This compilation explores modern interpretations of the Gospel according to Thomas, an ancient text preserved in a Coptic translation at Nag Hammadi and Greek fragments at Oxyrhynchus. With no particular slant, this commentary gathers together quotations from various scholars in order to elucidate the meaning of the sayings, many of which are right...
Nag Hammadi Coptic Text
Jesus said, "Whoever has come to know the world has discovered a carcass, and whoever has discovered a carcass, of that person the world is not worthy."
Jesus said, "The heavens and the earth will roll up in your presence, and whoever is living from the living one will not see death." Does not Jesus say, "Whoever has found oneself, of that person the world is not worthy?"
And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.
For wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
Bentley Layton writes:
"This saying is nearly identical with no. 56, which likens the world to a 'corpse' (Greek ptoma) rather than the body (Greek to soma)."
(The Gnostic Scriptures, p. 394)
Helmut Koester writes:
"Understanding the world - a thing that is really dead - leads inevitably to a proper understanding of the body and corporeal existence. Becoming superior to the world involves deprecation of the flesh in favor of the spirit."
(Ancient Christian Gospels, p. 126)
Funk and Hoover write:
"Jesus did not depreciate the world, so far as we can tell from the body of lore identified as coming from him. But in Thomas' version of Christianity, this seems to be a standard theme. Note, for example, the saying recorded in Thomas 110: 'The one who has found the world, and has become wealthy, should renounce the world' (further, compare Thom 27:1 and 111:3). These sayings represent a branch of the Christian movement that grew increasingly ascetic as time passed. Asceticism does not comport with the Jesus who was accused of being a glutton and a drunk (Luke 7:34)."
(The Five Gospels, p. 517)
Once you understand the world it becomes unworthy of you.
- seeker of truth
He also said the Kingdom of Heaven is within. When you can find that Heaven inside yourself, why would you try to employ worldly devices to your further benefit? To me Jesus looks more like an ascetic yogi who has mastered mind and body, than a corporate executive for whom his material wants are endless.
With constant awareness of the sensations on the body, and an equal measure of serenity during this, one loosens the grip of the world and finds the kingdom of heaven within.