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The Gospel Of Thomas In Manichaeism?

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Chapter Summary

Since the fourth century it has been asserted that Manichaeism freely availed itself of pseudepigraphal biblical literature. Augustine of Hippo accused the Manichaeans he knew of claiming that falsifications had been perpetrated on the canonical New Testament, while accepting the authenticity of New Testament apocrypha passing "sub nominee apostolorum". If these "Motive der Übernahme" explain why Manichaeans had recourse to apocryphal Acts of apostles, the motives are less obvious when it comes to the possibility that they appropriated the collection of disparate sayings of Jesus known as the Gospel of Thomas. The writing with this title - more than any other, responsible for Nag Hammadi's fame - is most likely a mid-fourth century translation from an original in Syria. Apocryphal biblical literature was undoubtedly part of Mani's religious storehouse, intended - like the parts of the New Testament canon his movement accepted.

Keywords: Augustine; Gospel of Thomas; Jesus; Mani; Manichaeism; Nag Hammadi; New Testament



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