Modern Thomasine School of Thought

Introduction to the Thomasine School

The Thomasine School of the Universal Church of Autogenes (TS for short) is a Wisdom tradition within modern Gnosticism. Having a foundation of those ancient texts that have been labeled “Thomasine”, we find within them a teaching of gnosis, and an understanding of Jesus that is distinctly Eastern akin to the roles of spiritual teachers in Hinduism, Buddhism, Sufism, and Taoism. A student of this school should have an excellent understanding of the Thomasine writings, particularly the Gospel of Thomas that he or she may be able to make the connections with other eastern religious traditions.

Thomas and the Gospel of Thomas
One can find Thomas mentioned in the Gospels of the New Testament. There is also a tradition that Thomas traveled to Syria and India after the death of Jesus teaching what he himself had experienced. Parts of Greek versions of the Gospel of Thomas were found in Oxyrhynchus Egypt around one hundred years ago. These can be dated to about 130 CE or somewhat before. A complete version in Coptic was found in Nag Hammadi Egypt in 1945. That version can be dated to about 340 CE The Coptic version is a translation of the Greek version. Scholars are divided when to date the Gospel of Thomas. Some date it earlier than any of the other Gospels written, while some say it contains early parts mixed with later parts – the completed version dating at the latest around 130 CE.
The Thomasines were a sect of followers of Jesus. Not much is known of the original group, though there are a variety of writings that derive from various Thomasine schools. The theology of the Gospel of Thomas has been classified as “proto-gnostic” in that it contains seeds of the later Gnostic teachings. Gnosis is implied, as well as a type of recognition of the Divine hidden in all things. The Thomasine School of Thought honors the Jewish Scriptures, New Testament, as well as the Nag Hammadi and other Jewish and Christian “Apocrypha” writings with the Gospel of Thomas and the Hymn of the Pearl taking a place of prominence, and fully claims our heritage with the wide variety of Gnostic expressions found in the Nag Hammadi Scriptures. However, we are not a reconstructionist group. We are a fully modern expression of the Thomasine School of thought.

Our primary Thomasine texts are as follows:
The Gospel of Thomas
The Odes of Solomon
The Acts of Thomas

Our Secondary Thomasine Texts are:
The Book of Thomas the Contender
The Apocalypse of Thomas
The Manichean Psalms of Thomas
The Infancy Gospel of Thomas

The Thomasine School of Thought within the Universal Church of Autogenes, honors both its Universalist and Thomasine expressions of Gnosticism. Students of this wisdom school, seek wisdom, personified often as Sophia, as present in all of life. The sacred writings are “fingers pointing at the moon” but they are not that moon, that gnosis. They light the way, but only the individual is able to awaken to that gnosis. We look on Jesus, not as uniquely God, but rather as an elder brother, a spiritual teacher whose only goal is to help us become or realize we already are what he is. The only difference between Jesus (or Buddha, Lao Tsu, Krishna) and us, is they were awake. So this Gnosis is the knowledge of who we are. Seeing our selves as we are, we are then able to that Self within all things. The world of forms (kenoma), becomes the fullness (pleroma). The world of the fallen wisdom is realized as the world of the highest wisdom. Does one need these scriptures or any scripture to awaken to this? No. Even nature can serve as a scripture, and has for many people throughout history. The Thomasine School is established to provide for those who find affinity to this way to journey together to gnosis.

Roles in the Thomasine Community
The Thomasine School of Thought is approved under the headship of Bishop Mansell Gilmore. He serves as head and presiding bishop of the Universal Church of Autogenes, a universalist Gnostic Community of which the Thomasine School of Thought is a part. His spiritual lineage (apostolic succession) goes back to Jesus though multiple lines including through Thomas. Under Bishop Mansell's leadership, there are those who are authorized to teach, train and initiate in local communities as a minister or priest. One begins on the path of Thomasine Gnosticism when a student requests to study within the community with an authorized teacher. The role of the minister or priest is simply to guide and instruct the disciple on the Thomasine path, by teachings and individual guidance, acting as an Anamchara, soul friend, on the journey.

Comments

  1. Thanks, Father, for this excellent introduction into the school. Makes me feel all 'thomasine' inside . . . . i especially like your statement that any scripture or none can help us to awaken onto/upon this path. at this point, reading feels like chatter. for this reason, i especially like your emphasis on person-to-person contact and the focus on the wisdom aspect, on the oral tradition. we are all becoming/realizing that each of us is a living gospel, a living psalter, a living proverb. i sometimes see myself with sacred writing tattooed all over my body. and within for that matter. and, of course, there can be no beginning or ending to such a holy tale.

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  2. I think that is the key Br. Pete. The scriptures are fingers pointing at the moon, but our journey is to learn not to look at the finger, but the moon.

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