Question Five: What is the Community?

In the Gospel of Thomas there are hints of community but a lot of emphasis is given to the solitary in the GoT.  In fact, I would argue that a lot more emphasis is placed on the solitary than in the community.  However that said, I do believe there existed some type of community.  I think there may be clues that can lead us to infer within the text.

Looking at the initial community it was set up with the teacher, Jesus and his students.  This is set up similar to what one sees in Buddhism, Sufism, and Hinduism.  You also see this in Hasidic Judaism.  We know that Jesus was a Jew and his initial apostles were Jewish.  However what we do not know for sure is if this community celebrated any of the Jewish festivals or ways.  Jesus himself spoke against circumcision which he no longer saw as useful.  However we do here a vague reference about "Keeping the Sabbath as a Sabbath".  It is given in reference from fasting from the world, which is done at Sabbath as it is a day of rest from buying, selling, and even tasks such as plowing fields etc.

I picture the initial followers meeting in homes and hillsides to sit with Jesus.  I can envision them celebrating a Sabbath agape meal a Eucharist without all the doctrinal additions.  They would meet-eat and drink, taking care of one another and listen to the teachers words.

After Jesus' death, did they continue this?  Perhaps.  Even in the Gospel of Thomas, one finds that he recognizes leadership within this fledgling community, in mentioning James as the leader.  Perhaps this community was lead by one who achieved understanding/gnosis/enlightenment through Jesus words.  Thus Thomas was able to teach his words.

So really, as far as the Thomasine community goes, all we really have is speculation and inferences, but little to nothing is really given about their meetings, or how they operated.


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