Saturday, April 11, 2009

Apocryphote of the Day: 4-11-09

Jesus said, "Whoever does not carry his cross as I do will not be worthy of me."

Gospel of Thomas 55b

420-430 CE Panel from a small ivory box
7.5 x 9.8 cm.
British Museum, London

1 comment:

Frank McCoy said...

In Post 61, Philo states, "It is a necessity to souls that love the body that the body should be looked on as a brother, and that external good things should be valued pre-eminently, all all souls in this condition depend on and hang from lifeless things, for, like men crucified and nailed to a tree, they are affixed to perishable materials until they die."
The main point of Th 55.2 is that, rather than being ruled by the tree or cross of the body and material things, thereby being crucified upon it until it dies, the spirit should overcome this tree or cross, thereby carrying it around in subjection to itself.
That is to say, the spirit should master the body and material things, renouncing such things as bodily relationships and material wealth.
This is why, for example, Th 55 also tells us to hate parents and brothers and sisters.
Again, this is why the immediately preceding Th 54 tells us that the poor are blessed.
Yet again, this is why Th 53, the next preceding saying, recommends the circumcision of the spirit--this being the spirit's overcoming of the body. Compare Colossians 2--where, after enunciating a spirit/body contrast in 5 (Indeed, in the flesh I am absent, but in the spirit I am with you.), it thusly speaks of the spirit's overcoming of the body in 11(And you were circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands in the putting off of the body of flesh in the circumcision of Christ.)
Even the immediately ensuing Th 56 thematically relates to 55. What belongs to the world, as Philo puts it above, consists of "lifeless things". Thus, the world itself is lifeless, a corpse so to speak, and, so, one needs to renounce it and to seek that which is living.