What is the gospel of Thomas?

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The Gospel according to Thomas is an apocryphal gospel or one of “extracanonical books” (ancient writings that didn’t make it to the Bible). It was discovered near Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in December 1945 among a group of books known as the Nag Hammadi library. This manuscript of the Coptic text is dated at around 340 AD though the original composition was before that time, sometime around 140 – 180 A.D. The gospel of Thomas was first published in a photographic edition in 1956.

This text is composed of 114 sayings attributed to Jesus but don’t refer to any narrated action. About half of these sayings are similar to those found in the Canonical Gospels while the rest have gnostic tones. Also, many scholars consider the Gospel of Thomas to be a gnostic text because it was found in a library among others, which contain Gnostic themes. Most scholars do not consider the Apostle Thomas the author of this document. its author remains unknown.

The gospel of Thomas doesn’t speak about the divinity of Jesus, his crucifixion, his resurrection, or the final judgment. Therefore, the majority of New Testament scholars are in agreement that the Gospel of Thomas fails to present a proper picture of the real, historical Jesus of Nazareth. Like the gospel of Mary, Philip, and Judas, this text is considered a forgery because of its heretical nature.

The gospel of Thomas is viewed as a strange book with obscure sayings. For example, in the Gospel of Thomas saying 114, “Simon Peter said to them, ‘Let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of life.’ Jesus said, ‘I myself shall lead her in order to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every woman who will make herself male will enter the kingdom of heaven.’” This contradicts the teaching of Jesus on the value of women (Matthew 19:5) and the fact that Paul taught that we are all one in Christ (Galatians 3:28).

Because the gospel of Thomas contains many teachings that are contrary to the Scriptures and its lack of spiritual and moral values, Christian scholars have concluded that the gospel of Thomas does not meet the standard of a work that is divinely inspired (Isaiah 8:20).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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