The turning point for my Dark Night of the Soul last year coincided with my return to reading the Gospel of Thomas. In this Gospel was the liberation from dogma that I longed for. In this Gospel was also, at the same time, the intimacy with God that I longed for.
I can’t remember when I first came across the Gospel of Thomas but I know that out of all the Nag Hammadi texts and other Apocrypha, it always had the strongest pull on me. I think that when you find a text like that, you should never let it go. It’s your soul telling you that you need it for sustenance. Other texts on par with the Gospel of Thomas for me are the poems of Rumi and the Tao Te Ching. They all help keep me sane (okay, sane-ish).
Not long ago, I came across a Udemy course about the Gospel of Thomas, titled ‘The Gospel of Thomas Goes Public.’ I highly recommend this course for anybody who is curious about this Gospel from a more academic point of view. It is co-taught by Dr. Shirley Paulson and Dr. Hal Taussig. I can honestly say, it’s by far the best Udemy course I’ve ever taken. Some of them have been pure fluff by comparison.
I’m about halfway through the course now and wanted to share some thoughts that surfaced as part of the most recent course quiz. I would love to know your thoughts in the comments below!
Why Was the Gospel of Thomas Not Included in the Bible?
I believe it’s a mix between oversight/ignorance and a witting lack of consideration for any texts that didn’t support the political narrative du jour. The texts that the state-sponsored clergy were quick to throw on the scrap heap were usually of a more mystical nature.
Though the Gospel of Thomas is wisdom literature, I also believe it falls into the category of mystical teachings. Thomas takes us Eastward, toward the kind of oneness consciousness you find in Buddhism. Some of the sayings read like koans. You can’t rule and conquer people who think like this. This is also evident in the Tao Te Ching. The rulers who want total control over people always use divide and conquer techniques and the Tao Te Ching sees through all that.
Basically, the Bible as it stands today is verrrrry good at propping up a hierarchy of power. I’m thinking not so much about what Jesus himself taught as some of the things said by people like Paul. The Gospel of Thomas is a poor match with those teachings and would have caused too much confusion and unruliness.
When I read Thomas I get a sense that it is okay to question things and to trust the voice of wisdom within my soul. I don’t get that same sense when I read the New Testament.
In the Gospel of Thomas, you have the authority of the pure voice of wisdom. In some of Paul’s teachings, you have authoritarianism. The Old Testament has a mix of those two voices. I think perhaps the Jewish rabbis have been better at holding that kind of tension through the millennia.
At this point in history, I think humanity is ready to graduate from authoritarianism and that is precisely why the Gospel of Thomas is coming to the fore now. It is also why the world is in the state it’s currently in but I digress…
So… Does the Gospel of Thomas Belong in the Bible?
Is it necessary to add the Gospel of Thomas to the already existing Bible? It isn’t for me to be able to enjoy its teachings so no.
Would it make a difference to Christianity at large if it were added? I believe it would but I don’t think it is possible, especially when considering the dire warning at the end of the Book of Revelation against adding anything. You’d also have to have some kind of global ecumenical council agree on what not to add. Would I trust such a council in light of how the church has been propping up the globalist narrative? No chance!
Inherently, though I love the Bible, I believe the process of canonisation was heavily marred by politicisation. A process that should have been guided by Spirit alone was meddled with by worldly powers. I don’t trust that Athanasius, for instance, had pure motives when he suggested what books ought to be recognized. He was on a heavily sponsored mission from the Emperor of Rome.
I guess I’m just a Yeshua-loving heretic. I’ve probably been burned at the stake in more than one past life (a discussion for another day but the early Christians did believe in reincarnation).
The Gospel of Thomas and the Tarot
For me, the Gospel of Thomas is a better fit with Universal Truth (like the poems of Rumi and the Tao Te Ching) than with traditional Christianity. This also makes the Gospel of Thomas an excellent fit with the Tarot. There are many of the 114 sayings that remind me of the Tarot Archetypes. The divine androgyne in The World springs to mind as a very clear example of this; it represents the essence of ChristoSophianic Tarot to me.
That said, about half of the sayings are also in the New Testament. The voice of Yeshua is clear and recognisable wherever we find it. And wherever I find it, I will always love it.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow meJohn 10:27