June 24, 2005
The Gospel of Thomas: The Gnostic Wisdom of Jesus
By Jean-Yves Leloup with foreword by Jacob Needleman
Publisher: Inner Traditions (February 2005)
Pages: 228 - Price: $14.95
Review by Lee Prosser - firstname.lastname@example.org
Found in the amazing cache of codices and manuscripts discovered at Nag Hammadi, the Gospel of Thomas remains the most important one. This gospel is different from the canonical gospels because it does not contain a narrative recording of the prophecies and life experiences of Jesus Christ. What it does do is present a collection of Jesus' teachings in the form of 114 logia, or sayings. These sayings were gathered by Judas Didymus Thomas, whom many scholars believe was the closet disciple of Jesus. Scholars believe this is the original source text from which all gospel writers borrowed their material, and inspiration.
Jean-Yves Leloup shows through the gospel translation the connection with gnostics of the nondualistic schools. In this gospel, Jesus describes a spiritual journey from limited to unlimited consciousness, to look within for the knowledge that lies within each of us. By attaining this self-knowledge, the individual "will make each of us, too, a Christ."
Those readers who have studied ancient religions, such as the Vedanta teachings of the ancient Hindus of India, will find this book a special reading experience. Those who enjoy the study of ancient religious writings in general will discover in this book a most fascinating and educational reading journey. Those interested in the real Jesus Christ will find what they seek.
An example from this book illustrates how each saying by Jesus is organized. Here is Logion 30 with cross-references to Matt 18:20 and John 5:7-8 & 10:34.
Where there are three gods,
they are gods.
Where there are two or one,
I am with them.
These sayings will give further insight into Jesus Christ, who spent his not-lost-at-all years in India, among other places he traveled and lived. Be prepared to see how the original sayings of Jesus Christ were oftentimes recast into what has become a battleground for Christian dogma in the contemporary world.
This is a book that deserves a wide reading for its accuracy and honest approach to Jesus Christ's sayings before organized religion took control of his messages.
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