Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Key of Knowledge

Many ancient texts, including much of the New Testament, appear to have a chiastic structure: an ABCDCBA organizational pattern.

Chiastic structures in Thomas can be used by the seeker to connect the corresponding sayings of Jesus so that they can be properly interpreted. The implications of these structures within the Gospel of Thomas are astonishing. "Whoever finds the interpretation of these sayings will not experience death," Thomas 1.

This article suggests a chiastic structure built around Saying 55. "Whoever does not... take up his cross in my way will not be worthy of me."

This arrangement suggests that the message of “the cross” can be the center and climax of the gospel of Thomas.

This gospel structure may be like a progessive catechism for an early church encouraging the carnal believers to a deeper walk. Uniting the two sides of this palindrome together into one bodily structure may uncover the meaning of many of the more obscure sayings of Jesus.

Also presented is an alternate chiastic pattern built around Saying 51: "What you look forward to has already come, but you do not recognize it." Perhaps, this chiasm may have been adapted for a more spiritually minded audience. In this pattern a Realized Eschatology of the Kingdom would be emphasized as the heart of Jesus' message.

These two patterns do not have to be mutually exclusive, but perhaps mutually supportive.

For personal devotionals and scriptural meditations I offer the charts found at the bottom of the article. They focus on the cross and the words of Christ.

Blessings on your Journey,


Dean Johnson

Discover The Key of Knowledge


The first step is to recognize the Key Of Knowledge and to study the Chiasm it reveals.

After studying this initial chiastic structure it may be interesting to examine the kingdom now chiasm revealing Christ's message of Realized Eschatology.

Then combining the two Chiasm's into into One Body, the Joint Body structure can be the next step in unravelling the mystery as revealed in this amazing gospel.

The next step can be "Renunciation and Ministry:
The Eye, Hand, Foot and Likeness Teachings.
" This page discusses the path toward ministry and the deeper walk of a Wandering Radical .

The next step is "The Bridal Chamber" This page introduces the 26 alignments of the Bridal Chamber preparing the reader for the joining of heaven and earth.

Next is "A Closer Look At The Bridal Chamber" This page considers the teaching of those alignments that specifically mention the Bridal Chamber.

Then it may be interesting to view "The Holy Grail Mystery And The Gospel Of Thomas Chiastic Pyramid Structure." This page uses popular religious imagery to illustrate the great mystery as it is revealed within Thomas.

"Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds. When he finds, he will become troubled. When he becomes troubled, he will be astonished, and he will rule over the All,"
Thomas 2.


URfriend, Dean Johnson said...

There is an encouraging post on another Quaker blog by Norea. She quotes and then comments. "The implications of a chiasm within the Gospel of Thomas are astonishing."

[Editor's note: I wouldn't call that astonishing, so much as mind-blowing. I shall have to return to my Thomasine meditations in earnest, I think.]

Posted by Norea from NTF May 15th
Category: Quaker Blogs at Quakers in the Wild

Norea, you brought joy to my heart. Inspiring a return to the study of Thomas was exactly the response I was hoping for.

Mind blowing moments is what I expect.

URfriend, Dean Johnson said...

These hidden structures within Thomas suggest that an esoteric exegesis is intended by the author.

Progressively deeper mysteries are gradually revealed in the joining together of these chiasmic structures. The implications of this necessary knitting together of the two chiasms into one Joint-Body to interpret the Gospel of Thomas is astonishing beyond belief. This is especially true if Thomas is understood as an early source document for the New Testament Gospels. Also, and just as profound, if this joint body structure in Thomas was used by Paul as a teaching tool in certain congregations he wrote to, or if as it appears, it is the foundation behind his theology, then his letters may need to be reinterpreted. If these possibilities are honestly examined then the scope and repercussions of these hidden chiastic structures can become staggering. This manner of esoteric exegesis and the resulting interpretation may dramatically influence our understanding not only of Christ's words, but also of the Gospels, the letters of Paul, and the entire New Testament

URfriend, Dean Johnson said...

In a recent Google search on the Gospel of Thomas and Chiastic structures I came across an interesting title called "The Way of Life by Jesus of Nazareth" by Robert North. Concerning the date of composition of The Gospel of Thomas he asserts that the use of Chiastic structures is one reason to give Thomas an early first century dating.

On his web site concerning the date of composition of Thomas he writes, “Jesus’ book contains wisdom poems arranged in the classical arch or chiastic structure. That style was used in the composition of sections of the Bible, including the Torah. By the first century CE, it had become a highly developed method for conveying oral and written information. Jesus would have mastered it and chosen it for his compositions. After the first century, it appears to have been rarely used. That fact also dates this work.”

URfriend, Dean Johnson said...

Not as obviously demonstrated, but visible for those willing to align the pink boxes within the joint body chart, is the joining together and aligning of the structural key words in Thomas 22: eyes in the place of an eye, and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, and a likeness in place of a likeness. Sayings are aligned horizontally by the gentle rocking of the female upon the male structure within her.

These sayings depict the life of the disciple following in the way of Christ, living generously with a single eye, the giving away of all wealth with the extended hand, seeing their likeness in the reflection of a brother’s eye, and the following in the footsteps of Christ with the itinerant lifestyle of a wandering radical.

The possibility of a next step of illumination, though less obvious may be suggested by the marriage of Christ and Sophia in the bridal Chamber (depicted with the green boxes). Christ the Male (represented by the inner sayings) descends in incarnation and ascends in glory. There are new horizontal saying alignments with both the up and the down movements of the male within the female. Some work is required to view these alignments.

“(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)” Ephesians 4:9, 10

Depicting the great mystery the inner and outer chiasms within the bridal chamber pictorially suggest a marriage of the male and the female. The two come together as one.

This may suggest both a pre-existent and a new perspective of eternal Oneness.

URfriend, Dean Johnson said...

Some eye, hand, foot, and likeness sayings.