The Gospel of Thomas



There are three significant words in Thomas that have come down to us in untranslated Greek. We cannot tell whether they were originally spoken in Aramaic, but by their very nature that seems unlikely. Therefore they were spoken by Jesus in Greek, and it means that when he used them he was speaking to the Hellenists. Thomas did not have to translate them, they were not translated into Coptic, and they cannot be translated into English. All we can do is to try to grasp the meanings that Jesus intended.

The first of these is monakhos (spelt in our letters). In Thomas it is used in three logia, #16, #49 and #75. monakhos is used only very rarely in the Bible, so we cannot gain much help from their contexts. Most western writers on Thomas render it as 'solitaires'. This derives from placing emphasis on the first half, mono- or mona- as in monastery. Because there is an idea amongst scholars that Thomas originated in or was subsequently modified by an ascetic community, it is assumed (without any discussion) that the Gospel was part of the tradition that took men out into the desert—the Desert Fathers—to live as hermits, or took them into monasteries. This occurred in about the C3rd A.D.

However the Metanoia scholars have discerned much more, and offer a commentary of supreme profundity (logion #75):

The term monakhos is without doubt the master-word of the Gospel of Thomas.......

The monakhos is he who has made the two One or is engaged on an irreversible path that leads him to the One. In him, contradictions, oppositions, divisions are abolished or on the way to being abolished: the mind is reduced to its function as a servant; the ego no longer impedes the acquisition of knowledge, that is to say direct experience. The marriage place, or the nuptial chamber, is the inner Kingdom where the alchemy takes place during which ignorance is removed. The marriage place is where the illusion of duality ceases; but it ceases not by the fusion of two entities, since the One is alone, it ceases through the intuitive knowledge that nothing exists except Him, and that I am no other than Him. ........

We can even go further than this when we consider the context in which Jesus uses the word: #49 ... they shall stand boldly being monakhos.

So it becomes appropriate to quote from the 'Jesus untouched' book: "To stand boldly as a monakhos requires a certain sort of Courage, with a kind of determination and resolution. To walk one's spiritual life with independence, without going with the herd, whether that be in the community or within the family. It is because what Jesus came for was new, something different. That Courage resides in and comes from the Real Self."