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The gospel of Thomas revisited

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Chapter Summary

According to the author, the Gospel of Thomas was not Gnostic and contained in part an independent tradition. This theory has been received in different ways; there was a negative reaction, an alternative approach and a catholic response. According to L.W. Barnard, if then we look back to the origins of the Church in Edessa it would seem that we must envisage an evangelisation from Palestine which took root among the strong Jewish colony in the city. From this seed an indigenous Syriac Christianity developed along ascetic and encratite lines. Within this milieu can be placed the Gospel of Thomas, the Odes of Solomon and others which culminated in the Syriac Diatessaron. This chapter, among other things, summarises the reasons which compels one to accept this hypothesis. When the Gospel of Thomas was published, it was explicitly stated that this text was not gnostic but Encratite.

Keywords: Catholic churches; Encratite system; Gospel of Thomas; Syriac Diatessaron



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