But the list of 27 books we know today as the New Testament came together gradually through a series of councils and general usage until the books became the standard for most of Christianity. If this is the case, then this text must have followed Luke, a gospel which is known to have borrowed from Mark (and was, therefore, later than Mark). Some scholars even believe the Gospel of Thomas is dependent on Tatian’s “Diatessaron” (an effort to combine and harmonize the four canonical Gospels, written after 172AD), based on the use of Syriac colloquialisms. Arguments about Baptism and the Eucharist that were major points of division would have been drastically altered if this text had been included. The Q hypothesis asserts that there could have been a fourth gospel that included all (or at least the parts missing from Mark) of the similar material used the three gospels. Those who are blasphemous to God are hung by their tongue, adulterous men and women are hung by their hair and feet respectively over boiling goop, and murderers are cast into a pit of horrible creeping things. The four canonical Gospels (Mark, Matthew, Luke and John) are the earliest record of Jesus, written within the lifetimes of the eyewitnesses who knew Jesus personally. These elaborate stories, legends and fabrications were written by authors who were motivated to alter the history of Jesus to suit their own purposes. In addition, scholars believe the Gospel of Thomas borrows from the language of Luke rather than the language of Mark. This alone makes it a rarity among early Christian texts. It would be fascinating to see what other correspondence Paul had with the Corinthians but this is one that is likely lost forever. The New Testament of the Christian bible is one of the most influential works of the last two millennia. The Shepard was also very controversial at the time. While some skeptical scholars would like to include the Gospel of Thomas as one of five early Gospels describing the life, ministry and statements of Jesus, there were (and still are) good reasons to exclude it from the reliable record (along with the Infancy Gospel of Thomas). Hippolytus and Origen also refer to a Gospel of Thomas in their respective lists of heretical books (although it is unknown if they are referring to this text or the “sayings” Gospel of Thomas mentioned earlier). This connection between hidden knowledge and salvation (or spiritual enlightenment) is characteristic of Gnostic groups of this era. 8 The Gospel Of Philip. Irenaeus appears to refer to the Infancy Gospel of Thomas and include it in his list of unreliable non-canonical documents described in “Against Heresies” (180AD). The book is accompanied by an eight-session Cold-Case Christianity DVD Set (and Participant’s Guide) to help individuals or small groups examine the evidence and make the case. Why Shouldn’t We Trust the Non-Canonical Gospels Attributed to Thomas? Its existence was first postulated in 1900 by scholars trying to understand the similarity between the three books. These gospels also contain a lot of geographical and historical mistakes that the canonical gospels do not make. These documents are late fictions, written by authors motivated to use the name of Jesus for their own purposes. To give another example, Paul’s letters were circulating in the second and third centuries—probably as a packet—but these, too, were not yet canonical at the time. Even though the text is simply a collection of sayings, the Gospel of Thomas confirms Jesus was, at the very least, a wildly popular travelling teacher in the areas of Samaria and Judea. There are a couple of reasons as to why the canonical gospels were recognized. The Gospel of Thomas has been one of the most widely studied books not included in the New Testament because of how it was rediscovered and the interesting nature of its contents. How Does It Corroborate the Life of Jesus? Hipploytus identified it as a fake and a heresy in “Refutation of All Heresies” (222-235AD), Origen referred to it in a similar way in a homily (written around 233AD), Eusebius resoundingly rejected it as an absurd, impious and heretical “fiction” in the third book of his “Church History” (written prior to 326AD), Cyril advised his followers to avoid the text as heretical in his “Catechesis” (347-348AD), and Pope Gelasius included the Gospel of Thomas in his list of heretical books in the 5th century. Bart Ehrman argues the Gospel of Thomas is a 2nd Century Gnostic text based on the lack of any reference to the coming Kingdom of God and return of Jesus. Since the only long fragment is a Coptic translation, most of the original Greek text is still lost. The most well-known Apocalypse (book describing visions of the end times) is of course the Book of Apocalypse (Revelation), but it was far from the only Apocalypse being widely read by the early Christians. The text was discovered among other Gnostic works and opens with the words, “These are the secret sayings that the living Jesus spoke and Didymos Judas Thomas recorded.” Salvation is found not in the substitutionary atonement of Christ on the cross (nor in “good works”), but is instead found in the secret, hidden words of Jesus if they are properly and insightfully understood. While they were constructed around the core truths of Gospels (albeit altered and embellished by authors with specific motivations ), there are good reasons to reject these texts . The New Testament of the Christian Bible is one of the most influential works of the last two millennia. The canonical gospels were recognized and copied early by the church. Required fields are marked *. Non-canonical (apocryphal) gospels. J. Warner April 18, 2018 Biblical Reliability, Jesus, Non-Canonical Texts, Writings 2 Comments 42,224 Views. These scholars cite several passages in the text appearing to harmonize verses from the canonical Gospels. This makes for a difficult time figuring out which one came first and is therefore referenced by the others. 197–216. the Christian canon, texts approved—canonized--by general consensus in the church.. Today, we’re examining the non-canonical documents falsely attributed to the Apostle Thomas: The Gospel of Thomas (130-180AD) This late non-canonical text was first discovered in 1945 as part of a large collection of papyri excavated near Nag Hammadi in Egypt. In this case, the author describes details that are absent from the childhood narrative of Jesus (particularly as His childhood was described in the Gospel of Luke). It makes claims about Mary’s perpetual virginity and God’s involvement in choosing Joseph. Mark has the most in common with both Matthew and Luke but there are parts of Matthew and Luke that are not in Mark. While much of the text is highly insulting to the character of Jesus as a boy, many facts related to Jesus are acknowledged here. As the key work of the largest religion in the western world it has shaped our world in many subtle ways. Some scholars (such as Ron Cameron) believe that the Infancy Gospel of Thomas was designed as a piece of “Christian missionary propaganda”, intended to demonstrate the divine nature of Jesus in a manner familiar to the pagans proselytized by the early Christians. A whole genre of gospel was created specifically dealing with the Infancy of Jesus, called appropriately the infancy gospels. They often contain gnostic teachings which … Some are between two books and some between all three but no book contains all the similarities. 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