Guide A Commentary on The Gospel According to Thomas

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This detailed commentary is St.

The Gospel of Thomas: Original Text with Commentary | Logos Bible Software

One of St. Thus the sanctity of our lives is the on-going praise and glory of the Father, through the Son, by the working of the Holy Spirit. The very being of the Father is the unqualified affirmation of love for the Son and for us, in the Son. This love elicits from us an unreserved affirmation of love for God and neighbor, by which God is glorified and resplendent in us. This commentary is St.

Thomas in Rome given on January 14, , Pope Pius XII extolled the virtues of its patron, the Angelic Doctor, who serves as a divinely inspired guide in both philosophy and theology. Pope Pius spoke especially of St.

The Gospel of Thomas Collection

Just as St. Thomas diligently explored and studied the Bible as the font and life-spring of all theological studies, so too should the modern student find in biblical studies the source of his theological development. As St. The significant fact is that Pius XII expressed these sentiments shortly before his death and fifteen years after one of his most important encyclicals, Divino afflante spiritu 30 Sept. In other words, the enormous advances of modern biblical studies do not automatically nullify the importance of St. In other words, it is easier to read St.

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The big difference is between Patristic and Monastic commentaries, which were largely homiletic, pastoral, personal, and mystical, on the one hand, and Scholastic commentaries aimed at teaching students in the university or studium the literal meaning of the text. The style of medieval Scholastic commentaries is rather formal, literal, student-orientated and bookish.

This style often makes such commentaries difficult for a modem reader to follow, and to some extent hinders him from deriving the greatest benefit for his mind and heart. In this introduction I hope to show the historical context of this particular commentary and to indicate some aids to a fruitful study of it. First of all, this work is a biblical commentary by a master in a medieval university.

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In the Middle Ages, the Bible and the Bible alone was the official basis for the teaching of theology by fully qualified masters in the major universities of Europe. In fact, one could say with some justification that the ultimate goal of all medieval education was an understanding of the Bible for those who pursued the full course in the Faculty of Theology. It was the source of all preaching of the Word of God, and it was the inexhaustible font of living water for the spiritual life.

In order to reach such a lofty goal, much preparation was required. First, tools had to be acquired as a means of such study. Approximately eight years were devoted by medieval students to acquiring these tools—roughly equivalent to our four years of high school and four years of college. His study of the Sacred Text began with listening and reading. In the Middle Ages, a personal copy of the Bible was relatively rare, certainly outside university circles. Every copy of the Bible was written out by hand on parchment, a writing surface made from carefully treated skins of sheep. Such a copy was extremely expensive and hard to come by.

Although every student of theology tried desperately to obtain a personal copy, most people had to rely on hearing the Word read to them and recollecting from memory the actual words of the Bible. For that reason the beginner in theology would listen to older students and the master professor. One of the older students, the bachelor of theology, read aloud and paraphrased a particular book of the Bible. Only a master could expound the text with authority and confidence; the bachelor merely skimmed through it as a runner would skim over the course in a race.

A higher ranking bachelor devoted his energies mainly to explaining the official theological handbook, the Sentences of Peter Lombard d. Every university in the Middle Ages had a limited number of chairs, or professorships, for the masters to occupy. At the time of St. Thomas, there were twelve chairs of theology at the University of Paris, the Dominicans having two of them.

Thomas was twice professor of theology at Paris—a fact most unusual in itself. There were very few such cases where a fully fledged master would return to his old chair, thus preventing a new master from occupying it. But the intellectual, social, and religious climate in Paris at that time demanded the return of Thomas to the center of all theological learning in Europe. The new mendicant Orders mainly Dominicans and Franciscans were again being attacked by secular i. The center of this controversy Was the University of Paris, where the very existence of Dominicans and Franciscans was under fire.

At the climax of this renewed attack, the second in the history of the Dominican Order, St. Thomas arrived in Paris with his companion Reginald in the cold winter of after the academic term had begun. At the same time, he was composing the Second Part of his Summa theologiae, which he had begun in Rome two years earlier, and dictating a number of literal commentaries on various works of Aristotle for young masters in arts, that is, teachers in the Faculty of Arts, whose duty it was to expound the text of Aristotle.

The Lost Gospel of Thomas: Unknown Teachings of Yeshua

During the two and a half years Thomas spent at Paris the second time, he successfully defended the rights of mendicants to teach, preach, and flourish. During this same Parisian regency he lectured on the Gospel of St. This student was Adenulf of Anagni, an Italian cleric, provost of Saint-Omer since , later master in theology , and canon of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

Adenulf, a student of Thomas during the years , offered a considerable amount of money to have a professional scribe make a copy of this remarkable commentary for himself. If it had not been for Reginald, apparently, these lectures would have gone completely from history. But the fact is that we do have at hand the acute mind of Thomas Aquinas, a master theologian and saint, on the Gospel of St.

This commentary reflects the mind of Thomas at its peak, but before he composed the Third Part of the Summa dealing with Christ, the Sacraments, and the Church. It is a scholastic analysis of St. Earlier, at the request of his intimate friend Pope Urban IV, Thomas had compiled a continuous gloss on all four Gospels, which he had collated from the Latin and Greek Fathers of the Church.

Frequently he even instigated new translations of Greek sources, as he himself confessed in the prologue. The intense labor on the Gospel of John for the Catena molded the mind of Thomas in his personal understanding of the Sacred Text of John. Thomas, John, the Son of Zebedee, the author of this Gospel, was a virgin, whose appropriate symbol is the eagle soaring in the heights of contemplation.

That moment arrived when Thomas returned to Paris for the second time at the age of about forty-four, full of strength and vigor. But his is a typical medieval commentary because, unlike Patristic, monastic, and modern commentaries on John, it utilizes certain techniques familiar to all in the Middle Ages, but strange to us today. First of all, it is a theological commentary concerned with penetrating the literal sense of the words recorded, and seeing through the literal sense to the spiritual.

The medieval university theologian was primarily concerned with the literal sense of scripture, that is, with the sacred message intended by the human and divine author. Thomas did not have at his disposal the infinitely varied techniques of modern biblical scholarship. He knew almost nothing about biblical and near-eastern languages, archeology, philology, comparative religion, and the historical method. If he had, he would most certainly have used them. In the Encyclical Divino afflante Spiritu 30 Sept.

The Gospel of Thomas

Thomas in his commentary, that is most fruitful for our meditation, prayer, and preaching the Word of God today. The literal sense, as St. Thomas teaches, is the objective, formal, and direct meaning intended by the words in the sacred and inspired text. All he had was his personal copy of the Latin Vulgate which was not a critical edition , the familiar teaching of all the Latin and Greek Fathers known to him, his own prayerful reflection on the text, and his native genius attentive to the Spirit of God and to the text.

Among the human means Thomas had at his disposal were grammar, logic, and Aristotelian philosophy. The literal or historical sense was in principle the only basis of theological thought and discussion. The spiritual sense only enlarged, or extended, the basic literal sense. Consequently only the sacred author himself can inform us of the existence of such a sense. We could never know that one reality is to be taken as a symbol of another reality unless the Sacred Author so informs us in the literal sense.

There were three kinds of spiritual sense recognized by medieval theologians: the allegorical, the moral, and the anagogical. When anything in the Old Testament was taken to signify something in the New Testament, this sense was called allegorical. Under this sense would be included all those figures, persons, and events as symbolic of Jesus and his life and death on earth.

When anything in the life of Jesus is taken as a model for our life, we call this the moral sense. Under this sense would be included all those virtues presented to us for our imitation of Christ. This, of course, presupposes that the authors of the New Testament were inspired by the Holy Spirit. The personal message is most significant for the reader, but this personal significance must be carefully controlled by objective theological norms such as the Christian faith, sacred doctrine, the constant teaching of the Church, and a prayerful listening to the Holy Spirit.

These techniques or modi sciendi were taken for granted by every medieval theologian as the best means of learning the truth about anything. Texts and Editions for New Testament Study, He interacts with previous scholarly proposals about what the often esoteric sayings might have meant in the second-century setting of the text, giving cogent reasons for his own judgments and candidly admitting that some sayings simply elude any confident judgment about meaning. A page bibliography indicative of the huge amount of scholarly publication on the text , and indexes complete this work, which will be an essential though eye-wateringly expensive acquisition for libraries supporting research on early Christianity.