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"Render unto Caesar..." Jesus According To The Gospel Of Thomas

Nag Hammadi - A Source Of Rare Ancient Literature

Egypt's Nag Hammadi site was relatively close to Israel and the hub of the Mediterranean.

Egypt's Nag Hammadi site was relatively close to Israel and the hub of the Mediterranean.

Two Day Before The Passion, Jesus Said...

On his final day of public teaching and speeches in the Herodian Temple at Jerusalem, on the second day of the week, the twelfth day of the first month of the Mosaic year, Jesus was making some tremendous announcements in response to the hostility predominating amongst many of the leading religious factions and their adherents, and the aftermath of the "Temple cleansing" on the day prior. The tragedy is that there is no Mona Lisa with us now, just cryptic cartoon sketches of a man who became the most influential historic figure in western civilisation. For those who believe that all we need is preserved in a bible, just stop reading now, turn off the light and go to sleep. Yet for those who want to know more, please read on. This is not intended to be my final article on this particular discourse. There is a lot of material here from what may be gleaned by the Hebrew version of Matthew, two pseudepigraphal Gospels, and one verse in the Qur'an, but the focus here is far more basic. This famous saying of Jesus is actually only two-thirds complete according to Thomas.

Priesthood And Kingdoms Revealed Through Thomas 100

Bible Versus Thomas.

Matt.22:15a: Then proceeded the Pharisees, taking counsel together...

Matt.22:15b/Mark12:13b: that they may (hunt him down;) (ensnare him) in a word.

Matt.22:16a/Mark12:13a: And (to) him they apostle (certain-of) their disciples, (and) (with) the Herodians...

Matt.22:16b/Mark12:14a: and, having-come, declared (to-him), "Teacher, we discern that you-are true and in truth you teach the Way of God. (And) you care not about any [partiality - Lev.19:15], for you look not unto mans' countenance.

Matt.22:17a: Then tell us, what do you suppose...

Matt.22:17b/Mark12:14b: is-it-lawful, to-give census-tax to Caesar, or not?”

Luke 20:23: Yet considering their cunning [he] said to them, "Why try me?

Matt.22:19a: Exhibit it!

Mark 12:15b: You bring forth...

Matt.22:19b/Mark12:15c: to-me...

Matt.22:19c: the coinage of the census-tax...

Mark 12:15e: so-that I may discern it!”

Matt.22:19d/Mark 12:15d,16a: (Those ones) they then brought (to him) a denarius (Roman silver coin).

Matt.22:20-21/Mark12:16b-17a: [He] then declared to them, “Whose image, and superscription [is upon] this?”

(And) they said to him, "A Caesar."

Then (Jesus responded) to them (saying), "Then that-which-is of-Caesar, give back to Caesar, and that-which-is of-God, to God."

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(Basis - Scriveners Textus Receptus, 1894, Scripture4All Publishing, 2015.)

Thomas 100: They showed Yeshua a gold-piece, and they said this to him, "That-which belongs to Caesar they demand of us as-the taxes."

This he said to them, "Render what is Caesars unto Caesar! What is God's, give unto God! And that which is mine, give unto me!"

(Basis - Gospel of Thomas Resource Centre, Michael W. Grondin, 2013.)

The Prize Find Of Nag Hammadi - Coptic Thomas.


Thomas Saying #100 - Comparing A Key Difference

Instead of the familiar saying which is universally known, comprising one part dedicated to the rulers of this world, and the other to God, we witness a three part saying through Thomas with a render unto me, that which is my own, or some approximation thereof according to the abbreviated ancient foreign text. The esoteric message of Thomas is more complex. There were in the Synoptic sources only two kingdoms. Now there are three kingdoms. Here is how to reconcile the fuller text:

"Render what is Caesars unto Caesar!" - This portion is for the kingdom of this world which Adam and his wife literally sold to gain knowledge. This kingdom is one of death and decay and it is bought and sold to those who continue in the footsteps of our ancestors, being of the majority, who still follow the will of The-Adversary.

"What is God's, give unto God!" - This portion is for the kingdom of God which is now hidden from this world. This is the eternal kingdom subject to the control of the only God, He who reigns beyond the senses of mankind, and His dominion is a majesty of perfection.

"And that which is mine, give unto me!" - This portion is for the kingdom of heaven on Earth. This is the kingdom which Jesus promised was attainable to those who follow the will of God in this life. This was his challenge to The-Adversary, to fight without weapons for the glory of the kingdoms, both seen and unseen. His enemy is the enemy of every believer, and Satan's control over this world is poised to come crashing down for the sake of the few.

Elaine Pagels versus Michael Licona On Thomas.


theomajor (author) from New Zealand on October 21, 2018:

theomajor (author) from New Zealand on October 21, 2018:

B A Johnson, I will quote Malene Hasberg Kjaer's recently publicised MASTER THESIS IN EXEGESIS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, from June 15, 2018. "Thomas' independence has, however, been widely debated among scholars where those who believe in its authenticity, date it as early as the end of the first century, whereas those claiming its dependence on the Synoptic Gospels, date it around 200 CE." - Section 3 - Reconstructing Jesus on the basis of the Farrer Theory - Excursus additional sources to Jesus, p.45. Therefore your unequivocal statement displays a hint of bias, not so? The same scholars generally date the bible Gospels to the end of the 1st century, same as for Thomas. No 1st century Gospel, and, I believe, NT, fragments have ever been found to date.

There are many different bible sources. You agree that bibles were a late development, hundreds of years after Yeshua ben Miriam. You seem to be saying that the NT today is the same as what was written by the original authors. I disagree with that at least as strongly as you state that Thomas is a corruption. Ehrman thinks the NT is unlikely to change significantly, so what? Rome controls it now, Rome controlled it then. They burned, tortured, dismembered and slaughtered all those they could find who possessed scripture until the end of the inquisition. They also managed to destroy most of the competing literature.

All evidence that I have seen points to the Oxyrynchus and Nag Hammadi versions of Thomas being aligned. You do not provide any evidence for your assertions. If there is then I would really like to see it.

There are a number of writings identified as Thomas and I don't recall Origen or Hippolytus citing any of the 114 sayings of Thomas, so how do you know which works they are denigrating? Do you subscribe to their particular schools of theology?

Here is a serious question for you. Does the NT align with the Tanakh? If it does not, and it certainly does not in many places, then you are left with a BIG PROBLEM. Either Yeshua is not Messiah, or your infallible holy scriptures are a fake. Show us a fake in Thomas, please. Show us real evidence.

B A Johnson on October 21, 2018:

Defending my assertion may be difficult in such limited space, but here it goes!

Concerning date: The Coptic GThomas reflects the character of those gnostic texts which were found along side it and which did not develop until mid 2nd century at the earliest. The redactor of the Coptic text relied on several different canonical gospels, not just one, but churches did not begin sharing their individual gospels until the 2nd century (as far as we know).

Concerning Authority: Those few references from the 2nd/3rd century that discuss GThomas categorically deny its authority (Hippolytus and Origen).

Concerning text: The 3rd century Greek fragments of GThomas are quite dissimilar to the later Coptic version. As are apparent citations from that same time period.

On the NT, Roman authority was very late in developing, what is important is to ask are the individual NT books authoritative intrinsically or are they not. If they are, then Rome and canon lists become irrelevant. Nonetheless, second century sources such as the Muratorian canon and Irenaeus affirm a fourfold gospel canon and Irenaeus as well as others attribute the canonical gospels to those we would assert were their authors today. Also there are internal factors such as Luke, being the clear author of Acts, identifies himself as a traveling companion of Paul.

As to textual issues, even highly skeptical researchers such as Bart Ehrman acknowledge “barring extraordinary new discoveries or alterations of method, it is virtually inconceivable that the character of our printed Greek NTs will ever change significantly.” (Ehrman, Text of the NT in contemporary research)

theomajor (author) from New Zealand on October 21, 2018:

B A Johnson, you wrote: 'In the sense that history is never "certain" that's true, but if we take the evidence of manuscripts, citations, and references which we have available, it leaves little doubt that the Gospel of Thomas was a second century creation and not held to be authoritative by the wider church.' Would you care to elaborate, or is this just a feeling you have?

Regarding the NT I would have to take Rome as authoritative to accept the various different bibles the majority of Christians uphold as infallible. Rome wrote the fist bible, it was called, Vulgate, although earlier works like Codices Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, etc, I would deem the first Christian bibles. I am an online follower of the textual criticism community and I assure you that the vast majority of modern scholars acknowledge a multitude of problems with the earliest preserved Gospels presently available to us. This is not the focus of my article but a subject which is to be raised, as particular issues arise, in planned articles which are in the pipeline covering Gospel sources from a chronological perspective. I have presented some of the Synoptic Gospel content to give context to the saying, "Render unto Caesar..." , but these horizontal readings also showcase the level of redaction by unknown editors, decades or more after the original Semitic writings were copied and distributed throughout the Greek speaking nations. Of course the problem of biblical fraud is not limited to the NT, but the Tanakh and Greek bibles too: .

B A Johnson on October 21, 2018:

In the sense that history is never "certain" that's true, but if we take the evidence of manuscripts, citations, and references which we have available, it leaves little doubt that the Gospel of Thomas was a second century creation and not held to be authoritative by the wider church.

Whether you accept the New Testament as authoritative or not, the four canonical "Gospels" are at least certainly first century documents and widely accepted among the churches by the middle of the second century.

theomajor (author) from New Zealand on October 21, 2018:

Of course this is common perspective amongst Christians who prefer their particular bible canon over others. I think we both agree that little is certain about the status of Coptic Thomas amongst theologians of the day. I could put the counter-argument to you and say point blank that I could shred the credibility of the New Testament. What I am really concerned with though is to know the real Messiah, and to help others who want to know him.

B A Johnson on October 19, 2018:

While it can be interesting and historically useful to study texts such as the Gospel of Thomas, it is necessary to remember we have no evidence to conclude early Christians considered this text to be authoritative, and even less reason to believe the Nag-Hammadi version is faithful to the late 2nd century Greek form. I would caution you against considering the Gospel of Thomas as giving a "more complete" picture of Jesus and his teachings.

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