May 18, 2007


Caption: Jesus said, "I am the light that is over all things. I am all: From me all has come forth, and to me all has reached. Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there." Gospel of Thomas, 77

The guiding thread through this week's Goat Rope has been a series of musings on the apochrypal Gospel of Thomas, along with links and rants about current events. If this is your first visit, please click on the earlier entries.

By way of conclusion, El Cabrero is catholic and orthodox enough to be OK with the decision of the church fathers to exclude Thomas from the New Testament canon.

But it does deserve a wider reading. If nothing else, Thomas provides another example of how very diverse early Christian communities were. And finally, it's good to let the some of the sayings of Jesus in Thomas challenge the reader.

Here's the official Goat Rope selection of Thomas' Greatest Hits:

Jesus said, "Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will marvel, and will rule over all." (2)

"Know what is in front of your face, and what is hidden from you will be disclosed to you. For there is nothing hidden that won't be revealed." (5)

"Fortunate is the person who has worked hard and has found life." (58)

Jesus said, "If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will save you. If you do not have that within you, what you do not have within you will kill you." (70)

They said to him, "Tell us who you are so that we may believe in you."

He said to them, "You examine the face of heaven and earth, but you have not come to know the one who is in your presence, and you do not know how to examine this moment."

The Jesus of this gospel always seems to push the listener/reader back to the present moment, which may not be a bad place to start.

Speaking of the present,

BOTTOM FEEDERS. Business Week has a great special report in the May 21 issue about how many businesses are squeezing more profits from the working poor. Sample quote:

In recent years, a range of businesses have made financing more readily available to even the riskiest of borrowers. Greater access to credit has put cars, computers, credit cards, and even homes within reach for many more of the working poor. But this remaking of the marketplace for low-income consumers has a dark side: Innovative and zealous firms have lured unsophisticated shoppers by the hundreds of thousands into a thicket of debt from which many never emerge.

Federal Reserve data show that in relative terms, that debt is getting more expensive. In 1989 households earning $30,000 or less a year paid an average annual interest rate on auto loans that was 16.8% higher than what households earning more than $90,000 a year paid. By 2004 the discrepancy had soared to 56.1%. Roughly the same thing happened with mortgage loans: a leap from a 6.4% gap to one of 25.5%. "It's not only that the poor are paying more; the poor are paying a lot more," says Sheila C. Bair, chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

MARINES AGAINST TORTURE. Here's a post from West Virginia Blue about two retired Marine generals speaking out against the Bush administration's policy of torture.



Bon said...

Here's why you really like The Gospel of Thomas:

El Cabrero said...

It is pretty Zenlike or Mahayana, isn't it? My guess is that whatever community composed and used Thomas was influenced by other ideas that had made it to the Hellenistic world.

Anonymous said...

Molly, like so many literary theorists, seems more interested in talking than listening.

Or my computer's broken.

In any case, when I opened Molly's post there was nowhere for me to comment on it.

El Cabrero said...

You may be right about Dr. Ringworm. She may have been overcome by other urges. Sorry the comment thing didn't work. I'll check it out. Thanks!