It was on a December day in the year of 1945, near the town of Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt, that the course of Gnostic studies was radically renewed and forever changed. An Arab peasant, digging around a boulder in search of fertilizer for his fields, happened upon an old, rather large red earthenware jar. Hoping to have found a buried treasure, and with due hesitation and apprehension about the jinn who might attend such a hoard, he smashed the jar open. Inside he discovered no treasure and no genie, but instead books: more than a dozen old codices bound in golden brown leather.6 Little did he realize that he had found an extraordinary collection of ancient texts, manuscripts hidden a millennium and a half before -- probably by monks from the nearby monastery of St. Pachomius seeking to preserve them from a destruction ordered by the church as part of its violent expunging of heterodoxy and heresy.
I find myself resonating more with the Gnostic versions of the Gospels, especially the Gospel of Thomas. Much like the works of Leedskalnin I can feel the truth seep from these writings. There are 114 sayings, but here are a few I am particularly fond of:
7. Jesus said, "Lucky is the lion that the human will eat, so that the lion becomes human. And foul is the human that the lion will eat, and the lion still will become human."
10. Jesus said, "I have cast fire upon the world, and look, I'm guarding it until it blazes."
16. Jesus said, "Perhaps people think that I have come to cast peace upon the world. They do not know that I have come to cast conflicts upon the earth: fire, sword, war. For there will be five in a house: there'll be three against two and two against three, father against son and son against father, and they will stand alone."
25. Jesus said, "Love your friends like your own soul, protect them like the pupil of your eye."
29. Jesus said, "If the flesh came into being because of spirit, that is a marvel, but if spirit came into being because of the body, that is a marvel of marvels. Yet I marvel at how this great wealth has come to dwell in this poverty."
42. Jesus said, "Be passersby."
To me, they are much more profound and seem to touch something much deeper... MattThe Gospel of Thomas