Why Christians can't disregard the Gospel of Thomas

metroatheists's picture

Why Christians can’t disregard The Gospel of Thomas

In a recent debate with a Christian, he told me that The Gospel of Thomas is “simply a heretical forgery, much the same as the Gospel of Judas, the Gospel of Mary, and the Gospel of Philip.” After an extensive amount of research, I have found that his statement has some profound ramifications. I went through all 114 sayings in The Gospel of Thomas and found that approx. 84%* of the sayings are contained within the Canonical Gospels, either verbatim or slightly changed in wording. Some of these sayings are the “important” ones. (Examples of this are below1) Ones that most Christians themselves point to about how compassionate Jesus was, such as “turn the other cheek” and “love thy neighbor as thyself”, are in the Gospel of Thomas. (Sources and characters are at the bottom)

When was the Gospel of Thomas written?

Experts, through radiometric dating, have dated the Gospel of Thomas found at Nag Hammadi to being written between 50-140CE. This is startling, considering the Gospel of Mark, at its earliest, was written between 65-80CE. At the earliest, that is at least 15 years after the Gospel of Thomas was written. One then should be able to conclude then, that writer of The Gospel of Mark simply took the sayings from The Gospel of Thomas and inserted them into stories. He plagiarized the Gospel of Thomas, to use today’s legalistic terms.

What does this all mean?

This means that one cannot make the statement “[The Gospel of Thomas] is simply a heretical forgery, much the same as the Gospel of Judas, the Gospel of Mary, and the Gospel of Philip.” and yet continuously quote scripture derived directly from it. If the Gospel of Thomas is nothing more than a “heretical forgery” than you (Christians) will have to rid the New Testament of “the great moral precepts and great sayings”, Jesus is said to have taught, such as “turn the other cheek” and “give to those who can’t repay you”. Likewise, you would also get rid of some questionable teachings, such as “hating your father, mother, brother, sister and yourself in order to follow Jesus” and “I have not come to bring peace to the world, but a sword”. Bottom line is, if you write off the Gospel of Thomas as heretical you are getting rid of almost all the sayings, good and bad, that your demi-god Jesus is supposed to have said, and having read the New Testament, you would not be left with much.

Examples

Gospel of Thomas Saying 55- "Jesus said: He who does not hate his father and his mother cannot be a disciple to me. And (he who does not) hate his brothers and sisters and take up his cross like me, will not be worthy of me."

Luke 14:25-27- "Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said:"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple."

Gospel of Thomas Saying 44- "Jesus said: He who blasphemes against the Father will be forgiven, and he who blasphemes against the Son will be forgiven; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either on earth or in heaven."

Mark 3:28-30 "Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation. Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit."

Matt 12:31-32- "Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come."

Gospel of Thomas Saying 34- "Jesus said: If a blind man leads a blind man, they both fall into a pit."

Luke 6:39- "And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?"

Gospel of Thomas Saying 11- "Jesus said: This heaven will pass away, and the one above it will pass away; and those who are dead are not alive, and those who are living will not die. In the days when you ate of what is dead, you made of it what is living. When you come to be light, what will you do? On the day when you were one, you became two. But when you have become two, what will you do?"

Mark 13:30-31- "Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away."

Gospel of Thomas Saying 2- "Jesus said: He who seeks, let him not cease seeking until he finds; and when he finds he will be troubled, and when he is troubled he will be amazed, and he will reign over the All."

Luke 11:9-13-"And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"

and

Matt 7:7-11-"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?"

Gospel of Thomas Saying 10- "Jesus said: I have cast a fire upon the world, and see, I watch over it until it is ablaze."

Luke 12:49-53- "I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law."

and

Matt 10:34-39- "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a mans foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it."

Gospel of Thomas 16- "Jesus said: Perhaps men think that I am come to cast peace upon the world; and they do not know that I am come to cast dissensions upon the earth, fire, sword, war. For there will be five who are in a house; three shall be against two and two against three, the father against the son and the son against the father, and they shall stand as solitaries."

Matt 10:34-39- "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a mans foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it."

Gospel of Thomas Saying 62- "Jesus said: I speak my mysteries to those [who are worthy of my] mysteries. What your right hand does, let not your left hand know what it does."

Mark 4:10-12- "And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them."

Gospel of Thomas Saying 68- "Jesus said: Blessed are you when you are hated and persecuted, and they will find no place where you have been persecuted."

Luke 6:22-23- "Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of mans sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets."

Gospel of Thomas Saying 77- "Jesus said: I am the light that is above them all. I am the all; the all came forth from me, and the all attained to me. Cleave a (piece of) wood; I am there. Raise up a stone, and you will find me there."

John 8:12-20- "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true. Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go. Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me. Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also. These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come."

Gospel of Thomas Saying 38- "Jesus said: Many times have you desired to hear these words which I speak to you, and you have no other from whom to hear them. Days will come when you will seek me (and) you will not find me."

Luke 17:22- "And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it."

Sources

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/thomas/

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/

http://www.biblegateway.com/

*-The exact percentage is 84.2105% for those who thought I approximated by rounded up.

1 – For the full list of findings please email me at metroatheists@hotmail.com

By Joel

RRS @ MSCD

Dating

Let's do a little peer-review here. Since your whole argument rests on your claim that "Experts, through radiometric dating, have dated the Gospel of Thomas found at Nag Hammadi to being written between 50-140CE.", I think it should be in order to cite a reference for this. I for one was interested in this piece of information which can support other arguments as well, but couldn't find a reliable source for the claim.

Could you cite your source?


Cheers,
Juan

 


[edit: In particular, the wikipedia article for the Gospel of Thomas has this to say:

"Date of Composition

There is currently much debate about when the text was composed, with scholars generally falling into two main camps: an early camp favoring a date between the years 50 and 70, approximately before or contemporary to the composition of the canonical gospels, and a late camp favoring a date, well after the canonical gospels were written, in the early 2nd century."

That is, it isn't clear whether this gospel is pre-markian or not.]

aye source would be nice

Yea I'd like to see the source as well however there's much better places to find a source than Wikipedia for crying out loud juang. Wikipedia isn't an acceptable source in college so I don't consider it a source here either. Now references used in a wikipidia article may be however; so like an encylopedia it can be a good starting point but that's about it.

This source says repeatedly that dating it is impossible but the use of that word to me implies that he doesn't WANT it dated and is betraying his prejudice on the side of religion.

Kingdom of God

In Gospel of Thomas, Jesus says, "If those who lead you say to you, 'look, the Kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds will get there first. If they say 'it's in the ocean,' then the fish will get there first. But the Kingdom of God is within you and outside of you. Once you come to know yourselves, you will become known. And you will know that it is you who are the children of the living father." When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that you are children of the living Father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you live in poverty, and you are the poverty."

In New testament - Bible, In Luke 17:20-21 Christ said, “The kingdom of God comes not with observation: neither shall they say, Lo here! Or, lo there! For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”

In Matthew 7:21 "Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven"

 

Not those who accepted Jesus as Lord shall enter the kingdom of god. Those who want to enter the kingdom of god must first seek the kingdom of god.

If you fail to find the kingdom of god, you wouldn't get to enter the kingdom of god. For example, if you want to go to the toilet, what must you do first ? Find where the toilet is right ?

Such a great reply mate. I

Such a great reply mate. I am going to ask our admin to include bible studies to our drug treatment centers programs. I think this will greatly help our patients.

Billy Bob Jenkins's picture

TL;DR. If God wanted us to

TL;DR. If God wanted us to read the Gospel of Thomas He would have put it in the Bible.

Seek

There is a reason why you can not be forgiven for sinning against the holy ghost. Your debating of this topic can shed light on that reason. To those with knowledge I leave you to interpret.

Like wise, correct date, incorrect date, Does it matter? I mean that in this regard, Why do we regard Jesus as such an important figure that Christians believe to be the son of GOD? Was it because of the date he was born? Or who documented the incorrect or correct date? Or was it because of his teachings that shed light on the world in such a way that it became evident? With that I say this to you, read the Gospel Of Thomas, seek the knowledge within it and its teaching, and ask yourself does it match with GOD's Teachings? To any who reads it and the spirit be with you, your answer is absolutely clear. Once more, there is a reason you can not be forgiven for sinning against the holy ghost. 

Gospel of Thomas *is* a forgery

After reading about the Gospel of Thomas (TH) for two semesters, including arguments for and against its authenticity, it is clear that scholars do not agree even slightly on the topic.  The dates given for TH range from 60 to 200 CE.  Not much certainty there.  The impressions I got are that a malicious forger who was both brilliant and intent on harming the emerging Catholic Church, decided to scramble the issue with a book that was one-third paraphrases from the canonical Gospels, one-third paraphrases with trick endings (using Gnostic propaganda), and one-third purely Gnostic propaganda.  This design was brilliant, insidious and pernicious.  It lasted for centuries in the ancient world, and converted a few Bishops in the process.  Now that it has been exhumed by the Nag Hammadi dig, it will probably last for a couple of centuries again, and convert a few more Bishops, before its anti-Catholic intent is laid bare.

If God put the bible

If God put the bible together than there would be no argument. But since man, yes man, put the bible together than we must question the validity. Those in power obviously had their way with the scriptures, and that is why other gospels had to be hidden so that they were not tainted as well. That is why we are still uncovering documents from that time period because the leadership was controlling. A pugnant statement that "God didn't put it in the bible so it can't be trusted" is slightly stupid and shouldn't be asked.  

Logic and editing Jesus.

 Re: Not in the Bible: By the same logic you would conclude that if god wanted us to "read" Jesus, he wouldn't have put him on the cross.

Billyr

JesusNEVERexisted's picture

All the gospels are crap and

All the gospels are crap and belong in the FICTION section.

Does that help?

A wider visual light spectrum

For the ones that understand this will and ones that don't won't and I so badly wish all could. With that said, I often wonder if there was ever a little influence standing behind any or all of the architects of scriptures and was there any black smoke being blown influencing  the little influences that always stand to the rear. As human beings one must not relinquish an individuals etheric link that binds us to something that's most important that most if not all forget they have when we arrive. From that moment we begin the journey to become reacquainted with the one we forgot, while we are constantly being pushed as they try to make us fall and loose ourselves. Love thy self and the people around you the same, as for the ones or things that trip us along the way we should to love them for they bare the lessons that we must learn. Choices should always come from hart influenced only by compassion understanding forgiveness respect and love. One persons choice can and almost always effect so much more then just themselves it can impact many for a very long time if our choices are unselfish then that will propagate the same action and as a humanity we cease to fall. What more is there to learn and why do we need books and or teachers to understand this has ego and greed became so much stronger then common sense and or instinct.