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Pseudepigraphic text which relates the adventures of the apostle Judas Thomas as he preaches an ascetical or encratite form of Christianity on the way to and from India. Like other apocryphal acts combining popular legend and religious propaganda, the work attempts to entertain and instruct. Some form of the work was clearly in circulation by the end of the 4th century when testimonies begin.
The Gospel of Thomas is very different in tone and structure from other New Testament apocrypha and the four Canonical Gospels.
Unlike the canonical Gospels, it is not a narrative account of the life of Jesus; instead, it consists of logia (sayings) attributed to Jesus, sometimes stand-alone, sometimes embedded in short dialogues or parables.
Scholars have proposed a date as early as 40 AD or as late as 140 AD, depending upon whether the Gospel of Thomas is identified with the original core of sayings, or with the author's published text, or with the Greek or Coptic texts, or with parallels in other literature.
Valantasis and other scholars argue that it is difficult to date Thomas because, as a collection of logia without a narrative framework, individual sayings could have been added to it gradually over time.
While the Gospel of Thomas does not directly point to Jesus' divinity, it also does not directly contradict it, and therefore neither supports nor contradicts gnostic beliefs.
When asked his identity in the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus usually deflects, ambiguously asking the disciples why they do not see what is right in front of them, similar to some passages in the canonical gospels like John and Luke .
Davies argues that the apparent independence of the ordering of sayings in Thomas from that of their parallels in the synoptics shows that Thomas was not evidently reliant upon the canonical gospels and probably predated them.
Several authors argue that when the logia in Thomas do have parallels in the synoptics, the version in Thomas often seems closer to the source.
Scholars generally fall into one of two main camps: an "early camp" favoring a date for the "core" of between the years 50 and 100, before or approximately contemporary with the composition of the canonical gospels and a "late camp" favoring a date in the 2nd century, after composition of the canonical gospels.
Theissen and Merz argue the genre of a collection of sayings was one of the earliest forms in which material about Jesus was handed down.
This fact, along with the quite different wording Hippolytus uses when apparently quoting it (see below), suggests that the Gospel of Thomas "may have circulated in more than one form and passed through several stages of redaction." Although it is generally thought that the Gospel of Thomas was first composed in Greek, there is evidence that the Coptic Nag Hammadi text is a translation from Syriac (see Syriac origin).Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating