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The Composition of the Gospel of Thomas
Original Language and Influences


Part of Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series

  • Date Published: March 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107686168

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About the Authors
  • This book addresses two central questions in current research on the Gospel of Thomas: what was its original language and which early Christian works influenced it? At present, theories of Thomas as a Semitic work abound. Simon Gathercole dismantles these approaches, arguing instead that Thomas is Greek literature and that the matter of Thomas's original language is connected with an even more controverted question: that of the relationship between Thomas and the canonical New Testament. Rather than being independent of Matthew, Mark and Luke (as in most Western Aramaic theories of Thomas) or thoroughly dependent on the four gospels (as in most Syriac approaches), Gathercole develops a newly refined approach to how Thomas is influenced by the Synoptic Gospels. Thomas can be seen to refer to Matthew as a gospel writer, and evidence is discussed showing that Thomas incorporates phraseology distinctive to Luke, while also extending that special Lukan language.

    • Easy to read, so as to be accessible to readers without Greek or Coptic
    • Exposes problems with Aramaic or Syriac theories
    • Argument is set out clearly, with tabulated discussions of the influence on Thomas of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke and other early Christian writings
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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107686168
    • length: 338 pages
    • dimensions: 216 x 140 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.39kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. The Original Language of Thomas:
    1. The problem of the original language of Thomas
    2. Methodological problems with Semitic theories
    3. Arguments against Semitisms
    4. Positive evidence for a Greek-language origin
    Part II. The Synoptic Gospels and Thomas:
    5. Arguments against independence
    6. Thomas and the Synoptics: a method for assessing influence
    7. Matthew in the Gospel of Thomas
    8. Luke in the Gospel of Thomas
    9. The influence of Matthew and Luke: summary and evaluation
    Part III. Thomas and Other Early Christian Literature:
    10. Paul in the Gospel of Thomas
    11. Hebrews in the Gospel of Thomas
    12. The 'two ways' source and the Gospel of Thomas

  • Author

    Simon Gathercole, University of Cambridge
    Simon Gathercole is Senior Lecturer in New Testament Studies at the University of Cambridge and Fellow and Director of Studies in Theology at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. He is the author of Where is Boasting? Early Jewish Soteriology and Paul's Response in Romans 1–5 (2002), The Preexistent Son: Recovering the Christologies of Matthew, Mark, and Luke (2006) and The Gospel of Judas: Rewriting Early Christianity (2007). He is co-editor (with L. T. Stuckenbruck and S. D. E. Weeks) of The Book of Tobit (2004) and (with J. M. G. Barclay) Divine and Human Agency in Paul and his Cultural Environment (2008).

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