Excerpts from the Introduction to The Gospel of Thomas: A New Version Based on the Inner Meaning, by Andrew Phillip Smith
The Gospel of Thomas is the most significant and authentic piece of early Christian writing outside of the New Testament. It consists of a list of sayings, parables and dialogues attributed to Jesus, which it claims were written down by Judas Thomas the twin. Unlike the four gospels included in the New Testament, it contains no outline of Jesus’ life, no virgin birth, no miracles, no crucifixion or resurrection, focusing us Jesus’ teaching which, it tells us explicitly, is esoteric… But nothing outside of the New Testament is as early or contains as many authentic traditions of Jesus as the Gospel of Thomas.
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The best modern scholarly opinion dates the Gospel of Thomas, along with the four canonical gospels, to somewhere in the last quarter of the first century CE, with the core of the sayings perhaps formed in an earlier edition... The Gospel of Thomas must have been written around the same time as or a little earlier than the gospels in the New Testament.
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Perhaps the discovery of fragments at the turn of the twentieth century, and the entire text just after the Second World War were not accidental. Thomas is the gospel for the twentieth century and beyond. Were it not for an illiterate Egyptian murderer we would not possess this important key to the teachings of Jesus and the very earliest Christianity.
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