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Doubting Thomas.

I WAS DISAPPOINTED IN YOUR CHOICE OF ELAINE PAGELS AS the focus of your interview ("Matthew, Mark, Luke .... and Thomas.?" September). While her scholarship is to be respected, she is not representative of what I understand to be the views of most Catholic biblical scholars regarding the value of the gnostic gospels.

Her speculation that the Gospel of John was written in response to the Gospel of Thomas may be partially correct, but her suggestion that one would need the Gospel of Thomas as a corrective to the view of the Gospel of John is a real stretch. The corrective, if one, a needed, is already in the canon scripture. Her real concern sere to be that John's gospel emphasizes our need for grace.

As someone who teaches scripture to volunteer catechist am amazed at the interest that Gospel of Thomas generates. Those who have heard of it tern to ask questions with eagernes their voices, and those who have not tend to listen with wide eyes. Interest in this gospel wanes in my classes as soon as I read its conclusion: "Simon Peter said to him [Jesus], 'Let Mary [Magdalene] leave us, for women are not worthy of life Jesus said, 'I myself shall lead her in order to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every woman who makes herself a male will enter the kingdom of heaven'" (Saying 114, translated by Thomas O. Lambdin).

In light of the explicit sexism in the text of this gospel, 1 find it strange that either Dr. Pagels or the editors of U.S. CATHOLIC would seem to imply that this document is an example of gender inclusivity.

Charlie Conaghan Pittsfield, Mass.

Thank you for the interview with Elaine Pagels. So much of the story of the writings of the early Christians--which ones made it into the canon of sacred scripture and which ones didn't--illustrates the need on the part of the faithful in the early church to have a dialogue about and discern the issues.

The writers who document the faith development of the early church (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) would probably feel right at home in our current efforts to discern the is

sues related to faith, morals, and the spiritual life. Imagine tending a panel discussion with the big four and some current clergy and scholars.

L.B. Hoge Brandon, Fla.
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:U.S. Catholic
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Nov 1, 2003
Words:403
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Next Article:Wrong word.


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