15 August 2008

Thomas

I love the Gospel of Thomas. It was among the apocryphal Christian writings thought lost until the discovery of the Nag Hammadi library of mostly Gnostic Christian texts found in 1945.

Thomas is not a narrative like the biblical Gospels, but rather a collection of “secret sayings which the living Jesus said.” Many of them are familiar from the New Testament, but many more are novel, and very different in tone. My favourite is the beautifully pantheist Saying 77. Usually it's rendered something like the Patterson-Meyer translation:

Jesus said,
I am the light that is over all things. I am all: from me all came forth, and to me all attained.
Split a piece of wood; I am there.
Lift up the stone, and you will find me there.

I recently noticed an interesting word-root repetition looking at an interlinear translation of it. The root word translated there as “split” actually appears twice. I don't know Coptic, but looking at that, I offer an amateur translation of my own which preserves this repetition with a poetic use of English:

Jesus said:
I am Light upon all things.
I am All ...
All comes out of me ...
All breaks upon me.
Break a log: there I am.
Lift a stone: find me there.

1 comment:

inflectionpoint said...

Ah, thank you for giving me another thread to follow.

"Holy Mother, in you we live and move and have our being..." gave me back the words I put away when I left the catholic church. How much more can I reclaim? How much more did I set aside without even knowing it was there?

Thank you for yet another thread.