The Missing Scriptures: The Gospel of Thomas
It was from a reference by Joseph Campbell, whom I greatly admire, that I first heard of The Gospel of Thomas. Joseph Campbell’s quotation from the lost scripture made me rush out to order the book immediately.
I guess I was fortunate, because it turned out to be Marvin Meyer’s translation. It is wonderful.
I can’t put words to what this gospel says to me. It rings true in accordance with the writings of sages the world over, East and West, as well as with the generally ignored passage in the New Testament: “The kingdom of heaven is within you.”
It is not surprising that Emperor Constantine chose to crucify the Gospel of Thomas – worse, attempted to erase its memory by burning all copies he could find, and killing anyone who spoke of it – along with other scriptures he disliked: it leaves no need for a gatekeeper to heaven – neither emperor, as self-appointed ruler under God, nor church hierarchy – but only a direct communion with truth, through the wisdom of His words. Power seekers do not like to be left out of the loop.
The Gospel of Thomas is a revelation. Were it not for Emperor Constantine’s self-anointed appropriation of the position of God’s editor in the 4th century CE, we would have a very different, and expanded Bible. The Gospel of Thomas would certainly be one part of that more complete cannon. Only the most rigorously dogmatic can fail to recognize its authenticity.
Alas, such as these are always the ones drawn most to positions of “authority” within hierarchical social institutions, such as academia and the church. Jesus has a blunt retort to such men and women, recorded in the Gospel of Thomas: “The priests are like dogs that lay in the manger, for they do not eat, and they do not let the cattle eat.”
“I took my stand in the midst of humanity, and I wept for them, for they came into the world blind, and they seek to leave the world blind.” – Jesus, Gospel of Thomas. Who knew the church could be so afraid, even of the words of its root and inspiration? The door is now open, however, for all who “wish to see.”
“The kingdom of heaven is spread out upon the earth, and men see it not,” Jesus is recorded as saying in the Gospel. If we could begin to realize that, there would be a spiritual and social revolution on earth, and “on earth, as it is in heaven,” would not be mere words of piety, but actual visible fact.
Marvin Meyers translation, I later discovered, only through direct comparison to others, is by far the superior in the field, from the translations I have seen.
Do not miss this text. It is one of profound wisdom.