Saying 14 – LC

14 Jesus said to them: If you fast, you will beget
a sin for yourselves; and if you pray, you will be
condemned; and if you give alms, you will do an
evil to your spirits.
And if you go into any land and travel in its
regions, if they receive you eat what they set
before you. Heal the sick among them. For that
which goes into your mouth will not defile you,
but that which comes forth from your mouth, that
is what will defile you.

I have to wonder if Thomas isn’t commenting on one
(or more) of the synoptics:

Matt 6:16-18: Jesus (in both gospels) was conscious
of the spiritual cost involved in hypocritical
fasting, praying, and giving alms that are no doubt
prevalent among us, and likely within us.

In Thomas Jesus speaks more incisively about these
things, you might say mercilessly, and he does it
here in such a way that if we’re guilty, we’re
condemned and if we’re innocent, then we’re likely
just confused.

In the second paragraph he has addressed two other
passages from the synoptic account: Matt 10:5-8 and

The saying illustrates how close to the other gospels
Thomas is. We don’t know which one came first, but
if we postulate that Thomas was later, then we see
that he had a close familiarity with the others. In
fact two thirds of his sayings are close relatives
of synoptic verses, and students of Thomas can cite
a relative verse in all of them.

It still pains me very much to realize that the
‘Church Fathers’ banned it and in fact made a
concerted attempt to destroy it.


5 responses

  1. Larry, from what I’ve read, the gospel of Thomas wasn’t chosen to be in the canon because its gnostic theme was seen as a heresy – link . I guess later on, the spread of gnostici christianity was looked upon (in the 2nd century) with real worry and many wrote against it, like Irenaeus of Lyons (c.130-c.200).

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  3. Larry said… Yes indeed, Crystal. The Quakers were also considered to be very heretical. Anyone who doesn’t agree with the dominant authorities is called heretical. In the first three centuries they all called one another heretics. Then one group won out and controlled the ‘established church’ from then on. All the other groups became heresies. But does that justify burning books?

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  5. I guess people can get very upset about religious stuff … they didn’t just burn books, they (later) burned people!I think it’s not so surprising, though, that any organization would try to regularize its mission statement/creed. That isn’t to justify the lengths they went to, but just to say that people who are in charge of groups usually get to make the rules for belonging.I know the Quakers, to their credit, don’t have a creed, per se 🙂

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