Gnosticism, Wisdom, Asceticism, & Mysticism: Four Views on the Gospel of Thomas (Repost)

Back in May, before my move to North Carolina, I wrote the following:

Awhile back I mentioned that I am finishing a book about current scholarly opinion on the Gospel of Thomas. The book focuses on three critical questions: (1) when was Thomas written? (2) what is Thomas‘s relationship to the canonical gospels? and (3) what theological outlook does Thomas present to the reader? I am currently working on the third question and I thought a series of posts might be a good way to flesh out some of what I’ve been reading/writing in recent weeks. I will be focusing on four schools of thought:  Thomas as a gnostic document, Thomas as an example of Jewish or Christian wisdom, Thomas as an ascetic work (likely reflecting the ethos of early Syrian Christianity), and Thomas as an example of Christian mysticism.

Now that I finally have some time to devote to this subject, I figured now would be as good a time as any to return to it. I posted one entry on the subject and then I was forced to stop. I hope to repost the first installment later today and begin again from there. Hopefully no major life transition will get in the way this time.

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Interview with Risto Uro on the Gospel of Thomas (Part III)

RistoHere’s the final installment of my interview with Professor Uro. For those interested in dissertation topics, he suggests three areas he’d like to see investigated:

(CWS) 7. Are you currently planning to undertake more research on the Gospel of Thomas? If so, what other projects do you currently have planned (or in the works)?

(RU) I am currently working on a project titled “Ritual and Christian Beginnings.” Part of the project is also to analyze the transmission of the Jesus traditions from the perspective of ritual and memory. Materials from Thomas will certainly play a role in the analysis.

(CWS) 8. To your mind, what area(s) of Thomas research is/are in need of further investigation? If you were going to supervise Ph.D. students in this area, what avenues of study would you suggest? (If you are currently supervising doctoral students in Thomasine studies, can you share a little about what these students are pursuing?)

(RU) I would like to list the following three areas/topics:

  • Thomas and memory studies
  • Thomas in light of the Hellenistic philosophies (I did some comparison with Stoicism in my 2003 book, but much more could be done)
  • The social setting of Thomas in light of other “school” settings in early Christianity (e.g., Clement of Alexandria, Valentinian Christianity)

There are some hopes that we could have a doctoral student work on one or some of these topics.

Thanks again to Professor Uro for participating. In the early fall I *hope* to post an interview with Professor Marvin Meyer of Chapman University. He has agreed to be interviewed in this forum but his schedule has not yet opened up enough to participate.