Recovering the Original Gospel of Thomas
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...
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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. This is volume 286 in the Library of New Testament Studies series and is part of the Early Christianity in Context series.
This book explores the fascinating and enigmatic collection of 114 sayings of Jesus, the 'Gospel of Thomas' that was discovered in the sands of Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in the 1940's. Since its discovery, scholars and the public alike have been intrigued to know what the Gospel says and what light it sheds on the formation of early Christianity.
Here, DeConick provides a new English translation of the entire Gospel of Thomas, which includes the original 'kernel' of the Gospel and all the sayings. A unique feature of this book is that translations to the parallels of the Gospel are also included.
April D. DeConick, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Religion at the Illinois Wesleyan University. Most recently, she is the authoress of Voices of the Mystics: Early Christian Dialogue in the Gospels of John and Thomas and Other Ancient Christian Literature (2001) and Recovering the Original Gospel of Thomas: A History of the Gospel and Its Growth (2005). She is currently completing a translation ans commentary called The Original Gospel of Thomas in Translation.
- Part One: Mapping A Methodology; Chapter 1: The "new" Traditionsgeschichtliche Approach; I. The Historical Contexture Of Traditions; Ii. The Communal Nature Of Traditions; Iii. The Responsive Nature Of Traditions; Iv. The Shift Of Traditions; V. Streams Of Traditions; Vi. The Transmission Of Traditions; Chapter 2: The Engimatic Gospel Of Thomas; I. Previously Proposed Compositional Models; A. Literate Model; B. Oral-literate Model; C. Redaction Model; Ii. The Rolling Corpus Model; A. Oral Consciousness; B. Multivalency; C. Structure; Chapter 3: The Rolling Gospel Of Thomas; I. Principle Of Development; A. Development Of Form; B. Coherence To Characteristic Vocabulary And Themes; C. Anachronisms; Ii. Principle Of Responsiveness; A. Responses Reflecting General Christian Experiences; B. Responses Reflecting Particular Community Experiences; Iii. Principle Of Constituency; A. Shifts In Composition; B. Shifts In Hermeneutics; Part Two: Recovering The Kernel; Chapter 4 An Early Christian Speech Gospel; I. Five Kernel Speeches. A. First Speech: Eschatological Urgency; B. Second Speech: Eschatological Challenges; C. Third Speech: Exclusive Commitment To Jesus; D. Fourth Speech: The Selection Of The Worthy Few; E. Fifth Speech: The Imminent Kingdom Of God; Ii. The Prophet-orator; A. The Prophet In Conservative Christian Judaism; B. The Prophet In Ebionism; C. The Prophet In The Kernel; Chapter 5: The Imminent Apocalypse; I. The Eschatological And Mystical Dimensions Of Apocalyptic; Ii. Apocalyptic Expectations In The Kernel Sayings; A. Unprecedented Chaos; B. Reversal Of World Order; C. Destruction Of The Temple; D. Final Judgment; Iii. The Son Of Man Tradition; Iv. The Origins Of The Kernel Gospel; Part Three: Assessing The Accretions; Chapter 6: The Collapse Of The Apocalypse; I. When The End Did Not Come; Ii. Accretive Responses To The Non-event; A. The Fully Present Kingdom On Earth; B. The Primordial Adam And The Encratic Ideal; C. Mysticism; Iii. The Hermeneutical Shift; Chapter 7: The Restoration Of Eden; I. Sexuality In Second Temple Judaism; Ii. Sexuality In Earliest Christianity; Iii. Encratism And The Role Of Eschatology; Iv. Encratism And The Role Of Protology; V. The Origins Of Thomas' Encratism; Chapter 8: The In-gathering Of Stories; I. The Jewish Mystical Story; A. The Heavenly Man Of Light; B. The Radiant Image And Its Loss; C. The Restoration Of The Lost Image; Ii. The Hermetic Story; A. The Fallen Soul; B. The Recovery Of The Soul; Chapter 9: The Immanent Apocalypse; I. Thomas' Mysticism; A. The Image Of God And The Divine Double; B. The Fallen Condition Of The Soul; C. The Path Of Liberation; Ii. The Origins Of Thomas' Mysticism; A. Alexandrian Christian Mysticism; B. The Adaptation Of The Kernel; Chapter 10: Thomas And Christian Origins.