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The Fifth Gospel: The Gospel of Thomas Comes of Age [Paperback]

By Stephen J. Patterson (Author)
Our Price $ 28.23  
Item Number 120391  
Buy New $28.23

Item Specifications...

Pages   128
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.49" Width: 5.53" Height: 0.36"
Weight:   0.4 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 1, 2000
Publisher   Trinity Press International
ISBN  1563382490  
EAN  9781563382499  

Availability  105 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 26, 2016 05:33.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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Item Description...
The Gospel of Thomas is the most celebrated of the Nag Hammadi texts. Now you can perform your own serious evaluation based on the best available translation of the most respected critical text, prepared by the Berlin Working Group for Coptic Gnostic Writings. Also included are two fine introductory essays.

Publishers Description
"In December 1945, at the base of cliffs that run along the Nile River near the modern-day town of Nag Hammadi, an Egyptian farmer discovered, in a sealed jar, thirteen ancient Coptic codices containing more than fifty separate tracts. This discovery represented arguably the most significant manuscript discovery of the twentieth century for the study of the New Testament and Christian origins. Of all the texts in this Nag Hammadi Library, none has been more celebrated than the Gospel of Thomas--a Gospel that has played a crucial role in the newly emerging view of early Christianity as a very diverse phenomenon and in the recent revival of historical Jesus studies. Now, after more than fifty years of study, the best text and the best translation of Thomas are presented here in user-friendly form by the Berlin Working Group for Coptic Gnostic Writings, with Stephen J. Patterson and James M. Robinson. In addition, two essays have been included for persons who may be unfamiliar with this new Gospel or with events that led to its discovery and publication. The first, by Patterson, is a general introduction to the Gospel of Thomas as it appears fifty years after its discovery. The second, by Robinson, tells the fascinating story of that discovery itself by one who was directly involved in bringing this new Gospel to light. An annotated list ""for further reading"" completes the volume. Stephen J. Patterson is Associate Professor of New Testament at Eden Theological Seminary and author of The God of Jesus: The Historical Jesus and the Search for Meaning (Trinity Press). James M. Robinson is the former director of the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity, Professor Emeritus at The Claremont Graduate School, and editor of The Nag Hammadi Library."

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More About Stephen J. Patterson

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Stephen J. Patterson is Associate Professor of New Testament at Eden Theological Seminary and author of The God of Jesus: The Historical Jesus and the Search for Meaning (Trinity Press).

Stephen J. Patterson was born in 1957.

Stephen J. Patterson has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Foundations & Facets
  2. Jesus Seminar

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Thomas translation and commentary.  Sep 23, 2008
This volume presents a good synopsis of `Thomas' scholarship. Immediately following an interesting account of the discovery and examination of the Nag Hammadi `Thomas' codex is the English translation of the pithy Gnostic `Gospel of Thomas' itself. The reader may want to know that the authors are of the Jesus Seminar stripe, but there is very little here with which an interested and more orthodox viewpoint need find much compunction. As the authors acknowledge, it is easy to see why most early Christians were specifically unimpressed with `the Gospel according to Didymos Judas Thomas,' a text which neither expresses nor provides any context(s), which thus reads like no canonical text, and which evidences the high probability of many variations, including additions and deletions, during the age in which it was being copied and disseminated. Nonetheless, it is a unique and historically interesting text providing some insight into Gnostic thought and texts; and the commentary here is quite fascinating.
My favorite translation of the Gospel of Thomas  Feb 24, 2007
I think the translation flows very well. Only a scant few lines of the translation didnt flow well or didnt resonate properly.
I've read some other translations and just got an ugly feeling from them, like outside agendas or beliefs were leaking into their translation.
I believe the Gospel of Thomas to be a true written account from one of the Apostles of Christ.
The Gospel of Thomas Has Indeed Come of Age!  Oct 30, 2005
First, I wish to say that this translation of The Gospel of Thomas in this book is first rate, five stars, two thumbs way up, the best I have read. Scholarly and accurate, yet readable and easy on the eyes (an important feature when one wears trifocals). As a former Buddhist priest, I was struck by the Zen nature of many of the sayings of Jesus in this Gospel. This translation brings out these nuances much better than any others.

For example, saying five: "Come to know what is in front of you, and that which is hidden from you will become clear to you." This is very much in the nature of a kung-an ("koan" or Zen-riddle), and reveals that the Teacher, Jesus Christ,was well and truly and Illumined Master.

This book also contains a detailed recounting of how this Gospel was discovered, and the intriques that ensued in the wake of this discovery. A very interesting read, and a worthy adjunct to a very worthy book.

The section Understanding the Gospel of Thomas Today, is also helpful. However, once you have read this section, I encourage the reader to contemplate this Gospel on one's own, as one would contemplate a kung-an. Perform this saying-by-saying, giving yourself plenty of time to have an intuitive/mystical breakthrough of your own. For that is what this Gospel really is; a mirror by which your Original Face will be revealed to you if you put in sincere effort.

This Gospel is proof that the Occident and the Orient share the same mystical insights at the foundational level. You can find in Gnostic Christianity the same Dharma as taught by the Buddha, yet in a far more accesible manner.


Truly Has Come of Age  Jul 4, 2002
It does seem curious to me that the early Church saw fit to leave this Gospel out. It seems to me that it should now be included in the Canon of the official Gospels. Thomas truly has come of age and more accurately describes the mission of Christ for humanity and is more relevant for today.
Early Christian History  Nov 7, 2000
This book is a printing of the Gospel of Thomas, a collection of the sayings of Jesus found with Gnostic writings in a collection known as the Nag Hammadi collection. The title of "Gospel" is rather shaky as there is no narrative and no retelling of the story of Jesus as can be found in the Synoptic Gospels.

Most of the book consists of two very scholarly articles written by Stephen Patterson and James Robinson. Both are heavily involved in biblical research and have worked extensively with the Nag Hammadi writings. The first article discusses the origins of Thomas by looking at where it may have been written and what influence it may have had. One interesting point is raised when the author goes so far as to suggest that it may have been Jesus' twin brother Judas who wrote this Gospel. He is totally speculating of course, but can you imagine the implications of this? It makes the article more interesting to read. The second article discusses how the Nag Hammadi writings were found and the enormous effort that scholars undertook to get the writings published.

The first part of the book is the actual Gospel of Thomas. Some of the sayings are pretty mysterious. One of them is, "Jesus says: Be passers-by." Passers-by to what? Sin? Pharisees and Sadducees? It is fun to contemplate what the saying means. A large amount of the sayings are recognizable from the Synoptic Gospels, although most seem to be very simplified versions of these sayings. They lack the embellishments that the Gospel writers gave to them. It is also important to note that the Gospel of Thomas is written in Coptic, a form of Greek with letters added to mimic sounds of the Egyptian language. The Coptic version is a translation from an earlier Greek source, so errors abound. Also, when the writings were found, the Egyptian tore them up to give to some of his companions. As a history student, I still cringe when I think of the damage he caused.

This is a good book with obvious implications for Christians as well as New Testament scholars. Be aware that this is a VERY scholarly work. You will find huge footnotes with titles of books written in German. The second article could be very wearisome to the non-scholar, who probably doesn't care about the numerous academic bodies that were convened to gain access to the writings. The Gospel itself is still worth reading.


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