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NHC II,2 and the Oxyrhynchus Fragments (P.Oxy 1, 654, 655): Overlooked Evidence for a Syriac Gospel of Thomas

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Whereas it is generally assumed that the Gospel of Thomas was first composed in Greek, here the author finds evidence, confirming his earlier published thesis, that the well-known Nag Hammadi text was first set down in Syriac. On comparing divergences between the Greek witness to Thomas (P.Oxy 1, 654, 655) and the fuller Coptic version (NHC II,2), it is argued that each of these differences can be readily attributed to the texts' final reliance on a common Aramaic source. In most instances, the hypothesized shared source may be inferred to be of either western Aramaic or Syriac character, but in some cases, the evidence points decisively toward Syriac-speaking provenance. Consequently, the investigation sheds light not only on the relationship between the two extant witnesses of Thomas, but on its dating as well.


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