Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Saying 50


Jesus said, ‘If they say to you, “Where did you come from?” say to them, “We came from the light, the place where the light came into being on its own accord and established itself and manifested through their images.” If they say to you, “Is it you?” say, “We are its sons and we are the chosen people of the living Father.” If they ask you, “What is the sign of your Father in you?” say to them, “It is movement and rest.” ’


Several elements—the place of light, the image, the chosen people—are indicative of the latest stage of theological development seen across the book of Thomas. (Compare Sayings 3, 11, 22, 49, 61, 77, 83, 84.) While the text itself is unclear on who the mentioned ‘they’ are, or why ‘they’ are asking these questions—they could simply be theological opponents, such as Pharisees or Sadducees—similar texts identify such figures as ‘toll-collectors’, antagonistic spirits faced in the afterlife. These instructions explain how to safely interact with these spirits, by giving the correct responses to their questions.


1 Revelation of James

The Lord said to him, ‘James, see, I shall reveal to you your redemption. When you are seized, and you undergo these sufferings, a multitude will arm themselves against you that they might seize you. And in particular three of them will seize you, they who sit as toll-collectors. Not only will they demand toll, but they also take away souls by theft. When you come into their power, one of them who is their guard will say to you, “Who are you?” or “Where are you from?” You are to say to him, “I am a son,” and “I am from the Father.” He will say to you, “What sort of son are you?” and “To what father do you belong?” You are to say to him, “I am from the preexistent Father,” and “I am a son in the preexistent one.” When he says to you […] you are to say to him […] in the […] that I might […] strange things?” You are to say to him, “They are not entirely strange, but they are from Acamoth, who is the female. And these she produced as she brought down the race from the preexistent one. So then they are not strange, but they are ours. They are indeed ours because she who is mistress of them is from the preexistent one. At the same time they are strange because the preexistent one did not have intercourse with her when she produced them.” When he also says to you, “Where will you go?” you are to say to him, “To the place from which I have come; there shall I return.” And if you say these things, you will escape their attacks.’

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