Thomasine Traditions in Antiquity

The Social and Cultural World of the Gospel of Thomas

Series:

This volume is a selection of papers presented to the Society of Biblical Literature Thomasine Traditions Group from 1996 to 2001. The papers focus on the early Christian writings attributed to the apostle Thomas with particular emphasis on the Gospel of Thomas. The collection offers an extensive discussion of the social and cultural world of the gospel, particularly examining its relationship to other contemporary Christian writings and Graeco-Roman literature. The essays give a helpful survey of recent developments and discussions in the field of Thomasine studies.
Among many topics dealt with in the volume are the issue of Thomas’ “community,” the gospel’s enigmatic exhortation to become “passers-by,” and Thomas’ relation to the Hebrew epic, Platonic philosophic traditions, Valentinus, as well as to early gospel harmonies. The volume also proposes a hypothesis of the earliest layer of the Thomasine traditions and presents analyses of Thomas’ argumentative rhetology and portrait of Jesus. One essay focuses on the role of the apostle Thomas in the Acts of Thomas. Thomasine Traditions in Antiquity will be a valuable tool for all those interested in Nag Hammadi Studies, Gnosticism, Early Christianity and the history of religion.

Hardback:

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Biographical Note

Jon Ma. Asgeirsson, Ph.D., is Professor of New Testament Studies at the University of Iceland. Among his most recent publications are: From Quest to Q: Festschrift James M. Robinson (with Marvin Meyer and Kristin De Troyer; 2000), Translation of the Coptic Gospel of Thomas into Icelandic with Introduction and Notes (2001), and Alexander's Revenge: Hellenistic Culture through the Centuries (with Nancy van Deusen, 2002). April D. DeConick, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Religion at the Illinois Wesleyan University. Most recently, she is the authoress of Voices of the Mystics: Early Christian Dialogue in the Gospels of John and Thomas and Other Ancient Christian Literature (2001) and Recovering the Original Gospel of Thomas: A History of the Gospel and Its Growth (2005). She is currently completing a translation and commentary called The Original Gospel of Thomas in Translation. Risto Uro, Th.D., is University Lecturer of New Testament Studies at the University of Helsinki and a fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies. He is the editor of Thomas at the Crossroads: Essays on the Gospel of Thomas (1997) and the author of Thomas: Seeking the Historical Context of the Gospel of Thomas (2003). He is jointly editing a cross-disciplinary book on Sacred Marriages in the Biblical World (with Martti Nissinen).

Review Quotes

"Compared with the first decades after the publication (1959) of the Gospel of Thomas in modern languages, now we can experience in this superb and insightful publication a new phase in the academic study of this gospel, and not only of this one. [...] Of course this is a major achievement, to give insight in the new frontiers of these academic studies. But that these authors and their colleagues in the first part decided to organize their work together and come to so a fruitful collective effort, has to be applauded greatly. Hats off." – Dr Boudewijn Koole, reviewer, theologian, philosopher, 2006

Table of contents

Preface Abbreviations Introduction Chapter One, Stephen J. Patterson, The Gospel of Thomas and Christian Beginnings Chapter Two, Risto Uro, The Social World of the Gospel of Thomas Chapter Three, Philip H. Sellew, Jesus and the Voice from beyond the Grave: Gospel of Thomas 42 in the Context of Funerary Epigraphy Chapter Four, Milton Moreland, The Twenty-Four Prophets of Israel are Dead: Gospel of Thomas 52 as a Critique of an Early Christian Hermeneutic Chapter Five, April D. DeConick, On the Brink of the Apocalypse: A Preliminary Examination of the Earliest Speeches in the Gospel of Thomas Chapter Six, Petri Luomanen, “Let Him Who Seeks, Continue Seeking”: The Relationship between the Jewish-Christian Gospels and the Gospel of Thomas Chapter Seven, Jon Ma. Asgeirsson, Plato’s Timaeus and the Gospel of Thomas Chapter Eight, Vernon K. Robbins, Enthymemic and Picture in the Gospel of Thomas Chapter Nine, Antti Marjanen, The Characterization of Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas Chapter Ten, Ismo Dunderberg, From Thomas to Valentinus: Genesis Exegesis in Fragment 4 of Valentinus and Its Relationship to the Gospel of Thomas Chapter Eleven, Patrick J. Hartin, The Role and Significance of the Character of Thomas in the Acts of Thomas Chapter Twelve, Marvin Meyer, “Be Passersby”: Gospel of Thomas 42, Jesus Traditions, and Islamic Literature Bibliography Indices.

Readership

All those interested in Nag Hammadi Studies, Gnosticism, Early Christianity and the history of religion.

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