Seek to See Him
Ascent and Vision Mysticism in the Gospel of Thomas
Library of Early Christology
Imprint: Baylor University Press
225 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.00 in
- Published: July 2017
In Seek to See Him April DeConick argues that the Gospel of Thomas, contrary to the way Thomas is normally understood, does not originate from gnostic traditions. Instead, she proposes that Thomas is best explained by Hermetic and Second Temple Jewish mystical traditions.
DeConick substantiates her proposal by first examining the developmental stages of the Gospel of Thomas, questioning the classification of Thomas as gnostic on the basis of Thomas’ dualism and his speculation about original sin. DeConick carefully delineates the difference between Thomas’ and gnostic views of the world and of salvation before going on to demonstrate the crucial role of purification, heavenly ascent, and visio dei—final transformation through an experience of seeing God—in this Gospel. In the end, DeConick shows that Thomas is best explained as arising from the fusion of Jewish Mysticism and Hermetic praxis and not as being shaped by gnostic traditions.
DeConick offers a serious alternative to the common classification of the Gospel of Thomas as Gnostic and provides a helpful, needed exposition of the role of ascent and the visio Dei in Thomas’ anthropogony and soteriology.~D. Jeffrey Bingham, Journal of Early Christian Studies
The real value of Seek to See Him lies in the fact that DeConick introduces into the discussion of the Gospel of Thomas a set of texts and traditions that has been neglected but should be taken seriously in the interpretation of Thomas.~Marvin Meyer, Journal of Biblical Literature