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"Who will be our Leader?" Authority and Autonomy in the Gospel of Thomas

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Chapter Summary

A common pre-supposition behind many interpretations of Gos. Thom. 12-13 is that they take the figures of James and Thomas in the text as representatives of specific groups or traditions in early Christianity. The form of Gos. Thom. 13 is closely related to the synoptic accounts of Peter's confession in Mark 8:27-33 and parallels (cf. also John 6:66-71). The closeness between the Matthean and Thomasine versions is reinforced by the fact that the previous saying on James' leadership (Gas. Thom. 12) can be seen, as an analogy to the "investiture" of Peter in Matt 16:17-19. Thom. 12-13 was motivated by their belonging to Lord's family, but in any case these traditions demonstrate that the notion of the ideal brother of Jesus who resembles him or becomes one with him in the divine mystery was used for both James and Thomas in early Christianity.

Keywords: early Christianity; James; Peter; Thomas



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