Further exploration of the Johannines is warranted. Whether there is a direct relationship with the Sethians, or Barbeloites, is a valid question. Further spreading the Word to those who are worthy just might enable this fusion to re-commence, and this of course will not replace, but rather augment, the Autogenes/Spirit of Light process that Christ & the invisible Spirit control.
We too should explore whether or not there actually was a group called the Thomassines. If so, they’ve been long forgotten. However, The Gospel of Thomas belongs side-by-side with The Gospel of John. Irrespective of the latter referring to the apostle as “Doubting Thomas,” at the beginning of the Apocryphon, essentially Christ spoke to the “Doubting John.”
As for the Paulines, I’d recommend they take up the Johannine / Thomassine writings post haste. The Valentinians’ supposed claim to fame is through Theudas, a direct disciple of Paul, though Paul was never a direct disciple of Christ, except according to himself. Even the Johannine Revelation to John refutes the Paulines in RevJohn 2-3, according to a Paul apologist Paul Renan in St Paul (1869:) “Apostle John’s book of Revelation was a ‘cry of hatred’ against Paul and his friends.” Also, in the Epistles to the Colossians and Philemon by Handley C.G. Moule, p. 17 “and it has been maintained (notably by Bauer, of Tubingen as well as Renan) that the school of St. John entirely repudiated St. Paul, and succeeded in effecting a total break of continuity [between the two schools.]”
Furthermore, per RevJohn 2:1-7–“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands:”
I know your works, your toil, and your patient endurance. I know that you cannot tolerate evildoers; you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them to be false. I also know that you are enduring patiently and bearing up for the sake of my name, and that you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then from what you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Yet this is to your credit: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. To everyone who conquers, I will give permission to eat from the tree of life that is in the paradise of God.
All one has to do is read the end of The Acts of the Apostles to ascertain just how controversial the Pauline school actually was; the writings somehow made the Orthodox Canon, but there was certainly, at the very least, real dysfunction.
Paul was not welcomed by the other apostles who rightly challenged his authority: per the UNCW web page Paul vs the Apostles, “Paul seems to have lost his power struggle with the Apostles, then broke with them and went out on his own preaching his own version of Jesus as Lord, his own law-free gospel, and his own innovative concept of the ‘church.’ In his last epistle, Romans, Paul seems to have given up on the East and is informing the Roman Christians that he plans to come to them on his way to Spain to spread his gospel in the West. But first he plans to make a final trip to Jerusalem which turns out to be his undoing. There he is arrested and eventually sent as a prisoner to Rome where he is executed.”
Furthermore, per The BBC’s description of Paul, “his works have also been used, among other things, to justify homophobia, slavery and anti-Semitism. He has also been accused of being anti-feminist.”
Conversely, The Gospel of Thomas‘ tone is one of acceptance and deliverance: per Saying 22, “Jesus saw some infants who were being suckled. He said to his disciples: These infants being suckled are like those who enter the kingdom. They said to him: If we then become children, shall we enter the kingdom? Jesus said to them: When you make the two one, and when you make the inside as the outside, and the outside as the inside, and the upper as the lower, and when you make the male and the female into a single one, so that the male is not male and the female not female, and when you make eyes in place of an eye, and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then shall you enter [the kingdom].”
Among the critics of Paul the Apostle was Thomas Jefferson, who wrote that he was the “first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus,” according to The Writings of Thomas Jefferson: Being his Autobiography, Correspondence, Reports, Messages, Addresses, and Other Writings, Official and Private.
And corrupter he was—but it is quite possible that from the perspective of the Jews he was an insider. Paul’s life was spent as a Pharisee (at least according to Acts) who condemned true Christian believers to awful fates–including St. Stephen. However, it is possible that what he espoused represented a counter-move to the likes of the early Christians. Paul professed, possibly disingenuously, to having had revelations from Christ, as that is part of what he learned from those early Christians he condemned. In order to combat the growing body of those moving away from Judaism and into what is now known as Christianity, he could have used their model.
If this is the case, it was not Epinoia that inspired Paul, it was deceit. He potentially quite early on attempted to persuade true Christians into a mode of thought, or religiosity, that he and other Jewish leaders condoned. His Gospel was hardly “law-free,” but rather sought to accommodate Gentile customs regarding circumcision and the like—all the while promoting the true law of Yahweh himself—or Yaltabaoth as the Sethians believed. Thus, he potentially used the Christian revelatory framework, precisely echoing what the Johannine secessionists professed, to theoretically accomplish Judaism’s end, a counter-move. The entire book of Romans is a great example of this potential bait-and-switch.
Further support for this position comes from Rudolf Bultmann in The Gospel of John, a Commentary on p.10: “In John [unlike Paul] no discussion about the Law is to be found. The concept of the “righteousness of God” is lacking in him. In his Gospel the Jews are not representatives of Jewish orthodoxy, as they are in the Synoptic Gospels and Paul, but representatives of the unbelieving world. Paul’s scheme of salvation history will be sought for in vain in John, proof from Scripture occurs seldom; the pair of contrasts “flesh-spirit” falls into the background; the apocalyptic expectation of the future, to which Paul holds fast, has been excluded by John.”