Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Jon's Wisdom Reading

This yahoo group (Wisdom Reading) is peopled by a number of Bible scholars including yours truly. And not just the Bible, but the Gospel of Thomas and some Eastern scriptures. The founder of the group has followed a distinctive, perhaps unique Way. (I suppose that could be said of all our Ways.)

We have lots of fun, but we need a few more incisive minds. Do join.


xianchick said...


I kinda like the Gospel of Thomas. Until I get to the part where Jesus states that he will make Mary like a man.

I'm asking this totally open-mindedly: What the hell is that supposed to mean?!?

As of now, I'm not feeling the love.

xianchick said...

but I highly respect you, and trust that you - of all people - may be able to answer it in a satisfactory way.

I'm counting on you here.

Larry said...

You can count on me, Chick, and I appreciate very much your confidence.

There are many answers to the "Mary like a man thing":

1. In the eternal realm gender is no longer a factor. "For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven" (Matt. 22:30).

2. This one I like: Jesus was a joker, and capable of being facetious; for example the "mote and the beam" (Matt. 7:3)

3. In the language of mythology (or some way) the sky is masculine and represents the eternal and the earth is feminine and represents the temporal. Of course this is closely related to the suburdinate position in which cultures for the last two millenia have put women; it was the kind of culture Jesus lived in.

Uniting Heaven and Earth, by Sukie Colegrave gave an excellent account of how this happened, beginning with earlier epoches which were primarily matriarchal, leading to the 'masculine movement', the end of which we may be approaching. She has written a good bit of other stuff on the questions of gender.

4. Simon Peter very likely misunderstood Jesus' words and gave a distorted report to the others.

Many others, I'm sure.

The thing about Thomas is that it's open ended. It isn't necessarily supposed to mean any particlar thing, but to evoke in the hearer 'that of God' in him.

What is your slant on Thomas 114 (Simon Peter quoting Jesus re Mary?

Nice to find someone else interested in Thomas.


xianchick said...

My slant on Thomas 114, is quite difficult for me to explain (believe it or not).

I often see be an elitist twist involved with service which disturbs me.

The fact is that being allowed to serve others is a gift from God.

It is by God's grace alone that any of us are in a position to be of service in the first place.

Frankly, the aristocratic "I've been chosen to help those losers" attitude does nothing but piss me off. And the reason I get so defensive is because I fear the pitfall involved with choosing that attitude.

Right now in my own personal life, I have the privilege of serving a non-profit organization in capacity of treasurer. It is a huge responsibility, and it takes many hours, and I do it on a volunteer basis.

For the past 2 months I have been arguing with another board member over whether or not it is our job to "demonstrate accountability" to the folks we serve.

There is a subtle difference between doing the absolute best you can because you want to glorify God, and doing the absolute best you can because you want to set an example.

The difference is in attitude and motivation.

Thomas 114 makes me feel like a whore. plain and simple. my own interpretation picks up on an aura of "I will even serve those disgusting females."

That is not the Jesus I know.

Me and my little ones have often giggled at the mote vs. the beam statement.

All laughs aside, Simon Peter can kiss my ass. He misrepresents J.C. and I just don't like it.

I like the rest of it though. I know I'm really harsh with my language. Sorry 'bout that. I just get really passionate about things like this.

There must be more information about 114... I'm gonna do some more investigating.

Jon said...

Hey, thanks for the plug, Larry! And thanks for your wonderful contributions of yourself to the group.

Xianchick, I definitely feel you on 114. I rejected Thomas out-of-hand for years because of that one verse. It's out-of-place, because it's one of very few truly Gnostic verses in Thomas. I believe female represents the soul, male represents the spirit. Jesus is saying that he can make any soul into the likeness of the spirit of God, even those the disciples looked down on.

Even if that's not it, it's just one verse... ignore it if that's the best for you right now.

xianchick said...

jon, that's the best advice ever.

i'll try reading it again with a piece of paper over 114.

the gnostic phrase has so totally clouded my vision of that "gospel" that I always mentally eradicate the rest.