Gospel of Thomas Commentary: Saying 075 Solitaries will enter the bridal chamber
Early Christian Writings Commentary
Title: Gospel of Thomas Commentary: Saying 75
Subheading: This page explores modern interpretations of the Gospel according to Thomas, an ancient text preserved in a Coptic translation at Nag Hammadi and Greek fragments at Oxyrhynchus. With no particular slant, this commentary gathers together quotations from various scholars in order to elucidate the meaning of the sayings, many of which are rightly described as “obscure.”
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R. McL. Wilson writes: “The use of the word MONACOS in logion 75 and other sayings has led some of the scholars who first discussed the new document to the conclusion that it must be a late work, at least in its present form, since this seemed to imply monasticism. This view, however, seems now generally abandoned, and the word is taken in the sense of ‘solitary’ or ‘single one.'”
Robert M. Grant and David Noel Freedman write: “The many who stood before the door are probably the foolish virgins of Matthew 25:1-13; they have no oil for their lamps, and hence no light. Only the wise virgins enter in with the Bridegroom.”
F. F. Bruce writes: “This is another variation on the theme ‘Many are called but few are chosen’ (Matthew 22.14). The ‘bridal chamber’ figures in several Gnostic texts as the place where the soul is reunited with its proper element; it is accessible only to the ‘single’ (in the sense of 4, 49). [The Valentinian Gnostics observed a sacrament of the bridal chamber, through which light was received.
According to the Gospel of Philip (a Velentinian collection of sayings identified, like the Gospel of Thomas, among the Nag Hammadi papyri), ‘if any one becomes a son of the bridal chamber, he will receive the light; if any one does not receive it while he is in this place, he will not receive it in the other place’ (Saying 127).] There is a superficial resemblance to the parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25.1-13), but it is to the wedding feast, not to the bridal chamber, that the wise virgins are admitted.”
Funk and Hoover write: “In later practice among some Gnostic groups, the ‘wedding suite’ appears to refer to an established ritual, although the procedures and significance attached to it are not known. In the Gospel of Philip, a Christian Gnostic instruction manual of the third century C.E., the ‘bridal suite’ plays an important role.
Only ‘free men’ and ‘virgins’ can enter it; ‘animals’ (in human form), ‘slaves’ (those who commit sin), ‘and defiled women’ (those who have participated in sexual intercourse), may not. Since the Gospel of Philip is oriented to sacramental practice, it is likely that the ‘bridal suite’ falls into this category. There is another reference to the bridal suite in Thom 104:3.”
Stevan Davies writes: “The comments found in several sayings that advocate people ‘make the two one’ or celebrate the solitary monachos may refer to the union of the sexes characterizing humanity in Gen 1:27 and Gos. Thom. 22. References to a bridal chamber in sayings 75 and 104 may also be references to this primordial union of the sexes. There are no grounds in Thomas to presume that the references are to an actual bridal chamber ritual.”