Sunday, April 08, 2018

Geographical References - Gnostic Gospels

I'm now trying my hand at some basic google maps to plot the geographical references in the Gnostic Gospels. The map below reflects some of my learning curve with google maps, no doubt. Amid the many modern-day features that come pre-loaded on these maps -- and it doesn't seem that google currently allows these pre-loaded features to be turned off -- I have plotted the geographical items referenced in the Gnostic Gospels. Some notes are in order and are placed below the map.

If we consider the classification "Gnostic Gospel" to be useful -- which is beyond the scope of this post -- then this map includes geographical references from all the documents that I have typically included in this classification: The Gospel of Thomas (Coptic), the Gospel of Philip, the Gospel of Truth, and the Gospel of Mary. Among those 4 documents, together they reference a total of 5 different geographical items, with Jerusalem being mentioned 3 times in the Gospel of Philip for a total of 8 references to those 5 different geographical items:

Israel / Israelite Jerusalem Jordan Judea / Judaea Samaria / Samaritan
Gospel of Thomas (Coptic) 1 0 0 1 1
Gospel of Philip 0 3 1 0 1
Gospel of Truth

Gospel of Mary

The Gospel of Truth and the Gospel of Mary are counted among the Gnostic Gospels, but do not mention any geographical locations.

For thoroughness' sake I'd want to mention why a reference to "Nazareth" isn't plotted even though the Gospel of Philip includes several Nazareth-related words: it is because the author of the Gospel of Philip does not seem to consider it to be a geographical reference. Here is the passage in question from the Gospel of Philip, for those who want to assess for themselves whether "Nazorean", "Nazarene", or "Nazara" was recognized by the Gospel of Philip's author as having any geographical significance:
The apostles who were before us had these names for him: "Jesus, the Nazorean, Messiah", that is, "Jesus, the Nazorean, the Christ". The last name is "Christ", the first is "Jesus", that in the middle is "the Nazarene". "Messiah" has two meanings, both "the Christ" and "the measured". "Jesus" in Hebrew is "the redemption". "Nazara" is "the Truth". "The Nazarene" then, is "the Truth". "Christ" has been measured. "The Nazarene" and "Jesus" are they who have been measured.
The map above has layers, and when reviewing it in google maps you should be able to turn on and off the layers corresponding to each particular gnostic gospel, to allow an individual view of a particular gospel, or a combined view of all (the default view).


Aron Wall said...

My browser (Firefox 59.0.1) doesn't display the table correctly; it is truncated halfway across the column labelled Jordan, so that nothing to the right is visible.

Weekend Fisher said...

Interesting ... Thanks for letting me know. I'll have to look into exactly how much control blogger will let me have over that ...