  108. Having Come to the End
  109. Immortal and Above the World
  110. Body and Soul
  111. Where is the Kingdom?
  112. Male and Female?
  113. In Conclusion
  114. Glossary
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