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Stigmata And The Gospel Of St Thomas  
User currently offlineBrissie_lions From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (13 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 14009 times:

Howdy all

Me and my b/f were watching the movie Stigmata. At the end of the movie they made mention of the "Lost Gospel" or the "Gospel of St Thomas". They also made note that since being discovered in 1945, that the Roman Catholic has refused to acknowledge this gospel...writing it off as heresy.

What can anyone tell me about this "Lost Gospel" (the movie Stigmata was based loosely around it), and why would the Roman Catholic church refuse to recognise it.

Without knowing anything about the "Lost Gospel", I would say that it refutes a lot of what the church says and believes in. I suppose that hundreds of years of teachings and a hell of a lot of dollars are at stake, if they were to recognise it?

Comments or info anyone?

Cheers

Scotty

22 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineCfalk From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (13 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 13802 times:

While there are many supposed gospels floating around (around 25 I think) most of them cannot be confirmed as being authentic. Many are discounted because of doubts of their writers' being entirely selfless in their purpose. The Book of Morman is one example.

The Gospel of St. Thomas in the movie is fictitious, but it does create some interesting thoughts about the Church. Not a bad screenwriting job, but nothing more than that.

Ctbarnes on this forum is a Jesuit. As the Jesuits have a very large role in Catholic doctrine, he may be able to help.

Charles


User currently offlineCtbarnes From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 3491 posts, RR: 50
Reply 2, posted (13 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 13800 times:

Unfortunately, I haven't seen Stigmata, so I can't comment on the validity of what the film said about the Gospel of Thomas. I can tell you, however, a bit about what we know about it:

The gospel was discovered in Egypt 1948, and is believed to have been written at the beginning of the 3rd century AD. The text itself is a collection of sayings of Jesus which follow no particular order and contain no biographical narriative. Nothing is mentioned about Jesus' death or resurrection.

What scripture scholars have found facinating about this gospel is that there are significant paralells between the sayings of Jesus in Thomas and in the Synoptic Gospels. Some have gone as far as to say the Gospel of Thomas is the basis for an unknown collection of sayings called "Q" which is believed to be one of the sources of Matthew's and Luke's gospel, however this theory is not widely accepted.

The reason the Gospel of Thomas has not had acceptance is because some of the other sayings reflect elements of an early Christian movement called Gnosticism, which was condemned as herasy by the Council of Nicea in 325 AD. In a nutshell, Gnosticism teaches Jesus' humanity was only incidental to our salvation meaning Jesus' revelation alone of true knowledge of the world around us is the only thing that saves people (which is counter to Chruch teaching that Jesus was both human and divine: if Jesus were not human, he could not have been put to death; his crucifixion and resurrection are what saves us), the soul's dependence on the body is conemned, and strangely, female must be "made male" in order to enter heaven.

I hope I haven't gotten too arcane here. Most scripture scholarship as little more than an educated guess, but I hope I have shed some light on Thomas, and why it is not recognized.

BTW, Cflak, the only part of your answer I take issue with is the part where the Jesuits have a very large role in Catholic doctrine (at least nowdays).  Big grin

Charles, SJ



The customer isn't a moron, she is your wife -David Ogilvy
User currently offlineCfalk From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (13 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 13763 times:

Ctbarnes,

Thanks for the info. I don't find the subject arcane, as my interest in faith has grown sharply recently due to a family tragedy. I was educated in Jesuit schools, and while it did not mean terribly much to me at the time, I am grateful for it now.

My understanding is that much of the papal staff is Jesuit, and as such, are responsible for much of the continuous research done on old manuscripts and artifacts. In school we used to call the Jesuit priests the "Pope's Commandos".  Smile/happy/getting dizzy Is that not true anymore, or was it ever true?

For your info, in Stigmata, The basis of the story is that the Gospel of St. Thomas supposedly starts with these words, supposedly as a quote from Christ himself (I'm paraphrasing - I'm in Hong Kong right now at 3:00am with jet-lag, and don't have my DVD to refer to): "The Kingdom of God is all around you, not in edifices of wood or stone. Look under a rock, and I am there, look behind every tree and I am there...". The Gospel is thus construed as a repudiation of the raison d'etre of the Church itself, and militant Jesuits embark on a mission to silence the heretical Gospel so that the Church may continue. Of course you have some pretty good Hollywood-style miracles and special effects thrown in.

Does that tie in with what you know of this Gospel?

Charles (the other one)


User currently offlineCtbarnes From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 3491 posts, RR: 50
Reply 4, posted (13 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 13752 times:

Charles,

If you'd like to read the gospel of Thomas, have a look at the link below. It's really interesting reading. The passage you cite is accruate BTW, found in verse 3. I read your description of the "militant Jesuits" and found it really quite humorous.

http://www.miseri.edu/users/davies/thomas/Trans.htm

As for the Jesuits, we do have people who work in the Vatican in a number of roles, including research and arciving. The The Roman Curia is really a diverse lot consisting of Jesuits, Dominicans, and other orders pretty much working side by side. Our relationship with the current Pope is currently good, but in the past it has been quite contentious. Incidentaly, we were in the past referred to as the Pope's commandos, particulary before the suppression.

Thanks for the info. Christian herasies are something of an interest of mine.

Peace!

Charles, SJ



The customer isn't a moron, she is your wife -David Ogilvy
User currently offlineCfalk From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (13 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 13712 times:

Very Interesting. I'll be looking over it for a while. It does have some very strange concepts.

One question: Who is James the Just? Is it one of the Apostles? Does that mean James was to be the first pope?

Thanks,

Charles


User currently offlineCtbarnes From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 3491 posts, RR: 50
Reply 6, posted (13 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 13717 times:

Cfalk,

It took some digging, but I found him. James the Just, a.k.a. James the Less or James the younger (not to be confused with James the Greater, who is the apostle) is believed to be a cousin of Jesus on his mother's side who is attributed with writing the Epistle bearing his name in the New Testament. By Jewish tradition, close relatives are frequently referred to as brothers, and so James is often called the 'twin brother' of Jesus.

It is believed he was the first bishop of Jerusalem, and attended the Council of Jerusalem portrayed in the Acts of the Apostles, and in Paul's letters in AD 50.

James was widely respected in Christian circles, and was believed to have been a witness both to Jesus' crucifixion, being at the foot of the cross with the Blessed Virgin and Mary Magdeline, and to the resurrection.

The Epistle bearing his name has been dated as early as AD 49, but more likely was written between AD 60 and 62. James was martyered in Jerusalem in AD 62.

Interesting fact: James the Less is the patron of hatmakers.

Hope this helps.

Charles, SJ



The customer isn't a moron, she is your wife -David Ogilvy
User currently offlineTWFirst From Vatican City, joined Apr 2000, 6346 posts, RR: 52
Reply 7, posted (13 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 13708 times:

>>By Jewish tradition, close relatives are frequently referred to as brothers, and so James is often called the 'twin brother' of Jesus.<<


Let's hope for the sake of the concept of the eternal virgin that this truly was the case. Otherwise the Protestants win this one  Big grin.


My home parish and school was St. James, as in James the lesser.



An unexamined life isn't worth living.
User currently offlineCtbarnes From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 3491 posts, RR: 50
Reply 8, posted (13 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 13691 times:

TWFirst, you really do have a dirty mind.  Big grin

Now off to the confessional with you!

Charles, SJ



The customer isn't a moron, she is your wife -David Ogilvy
User currently offlineTWFirst From Vatican City, joined Apr 2000, 6346 posts, RR: 52
Reply 9, posted (13 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 13704 times:

Huh??? No dirty mindedness intended on this one Father (see folks, if you get a reputation for having a dirty mind it can come back to haunt you at times when you're not trying to be dirty). Unless you were using a play on words.


I was, of course, referring to Catholic doctrine holding that Mary didn't have any other children besides Jesus, and stayed free from sin here entire life. I used to argue about that concept daily with the Missouri Synod Lutheran pastor, whose class I was assigned to for confirmation instruction when my parents sent us to the Lutheran school when I was in 8th grade. He argued that the language in the bible was to be taken literally: Jesus did indeed have brothers, and Mary was just a mere mortal who popped out several other kids. I remember thinking it illogical that Protestants would interpret that language literally, yet couldn't understand why Catholic tradition interprets the words of consecration literally (This IS my body... not this REPRESENTS my body, as Protestants believe) and also the "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I shall build my church and give you the keys and whatever you say goes" which Catholicism, of course, interprets as Jesus making Pete the first pope, whereas the Protestants interpret that as Jesus commending Peter for his faith and saying it was upon that type of faith the church would be built... or something like that.



An unexamined life isn't worth living.
User currently offlineBrissie_lions From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (13 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 13738 times:

Hey guys

Thanks for your info here.

I did look at the site that Charles, the Jesuit one Big grin, posted and it seems like a long, good read.

I think mainly what I was asking, was seeing as the movie was loosely based on this "Gospel"....let us for one moment assume that it true (i.e. the words of Jesus himself).

What effect would this have on the church (any church actually)?

Would it befuddle what they have been teaching for centuries? Or would it make things clearer?

As you guys know, I am not religious at all, but one interesting point which was raised in the movie, was that, basically, you don't need a grandiose church or other building to worship to god in but as Cfalk quoted "The Kingdom of God is all around you, not in edifices of wood or stone. Look under a rock, and I am there, look behind every tree and I am there...".

By Jewish tradition, close relatives are frequently referred to as brothers, and so James is often called the 'twin brother' of Jesus

You know what guys? In Tasmania your brother can also be your husband, or even your father....but that is a completely different story for another time Big grin


User currently offlineCtbarnes From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 3491 posts, RR: 50
Reply 11, posted (13 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 13691 times:

D'oh! Looks like I posted a little badly-executed sarcasm that blew up in my face. This is what happens when you spend the whole day reading Kant...

Seems I'm the one who ought to go to confession...

BTW, your response was excellent. We'll make a theologian out of you yet!

Charles, SJ



The customer isn't a moron, she is your wife -David Ogilvy
User currently offlineTWFirst From Vatican City, joined Apr 2000, 6346 posts, RR: 52
Reply 12, posted (13 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 13694 times:

Tasmania is Australia's Alabama??


An unexamined life isn't worth living.
User currently offlineBrissie_lions From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (13 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 13693 times:

Hey Charles

I know you enjoy a laugh, and can take a joke.

If so, take a look at these beauties.

http://www.icebox.com/shows/show_164/show_frameset.asp

The show is called "Jesus...and his Brothers" and there are a few episodes.

Let us know what you think.

Also, I think with my last comment, your sarcasm was taken a bit out of whack...or was it? Big grin

Cheers

Scotty


User currently offlineBrissie_lions From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (13 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 13690 times:

TWFirst

Yeah...you got it.

That is exactly why we blew up the land linking the now-island state of Tasmania with the mainland a few years ago, under the Tasmanian Containment Act

Can't have those buggers running wild ya know.

But then again, there is a saying down here.

You know that Victorians are undeniable proof that Tasmanians can swim Big grin

Scotty


User currently offlineCtbarnes From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 3491 posts, RR: 50
Reply 15, posted (13 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 13810 times:

Brace yourselves, I'm likely to get slaughtered by the fundimentalists for saying this, but here goes:

Were these the actual words of Jesus? We can't be 100% certain that anything attributed to Jesus in the Gospels, or the Gospel of Thomas was actually said by Jesus. This is because for the first 30-40 years after Jesus' death and resurrection, stories were passed on by word of mouth (called the oral tradition). Things get embellished, adapted for the needs of a particular early Christian community, or forgotten in the transfer of the story, kind of like a game of Chinese Whispers (Gossip to you Americans). The first codified story of Jesus' life was not written, we believe, until around AD 70, which we think was the Gospel of Mark. In other words, Scripture study is basically one big sophisticated, educated guess based upon lots of theories and precious little hard information to go on.

As for what effect the gospel would have, my belief is that it would have very little, if any. As I said above, many of the things contained in the Gospel of Thomas are already contained in the Synopitc Gospels. The more off the wall bits indicate it was probably written by a Gnostic community, as the things it contains are consistent with what we know about Gnosticism as practised in the 3rd and 4th century. Since Gnosticism was condemned as herasy in 325, there is really no further discssion on the subject from a dogmatic point of view.

I should also add that the Gospel of Thomas has never really been suppressed by the Church. While it is true that it is not considered sacred scripture, it has been freely available since its discovery, and indeed has proven a valuable piece to the puzzle for scripture scholars in their quest to determine how the Gospels came to be written.

I agree with you that the church is not a building, it's the people who inhabit it. However, Catholics believe God works through creation, rather than phisically residing in it. It's a small but significant distinction. The latter is another herasy called Panthesim, BTW.

Charles, SJ



The customer isn't a moron, she is your wife -David Ogilvy
User currently offlineCtbarnes From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 3491 posts, RR: 50
Reply 16, posted (13 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 13662 times:

Scotty,

Watched the episode "Sermon on the Mount" It was OK, but I thought the Queer Duck episode with the deprogrammers was better.

My favorate parody though is still "The Life of Brian"

"Did he say 'Blessed are the Cheesemakers?'"

"No, he was speaking metaphorically. He meant all producers of dairy products."

Keep smiling!

Charles



The customer isn't a moron, she is your wife -David Ogilvy
User currently offlineBrissie_lions From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (13 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 13673 times:

Watched the episode "Sermon on the Mount" It was OK, but I thought the Queer Duck episode with the deprogrammers was better.

You just can't beat a guy with killer abs Big grin

My favorate parody though is still "The Life of Brian"

My favourite piece of "sermon" would have to be this beauty:

BRIAN: Ohh. Look. There was this man, and he had two servants.

ARTHUR: What were they called?

BRIAN: What?

ARTHUR: What were their names?

BRIAN: I don't know. And he gave them some talents.

EDDIE: You don't know?!

BRIAN: Well, it doesn't matter!

ARTHUR: He doesn't know what they were called!

BRIAN: Oh, they were called 'Simon' and 'Adrian'. Now--

ARTHUR: Oh! You said you didn't know!

BRIAN: It really doesn't matter. The point is there were these two servants--

ARTHUR: He's making it up as he goes along.

BRIAN: No, I'm not! ...And he gave them some ta-- Wait a minute. Were there three?

ARTHUR: Ohh.

EDDIE: Oh, he's terrible!

ARTHUR: He's terrible.

BRIAN: There were three.

ARTHUR: Thpppt!

BRIAN: They were-- they were st-- stewards, really.

ELSIE: Aww, get off!

BRIAN: Ooh! Eh, uh, b-- b-- now-- now hear this! Blessed are they...

DENNIS: Three.

BRIAN: ...who convert their neighbour's ox, for they shall inhibit their girth,...

MAN: Rubbish!

BRIAN: ...and to them only shall be given-- to them only... shall... be... given...

ELSIE: What?

BRIAN: Hmm?

ELSIE: Shall be given what?

BRIAN: Oh, nothing.

ELSIE: Hey! What were you going to say?

BRIAN: Nothing.

ARTHUR and FRANK: Yes, you were.

ELSIE: Yes. You were going to say something.

BRIAN: No, I wasn't. I'd finished.

ELSIE: Oh, no you weren't.

ARTHUR: Oh, come on. Tell us before you go.

BRIAN: I wasn't going to say anything. I'd finished.

ELSIE: No, you hadn't.

BLIND MAN: What won't he tell?

EDDIE: He won't say.

BLIND MAN: Is it a secret?

BRIAN: No.

BLIND MAN: Is it?

EDDIE: Must be. Otherwise, he'd tell us.

ARTHUR: Oh, tell us the secret.

BRIAN: Leave me alone.

YOUTH: What is this secret?

GIRL: Is it the secret of eternal life?

EDDIE: He won't say!

ARTHUR: Well, of course not. If I knew the secret of eternal life, I wouldn't say.



Thanks a lot Charles.....you do realise I will now have to go home and get my weekly fix of Monty Python....last week it was the Meaning of Life....Life of Brian this week by the looks of it Big grin

Cheers

Scotty

BTW....thanks for your answers above. I will have to do a bit more reading into it.


User currently offlineXFSUgimpLB41X From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 4190 posts, RR: 37
Reply 18, posted (13 years 5 months 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 13651 times:

Hey Ctbarnes...I just happen to be baptist... what exactly does a patron saint do or whatever? Ive also heard you can pray to them and also pray to Mary...not to mention that Mary was taken up to Heaven. Why does the catholic church rely on so much doctrine rather than the Bible? Thankya much.


Denny



Chicks dig winglets.
User currently offlineTWFirst From Vatican City, joined Apr 2000, 6346 posts, RR: 52
Reply 19, posted (13 years 5 months 3 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 13647 times:

Actually, the correct term is that Mary and the saints intercede for us... they're closer to the big guy and we know he likes them.

The Church's doctrinal development goes WAYYYY back. Starting with the first Nicean (sp?) council in the 4th century (am I right Charles?). The developing Christian church didn't have the bible back then. When they sat around and decided to codify what they believed in, the new testament didn't exist.



An unexamined life isn't worth living.
User currently offlineCtbarnes From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 3491 posts, RR: 50
Reply 20, posted (13 years 5 months 3 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 13652 times:

TWFirst is correct about about how we don't actually pray to saints, we ask them to pray for us on our behalf, and do so because "they're closer to the big guy and we know he likes them."

As for doctrinal development, he's on the right track. You see, Catholics are not fundimentalists. The Bible is the beginning of theological thought for us, believing scripture can be interpreted based upon historical context, the meaning of the text in context, and how it came to be written. All Catholic doctrine and dogma can be traced back to scripture, to which is added a long and rich history of theologians from Augustine to Aquinas to Ignatius of Loyola, Theresa of Avila to Karl Rahner and Bernard Lonergan who have worked to bring the scriptures alive in a way that helps others to do God's work on Earth.

As for the presence of scripture in the early Church, The early communities (at least the Jewish ones) did rely on what we now call the Old Testament until the books of the New Testament came to be written starting with Paul's Letter to the Romans in about AD 51 with Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians, to about 100-125 when the Second Letter of Peter was thought to have been written. The letters, gospels and other works such as the Acts of the Apostles (which was the second of a two-volume set, the first being the Gospel of Luke) were circulated and passed on to the various communities and certain books began to gain wide acceptence. By about 200 AD the Gospels, Paul's letters, Acts, 1 Peter and 1 John were generally accepted. By the end of the fourth century the full New Testament as we know it was fairly well established.

As for the Council of Nicea in 325, The relatively new Church was attempting to reconcile rival claims and ideas about who Christ is, and what we should believe about him, and is significant in that it was the Church's first attempt to define who this person Jesus actually was. Among the rival beliefs that were eventually conemned were Gnosticism as described above, Docetism, which claimed Christ wasn't really human but was only masquerading as a human, and Arianism which claimed Christ was the highest of creatures, greater than us but less than God. The council decreed that Jesus was both human and divine, being one with God the Father, yet walked the earth as a human being.

OK, history class over.

Charles, SJ



The customer isn't a moron, she is your wife -David Ogilvy
User currently offlineJohnboy From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 2576 posts, RR: 7
Reply 21, posted (13 years 5 months 3 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 13651 times:

Interesting reading. Now makes me believe more than ever that the Bible is a rough set of guidelines that we have to 'flesh out' ourselves.

User currently offlineCtbarnes From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 3491 posts, RR: 50
Reply 22, posted (13 years 5 months 3 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 13656 times:

Interesting reading. Now makes me believe more than ever that the Bible is a rough set of guidelines that we have to 'flesh out' ourselves.

Well, yes and no. We can use the bible to guide us in discovering how God speaks to us through prayerful reflection, meditation and contemplation. It is also necessary to pay attention to the bible as a unifying document that speaks to us as a Christian community on many different levels. The bible is the word of God which is wonderfully complex, heavily nuanced, and literarily rich. It is a rough set of guidelines, but it is also so much more.

Charles, SJ



The customer isn't a moron, she is your wife -David Ogilvy
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