The Gospel of Thomas 1/3 (Christian Gnostic)





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Published on May 20, 2010

NOTE: I have combined the Greek text with the Coptic wherever there was any difference in meaning. Also, since the recurring phrase, "Jesus said," is something of a distraction, and also almost completely unnecessary, I have removed most of them to form a more cohesive narrative. By taking them out, I hope that the reader will come to better appreciate the unity behind the text, which these phrases slightly obscure. The text is generally better off without them, since most of the logions relate to one another anyway.

The Gospel According to Thomas, commonly shortened to the Gospel of Thomas, is a well preserved early Christian, non-canonical sayings-gospel discovered near Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in December 1945, in one of a group of books known as the Nag Hammadi library
The Coptic language text, the second of seven contained in what modern-day scholars have designated as Codex II, is composed of 114 sayings attributed to Jesus. Almost half of these sayings more or less resemble those found in the Canonical Gospels, while the other sayings were previously unknown. Its place of origin may have been Syria, where Thomasine traditions were strong.
The introduction states: These are the hidden words that the living Jesus spoke and Didymos Judas Thomas wrote them down. Didymus (Greek) and Thomas (Aramaic) both mean "twin". Scholars suspect this reference to the Apostle Thomas to be false and the true writer remains unknown. The document probably originated within a school of early Christians, possibly proto-Gnostics. Even the description of Thomas as a "gnostic" gospel is based upon little other than the fact that it was found along with gnostic texts at Nag Hammadi. The name of Thomas was also attached to the Book of Thomas the Contender, which was also in Nag Hammadi Codex II, and the Acts of Thomas.
The Gospel of Thomas is very different in tone and structure from other New Testament apocrypha and the four Canonical Gospels. Unlike the canonical Gospels, it is not a narrative account of the life of Jesus; instead, it consists of logia (sayings) attributed to Jesus, sometimes stand-alone, sometimes embedded in short dialogues or parables. The text contains a possible allusion to the death of Jesus in logion 65. (Parable of the Wicked Tenants, paralleled in the Synoptic Gospels), but doesn't mention crucifixion, resurrection, or final judgement; nor does it mention a messianic understanding of Jesus. The Early Church believed it to be a false gospel. Eusebius, for example, included it among a group of books that he believed to be not only spurious, but "the fictions of heretics" that should be thrown out as absurd and impious.

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