Scrupuli

blunt essays with sharp points

The Epistle of Thomas

by Scrvpvlvs
Jun 14, 2003 2:52 AM–

1 Thomas, a doubter, To the secret church of Jesus, our Lord and Savior: Love, and freedom from tyranny imposed from without or within.

2 Let there be no more dispute among you about the Good News declared by our brother Mark. Some of you say that Mark wrote falsely, and Jesus is yet buried. Some say that Jesus rose from the dead and pushed the stone aside, although Mark wrote only that the stone was moved and the body gone.a

3 Some even believe in a corruption which testifies to Jesus’ reanimation, makes our sister Mary to be a witness, and has Jesus command us, his disciples, to take our own lives with poisonous snakes and deadly potions, promising that we too will be saved.b 4 Do not test God. I tell you plainly, that not Mark but our enemies wrote this, tempting the faithful to their deaths. Shun it, that you may live. I do not lie about this.

5 It is well said that the Good News cannot end in a tomb, for Mark titled his declaration the beginning of the Good News.c There is much that Mark did not write plainly, and much after the crucifixion that Mark did not write, for fear of the Council and of Pilate. The danger being less, I can make plain some things that were hidden.

6 I remind you that our brother Joseph of Arimathea concealed his faith because he was a prominent member of the Council. He begged Pilate for the body of Jesus on the same day of his crucifixion. Pilate was surprised to hear that Jesus was already dead, for he was expected to suffer several days. Pilate questioned the centurion who saw to the crucifixion, and, assured of Jesus’ death, gave the body to Joseph.d

7 As Mark declared, this centurion was one of us, and testified to his faith at the moment of Jesus’ outcry and death, as was supposed. For are you still “ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding?” Have you not understood the Good News that Mark proclaimed to you as plainly as he was able? 8 Jesus is not dead; he is alive! For our brothers deceived Pilate; Joseph took Jesus, and hid him in the cave, and brought him bread and wine; and he was saved, and taken to a place of refuge. He speaks to the faithful through Peter and his companions until he returns in power.e

9 I dare not reveal more by letter. Be patient until I shall come and tell you all things. Meanwhile, I beg you, sisters and brothers, to shun wishful thinking, and love uncertainty. Tell Matthew, Luke, and John also to elaborate less on the Good News in the retelling, lest the truth be obscured by fish stories.f 10 Love and freedom be with you all. Amen.

a. Mark 16:4.

b. Mark 16:18 (Longer Ending). This so-called Longer Ending, of which there is also a variation, the Freer Logion, begins after verse 8, and was not written by Mark, but added later in a different style. The Shorter Ending also begins after verse 8, and reads merely: “And they reported all the instructions briefly to Peter’s companions. Afterwards Jesus himself, through them, sent forth from east to west the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation. Amen.”

c. Mark 1:1.

d. Mark 15:42–45.

e. Mark 16:6–8, and Shorter Ending.

f. The Gospel of Mark is widely believed by Bible scholars to be the earliest Gospel, and to be the source of much of the material in the other Gospels.

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