At best, I would say that GoT is a collection of writings that Thomas may have written, in whole or in part. I am convinced that the author knew of a mystical experience - the recognition of heaven's ubiquity and what ramifications that has on one's sense of self identification. But if Thomas was the writer, I can only see these as notes for journal recording and NOT what must be his main message.
In my thinking I start with the doubting Thomas episode. Set in 33ad, according to traditional teachings Thomas would live another 20 years before moving to India where, from 53ad until 72-73. His time spent there is well documented by locals, and he is said to have built seven churches there before being martyred. What I found especially striking during my time in the Madras area, was how similar the stories associated with Thomas were to what I know of his contemporaries: a seemingly extraordinary fixation on the traditional gospel, as evidence in no small part by an ornate cross he carved into stone in a place where he preached, and on the hill where he was speared in the back, while praying in front of another cross that he had also allegedly carved.
So, what about the first 20 years of Thomas's post-Easter career? Are we to assume that he preached a gnostic mystical message to his followers, and then travelled down to India, dropped all of that and suddenly became what we would regard as a traditional convert? Hardly likely. The much more likely alternative is that Thomas did what he continued to do for the final 20 years of his life, telling a message in a foreign land like Paul, at tremendous ongoing personal risk.
That said, my own life experience compels me to believe that the author of Thomas was privvy to a very real, very transcendent experience which is alluded to in Verse 3. So, for now, I am thinking that this, at best was something Thomas wanted to record for posterity's sake and maybe share with some, but it could not be his main message. It would not surprise me one bit if Jesus pulled Thomas aside and initiated this experience, in much the same way that he chose two other apostles for a private viewing Transfiguration - precedent. By implication, such stories are not for everyone. The traditional gospel is.
If Thomas experienced what I did, I can certainly see why he would want to recall or write about the episode for posterity's sake. But if that's true, I think it is just as likely that some people wanted to use this document for their own political purposes, and now that I'm more informed I'm leaning to the motive being an attempt to impose a Gnostic mystical overlay over the emerging Christian message.
And if that's true, then it may be likely that the other gnostic text were subject to the same tweaking, if not complete fabrications.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03-Apr-19 15:47 by Poster Boy.