Recovering the Original Gospel of Thomas: A History of the Gospel and its Growth
Recovering the Original Gospel of Thomas: A History of the Gospel and its Growth

Recovering the Original Gospel of Thomas: A History of the Gospel and its Growth

in The Library of New Testament Studies

by April D. DeConick

Pages 320
Publisher T&T Clark
Published 2005
ISBN-13 9780567043429
The Gospel of Thomas is an enigmatic collection of 114 sayings of Jesus. Here, April DeConick explores tough questions that have occupied scholars since the discovery of this gospel in the sands of Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in the 1940's. Where did this gospel come from? When was it written? Who wrote it? Why was it composed? What is its meaning?

Rather than taking the conventional approach to answering these questions, DeConick examines these issues anew by proposing that the gospel developed within a climate dominated by oral consciousness as a product of communal memory. She argues that the gospel was a "rolling corpus," a book of sayings that grew over time, beginning as a simple written gospel containing oracles of the prophet Jesus. This suggests that the sayings in the gospel represent different moments in the history of the Thomasine community and can be read as memoirs of practices, beliefs, and conflicts that arose within the community over time.

As the community faced various crises and constituency changes, including the delay of the Eschaton and the need to accommodate Gentiles within the group, its traditions were reinterpreted and the sayings in their gospel updated, accommodating the present experiences of the community.

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