Ways of Christ

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Several topics, theology and churches.

The "Gospel of Thomas".

It is worth reading the "St. Thomas' Gospel" too, whether it was written by Thomas**) - the disciple of Jesus and his (half)brother - himself or not. It is not a Gospel, but an apocryphal collection of sayings of Jesus in 114 verses. This text was also accepted by spiritual Christians in Egypt and elsewhere.

A version existed which was criticized by some authors of the early Church as "heretic". It is not known to what extent that text was similar to the version found in the 20th century. Of course, there were various opinions among the early Christians. The Disciples had already quarrelled and their tasks were independent from each other. The opinion of others was not binding for them. So the early criticism is not valid as a final judgement for today.

Especially not for such an ancient book, which has so many passages in common with the Bible - e.g. Thomas 82 must have even been the earliest version - and even helps us to understand some of the passages in the Bible. In the Gospel of St. Thomas, Jesus is the Christ who came in flesh, risen from the dead and so classical research has had to admit that this text cannot simply be classified, for instance, as old Gnostic teachings.
There were attempts to interpret it (56 or 80) as Gnostic: "Jesus said: Whoever has come to understand the world has found a corpse"; but there are many similar biblical statements, for example from St. Paul *** and one should think about the other part, "but he who has found the body is superior to the world" (80). Such wordings had other purposes too, which were not known: so the people noticed that they were not capable of understanding fully. Not the contents, but the method is similar to a "Koan", a paradox of Zen-Buddhism, which is thought about and meditated on until a deeper understanding beyond the intellect is reached.
The network which collected these scrolls, was not an organized church or sect and this fact alone would be typical for some independent "traditions of St. Thomas" ****. But it is not necessary to look at each sentence as authentic and binding. The base may stem from St. Thomas, but it may have been worked out by others later.

*) Text: for instance in "The Naq Hammadi Library", James M. Robinson, Harper San Francisco.

**) See also the notes about the biblical St. Thomas in "(Natural) Science and faith"

***) The apocryphals of the New Testament are writings from the context of early Christianity, which were not included in the Biblical Canon of 400 AD. Concerning the evaluation of such apocryphals, see our commentary "The Gospel of Philip(pus)"

****) The "tradition of St. Thomas" also includes the "Acts of St. Thomas" and some Indian traditions. Concerning the role of St. Thomas as the founder of Christianity in India see, for example, http://www.indianchristianity.org/thomas.html . The "statute of St. Thomas" handed down by the Indian Malankara churches suggested that the eldest ones of local families and the local priests lead a community independently.


Used short quotes from the Bible and apocryphals - based on different translations - are additions to the

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Jesus Christ´s Ways, his contributions to human consciousness and to the changes of mankind and the earth: an independent Info-Page, with new viewpoints from many fields of investigation and experience; with practical hints for personal development.

However, such characteristic places cannot fully replace the accompanying study or meditation of whole chapters of the Gospel(s), or the parts of the Revelation. For this purpose a Bible or any good New Testament edition is recommended.