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THE GNÔSİS OF THE GOSPEL OF THOMAS

THE GNÔSİS

OF THE

GOSPEL OF THOMAS1



Ahmed Yüksel ÖZEMRE2


In order to understand the gnôsis

which lies in the background of the Gospel of Thomas, it is suitable to arrange

some of the 114 sayings of Jesus therein in 5 groups as

follows:

I.

Invitation and Promises:

"Come unto me, for my yoke is easy and my

lordship is mild. You will find repose for yourselves" (90). "I shall

give you what no eye has seen and what no ear has heard and what no hand has

touched and what never occured in the human mind [or heart]" (17)

for3 "He who will

drink from my mouth will become like me.

I myself shall become he, and the things that are hidden will [then]

be revealed to him" (108). You ask me: "When will you[r truth] become revealed to

us and when shall we see you[r truth]?" (37) and "Show us

the place where you are, since it is necessary to us to seek it..." (24).

"He who seeks will find, and [he who knocks] will be let in"

(94); but you must

"Recognize what is in your sight, [so] that which is hidden

from you will become revealed to you" (5). And be aware that "...

If you become my disciples and listen to my words, these stones will minister to

you ..." (19).


II.

The Mystery of Jesus

(The

Mystery of Man): "I took my place in the midst of the World, and

I appeared to them in flesh" (28), but "You read the face of the

sky and of the earth, and you have not recognized the one before you and you do

not know how to evaluate [the opportunity of] this moment" (91).

"You do not realize who I am from what I say to you?..." (43). "You have

omitted the Alive who is in your presence ..." (52). Well then be

conscious, and "Take heed of the Alive as you are in life, lest you die and

seek to see him and be unable to do so" (59). I am explicitely telling

you: "Whoever has ears, let him hear. There is Light within a man of Light

and he light up the whole World. If he does not shine, it will be darkness"

(24). So recognize that "It is I who am the Light which is above

them all. It is I who am the World. From me did the World come forth, and

unto me did the World extend. Split a piece of wood, and I am there. Lift up the

stone, and you will find me there" (77). "... I am he who existed from

the Unity. What was given to me, was that of my Father..."

(61).


III.

The Soul: "One who knows the World but do

not know his Soul is not worthy of any place" (67). "... You, then, be on

your guard against the World..." (21). You must "Become passers-by" (42) from

the World. "The Heaven and the Earth will be rolled up in your presence. And

the one who is Alive from the Alive will not experince death". Did I say to

you that "The World is not worthy

to that one who has a deep knowledge of his soul"? (111). "Woe to the

flesh that depends on the soul, woe to the soul that depends on the flesh!",

that couple who let you forget the Beginning and the End. Yet "... where

the Beginning is, there will the End be. Blessed is he who will take his place

in the Beginning; he will know the End and will not experience death"

(18). If you could understand that "...The Kingdom is inside of

you. The one who knows his soul will also find the

Kingdom4, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of

the Living Father..." (3). "He who is near me is near the fire, and he

who is far from me is far from the Kingdom" (82)


IV.

The Kingdom: And you ask me "When will the Kingdom come?"

(113). But you must realize that

"... It will not come by waiting for it. It will not be a matter of

saying 'here is it' or 'there it is'. Rather, the Kingdom spread out upon the

Earth, and men do not see it" (113). "If you do not fast as regard the

World, you will not find the Kingdom..." (27). "... when you make the two

one, and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the

inside, and the above like the below, and when you make the male and the female

one and the same, so that the male not be the male nor the female female; and

when you fashion eyes in place of one eye, and a hand in place of a hand, and a

foot in place of a foot, and an image in place of an image; then will you enter

the Kingdom" (22). "Blessed are the solitary and the elect, for you will

find the Kingdom. For you are from it, and to it you will return" (49).

"He who will come back to One, he will be filled by Light..." (61). "If

they say to you 'Where did you come from?', say to them 'We came from the Light,

the place where the Light came into being on its own accord and established

itself and became manifest through their

image'. If they say to you 'Who are you', say 'We are its children, and we are

the elect of the Living Father ' " (50). And you are proposing without

elegance that Mary must leave us, with the pretention that women are not worthy

of life "Look! I myself shall lead

her in order to make her male so that she too may become a Living Spirit

resembling you males. For every woman who will make herself male will enter the

Kingdom of Heaven" (114). And you "When you come to dwell

in the Light, what will do you? On the day when you were one you became two. But when you become

two, what will do you?" (11). You must well realize this heavy

responsability and "When you see one who is not born of woman, prostrate

yourself on your faces and be his devoted servant. That one is your Father"

(15).


V.

The Good News and the Necessity of

the Secracy:

And I say you "Whoever finds the true interpretation of these sayings

will not experience death" (1). "... I am not more the master [but the

spritual twin] of those who drunk from the spring I revealed... "

(13). For "It is to those [who are worthy of my] mysteries

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

(62). Therefore "Do not give what is holy to dogs, lest they throw

them to the dung heap. Do not throw the pearls to swine, lest they

[destroy] them" (93).


From these constatations, the main

lines of the message of Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas are:


1)
An invitation and the declaration

of the promises to those who accept this invitation,
2) The revelation of the esoteric

truth which lies beyond the apperent personality of Jesus,
3) The fact that the acquisition of a

perfect knowledge of his soul, may permit the disciple to enter the

Kingdom,
4) The conditions of realization of

such a knowledge, and
5) The necessity of the preservation

of this kind of

Gnôsis.


This message is to be considered

as a good news (an euaggelion) by the facts that it will: A) let the man

aware of the mysteries of his inner (divine) essence, B) push him to a very

high consciousness which may be called "a second birth" (but this time, without

the intervention of a woman), and C) let him to understand this World not only

from the phenomenal point of view, but also from a divine

one.





* *

*




[1]The numbers in brackets are the numbers of sayings of Jesus according to

The Nag Hammadi Library (James M. Robinson, General

Editor),

[2]From pp. 111-116 of a book published in Turkish by Ahmed Yüksel

Özemre: Toma'ya Göre İncîl ya da

Hz İsâ'nın 114 Hadîsi (The Gospel of Thomas or the 114 Saying of

Jesus), 247 pp., 2d edition published by

Kaknüs Yayınları, Üsküdar/İstanbul, 2003.

[3]The italic words are mines.

[4]From Papyrus Oxyrynchus 654 which is the first draft of the cotic

Gospel of Thomas.


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