What is the Gospel of St. Thomas?


#1

I was wondering, What exactaly was the Gospel of St. Thomas? I heard of it in a previous thread. Is it the same one that is made refreance to in the movie Stigmata? And why does the Church not like it?


#2

Short version…It was likely a Gnostic gospel written attributed to Thomas who probably didn’t even know it was being written as he was likely in India at the time it was written. It’s a work of fiction.


#3

Here is a portion. It is a total fabrication. I pity whoever cannot see the lies and the great harm in it.

2. This child Jesus, when five years old, was playing in the ford of a mountain stream; and He collected the flowing waters into pools, and made them clear immediately, and by a word alone He made them obey Him. And having made some soft clay, He fashioned out of it twelve sparrows. And it was the Sabbath when He did these things. And there were also many other children playing with Him. And a certain Jew, seeing what Jesus was doing, playing on the Sabbath, went off immediately, and said to his father Joseph: Behold, thy son is at the stream, and has taken clay, and made of it twelve birds, and has profaned the Sabbath. And Joseph, coming to the place and seeing, cried out to Him, saying: Wherefore doest thou on the Sabbath what it is not lawful to do? And Jesus clapped His hands, and cried out to the sparrows, and said to them: Off you go! And the sparrows flew, and went off crying. And the Jews seeing this were amazed, and went away and reported to their chief men what they had seen Jesus doing.

3. And the son of Annas the scribe was standing there with Joseph; and he took a willow branch, and let out the waters which Jesus had collected. And Jesus, seeing what was done, was angry, and said to him: O wicked, impious, and foolish! what harm did the pools and the waters do to thee? Behold, even now thou shalt be dried up like a tree, and thou shalt not bring forth either leaves, or root, or fruit. And straightway that boy was quite dried up. And Jesus departed, and went to Joseph’s house. But the parents of the boy that had been dried up took him up, bewailing his youth, and brought him to Joseph, and reproached him because, said they, thou hast such a child doing such things.

4. After that He was again passing through the village; and a boy ran up against Him, and struck His shoulder. And Jesus was angry, and said to him: Thou shalt not go back the way thou camest. And immediately he fell down dead. And some who saw what had taken place, said: Whence was this child begotten, that every word of his is certainly accomplished? And the parents of the dead boy went away to Joseph, and blamed him, saying: Since thou hast such a child, it is impossible for thee to live with us in the village; or else teach him to bless, and not to curse: for he is killing our children.


#4

here is an article on the Gnostics…

catholic.com/thisrock/1996/9601fea1.asp


#5

sweetchuck, did you get that from a website? If so, you should post a link.

I point this out not to be pedantic about web etiquette, but because what you posted is not the Gospel of Thomas, but rather the so-called Infancy Gospel of Thomas. It’s pretty much a pack of legends thrown together, similar to the stories kids hear about George Washington - very little basis to them.

The Gospel of Thomas, on the other hand, is much truer to the actual teachings of Jesus. Which doesn’t mean it’s a “real” gospel, but certainly a number of the sayings are legit, and found in Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. There are probably even a few stories or sayings in the Gospel of Thomas which were uttered by Jesus, but are not found in the Four Gospels.

However, then you run into things like #114, where Jesus says women must become male in order to get to heaven.:whacky:


#6

It is a “sayings gospel.” It is a collection of “Jesus said” statements. It lacks the infancy narratives and the Passion and Resurrection narratives as well. Some New Testament scholars (like Elaine Pagels) have taken the Gospel of Thomas and elevated it above the four canonical Gospels and have even gone so far as to say that the fact that it lacks the infancy narrative and the Passion and Resurrection narratives lends credibility to their theories that those narratives were made up and added. I think that where its sayings can be corroborated with the four canonical Gospels it is accurate. Otherwise, it is heretical.


#7

I should add, in answer to the OP, that it is in fact the writings in the movie Stigmata. I think the allegation they make at some point in that movie is that the Church wants to suppress it because in some passages it seems to portray God as more omnipresent and directly accessible without a mediating church or priesthood (e.g. #3 “the kingdom is within you, and it is outside of you”)

As mentioned above, this is a gnostic idea. Another gnostic teaching found in Thomas is the idea that Jesus did not come with Good News to be proclaimed from the mountain top and freely available to all, but that the Kingdom was only available to a select few, those who had the secret knowledge (gnosis) passed down from Christ. (#2 “He who shall find the interpretation of these words shall not taste of death.”)

While the Church in the past may have occasionally been overzealous in hunting down heresy, the movie is just wacky about this. Bits of the Gospel of Thomas have always been known, but it was essentially lost until discovered in Nag Hammadi in 1945 (you can read the 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia to get a feel for that). However, there is no need for the Church to go traipsing around Latin America, or even Pittsburgh, in order to suppress a work that’s been widely available for half a century.


#8

What I find fascinating is that the Gnostic scriptures were lost for centuries upon centuries, and all we knew about them came primarily from the highly polemical “Against Heresies” by Ireneas. Yet, when we finally got our hands on some original Gnostic scriptures hidden away, finding them less than a hundred years ago, they portray exactly the beliefs that Ireneas described.

It had long been assumed that the Gnostics had simply been misunderstood or misrepresented, but in fact Ireneas knew exactly what they believed, and quite admirably and adequately ripped their beliefs to pieces.


#9

[quote=Ghosty]What I find fascinating is that the Gnostic scriptures were lost for centuries upon centuries, and all we knew about them came primarily from the highly polemical “Against Heresies” by Ireneas. Yet, when we finally got our hands on some original Gnostic scriptures hidden away, finding them less than a hundred years ago, they portray exactly the beliefs that Ireneas described.

It had long been assumed that the Gnostics had simply been misunderstood or misrepresented, but in fact Ireneas knew exactly what they believed, and quite admirably and adequately ripped their beliefs to pieces.
[/quote]

This is interesting, I would love to hear more. Like what were a few things that Irenaeus refuted? And what exactly is Gnostic?

I have looked at this list under the “Apocrypha” section, but I dont know what books are truth and what are lies, like some say “Gnostic”, most of them are “Acts of (name)” or “Apocalypse of (name)”. All I can conclude is that there was a lot of junk and confusion out there, thank God for the Catholic Church. Anyway why are these books listed here in the first place if they are bad news?


#10

This is interesting, I would love to hear more. Like what were a few things that Irenaeus refuted? And what exactly is Gnostic?

Both questions are best answered in Irenaeus’ own work “Against Heresies”. To say it’s comprehensive would be to belittle it. Book One discusses the various heresies, as there were MANY different ones, and the subsequent books demolish the individual ideas of those heresies. If you want a list of some of the beliefs he countered, follow that link and look at the books after Book One, because each chapter deals with a different false idea, and they are named according to those ideas. The first chapter of Book One deals with the Valentians, who were themselves a prominent Gnostic sect.

Gnostic is a broad term dealing with the beliefs in “secret knowledge” that saves, rather than faith or works. I am saved because I know God, and some people are smart enough to know the truth, while other’s aren’t. The actual knowledge in question varies between Gnostic sects, but the idea that God, and salvation, are actually a kind of super-knowledge that fundamentally changes someone’s being. Nietzsche is a good example of a modernist Gnostic.

In the early days of Christianity, Gnostics tried to take Christian ideas and symbols and apply them to their pre-existing Gnostic faith, and so many of the early heresies were Gnostic in character. Irenaeus was a very early (150 A.D.) Catholic writer who took the Gnostics head-on, fairly summarizing their beliefs and then clearly demonstrating that they were incompatible with Christian thought and theology. For a long time we only had his summaries to go on, as the “Christian” Gnostics were thoroughly lost to history until the last century. Since discovering the Nag Hammadi texts, however, which were apparently hidden away by Gnostics, we’ve discovered that Irenaeus perfectly represented Gnostic beliefs and claims; he didn’t try to distort them at all in refuting them.

For a modern refutation of modern Gnosticism, I HIGHLY recommend G.K. Chesterton, a genius that is painfully under-regarded by the secular world, and not known enough in the Christian/Catholic one. He probably has the most plain-sense refutations of Gnosticism/Modernism in the history of human thought, and while he draws a lot on Christian terms, that has more to do with the fact that Christianity, espescially Catholicism, avoids the biggest errors of such philosophies. This realization specifically actually led Chesterton to go from being a secularist to a full-fledged, ardent Catholic.

Enjoy!


#11

[quote=Digitonomy]sweetchuck, did you get that from a website? If so, you should post a link.

I point this out not to be pedantic about web etiquette, but because what you posted is not the Gospel of Thomas, but rather the so-called Infancy Gospel of Thomas. It’s pretty much a pack of legends thrown together, similar to the stories kids hear about George Washington - very little basis to them.
[/quote]

eh, whatever. Newadvent calls this the Gospel of Thomas. My bad on the confusing nature of newadvent.org’s entry.

newadvent.org/fathers/0846.htm

I appreciate your lecture on web ettiquette, however, an ancient manuscript that is more than twice as old as the Magna Carta is not protected by copyright. I identified the text; in quoting an uncopyrighted work, that’s all you have to do. And if there is a separate Gospel of Thomas, perhaps newadvent.org should consider amending the title of the infancy so-called gospel. But thank you for correcting me.


#12

One thing to consider is that frequently, the apocryphal gospels like the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Mary and so on attempted to snatch credibility that they lacked in attributing authorship to one of the original disciples of Jesus. The thing that lends credibility to especially Matthew, Mark and Luke is that they were not one of the original Apostles, yet they all wrote similar accounts from three separate social milieus (see “Jesus Christ” by Roch Kereszty). The original Apostles, with the exception of John, were not concerned with writing things down, but with going out in the world to evangelize. Many were martyred because of their faith in the resurrection. John on the other hand was instructed by the Spirit to write for our sake, which is why we have the Gospel of John - a direct eyewitness account into the life of Jesus - and Revelation.

If you do read the Gospel of Thomas, I suggest you read the entire New Testament first, understanding clearly the cohesiveness of the Christian message. Then read the forgery attributed to Thomas and discover why it does not fit that cohesiveness. For the gnostics who deny the divinity of Jesus, the fact that the Gospel of Thomas is filled with sayings and is not at all concerned with Jesus’ Incarnation or the Resurrection is evidence that they wanted to divinize their own beliefs by forging an account of Jesus, written nearly two centuries after his death.


#13

So many Christians “wet their pants” over the subject of the Gospel of Thomas, and cock-a-doodle-doo that “It’s GNOSTIC! It’s GNOSTIC!” But I’ve read the readable parts of the Nag Hammadi scrolls and Irenaeus’ Against Heresy and The Secret Books of the Egyptian Gnostics, cover to cover, and I just don’t see anything “Gnostic” about the so-called Gospel of St. Thomas.

If you ask me, it’s a Christian teacher’s teaching syllabus!

Critics keep dragging out the same tired verse or two as “examples” of how misguided and apoplectically eeeeeeeeeeevilllllllllllll the Gospel of Thomas is, but properly understood those verses can be interpreted as non-Gnostic AND theologically sound.

Everybody should stop “wetting their pants” over the work, calm way way way down, and view the work dispassionately.


#14

[quote=BibleReader]So many Christians “wet their pants” over the subject of the Gospel of Thomas, and cock-a-doodle-doo that “It’s GNOSTIC! It’s GNOSTIC!” But I’ve read the readable parts of the Nag Hammadi scrolls and Irenaeus’ Against Heresy and The Secret Books of the Egyptian Gnostics, cover to cover, and I just don’t see anything “Gnostic” about the so-called Gospel of St. Thomas.

If you ask me, it’s a Christian teacher’s teaching syllabus!

Critics keep dragging out the same tired verse or two as “examples” of how misguided and apoplectically eeeeeeeeeeevilllllllllllll the Gospel of Thomas is, but properly understood those verses can be interpreted as non-Gnostic AND theologically sound.

Everybody should stop “wetting their pants” over the work, calm way way way down, and view the work dispassionately.
[/quote]

:nope:

You just don’t get it. Really, you don’t. Perhaps you should take your Christian teacher’s syllabus more seriously.

Fact of the matter is, it is a forgery written around the year 200, attributed to Thomas the Apostle. If it begins in a lie, and since Satan is the author of lies, well … that should tell you who inspired it.

Would you take anything seriously I said if I wrote a book called the private life of Jesus in which I fabricated his private life and said it was written by Simon the tentmaker, the childhood best friend of Jesus? I think not. But what would the difference be between that and the Gospel of Thomas? Both are born in a lie and neither were written in the time of or by a contemporary or a son of a contemporary or a son of a son of a contemporary of Jesus.


#15

[quote=BibleReader]So many Christians “wet their pants” over the subject of the Gospel of Thomas, and cock-a-doodle-doo that “It’s GNOSTIC! It’s GNOSTIC!” But I’ve read the readable parts of the Nag Hammadi scrolls and Irenaeus’ Against Heresy and The Secret Books of the Egyptian Gnostics, cover to cover, and I just don’t see anything “Gnostic” about the so-called Gospel of St. Thomas.

If you ask me, it’s a Christian teacher’s teaching syllabus!

Critics keep dragging out the same tired verse or two as “examples” of how misguided and apoplectically eeeeeeeeeeevilllllllllllll the Gospel of Thomas is, but properly understood those verses can be interpreted as non-Gnostic AND theologically sound.

Everybody should stop “wetting their pants” over the work, calm way way way down, and view the work dispassionately.
[/quote]

Peace be with you!

Does this stuff sound like a Christian teaher’s teaching syllabus?

  1. Jesus said, “Men think, perhaps, that it is peace which have come to cast upon the world. They do not know that it is dissension which I have come to cast upon the earth: fire, sword, and war. For there will be five in a house: three will be against two, and two against three, the father against the son, and the son against the father. And they will stand solitary.”

  2. <Jesus said,> “Whoever does not hate his father and his mother as I do cannot become a disciple to Me. And whoever does [not] love his father and his mother as I do cannot become a [disciple] to Me. For My mother [gave me falsehood], but [My] true [Mother] gave me life.”

How is someone supposed to interpret that one? Jesus is ordering us to hate our own parents?

And of course, my personal favorite, this one:

  1. Simon Peter said to Him, "Let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of Life."
    Jesus said, “I myself shall lead her in order to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every woman who will make herself male will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

And this is supposed to be used by Christian teachers? That last one doesn’t even mention which Mary is being referred to. But to suggest either Mary Magdalene or, God forbid, Mary the mother of Christ, is being referred to here is heresy (especially in the case of Christ’s mother).
I think that this “gospel” must have from the evil one because it has all the characteristics of him: it contains just enough truth within the lie for some people to believe it.

In Christ,
Rand


#16

[quote=Rand Al’Thor]Peace be with you!

Does this stuff sound like a Christian teaher’s teaching syllabus?

  1. Jesus said, “Men think, perhaps, that it is peace which have come to cast upon the world. They do not know that it isdissension which I have come to cast upon the earth: fire, sword,and war. For there will be five in a house: three will be againsttwo, and two against three, the father against the son, and the son against the father. And they will stand solitary.”

Rand

[/quote]

Oh, Rand! For shame! You don’t know your Bible! How many years have you been attending Mass?

**34 ****"Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. ****35 ****For I have come to set a man 'against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; ****36 **and one’s enemies will be those of his household.’" Matthew 10:34-36

**51 ****"Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. ****52 ****From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; ****53 **a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law." Luke 12:51-53.

Do you see what I mean? The author of the Gospel of Thomas is teaching Bible!


#17

[quote=Rand Al’Thor]Peace be with you!

Does this stuff sound like a Christian teaher’s teaching syllabus?

  1. <Jesus said,> “Whoever does not hate his father and hismother as I do cannot become a disciple to Me. And whoever does[not] love his father and his mother as I do cannot become a[disciple] to Me. For My mother [gave me falsehood], but [My] true [Mother] gave me life.”

How is someone supposed to interpret that one? Jesus is ordering us to hate our own parents?

In Christ,
Rand

[/quote]

Oh, Rand! Read your Bible!

**26 **“If any one comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26.

18 An official asked him this question, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 Jesus answered him, “…20 You know the commandments, ‘honor your father and your mother.’” Luke 18:18, 20.

In effect, you are looking at a teacher’s notes to himself about seemingly contradictory statements by Jesus, which the teacher will resolve in class.


#18

[quote=Montie Claunch]I was wondering, What exactaly was the Gospel of St. Thomas? I heard of it in a previous thread. Is it the same one that is made refreance to in the movie Stigmata? And why does the Church not like it?
[/quote]

Depends on what Hollywood movie you are watching! -:slight_smile:

Actually its a “Gnostic” gospel and is a work of fiction.


#19

Your personal favorite is one of the verses I said the critics who wet their pants over the Gospel of Thomas always roll out for display.

Throughout the Bible, the Man Type = “God,” “representative of God,” or “empowered by God.” The Woman Type = “mankind in need of salvation.” That’s probably the reason why, in Scripture, Paul always says, “My brothers,” not “My brothers and sisters.” Typologically, “making a woman a man” is a kind of “picture” of making a person “in need of salvation” into one “empowered by God.”

The author of these notes – what I believe is a teacher’s syllabus – portrays Peter as speaking negatively about one of the Mary’s. The gospels have Peter speaking MANY stupid things.

On one occasion – apparently seconds after Jesus says, “You are Peter,” etc. – Jesus says, in response to one of Peter’s stupid statements, “GET BEHIND ME, YOU SATAN!!!”

Perhaps, to introduce the subject of typology in the genders in the Bible, the author of what I believe was a syllabus for teaching classic, correct Christian theology merely created a hypothetical in which Peter was just saying one more stupid thing.


#20

You just don’t get it. Really, you don’t. Perhaps you should take your Christian teacher’s syllabus more seriously.

Fact of the matter is, it is a forgery written around the year 200, attributed to Thomas the Apostle. If it begins in a lie, and since Satan is the author of lies, well … that should tell you who inspired it.

[/quote]

RELAX, relax, relax, sweetchuck. Read Posts 16 and 17. Look at how completely incorrect Rand Al’Thor’s criticisms were, in the case of those two paragraphs.

Like you, he apoplectically concluded that the one who says Jesus said the quoted lines was “Satanic,” “eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-villlllllllllllllllllllllllll, heh, heh, heh” (as the author of the suspect paragraphs tweaks the end of his snidely whiplash mustache).

But, as you can see, the author of the eeeeeeeeeeee-villllllllllllllllllll words WAS Jesus!

Calm down!


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