Closing the Circle
An open invitation for a fresh look at Jesus, inspired by ACIM, Thomas Gospel and Gary Renard.
Closing the Circle contains a revisionist history of early Christianity, which puts the relationship of the Thomas Gospel as proposed by Pursah in context. Pursah represents that she was the apostle Thomas in a prior life. The book also provides the briefest of introduction to A Course in Miracles given in Gary Renardâ€™s 2006 book "Your Immortal Realityâ€. The bulk of Closing the Circle is the discussion of the 70 sayings, or Logia, in the context of Jesus's teachings as they are represented in this Course. It also connects it to the teachings of a pre-Pauline Jesus, who is not a proto Christian, but a wisdom teacher whose teaching appears very consistent with the modern presentation of the Course. Rogier Fentener van Vlissingen , who lives in New York, writes and speaks on the original teachings of Jesus guided by A Course in Miracles and the Thomas Gospel. He is also currently developing a commentary to the Gospel according to Mark. A must read for any serious disciple of the path of awakening, and any honest seeker of truth. Martha Lucia Espinosa, author of "Spoken Miracles""
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Right from the Introduction, I found thoughtful, well prepared and helpful commentaries that led me to a clearer understanding of ACIM. This book certainly helps the reader lift some fo the 'biblical fog' seemingly spread about through years of misinterpretation. Although not an introduction to ACIM, I would say it is definitely a 'must-have' for any serious ACIM student. ~ June-Elleni Laine, Light
A gentle and inviting journey into the core concepts of, "A Course in Miracles" (ACIM) and an uncorrupted message from the Messenger, and/or God's Helper Within. Made available to us, via excerpts from the "sayings" Gospel of Thomas (GT), is a series of statements called Logia. The Logia are presented as uncorrupted versions, shared by Pursah, an Ascended Master, and previously included as part of Gary Renard's, "Your Immortal Reality." If one had a wish to be able to travel with Jesus 2000 years ago, and to hear Him speak, (other than via, say, ACIM and related works) this might be a good as it gets for a while. The Logia are nicely framed by an outstanding introduction and epilogue, as well as abundant and supportive index material. This author continuously references Gary Renard's insightful works, "Disappearance of the Universe" (DU) and, "Your Immortal Reality" (YIR) as well as ACIM. Pursah's restatements of some of the Gospel of Thomas language from Nag Hammadi, and earlier finds, form the central core of the book. Just as healing can be described as, "removing what does not belong," so does Pursah's language "heal" some of the Logia in Thomas (via Hag Hammadi "editing" and interpretations) and help to refresh our experience with it. Pursah removes what does not belong. The sayings are now clear and concise and without editorial corruption, it would seem. Sitting with them silently a while, they seem to come alive within for me. The corruption of centuries of interpretation has been stripped away for us. The bottom line for me here is that the Message survives 2000 plus years since the Messenger appeared to leave us. "Metanoia" IS the Message whose Real meaning (change of thought) was misinterpreted along the way. In his discussion, the author serves the reader well as he clearly demonstrates the nexus between the Logia and ACIM. The Message IS alive within all of us and is a (the?) fundamental precept of ACIM. We need now only wake up to our Reality by our assiduous application of the Message--change of thought (from pervasive guilt to quantum forgiveness)--or "Choose once again." The author also demonstrates that the Message survives the trappings of two thousand years of obfuscation of ego thought. I just love the way in which, "The Da Vinci Code" is very briefly handled by this author. Yes, it is an exciting suspense story and yes, it contains some fabrication--poetic license, BUT, it stirred something deep within that impelled me to resume my spiritual journey. I'm reminded of the line from Hamlet, "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark" which, in this context, evokes an inner stirring to, once again, look at, and then beyond Church authority regarding "absolutes." Emergent here, as assisted by the author, and as I look more closely, is that many of the "absolutes" are ego-based. Yes, as I look, I still stand on the shoulders of the Church teachings, and other teachings, but now I have an option of another way of seeing things. I am now afforded the benefit of contrast by which Spirit teaches me so often. Some "absolutes" DO fall away, then, as I allow another way to emerge. This is certainly part of my experience with "Closing the Circle." But, I don't attack what I have replaced in my journey of looking and choosing once again. It's a "roots and wings" attitude on my part, and I feel this sort of spirit in the author's work. The author reveals the effect of Paul's egoic thought processes on the early Church Scripture without attempting attack on Paul--although MY ego thought system might wish to take it as so in a "knee-jerk" style. The impetus, perhaps, for the "Jefferson Bible" is nicely established, in addition. Jefferson's "apologia" cover letter (1820) to William Short, which forms part of Forrest Church's introductory text of my copy, was truncated, and important information deleted. We find the complete letter in this book as part of the supporting material. Near the end of the book, the author acknowledges something to the effect that much of the early development of Christianity was the result of good intentions. Some, of course, was not. But rather than provoke conflict, the author appears to sensitively invite consideration of this information. He even invites the reader to come up with his/her own responses to the Logia presented and discussed. Ultimately, he reasons that if this is not your path, stay with what you have going. Never does the author long lose sight of ACIM principles in this work. As soon as an idea is presented, ACIM, GT, DU and/or YIR are referenced. I came away from my read with a feeling of congruity amongst the four, provided by this new book--albeit in somewhat different form. But then it's content that counts, in the long run, and the form fits as it is needed. Ken Wapnick is acknowledged as the fine ACIM teacher that he is several times in the book. This book is perhaps not an intro to ACIM, but a worthy addition to any current ACIM student's library. It delves into the root level of conflict AND reveals the royal road (metanoia) to resolution. The bibliography is extensive and shows a broad path to understanding found in the pages of this book. I would like to see a "back-of-the-book" index in the next edition for search and navigation, as well as some help (footnote interpretations) with my meager Latin skills as there are a few Latin phrases that escape me at present--but that's my shortcoming. This author is impressive AND insightful as he fills in some of my "blanks," connects a few "dots," and closes a number of "circles" for me. ~ John Curwen, On Amazon.com
This 272 page marvel was a very inspiring read. I was able to get a deeper sense of the Jesus I have come to know through studying ACIM and it also filled in some gaps for me too. The author had a unique and articulate way that made me feel completely comfortable with the information. I also got a lot out of the format because it helped the messages to just flow on my insides and my outsides. I would recommend this well presented guide to anyone wanting a deeper look into the man named Jesus and His teachings. Thanks Rogier, you helped to open my eyes a little wider. ~ Riki Frahmann, Mystic Living Today
Biblical scholarship meets Course in Miracles via Disappearance of the Universe by Doris Lora, Ph.D., student of A Course in Miracles and a writer/editor of material with a spiritual focus. In a breakthrough book on the Gospel of Thomas, Rogier Fentener van Vlissingen has widened the scope of rigorous biblical scholarship to include the perspective of personal transformation. What if the Jesus Seminar scholars publicly advocated asking for guidance from the spirit of the Nazarene in their academic research? What if it became acceptable to trust equally one's Inner Teacher and outer teachers? What if rigorous biblical research and writing included tuning in to one's true identity as Spirit? The result might be something like "Closing the Circle. Pursah's Gospel of Thomas and a Course in Miracles" (O Books, 2008). When physicists are saying that the material universe of time and space is just very dense energy and energy appears to be just a thought, perhaps it's time to reconsider all of our previous learning and conditioning - including our methodology of research and writing, how we decide who we are, what we're doing here, and what our function is. Researcher Rogier has dared to choose the word of Pursah, an ascended master who appeared in the flesh to Gary Renard as he described in "The Disappearance of the Universe" (2003) and "Your Immortal Reality" (2006), as his authority for the authenticity of the controversial Gospel of Thomas. On what basis? Examining rigorously the Thomas scholarship to date and including his own personal experience of inner transformation as a result of studying and practicing the principles of "A Course in Miracles," the topic of Gary Renard's books. Rogier has given us a saying-by-saying explanation of the meaning of Pursah's Gospel of Thomas (sayings of Jesus and the first gospel), basing his explanations on (1) his research into ancient texts and recent scholarship, (2) Pursah's explanations in "Disappearance" and "Your Immortal Reality" (she herself heard Jesus speak them, she says), and (3) his own study and practice of the Course. That's the bulk of the book. However, his Preface, Introduction, discussion of the Course and Epilogue are in themselves worth the book, providing a balanced and educated overview of biblical scholarship controversies and historic distortions by religious authorities, laced with a Course-inspired forgiving attitude toward differences of opinion. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in biblical scholarship and I especially recommend it to Course students. Rogier Fentener van Vlissingen's "Closing the Circle" is an aid to bringing increased clarity to Course principles by showing the inner consistency of the Thomas gospel and "A Course in Miracles." The result for me was enjoying a deeper understanding of Course principles and experiencing increased motivation to practice the unique forgiveness the Course teaches. ~ Doris Lora, On Amazon.com - this was the very first review
This quotation was sent to me by Rogier F. Van Vlissingen, the author of Closing the Circle: Pursah’s Gospel of Thomas and A Course in Miracles. In his book, Rogier demonstrated how D.U. is the bridge between The Thomas Gospel and the Course. He also closely examined Pursah’s version of the Gospel, as presented by her in Your Immortal Reality, and how it made more intuitive sense, and was more consistent than the version that was discovered in Nag Hammadi in late 1945. In her version, Pursah eliminated 44 of the sayings, which she says were either severely corrupted, or added on by others in the more than hundred years after the crucifixion and before the date of that manuscript. She also did some trimming and pruning of the remaining logia, and combined two of them, to help show their meaning and how they fit together, in a way that makes immediate, obvious sense. What emerges is Pursah's version of a kernel of the Thomas Gospel; one that brings the wisdom teacher J of 2000 years ago to life, and shows very clearly that his voice was the same voice then that we find today in A Course in Miracles. ~ Gary Renard, Love Has Forgotten No One
"This book exemplifies not only Rogier van Vlisingenâ€™s literary genius, but his innate ability to express in diaphanous words what many struggle to convey when attempting to describe the ultimate message that lies deep within the pages of A Course in Miracles. The superbly summarized history of Christianity in its preface prepares the way for a magnificent description of the connection between three modern spiritual masterpieces and the Bible which, until now, lay practically dormant. This book reads like a symphony that quickly leaves the intellect behind and takes the reader to the heart of Jesusâ€™ timeless message of our ultimate reality in God, our Alpha and Omega. A must read for any serious disciple of the path of awakening, and any honest seeker of truth." ~ Martha Lucia Espinosa, speaker, writer, author of Spoken Miracles - A Companion to The Disappearance of The Universe, and lead moderator of The Disappearance of the Universe online group
â€œI am really hearing Jesus throughout this book; this is indeed a whole new and very 'real' delivery of Jesusâ€™s message. It blows away the cloud of judgment and guilt that have obscured Jesus and clearly illuminates the Pathway to Peace that IS his LIVING Gift to us...the Gift that was compromised by 2,000 years of mass misinterpretation.â€ ~ Nouk Sanchez, co-author of Take Me to Truth, Undoing the Ego.
"In Closing The Circle, Rogier van Vlissingen offers careful and fascinating insights into a spiritual perspective that is new to many, though it is at least as old as conventional Christianity and has, in many ways, a more authentic grasp of the timeless human struggle to know God in a realistic and useful way." ~ D. Patrick Miller, author of Understanding A Course in Miracles (Celestial Arts, 2008), and original publisher of The Disappearance of the Universe.
"Those who found solace in A Course in Miracles and recent books of Gary Renard will most certainly be intrigued by this work. In Closing the Circle, Rogier van Vlissingen takes us on a scholarly, yet uniquely personal journey through the Logia of awakening. This book clearly reveals a unique ability to tease apart the wonderful teachings of Jesus in such a way that lends to absorption in the word." ~ Mick Quinn, author of Power and Grace: The Wisdom of Awakening.