Life & Teachings of Jesus
Azusa Pacific University
Dr. Kathryn Smith
February 14, 2002
"The Gospel of Thomas"

I.   Provenance and Date
A.   Eastern Syria
1.   Gentile area
2.   Knows Paul's teaching
B.   Date - possibly first century
1.   Language of the kingdom
2.   Polemic (argumentative speech) against the Jews - looks at Jews as their authority
3.   Form criticism - Some of the parables are very ancient form
C.   Genre: Sayings Gospel
II.   A Proto-Gnostic Gospel?
A.   Mixture between science (cosmos) and religion
B.   Very strong anti-Judaism
C.   Parallels to later Gnosticism
1.   Journey of the Soul - logia 18, 49
a.   Universal in all Gnostic systems
b.   Monad - one god, no Gender specifics
c.   Generates various pairs of gods capable of creating their own pairs of gods
d.   God named Sophia has a child
i.   Does it with out wanting to do it with a male god
ii.   This child is named Yahweh
iii.   She creates a veil so that the other gods don't see Yahweh
iv.   Yahweh is the God of Genesis
v.   Yahweh creates Adam; cannot bring him to life
vi.   Sophia breathes life into Adam
vii.   Adam is a subject of evil Yahweh; but spirit comes from the good god(s)
e.   Human souls is divine; it was a god itself
f.   Job on earth is to get out of the body (a tomb) and
i.   Saved by attaining knowledge
ii.   Return to god status
g.   logia 18 - if you know your beginning then you will know the end
2.   Matter/spirit dualism - logia 29,56
a.   Matter belongs to the realm of evil
b.   Matter is as far from god as anything
3.   Knowledge/ignorance dualism - logia 1,3
a.   Salvation itself comes from attaining knowledge
b.   If you do not have knowledge you are not saved
4.   Greatest "sin" is ignorance - logion 3
III.   Individual Logia
A.   Logion 7 - the lion becomes man
1.   Platonic 3 - tiered human
a.   Three levels of human beings according to Plato
b.   Monster (base level)
c.   Beast (middle level)
d.   Human (righteous level)
2.   Aspiring to humanity
B.   Logion 50 - the ascent to heaven
1.   Esoteric passwords
2.   Rule of archons
3.   Ascent of the soul
IV.   What does the Gospel of Thomas' Jesus look like
A.   Platonic, Socratic influence
B.   World controlled by evil archons
C.   Realized eschatology - the new kingdom of God is here now fully
D.   No notion of transforming the world - the world is evil so there is no point in establishing a new earth
E.   Salvation comes through knowledge - Jesus did not die on the cross but only knowing who we are
F.   Strong anti-Jewish polemic
G.   Comes from heaven, goes back to heaven
H.   Radical social critic