The Gospel Of Thomas
Thomas inspires us to move beyond the self centred, and emotionally disconnected culture that permeates much of modern society to a new and integrated relationship with everything that is not us. With the earth, with the animals, with each other. (Ladbrooke, Martin. 'The Kingdom Of The ONE')
Exploring The Teachings Of The Gospel of Thomas. (A Website Created By Martin Ladbrooke)
The Gospel of Thomas consists of 114 sayings only half of which have any correlation to the four biblical gospels. Many historians position the sayings as a collection, a record of everything Jesus said. Ladbrooke contends something different proffering that within their apparent disconnectedness the sayings contain common themes and display an unexpected coherence. That they offer a new way of being, a system of living based on a transformed perspective that resides in unity and interconnectedness.
Thomas offers no chronological narrative, no miracles, nor any story of a resurrection. It makes no reference to the founding of a new church nor does it assign any supernatural qualities to Jesus. Rather it maps a spiritual path that dispenses with the duties and obligations of traditional religion, and instead focusses upon what Ladbrooke terms the 'subjective turn'. This is the path of the 'solitary', a call to those who trust the divinity within, and those who prioritise their own religious experience above the doctrines and rituals of any institution.
In this gospel Thomas is the apostle who is positioned as the one who has the deepest understanding of the message. He is the one who is taken to one side for individual and personal teaching. This runs completely counter to his image in orthodoxy where he is positioned as the apostle of wavering faith. The one who refuses to believe in the resurrected Jesus until he has touched his wounds.
Though the gospel is often positioned as the secret teaching of Jesus this actually misses the point. When I teach Aikido I differentiate my approach based upon the students I am teaching. Those new to the art receive a different teaching to those who have been with me for a long time. Is it really beyond our imagination that Jesus differentiated his approach dependent upon his audience? That he taught different things to his disciples than what was conveyed to a standard audience? Or even different things to Thomas himself?
If the sayings are secret its because they require work on your part. They ask you to sit with them, to companion them, to spend time uncovering the layers and layers of meaning hidden within. Your intellect, your linear process of thinking, this is of no help in uncovering the voice of Thomas. It asks for something different from you.
We Are All ONE
Ladbrooke suggests that Thomas is the mystical offshoot of the early Jesus movement and that it points towards a unity that embraces everthing and everyone. It is eveyone you know, the animals, and the plants, and the rocks too. It confirms our lives inextricably linked to everything else, and that interdependancy is woven into the very fabrci of existence. ladbrooke covers this in great detail in his forthcoming book 'The Kingdom Of The ONE'.
The Gospel Of Thomas Themes
There are discernible themes that are threaded into Thomas and on this site I point to what they are and how they are evidenced. In the forthcoming book 'Kingdom Of The ONE' then I explain them in more detail and describe how they link together. At the heart of this lies the view that the gospel is not just a random collection of sayings but instead is an intricately designed system of being. A voice from the past advising us on our future and reminding us of the enormity of who and what we are.