Three Unspeakable Mysteries in the Blogosphere

Three Unspeakable Mysteries in the Blogosphere July 31, 2009

Actually, the mysterious “three words” from the Gospel of Thomas have been the subject of much discussion in recent days on the Gospel of Thomas list-serv. But if you came here looking for information on those words, I hope you will not be disappointed by what must seem to you like a bit of bait-and-switch blogging. Instead, I offer three unspeakable blogs, the addresses of which may in fact (according to one hypothesis formulated within the last few seconds) have been what Jesus whispered in Thomas’ ear…

The first unspeakable blog had a single unspeakable title with two unspeakable words – until now. Timo S. Paananen kindly stopped by my blog to provide advice about the pronunciation of his blog’s title, “Salainen evankelista“: is:sɑ-laɪ-ŋɛn ɛ-ʋaŋ-kɛ-lis-tɑ. A somewhat mysterious title is fitting, since his blog is about the Secret Gospel of Mark and in particular the question of whether or not the evidence points to it being a forgery.

The second blog may be unspeakable if you don’t know Latin. At Ecce Homo, Mike Whitenton continues the discussion of Paul, Jesus and monotheism, with attention focused on comparing the views of Dunn and McGrath on whether Paul split or expanded the Shema. I’m just honored to be mentioned in the same sentence as my mentor! Monotheism was also the subject of a podcast by Steve Wiggins, who also linked to a post citing Mark Smith on monotheism not being an ancient concept. That post in turn linked to a post about Larry Hurtado’s work on the subject, which obviously brings us full circle.

The final blog is unspeakable if you don’t get the allusion, or particularly like sausages. Deirdre Good highlighted an unspeakable error (at least from the perspective of this Baptist interested in the Mandaeans!) in the New York Times: the use of a photo of a Mandaean baptism to illustrate a story which mentions being baptized as a Baptist. Then again, I know there are Mandaeans in Texas, and I know that the Texan Baptists tend to do their own thing. Could it be that, rather than this being an error, the Mandaeans are more influential in Texas than I ever imagined? But on a more serious note, the article is in fact about that which Christianity offers being found elsewhere, and so the usage may be intended to illustrate that. But the article is in serious danger of assuming that similar rituals mean the same thing in different religious contexts. Sometimes they do, but not always.

The Gospel of Thomas (in a Coptic recension particularly popular among Texan Baptists) says that where there are three gods, there they are truly blogs. Hopefully this post will have clarified the meaning of that enigmatic saying.

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