Colossians and The Gospel of Thomas - a work in progress
As I prepare the pre-draft stage of my Study into the evolutions of salvation, I have drafted a chapter on Colossians and on The Gospel of Thomas. These are available at
for your corrections, advice, and criticisms. You are my editorial panel.
I have included these chapters in my updated "Take a look over my shoulder", along with other changes. This pre-draft version is available at:
Hey, as we say in Alabama.
I never fail to learn something new from your studies.
Namely, that Paul's authorship of some Epistles attributed to him is questionable.
I knew about Hebrews, but not the others.
Also, what is your take on Colossians 4:16?
Thanks so much.
Colossians? a colossal task. How about Col. 1:13. The kingdom already established, the one of the Son and his love? way ahead of 1914! or the (n)ever coming millennium.
Thank you, Sylvia.
Colossians 4:16? In the NRSV it reads:
"And when this letter has been read among you, have it read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you read also the letter from Laodicea."
We should not imagine a "church" in terms of today's understanding. There would be a handful of people, possibly meeting in a shop or someone's house. As the sentence indicates, few could read and even fewer could write. Thus the writer of this letter (epistle) expected it to be read out to them and then to the group at Laodicea. I cannot confirm what the letter to the Laodiceans said.
So I see these as circulars, designed to keep the groups advised (and managed).
Paul, Jesus, and the Baptist were convinced that the "end" was imminent, taking place in their own day. We can hear the questions in the minds of the Thessalonians as they grappled with the fact that it had not yet taken place, and some of them had even died before the cataclysmic divine intervention had taken place. With his determination that the end was upon them, Paul was never concerned about church organisation or structure -- or being married. But by the end of the first century, wild enthusiasm gave way to sombre reflection that time had passed without anything happening.
So we read instructions regarding church structures, organisation, and the need to be married creeping in. This is just one of the reasons that scholars do not believe Paul had any hand in the Pastorals (Timothy, Titus). There are, of course, other indicators.
May I throw another one at you, if you do not mind? The book of Acts is widely accepted as being the product of the early second century and that it is a carefully crafted religious novel. And do not think that the Gospels present an actual biography. The earliest (Mark) was written 40 years after Jesus was executed. Matthew was written by another group about 15 years later - long after Jeruslem had been attacked by the Romans. These people had no written record of what Jesus said or did. Jesus did not write anything nor did any of his immediate hearers. They lived in an oral society, relying on memory.
The NRSV reads:
"He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."
Yes, all in the present tense. I was particulalrly struck at the similarity of the idea expressed in such passages in Colossians with the sentiments expressed by the writers of the Gospel of Thomas.
My investigation into Thomas has opened my eyes to the very different attitude that the Orthodox Church has to the death of Christ and to salvation. Their ideas, I believe, align with those of Thomas. More research and understanding required on my part. I wonder what the Orthodox Church's attitude is to Gnosticism?
Is the WTS a gnostic body?
Yes, all in the present tense. D M :
do you have any doctrinal views on this passage or just scriptural interests?
For me, the overarching questions are:
"What is the power that mysticism and mythology hold over otherwise rational people?"
"Why should anyone believe these mystical musings, especially from thousands of years ago and from very different cultures?"
I do not know the answers.
I used to have doctrinal views. Today I am an interested observer.
I sincerely hope that when people see the wide range of ideas concerning "salvation" throughout the centuries and millennia, along with its troubled history, that they will see the idea for what it is.
On a purely selfish and personal level, I am 76 years old and I thus need the mental stimulus. I see this present Study taking some time yet before I can put it to bed. As you would see, it's already about 160 pages and I think I am halfway gathering the material (before editing). That is one reason I release each Chapter as I go, indicating that they will be subjected to later editing. I think people would find being confronted cold with a 300-page document daunting.
wide range of ideas concerning "salvation" throughout the centuries and millennia, along with its troubled history, that they will see the idea for what it is.
On a purely selfish and personal level, I am 76 years old D M
that is a great project to take on to contribute and have legacy. bravo!.
Yes, indeed, Bravo!
Here are some concerns that I noted.
Colossians' in the possessiveness should be written this way at all times.
Page 1 Style and Vocabulary - Colossians has many terms that appeal nowhere else ... Appear?
Page 1 Image of the Body of Christ - Paul certainly maintains that the church is one throughout the world and in its many manifestations, but he does not use "body" to express that ides in the undisputed letters. Idea?
Page 2 Alternate View - The consensus of scholarly opinion is the Philemon is incontestably Pauline ... That?
You have a remarkable way of making deep stuff understandable.
Thanks, again and again.