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The Gospel Of Thomas


seraph
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I'm curious if many people out there have read the Gospel of Thomas and if so, what there opinions are. Personally, I think it's rather progressive in nature and has many incredible insights. The fact the it is 100% a collection of quotations from Jesus, makes it more the Gospel of Jesus ... and an amazing tool. What are other people's opinions of this script?

Edited by seraph
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seraph:

 

The Westar Institute certainly thinks a lot of it, including it in "The Five Gospels"(Macmillan, 1993), and Elaine Pagels makes the case for it in "Beyond Belief" published recently. I do too!

 

Jeep

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It's been a while since I've purused it, but I recall sensing why that document wasn't allowed into the official Christian canon. Some of the issues which I perceived as problematic include:

 

* Descriptions of a rather Dennis the Menace-like childhood of Jesus in which he capriciously fooled around with miraculous powers; i.e. creating birds, killing them, and bringing them back to life - even doing this to a fellow child!

 

* Teachings and implications that undermine Christian nonviolence.

 

* And teachings and implications that convey gnosticism.

 

That said, I feel that every Christian ought to know about and have read Thomas as I'm sure that there are many authentic teachings and Godly insights to be gleaned.

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What's confusing here is that there are two Gospels of Thomas. One contains sayings of Jesus, while the other is narrative and contains accounts of the Jesus' childhood. The latter is usually called "The Infancy Gospel of Thomas" and this is the to which BrotherRog was referring in his first comment. Does anyone know if scholars think the same author wrote both; or are they by different authors?

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Brother Rog:

 

Please clarify your remarks about "The Gospel of Thomas" in view of Ross and my postings. Were you referring to "The Infancy Gospel of Thomas"? I have never read this item, which from your remarks, if from it, would not encourage me to do so. I have much more confidence in the case for using "The Gospel of Thomas" in lieu of the "Gospel of John", although I actually prefer using more contemporary material such as "The Course in Miracles" in exploring the present experience of God in my life in this millenium.

 

In God I Trust,

 

Jeep

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I've only read the main 'Gospel of Thomas'. From what I've read of it and about it, it seems to take us closer to the real historical Jesus than the Gospels which were probably written by Christian theologians about sixty years after Jesus' death, and present the view of Jesus they wanted the world to see.

 

It also gives a good glimpse of how the sayings (attributed, edited or genuine) were preserved over the years before they ended up inthe Gospel narratives. it explains why the Gospel naratives tell us nothing about Jesus' private life, his appearance or personality: because all they had was the legend, and the collections of sayings. I think it's very significant that S. Paul never quotes Jesus' words. In afct his knowledge of jesus' life seems very sketchy. To him HJesus is alredy and apocalyptic legend.

 

I find 'Bible-believing' Christians, who think that the Gospels were written by the Apostles, are very uneasy about the Gospel of Thomas, and the other Nag Hammadi texts (they're all on an excellent 'Nag Hammadi' web site, by the way) and don't like to discuss them.

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Another facinating account comes in The Gospel of Philip.

 

There were three who always walked with the Lord: Mary, his mother, and her sister, and Magdalene, the one who was called his companion. His sister and his mother and his companion were each a Mary.

 

And the companion of the [...] Mary Magdalene. [...] loved her more than all the disciples, and used to kiss her often on her mouth. The rest of the disciples [...]. They said to him "Why do you love her more than all of us?" The Savior answered and said to them,"Why do I not love you like her? When a blind man and one who sees are both together in darkness, they are no different from one another. When the light comes, then he who sees will see the light, and he who is blind will remain in darkness."
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  • 3 weeks later...

The Gospel of Thomas is a 'Sayings Gospel" made up of short pithy statements with almost no link between them other than the person saying them. Some of its is Gnosticism (IMO) while in other portions the voice of the Spirit can be heard.

 

The Infancy Gospel is a different kettle o' theological piscines! Once again, IMO, the Infancy Gospel is almost entirely gnostic.

 

Kiwimac

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