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Is the Gospel of Thomas Gnostic?
01/02/2018

Quotes from:  The Gospel of Thomas and Christian Wisdom, Stevan L. Davies, The Seabury Press, New York, 1983

Unfortunately, almost immediately after the publication of the Gospel of Thomas, books and articles were written which dismissed Thomas as "gnostic." Because of these books and articles, there has been very little discussion of Thomas during the past fifteen years. If Thomas is "Gnostic" then perhaps Christians need pay little attention to it. P. 3

Almost all of the scholars who have written about the Gospel of Thomas have presumed that Thomas is "Gnostic." It was presumed to be so mainly because it was discovered as part of the Nag Hammadi library, a collection of documents found buried in the sand near the town of Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in 1945. P. 3

We must now return to the question of whether Thomas is a Gnostic document. I initially thought that I could prove it is not by showing that none of the definitive traits of Gnosticism  is present in Thomas. To my surprise I have found that there are no certainly definitive traits of Gnosticism and that, in fact, Gnostic is less a descriptive term than a term of abuse. When authors who claim that Thomas is Gnostic explain what they mean by Gnostic (and this they rarely do) , they tend to admit that Thomas has almost no Gnostic characteristics.
     The conclusion  that Thomas is Gnostic is based upon the premise that Thomas is Gnostic. It was found  among a collection of documents , many of them Gnostic, and so it is argued Thomas must be Gnostic. P. 22

Guilt by association does not carry over to all other Nag Hammadi documents….The blanket  presumption that all Nag Hammadi documents are ipso facto Gnostic is false. P. 24

Gnostic, as I have said, is often simply a word, devoid of specific content, carrying pejorative connotation; it is a polemic term. Hence, one can preface words with "Gnostic" and produce what appears to be significance but is only negative judgment. Simply calling loggia Gnostic without further explanation is a technique of several writers on the Gospel of Thomas. P. 25

As can be seen from the above quotes, the designation that this document is Gnostic is unfounded, and this site does not interpret the Gospel as being so. The Gospel of Thomas is an important eyewitness account, the second alongside the Gospel of John.

 

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