Gospel of Thomas. (Translated by Thomas O. Lambdin). These are the secret sayings which the living Jesus spoke and which Didymos Judas. Thomas wrote. PDF version of the Gospel of Thomas. It contains direct citations of Jesus Christ in verses. Download English translations as free pdf ebooks here. from the Scholars Version translation published in The Complete Gospels . 7When Thomas came back to his friends, they asked him, "What did Jesus.
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Prologue) These are the mysterious sayings which Jesus, the Living One, spoke, and which Didymos (The Twin). Judas, who is called Thomas. The Gospel of Thomas is a non-canonical sayings gospel. It was discovered near Nag Print/export. Create a book · Download as PDF · Printable version. Introduction to the Gospel of Thomas ix. The Open Secrets. 1. Finding Immortality. 4. Seeking Is More Than Just Finding. 6. Seeking the Kingdom Realistically.
Also unlike the quoted material, the context is about routing the enemy, not about identifying the very few, such as the apostles.
And they will stand as a single one. Before concluding that Origen has used the Gospel of Thomas here, however, it is necessary to exclude another plausible source for the saying: the Gospel of Basilides. First, the context of Origen and the Gospel of Thomas of the saying are both about identifying the elect, while the context of Basilides is about the revelation of mysteries. A previously unrecognized use of the Gospel of Thomas by Origen occurs in a catena fragment to John Brooke, ed.
The first six books, totaling some pages, covered just John Although Origen began to pick up the pace, covering more ground with fewer words, the last book he apparently wrote, Book 32, only managed to get to John Unfortunately, of Origen that we can never be certain that we have his thoughts, much less his words, in a fragment from the catenae.
Jerome only knows of thirty-two books. Fragment , on John , actually belongs to Theodore of Mopsuestia. Nevertheless, an objection that Origen would not have covered the subject matter of fragment in his commentary cannot be sustained.
But he did not alter the names of the rest, since they were able to show their own character on their own. So, as to the rest of the apostles nothing more will be said, but this will be said as to Thomas: it is interpreted twin didymus , since he was a twin in respect to the word, copying down the divine things in a twofold way and being an imitator of Christ, by speaking in parables to those on the outside Mark but privately explaining everything to his own disciples Mark And both of them present a figure of Thomas who was presenting obscure sayings or parables that are to be interpreted privately.
What makes this case different than the others—and perhaps the reason it had not yet been recognized—is that the use did not occur in the sayings material of the Gospel of Thomas but in its very brief narrative prologue.
Indeed, the Gospel of Thomas contains material that Origen would have objected to. For example, Thomas 52 denigrates the testimony of the Old Testament for Jesus, a position that Origen disagreed with in his Commentary on John 2. As another 58 Plisch, Thomas, 37 18 example, Origen would have found offensive the saying in Thomas that Jesus would be called the son of a harlot compare with Contra Celsum 1. When a saying similar to Thomas 74 was used polemically by Celsus, Origen marginalized it as sectarian.
Nevertheless, Origen used the Gospel of Thomas as a source for authentic sayings of Jesus Thomas 82 and In one case, he even used it for details about the disciple Thomas. As Jesus and his disciples had traditionally gathered every year to act out the Exodus story at Passover, so his followers, after his death, gathered at Easter to act out the crucial moments of Jesus' story.
As Mark tells the story of Jesus, then, he simultaneously offers the script, so to speak, for the drama that his followers are to live out. For just as Mark opens his gospel by telling of Jesus' baptism, so, as we have seen, every newcomer's experience would begin as each is baptized, plunged into water to be "born again" into God's family.
And as Mark's account concludes with what happened on "the night Jesus was betrayed," so those who were baptized would gather every week to act out, in their sacred meal, what he said and did that night. This correspondence helps account, no doubt, for the fact that Mark's gospel—the simplest version of the story later amplified by Matthew and Luke—became the basis for the New Testament gospel canon. Just as Exodus serves as the story line for the Passover ritual, so the story Mark tells came to serve as the story line for the Christian rituals of baptism and the sacred meal.
The drama being played out there "spoke to my condition," as it has to that of millions of people throughout the ages, because it simultaneously acknowledges the reality of fear, grief, and death while— paradoxically—nurturing hope.
Four years later, when our son, then six years old, suddenly died, the Church of the Heavenly Rest offered some shelter, along with words and music, when family and friends gathered to bridge an abyss that had seemed impassable. Such gatherings can also communicate joy—celebrating birth, marriage, or simply, as Paul said, "communion";69 such worship refracts a spectrum of meaning as varied as the experience of those who participate.
Those repenting acts of violence they have done, for example, might find hope for release and forgiveness, while those who have suffered harm might take comfort in the conviction that their sufferings are known to—even shared by—God. Perhaps most often believers experience the shared meal as "communion" with one another and with God; thus when Paul speaks of the "body of Christ," he often means the collective "body" of believers—the union of all who, he says, were "baptized into one body, Jews or Greeks, slaves and free, and all were made to drink from one spirit.
Some, of course, have no difficulty doing so. Many others, myself included, have had to reflect on what the creeds mean, as well as on what we believe what does it mean to say that Jesus is the "only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father," or that "we believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church"? Anyone with an ear for poetry can hear this creed as a sonorous tone poem in praise of God and Jesus.
Certainly, as a historian, I can recognize how these creeds came to be part of tradition, and can appreciate how Constantine, the first Christian emperor, became convinced that making—and enforcing—such creeds helped to unify and standardize rival groups and leaders during the turmoil of the fourth century. Yet how do such demands for belief look today, in light of what we now know about the origins of the Christian movement?
As we have seen, for nearly three hundred years before these creeds were written, diverse Christian groups had welcomed newcomers in various ways. Groups represented by the Didache required those who would join them to embrace the "way of life" taught by Moses and by Jesus, "God's child. Furthermore, the astonishing discovery of the gnostic gospels—a cache of ancient secret gospels and other revelations attributed to Jesus and his disciples—has revealed a much wider range of Christian groups than we had ever known before.
At the same time, I was also exploring in my academic work the history of Christianity in the light of the Nag Hammadi discoveries, and this research helped clarify what I cannot love: the tendency to identify Christianity with a single, authorized set of beliefs—however these actually vary from church to church—coupled with the conviction that Christian belief alone offers access to God.
Now that scholars have begun to place the sources discovered at Nag Hammadi, like newly discovered pieces of a complex puzzle, next to what we have long known from tradition, we find that these remarkable texts, only now becoming widely known, are transforming what we know as Christianity. Let us start by taking a fresh look at the most familiar of all Christian sources the gospels of the New Testament—in the perspective offered by one of the other Christian gospels composed in the first century and discovered at Nag Hammadi, the Gospel of Thomas.
As we shall soon see, those who later enshrined the Gospel of John within the New Testament and denounced Thomas's gospel as "heresy" decisively shaped—and inevitably limited—what would become Western Christianity. When I was fourteen, and had joined an evangelical Christian church, I found in the enthusiastic and committed gatherings and in John's gospel, which my fellow Christians treasured, what I then craved—the assurance of belonging to the right group, the true "flock" that alone belonged to God.
Like many people, I regarded John as the most spiritual of the four gospels, for in John, Jesus is not only a man but a mysterious, superhuman presence, and he tells his disciples to "love one another. Nor did I reflect on those scenes in which John says that Jesus spoke of his own people "the Jews" as if they were alien to him and the devil's offspring.
Then, after a close friend was killed in an automobile accident at the age of sixteen, my fellow evangelicals commiserated but declared that, since he was Jewish and not "born again," he was eternally damned.
Distressed and disagreeing with their interpretation—and finding no room for discussion—I realized that I was no longer at home in their world and left that church. When I entered college, I decided to learn Greek in order to read the New Testament in its original language, hoping to discover the source of its power.
Reading these terse, stark stories in Greek, I experienced the gospels in a new way, often turning the page to see what happened next, as if I had never read them before. Reading Greek also introduced me firsthand to the poems of Homer, the plays of Sophocles and Aeschylus, Pindar's hymns, and Sappho's invocations; and I began to see that many of these "pagan" writings are also religious literature, but of a different religious sensibility. I loved dance but still wondered what it was about Christianity that I had found so compelling and at the same time so frustrating.
I decided to look for the "real Christianity"— believing, as Christians traditionally have, that I might find it by immersing myself in the earliest Christian sources, composed soon after Jesus and his disciples had wandered in Galilee. When I entered the Harvard doctoral program, I was astonished to hear from the other students that Professors Helmut Koester and George MacRae, who taught the early history of Christianity, had file cabinets filled with "gospels" and "apocrypha" written during the first centuries, many of them secret writings of which I'd never heard.
These writings, containing sayings, rituals, and dialogues attributed to Jesus and his disciples, were found in among a cache of texts from the beginning of the Christian era, unearthed near Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt. So we asked who wrote these alternative gospels, and when.
And how do these relate to—and differ from—the gospels and other writings familiar from the New Testament? These discoveries challenged us not only intellectually but— in my case at least—spiritually.
I had come to respect the work of "church fathers" such as Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons c. Instead I was surprised to find in some of them unexpected spiritual power—in sayings such as this from the Gospel of Thomas, translated by Professor MacRae: "Jesus said: 'If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you.
If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you. Now, about twenty years later, many scholars say that these texts may not be "gnostic"—since many of us are asking what that perplexing term means. Insofar as gnostic refers to one who "knows," that is, who seeks experiential insight, it may characterize many of these sources accurately enough; but more often the "church fathers" used the term derisively to refer to those they dismissed as people claiming to "know it all.
Who made those decisions, and under what conditions? As my colleagues and I looked for answers, I began to understand the political concerns that shaped the early Christian movement. Thanks to research undertaken since that time and shared by many scholars throughout the world, what that book attempted to offer as a kind of rough, charcoal sketch of the history of Christianity now can be seen as if under an electron microscope—yielding considerably more clarity, detail, and accuracy.
What I focus on in this book is how certain Christian leaders from the second century through the fourth came to reject many other sources of revelation and construct instead the New Testament gospel canon of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John along with the "canon of truth," which became the nucleus of the later creeds that have defined Christianity to this day. As I worked with many other scholars to edit and annotate these Nag Hammadi texts, we found that this research gradually clarified—and complicated—our understanding of the origins of Christianity.
For instead of discovering the purer, simpler "early Christianity" that many of us had been looking for, we found ourselves in the midst of a more diverse and complicated world than any of us could have imagined. For example, many scholars are now convinced that the New Testament Gospel of John, probably written at the end of the first century, emerged from an intense debate over who Jesus was—or is.
This research has helped clarify not only what John's gospel is for but what it is against. John says explicitly that he writes "so that you may believe, and believing, may have life in [Jesus'] name. Thomas's gospel encourages the hearer not so much to believe in Jesus, as John requires, as to seek to know God through one's own, divinely given capacity, since all are created in the image of God. For Christians in later generations, the Gospel of John helped provide a foundation for a unified church, which Thomas, with its emphasis on each person's search for God, did not.
I have also learned after years of study that, although John's gospel is written with great simplicity and power, its meaning is by no means obvious. Even its first generation of readers c. Its detractors, by contrast, were quick to point out that John's narrative differs significantly from those of Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
As I compared John with these other gospels, I saw that at certain points this is true, and that some of these differences are much more than variations on a theme.
At crucial moments in its account, for example, John's gospel directly contradicts the combined testimony of the other New Testament gospels. We have seen already that John differs in its version of Jesus' final days; moreover, while Mark, Matthew, and Luke agree that disrupting merchants doing business in the Temple was Jesus' last public act, John makes it his first act. The three other gospels all say that what finally drove the chief priest and his allies to arrest Jesus was this attack on the money changers, when Jesus in Jerusalem entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling and those who were downloading in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those who sold doves, and he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple.
But John places this climactic act at the beginning of his story, to suggest that Jesus' whole mission was to purify and transform the worship of God. John also increases the violence of the scene by adding that Jesus "knotted a whip out of small cords" and "drove them all out of the Temple.
To account for Jesus' arrest, John inserts at the end of his narrative a startling story that occurs in none of the other gospels: how Jesus raised his friend Lazarus from the dead, which so alarmed the Jewish authorities that they determined to kill Jesus, and, he adds, the chief priests even "planned to put Lazarus to death as well.
As John tells it, the chief priests had Jesus arrested not because they regarded him as a troublemaker who caused a disturbance in the Temple but because they secretly recognized and feared his power—power that could even raise the dead. John pictures Caiaphas, the high priest, arguing before the Jewish council that "if we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy our holy place and our nation.
John's gospel differs from Matthew, Mark, and Luke in a second—and far more significant— way, for John suggests that Jesus is not merely God's human servant but God himself revealed in human form. John says that "the Jews" sought to kill Jesus, accusing him of "making yourself God.
Don't Matthew and Mark, for example, call Jesus "son of God," and doesn't this mean that Jesus is virtually—almost genetically—the same as God? Like most people who grow up familiar with Christian tradition, I assumed that all the gospels say the same thing or, at most, offer variations on a single theme. Because Matthew, Mark, and Luke share a similar perspective, scholars call these gospels synoptic literally, "seeing together".
Only in graduate school, when I investigated each gospel, so far as possible, in its historical context, did I see how radical is John's claim that Jesus is God manifest in human form. Although Mark and the other evangelists use titles that Christians today often take as indicating Jesus' divinity, such as "son of God" and "messiah," in Mark's own time these titles designated human roles. But Mark's contemporaries would most likely have seen Jesus as a man— although one gifted, as Mark says, with the power of the holy spirit, and divinely appointed to rule in the coming kingdom of God.
Yet as we shall see, after the gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke were joined with John's gospel and Paul's letters to become the "New Testament"—a process that took place over some two hundred years c. For if Matthew, Mark, and Luke had been joined with the Gospel of Thomas instead of with John, for example, or had both John and Thomas been included in the New Testament canon, Christians probably would have read the first three gospels quite differently.
The gospels of Thomas and John speak for different groups of Jesus' followers engaged in discussion, even argument, toward the end of the first century. What they debated is this: Who is Jesus, and what is the "good news" in Greek euangellion, "gospel" about him? The Gospel of Thomas contains teaching venerated by "Thomas Christians," apparently an early group that, like those devoted to Luke, Matthew, and John, thrived during the first century.
What astonished scholars when they first read Thomas, in the s, was that, although it contains many sayings of Jesus that Luke and Matthew also include in their gospels, it contains other sayings that apparently derive from a tradition different from that of the synoptic gospels.
The Acts of Thomas c. Although Mark, Matthew, and Luke mention him among "the twelve" apostles, Thomas is not a proper name but means "twin" in Aramaic, the language that Jesus would have spoken. As Professor Helmut Koester shows, although this disciple was called by his Aramaic nickname, the gospel itself explains that his given name was Judas but, his admirers specify, "not Iscariot".
Since this disciple was known by the name of Thomas, both the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of John also translate Thomas into Greek, explaining to their Greek readers that this disciple is "the one called 'Didymus,'" the Greek term for "twin.
Many of the teachings in the Gospel of John that differ from those in Matthew and Luke sound much like sayings in the Gospel of Thomas: in fact, what first impressed scholars who compared these two gospels is how similar they are. Both John and Thomas, for example, apparently assume that the reader already knows the basic story Mark and the others tell, and each claims to go beyond that story and reveal what Jesus taught his disciples in private.
When, for example, John tells what happened on the night that Judas betrayed Jesus, he inserts into his account nearly five chapters of teaching unique to his gospel—the so-called farewell discourses of John 13 through 18, which consist of intimate dialogue between the disciples and Jesus, as well as a great deal of monologue.
Similarly, the Gospel of Thomas, as we noted, claims to offer "secret sayings, which the living Jesus spoke," and adds that "Didymus Judas Thomas wrote them down. Unlike Matthew, Mark, and Luke, who say that Jesus warned of the coming "end of time," both John and Thomas say that he directed his disciples instead toward the beginning of time—to the creation account of Genesis 1—and identify Jesus with the divine light that came into being "in the beginning. Yet, despite these similarities, the authors of John and Thomas take Jesus' private teaching in sharply different directions.
For John, identifying Jesus with the light that came into being "in the beginning" is what makes him unique—God's "only begotten son. John says that we can experience God only through the divine light embodied in Jesus. But certain passages in Thomas's gospel draw a quite different conclusion: that the divine light Jesus embodied is shared by humanity, since we are all made "in the image of God.
What might have been complementary interpretations of God's presence on earth became, instead, rival ones; for by claiming that Jesus alone embodies the divine light, John challenges Thomas's claim that this light may be present in everyone. John's views, of course, prevailed, and have shaped Christian thought ever since. For after John's teaching was collected along with three other gospels into the New Testament, his view of Jesus came to dominate and even to define what we mean by Christian teaching.
Some Christians who championed the "fourfold gospel"51— Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—of the New Testament denounced the kind of teaching found in the Gospel of Thomas along with many other writings that they called "secret and illegitimate" 32 and called upon believers to cast out such teaching as heresy.
How this happened, and what it means for the history of Christian tradition, is what this work will explore.
To appreciate the tremendous leap that John—and Thomas-took, let us recall how the gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke characterize Jesus. The earliest of these gospels, Mark, written about forty years after Jesus' death c. Mark tells how Jesus' disciples discussed—and discovered—the secret of his identity: And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that I am?
When Jesus explains that he must suffer and die, Peter protests in shock, since he expects God's "anointed one" not to die but to be crowned and enthroned in Jerusalem. At the desolate scene of the crucifixion, Mark tells how Jesus cried out that God had abandoned him, uttered a final, inarticulate cry, and died; yet a Roman centurion who watched him die declared, "Truly, this man was a son of God.
During Israel's ancient coronation ceremonies, the future king was anointed with oil to show God's favor while a chorus singing one of the ceremonial psalms proclaimed that when the king is crowned he becomes God's representative, his human "son. Since Mark writes in Greek, he translates the Hebrew term messiah as christos "anointed one" in Greek , which later becomes, in English, "Jesus [the] christ. Often in the Hebrew Bible, "son of man" means nothing more than "human being" in Hebrew, ben adam means "son of Adam".
The prophet Ezekiel, for example, says that the Lord repeatedly addressed him as "son of man," often translated "mortal";37 thus when Mark's Jesus calls himself "son of man," he too may simply mean "human being. And to him was given dominion and glory, and kingdom, so that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him. Matthew and Luke follow Mark in describing Jesus both as a future king "messiah," "son of God" and as a mortal invested with divine power "son of man".
None of these titles, however, explains precisely who Jesus is. Instead, the gospel writers invoke a cluster of traditional terms to express their radical conviction that Jesus of Nazareth was a man raised to unique—even supernatural—status.
Luke suggests, however, that it was only after Jesus' death that God, in an unprecedented act of favor, restored him to life, and thus promoted Jesus, so to speak, not only to "messiah" but also to "Lord"—a name that Jewish tradition ordinarily reserves strictly for the divine Lord himself.
According to Luke's account, written ten to twenty years after Mark's, Peter dares announce to the "men of Jerusalem" that Jesus alone, of the entire human race, returned alive after death, and that this proves that "God has made him both Lord and messiah—this Jesus whom you crucified. Plisch, The Gospel of Thomas, — Here we would have the direct presence, in Th, of the identification of Jesus as Image.
It is the pivotal concept of image in its twofold sense: Christ-Image and men-after-the-image that connects various elements.
In closing I would like to address the wider issue of possible Pauline references in Th. Assuming that the background of Th 83 should also be found in the reception of Pauline, deuteropauline and Johan- nine texts and themes , we need to verify whether there are elements that corroborate this idea.
While the relationships between Th and John have been analyzed by several studies,49 those between Th and Paul are mostly unexplored. I am not arguing that the redactor of Th— or better, of the aforementioned logia—is quoting verbatim 2 Cor or Col; I would like to ponder the possibility that, in these passages, Th is influenced by Pauline themes and is dealing with Pauline texts maybe through indirect transmission.
On this matter, scholars have adopted various approaches. Some of them pointed out similarities between Paul and Th, while others have gone further, making comparisons and systematic analyses. Louis Th. Consider also that Th 50 may be related to Th cf. Gathercole, The Gospel of Thomas, See Ap.
John II 6. Irenaeus, Adv. See also Teach. VII But Nordsieck does not speculate about influ- ence, reception, or explicit comparison of texts. None of these es- 50 Nordsieck, Das Thomas-Evangelium, , my trans.
According to Nordsieck the origin of this saying is basically in the early Christian and Jewish background, rather than in the Platonic, Gnostic or Philonian ones: I agree with his perspective. In the statement that I have quoted he gets a crucial point, but he focuses more on anthropology then on Christology; here he does not quote Heb, Wis, John.
Moreover, he does not provide a close examination of the relationship between Th and Pauline texts. For Paul, Christ is the Image of God cf. Also Davies refers to 1 Cor —49, on bearing the image of the man of heaven, who is Jesus, the Image of God.
Then he quotes Col and —11, on restoring the original image — Altheim and R. Stiehl; Berlin: De Gruyter, , —92, esp. Entstehung — Rezeption — Theologie ed. Rom , since the other cases provide less certainties.
Gospel of Thomas
Christopher W. Bird and J.
Jipp compares passages from Th and 1 Cor, quoting also 2 Cor and , 6. In addition, Skinner highlights the importance of oral trans- mission for early Christian documents;66 this is equally significant, since it might shed a new light on the relationships between Th and Paul.
The redactor s of Th must not necessarily have known the written Pauline 61 Cf.
Gospel of Thomas fully interpreted
Clabeaux, that the provenance of the pre-Marcionite, early second-century Pauline corpus that Marcion knew, was in the East, perhaps in Syria Antioch : see John J. Carl B. Archeologia, storia, ricezione ed. Padovese; 3 vols. Herein, he encounters the same issues we discussed above: the illumination, the vision of the glory, the image. Patterson quotes e. Although he does not deal with a possible influence of Paul on Th—if anything, he tends to exclude it—his references to common themes in the two authors, in the view of image theology, exegesis of Gen , etc.
However, I would like to take a step further, applying these ideas precisely to the interpretation of Th September 24, at 1: This disciple is the one traditionally believed to have written the Gospel of Matthew, which, more than any other, depicts Jesus as a rabbi.
Robinson edited the first complete collection of English translations of the Nag Hammadi texts. Biblica, Inc.
Father Georges says: Give to everyone who asks you, and do not refuse —although its editor adds a prudent warning not included in the New Testament: "Let your money sweat in your hands until you know to whom you are giving.
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