Gospel Of Thomas Ask Without Hidden Motive? All Answers

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What is the message of the Gospel of Thomas?

The Gospel of Thomas proclaims that the Kingdom of God is already present for those who understand the secret message of Jesus (Saying 113), and lacks apocalyptic themes. Because of this, Ehrman argues, the Gospel of Thomas was probably composed by a Gnostic some time in the early 2nd century.

How is the Gospel of Thomas different?

It does not tell the story of the life and death of Jesus, but offers the reader his ‘secret teachings’ about the Kingdom of God.

What was the goal of the Gnostics?

Their goal was release from unconsciousness and ignorance, or incomprehension. Humans who possess the divine spark can find their freedom only in learning of its source, how it came to be entrapped in the material world, and how it can escape to return to its original realm.

The Story Of The Storytellers – The Gospel Of Thomas

In order to adequately examine Gnosticism and fundamentalism, we must first identify their basic concepts, or hermeneutic keys. In order to understand any belief system, it is important to understand its hermeneutics, or its underlying principles of interpretation.1 Hermeneutics is the “science of interpretation, particularly of the biblical text.” For the purposes of this study, hermeneutics is an important word that we will encounter frequently.2 Hermeneutics could be viewed as a template or pattern for a particular set of beliefs. What are the dominant themes of a religion? If you peel away the layers of dogma and liturgy, what is the gist? What ultimately drives this religion, feeds its meaning? What about it creates worship, devotion, adoration, sacrifice? What causes it to generate obsession, fanaticism? In other words, what are its basic concepts? What are the hermeneutic keys that open the doors to her interpretation of sacred texts?


material world

basic teaching

Sacred Text

Christian church

Biblical text

These keywords were added automatically and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

What did the Gnostics believe?

Gnosticism is the belief that human beings contain a piece of God (the highest good or a divine spark) within themselves, which has fallen from the immaterial world into the bodies of humans. All physical matter is subject to decay, rotting, and death.

The Story Of The Storytellers – The Gospel Of Thomas

Gnosticism is the belief that human beings carry within them a piece of God (the supreme good or divine spark) that has fallen into human bodies from the immaterial world. All physical matter is subject to decay, decay and death. Therefore, these bodies and the material world created by an inferior being are evil. Trapped in the material world but ignorant of their status, the parts of God require knowledge (gnosis) to inform them of their true status. This knowledge must come from outside the material world, and the agent bringing it is the Savior or Redeemer.

During the first three centuries of Christianity, there was no central authority until the conversion of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great in AD 312. Christian communities taught many different views. In the 2nd century AD, some groups now collectively referred to as Gnostic Christians claimed access to “secret knowledge” about the nature of the universe, the nature of Christ, and the significance of His coming to the earth for believers. In the mid-2nd century AD, a group of Christian leaders retrospectively referred to as the Church Fathers (Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, and others) wrote volumes against these Gnostic Christians.

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Both the Gnostics and the Church Fathers were trained in the various philosophical schools. Many of the schools shared the theories of Plato (428/427 – 348/347 BC) and his view of the universe. For Plato, “God” (or “the highest good”) existed beyond the material universe, was perfect, and therefore would not have created an imperfect world. He posited the existence of a secondary force, the Demi-Urge, which created matter, the substance of the physical realm. Most Gnostic systems promoted this view.

Gnostic concepts reflect a modern school of philosophy known as existentialism (“how and why do we exist?”). Gnostics asked and answered questions like, “Who am I?” “Where am I from?” “What’s the meaning of life?” “Why I’m here?” and “What is my real self?”

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The Church Fathers responded to the Gnostic teachings by inventing the twin concepts of orthodoxy and heresy.

Gnostics promoted concepts of radical dualism governing the universe. This was polarized as soul/spark versus flesh, light versus dark. God who does not create originally radiated archons (forces), like the light of the sun, visible but not physical. One of the Archons, Sophia (“Wisdom”), in a moment of weakness, gave birth to the Demi-Urge, who then created a physical universe, including humans. In philosophical thought, Logos (“Word”) was the principle of rationality that linked the Supreme God to the material world.

Some systems claimed a mythical “pre-Adam-and-Eve” prior to their manifestation as humans in the Garden of Eden. According to the Gnostic understanding, the fall happened as a result of physical creation. In keeping with the “oneness” of the eternal God, the Gnostics promoted the idea of ​​androgyny, or the union of the sexes. After the Fall, the Logos, the pre-existent Christ, came to earth in human form to teach humanity how to return to that original androgyny and reunite with God. They believe that God sent Christ to restore the original cosmos. When the divine spark fell asleep in man, he no longer remembered its origin. People needed to be awakened to the presence of that piece of God within them; a concept that reflects Zen Buddhism. When this is accomplished, the rule of the Archons would end.

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The Invention of Orthodoxy/Heresy

The Church Fathers responded to the Gnostic teachings by inventing the twin concepts of orthodoxy and heresy. These concepts did not exist in ancient times. With thousands of different indigenous cults in the Mediterranean, there was no central authority to determine what people should believe. Orthodoxy (“correct belief”) and heresy (from the Greek word haeresis, “a school of thought”) are two sides of the same coin. Heretics are so labeled by those who disagree with them, but both sides believe they have the right beliefs.

The Gnostics were condemned as heretics by the Church Fathers for the following reasons:

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The Gnostics promoted a higher god of pure essence and love as the essence of the true god above the creator god. Until the 2nd century AD, Christianity was a separate religion from Judaism, but Christians retained the God of Israel and many of the tenets of the Jewish scriptures. The Gnostics agreed that the Creator God created the universe in Genesis, but the creation was made of evil matter. In some Gnostic systems, the God of Israel was not only evil, but Satan himself. This invalidated the commandments of the God of Israel.

Creation P. Lawrence Lew, OP (CC BY-NC-ND) Gnostics claimed their teachings came directly from Jesus. In those scenes in the Gospels when Jesus takes the disciples aside to better inform them, He also taught secret things that had been handed down to them. The Church Fathers countered this with a claim of apostolic tradition; that their teachings were passed from Jesus to the original disciples, who passed them on to the founding bishops of their congregations. The human body was made of physical matter and was evil. For most Gnostic systems, Jesus was not incarnated in a human body. They preached the concept known as docetik or “apparition.” Jesus only appeared in human form so that He could communicate with mankind. If Christ never had a material body, the central pillars of Christianity, the crucifixion and the resurrection of the dead, were abolished. A Gnostic, upon awakening, studied the heavens and learned the means of navigating through the various layers. In this sense, the Gnostics viewed salvation as an individual matter rather than involving the rest of the community. In other words, salvation could not be achieved through the cross, church hierarchy, or rules. Once one has successfully made it through the upper atmosphere, the spark that is now home is united with deity; in some systems one became God. In Gnostic systems there is a denial of what has become standard Christian doctrine, the eschatology, or the future return of Christ to usher in the kingdom of God. For the Gnostics, the kingdom resides in the individual.

Gnostic Rituals

Gnostic Christians were baptized and took part in the Eucharist (communion). Gnostics attempted to promote female ministers in the celebration of the Eucharist, which brought them into conflict with the Church Fathers. The most controversial Gnostic ritual was “The Bridal Chamber” where one attained “Christianity.” In the Gnostic document Exegesis of the Soul, language and metaphors of marriage were used in connection with Christ.

Gnostics were the first to practice celibacy (not entering into a marriage contract) and chastity (never having sex).

The philosophical schools taught that one should care more for the soul than for the body (apathea – “no passions”) and not allow the physical urges of the body to rule one’s life. Such teachings were construed as asceticism (“discipline”), as in the athletic disciplining of the body. Gnostic Christians literally took control of the body. They were the first to practice celibacy (no marriage contract) and chastity (no sexual intercourse). In this way the traditional cycle of life was interrupted; no more divine sparks would be trapped in a physical body.

A small minority of Gnostic sects may have held the opposite view. As part of the evil physical world, governments, man-made laws, and social conventions were no longer valid. Several Church Fathers claimed this leads to sexual immorality. We cannot confirm such practices, but in the 18th century AD, following the publication of the writings of the French philosopher Marquis de Sade (AD 1740-1814), these groups were referred to as libertines. Although pitying the Gnostics, the Church Fathers nonetheless adopted the concept of celibacy for the clergy. This made it understood as a living sacrifice (giving up a normal wife and children). This concept elevated the clergy above the church with a sense of holiness.

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Like everyone else trained in philosophy, the Gnostics used the literary device of allegory. Allegory is a story, poem, or image that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically moral or political. At the same time, many of the Gnostic writings seem incredibly esoteric and enigmatic to the average reader unless one is attuned to the allegorical symbols or meanings. Reading such texts one gets the impression that they spent their lives in ivory towers contemplating the universe. But they attended the churches to which they belonged. They had study groups, but what they studied was the upper reaches of the universe where force gradients lived. When a Gnostic died, their spark/soul was freed from their evil body but then had to make the journey home. Along the way, he/she needed to know the passwords to get through and around the powers so that he/she wouldn’t get distracted. Some systems claimed there were seven heavens, while others claimed 365 levels.

Gnostic Writings – The Nag Hammadi Library

The Church Fathers were insatiable in their criticism of Gnostic writings. However, scholars were skeptical and could not be sure of the accuracy of the citations until 1945 AD. Then two brothers were digging for nitrate in the Egyptian desert near the town of Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt when their shovel struck a large jar filled with codices (early books). They took her to a man they knew who was in the black market in antiques. There were 13 books of treatises, gospels and gnostic myths. They are collected in one volume, the Nag Hammadi Library. As it turns out, the Church Fathers did a good job of copying. While they used citations, we now have the full texts for better analysis of each document.

Gnostic gospels differ from the canonical gospels of the New Testament. They often lack a narrative or story and consist simply of Jesus’ teachings explaining the existence of the true God.

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The gospel of truth

The Gospel of Truth was believed to have been written by Valentinus, a Gnostic teacher from Alexandria who was later excommunicated from Rome (c. AD 150). One of the most spiritual of the Gnostic gospels, he embodied abstractions such as error, fear, and hope as living beings. Christ is described as the manifestation of hope.

The Gospel of Mary Magdalene

This text is incomplete, and the surviving copy starts from the middle. After Jesus’ death, the disciples feel powerless and dismayed. One of the disciples asks Mary to transmit any information she can offer, since it has been recognized that Jesus had a special relationship with her. Mary then reveals that she had a post-resurrection revelation from Jesus that explained many of the Gnostic themes we have already seen.

Mary Magdalene by Donatello Sailko (CC BY-SA)

The Gospel of Thomas

The Gospel of Thomas is said to have been written by Jesus’ twin and consists of 114 logia or sayings of Jesus. The author was familiar with many of the canonical parables and teachings, but the gospel also criticizes the traditional concept of Jesus as the Messiah and rather promotes Jesus as an enlightened philosopher. This Jesus says not to seek an earthly kingdom of God; it is found in the turn of the inner person. The Gospel of Thomas has become popular in recent decades in the context of a populist Christian movement called liberation theology, which also teaches each human being’s self-reflection as the Christ within you. Gustavo Gutierrez coined the term in his 1971 book A Theology of Liberation. He criticized the Catholic Church in Latin America for corrupting the original teachings of Jesus.

As the texts of Nag Hammadi became available, many modern feminist theologians admired them for including women in their study groups and for promoting women Eucharistic ministers. At the same time, New Age groups admired what they saw as the exaltation of the divine feminine in Sophia. However, the Gnostics were not the equivalent of modern feminists. Each text should be analyzed for its concepts. The Gospel of Thomas ends with:

Simon Peter said to him: “Let Mary go from our midst, for women are not worthy of life!” Jesus said, “Behold, I will draw her to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit like you husbands. 118 [114].

For this system, women are saved by giving up their sex, their traditional roles as wives and mothers. This was the way for a woman to restore unity, the concept of androgyny.

The Gospel of Philip

The Gospel of Philip is an example of Gnostic attempts to compromise with the proto-Orthodox teachings of the Church Fathers.

The Gospel of Philip is an example of Gnostic attempts to compromise with the proto-Orthodox teachings of the Church Fathers. This gospel promoted the dual form of Christ: Christ was the preexistent redeemer figure who possessed the human Jesus of Nazareth for the time of ministry. Christ entered the man Jesus when the dove landed on Jesus at His baptism. At the time of crucifixion, Christ left the body so that the human Jesus was crucified. Another Gnostic school in Alexandria, led by Basilides (AD 120-140), taught that a lure and a switch had taken place at the crucifixion; it was Simon of Cyrene (in the canonical Gospels) who was crucified, not Christ.

The Gospel of Philip is also famous for what became infamous in Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code – the relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. We repeat the scene from the Gospel of Mary Magdalene that Jesus had a special relationship with her and have the line “…Jesus always greeted you with a kiss on…” followed by a hole in the manuscript. This line can be significant or simply refer to the fact that early Christians (including men) greeted one another with a kiss on the lips.

The Gospel of Judas

The Gospel of Judas consists of conversations between Jesus and Judas Iscariot. Its rediscovery and translation was published by the National Geographic Society in 2006 AD. Previously it was known only from the writings of Bishop Irenaeus of the 2nd century AD in his work Against All Heresies.

The Gospel of Judas Wolfgang Rieger (Public Domain)

In contrast to the canonical gospels, which portray Judas as a traitor, this gospel claims that Jesus commanded Judas to betray him. The other disciples had not learned the true gospel that Jesus taught Judas. In many scenes, Jesus and Judas discuss the other eleven disciples, who perceive reality only through the physical senses. They continue to offer animal sacrifices (Jesus mocks the Eucharist as cannibalism), and they believe that martyrdom will save them.

Concepts of radical monism

Many of the Gnostic texts challenged the traditional understanding of what it means to be human. In ancient concepts of monism, the person consisted of a physical body and a personality. Both the ancient Persian religion, Zoroastrianism, and the schools of Greek philosophy introduced a second substance into man, the soul (dualism). In most systems, body and soul work harmoniously together. In Gnostic texts, body and soul fight for supremacy. In the more esoteric texts, the Gnostics reverted to monism, a being as existence was undifferentiated. Some texts went even further, claiming that the material world and existence itself is an illusion. Here Gnosticism intertwines with ancient concepts found in Hindu and Buddhist philosophy.


In AD 312, Constantine I converted to Fathers’ Christianity. Any deviation from their teachings was considered heresy, and such texts were ordered to be destroyed. We believe this was the case when someone (perhaps a monk?) buried the texts at Nag Hammadi. Heresy was now seen as treason. The Gnostics essentially went underground, only to reemerge in the Middle Ages in the Balkans (the Waldensians) and southern France (the Albigensians). Her teachings were the motivation for the creation of the institution of the Inquisition by the medieval church in the 12th century AD.

Today we use the term “agnostic” to describe someone who knows there is something out there related to the Divine, but doesn’t know exactly what. The original word was coined by an 18th-century CE cleric who claimed to be an agnostic, which originally means “not a Gnostic—not one of those people.” Aldous Huxley (1894-1963 AD) coined agnosticism in his novels on the basis that all knowledge must be based on reason. The psychologist Carl Jung (1875-1961 AD) used Gnostic concepts from medieval alchemy for his theory of archetypes.

Gnostic concepts are now incorporated into science fiction films beginning with Ridley Scott’s 1982 CE Blade Runner. It is based on the short story Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick. The plot involved the creation of perfect androids, however, due to memory implants in their systems, they began to develop human emotions. The Matrix, the Wachowski Brothers’ 1999 hit CE release, draws on Gnostic Christianity and Buddhism to present humanity’s fundamental problem and its solution in terms of ignorance and enlightenment. Due to ignorance, people mistake the material world for something real, but they can get out of this dream with the help of a guide who will teach them their true nature.

What is wrong with the Gnostic Gospels?

The Gnostic Gospels are not reliable sources for the life and teachings of Jesus. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.

The Story Of The Storytellers – The Gospel Of Thomas

What are the Gnostic Gospels?

One of the greatest challenges to early Christianity was the movement known as Gnosticism, whose amorphous and syncretic nature was very appealing to all types of audiences. There were some commonly held beliefs of the Gnostics:

A mind-matter dualism in which all materiality was viewed as evil

An intricate system of innumerable divine spirits that populate the many spheres of the heavenly realm

The human need for salvation from the evil of materiality

The belief that salvation came through the receipt of a secret “gnosis” or knowledge

Gnosticism became a more significant threat to the early church as a movement developed that combined Gnostic beliefs with Christian beliefs. These are the beginnings of the Gnostic Gospels as we know them today.

A colorful “Christian Gnostic” movement gained strength in the second century. They held a strong dualism of spirit and matter, valuing “spiritual” reality highly. Uncomfortable with the belief that Jesus had a human body subject to human frailties, they proposed other theories such as that Jesus appears to have a body or has a supernatural body. They held Jesus in stark contrast to Yahweh, who was held to be an inferior and even immoral deity. For them, salvation was liberation from the slavery of the body and the material world. They believed they possessed the secret saving knowledge or information that Jesus had given the apostles. A Christian Gnostic literature appeared, the Gnostic Gospels. They claimed these gospels had apostolic authorship, including Peter, Philip, Thomas, and Jude.

Why aren’t the Gnostic gospels in the Bible?

The recent discovery of part of the Gospel of Judas has sparked renewed debate about the so-called Gnostic Gospels. Many are confused when they read of the existence of a gospel of Judas. Is this an authentic gospel written by a disciple of Jesus? What about other gospels like Thomas? Can we trust the gospels in the Bible?

N.T. Wright, a respected New Testament authority, distinguished four major differences between the biblical or canonical gospels and the Gnostic gospels. Wright listed and explained these four differences in his small book Judas and the Gospel of Jesus (2006, pp. 68-83). The four major differences between the canonical gospels and the Gnostic gospels according to N.T. Wright are:*

The biblical gospels affirm Jesus as the continuation and culmination of God’s history of redemption with Israel. They tell how the long history of God’s work through Israel reached its climax in the person of Jesus. In contrast, the Gnostic gospels completely separated Jesus from Israel and Israel’s history with God. The God of the Old Testament, as described by the Gnostic Gospels, categorizes him as evil and Judaism as utterly lost. The Gnostic Gospels saw no connection between Jesus and the nation of Israel and the acts of God in the Old Testament. These reasons could be the main reasons why the Gnostic Gospels are not in the Bible. The biblical gospels related the story of Jesus to the lives of Jesus’ early followers to show all Christians a plan to follow as they followed Jesus. In a very different way, the Gnostic Gospels enable Jesus to give some of his original disciples (the “gnostic disciples”) a secret knowledge (a “gnosis”) to secretly transmit to others. The belief in a secret message of the Gnostic Christians was an implicit rejection of the “mainstream” Christian church and Christians and their open message to the world. The biblical or canonical gospels, when presenting the story of Jesus, proclaim that in Jesus God had manifested and brought into being His kingdom on earth (as it was in heaven). In contrast, the Gnostic gospels rejected this idea of ​​the kingdom of God at work in Jesus on earth. The Jesus of the Gnostic Gospels was not interested in this world; he was primarily interested in escaping his physical body and returning to the spirit world. The Gospels of the Bible were written in the first century (around AD 70-90). On the other hand, the Gnostic gospels were written in the second century AD: “The canonical gospels were read and cited as authoritative in the early and mid-second century, while we read of the non-canonical until the middle or late of that century” (Wright , 2006, p.77).

Are the Gnostic Gospels Reliable?

These four key differences between the canonical or biblical gospels and the gnostic gospels are a clear indication that the gnostic gospels are not authentically apostolic in authorship, message, and time frame. The Gnostic Gospels are not reliable sources for the life and teachings of Jesus.


*Wright, N.T. (2006) Judas and the Gospel of Jesus: Have We Missed the Truth About Christianity? Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books

Why are books removed from the Bible?

The Confession provided the rationale for the exclusion: ‘The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the canon of the Scripture, and therefore are of no authority in the church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved, or made use of, than other human writings’ (1.3).

The Story Of The Storytellers – The Gospel Of Thomas

Collection of old books found in some editions of Christian Bibles

This article is about a class of books covering the Old Testament era that are included in some Bibles. For books whose canonicity in Christianity is disputed, see Deuterocanonical books. For other books generally excluded from the canonical Hebrew Bible, see Old Testament Pseudepigrapha

For the apocryphal writings of the New Testament, see New Testament Apocrypha

Copies of the Luther Bible include the intertestamental books between the Old Testament and the New Testament; They are referred to as “Apocrypha” in Christian churches that have their origins in the Reformation.

The Biblical Apocrypha (from Ancient Greek: ἀπόκρυφος, romanized: apókruphos, literally “hidden”) designate the collection of apocryphal ancient books believed to have existed sometime between 200 B.C. and AD 400][4][5] Some Christian churches incorporate some or all of the same texts into their version of the Old Testament and refer to them as Deuterocanonical books.[6] Traditional 80-book Protestant Bibles include fourteen books in an intertestamental section between the Old Testament and the New Testament, the Apocrypha, which are considered useful for instruction but not canonical.[7][8][9]

Although the term Apocrypha had been in use since the 5th century, the Apocrypha were first published in Luther’s 1534 Bible as a separate intertestamental section.[10] To this day the Apocrypha are “contained in the Lectionaries of the Anglican and Lutheran Churches”.[11] Anabaptists use the Lutheran Bible, which contains the Apocrypha as intertestamental books; Amish marriage ceremonies include “the retelling of the marriage of Tobias and Sarah in the Apocrypha.”[12] Furthermore, the Revised Common Lectionary, used by most major Protestants, including Methodists and Moravians, lists readings from the Apocrypha in the liturgical calendar, although alternative Old Testament Scripture lessons are provided.[13]

The preface to the Apocrypha in the Geneva Bible asserted that while these books “were not obtained by general consent to be read and expounded publicly in the church,” and were not intended to “prove any point of the Christian religion except in as much as they had the assent of the other writings that are said to be canonical in order to confirm this”, nevertheless “they were received as books coming from godly people to be used for furthering and furthering the knowledge of history and read for instruction in divine manners.” [14] Later, during the English Civil War, the Westminster Confession of 1647 excluded the Apocrypha from canon and made no recommendation of the Apocrypha over “other human writings”,[15] and this attitude towards the Apocrypha is represented by the decision of the British and Foreign Bible Society in the early 19th century not to print it. Today “English Bibles with the Apocrypha are becoming more popular again” and are often printed as intertestamental books.[8]

Many of these texts are considered by the Catholic Church to be canonical Old Testament books, confirmed by the Council of Rome (AD 382) and later reaffirmed by the Council of Trent (1545–63). and by the Eastern Orthodox Church, referred to as anagignoskomena according to the Synod of Jerusalem (1672). The Anglican Communion accepts “the Apocrypha for instruction in life and manners, but not for establishing doctrine (Article VI in the Thirty-Nine Articles)”,[16] and many “lessonary readings in the Book of Common Prayer are taken from the Apocrypha”, where these teachings “are read in the same way as those of the Old Testament.”[17] The first Methodist liturgical book, The Methodist Sunday Service, uses verses from the Apocrypha, such as in the Eucharistic liturgy.[18 ] The Protestant Apocrypha contains three books (1 Esdras, 2 Esdras and the Prayer of Manasseh) which are accepted as canonical by many Eastern Orthodox Churches and Oriental Orthodox Churches, but are considered non-canonical by the Catholic Church and are therefore not included are modern Catholic Bibles.[19]

Biblical canon[edit]

Vulgate prologues[ edit ]

Jerome completed his version of the Bible, the Latin Vulgate, in 405. The manuscripts of the Vulgate contained prologues,[20] in which Jerome clearly identified certain books of the older Old Latin Old Testament version as apocryphal—or non-canonical—though they might be scripture to be read.

In the prologue to the books of Samuel and Kings, often referred to as the Prologus Galeatus, he says:[21]

This Preface to the Scriptures can serve as a “helmeted” introduction to all the books that we are translating from Hebrew to Latin, so that we can be sure that what is not in our list will be counted among the Apocryphal Scriptures got to. Wisdom commonly called Solomon and the Book of Jesus the son of Sirach and Judith and Tobias and the Shepherd are therefore not in the canon. The first book of Maccabees I found is in Hebrew, the second in Greek, as the style shows.

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In the prologue to Ezra, Jerome states that the third and fourth books of Ezra are apocryphal; while the two books of Ezra in the Vetus Latina version translating Ezra A and Ezra B of the Septuagint are “differing examples” of the same Hebrew original.[22]

In his prologue to the Books of Solomon he says:[23]

Also included is the Book of Virtue Model (παναρετος) Jesus Son of Sirach and another erroneously attributed work (ψευδεπιγραφος) entitled Wisdom of Solomon. The former of these I have also found in Hebrew, not entitled Ecclesiasticus as in the Latins, but parables to which Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs have been added, as if to make equivalent not only in the number of books of Solomon but also in the nature of the subjects. The second was never among the Hebrews, whose style recalls Greek eloquence. And none of the ancient scribes confirm that this is from Philo Judaeus. So, just as the Church reads the books of Judith, Tobias, and Maccabees, but does not include them in the canonical writings, so these two scrolls may be read for the strengthening of the people, (but) not for the affirmation of the authority of Church dogmas.

He mentions the book of Baruch in his prologue to Jeremiah, but does not include it as “Apocrypha”; stating that “among the Hebrews it is neither read nor kept.”[24]

In his prologue to Judith he mentions that “among the Hebrews the authority [of Judith] was disputed” but that it was “numbered in the number of the Scriptures” by the First Council of Nicaea.[25] In his reply to Rufinus, he confirmed that he agreed with the Church’s decision on which version of the deuterocanonical parts of Daniel to use, which the Jews of his day did not contain:

What sin have I committed by following the judgment of the churches? But when I repeat what the Jews say against the story of Susanna and the hymn of the three children and the fables of Bel and the dragon, which are not in the Hebrew Bible, the man who accuses me proves himself to be a fool and a slanderer; for I did not explain what I thought, but what is commonly said against us. (Against Rufinus, II:33 (AD 402)).[26]

According to Michael Barber, although Jerome was once suspicious of the Apocrypha, he later came to regard them as scripture, as shown in his letters. Barber quotes Jerome’s letter to Eustochium in which Jerome quotes Sirach 13:2.[27] Elsewhere, Jerome also refers to Baruch, the story of Susannah, and wisdom as scripture.[28][29][30]

Apocrypha in Bible editions[ edit ]

The contents page in a complete 80-volume King James Bible listing “The Books of the Old Testament,” “The Books Called Apocrypha,” and “The Books of the New Testament.”

Apocrypha are well attested in surviving manuscripts of the Christian Bible. (See, for example, Codex Vaticanus, Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Alexandrinus, Vulgate, and Peshitta.) After the Lutheran and Catholic canons were defined by Luther (c. 1534) and Trent[31] (April 8, 1546), respectively, the early Protestants began Bible editions (particularly the Luther Bible in German and the 1611 King James Version in English) did not omit these books, but placed them in a separate Apocrypha section between the Old and New Testaments to indicate their status.

Gutenberg Bible[ edit ]

This famous edition of the Vulgate was published in 1455. Like the manuscripts on which it was based, the Gutenberg Bible lacks a specific apocrypha section.[32] His Old Testament contains the books that Jerome considered apocryphal and those that Clement VIII later moved to the appendix. The prayer of Manasseh is after the books of Chronicles, 3 and 4 Esdras follow 2 Esdras (Nehemiah), and the prayer of Solomon follows Ecclesiasticus.

Luther Bible[ edit ]

Martin Luther translated the Bible into German at the beginning of the 16th century and published a complete Bible for the first time in 1534. His Bible was the first major edition with a separate section called the Apocrypha. Books and portions of books not found in the Masoretic text of Judaism have been moved from the Old Testament body to this section.[33] Luther placed these books between the Old and New Testaments. For this reason these works are sometimes referred to as intertestamental books. Books 1 and 2 Esdras have been omitted entirely.[34] Luther made a polemical point about the canonicity of these books. As an authority for this division he cited St. Jerome, who distinguished the Hebrew and Greek Old Testament in the early 5th century,[35] declaring that books not found in Hebrew were not considered canonical. Although his testimony was controversial in his day,[36] Jerome was later called a Doctor of the Church, and his authority was also cited in the 1571 Anglican Declaration of the Thirty-Nine Articles.[37]

Luther also expressed some doubts about the canonicity of four New Testament books, although he never called them Apocrypha: Hebrews, James and Jude, and Revelation to John. He did not place them in a specially designated section, but he moved them to the end of his New Testament.[38]

Clementine Vulgate[ edit ]

In 1592, Pope Clement VIII published his revised edition of the Vulgate, referred to as the Sixto-Clementine Vulgate. He moved three books that are not found in the canon of the Council of Trent from the Old Testament to an appendix “lest they perish altogether” (ne prorsus interirent).[39]

Prayer of Manasseh

3 Esdras (1 Esdras in the King James Bible)

4 Esdras (2 Esdras in the King James Bible)

He placed the protocanonical and deuterocanonical books in their traditional place in the Old Testament.

King James version[edit]

The English-language King James Version (KJV) of 1611 followed the lead of the Lutheran Bible in using an intertestamentary section labeled “Books Called Apocrypha” or simply “Apocrypha” in the current page header.[40] The KJV followed almost exactly the 1560 Geneva Bible (variations are marked below). The section contains the following:[41]

(Included in this list are those books of the Clementine Vulgate that were not in Luther’s canon).

These are the books most commonly referred to by the colloquial term “the Apocrypha.” The same books are also listed in Article VI of the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England.[42] Although they are in the Apocrypha, in the lesson table at the beginning of some printings of the King James Bible, these books are part of the Old Testament.

The Bible and the Puritan Revolution[edit]

The British Puritan Revolution of the 16th century brought about a change in the way many British publishers dealt with the apocryphal material associated with the Bible. The Puritans used the standard of Sola Scriptura (the Scriptures alone) to determine which books would be included in the canon. The Westminster Creed, written during the British Civil Wars (1642–1651), excluded the Apocrypha from the canon. The creed provided the rationale for the exclusion: “The books commonly referred to as Apocrypha, which are not inspired of God, are not part of the canon of Scripture, and therefore have no authority in the Church of God, nor need they be otherwise authorized, or used than other human writings’ (1.3).[43] Hence, Bibles printed by English Protestants who had broken away from the Church of England began to exclude these books.

Other early Bible editions[ edit ]

All English translations of the Bible printed in the 16th century included a section or appendix for apocryphal books. The Matthew Bible, published in 1537, contains all the apocrypha of the later King James Version in an intertestamentary section. The 1538 Myles Coverdale Bible contained an apocrypha excluding Baruch and the prayer of Manasseh. The Geneva Bible of 1560 placed the prayer of Manasseh after 2 Chronicles; The rest of the Apocrypha was placed in an intertestamental section. The Douay-Rheims Bible (1582–1609) placed the prayer of Manasseh and 3 and 4 Esdras in an appendix of the second volume of the Old Testament.

In the Zurich Bible (1529-30) they are placed in an appendix. These include 3 Maccabees as well as 1 Esdras and 2 Esdras. The 1st edition omitted the prayer of Manasseh and the rest of Esther, although these were included in the 2nd edition. The French Bible (1535) by Pierre Robert Olivétan placed them among the testaments with the subtitle “The Volume of the Apocryphal Books Contained in the Vulgate Translation Which We Have Not Found in either the Hebrew or the Chaldean”.

In 1569, the Spanish Reina Bible, modeled on the pre-Clementine Latin Vulgate, included the Deuterocanonical books in its Old Testament. After the other Protestant translations of his time, Valera’s 1602 revision of the Reina Bible moved these books into an intertestamental section.

Modern editions[ edit ]

All King James Bibles published before 1666 included the Apocrypha,[44] albeit separately so as not to equate them with Scripture proper, as Jerome noted in the Vulgate, which he called The Apocrypha.[45] In 1826[46] the National Bible Society of Scotland petitioned the British and Foreign Bible Society not to print the Apocrypha,[47] resulting in a decision that no BFBS funds would be paid for the printing of any apocryphal books anywhere should. They argued that it would be less expensive to print the Apocrypha of the Bible.[48][49] Since that time, most modern editions of the Bible and reprints of the King James Bible omit the Apocrypha section. Modern non-Catholic reprints of the Clementine Vulgate commonly omit the Apocrypha section. Many reprints of older versions of the Bible now omit the Apocrypha, and many more recent translations and revisions have not included them at all.

However, there are some exceptions to this trend. Some editions of the Revised Standard Version and the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible include not only the Apocrypha listed above, but also the third and fourth books of Maccabees and Psalm 151.

The American Bible Society lifted restrictions on the publication of Bibles containing the Apocrypha in 1964. The British and Foreign Bible Society followed in 1966.[50] The Stuttgart Vulgate (the printed edition, not most online editions), published by UBS, contains the Apocrypha of Clementine, as well as Laodiceans and Psalm 151.

Brenton’s edition of the Septuagint contains all the apocrypha found in the King James Bible except for 2 Esdras that were not in the Septuagint and no longer exist in Greek.[51] He puts them in a separate section at the end of his Old Testament, following English tradition.

In Greek circles, however, these books are traditionally not called Apocrypha, but Anagignoskomena (ἀναγιγνωσκόμενα) and integrated into the Old Testament. The Orthodox Study Bible published by Thomas Nelson Publishers includes the Anagignoskomena in its Old Testament except for 4 Maccabees. This was translated by the Saint Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology from the Rahlfs edition of the Septuagint, using Brenton’s English translation and the RSV Expanded Apocrypha as boilerplate text. As such, they are included in the Old Testament without distinguishing between these books and the rest of the Old Testament. This follows the tradition of the Eastern Orthodox Church, where the Septuagint is the surviving version of the Old Testament Scriptures which, in agreement with some of the Fathers, such as St. Augustine, considered itself inspired, and not the Hebrew Masoretic text, followed by all others modern translations. [52]

Anagignoscomena [ edit ]

The Septuagint, the ancient and best-known Greek version of the Old Testament, contains books and supplements not found in the Hebrew Bible. These texts are not traditionally divided into a separate section, nor are they usually referred to as apocrypha. Rather, they are referred to as anagignoscomena (ἀναγιγνωσκόμενα, “things that are read” or “profitable reading”). The Anagignoscomena are Tobit, Judith, Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom of Jesus ben Sira (Sirach), Baruch, Epistle of Jeremiah (in the Vulgate this is Chapter 6 of Baruch), Supplements to Daniel (The Prayer of Azarias, Susanna and Bel and the Dragon), Additions to Esther, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, 3 Maccabees, 1 Esdras, i.e. all Deuterocanonical books plus 3 Maccabees and 1 Esdras.[53]

Some editions add additional books, like Psalm 151 or the Odes (including the prayer of Manasseh). 2 Esdras is added as an appendix in the Slavic Bibles and 4 Maccabees as an appendix in Greek editions.[53]

Pseudepigrapha [ edit ]

Technically, a pseudepigraphon is a book written in the Biblical style and attributed to an author who did not write it. However, in common usage the term pseudepigrapha is often used for distinction to refer to apocryphal writings which, unlike the texts listed above, do not appear in printed editions of the Bible. Examples[54] include:

The pseudepigrapha often include 3 and 4 Maccabees because they are not traditionally found in Western Bibles, although they are in the Septuagint. Similarly, the Book of Enoch, the Book of Jubilees, and 4 Baruch are often listed with the pseudepigrapha, although they are commonly included in Ethiopian Bibles. The Psalms of Solomon are found in some editions of the Septuagint.

Cultural impact[ edit ]

See also[edit]


Further Reading[edit]



O. F. Fritzsche and Grimm, Kurzgef. exeget. Handbook to the Apok. of the AT (Leipzig, 1851–1860)

. (Leipzig, 1851–1860) Edwin Cone Bissell, Apocrypha of the Old Testament (Edinburgh, 1880)

(Edinburgh, 1880) Otto Zöckler, The Apocrypha of the Old Testament (Munich, 1891)

(Munich, 1891) Henry Wace, The Apocrypha (“Speaker’s Commentary”) (1888)


Why is the gospel of John different?

John’s Gospel differs from the Synoptic Gospels in several ways: it covers a different time span than the others; it locates much of Jesus’ ministry in Judaea; and it portrays Jesus discoursing at length on theological matters. The major difference, however, lies in John’s overall purpose.

The Story Of The Storytellers – The Gospel Of Thomas

The Gospel of John, fourth of the four New Testament narratives that tell of the life and death of Jesus Christ. The Gospel of John is the only one of the four not to be considered among the synoptic gospels (i.e. those sharing a common view). Although the gospel was purportedly written by John the Apostle, “the beloved disciple” of Jesus, there has been considerable debate as to the actual identity of the author. The language of the gospel and its well-developed theology suggest that the author may have lived later than John and based his writing on John’s teachings and testimonies. Furthermore, the facts suggest that several episodes of Jesus’ life are told out of the order of the Synoptics and that the final chapter appears to be a later addition that the text may be composite. The place and date of the composition of the gospel are also uncertain; Many scholars suggest that it was written around AD 100 in Ephesus, Asia Minor, to convey the truth about Christ to Christians of Hellenistic background.

The Gospel of John differs from the synoptic gospels in several respects: it covers a different period of time than the others; it locates much of Jesus’ ministry in Judea; and it shows Jesus speaking at length on theological matters. The main difference, however, lies in John’s overall purpose. The author of the Gospel of John tells us that he chose not to record many of the symbolic acts of Jesus, and instead included certain episodes so that his readers could understand and participate in the mystical union of Christ’s Church, so that they “believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that you believe that you have life in his name” (20:30). This motif runs through the narrative, as does a sort of mystical symbolism and repeated emphasis on incarnation. The author begins his account with a statement about the incarnation that Genesis clearly alludes to (“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”). The author repeatedly adds his own interpretative comments to clarify Jesus’ motives. In the narration of certain miraculous deeds, such as the feeding of the 5,000 (6:1-15), found in all four gospels, John’s version is explained as symbolizing a deeper spiritual truth (“I am the bread of life ; . . . .””). Throughout the Gospel of John, Jesus openly presents Himself as the divine Son of God without hiding his identity as he does in the Gospel of Mark. Thus, the author of the Gospel of John not only recounts a series of events, but highlights details that support an ordered theological interpretation of those events.

Read more on this topic Biblical Literature: The Fourth Gospel: The Gospel of John John is the last gospel and differs from the synoptic gospels in many ways. The question in the Synoptic Gospels concerns the extent…

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Due to its special theological character, the Gospel of John was considered the “spiritual gospel” in antiquity and had a profound and lasting influence on the development of early Christian teaching.

What does Gnostic mean in religion?

Definition of gnosticism

: the thought and practice especially of various cults of late pre-Christian and early Christian centuries distinguished by the conviction that matter is evil and that emancipation comes through gnosis.

The Story Of The Storytellers – The Gospel Of Thomas

the thought and practice of various cults of the late pre-Christian and early Christian centuries in particular, which were characterized by the belief that matter is evil and that emancipation comes through gnosis

Examples of Gnosticism in one sentence

Recent Internet Examples In this sense, the Woke dialect is a new breed of Gnosticism that separates the elite from the great unwashed. — Nate Hochman, National Review, February 12, 2022 Indeed, as Del Noce argued throughout his career, Marxism was and is a new form of an ancient heresy, Gnosticism. — Francis X. Maier, WSJ, January 6, 2022

These example sentences are automatically selected from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word “Gnosticism”. The views expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

What is the biblical meaning of Thomas?

Thomas comes from the Hebrew word “ta’om,” meaning “twin.” It came into English via the New Testament of the Bible, where St. Thomas was one of the 12 apostles of Jesus. Origin: The Hebrew word תָּאוֹם (ta’om) led to the Aramaic name Taoma. This name was rendered in New Testament Greek as Θωμάς (Thomas).

The Story Of The Storytellers – The Gospel Of Thomas

What does Thomas mean?

If you are looking for a strong, traditionally masculine name that will never go out of style, consider using the name Thomas. Thomas comes from the Hebrew word “ta’om” which means “twin”. It came into English via the New Testament of the Bible, where St. Thomas was one of the 12 apostles of Jesus.

Origin: The Hebrew word תָּאוֹם (ta’om) led to the Aramaic name Taoma. This name was rendered in New Testament Greek as Θωμάς (Thomas).

The Hebrew word תָּאוֹם (ta’om) led to the Aramaic name Taoma. This name was rendered in New Testament Greek as Θωμάς (Thomas). Gender: Thomas is traditionally the masculine form of the name. Thomasine, Thomasina and Tamsin were used as female variations.

Thomas is traditionally the masculine form of the name. Thomasine, Thomasina and Tamsin were used as female variations. Pronunciation: TAH-mis

Although baby names are often separated by gender, Verywell Family believes that gender shouldn’t be a factor in your naming choices. It’s important to choose the name that you feel is most appropriate for your new baby.

How popular is the name Thomas?

Thomas is a perennial favorite in the US, ranking among the top 50 boy names in America throughout the 20th century. It was most popular between 1931 and 1966 and remained a top 10 boy name for those 35 years. Thomas peaked in the 1940s and early 1950s, consistently ranking 8th in the US during that period.

The name has declined in popularity in recent decades, hitting a low of No. 63 in 2011-2012. However, it has recovered somewhat, and 2020 statistics rank Thomas as the No. 45 name for boys in America.

While the name Thomas is typically used as a male name, it can certainly be used however you see fit as sex does not have to be a part of your name selection process.

name variations

As a biblical name, Thomas has an equivalent in virtually every known language. These include:

Foma (Russian)

Tamás (Hungarian)

Tamati (Maori)

Tavian (Scottish)

Toma (Serbian)

Tomas (Spanish)

Tomas (Czech)

Tomaso (Italian)

Tomasz (Polish)

Tomi (Hungarian)

Tomos (Welsh)

Toomas (Estonian)

Similar names

Although Tom is usually a short form of Thomas, it can also be a name in its own right. Thompson, usually a surname, has occasionally been seen as a given name as well.

Other boy names starting with T:


The O







Other New Testament Boy Names:









Usual nicknames

Some languages ​​form nicknames for Thomas based on its ending rather than its first syllable, such as the Dutch nickname Maas and the Italian nickname Maso.

Additional nicknames can be:






Suggested sibling names

Some sibling names for Thomas could be:









Famous people named Thomas

There are many notable people named Thomas and Tom.

Famous Thomas

Thomas from the Bible, one of the 12 apostles of Jesus. He is best known for the moment after the resurrection when he asks for proof that Jesus really did come back from the dead. This scene is the origin of the phrase “Doubting Thomas”

from the Bible, one of the 12 apostles of Jesus. He is best known for the moment after the resurrection when he asks for proof that Jesus really did come back from the dead. This scene is the origin of the expression “Doubting Thomas” Thomas Aquinas, Catholic priest and theologian

, Catholic priest and theologian Thomas Dewey, American politician best known for nearly defeating President Truman in the 1948 election

, American politician known for nearly defeating President Truman in the 1948 election. Thomas Alva Edison, American inventor known for over 1,000 patents including an early electric light bulb

, American inventor known for over 1,000 patents including an early electric lightbulb Thomas Stearns Eliot , American poet known as T.S. Eliot, who is considered one of the most important poets of the 20th century

, American poet known as T.S. Eliot, considered one of the most important poets of the 20th century Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, Confederate General during the American Civil War

, Confederate General during the American Civil War Thomas Jefferson , American statesman, principal author of the Declaration of Independence and third President of the United States

, American statesman, principal author of the Declaration of Independence and third President of the United States Thomas Hobbes , English philosopher, best known for his book Leviathan

, English philosopher known for his book Leviathan Sir Thomas More , English philosopher and statesman known for his opposition to the Protestant Reformation and his 1516 book Utopia

, English philosopher and statesman known for his opposition to the Protestant Reformation and his 1516 book ‘Utopia’ Thomas Paine , English-born American philosopher, political theorist and revolutionary known as the author of ‘Common Sense’

, English-born American philosopher, political theorist and revolutionary, best known as the author of Common Sense Thomas Carlyle , Scottish historian whose account of the French Revolution inspired Charles Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities

, Scottish historian whose account of the French Revolution inspired Charles Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities. Thomas Lanier Williams, American playwright, known as Tennessee Williams, is considered one of the great playwrights of the 20th century

, American playwright, known as Tennessee Williams, considered one of the great playwrights of the 20th century Thomas Wolsey, English Archbishop and Lord Chancellor of England under King Henry VIII

Famous toms

What is the lost Gospel of Thomas?

The Lost Gospel of Thomas: The Original Mystical Teachings of Yeshua Kindle Edition. Among all the astonishing documents accidentally—or fatefully—unearthed in 1945 near the desert village of Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt, the Gospel of Thomas has made the greatest impact on our understanding of Christianity.

The Story Of The Storytellers – The Gospel Of Thomas

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What did Thomas say to Jesus?

27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

The Story Of The Storytellers – The Gospel Of Thomas

Episode from the Gospel of John

A doubting Thomas is a skeptic who refuses to believe without direct personal experience – a reference to the account of the apostle Thomas in John’s gospel who, according to John’s account, refused to believe that the resurrected Jesus had appeared to the ten other apostles, until he could see and feel the crucifixion wounds of Jesus.

The episode (formally called the Incredulity of Thomas) has been frequently depicted in art since at least the 15th century, with its depiction reflecting a range of theological interpretations.

Gospel Account [ edit ]

The episode is related in chapter 20 of John’s Gospel, but not in the three Synoptic Gospels. The text of the King James Version reads as follows:[1]

24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.

25 Then the other disciples said to him, We have seen the Lord. But he said to them, Unless I see the print of the nails in his hands and put my finger in the print of the nails and put my hand in his side, I will not believe.

26 And eight days later his disciples were inside again, and Thomas with them. Then Jesus came with closed doors and stepped into the midst and said: Peace be with you!

27 Then he saith unto Thomas: Stretch out thy finger here, and see my hands; and stretch out your hand and put it in my side, and do not be unfaithful, but believe.

28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

29 Jesus said to him, Thomas, because you saw me, you believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.

Commentators have noted that John avoids saying whether Thomas actually put his hand inside. Prior to the Protestant Reformation, the common belief reflected in artistic depictions was that he had done so, which most Catholic writers continued to believe, while Protestant writers often thought he had not.

Regardless of whether Thomas both felt and “saw” the physical evidence of Jesus’ resurrection, the Catholic interpretation has been that Jesus, while claiming the superiority of those who believe without physical evidence, was nonetheless willing to show it Thomas his wound and let him feel it. This was used by theologians as biblical encouragement for the use of physical experiences such as pilgrimages, relic veneration, and rituals to strengthen Christian faith.

Protestant theologians emphasized Jesus’ statement of the superiority of “faith alone” (see sola fide), although the evangelically oriented Anglican Thomas Hartwell Horne, in his widely read Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures (first published 1818), discussed Thomas’ unbelief , which he extended somewhat to the other apostles, acknowledging both the truthfulness of the gospels, since a “forger” would probably not have invented them, and their reasonable suspicion of the seemingly impossible, demonstrating their reliability as witnesses. In the early church, Gnostic writers were very insistent that Thomas did not actually examine Jesus, and spelled this out in apocryphal accounts, perhaps to push their non-Gnostic opponents the other way.

Theological interpretation of the episode has focused on demonstrating the reality of the resurrection, but as early as the 4th and 5th century writings of Saints John Chrysostom and Cyril of Alexandria it was interpreted Eucharistically, see as an allegory of the sacrament of Eucharist, which remained a recurring theme in the comments.

art [edit]

In art this theme, officially known as The Incredulity of Saint Thomas, has been common since at least the early 6th century when it appeared in the mosaics of the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna[11] and on the Ampullae of Monza[ 11] appears. 12] In these depictions, as later in the Baroque period, the subject, usually depicted at the moment Thomas places his fingers in Jesus’ side, was used to emphasize the importance of bodily experiences and evidence to the believer as to how described above. The Ravenna mosaic introduces the motif of Jesus raising his hand to reveal the wound in his side;[13] his posture is often, but not always, such that the wounds are on his hands and often on his Feet can also be seen.

The scene was used in a number of contexts in medieval art, including Byzantine icons. Where there was space all the apostles were often shown, and Thomas’ acceptance of the resurrection is sometimes shown, with Thomas kneeling and Jesus blessing him. This iconography leaves it unclear whether or not the moment shown is followed by an argument, but probably suggests, especially in Protestant art, that this is not the case. From the late Middle Ages there are a number of variations in the poses of the two figures (see gallery). The typical “touching” depiction formed one of several scenes sometimes placed around a central crucifixion of Jesus, and is one of the scenes shown on the Irish Muiredach High Cross, and the subject of a large relief in the famous Romanesque cloister of the abbey from Santo Domingo de Silos. In works showing pairs of typologically related scenes from the Old and New Testaments it might be paired with Jacob rings with the angel, but in a 10th-century Ottonian ivory diptych the support for the faith is both textual “holy scripture” and through physical evidence.

Ostentation vulnerum

In the later Middle Ages, Jesus was pulled back with one side of his robe showing the wound in his side and his other four wounds (called Ostentatio Vulnerum) from images with Thomas and transformed into a pose taken by Jesus alone, often putting his own fingers in the wound on his side. This form became a common feature of individual iconic figures of Jesus and subjects such as the Last Judgment (where Bamberg Cathedral has an early example from around 1235), Christ in Majesty, the Man of Sorrows and Christ with the Arma Christi, and was used to depict the Passion of Christ as well to emphasize the fact of his resurrection.

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In the Renaissance, the famous pair of sculptures Christ and Thomas by Andrea del Verrocchio (1467-1483) for the Orsanmichele in Florence is the best known representation; The subject is rare in freestanding sculpture. This guild church also housed commercial courts and the presentation of physical evidence gave the subject particular relevance to the courts and judiciary, and it appeared on many other buildings in Tuscany with judicial functions. The Medici family, heavily involved in the commission, also had a special connection with St. Thomas,[18] although Salviati’s painting seems to reflect anti-Medici sentiment in the 1540s.

The subject enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in Counter-Reformation art as an assertion of Catholic doctrine against Protestant rejection of the Catholic practices the episode was intended to support and of the Protestant belief in “faith alone”. In the Catholic interpretation, Jesus, while claiming the supremacy of those who have faith, without physical evidence, was nonetheless willing to show Thomas his wound and make him feel. The Incredulity of Saint Thomas by Caravaggio (c. 1601–1602) is the most famous depiction today (unusually showing Thomas to the right of Jesus), but there are many others, notably by the Utrecht Caravaggisti, who paint in a Protestant setting. like the Flemish Caravaggist Matthias Stom, whose two versions of the theme are now in Madrid and Bergamo. Both Rembrandt (Pushkin Museum) and Rubens (center panel of the Rockox triptych, Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp) painted it.

Gallery [ edit ]

Medieval drama[edit]

The dramatic nature of the episode meant that it was common in medieval dramas that told the story of Jesus’ life.[22] It takes the entire “Play 41” of the York Mystery Cycle, which probably dates from between 1463 and 1477, and takes 195 six-line stanzas to tell.[23] Other shorter cycles omit it, and the Chester Mystery Plays take 70 lines to cover it.[24]

Related legends[edit]

The biblical episode produced two late medieval legends or stories that also appear in art.

Belt of Thomas[ edit ]

In this story, Thomas once again missed the opportunity at the Assumption (on his way back from his mission to India) where the other apostles were present, so the Virgin Mary, aware of Thomas’ skeptical nature, appeared to him individually and left him the girdle (cloth belt) she was wearing falling on him to give him physical proof of what he had seen. In other versions, he is present at the actual Ascension, and the Virgin lowered her girdle upon him as she was assumed into heaven. The supposed girdle itself (Sacra Cintola) is a relic of Prato Cathedral, and its veneration was thought to be particularly helpful to pregnant women. After Florence took control of Prato in 1350–51, the girdle begins to appear in Florentine art and is worn by figures of the Madonna del Parto, iconic figures showing the Virgin Mary during pregnancy.

The first version of the story is called in art the Madonna of the Girdle. An altarpiece by Palma Vecchio, now in the Brera Gallery, Milan, shows an intermediate version, with Thomas rushing towards the other apostles and the Virgin removing her girdle. In other works Thomas catches the falling belt or has received the belt and is holding it.

Incredulity of Jerome[ edit ]

Saint Francis of Assisi (1181/1182 – 1226) had a vision in 1224, after which he received stigmata on his own body and repeated the wounds of Jesus, which he retained until his death. According to many who saw them, the wounds on his hands and feet were as if the nails still stayed in place and the nail-like projections could be moved. An early Franciscan biographer, Saint Bonaventure (1221-1274), reported that a soldier named Jerome was skeptical and moved the “nails.” Jerome is believed to be shown examining Francis’ feet by Giotto and his workshop in the frescoes of the Bardi Chapel of Santa Croce, Florence, and he appears in some other Franciscan works.

See also[edit]



What did Thomas in the Bible do?

Thomas is famous for having doubted the Resurrection of Jesus and for demanding physical proof of the wounds of Christ’s Crucifixion. The phrase “doubting Thomas” was coined for his lack of faith. When Jesus showed him the wounds, St. Thomas became the first person to explicitly acknowledge the divinity of Jesus.

The Story Of The Storytellers – The Gospel Of Thomas

Although little is known of his life, Christian tradition holds that St. Thomas was the first missionary to India. He is considered the founder of the Church of Syrian Malabar Christians or Thomas Christians.

St. Thomas is famous for doubting Jesus’ resurrection and demanding physical proof of the wounds of Christ’s crucifixion. The phrase “doubting Thomas” was coined for his lack of faith. When Jesus showed him the wounds, St. Thomas became the first person to explicitly acknowledge the divinity of Jesus.

St. Thomas, (born probably Galilee – died AD 53, Madras, India; Western feast day December 21, feast day in Roman and Syriac Catholic Churches July 3, in Greek Church October 6), one the Twelve Apostles. His name means “twin” in Aramaic (Teʾoma) and Greek (Didymos); John 11:16 identifies him as “Thomas, called the twin.” He is called Judas Thomas (i.e. Judas the twin) by the Syrians.

The character of Thomas is outlined in the Gospel of John. His devotion to Jesus is clearly expressed in John 11:5-16: When Jesus was about to return to Judea, the disciples warned him about the hostility of the Jews (“who are now trying to stone you”), to which Thomas soon replied: “Let us go too, that we may die with him. At the Last Supper (John 14:1-7), Thomas couldn’t understand what Jesus meant when he said, “I will come back and take you to be with me, so that you can be where I am.” And you know the way where I’m going.” Thomas’s question, “How do we know the way?” led Jesus to reply, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”

Perhaps the most famous event in his life is the one that gave rise to the phrase Doubting Thomas. In John 20:19-29 he was not among the disciples to whom the risen Christ first appeared, and when they told Doubting Thomas he asked for physical proof of the resurrection, which was fulfilled when Christ appeared again and Thomas specifically asked to touch his wounds. His sudden realization of the truth (“My Lord and my God”) made Thomas the first person to explicitly recognize the divinity of Jesus.

The further history of Thomas is uncertain. According to the 4th-century church history of Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea, he evangelized Parthia (modern Khorāsān). Later Christian tradition states that Thomas extended his apostolate to India, where he is credited as the founder of the Church of Syrian Malabar Christians, or Christians of St. Thomas. In the Apocryphal Acts of Thomas, originally written in Syriac, he is said to have visited the court of the Indo-Parthian king Gondophernes, who commissioned him to build a royal palace (he was said to be a carpenter); He was imprisoned for spending the money entrusted to him on charity. The work documents his martyrdom under the King of Mylapore in Madras (modern-day Chennai), where the Cathedral of San Thomé, his traditional burial place, is located. However, his relics were said to have been taken west and eventually stored in Ortona, Italy.

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Besides the apocryphal works are the Gospel of Thomas (among the Coptic Gnostic papyri found in Upper Egypt in 1945), the Book of Thomas the Athlete and Gospel Joannis de obitu Mariae (“The Message of John of the Death of Mary”).

Gregg Braden \”Be enveloped by what you desire\” Jesus on Praying in Aramaic Gospel \u0026 Gospel Of Thomas

Gregg Braden \”Be enveloped by what you desire\” Jesus on Praying in Aramaic Gospel \u0026 Gospel Of Thomas
Gregg Braden \”Be enveloped by what you desire\” Jesus on Praying in Aramaic Gospel \u0026 Gospel Of Thomas

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Date Published: 8/1/2021

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The Lost Gospel of Thomas SUMMARY – Income Wizards

“Ask without hden motive and be surrounded by your answer.” “Be enveloped by what you (think the thought of the healing in your

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Date Published: 9/3/2021

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The Prayer Technique Edited Out of John 16: 23-24

Ask without hden motive (i.e., do not be judgmental, but forgive the present with grace) and be surrounded by your answer (in fervent, viv, …

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Source: imagicworldview.blogspot.com

Date Published: 8/11/2021

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Prayer | The Sentinel & Rural News

Ask without hden motive and be surrounded by your answer. Be enveloped by what you desire, that your gladness be full.” The Gospel of …

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Source: www.sentinelruralnews.com

Date Published: 6/25/2021

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Ask without hidden motive and be surrounded by…

Ask without hden motive and be surrounded by your answer. Be enveloped by what you desire that your gladness be full. ~ Jesus (the Gospel …

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Date Published: 9/2/2022

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Gospel of Thomas – Wikipedia

Other scholars have suggested an Alexandrian origin. The introduction states: “These are the hden words that the living Jesus spoke and Dymos Judas Thomas …

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Source: en.wikipedia.org

Date Published: 12/20/2021

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The Gospel of Thomas’s 114 Sayings of Jesus

(1) “Seek and you will find. (2) But the things you asked me about in past times, and what I d not tell you in that day, now I am willing …

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Source: www.biblicalarchaeology.org

Date Published: 9/27/2022

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Gregg Braden – Gospel of Thomas Thoughts And Emotions as …

Within the Gospel of Thomas, we find precise instructions on how to create healing, peace, … Hden motive, ask without judgment.

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Source: zeropointawakening.com

Date Published: 1/26/2022

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Ask And You Shall Receive – Worthy Christian Forums

Ask without hden motive, Ask without the Judgement, without the ego. Ask for the quality of the feeling, To be surrounded, to be enveloped to …

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Date Published: 9/30/2022

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Did Jesus Teach Deliberate Creation? – Good Vibe Blog

In the Essene Gospel of Peace, Book 2, for example, a scribe reports that … Ask without hden motive and be surrounded by your answer.

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Date Published: 7/18/2022

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Two Removed Bible Verses That Show How To Manifest Desire And Have Prayer Answered

There is a language that lives in every human being who walks this earth. It’s a language without words, it’s the language of human emotions, this feeling doesn’t happen in your head but in your heart, this feeling is a language, this feeling is a force that lives in your body.

Today, modern science is beginning to understand that emotions have a direct impact on the stuff our world is made of. So what we want to experience in our life, we must first feel in our heart as if it has already happened.

The BIG question is: How much power do we really have to change our world and our lives?

This is a great mystery and controversy in the language of science. Are we just observers? Passive observers in this universe watching the world go by, or are we powerful creators? Our most cherished religious and spiritual traditions have always said that we are indeed powerful creators who have forgotten how to use our power. Have you ever heard of the lost Gospel of Thomas?

The Lost Gospel of Thomas is a very powerful text. This lost gospel is powerful because it is believed to be the actual words of Jesus as he taught those around him.

It teaches how to use the power of human emotions in your life to unleash the power of the divine matrix in our lives: first, we need to understand how it works and science tells us how it works, second, we need to speak the language who recognizes the divine matrix and science cannot tell us that.

That just comes from our past, from our culture, from our history and from those who have learned and used this language for thousands of years.

What did Jesus, the greatest teacher and Messiah, say about this language? It’s the same whether you speak of Buddhist, Hindu or Christian, pre-Christian traditions, they all tell us that there is an energy field and that we have the language to use that field.

This is a real page from the Gospel of Thomas, so we know that this ancient gospel actually existed. This first copy of this gospel was in Greek. The Gospel of Thomas has two very important keys. This was written about 300 years after the time of Jesus.

Regarding the Buddhist monasteries in Tibet, they vehemently believe that whenever we present our desires to God, we must feel that our prayers have already been answered.

The Gospel of Thomas, verse 106 says, “If you make thought and feeling one, you will say to the mountain, The mountain will move, and the mountain will move,” saying if you combine your thoughts and your feelings into one powerful force is when you have the power to speak to the world. Verse 48 says almost the same thing. “When the two make peace with each other in this one house, they will say to the mountain, move away, and it will go”

This was so important that it was recorded at least three times in the same gospel. When Jesus talks about the house or the temple, what is he talking about? Exactly you, you are the house or the temple. Whenever the two (emotions & thoughts) make peace with each other in this house, they become powerful. But how does one do it?

That’s the next piece we’re going to look at. There’s a very popular passage from the Bible that says, “Ask and you will receive.” I know people who have kept asking, but nothing seems to be happening. This is because asking is not done with the voice that invokes the divine matrix. A language that recognizes the field and a language that is meaningful.

The field doesn’t recognize our voice, it recognizes the power of our heart. When we have a feeling, our heart generates electric and magnetic waves. This is the language that recognizes the field. So when you create the feeling in your heart that your prayer has already been answered, that creates the electric and magnetic waves that bring you that answer.

The King James Version John 16 23:24. “23 And in that day you will not ask me anything, truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you, that your joy may be full”

This is the edited version, this is so amazing to me because they took out the two sentences that tell us how to ask. In the fourth century, when editing took place, they removed both of these phrases.

Would you like to see these two original sentences? Okay, let’s go back to the original Aramaic and look at a new translation.

This is the original Aramaic, this is the re-translated version with the missing parts: “All the things you have asked straight out of my name will be given to you, with no hidden motive and surrounded by your answer, encased by what you wish your joy to be full” it says that you have not done so yet, for when we ask with our voice we have not done so.

Here is the piece that was edited

Look at these two very powerful sentences, look at what it’s saying, it’s not saying you’re speaking a word, it’s saying to be surrounded, in other words to feel like the answer has already happened. Let yourself be enveloped if you want the perfect relationship in your life, if you want the healing in your loved one’s body, feel how it’s like it’s already happened.

Let yourself be enveloped by what you desire, because then your thought and your emotion become one. Feel the love of this thought that they become one and that is the language that this field recognizes. With no hidden motive, ask what does it mean? Hidden motive here means asking without judgement. That’s exactly what the Buddhists tell us, ask without judgment of right or wrong or good or bad.

Ask without the ego, ask from the heart The early 20th century philosopher Nevil wrote in his book The Power of Consciousness: “You must make your future dream a present fact now by embracing the feeling that your desire has been fulfilled to come from the place that it already happened”

Physical reality must respond to the language it understands. This causes us to surround and envelop ourselves with our thoughts and emotions. This happens in our hearts, not in our minds. Feeling like the prayer has already been answered without judgment and without ego is definitely the surest way to ensure that our wishes and our prayers are answered.

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Gospel of Thomas

The apocryphal gospel survives mainly in the Coptic language

Not to be confused with Acts of Thomas

The Gospel of Thomas (also known as the Coptic Gospel of Thomas) is an extra-canonical gospel of Proverbs. It was discovered in December 1945 near Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in a group of books known as the Nag Hammadi Library. Scholars speculate that the works were buried in response to a letter from Bishop Athanasius declaring a strict canon of Christian scripture. Scholars have suggested dates of formation as early as AD 60 and AD 250. Since its discovery, many scholars have taken it as evidence for the existence of a “Q-source” which may have been very similar in form as a collection of proverbs of Jesus without accounts of his doings or his life and death, known as the Gospel of Proverbs .[5]

The Coptic text, the second of seven texts in what modern scholars have termed the Nag Hammadi Codex II, consists of 114 sayings attributed to Jesus. Almost two-thirds of these sayings resemble those found in the canonical Gospels, and their editio princeps counts more than 80% of the parallels, while it is speculated that the other sayings were added from the Gnostic tradition. Its place of origin may have been Syria, where Thomasian traditions were strong. Other scholars have suggested an Alexandrian origin.

The introduction states: “These are the hidden words which the living Jesus spoke and Didymos Judas Thomas wrote them down.” Didymus (Greek Koine) and Thomas (Aramaic) both mean “twin”. Modern scholars do not consider the Apostle Thomas to be the author of this document, and the author remains unknown.

Due to its discovery in the library of Nag Hammadi, it was widely assumed that the document came from an early Christian, proto-Gnostic, school. Critics have questioned whether the description of Thomas as a “gnostic” gospel is based solely on the fact that it was found at Nag Hammadi along with gnostic texts.

The Gospel of Thomas differs greatly in tone and structure from other New Testament apocrypha and the four canonical gospels. Unlike the canonical gospels, it is not a narrative of the life of Jesus; instead it consists of logia (sayings) attributed to Jesus, sometimes in their own right, sometimes embedded in short dialogues or parables; 13 of his 16 parables are also found in the Synoptic Gospels. The text contains a possible allusion to Jesus’ death in Logion 65 (parable of the wicked tenants, parallel in the synoptic gospels), but makes no mention of his crucifixion, resurrection, or Last Judgment; no messianic understanding of Jesus is mentioned either.

Origen condemned a book called “The Gospel of Thomas” as heretical; however, it is not clear that this is the same gospel of Thomas, as he may have meant the childhood gospel of Thomas.[19]

Finds and publication[ edit ]

P.Oxy. 1

The manuscript of the Coptic text (CG II), found in 1945 in Nag Hammadi, Egypt, is dated to about 340 AD. It was first published in a photographic edition in 1956. [Note 1] Three years later (1959) the first English language translation followed with Coptic transcription. In 1977 James M. Robinson published the first complete collection of English translations of the texts of Nag Hammadi. The Gospel of Thomas has been translated and commented on in many languages ​​worldwide.

The original Coptic manuscript is now the property of the Coptic Museum in Cairo, Egypt, Department of Manuscripts.

Oxyrhynchus papyrus fragments[ edit ]

After the Coptic version of the full text was discovered at Nag Hammadi in 1945, scholars soon realized that three different Greek text fragments previously found at Oxyrhynchus (the Oxyrhynchus papyri), also in Egypt, were part of the Gospel of Thomas. These three papyrus fragments from Thomas date from between 130 and 250 AD.

Before the discovery of the Nag Hammadi library, the sayings of Jesus found in Oxyrhynchus were known simply as the Logia Iesu. The corresponding Greek fragments of the uncial writing of the Gospel of Thomas found in Oxyrhynchus are:

P.Oxy. 1: Fragments of Logion 26 to 33, with the last two sentences of Logion 77 in the Coptic version at the end of Logion 30 included herein.

P.Oxy. 654 : Fragments from beginning to logion 7, logion 24 and logion 36 on the back of a papyrus with survey data. [25]

P.Oxy. 655 : Fragments of Logia 36 to 39. 8 fragments labeled a to h, of which f and h have since been lost.[26]

The Coptic wording sometimes differs markedly from the earlier Greek Oxyrhynchus texts, with the extreme case of finding the last part of Logion 30 in Greek at the end of Logion 77 in Coptic. This fact, together with the very different wording used by Hippolytus when he appears to quote it (see below), suggests that the Gospel of Thomas “may have been circulated in more than one form and passed through several stages of editing”.

Although it is widely believed that the Gospel of Thomas was first written in Greek, there is evidence that the Coptic text of Nag Hammadi is a translation from Syriac (see Syriac origin).


The earliest surviving written references to the Gospel of Thomas are found in the writings of Hippolytus of Rome (c. 222–235) and Origen of Alexandria (c. 233). Hippolytus wrote in his Refutation of All Heresies 5.7.20:

[The Naassenes] speak … of a simultaneously hidden and revealed nature, which they call the imaginary kingdom of heaven that is in a man. In the “Gospel of Thomas” they pass on a tradition that expressly states: “Whoever seeks me will find me in children of seven years and older, because there, hidden in the fourteenth aeon, I will be revealed. ”

This seems to be an allusion to the 4th verse of Thomas, although the wording differs significantly. As translated by Thomas O. Lambdin, Proverbs 4 reads: “Jesus said: ‘The man who is old of days will not hesitate to ask a little child of seven days the place of life, and he will live shall last, and they shall be one and the same”. In this context, the preceding reference to the “sought dominion of the heavens in a man” seems to be a reference to Proverbs 2 and 3. Hippolytus also appears to rebut Proverbs 11 5.8.32 to be quoted, but without attribution.

Origen included the “Gospel according to Thomas” among the heterodox apocryphal gospels known to him (Hom. in Luk. 1).

In the 4th and 5th centuries various Church Fathers wrote that the Gospel of Thomas was held in high esteem by Mani. In the 4th century, Cyril of Jerusalem twice mentioned a “Gospel of Thomas” in his catechesis: “The Manichaeans also wrote a Gospel of Thomas, which is permeated with the fragrance of the evangelical title and corrupts the souls of the humble sort.”[31] and “Let no one read the Gospel according to Thomas: for it is not the work of one of the twelve apostles, but of one of the three wicked disciples of Manes.”[32] The fifth-century Decretum Gelasianum contains “A Gospel attributed to Thomas, which the Manichaeans use” in their list of heretical books.

Richard Valantasis writes:

Associating a date with the Gospel of Thomas is very complex, as it is difficult to know exactly what date a date is associated with. Scholars have suggested a date as early as AD 60 or as late as AD 140, depending on whether the Gospel of Thomas is identified with the original gist of Proverbs, or with the author’s published text, or with the Greek or Coptic texts, or with parallels in other literature.

Valantasis and other scholars argue that Thomas is difficult to date because, as a collection of logia without a narrative framework, individual sayings could have been added to him over time over time. Valantasis dates Thomas to AD 100-110, with some material certainly coming from the first layer, which is dated to AD 30-60. J.R. Porter dates the Gospel of Thomas much later, to AD 250.

Scholars generally fall into one of two main camps: an “early camp”, which favors a date for the “core” between the years 50 and 100, before or about contemporaneous with the writing of the canonical gospels; and a more common “late camp” favoring a date in the 2nd century after the composition of the canonical Gospels. [Quote 1][Quote 2]

Early camp[ edit ]

Form of the Gospel[edit]

Theissen and Merz argue that the collection of sayings was one of the earliest forms in which material about Jesus was transmitted. They claim that other collections of sayings, such as the Q source and the collection underlying Mark 4, were incorporated into larger narratives and no longer survive as independent documents, and that no later collections survive in this form. Marvin Meyer also claimed that the genre of a “collection of proverbs” points to the 1st century and that in particular the “use of parables without allegorical reinforcement” seems to predate the canonical gospels.

Independence from Synoptic Gospels

Stevan L. Davies argues that the apparent independence of the order of the sayings in Thomas from that of their parallels in the Synoptics shows that Thomas was not obviously dependent on the canonical gospels and was probably older than them. Several authors argue that when the Logia in Thomas has parallels in the synoptics, the Thomas version often seems closer to the source. Theissen and Merz cite Proverbs 31 and 65 as examples of this. Koester agrees, citing in particular the parables in Proverbs 8, 9, 57, 63, 64, and 65. In the few cases where the version in Thomas appears to depend on the Synoptics, Koester suggests that this is due to could be due to the influence of the person who translated the text from Greek to Coptic.

Koester also argues that Thomas’s lack of narrative material such as that found in the canonical gospels makes it unlikely that the gospel is “a multifaceted extract from the New Testament gospels”. He also cites the absence of the eschatological sayings considered characteristic of the Q source to show Thomas’ independence from that source.

Intertextuality with the Gospel of John

Another argument for an early date is what some scholars have suggested as an interplay between the Gospel of John and the Logia of Thomas. Parallels have been drawn between the two to indicate that the Logia preceded Thomas John’s work and that the latter countered Thomas point by point, either in real or mock conflict. This apparent dialectic has been pointed out by several New Testament scholars, notably Gregory J. Riley, April DeConick, and Elaine Pagels. Although differing in approach, they argue that several verses in John’s Gospel are best understood as responses to a Thomasian community and their beliefs. For example, Pagels says that the Gospel of John states that Jesus contains the divine light, while several sayings of Thomas refer to the light born “within.”[44][45][46]

The Gospel of John is the only canonical one that assigns a dramatic role and a spoken role to the apostle Thomas, and Thomas is the only character therein who is described as apistos (unbelieving), despite the failure of virtually all Johannine characters to live up to the standards of faith of the author. With reference to the famous story of “Doubting Thomas” [47], it is suggested that John vilified or ridiculed a rival school of thought. In another apparent contrast, John’s text presents a bodily resurrection soberly, as if this were a sine qua non of faith; in contrast, Thomas’s insights into mind and body are more nuanced.[48] For Thomas, the resurrection seems to be more of a cognitive event of spiritual attainment, one that even involves some discipline or asceticism. Again, an apparently disparaging portrayal in the Doubt Thomas story can be taken either literally, or as a kind of mock “comeback” to Thomas’ Logia: not as a direct censorship of Thomas, but as a better gloss. Finally, Thomas’ thoughts on mind and body are not all that different from those John presented elsewhere. [Note 2] John depicts Thomas physically touching the resurrected Jesus, inserting fingers and hands into his body, and ending with a cry. Pagels interprets this as a sign of superiority by John forcing Thomas to acknowledge Jesus’ physical nature. She writes that “…he shows Thomas abandoning his search for experiential truth – his ‘unbelief’ – to confess what John sees as truth…”. The point of these examples, as used by Riley and Pagels, is to support the argument that the text of Thomas exists and must have gained a following by the time of the writing of John’s Gospel, and that the meaning of the Thomasine logia was large enough that John felt the need to weave it into his own narrative.

As this scholarly debate continued, theologian Christopher W. Skinner disagreed with Riley, DeConick, and Pagels about a possible interplay between John and Thomas, concluding that Thomas the Disciple in the book of John is “only one engraving in a larger literary pattern , where uncomprehending characters serve as a foil for Jesus’ words and deeds.”

Role of James[ edit ]

Albert Hogeterp argues that Proverbs 12 of the gospel, which ascribes the leadership of the church to James the Just and not Peter, is consistent with Paul’s description of the early Jerusalem church in Galatians 2:1–14 and may reflect a tradition dating back to before 70 AD Meyer also lists “uncertainty about James the Just, brother of Jesus” as characteristic of a 1st-century origin.

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In later traditions (notably the story of Thomas, the book of Thomas the Squire, etc.), Thomas is considered to be the twin brother of Jesus. Nevertheless, this gospel contains some phrases (log. 55, 99 y 101) that are in contrast to the family group of Jesus, which creates difficulties when one tries to equate him with James, Jesus’ brother, quoted by Josephus in Antiquities of identify the Jews. In addition, there are some Proverbs (mainly Log. 6, 14, 104) and Oxyrhinchus papyri 654 (Log. 6) in which the Gospel is shown in contrast to Jewish traditions, particularly in relation to circumcision and dietary practices (Log. 55) , key issues in the early Judeo-Christian church led by James (Acts 15:1–35, Gal. 2:1–10).

Presentation of Peter and Matthew[ edit ]

In Proverbs 13, Peter and Matthew are presented as unable to understand the true meaning or identity of Jesus. Patterson argues that this can be interpreted as a criticism of the school of Christianity associated with Matthew and that “[t]he sort of rivalry seems more at home in the first century than later” when all the apostles had become venerated figures.

Parallel to Paul[edit]

According to Meyer, the statement of Thomas 17, “I will give you what no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, what no hand has touched, what has not come into the human heart,” is striking to what Paul wrote in 1 similarly Corinthians 2:9 (which itself was an allusion to Isaiah 64:4[54]).

Late camp[ edit ]

The late camp dates Thomas sometime after AD 100, generally found in the early second century in the New Testament gospels on which Thomas was in some sense dependent, in addition to inauthentic and possibly authentic independent statements extant in no other text can be found. J. R. Porter dates Thomas much later, to the middle of the third century.

Dependence on the New Testament

Several scholars have argued that the sayings in Thomas reflect mergers and harmonizations dependent on the canonical gospels. For example, Words 10 and 16 appear to contain a redacted harmonization of Luke 12:49, 12:51-52 and Matthew 10:34-35. In this case it has been suggested that the dependency is best explained by the author of Thomas using an earlier harmonized oral tradition based on Matthew and Luke. Biblical scholar Craig A. Evans also subscribes to this view, noting that “more than half of the New Testament writings are quoted, paralleled, or alluded to in Thomas… I am not aware of any Christian writings prior to AD 150 that make reference to them so much of the New Testament.”

Another argument for the late dating of Thomas is based on the fact that Proverbs 5 in the original Greek (Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 654) appears to follow the vocabulary used in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 8:17) rather than the vocabulary used in the Gospel of Mark (Mark 4:22). According to this reasoning – which first assumes the correctness of the two-source hypothesis (widespread among current New Testament scholars [citation needed]), in which the author is seen by Luke as having used the pre-existing gospel of Mark plus a lost one Q source to compose his gospel – if, as Proverbs 5 suggests, the author of Thomas was referring to a preexisting gospel of Luke and not to the vocabulary of Mark, then the gospel of Thomas must be after both Mark and authored Luke, the latter dated between 60 and 90 AD.

Another proverb that uses similar vocabulary to that used in Luke and not Mark is Proverb 31 in the original Greek (Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 1), where the term dektos (acceptable) 4:24 of Luke 4:24 instead of Atimos of Mark 6:4 is used (without honor). The word dektos (in all its cases and genders) is clearly typical of Luke, being used by him only in the canonical Gospels, Luke 4:19; 4:24; Acts 10:35). Thus, the argument goes, the Greek Thomas was clearly influenced at least by Luke’s characteristic vocabulary.[Note 3]

J. R. Porter notes that because about half of the sayings of Thomas have parallels in the synoptic gospels, “It is possible that the sayings in Thomas were selected directly from the canonical gospels and either more or less accurately reproduced or supplemented to the distinctive theological author’s point of view.” According to John P. Meier, scholars overwhelmingly conclude that Thomas depends on or harmonizes with the Synoptics.

Syrian origin[edit]

Several scholars argue that Thomas is dependent on Syriac writings, including unique versions of the canonical gospels. They claim that many sayings of the Gospel of Thomas are more similar to Syriac translations of the canonical gospels than their original Greek recording. Craig A. Evans notes that saying 54 in Thomas, speaking of the poor and the kingdom of heaven, is more similar to the Syriac version of Matthew 5:3 than it is to the Greek version of that passage or the parallel in Luke 6:20.

Klyne Snodgrass notes that Thomas’ Proverbs 65–66, which contains the parable of the wicked tenants, appears to depend on the early harmonization of Mark and Luke found in the ancient Syriac Gospels. He concludes that “Thomas, rather than representing the earliest form, was shaped by this harmonizing tendency in Syria. The parable was taken in different directions, and the text was pruned back to the form of the Syrian Gospels as tradition progressed, is much more likely that Thomas, of Syrian origin, is dependent on the tradition of the canonical gospels, which has been abridged and harmonized by oral tradition.”

Nicholas Perrin argues that Thomas is dependent on the Diatessaron composed by Tatian in Syria shortly after 172. Perrin explains the order of proverbs by trying to show that almost all neighboring proverbs are linked by Syriac subject headings, while in Coptic or Greek subject headings were only found for less than half of the pairs of neighboring proverbs. Peter J. Williams analyzed Perrin’s alleged Syriac slogans and found them implausible. Robert F. Shedinger wrote that since Perrin attempts to reconstruct an ancient Syriac version of Thomas without first establishing Thomas’s reliance on the Diatessaron, Perrin’s logic appears circular.

Lack of apocalyptic themes

Bart D. Ehrman argues that the historical Jesus was an apocalyptic preacher and that his apocalyptic beliefs are recorded in the earliest Christian documents: Mark and the authentic Epistles of Paul. The earliest Christians believed that Jesus would soon return, and their belief is found in the earliest Christian writings. The Gospel of Thomas proclaims that the kingdom of God is already there for those who understand the secret message of Jesus (Proverbs 113), and it lacks apocalyptic themes. For this reason, Ehrman argues, the Gospel of Thomas was likely written by a Gnostic sometime in the early second century. Ehrman also argued against the authenticity of the sayings that Thomas attributes to Jesus.

Elaine Pagels points out that the Gospel of Thomas proclaims the kingdom of God not as an ultimate goal but as a state of self-discovery. Furthermore, the Gospel of Thomas conveys that Jesus mocked those who literally thought of the kingdom of God as if it were a specific place. Pagels further argues that Proverbs 22 is intended for readers to believe that the “kingdom” symbolizes a state of transformed consciousness.

John P. Meier has repeatedly argued against the historicity of the Gospel of Thomas that it cannot be a reliable source for searching for the historical Jesus and also considers it a Gnostic text. He has also argued against the authenticity of the parables found exclusively in the Gospel of Thomas. Bentley Layton included the Gospel of Thomas in his list of Gnostic writings.

Craig A. Evans has argued that the Gospel of Thomas represents the theological motifs of 2nd-century Egyptian Christianity and is dependent on the Synoptic Gospels and the Diatesseron.

N.T. Wright, Anglican bishop and professor of New Testament history, also sees the dating of Thomas in the 2nd or 3rd century. Wright’s rationale for this dating is that the “narrative framework” of first-century Judaism and the New Testament is radically different from the worldview expressed in the Proverbs collected in the Gospel of Thomas. Thomas makes an anachronistic mistake by turning Jesus, the Jewish prophet, into a Hellenistic/cynical philosopher. Wright concludes his section on the Gospel of Thomas in his book The New Testament and the People of God:

[Thomas’] implied story revolves around a character who imparts a secret, hidden wisdom to those close to him so that they may see and be saved by a new truth. “The Thomas Christians are told the truth of their divine origins and are given the secret passwords that will prove effective on the journey back to their heavenly homeland.” This is obviously the non-historical history of Gnosticism… It just so happens that, for good historical reasons, the book is far more likely to represent a radical translation and indeed subversion of first-century Christianity, a very different kind of religion than that she represents the original of which the longer Gospels are distortions… Thomas reflects a symbolic universe and worldview radically different from those of early Judaism and Christianity.

Relation to the canon of the New Testament

Last page of the Gospel of Thomas

Although controversy over some potential New Testament books, such as the Shepherd of Hermas and the Book of Revelation, lasted well into the 4th at least as early as the mid-2nd century. Tatian’s widespread Diatessaron, compiled between AD 160 and 175, used the four gospels without regard to others. Irenaeus of Lyons wrote in the late 2nd century: “Since there are four quarters of the earth… it is fitting that the church should have four pillars… the four gospels.”[73] and then shortly thereafter made the first well-known quote from a fourth gospel – today’s canonical version of the gospel of John. The late 2nd-century Muratorian fragment also acknowledges only the three Synoptic Gospels and John.

The Bible scholar Bruce Metzger wrote of the formation of the New Testament canon:

Although the edges of the nascent canon remained unsettled for generations, a high degree of unity was achieved about most of the New Testament among the very diverse and scattered congregations of believers not only throughout the Mediterranean world but also in a sprawling area of ​​Great Britain to Mesopotamia.

Relation to the Thomasian milieu

It also raises questions about the use of other works attributed to Thomas by various sects and their relation to this work.

The book of Thomas the Challenger, also from Nag Hammadi, is the most important of these, but the voluminous Acts of Thomas provide the mythological connections. The brief and comparatively straightforward Apocalypse of Thomas has no immediate connection with the synoptic gospels, while the canonical Judas – if the name can be related to Judas Thomas Didymus – certainly testifies to early inner-Christian conflicts.

The Gospel of Thomas infancy, stripped of its mythological connections, is difficult to relate to the Gospel of Thomas, but the Acts of Thomas contain the Hymn of the Pearl, the content of which is reflected in the Psalms of Thomas, written in the Manichaean literature can be found. These Psalms, which otherwise reveal Mandaean connections, also contain material that overlaps with the Gospel of Thomas.

Meaning and Author[ edit ]

P.Oxy. 655

The Gospel of Thomas is considered by some to be one of the earliest accounts of the teachings of Jesus, and is considered by some scholars to be one of the most important texts in understanding early Christianity outside of the New Testament. In terms of faith, however, no major Christian group accepts this gospel as canonical or authoritative. It is an important work for scholars working on the Q-Document, itself considered a collection of sayings or teachings on which the Gospels of Matthew and Luke are based in part. Although no copy of Q has ever been discovered, the fact that Thomas is similarly a “proverbs” gospel is taken by some scholars as an indication that the early Christians wrote collections of the sayings of Jesus, giving the Q- hypothesis supported.

Modern scholars do not consider Thomas the Apostle to be the author of this document, and the author remains unknown. J. Menard produced a summary of the academic consensus in the mid-1970s stating that the Gospel was probably a very late text by a Gnostic author and therefore had very little relevance to the study of the early development of Christianity. Scholarly views on Gnosticism and the Gospel of Thomas have since become more nuanced and diverse. Paterson Brown, for example, has strongly argued that the three Coptic Gospels of Thomas, Philip, and Truth are demonstrably not Gnostic writings, since all three expressly affirm the fundamental reality and sacredness of incarnate life, which Gnosticism considers illusory and evil by definition.

In the 4th century Cyril of Jerusalem considered the author a disciple of Mani, also called Thomas. Cyril said:

Mani had three disciples: Thomas, Baddas and Hermas. Let no one read the Gospel of Thomas. Denn er ist nicht einer der zwölf Apostel, sondern einer der drei bösen Jünger Manis.

Viele Gelehrte halten das Thomasevangelium für einen gnostischen Text, da es unter anderem in einer Bibliothek gefunden wurde, gnostische Themen enthält und vielleicht eine gnostische Weltanschauung voraussetzt. Andere lehnen diese Interpretation ab, weil Thomas die vollständige Mythologie des Gnostizismus fehlt, wie sie von Irenäus von Lyon (ca. 185) beschrieben wurde, und weil Gnostiker häufig eine große „Auswahl an Schriften von der Genesis über die Psalmen bis zu Homer, von den Synoptiker zu Johannes zu den Paulusbriefen.” Der Mystik des Thomasevangeliums fehlen auch viele Themen, die im Gnostizismus des zweiten Jahrhunderts zu finden sind.[84] Laut David W. Kim ist die Verbindung der Thomasiner und des Gnostizismus anachronistisch und das Buch scheint älter als die gnostischen Bewegungen zu sein.[85]

Der historische Jesus [ bearbeiten ]

Einige moderne Gelehrte (insbesondere diejenigen, die dem Jesus-Seminar angehören) glauben, dass das Thomasevangelium unabhängig von den kanonischen Evangelien geschrieben wurde und daher ein nützlicher Leitfaden für die historische Jesusforschung ist. Gelehrte können eines von mehreren kritischen Werkzeugen in der Bibelwissenschaft, das Kriterium der mehrfachen Beglaubigung, verwenden, um Argumente für die historische Zuverlässigkeit der Worte Jesu zu erarbeiten. Durch das Auffinden dieser Aussprüche im Thomasevangelium, die sich mit den Evangelien der Hebräer, Q, Markus, Matthäus, Lukas, Johannes und Paulus überschneiden, sind Gelehrte der Ansicht, dass solche Aussprüche „mehrere Zeugnisse“ darstellen und daher eher aus einem historischen stammen Jesus als Worte, die nur einzeln bezeugt sind.

Vergleich der großen Evangelien

Das Material in der Vergleichstabelle stammt aus „Gospel Parallels“ von B. H. Throckmorton, „The Five Gospels“ von R. W. Funk, „The Gospel Appointment to the Hebrews“ von E. B. Nicholson und „The Hebrew Gospel and the Development of the Synoptic Tradition“ von J. R. Edwards.

Siehe auch [Bearbeiten]

Notes [edit]


a b Bock 2006, S. 61, 63: „Die meisten datieren das Evangelium auf das zweite Jahrhundert und verorten seinen Ursprung in Syrien … Die meisten Gelehrten betrachten das Buch als ein Werk des frühen zweiten Jahrhunderts.“(61); „Für die meisten Gelehrten spiegelt der Großteil davon jedoch ein späteres Werk des zweiten Jahrhunderts wider.“(63) ^ Van Voorst 2000, p. 189: “Die meisten Dolmetscher verorten seine Schrift im zweiten Jahrhundert, da sie verstehen, dass viele seiner mündlichen Überlieferungen viel älter sind.” ^ Das Thomasevangelium wird als ein Text aus dem frühen zweiten Jahrhundert angesehen.“ Bock 2009, S. 148–149: „…für die meisten Gelehrten wird es als ein Text aus dem frühen zweiten Jahrhundert angesehen.“ ^ Jerome. Commentary on Ephesians. The Der Herr sagt zu seinen Jüngern: ‚Und freut euch nie, es sei denn, ihr seht einander in Liebe.’ ^ Hieronymus Gegen Pelagius 3.2 Im Evangelium der Hebräer, geschrieben in chaldäischer und syrischer Sprache, aber in hebräischer Schrift, und bis heute von den Nazarenern verwendet (ich meine das Evangelium der Apostel oder, wie es allgemein behauptet wird , das Matthäusevangelium, von dem sich eine Kopie in der Bibliothek von Cäsarea befindet), finden wir: „Siehe, die Mutter des Herrn und seine Brüder sprachen zu ihm: ‚Johannes der Täufer tauft zur Vergebung der Sünden. Lasst uns gehen und uns von ihm taufen lassen.’ Aber Jesus sagte zu ihnen: „Was habe ich gesündigt, dass ich hingehen und mich von ihm taufen lassen sollte? Es sei denn, das, was ich gerade gesagt habe, ist eine Sünde aus Unwissenheit.’“ Und im selben Band: „‚Wenn dein Bruder mit Worten gegen dich sündigt und es wiedergutmacht, vergib ihm siebenmal am Tag.’ Simon, His disciple, said to Him, ‘Seven times in a day!’ The Lord answered and said to him, ‘I say to you, Seventy times seven.'” ^ Jerome. Commentary on Matthew 1 . In the so-called Gospel of the Hebrews, for ‘bread essential to existence,’ I found ‘mahar’, which means ‘of tomorrow’; so the sense is: our bread for tomorrow, that is, of the future, give us this day. ^ Jerome. On Psalm 135 . In Matthew’s Hebrew Gospel it states, ‘Give us this day our bread for tomorrow.’ ^ Gospel of Thomas, Logion 54 . Jesus said ‘Blessed are the poor, for to you belongs the Kingdom of Heaven’ ^ Origen. Commentary to Matthew 15:14 . The second rich youth said to him, ‘Rabbi, what good thing can I do and live?’ Jesus replied, ‘Fulfill the law and the prophets.’ ‘I have,’ was the response. Jesus said, ‘Go, sell all that you have and distribute to the poor; and come, follow me.’ The youth became uncomfortable, for it did not please him. And the Lord said, ‘How can you say, I have fulfilled the Law and the Prophets, when it is written in the Law: You shall love your neighbor as yourself and many of your brothers, sons of Abraham, are covered with filth, dying of hunger, and your house is full of many good things, none of which goes out to them?’ And he turned and said to Simon, his disciple, who was sitting by Him, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.’ ^ Gospel of Thomas, Logion 46 . Jesus said, ‘From Adam to John the Baptist, among those born to women, no one is greater than John the Baptist that his eyes should not be averted. But I have said that whoever among you becomes a child will recognize the (Father’s) kingdom and will become greater than John.’ ^ Epiphanius. Panarion 30:13 . There was a certain man named Jesus, about thirty years old, who chose us. Coming to Capernaum, He entered the house of Simon, who is called Peter, and said, ‘As I passed by the Sea of Galilee, I chose John and James, sons of Zebedee, and Simon, and Andrew, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot, Judas Iscariot; and you Matthew, sitting at the tax office, I called and you followed me. You therefore, I want to be the Twelve, to symbolize Israel.’ ^ Epiphanius. Panarion 30:3 . They too accept Matthew’s gospel, and like the followers of Cerinthus and Merinthus, they use it alone. They call it the Gospel of the Hebrews, for in truth Matthew alone in the New Testament expounded and declared the Gospel in Hebrew using Hebrew script ^ Epiphanius. Panarion 30:13 . After the people were baptized, Jesus also came and was baptized by John. As Jesus came up from the water, Heaven was opened, and He saw the Holy Spirit descend in the form of a dove and enter into him. And a voice from Heaven said, ‘You are my beloved Son; with You I am well pleased.’ And again, ‘Today I have begotten you.’ Immediately a great light shone around the place; and John, seeing it, said to him, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And again a voice from Heaven said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.’ Then John, falling down before Him, said, ‘I beseech You, Lord, baptize me!’ But Jesus forbade him saying, ‘Let it be so as it is fitting that all things be fulfilled.’ ^ Gospel of Thomas, Logion 107 . Jesus said, ‘The (Father’s) kingdom is like a shepherd who had a hundred sheep. One of them, the largest, went astray. He left the ninety-nine and looked for the one until he found it. After he had toiled, he said to the sheep, “I love you more than the ninety-nine.”‘


References [ edit ]

Further Reading[edit]

The Story Of The Storytellers – The Gospel Of Thomas

The Gospel of Thomas

It does not tell the story of Jesus’ life and death, but offers the reader his “secret teachings” about the kingdom of God.

Elaine H Pagels:

Professor of Religion from the Harrington Spear Paine Foundation at Princeton University

This book begins with the lines: “These are the secret words which the living Jesus spoke, and the twin, Didymos Judas Thomas, wrote them down.” Then follows a list of the sayings of Jesus. Now that raises all sorts of questions. Did Jesus have a twin brother? Actually the name Thomas Didymos – well, Thomas is Hebrew for twin. Didymos is Greek for twin… The implication here is that he is the twin of Jesus. But of course this figure also appears in the Gospel of John, he is one of the disciples, the twin. Here he appears as if he were the twin of Jesus, and he is one who knows secret teachings that Jesus did not give to all other people. Some of these sayings are well known. We know them from Matthew and Luke – Jesus said, “I came to cast fire on the earth.” Or “Behold, a sower went out to sow” and so on… Others are as strange and persuasive as Zen- koans. My favorite among these is number 70, which says, “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you don’t bring forth what is in you, what you don’t bring forth will destroy you.” The Gospel begins when Jesus invites the people to see….

The Gospel of Thomas also suggests that Jesus is aware, and criticizes the views of the kingdom of God as a time or place that appear in the other gospels. Here Jesus says, “If those who are leading you say to you, ‘Behold, the kingdom is in heaven,’ then the birds will get there first. If they say ‘it’s in the ocean’ then the fish will get there first. But the kingdom of God is within you and outside of you. Once you get to know yourself, you will become known. And you will know that it is you, the children of the living Father.”

In this gospel, and it is also the case in Luke, the kingdom of God is not an event that will catastrophically shake the world as we know it and usher in a new millennium. Here, as in Luke 17:20, the kingdom of God is referred to as an inward state; “It’s in you,” says Luke. And here it says, “It’s within you, but it’s also outside of you.” It’s like a state of consciousness. It’s hard to describe. But the kingdom of God here is something you can enter into when you attain gnosis, which means knowledge. But it does not mean intellectual knowledge. The Greeks had two words for knowledge. One is intellectual knowledge, like knowledge of physics or something. But this Gnosis is personal, like “I know this person, or do you know so-and-so”. So this gnosis is self-knowledge; you could call it insight. It’s about knowing who you really are, not at the ordinary level of your name and social class or position. But know yourself on a deep level. The secret of Gnosis is that when you know yourself on this level, you will also know God because you will discover that the divine is within you.


The Jesus of the Gospel of Thomas appears somewhat different from the Jesus whom we encounter in the others. Because, for example, the Gospel of Mark portrays Jesus as an absolutely unique being. This is the good news of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God. The Gospel of John says that Jesus is not a human being at all, but a divine presence descending to heaven in human form… The Gospel of John says, “God sent his Son into the world to save the world.” If If you believe in him you are saved, if you don’t believe in him you are already damned because you didn’t believe in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Now, [in the Gospel of Thomas] this Jesus comes to reveal that you and he are twins, if you will… And what you discover when you read the Gospel of Thomas, what you’re supposed to discover is that you and Jesus are on are identical twins at a deep level. And that you will discover that you are just as much a child of God as he is. And so, at the end of the gospel, Jesus speaks to Thomas and says, “Whoever drinks from my mouth becomes like me, and I will become that man, and to him the mysteries will be revealed.” Here Jesus does not take on the role of authority and teacher. In the Gospel of Thomas, the disciples say to Jesus, “Tell us, what do you want us to do? How should we pray? what shall we eat How should we fast?” Now if you look at Matthew and Luke, Jesus answers the questions. He says: “When you pray, say: ‘Our Father who art in heaven, be sanctified…’ When you fast, wash your face, don’t make a show of it. When you give alms, do it privately and without being conspicuous.” In this gospel, this Jesus doesn’t answer. He says, “Don’t lie or do what you hate, for all is known before heaven.” Well, that answer throws You and I on ourselves… Here Jesus is actually turning us to ourselves and that’s really one of the themes of Thomas’ gospel that you have to go on some kind of spiritual quest to discover who you are and to really discover that you are the child of God just like Jesus.

Helmut Koester:

John H. Morison Professor of New Testament Studies and Winn Professor of Church History Harvard Divinity School


One of these documents [found at Nag Hammadi] begins with the scribe’s note in the margin: “The Gospel According to Thomas.” And the first sentence of that document reads: “These are the secret words which the living Jesus taught and which Judas Thomas Didymos wrote down.” And then they start with a total of over 110 sayings, each of which begins with “Jesus said…”. Some of these sayings have parallels in the gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke. Some of them don’t. Some of these sayings may date back to a very early period in Christianity, some of them may have been added later. The document itself dates to the fourth century…. As with all evangelical texts, this one we must remember in particular that these texts were fluid, that scribes could add, that scribes could omit things, that scribes could add comment or add an interpretation. So we cannot reconstruct with certainty what the Gospel of Thomas looked like around the year 100 or earlier. But it is very likely that it existed at the time, and that much of the material now in this manuscript was already contained in a first-century Greek manuscript. Which is of course very exciting, because here we have a collection of Jesus sayings, additional Jesus sayings that were not known before, and the whole beginning of a new field of study has opened up….

The typical thing about these sayings is that these sayings want to say that you have to know yourself if you want to understand what Jesus said. You have to know yourself, know who you are. It begins with a saying about the kingdom of God: “If you seek the kingdom of God in heaven, the birds will go before you. And if you seek it in the sea, the fish will precede you, but the kingdom is there you. And if you know yourself, then you know the kingdom of God.” (The kingdom of the Father is actually always mentioned in the Gospel of Thomas. Usually the kingdom of the Father, not the kingdom of God.) “But if you don’t know yourself, you live in poverty.” And poverty is understood as the ignorance of a life in its physical existence. Knowledge is understood as knowledge of one’s own divine origin, of the fact that one came from the realm. That we are only on this earth for one stay….

What does it really mean to know yourself? Knowing yourself means having insight into your ultimate divine identity. To understand this, you can resort to Greek models, which certainly exist. “Know thyself” is a very ancient Greek maxim…that is, you must know that your own soul is divine, and then you know that you are immortal, while the body is the mortal part of human existence. This is now radicalized in the Gospel of Thomas to the effect that everything that is experienced physically and sensually, everything in this world that can be perceived in this way is nothing. It’s chaos at best and doesn’t even exist in reality at worst. The only thing that really exists is your divine spirit or soul, which is identical in quality to God Himself. And Jesus is the one who teaches this….

[When you really know yourself] you understand that you are divine, but you also understand that you are mortal. In this way you realize that since physical existence is meaningless, that mortality is really meaningless. And so death is no longer a problem, but death is a solution, for in death all that mortality will finally fall away and the true self will be freed into an independent existence no longer dependent on physical existence. And all that has to do with physical existence, sickness and poverty and so on. And so physical existence is often referred to as poverty. But when you know yourself, you are no longer in poverty.

Read the Gospel of Thomas.

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