Gospel of Thomas


What is the view of the Church about reading some Gospels that are not in the Catholic Bible for instance “the gospel of Thomas”?


The gospel of Thomas is not part of the canon that was approved by the Magisterium, the official teacher of the Church.

Those gospels were written by various sects and cults after the approved Gospels were written. They can lead one to error.

There is much information that can be read about such gospels, with explanation as to why they are not in the canon of the Scriptures, and can be misleading.


Thanks Dorothy. That means in the essence we are not ought †̥Ơ̴̴̴̴͡ read such books. But does the church expressly prohibits its reading?


[quote="McDandy, post:3, topic:319653"]
Thanks Dorothy. That means in the essence we are not ought †̥Ơ̴̴̴̴͡ read such books. But does the church expressly prohibits its reading?


I'm not aware that we are forbidden to read them - I would suppose it would be not good for some to read them as they may be swayed by them . In other cases those who read them may want to understand what the error of the thinking of that time was, and how it affected the Church, and how the Church dealt with it.

I own and highly recommend the DVD "Lost Gospels or False Gospels?" (Ignatius Press) It clearly explained to me a lot of things about Gnostic Gospels. Father Mitch Pacwa speaks, along with many others. It is 56 minutes long, and I had to watch it several times, taking notes, so I could understand it all. There is a lot of information in there and I couldn't grasp it all in one sitting. There are helpful visuals as well.

I still need to watch it, and learn to articulate myself when discussing it with others. :)

You can read about that DVD here:


I am surprised that it didn't get a higher rating......perhaps that happens to the truth. There are only a few reviews.


Hi McDandy,

As Dorothy says, Catholics can read such writings but the Church does not authorise their contents. I don't like to ascribe the word 'gospel' to Thomas as it seems to give the document a sense of authentic parity with the 4 gospels which on reading and research is obviously not the case.

That being said, personally i like quite a few of the sayings in the document and would like to think that some of these attributed sayings might go back to Jesus, although it is all conjecture.


Thanks dear brethren. I know I will find answer to my confusions and clear all my illusions. First I will look for the DVD. I need to know the truth about the origin and authors of such books. Thanks and anybody who has more recommendable catholic books should do so for me


Most of the contents of the Gospel of St. Thomas is already contained in the canonical gospels anyway, only a small portion of it seems to be original. There's not much in it that contradicts Catholic teaching... The only issue that could be a problem would be that in it Jesus says his disciples should "go to James the Just, for whose sake heaven and earth came into being" for guidance, after He has ascended into heaven. This would conflict with the authority of Peter.

That said, there's no harm in reading it, it's a beautiful text with a lot of food for thought. Some scholars actually think it may be the earliest gospel, based on linguistic cues in the text and that fact that there is no narrative to it -- it's just a collection of sayings. But we'll never know, unless an earlier manuscript is discovered that what we currently have available to us.


Coincidence, I was just reading the parable of the Empty Jar on wiki, it says this:

"The scholars of the Jesus Seminar gave the Parable of the Empty Jar a "pink" rating, indicating that it is in their opinion probably, but not certainly, an authentic saying of Jesus."

So not sure, there are some parables that are not consistent with the things that Christ would say eg. Assasin parable en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_assassin

which also got a pink rating, but the inconsistent thing is this: "The authenticity of this parable has been attacked on the grounds that Jesus would not use a parable that glorifies murder, and because of its use of the phrase "the kingdom of the father" which is not found in the canonical gospels."

So maybe just concentrate on the canonical gospels, there's enough to go off in the NT, in knowing Christ's example.


There can be value in studying these sort of writings, for example, to see other views of Christ, or other traditions of what he said and did. However, the scholar must always remember that they do present other views of Christ, which are somehow unorthodox--or the Church would have accepted them.

For example, let's consider the Gospel of Thomas. It was written later than the canonical Gospels, probably after A.D. 100, although it does use earlier material. However, this puts it 70-100+ years after Jesus died, while the earlier Gospels were closer to the experience, and thus reflect a time when people could respond to correct errors in how Jesus was portrayed.

More to the point, it hints that only those who seek and find the hidden meanings of what Jesus said will be saved. That is, it is Gnostic: it depends on a "secret knowledge" that is available only to the elite. Did Jesus come to save all people, to will that everyone be saved? If you believe yes, you cannot believe that he would then hide that knowledge away for an elite. You cannot be an orthodox Catholic and a Gnostic.

Similarly, you cannot believe that the Gospel of Thomas is inspired and should be classed with the New Testament. Therefore, it can be a useful tool for study, but we must be careful when reading it. And, for most of the faithful, there really is no point to reading it, since what is true is already found in orthodox writings, while what is false is not helpful anyway.


"Let none read the gospel according to Thomas, for it is the work, not of one of the twelve apostles, but of one of Mani's three wicked disciples."
—Cyril of Jerusalem, Cathechesis V (4th century)

All churches which holds East Syriac (Chaldean)Tradition is believed to be established St Thomas. It is also known as Church of East or Church of Babylon. It is Asian branch of Catholicism. Catholicism in Europe considered Latin as official Language. Catholicism in Asia considered Aramaic (Syriac) (Language spoken by Jesus during his Earthly life) . My church (Syro Malabar) is believed to be established by Apostle St Thomas. St Thomas established church in Babylonia (Chaldea) ,handed over its rule to Apostle Bartholomew and Apostle Jude Thaddeus and gone to India for preaching Christianity.

We are not using any Gospel written by St Thomas. It is a heretic Gospel of Gnostic Christians , written in 4th century in the name of St Thomas ( That means no connection with him).

But there is another text named Acts of Thomas written between AD 200- 225. It is not part of bible (Only Pope of Rome , have the ultimate authority to decide whether it should be part of bible or not) . But it provides us great source of information about mission of St Thomas in India


List of patriarchs in East syriac church from Apostole St thomas.



List of East syriac Patriarchs from the time of Apostle thomas


Acts of Apostole thomas (Written between AD 200-225)



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