What is the Gospel of Thomas?

I was told that there was also a book from Thomas that was supposed to be in the New Testament. That this book put Mary Magdelen in a higher status than the others. And also, that the church destroyed this book (with others) because it was contradictory to its teachings. This sounds like something pulled out of The Da Vinci code - was this something from the Gnostic Bible?

The following article was written by Jimmy Akin:

Gospel of Thomas


Q. I recently saw the movie Stigmata, which talks about a “lost gospel” of Thomas that the Vatican “suppressed” because they were afraid of what it said. Is there any truth to this?

A. Not on your life. Though we had fragments of it earlier, a complete copy of the so-called Gospel of Thomas was discovered in 1945.

Once scholars had a copy of the whole thing, it was possible to see it for what it was: yet another gnostic-influenced “gospel” written in the second or third century, long after the canonical gospels were penned.

The Gospel of Thomas presents itself as a collection of sayings of Christ as written by Thomas the apostle.

A few of these sayings are genuine-because they were taken from the canonical gospels (duh!). Others combine bits of things said in the true
gospels. And still others are wholly made up, not only lacking any basis in the gospels but also contradicting things taught in them.

Consider, for example, the final saying Thomas contains: "Simon Peter said to them, ‘Make Mary leave us, for females don’t deserve life.’ Jesus said, ‘Look, I will guide her to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every female who makes herself male will enter the kingdom of heaven’ (Thomas 114).

This is just whacky. Jesus was a great respecter of women-as women (i.e., without them having to become like men). After all, as the Creator he himself had “made them male and female” (Matt. 19:4). And so whether one is a man or a woman makes no difference in salvation. As St. Paul said, “there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).

Let’s be frank about the so-called Gospel of Thomas: It’s a fake. It isn’t written by the apostle Thomas. It was written between one and two centuries after the death of the apostle. It contains some authentic sayings of Jesus because it is partially based on the canonical gospels. It contains a bunch of stuff that is just. It isn’t written under divine inspiration. It doesn’t belong in the Bible. And it isn’t a true gospel.

Trying to pretend it is anything more is just a joke-and a bad joke at that. Hollywood has simply decided that it wants to use a literary curiosity from the second or third century as the latest tool to portray the Catholic Church as sinister, conspiracy-ridden, and oppressive and, by extension, to portray all of Christianity in a negative light.

The plot of the movie Stigmata has nothing to do with how the Gospel of Thomas was actually discovered and, frankly, I must concur with film critic
Roger Ebert’s assessment: "‘Stigmata’ is possibly the funniest movie evermade about Catholicism-from a theological point of view. . . . The film, a storehouse of absurd theology, has the gall to end with one of those ‘factual’ title cards, in which we learn that the ‘Gospel of St. Thomas,’ said to be in Christ’s words, was denounced by the Vatican in 1945 as a ‘heresy.’ [James Akin adds: Really? Where’s the decree from the Holy Office?] That doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be out in paperback if there were a
market for it. It does mean the filmmakers have a shaky understanding of the difference between a heresy and a fake.

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