Friday, July 09, 2004

NPR and the gospel of Thomas

That "communist" radio outlet National Public Radio featured a program on the Gospel of Thomas on today's Fresh Air. As I listened, I was once again reminded why NPR is so valuable to society. There was no "talking head" political pundit preaching one side of "the truth." There was no malicious stigmatization of opposing viewpoints. There never is this type of thing on NPR. Only good, honest conversation, and if FOX NEWS is fair and balanced, then NPR is heavenly objectivity.

I invite all of you readers to follow the above link and have a listen for yourself. The program consisted of an interview with Elaine Pagels who is the author of "BEYOND BELIEF: The Secret Gospel Thomas." She is a professor at Princeton University, and her insight was very refreshing. At one point, Pagels juxtaposes the message of Thomas against the message of the gospel of John. She speculates that John was written later, perhaps, as an antithesis to the introspective gnosticism of Thomas. She points out that it is only in John where the apostle Thomas appears "doubting" or weak.

I read much of the gospel of Thomas many years ago, and I personally was struck by it's beauty and simplicity. Pagels references the early canonization of the Biblical texts, and points out that despite the Bible's implicit divinity, this process was bumpy and filled with great strife. She also implies that the thematic content of John, coupled with the New Testament books authored by Paul, promote the institutional establishment of the church, whereas the gospel of Thomas reveals Christ's message as a much more intimate and subjective faith in God's will, therefore potentially destabilizing the institutional foundation of Christianity.

Well, don't take my word for it, check it out yourself...

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