Daily Archives: January 7, 2017

Secrets of the Dead Sea scrolls

The real secret:  There aren’t any.

Christmas day, when I sat down in the shower line at the shelter where I stay, Comet was showing the last 15 minutes or so of a movie.  The din in the room normally precludes hearing any dialogue, but a momentary dip allowed me to hear this:  one man told another on the phone, “The missing gospel has been found.”

There followed a long sequence of a woman writhing and screaming on a bed, while blood flowed from her hands, feet and scalp.  This was interspersed with black-and-white scenes of Jesus’ crucifixion.  The bedroom was engulfed in flames.

The next scene was of a man digging in the floor of a church while a nearby statue of the Virgin wept blood.

The movie concluded with three stills of white text on a black background.

The first still read to this effect:

In 1945, near Nag Hammadi, Egypt, a scroll was found buried in the sand.  It began with the words, “These are the secret teachings of Jesus Christ.”

The scroll can say whatever it likes.

The second still read to this effect:

Known as “The Gospel of Thomas,” scholars the world over have agreed that this scroll contains the closest thing we have to the actual words of the historical Jesus.

It’s highly debatable that there’s any such consensus.

The third still read to this effect:

Even so, the Vatican refuses to recognize this text, and has gone so far as to call it heresy.

The Vatican is free to choose what it does and does not believe.

No horror movie will persuade me about the Gospel of Thomas.
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