BIBLE HISTORY DAILY

The Sayings of Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas

Simon Gathercole examines the enigmatic Gospel of Thomas

Jesus says, “Blessed is the lion that a person will eat and the lion will become human.”
Jesus says, “Every woman who makes herself male will enter the kingdom of heaven.”

poxy1

This third-century papyrus leaf—known as POxy 1—was discovered at Oxyrhynchus in Egypt and contains sayings of Jesus written in Greek. Scholars later determined the text was from the elusive Gospel of Thomas referenced by early Church Fathers. Photo: Bodleian Library, University of Oxford.

These bizarre statements are two of the 114 sayings of Jesus found in the Gospel of Thomas. The Gospel of Thomas is a non-canonical collection of the sayings of Jesus reputed to have been dictated to the apostle Thomas. In “The Gospel of Thomas: Jesus Said What?” in the July/August 2015 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, New Testament scholar Simon Gathercole examines what these 114 sayings of Jesus reveal about the early Christian world in which they were written.

A work called the Gospel of Thomas has long been known from references by Church Fathers as far back as the third century. What was actually in the Gospel of Thomas, however, remained elusive until the 20th century. Excavations at an ancient garbage dump in Oxyrhynchus, Egypt, around the turn of the 20th century uncovered papyri fragments containing sayings of Jesus that had been dictated—the papyri claimed—by Jesus to his disciple Thomas. Scholars date these papyri to the early to mid-third century C.E.

Did these Greek fragments from Oxyrhynchus belong to the Gospel of Thomas? The discovery of the Nag Hammadi codices in late 1945 to early 1946 near Nag Hammadi, Egypt, verified that the Oxyrhynchus fragments were indeed from the Gospel of Thomas: In one of the Nag Hammadi codices was a complete Coptic translation of the Gospel of Thomas’s sayings of Jesus.


In the free ebook Who Was Jesus? Exploring the History of Jesus’ Life, examine fundamental questions about Jesus of Nazareth. Where was he really born—Bethlehem or Nazareth? Did he marry? Is there evidence outside of the Bible that proves he actually walked the earth?

oxyrhynchus-mapIs the Gospel of Thomas “Gnostic”? Were these sayings of Jesus attributed to a religious group—“the Gnostics”—who offered an alternate view of early Christianity? Simon Gathercole unpacks the meaning of these questions in his BAR article:

Those who have thought that Thomas is Gnostic have seized upon the negative views of the body and the world evident in the book. And it is certainly true that the body and the world are seen in a negative light in Thomas. For example, in talking about the fact that the soul or spirit has come into the body, Jesus says: “I do marvel at how this great wealth has come to dwell in this poverty!” (Gospel of Thomas 28.3). The opposition of “wealth” and “poverty” shows up the sharp contrast between the precious soul and the worthless body. Jesus is similarly negative about the material cosmos: “Whoever has come to know the world has found a corpse” (Gospel of Thomas 56.1). In Thomas, to be dead like a corpse is to be in the realm of ultimate perdition; to be classed as “dead” is about as bad an insult as can be hurled.

Nevertheless, it has always been something of an embarrassment for the “Gnostic” view of Thomas that there is no talk of an evil demiurge, a creation that is intrinsically evil, or of other familiar themes such as “aeons” (a technical term for the divine realms in the heavens). […] But neither does it work to see Thomas as simply a stone’s throw from the kind of Christianity or Christianities evident in the New Testament and in “apostolic fathers” such as Clement of Rome, Ignatius and Polycarp.

What else does the Gospel of Thomas say? Click here to read the 114 sayings of Jesus as translated by Stephen J. Patterson and James M. Robinson. And learn more about the Gospel of Thomas and what it reveals about Jesus and early Christianity by reading the full article “The Gospel of Thomas: Jesus Said What?” by Simon Gathercole as it appears in the July/August 2015 issue of BAR.

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BAS Library Members: Read the full article “The Gospel of Thomas: Jesus Said What?” by Simon Gathercole in the July/August 2015 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

Not a BAS Library member yet? Join the BAS Library today.


 

Related reading in the BAS Library:

Helmut Koester and Stephen J. Patterson, “The Gospel of Thomas,” Bible Review April 1990.

April D. DeConick, “Biblical Views: What’s Up with the Gospel of Thomas?” Biblical Archaeology Review, January/February 2010.

Stephen J. Patterson, “The Oxyrhynchus Papyri,” Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April 2011.

James Brashler, “Nag Hammadi Codices Shed New Light on Early Christian History,” Biblical Archaeology Review, January/February 1984.

Not a BAS Library member yet? Join the BAS Library today.


Is it possible to identify the first-century man named Jesus behind the many stories and traditions about him that developed over 2,000 years in the Gospels and church teachings? Visit the Jesus/Historical Jesus study page to read free articles on Jesus in Bible History Daily.


This Bible History Daily feature was originally published on June 29, 2015.


 

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42 Responses

  1. Did the gospel of Thomas as well as other church letter written by Paul and Peter …etc actually write in Hebrew language and were translated in Greek ?

  2. wdk says:

    Whew. Do you suppose the author or authors of these texts intended to create controversy?

    Or to put it another way, did they get up one morning and say, “Gee, I think I’ll write a book for the New Testament”?

    The latter case has to depend on when the Christian community decided that there would be such a document. If the books of Thomas are old, it is doubtful and a presumption that either we placed on them – or perhaps a few of his Gnostic fellow believers.

    Aside from their existence, how else can we examine their provenance?
    For example, it is mentioned as well that there is a tradition that the Apostle Thomas went off to preach in India. And it is observed that there are many tributes in India to such a ministry – whether they are all, partially or none of them authentic or not.
    Now, given that Thomas had a persona in other Gospel accounts – and he had a legacy in India, is there any consistency in the picture that is drawn?

    For many reasons there are questions about how the 4 canonical Gospels were written. After all, as testimony, there are variations in their accounts. But Matthew seems like an expansion of Mark. Luke seems comes with a consistent sequel in the form of Acts. And John seems to have very different emphasis, but much the same narrative. Connections of other writings ( the epistles) to the Apostles and Paul are debated ( the latter case Hebrews – and in the case of the last Biblical book a distinct “John”), but there is a lot more tangible connection. If nothing else, I can see a church or an early Christian community that had writers who wrote what they did carefully and thoughtfully, perhaps in collaboration, loosely speaking, with scribes if they were not already called on by profession to write. Just the fact that we can debate whether one or another Gospel was originally in Hebrew or Greek is indicative as much – or the fact that another language such as Aramaic can fit in the text.

    But in the case of Thomas, which came first: Coptic or Greek? And if we are to suppose that they are attributed to Thomas, what was his native language? Not Coptic I presume.

    So with these documents, we’ve got provenance problems all over the place.
    And evidently the Church fathers felt the same way. They are archeology and history, but not something we should fall all over ourselves to venerate or espouse.
    They are reflective of disputes in the early Christian community among many, just as there are today.

    But the trouble with taking the side of offense to their existence based on an assumed universal orthodoxy… When it comes to that, I think we will find, that not only will we discover that we ourselves are in disagreement about what we believe is orthodoxy, but also what we were taught to believe as such.

  3. Rebecca says:

    The Gospel of Thomas is complete Apostasy.
    No Wisdom, just rubbish, and Lies.
    Any that chooses to endorse, or follows this abject heresy…
    They are clearly bound for Hell.

  4. Joseph Bongiorno says:

    The “Gospel of Thomas” is about as authentic to Jesus as Lord of the Rings fan-fiction is to Tolkien, and probably less. It’s an attempt to appropriate Christ by early Gnostic writers who were adversaries of Judeo-Christianity, Luciferians, who hold to mystic pagan ideologies that are the opposite of what Christ taught, but disguise that by incorporating some of what he actually said in the authentic accounts of him.

    There are plenty of extra-biblical texts that are worthy of re-examination in light of the canonical gospels and their place therein, e.g., 1 Enoch, which was considered canonical by Jesus and his1st Century Christian followers. The corrupted Gnostic texts from Nag Hammadi are not amongst them, and in fact, the New Testament writers frequently warn Christ-followers to beware of false apostles and false teachings which differ from the truth of what Christ taught.

  5. Surius says:

    If it does not agree 100% with the old Testament then it’s a false teaching/teacher/prophet.

  6. David says:

    It’s kind of depressing to me to read comments to many of these articles. I’m not sure why Bible fundamentalists who believe only the standard narrative even bother to read anything outside the Bible, unless it is to troll the comments section. The Gospel of Thomas may be later than, say, Mark, but the Gospel of John also was written long after the time of Jesus, and is very different in its message than the other three synoptic Gospels, and is considered by many biblical scholars to be the ideas of John put into Jesus’s mouth. But of course it’s heresy to say it. A closed mind does not realize truth.

  7. Jon Paden says:

    The Fellows of the Jesus Seminar determined that of the 114 sayings, 3 were to be unequivocally (within the constraints of their voting system) attributed to Jesus, i.e., the words in “red.” They found about 35 passages that resemble something Jesus said, i.e., the words in “pink.” The rest of the sayings they categorized colloquially as, “Well, maybe” or (far and away the majority) “There’s been some mistake.” All the red passages in Thomas are found easily in the canonical gospels, the pink ones likewise with few emendations. None of the passages quoted in the article belong to either red or pink. (Incidentally, the saying about “wealth” and “poverty” to be found in Thomas 28.3 is actually 29.3.)

  8. Nancy Turner says:

    Thank you, Biblical Archaeology Review for publishing material and sending it to me to read every month. I find interesting articles and beautiful photos. I have always had a great love of history and archaeology. I admire your objective attitude. You don’t avoid controversial material, and are not afraid to follow an idea where it might lead. Often, over the years, I have laid the magazine down and considered for a great long time the material I have read. Reading your magazine has caused me to reread again, and again, passages of the Bible. I feel I have much more insight into the meaning of the books because of articles you have written. When others berate you for publishing archaeology, or introducing history that makes them uncomfortable, don’t be discouraged. Some people (probably not enough of us) truly value your work. You have opened my eyes, and mere words can not thank you enough.

  9. george doucet says:

    B A is an excellent source for atheists; and that is why I did not renew my subscription.

  10. Alan Schuetz says:

    If this “book” were to be considered worthy of study, then why wasn’t it discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls? The “sect” called The Way (Heb. HaDerech), with direct ties to Qumran and Damascus just as the Scriptures state, holds the REAL truth! Yes, the “early church fathers” were already at work creating “a different gospel.” This manuscript holds as much value as the Talmud Bavli (Babylonian Talmud). It is rubbish!

    Galatians 1:6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! (NASB)

  11. Colin says:

    Jesus made it clear that the way to heaven is only by a person humbling themselves before Jesus Christ, confessing their sins, forsaking their old ways, and becoming a new person in Christ as they dedicate their life to serving Him. It has nothing to do with lions, changing sex (literal OR figurative!) or any other human work. The gospel of thomas was rejected by the early church because they recognized that it was antithesis to what Christ himself taught. It belongs back in the dump from which it came!

  12. James David Audlin says:

    As a scholar of the earliest texts related to the beginnings of what eventually became Christianity, I reject the view that logion 114 of the Gospel of Thomas is a form of chauvinism. Quite to the contrary, in fact. For those interested, here is a view that I think properly explains this logion.

    https://www.academia.edu/7959770/Making_Mary_Male_Is_Gospel_of_Thomas_Logion_114_Really_Misogynist

  13. JIM says:

    THE WHOLE NEW TESTAMENT SHOILD BE REWRITTEN TO INCLUDE THE NEW FINDINGS AND INCLUDE THE ORTHODOX WRITINGS ALSO,BUT MANY SHOULD BE REVISED DUE TO THE NEW FINDINGS. FOR EXAMPLE: DELETE THE KING JAMES, ‘ELIZABETHIAN PROSE OF SHAKESPEAR’, IT WAS NOT THE SPOKEN LANGUAGE OF THE PEOPLE AT THAT TIME OR ANY TIME IN HISTORY.AND THE OTHER VERSIONS ALSO. THIS WAS SATANS WAY OF CONFUSING AND MISINTERPRETATION BY PREVENTATIVE READING DUE TO TRANSFERING BY THOUGHT TO THE TRUE LANGUAGE AND MEANING A PERSON READING SPOKE. BRING BACK THE SABBATH TO THE ORIGINAL DAY OF SATURDAY (THE JEWS STILL OBSERVE THIS DAY AS THE SABBATH). ALSO THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK IS ON SUNDAY, THE DAY ‘JESUS’ ROSE TO HEAVEN. LET MEN AND WOMEN MARRY AND BECOME MINISTRY’S OF ‘JESUS’ AND ALL HIS GOSPELS ‘NOT HAND PICKED BY SOME FAITHES TO ASSERTAIN A LIVING BY NOT REVEALING THE WHOLE TRUTHS ‘JESUS’ TAUGHT, INCLUDING MYSTERY’S AND SECRET’S.. ‘JESUS’ WAS ASKED HOW MANY WILL BE SAVED FOR ETERNAL LIFE,, HE SAID ONE OUT 1000 AND TWO OUT OF 10,000 WILL BE SAVED. JIM

  14. Ccserious (Ryan.T) says:

    How quickly some of you condemn wisdom as heresy. Many teachers of Abrahamic or Messianic doctrine, as was ordained by the Extension of the Diluted Empire of Rome.. The Roman Catholic Church; reference and have coined many phrases around “The close proximity the “DEVIL” Keeps to the believers. Some above referenced the word of God as weak but the voice of the Devi as LOUD …”BE CAREFUL OF WHAT YOU READ AND BELIEVE FOR THE VOICE OF GOD IS SOFT AND GENTLE ,,BUT SATAN SPEAKS VERY LOUD ,,,,,,,” Well you know what they say … ‘The Devil is always the one you least expect!’

    Using this commonly accepted quote from a multitude of teachers it would stand to reason then that the OPPOSITE would bear fair argument.. ‘The truth can be noted from the wisdom that is slandered by the SELF righteous.’

    In other words ..Who do you trust .. The Government (CHURCH) with its gang of Ill informed sheep like THUGS. Or That which has been hidden from sight , propagated against by the INSTITUTION and lacks mainstream acceptance due to Slander from those that fear the Unconditional Love and simplicity. To forgo Guilt, subordinance and shame would spell the end for the CHURCH’S STRANGLEHOLD ON THE WORLD’S FINANCIAL OFFERINGS.

    Funnily another group of people who use ballistics (cannons) to relieve you of your income are called charlatans and thieves. Just as were the criminals crucified with Christ… Go With your GUTS. The temple of God is Within..

    I find the first commandment an interesting article of attention.. Exodus 20King James Version (KJV)

    20 And God spake all these words, saying,

    2 I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

    3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

    4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

    5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

    6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

    To me it clearly states that we should not imagine God to be likened to anything from the PAST… (graven image) or anything upon this earth or in the heavens above…

    NOTHING WE CAN SEE IS IN A LIKENESS OF GOD.

    And yet because we are told we are in the likeness of God… we interpret that as God must look as we look.. carving an image of after ourselves. Breaking the first commandment… ALL COMMON TEACHINGS OF THE INSTITUTION (EMPIRE OF ROME)

    Would Your father or your enemy;? wish for your life to be bound by restrictive rules and rituals to as a sign of your true loyalty, just to Please HIM?? (The Ego)

  15. DArren says:

    we are blessed to have another Gospel to give us further look into the ‘life of Jesus’.
    Jesus says:
    (1) “Whoever does not hate his father and his mother cannot become a disciple of mine.
    (2) And whoever does not hate his brothers and his sisters (and) will not take up his cross as I do, will not be worthy of me.”

    This, as well as a transexual Mary, Lion eating man/Man eating Lion can be added to the rest of the mythical ‘make believe’ nonsensical sayings in the New Testament.

  16. AL says:

    When I read, ‘Blessed is the lion that the man will eat, and the lion will become human.’ I hear, Matthew 15:10-11…”And he called the multitude, and said unto them, “Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.”

    Thank you Jacqueline for your insight. I think you are on the right path in your reasoning and I am inclined to agree with you. It is Man and Woman, not male and female. We must all stand up to the tasks of living life, the trials and tribulations of making our own way through life. We do not always have some one to lean on, sometimes there are those that need to lean on us and we must be strong to bear that burden. Standing up for our faith and beliefs, our GOD and our Savior is what will give us the strength to persevere.

  17. Thomas Troyano says:

    The question is who wrote Thomas and why? Was it done by an individual or by a group or community. The other thing is that “Gnostic” seems to be a very broad term. There were many groups of Gnostic and “semi-Gnostic” followers who were reaching for something meaningful (to them). It does seem arrogant to simply condemn the works rather than studying them as many Coptic scholars are doing. Why not try to make some sense out of them and try to understand their etiology and purpose. One is not “endangering” the Canon” of scripture by studying these texts.

  18. William says:

    I find it interesting on those who post and adhere to there personal beliefs, that indeed they are experts in the field of biblical studies. Even the so called experts in this region of studies debate constantly over their own personal beliefs on what is the correct meaning of scripture. No one has lived in these times so therefore you do not know their way of thinking considering the environment, that formed there behavior. From my standpoint of being outside the box looking in, countless so called experts and those who do not posess specialized knowledge in this field are still using the name Jesus. What happened to the beautiful Hebrew name, that was given to him, especially to those who believe in his divinity? Our creators name has been changed including the usage of pagan months and days. What happened to the Sabbath? Seems to me, all the so called experts and those who think they are…all follow the same path.

  19. SANDRA MACDONALD says:

    THERE IS ONLY 1 WAY OF KNOWING WHO CHRIST JESUS IS,,AND THAT IS TO PERSONALLY ASK HIM IN TO YOUR HEART…HE WIL LEAD US BY THE HAND AND KEEP US FROM FALSE TEACHINGS,,,TO SEARCH AFTER HIS WILL FOR YOUE LIFE IS TRULY AMAZING ,,TO FEEL HIS TOUCH UPON YOUR FACE IS MORE THAN JUST AMAZING,,TO BE HEALED BY THEE LORD,,IS A SMALL MIRACLE FOR HIM,,,,,BUT TO ASK HIM IN TO YOUR HEARTS,,,,,GIVES SATAN A KICK IN THE HEAD…BE CAREFUL OF WHAT YOU READ AND BELIEVE FOR THE VOICE OF GOD IS SOFT AND GENTLE ,,BUT SATAN SPEAKS VERY LOUD ,,,,,,,

    ,,,,,,,,,,

  20. Chris says:

    the “bring out whats within you or it will destroy you…” could be seen as an interpolation of Jonah.

    Also, the view of the church was that Thomas went to India and there is Thomas stuff all over India today. I’ve often thought that the gospel of Thomas was simply a Christian text written to appeal to that culture which of course had more of a what we’d see as an Eastern mindset. Not hard to imagine it then made its way back via trade routes. it’s different and more direct than all the other gnostic texts.

    We know gospels were written to appeal to Jews in some cases and Romans in others. Occums razor Thomas’ school created a localized one

  21. franklin says:

    to see the truth, one must first empty the mind of all programing.

  22. David D Harper says:

    I suspect that the ladies (Jacqueline and Donna) hew closest to the intended meanings of the metaphors and proverbs referenced – as I understand them, at any rate. Interesting, then, that Jesus’ closest relationship among his disciples was with Mary Magdaline, not with any of the males whom he chastised more than once for “not getting it” even after spending so much time with him.

    Once you accept that Jesus is being quoted as someone who spoke in parables that conveyed broad meanings beyond the literal, then the rest follows logically: He was telling us that while our bodies were infused with the holy spirit, we are lit as by interior candles; otherwise, we appear dark and empty of meaning and value to others. The “kingdom” referred to is to be found interiorily, within us all, if we only had “eyes to see” and “ears to hear” what our hearts and souls are trying to tell us. That’s how it seems to me, anyway.

  23. John N says:

    From my reading of Thomas I found about a third of all the sayings had a close parallel in the Gospels. Another third have some echo of existing Christian teaching, distorted by a gnostic voice and a third are clearly written long after the Easter Event and contain no echo of Christianity and even contradict the values and statements attributed to Jesus; the injunction to Christians to seek out the leadership of James for example, or a number of references to ‘the Jews’ that brim with undisguised antagonism. The quote above, referring to the Lion for example seems to contradict the sense of the canonical Jesus saying that what we eat is irrelevant to our spiritual cleanliness – it is the things that come out of our mouths, not the stuff that goes in, that we should be concerned about. Nor is there much in the way of exergis that we find in the parable stories. Where the parables are simply understood but nevertheless often explained in detail, these ‘Jesus Sayings’ are obscure and unexplained within the text. The ‘voice’ speaking them is cryptic and thus unfamiliar. Jesus in the Gospels speaks of fish, vines, grain and donkeys. Jesus in the Thomas Sayings speaks of lions and gender issues. My conclusion, then as now, is that as many as a half of these sayings are genuine, and may share the same source as many of the ‘sayings’ material found in Matthew and Luke but not Mark. The rest is entirely gnostic and sectarian in origin, and demonstrates an antagonist relationship between the writer and orthodox Christian groups. This Jesus seems to anarchronistically condemn specific apostles, teachings and emerging theology elements of the early orthodox Christian community. The big difference between the two groups seems to be that the Gnostics saw no issue in re-writing the words of the Master to get Him to do their fighting for them.

  24. Patty says:

    There’s a reason the book of Thomas was not included as part of the Bible. The books that were included were verified by those that knew the authors. Nothing about the book of Thomas would fit the criteria.

  25. donna yahu says:

    Glory to the Most High Yah.y would ancient books have Jesus name in them when his name was Yahushua?im just saying

  26. donna yahu says:

    When the Father ,YAHUSHUA,says for woman to become a male HE meant take off your thoughts marriage, having Kids, wanting to be noticed by man, no longer needing to be protected by r even cared for by man but by Him alone.He casted servitude from mary magdeline so she could only serve him.she only had to trust in the Father.NOONE LED HER NO MATTER WHAT MAN SAID HIS WORD AND AUTHORITY STOOD IN HER LIFE.TO PUT OFF OUR SLAVERY UNTO MAN BUT ONLY TO STAND AS A MAN WITH THE STRENGTH OF A LION KNOWING THE FATHER WILL STAND BEHIND YOU.NO LONGER UNDER SUBMISSION TO THE DOGMA OF MAN. B BLESSED BY THIS QUEENS i mean Kings.

  27. Jacqueline Moss says:

    Try to remember that ancient texts where often written in metaphors or parables. So when Jesus said,’Blessed is the Lion that the man will eat, and the Lion will become human’ We must remember what the Lion is symbolic of, Rastafarians often refer to ‘like a lion in Zion’ I tend to think Jesus meant, swallow your pride, your ego, your big dominant ‘Lion’…The irrational mind, that roars at others..and loses control…and once you have digested that ego and it is no more, then you become the peaceful harmonious human you were meant to be. The second teaching here, which some people are also taking too literally…is by no means offensive to women, and I am a woman, so I shall explain my interpretation. Jesus says, ‘Every woman who makes herself male will enter the Kingdom of heaven’ to this I say, ‘ Jesus did not mean for women to undergo surgery, they did not have such things back then…relating to my own life …as a woman, there were many times when I felt I was playing the role of the masculine/male. I still often fill that role, which many would consider male. There have been a few times in my life where I felt the need to embody the Lion and push over an indecent, scathing drunk, where no man was prepared to step in and stop a particular drama. In cases of abuse, women who walk away, often take on the role of both mother and father. My partner is in a wheelchair, and people often joke, and say I am like the husband…I can honestly say, I take no offence to these jests. I am proud to have found balance of my feminine and masculine. I know Jesus had concerns with society and he obviously saw many women who were subjected to very subservient roles. The true way is to get to an equality of men and women. Jesus was using a term we use today, ‘Man Up!’ The term means to be tough and strong as men were and are expected to be, but since we have moved on in terms of societal equality between the sexes (and we are still a long way away from the ideal) It is accepted to say to a woman, who is playing the self pitying victim, to ‘Man up’…If we take a look at some societies we see women in history performing roles that in the Western world would be considered male roles. So by no means was Jesus being sexist here or attesting that men are somehow better than women…I also gather that in a sense he was advocating for women to stand up for themselves and get away from male oppression…that they were indeed capable of a fulfilling life without abuses or a present man…that they could discover that innate male within them, so that they might grow spiritually and attain peace and enlightenment. Something that is difficult to achieve in any oppressive situation. It is very humbling for a woman to lift her male partner when he falls, open doors for him etc…I grew up thinking these were things men did for women but I learnt the truth through experience.

  28. Sepeti says:

    I have not read this book of thomas but the one sentense l had read it surely went 180 from my christian belief and faith taught from the Bible the inspired word of God. Simple question that l asked of those with comments that agree with the notion that this is a legitimate writing of Thomas. Do you mean to tell me God approve homosexuallity as pure of His creation? But you see you “reason” just like our parents did and they believe in themself rather than the purity of His Holliness that there is “NO” if but may be and so on it is a “yes” or “no” very simple a “man” or a “woman” no in between! We must never put our reasoning into the word that is consistant with the purity of our God. Read the Bible with a heart of a child than you will discover God is not a God of confusion double minded two face but a God of His Words that you can only find in the Bible His inspired Word. If there is any book that teaches this type of confusion its worthless wickeness God is not a God that tells us one and so another. Jesus is God!!!

  29. Ed Morse says:

    Some readers here have a mistaken belief that Biblical Archaeology Review is Christian Review. Its mission is not to rubber stamp your beliefs with a veneer of archaeology, it is to investigate the facts and see where they lead. This may not accord with what you believe.
    For that, you would be better off to go to a Christian bookstore and buy magazines there.

  30. Marian says:

    There are books in the NT that are older than Thomas and some are even falsely attributed to their authors. Yet it doesn’t seem to cause any stir among believers. But when a document with simple, coherent teaching shows up they are immediately repulsed. It was not found in a dump, it was found sealed and protected in a jar, which means that the disciples valued these books. Thomas shows that Jesus’ understanding of Life and Death was more nuanced, it’s something our narrow literalistic minds can’t comprehend. Oxyrhynchus papyri are some of the oldest Biblical manuscripts ever found. Just to put things into perspective, the oldest papyrus we have is a credit-card-sized fragment P52 from 125 CE. The earliest complete manuscripts date well after 200 CE.

  31. Hanknstein says:

    The Gospel of Thomas is a forgery. The writing style is completely different from that used in the region at the time of Jesus and the apostles but very familiar with Babylonian texts.
    I believe it to be from a campaign of dis-information or propaganda if you will.

  32. Lucy Wain says:

    I had the same thought as George H. Finding them in a dump is the first clue of what the ancients thought of it, so that’s my big clue that the contents are just that, garbage.

    I used to be an avid reader and subscriber of BA until they went all modern and
    wacka-doodle on me and I just had to give it up. Hated it, because it is a very pretty publication.

  33. Nicole says:

    I agree with Kurt’s cited quote, that the apocryphal books have excluded themselves from the New Testament, if only for the fact that they are inconsistent with the rest of the books, down to the very core. And to ridicule and belittle Christians who are practicing God-given DISCERNMENT (which is gifted *by* the Holy Spirit, *through* Jesus Christ) is what is truly arrogant.

  34. neil says:

    There seem to be few who comment here who are not simply looking for simple minded confirmation of the simplistic assumptions of their recently invented religion: American literalist evangelicalism. Truth and love are unending paths of growth and discovery, and commitment to these paths (in the NT, the disciples called their religion The Way) is to be alive. To arrogantly asume one knows what needs to be known, and to dismiss that which challenges this dead knowledge is not faith, but the very sort of arrogant prejudice we see Jesus attack so often in the gospels. The ancient Orthodox Church has known and taught this for 2000 years, and Christ himself reserved his sternest condemnations for proud religious bigots who assumed they were right and attacked others on that basis. The Gospel of Thomas was taken seriously by ancient Christians; perhaps modern Christians would do well to consider it with more humility and wonder.

  35. Justin Reagan says:

    It’s gnostic garbage!! Who with reputation respects this book?

  36. PastProdigal says:

    I’d like to see a competition archeological magazine that adheres to actual Biblical facts real Christian history and doesn’t waste time, words, and space on what we all know is blatant heresy.

  37. Kurt says:

    The “Infancy Gospel of Thomas” concentrates on Jesus as a child—between 5 and 12 years of age—and credits him with performing a series of far-fetched miracles. (See John 2:11.) Jesus is presented as a naughty, irascible, vindictive child, who uses his miraculous powers to take revenge on teachers, neighbors, and other children, some of whom he blinds, cripples, or even kills.
    For example, the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas ascribes a number of strange utterances to Jesus, such as saying that he would transform Mary into a male to make it possible for her to enter into the Kingdom of heaven. The Infancy Gospel of Thomas describes young Jesus as a mean-spirited child who deliberately caused another child’s death. The apocryphal Acts of Paul and Acts of Peter emphasize complete abstinence from sexual relations and even depict the apostles as urging women to separate from their husbands. The Gospel of Judas depicts Jesus as laughing at his disciples for praying to God in connection with a meal. Such notions are at odds with what is found in the canonical books.—Mark 14:22; 1 Corinthians 7:3-5; Galatians 3:28; Hebrews 7:26.

    Many of the apocryphal writings reflect beliefs of the Gnostics, who held that the Creator, Jehovah, is not a good God. They also believed that the resurrection is not literal, that all physical matter is evil, and that Satan was the source of marriage and procreation.
    A number of the apocryphal books are attributed to Bible characters but falsely so. Did some dark conspiracy exclude these books from the Bible? One expert on the apocrypha, M. R. James, said: “There is no question of any one’s having excluded them from the New Testament: they have done that for themselves.”
    http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200270408

  38. George M Jula says:

    George says:
    “The fact that the papyri were found in a garbage dump is about all I need to know. I’m sure there were those out to discredit Jesus and His Church. Propaganda is certainly not a modern concept.”

  39. ken calder says:

    As an evangelical Bible believing Christian I do not find a great deal of positivity in the articles of Bible History Daily.
    Strangely, I am left with the feeling that I am often reading `agnostic authors` rather than those who desire to prove bible history!

    KC

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42 Responses

  1. Did the gospel of Thomas as well as other church letter written by Paul and Peter …etc actually write in Hebrew language and were translated in Greek ?

  2. wdk says:

    Whew. Do you suppose the author or authors of these texts intended to create controversy?

    Or to put it another way, did they get up one morning and say, “Gee, I think I’ll write a book for the New Testament”?

    The latter case has to depend on when the Christian community decided that there would be such a document. If the books of Thomas are old, it is doubtful and a presumption that either we placed on them – or perhaps a few of his Gnostic fellow believers.

    Aside from their existence, how else can we examine their provenance?
    For example, it is mentioned as well that there is a tradition that the Apostle Thomas went off to preach in India. And it is observed that there are many tributes in India to such a ministry – whether they are all, partially or none of them authentic or not.
    Now, given that Thomas had a persona in other Gospel accounts – and he had a legacy in India, is there any consistency in the picture that is drawn?

    For many reasons there are questions about how the 4 canonical Gospels were written. After all, as testimony, there are variations in their accounts. But Matthew seems like an expansion of Mark. Luke seems comes with a consistent sequel in the form of Acts. And John seems to have very different emphasis, but much the same narrative. Connections of other writings ( the epistles) to the Apostles and Paul are debated ( the latter case Hebrews – and in the case of the last Biblical book a distinct “John”), but there is a lot more tangible connection. If nothing else, I can see a church or an early Christian community that had writers who wrote what they did carefully and thoughtfully, perhaps in collaboration, loosely speaking, with scribes if they were not already called on by profession to write. Just the fact that we can debate whether one or another Gospel was originally in Hebrew or Greek is indicative as much – or the fact that another language such as Aramaic can fit in the text.

    But in the case of Thomas, which came first: Coptic or Greek? And if we are to suppose that they are attributed to Thomas, what was his native language? Not Coptic I presume.

    So with these documents, we’ve got provenance problems all over the place.
    And evidently the Church fathers felt the same way. They are archeology and history, but not something we should fall all over ourselves to venerate or espouse.
    They are reflective of disputes in the early Christian community among many, just as there are today.

    But the trouble with taking the side of offense to their existence based on an assumed universal orthodoxy… When it comes to that, I think we will find, that not only will we discover that we ourselves are in disagreement about what we believe is orthodoxy, but also what we were taught to believe as such.

  3. Rebecca says:

    The Gospel of Thomas is complete Apostasy.
    No Wisdom, just rubbish, and Lies.
    Any that chooses to endorse, or follows this abject heresy…
    They are clearly bound for Hell.

  4. Joseph Bongiorno says:

    The “Gospel of Thomas” is about as authentic to Jesus as Lord of the Rings fan-fiction is to Tolkien, and probably less. It’s an attempt to appropriate Christ by early Gnostic writers who were adversaries of Judeo-Christianity, Luciferians, who hold to mystic pagan ideologies that are the opposite of what Christ taught, but disguise that by incorporating some of what he actually said in the authentic accounts of him.

    There are plenty of extra-biblical texts that are worthy of re-examination in light of the canonical gospels and their place therein, e.g., 1 Enoch, which was considered canonical by Jesus and his1st Century Christian followers. The corrupted Gnostic texts from Nag Hammadi are not amongst them, and in fact, the New Testament writers frequently warn Christ-followers to beware of false apostles and false teachings which differ from the truth of what Christ taught.

  5. Surius says:

    If it does not agree 100% with the old Testament then it’s a false teaching/teacher/prophet.

  6. David says:

    It’s kind of depressing to me to read comments to many of these articles. I’m not sure why Bible fundamentalists who believe only the standard narrative even bother to read anything outside the Bible, unless it is to troll the comments section. The Gospel of Thomas may be later than, say, Mark, but the Gospel of John also was written long after the time of Jesus, and is very different in its message than the other three synoptic Gospels, and is considered by many biblical scholars to be the ideas of John put into Jesus’s mouth. But of course it’s heresy to say it. A closed mind does not realize truth.

  7. Jon Paden says:

    The Fellows of the Jesus Seminar determined that of the 114 sayings, 3 were to be unequivocally (within the constraints of their voting system) attributed to Jesus, i.e., the words in “red.” They found about 35 passages that resemble something Jesus said, i.e., the words in “pink.” The rest of the sayings they categorized colloquially as, “Well, maybe” or (far and away the majority) “There’s been some mistake.” All the red passages in Thomas are found easily in the canonical gospels, the pink ones likewise with few emendations. None of the passages quoted in the article belong to either red or pink. (Incidentally, the saying about “wealth” and “poverty” to be found in Thomas 28.3 is actually 29.3.)

  8. Nancy Turner says:

    Thank you, Biblical Archaeology Review for publishing material and sending it to me to read every month. I find interesting articles and beautiful photos. I have always had a great love of history and archaeology. I admire your objective attitude. You don’t avoid controversial material, and are not afraid to follow an idea where it might lead. Often, over the years, I have laid the magazine down and considered for a great long time the material I have read. Reading your magazine has caused me to reread again, and again, passages of the Bible. I feel I have much more insight into the meaning of the books because of articles you have written. When others berate you for publishing archaeology, or introducing history that makes them uncomfortable, don’t be discouraged. Some people (probably not enough of us) truly value your work. You have opened my eyes, and mere words can not thank you enough.

  9. george doucet says:

    B A is an excellent source for atheists; and that is why I did not renew my subscription.

  10. Alan Schuetz says:

    If this “book” were to be considered worthy of study, then why wasn’t it discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls? The “sect” called The Way (Heb. HaDerech), with direct ties to Qumran and Damascus just as the Scriptures state, holds the REAL truth! Yes, the “early church fathers” were already at work creating “a different gospel.” This manuscript holds as much value as the Talmud Bavli (Babylonian Talmud). It is rubbish!

    Galatians 1:6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! (NASB)

  11. Colin says:

    Jesus made it clear that the way to heaven is only by a person humbling themselves before Jesus Christ, confessing their sins, forsaking their old ways, and becoming a new person in Christ as they dedicate their life to serving Him. It has nothing to do with lions, changing sex (literal OR figurative!) or any other human work. The gospel of thomas was rejected by the early church because they recognized that it was antithesis to what Christ himself taught. It belongs back in the dump from which it came!

  12. James David Audlin says:

    As a scholar of the earliest texts related to the beginnings of what eventually became Christianity, I reject the view that logion 114 of the Gospel of Thomas is a form of chauvinism. Quite to the contrary, in fact. For those interested, here is a view that I think properly explains this logion.

    https://www.academia.edu/7959770/Making_Mary_Male_Is_Gospel_of_Thomas_Logion_114_Really_Misogynist

  13. JIM says:

    THE WHOLE NEW TESTAMENT SHOILD BE REWRITTEN TO INCLUDE THE NEW FINDINGS AND INCLUDE THE ORTHODOX WRITINGS ALSO,BUT MANY SHOULD BE REVISED DUE TO THE NEW FINDINGS. FOR EXAMPLE: DELETE THE KING JAMES, ‘ELIZABETHIAN PROSE OF SHAKESPEAR’, IT WAS NOT THE SPOKEN LANGUAGE OF THE PEOPLE AT THAT TIME OR ANY TIME IN HISTORY.AND THE OTHER VERSIONS ALSO. THIS WAS SATANS WAY OF CONFUSING AND MISINTERPRETATION BY PREVENTATIVE READING DUE TO TRANSFERING BY THOUGHT TO THE TRUE LANGUAGE AND MEANING A PERSON READING SPOKE. BRING BACK THE SABBATH TO THE ORIGINAL DAY OF SATURDAY (THE JEWS STILL OBSERVE THIS DAY AS THE SABBATH). ALSO THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK IS ON SUNDAY, THE DAY ‘JESUS’ ROSE TO HEAVEN. LET MEN AND WOMEN MARRY AND BECOME MINISTRY’S OF ‘JESUS’ AND ALL HIS GOSPELS ‘NOT HAND PICKED BY SOME FAITHES TO ASSERTAIN A LIVING BY NOT REVEALING THE WHOLE TRUTHS ‘JESUS’ TAUGHT, INCLUDING MYSTERY’S AND SECRET’S.. ‘JESUS’ WAS ASKED HOW MANY WILL BE SAVED FOR ETERNAL LIFE,, HE SAID ONE OUT 1000 AND TWO OUT OF 10,000 WILL BE SAVED. JIM

  14. Ccserious (Ryan.T) says:

    How quickly some of you condemn wisdom as heresy. Many teachers of Abrahamic or Messianic doctrine, as was ordained by the Extension of the Diluted Empire of Rome.. The Roman Catholic Church; reference and have coined many phrases around “The close proximity the “DEVIL” Keeps to the believers. Some above referenced the word of God as weak but the voice of the Devi as LOUD …”BE CAREFUL OF WHAT YOU READ AND BELIEVE FOR THE VOICE OF GOD IS SOFT AND GENTLE ,,BUT SATAN SPEAKS VERY LOUD ,,,,,,,” Well you know what they say … ‘The Devil is always the one you least expect!’

    Using this commonly accepted quote from a multitude of teachers it would stand to reason then that the OPPOSITE would bear fair argument.. ‘The truth can be noted from the wisdom that is slandered by the SELF righteous.’

    In other words ..Who do you trust .. The Government (CHURCH) with its gang of Ill informed sheep like THUGS. Or That which has been hidden from sight , propagated against by the INSTITUTION and lacks mainstream acceptance due to Slander from those that fear the Unconditional Love and simplicity. To forgo Guilt, subordinance and shame would spell the end for the CHURCH’S STRANGLEHOLD ON THE WORLD’S FINANCIAL OFFERINGS.

    Funnily another group of people who use ballistics (cannons) to relieve you of your income are called charlatans and thieves. Just as were the criminals crucified with Christ… Go With your GUTS. The temple of God is Within..

    I find the first commandment an interesting article of attention.. Exodus 20King James Version (KJV)

    20 And God spake all these words, saying,

    2 I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

    3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

    4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

    5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

    6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

    To me it clearly states that we should not imagine God to be likened to anything from the PAST… (graven image) or anything upon this earth or in the heavens above…

    NOTHING WE CAN SEE IS IN A LIKENESS OF GOD.

    And yet because we are told we are in the likeness of God… we interpret that as God must look as we look.. carving an image of after ourselves. Breaking the first commandment… ALL COMMON TEACHINGS OF THE INSTITUTION (EMPIRE OF ROME)

    Would Your father or your enemy;? wish for your life to be bound by restrictive rules and rituals to as a sign of your true loyalty, just to Please HIM?? (The Ego)

  15. DArren says:

    we are blessed to have another Gospel to give us further look into the ‘life of Jesus’.
    Jesus says:
    (1) “Whoever does not hate his father and his mother cannot become a disciple of mine.
    (2) And whoever does not hate his brothers and his sisters (and) will not take up his cross as I do, will not be worthy of me.”

    This, as well as a transexual Mary, Lion eating man/Man eating Lion can be added to the rest of the mythical ‘make believe’ nonsensical sayings in the New Testament.

  16. AL says:

    When I read, ‘Blessed is the lion that the man will eat, and the lion will become human.’ I hear, Matthew 15:10-11…”And he called the multitude, and said unto them, “Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.”

    Thank you Jacqueline for your insight. I think you are on the right path in your reasoning and I am inclined to agree with you. It is Man and Woman, not male and female. We must all stand up to the tasks of living life, the trials and tribulations of making our own way through life. We do not always have some one to lean on, sometimes there are those that need to lean on us and we must be strong to bear that burden. Standing up for our faith and beliefs, our GOD and our Savior is what will give us the strength to persevere.

  17. Thomas Troyano says:

    The question is who wrote Thomas and why? Was it done by an individual or by a group or community. The other thing is that “Gnostic” seems to be a very broad term. There were many groups of Gnostic and “semi-Gnostic” followers who were reaching for something meaningful (to them). It does seem arrogant to simply condemn the works rather than studying them as many Coptic scholars are doing. Why not try to make some sense out of them and try to understand their etiology and purpose. One is not “endangering” the Canon” of scripture by studying these texts.

  18. William says:

    I find it interesting on those who post and adhere to there personal beliefs, that indeed they are experts in the field of biblical studies. Even the so called experts in this region of studies debate constantly over their own personal beliefs on what is the correct meaning of scripture. No one has lived in these times so therefore you do not know their way of thinking considering the environment, that formed there behavior. From my standpoint of being outside the box looking in, countless so called experts and those who do not posess specialized knowledge in this field are still using the name Jesus. What happened to the beautiful Hebrew name, that was given to him, especially to those who believe in his divinity? Our creators name has been changed including the usage of pagan months and days. What happened to the Sabbath? Seems to me, all the so called experts and those who think they are…all follow the same path.

  19. SANDRA MACDONALD says:

    THERE IS ONLY 1 WAY OF KNOWING WHO CHRIST JESUS IS,,AND THAT IS TO PERSONALLY ASK HIM IN TO YOUR HEART…HE WIL LEAD US BY THE HAND AND KEEP US FROM FALSE TEACHINGS,,,TO SEARCH AFTER HIS WILL FOR YOUE LIFE IS TRULY AMAZING ,,TO FEEL HIS TOUCH UPON YOUR FACE IS MORE THAN JUST AMAZING,,TO BE HEALED BY THEE LORD,,IS A SMALL MIRACLE FOR HIM,,,,,BUT TO ASK HIM IN TO YOUR HEARTS,,,,,GIVES SATAN A KICK IN THE HEAD…BE CAREFUL OF WHAT YOU READ AND BELIEVE FOR THE VOICE OF GOD IS SOFT AND GENTLE ,,BUT SATAN SPEAKS VERY LOUD ,,,,,,,

    ,,,,,,,,,,

  20. Chris says:

    the “bring out whats within you or it will destroy you…” could be seen as an interpolation of Jonah.

    Also, the view of the church was that Thomas went to India and there is Thomas stuff all over India today. I’ve often thought that the gospel of Thomas was simply a Christian text written to appeal to that culture which of course had more of a what we’d see as an Eastern mindset. Not hard to imagine it then made its way back via trade routes. it’s different and more direct than all the other gnostic texts.

    We know gospels were written to appeal to Jews in some cases and Romans in others. Occums razor Thomas’ school created a localized one

  21. franklin says:

    to see the truth, one must first empty the mind of all programing.

  22. David D Harper says:

    I suspect that the ladies (Jacqueline and Donna) hew closest to the intended meanings of the metaphors and proverbs referenced – as I understand them, at any rate. Interesting, then, that Jesus’ closest relationship among his disciples was with Mary Magdaline, not with any of the males whom he chastised more than once for “not getting it” even after spending so much time with him.

    Once you accept that Jesus is being quoted as someone who spoke in parables that conveyed broad meanings beyond the literal, then the rest follows logically: He was telling us that while our bodies were infused with the holy spirit, we are lit as by interior candles; otherwise, we appear dark and empty of meaning and value to others. The “kingdom” referred to is to be found interiorily, within us all, if we only had “eyes to see” and “ears to hear” what our hearts and souls are trying to tell us. That’s how it seems to me, anyway.

  23. John N says:

    From my reading of Thomas I found about a third of all the sayings had a close parallel in the Gospels. Another third have some echo of existing Christian teaching, distorted by a gnostic voice and a third are clearly written long after the Easter Event and contain no echo of Christianity and even contradict the values and statements attributed to Jesus; the injunction to Christians to seek out the leadership of James for example, or a number of references to ‘the Jews’ that brim with undisguised antagonism. The quote above, referring to the Lion for example seems to contradict the sense of the canonical Jesus saying that what we eat is irrelevant to our spiritual cleanliness – it is the things that come out of our mouths, not the stuff that goes in, that we should be concerned about. Nor is there much in the way of exergis that we find in the parable stories. Where the parables are simply understood but nevertheless often explained in detail, these ‘Jesus Sayings’ are obscure and unexplained within the text. The ‘voice’ speaking them is cryptic and thus unfamiliar. Jesus in the Gospels speaks of fish, vines, grain and donkeys. Jesus in the Thomas Sayings speaks of lions and gender issues. My conclusion, then as now, is that as many as a half of these sayings are genuine, and may share the same source as many of the ‘sayings’ material found in Matthew and Luke but not Mark. The rest is entirely gnostic and sectarian in origin, and demonstrates an antagonist relationship between the writer and orthodox Christian groups. This Jesus seems to anarchronistically condemn specific apostles, teachings and emerging theology elements of the early orthodox Christian community. The big difference between the two groups seems to be that the Gnostics saw no issue in re-writing the words of the Master to get Him to do their fighting for them.

  24. Patty says:

    There’s a reason the book of Thomas was not included as part of the Bible. The books that were included were verified by those that knew the authors. Nothing about the book of Thomas would fit the criteria.

  25. donna yahu says:

    Glory to the Most High Yah.y would ancient books have Jesus name in them when his name was Yahushua?im just saying

  26. donna yahu says:

    When the Father ,YAHUSHUA,says for woman to become a male HE meant take off your thoughts marriage, having Kids, wanting to be noticed by man, no longer needing to be protected by r even cared for by man but by Him alone.He casted servitude from mary magdeline so she could only serve him.she only had to trust in the Father.NOONE LED HER NO MATTER WHAT MAN SAID HIS WORD AND AUTHORITY STOOD IN HER LIFE.TO PUT OFF OUR SLAVERY UNTO MAN BUT ONLY TO STAND AS A MAN WITH THE STRENGTH OF A LION KNOWING THE FATHER WILL STAND BEHIND YOU.NO LONGER UNDER SUBMISSION TO THE DOGMA OF MAN. B BLESSED BY THIS QUEENS i mean Kings.

  27. Jacqueline Moss says:

    Try to remember that ancient texts where often written in metaphors or parables. So when Jesus said,’Blessed is the Lion that the man will eat, and the Lion will become human’ We must remember what the Lion is symbolic of, Rastafarians often refer to ‘like a lion in Zion’ I tend to think Jesus meant, swallow your pride, your ego, your big dominant ‘Lion’…The irrational mind, that roars at others..and loses control…and once you have digested that ego and it is no more, then you become the peaceful harmonious human you were meant to be. The second teaching here, which some people are also taking too literally…is by no means offensive to women, and I am a woman, so I shall explain my interpretation. Jesus says, ‘Every woman who makes herself male will enter the Kingdom of heaven’ to this I say, ‘ Jesus did not mean for women to undergo surgery, they did not have such things back then…relating to my own life …as a woman, there were many times when I felt I was playing the role of the masculine/male. I still often fill that role, which many would consider male. There have been a few times in my life where I felt the need to embody the Lion and push over an indecent, scathing drunk, where no man was prepared to step in and stop a particular drama. In cases of abuse, women who walk away, often take on the role of both mother and father. My partner is in a wheelchair, and people often joke, and say I am like the husband…I can honestly say, I take no offence to these jests. I am proud to have found balance of my feminine and masculine. I know Jesus had concerns with society and he obviously saw many women who were subjected to very subservient roles. The true way is to get to an equality of men and women. Jesus was using a term we use today, ‘Man Up!’ The term means to be tough and strong as men were and are expected to be, but since we have moved on in terms of societal equality between the sexes (and we are still a long way away from the ideal) It is accepted to say to a woman, who is playing the self pitying victim, to ‘Man up’…If we take a look at some societies we see women in history performing roles that in the Western world would be considered male roles. So by no means was Jesus being sexist here or attesting that men are somehow better than women…I also gather that in a sense he was advocating for women to stand up for themselves and get away from male oppression…that they were indeed capable of a fulfilling life without abuses or a present man…that they could discover that innate male within them, so that they might grow spiritually and attain peace and enlightenment. Something that is difficult to achieve in any oppressive situation. It is very humbling for a woman to lift her male partner when he falls, open doors for him etc…I grew up thinking these were things men did for women but I learnt the truth through experience.

  28. Sepeti says:

    I have not read this book of thomas but the one sentense l had read it surely went 180 from my christian belief and faith taught from the Bible the inspired word of God. Simple question that l asked of those with comments that agree with the notion that this is a legitimate writing of Thomas. Do you mean to tell me God approve homosexuallity as pure of His creation? But you see you “reason” just like our parents did and they believe in themself rather than the purity of His Holliness that there is “NO” if but may be and so on it is a “yes” or “no” very simple a “man” or a “woman” no in between! We must never put our reasoning into the word that is consistant with the purity of our God. Read the Bible with a heart of a child than you will discover God is not a God of confusion double minded two face but a God of His Words that you can only find in the Bible His inspired Word. If there is any book that teaches this type of confusion its worthless wickeness God is not a God that tells us one and so another. Jesus is God!!!

  29. Ed Morse says:

    Some readers here have a mistaken belief that Biblical Archaeology Review is Christian Review. Its mission is not to rubber stamp your beliefs with a veneer of archaeology, it is to investigate the facts and see where they lead. This may not accord with what you believe.
    For that, you would be better off to go to a Christian bookstore and buy magazines there.

  30. Marian says:

    There are books in the NT that are older than Thomas and some are even falsely attributed to their authors. Yet it doesn’t seem to cause any stir among believers. But when a document with simple, coherent teaching shows up they are immediately repulsed. It was not found in a dump, it was found sealed and protected in a jar, which means that the disciples valued these books. Thomas shows that Jesus’ understanding of Life and Death was more nuanced, it’s something our narrow literalistic minds can’t comprehend. Oxyrhynchus papyri are some of the oldest Biblical manuscripts ever found. Just to put things into perspective, the oldest papyrus we have is a credit-card-sized fragment P52 from 125 CE. The earliest complete manuscripts date well after 200 CE.

  31. Hanknstein says:

    The Gospel of Thomas is a forgery. The writing style is completely different from that used in the region at the time of Jesus and the apostles but very familiar with Babylonian texts.
    I believe it to be from a campaign of dis-information or propaganda if you will.

  32. Lucy Wain says:

    I had the same thought as George H. Finding them in a dump is the first clue of what the ancients thought of it, so that’s my big clue that the contents are just that, garbage.

    I used to be an avid reader and subscriber of BA until they went all modern and
    wacka-doodle on me and I just had to give it up. Hated it, because it is a very pretty publication.

  33. Nicole says:

    I agree with Kurt’s cited quote, that the apocryphal books have excluded themselves from the New Testament, if only for the fact that they are inconsistent with the rest of the books, down to the very core. And to ridicule and belittle Christians who are practicing God-given DISCERNMENT (which is gifted *by* the Holy Spirit, *through* Jesus Christ) is what is truly arrogant.

  34. neil says:

    There seem to be few who comment here who are not simply looking for simple minded confirmation of the simplistic assumptions of their recently invented religion: American literalist evangelicalism. Truth and love are unending paths of growth and discovery, and commitment to these paths (in the NT, the disciples called their religion The Way) is to be alive. To arrogantly asume one knows what needs to be known, and to dismiss that which challenges this dead knowledge is not faith, but the very sort of arrogant prejudice we see Jesus attack so often in the gospels. The ancient Orthodox Church has known and taught this for 2000 years, and Christ himself reserved his sternest condemnations for proud religious bigots who assumed they were right and attacked others on that basis. The Gospel of Thomas was taken seriously by ancient Christians; perhaps modern Christians would do well to consider it with more humility and wonder.

  35. Justin Reagan says:

    It’s gnostic garbage!! Who with reputation respects this book?

  36. PastProdigal says:

    I’d like to see a competition archeological magazine that adheres to actual Biblical facts real Christian history and doesn’t waste time, words, and space on what we all know is blatant heresy.

  37. Kurt says:

    The “Infancy Gospel of Thomas” concentrates on Jesus as a child—between 5 and 12 years of age—and credits him with performing a series of far-fetched miracles. (See John 2:11.) Jesus is presented as a naughty, irascible, vindictive child, who uses his miraculous powers to take revenge on teachers, neighbors, and other children, some of whom he blinds, cripples, or even kills.
    For example, the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas ascribes a number of strange utterances to Jesus, such as saying that he would transform Mary into a male to make it possible for her to enter into the Kingdom of heaven. The Infancy Gospel of Thomas describes young Jesus as a mean-spirited child who deliberately caused another child’s death. The apocryphal Acts of Paul and Acts of Peter emphasize complete abstinence from sexual relations and even depict the apostles as urging women to separate from their husbands. The Gospel of Judas depicts Jesus as laughing at his disciples for praying to God in connection with a meal. Such notions are at odds with what is found in the canonical books.—Mark 14:22; 1 Corinthians 7:3-5; Galatians 3:28; Hebrews 7:26.

    Many of the apocryphal writings reflect beliefs of the Gnostics, who held that the Creator, Jehovah, is not a good God. They also believed that the resurrection is not literal, that all physical matter is evil, and that Satan was the source of marriage and procreation.
    A number of the apocryphal books are attributed to Bible characters but falsely so. Did some dark conspiracy exclude these books from the Bible? One expert on the apocrypha, M. R. James, said: “There is no question of any one’s having excluded them from the New Testament: they have done that for themselves.”
    http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200270408

  38. George M Jula says:

    George says:
    “The fact that the papyri were found in a garbage dump is about all I need to know. I’m sure there were those out to discredit Jesus and His Church. Propaganda is certainly not a modern concept.”

  39. ken calder says:

    As an evangelical Bible believing Christian I do not find a great deal of positivity in the articles of Bible History Daily.
    Strangely, I am left with the feeling that I am often reading `agnostic authors` rather than those who desire to prove bible history!

    KC

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