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 Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement series and is part of the Early Christianity in Context series.
April D. DeConick (Ph.D., University of Michigan, Near Eastern Studies) is Isla Carroll and Percy E. Turner Professor of Biblical Studies at Rice University, Texas. She is the author of Seek to See Him: Ascent and Vision Mysticism in the Gospel of Thomas (Brill, 1996); Voices of the Mystics: Early Christian Discourse in the Gospels of John, Thomas and Other Ancient Christian Literature (T&T Clark, 2001); Recovering the Original Gospel of Thomas: A History of the Gospel and Its Growth (T&T Clark, 2005); The Original Gospel of Thomas in Translation: With a Commentary and New English Translation of the Complete Gospel (T&T Clark, 2006). She has recently edited a volume of papers, Paradise Now: Essays on Early Jewish and Christian Mysticism (Society of Biblical Literature, 2006) and co-edited Thomasine Traditions in Antiquity: The Social and Cultural World of the Gospel of Thomas (Brill, 2005).She just completed a book on the Gospel of Judas, the first to seriously challenge the interpretation and translation published by National Geographic (2006). Her book is entitled The Thirteenth Apostle: What the Gospel of Judas Really Says (London: Continuum, 2007). She is currently writing a book on Gnostic Spirituality, and editing a volume on mysticism in the New Testament Gospels for the New Testament Mysticism Project.
- Part One: Mapping A Methodology; Chapter 1: The "new" Traditionsgeschichtliche Approach; Chapter 2: The Engimatic Gospel Of Thomas; Ichapter 3: The Rolling Gospel Of Thomas; Part Two: Recovering The Kernel; Chapter 4: An Early Christian Speech Gospel; Chapter 5: The Imminent Apocalypse; Part Three: Assessing The Accretions; Chapter 6: The Collapse Of The Apocalypse; Chapter 7: The Restoration Of Eden; Chapter 8: The In-gathering Of Stories; Chapter 9: The Immanent Apocalypse; Chapter 10: Thomas And Christian Origins.