Notes „Thought Provoking Sayings of Jesus.‟ Fn.1. Maggie – in the text „Mary‟, almost certainly Mary of Magdala rather than Mary, the mother of Jesus. The Gospel of Thomas reflects the honour given to Maggie in the earliest days of the Christian communities, some of which was transferred to Mary the mother in succeeding generations when the gospel characters were no longer remembered from personal contact. There are clear indications in the Gnostic writings that Maggie rivalled Rocky in authority, a competition she was bound, because of the culture of the time, to lose. Fn.2. “Trust your senses” i.e. “if you‟ve got ears, use them!” Fn.3. The nearest equivalent to this advice from Jesus is to be found in the words he spoke to his friends in the garden, according to Luke. Either they should stand by him or make good their escape. The worst course was to dither. See Luke 22:35-38 and the accompanying footnote. Fn.4. Sally – in the text „Salome‟. Obviously, like others among Jesus‟s female disciples, Sally was from the upper classes, and may, like Joan (Joanna), have been a member of the court of Herod Antipas. She may even be identified as Rose‟s dancing daughter, as suggested in John Henson‟s imaginative biographies, “Or was it like this?” Fn.5. Literally, “Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.”, as in Matthew 6:3. In Matthew it is used in the context of giving, but the absence of such a clear indication of meaning here suggests the more basic meaning of circumspection. Fn.6. Literally, “I‟m going to knock the whole house down, and no-one will be able to re-build it.” There are different versions of this saying of Jesus, quoted against him at his trial. Unlike the other gospel writers, Twin does not soften its radicalism by seeking to explain it or put it in context. Perhaps, therefore, he gives us the saying in its original form, advocating the total destruction of that which has served it purpose. Fn.7. Jesus enjoyed this kind of banter where one person throws a proverb or witty saying at the other. He did not aim to win the game, but to establish the truth by means of dialogue. (His dialogue with the Syrian woman is a good example of his cheerfully losing the contest! See Mark 7:24-30.) Socrates had used a similar method, as Jesus would probably have been aware. Fn.8. „humanity‟, literally „Son of Man‟, which we generally translate „The Complete Person‟. In the context Twin gives it here, it seems to have its more basic meaning, humankind in general. See Matthew 8:20 and Luke 9:58 for the differing slants the gospel writers give to the words of Jesus. Fn.9. More literally, “The New World is like an assassin planning to kill a well- known public figure. First of all he practices with his weapon and puts his skill to the test, then he goes out and does the deed.” Our translation makes the same point, but in our culture an assassin is not acceptable as a role model. (Jesus had within his circle of friends at least one who would have understood his metaphor.) Fn.10. We have amended the order of the verses, postponing the well-known response of Jesus to the question of taxes to the Romans, since it interrupts the flow. The text at this point is incomplete, so we hope we have conveyed the most likely meaning. The language of the original is extreme, like the language of the equivalent texts in Matthew and Luke. This example of Hebrew hyperbole requires softening in translation. Fn.11. Jesus quotes directly from one of Aesop‟s fables. Aesop lived from 620-560 BCE, and his stories were popular throughout the world of Jesus‟s day. Fn.12. Jesus had to face gossip concerning his biological parents. Some believed him to be a Samaritan, i.e. of mixed race (John 8:48). Origen records the tradition that some believed him to be the illegitimate child of Mary and a soldier called Panthera. A gravestone marks a Sidonian archer of that name who was stationed in Palestine around the time of the birth of Jesus. It is interesting that, according to both John and Twin, Jesus did not directly contradict the rumours. Fn. 13. “Those who show me affection”, literally, „whoever drinks from my mouth‟ (i.e. „kisses me‟) Fn.14. As in the other gospels, the explanation of a parable is the gospel-writer‟s idea of what Jesus had in mind. The method of Jesus was to allow his hearers to work out the meaning for themselves. This parable is rich in possible interpretations. Fn.15. Literally, Jesus promises to make Maggie (Mary of Magdala) „male‟, and encourages other women to seek this step. Jesus was talking about roles, since it was Maggie‟s already established place in the group of leaders that Rocky objected to. A power struggle in the early church is reflected here, with women leaders as one of the issues. It seems that Twin was on opposite sides from Rocky and claimed the authority of Jesus for his position. Rocky won and women lost out for two thousand years. Twin‟s witness is making slow but sure headway at last.
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