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The Gospel of Thomas: The Gnostic Wisdom of Jesus

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  1,585 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
A new translation and analysis of the gospel that records the actual words of Jesus.
Explores the gnostic significance of Jesus's teachings recorded in this gospel and explains the true nature of the new man whose coming Jesus envisioned.
Translated and interpreted by the author of the bestselling Gospel of Mary Magdalene and The Gospel of Philip.
One of the cache of codices
Paperback, 240 pages
Published February 16th 2005 by Inner Traditions (first published September 1st 1986)
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Jun 14, 2011 Christopher rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
So obviously pseudoepigraphical and so distinctly Gnostic in contrast to the canonical gospels that it perplexes me why so many modern scholars can continue to assert with any degree of integrity that this piece of literature is a more reliable description of the historical Jesus than the gospel according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

To demonstrate how greatly it differs from the canonical gospels, I'll compare two infamous verses from the Gospel of Thomas with corresponding verses from the

إنجيل توما الملقب "بالإنجيل الخامس" يظم 114 قولا من الأقوال التي تنسب للمسيح عليه السلام بدون أن تتحول لسيرة و بدون تسلسل زمني لها.و هو إحدى النصوص الغنوصية المكتشفة ب "نجع حمادي"في صحراء الصعيد المصري بعد مرور ألف و 500 سنة
بعض الباحثين يرجعون تاريخه إلى النصف الثاني من القرن الأول الميلادي و إعتباره مصدرا لإنجيلي "متى و لوقا"
أقدم ترجمة متوفرة له باليونانية لكن يعتقد أنه كتب باللغة الٱرامية أو السريانية
وبسبب طابعه الغنوصي فهو يعد من الأناجيل المنحولة الغير معترف بها من قبل
ينسب هذا الإنج
May 29, 2014 Greg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Gospel of Thomas was rejected as heretical by the orthodox Christians who formally established the New Testament canon, presumably for its Gnosticism. Harold Bloom states in his Interpretation that the “popularity of the Gospel of Thomas among Americans is another indication that there is indeed ‘the American religion’: creedless, Orphic, enthusiastic, proto-gnostic, post-Christian. Unlike the canonical gospels, that of Judas Thomas the Twin spares us the crucifixion, makes the resurrection ...more
Jan 30, 2014 Eric rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the long run, very little in life is secret: a career bureaucrat fesses up to being Deep Throat; you find out that your grandfather performed on Broadway; career readers work over a library's offerings with care and diligence. A community of heretics disappears in Egypt, and their library turns up intact 1500 years later.

Such is the story of the Nag Hammadi Library and the Gospel of Thomas. One of the groups that lost the struggle to determine Christian orthodoxy and doctrine, in this case, a
Steven Peterson
Jun 06, 2009 Steven Peterson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a Gospel allegedly authored by Judas Thomas the Twin. This Gospel does not provide a narrative analysis as the four Gospels of the New Testament do. The focus is the (page 5) "sayings of Jesus." As such, this work is closer to what is called a (page 7) "a collection of sayings." The introductory essay (an introduction and a rather difficult concluding essay by Harold Bloom sandwich the slim volume of sayings) notes that there are three explanations for the "Gospel of Thomas," one of whic ...more
Robert Fritz
Jan 21, 2014 Robert Fritz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm thinking that this review will be the only one of several books that I read on this subject that I'll enter into Goodreads since it's fairly easy to access. I simply enjoyed researching this topic. Just to begin - the other books on the topic which I read were:
Q the Earliest Gospel – An Intro to the original stories and sayings of Jesus – John Kloppenborg
Beyond Belief – The Secret Gospel of Thomas – Elaine Pagels
Zealot – The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth – Reza Aslan
I got started read
Doreen Fritz
A gospel just discovered in the 1940's (all copies ordered destroyed when the "official Bible" of the Christian church was assembled), the Gospel of Thomas is made up merely of several compiled sayings of Jesus. Our group enjoyed delving into this short gospel, and followed the practice of the participants in the Jesus Seminar: we voted for each saying by putting out one of four chips designating one of the following about whether or not we believed that Jesus actually said this: it is absolutel ...more
Austin Wright
May 31, 2014 Austin Wright rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lots and lots and lots of annotations. The book is worth it alone for linking Jesus' saying to Plutarch:

Gospel of Thomas Saying 86:

Jesus said, "[Foxes have] their dens and birds have their nests. But the son of man has nowhere to lay his head and gain repose."


Marvin Meyer quotes Plutarch's Life of Tiberius Gracchus 9.4-5 on the homeless soldiers of Italy: "The wild animals that range over Italy have a cave, and there is a lair for each of them to enter, but those who fight and die for Italy
Leonard Brown
This is a good read overall. It started out slow for me but the authors analysis picks up as you get into the book. The only negative was assumptive and overly conclusive language that he used. I eventually enjoyed his analysis, particularly the manner in which he provides context from the Gospels and other early Christian/Jewish writings.

It is clear to see why the Gospel of Thomas was not included in the Canon. Never the less, some of the ideas and thoughts fit well into Christian philosophy.
Lela Ashkarian
Dec 18, 2012 Lela Ashkarian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am still reading this book, along with the Nag Hammadi Scriptures. Hmmmm, learning, absorbing, an Listening deeply.
Con Robinson
Jul 08, 2013 Con Robinson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mar 07, 2017 Suzanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The most profound sayings of Jesus instructing his students. This was obviously meant for those who had a deeper understanding of the His mysteries.
Bob Buice
The remarkable discovery of the Nag Hammadi library in 1945 cast a totally new light an ancient Christian belief known as Gnosticism. The Gnostics regarded knowledge, directly from Christ, as the key to salvation and sought such knowledge in several traditions. Their belief also included mysticism – the God within, and dualism – The divine world of light contrasted with the evil world of darkness. Actually, scholars still debate the belief system of the various groups of Gnostics.

Gnostic expert
Lucas Gialluisi
Dec 23, 2013 Lucas Gialluisi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some verses that have been grabbing my attention:

``once integrated it will become full of light , but such person divided , it will become full of darkness

Gospel of Thomas - Saying 61

``Jesus said: If those who lead you say to you: See, the kingdom is in heaven, then the birds of the heaven will go before you; if they say to you: It is in the sea, then the fish will go before you. But the kingdom is within you, and it is outside of you. When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you wi
Mary Baxter
I did not purchase this book. However, I did just read the translation that was presented in the text. At this time I am not interested in commentary by theologians. My preference is to get my hands on the original and subsequent translations for my personal study. I find the overall idea that a "gospel" written by what asserts to be the disciple Thomas fascinating. There are many parallel parables in this text that are present in the New Testament. My favorite verses were even included in Thoma ...more
Purnacandra Sivarupa
The translation of the Gospel of Thomas in this book seems to be pretty good, though that isn't my area of expertise; basically, it is quite clear and both literal and literary.

That said, the commentary is, from my perspective, quite lacking. Stevan Davies obviously knows the Gospel inside and out, as a literary object within a historical context, but as to the intention of the text he often seems to miss the mark by a mile. Some of his comments are helpful, some of them unhelpful but interestin
Jacob O'connor
A few years ago (good grief, it's been 15 years.  I'm getting old) I watched a movie called Stigmata.  The inspiration for the movie was a first century Gnostic gospel called the Gospel of Thomas.  The movie, as with much popular writing today, suggests the early church suppressed this book.  Under this view, GoT was every bit as legit as the canonical Gospels, and we've been missing out. 

I'll have more to say about this in some upcoming reviews.  I'm reading several books on the topic. 

But what
Jun 27, 2013 Josh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are many more similarities to the canonical gospels than I was expecting. The Gospel of Thomas is a gnostic gospel that is mainly a collection of sayings attributed to "the living Jesus." I submit that these many of these saying, like many of the sayings in Q (and consequently Matthew and Luke) can be admired for their wisdom without the assumption that they are divinely revealed or divinely inspired. They do not even require the assumption that Jesus was a real person. They could just be ...more
I watched a program on the History Channel quite some time ago that referenced the Gospel of Thomas a few times and it made me want to check it out on my own at some point.

Overall, I didn't really see anything overly ground-breaking here...there wasn't much that really strayed from the gospels that are currently "accepted"...I think I probably would have enjoyed the read more if I read this as part of a course or a larger discussion...I feel like I probably missed a lot of significance just bec
Very interesting read...
As far as i know and read the scholarly opinions, there are three distinct strata in the Gospel:

a) A probably Judaeo-Christian (think about the Logion exalting James, the brother of Christ)
b) A Gnostic strata (think about Logions that describe the world as a corpse, etc).
c) A „orthodox” strata, with teachings similar to the „canonical” Gospels.

It is very interesting to read, if you are a scholar interested in the history of religion. For someone interested in Christian sp
Fred Kohn
This edition consists of four sections: Introduction, Coptic text with parallel English translation, Notes, and "sermon-as-commentary" by Harold Bloom. It was mainly for the last section that I read this book. I really liked the formatting of the parallel text, and I suppose if I cared to study the Coptic text this book wouldn't be a bad way to go. The notes didn't thrill me to pieces, to say the least. To me it seemed like they tried to incorporate textual notes with brief bits of commentary, w ...more
Chai Maa
اولا تقييمى على حسب اثارتى وفضولى وحماستى لما عرفت انه لسة مكتشف فى نجع حمادى هذا القرن
كان شئ جميل بالنسبالى انى اقرأ شئ تاريخى لسة مكتشف
القرن دة
ام بالنسبة للترجمة فمعظمها غامض بالنسبالى مش عارفة العيب فيا لانى اول مرة اقرأ انجيل ولا الترجمة فعلا فيها حاجة غلط
وقرأت كتاب اتجيل توما لاحمد حجازى السقا وانا حاسة الاتنين مختلفين اوى ومفيش تشابة بينهم الا بسيط ف انجيل توما لاحمد حجازى السقا كان بيقول قول سيدنا عيسى مع قصة هو قال كدة ليه, الكتاب دة ال مش فاهمة الكلام دة اتقال ليه وعلشان اية
مش عا
Jul 25, 2008 Kevin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religious
The thing that struck me when I read this "sayings gospel" was that Thomas didn't take very good notes. Luke reconstructs events in great detail, but Thomas' retelling of Jesus's sayings is extremely terse and occasionally quite convoluted. Most of the 114 sayings are in the other gospels, some of the new ones don't make a lot of sense, a few others are quite strange and were probably mistranscribed or misremembered (in my opinion).
Kevin Summers
Nov 17, 2014 Kevin Summers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
Sample quotes...

77. "Jesus said, 'I am the light that is over all things. I am all: From me all has come forth, and to me all has reached. Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there.'"

Harold Bloom: "[T]his Jesus [of the Gospel of Thomas] is looking for the face he had before the world was made. ... If such is your quest, then the Gospel of Thomas calls out to you."
Jan 21, 2017 Vanessa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 stars for the sayings themselves.
Some cryptic? Sure! That made it more fun.
I felt that in a few cases it even cleared up some of the Synoptic gospels. Not to mention a ton coincides perfectly with them.
Not a story/narrative like the synoptic gospels. Just a list of sayings back to back- like one would write bullet point of quotes from a speaker doing a lecture series.

Vs 114 male and female are code for religious sects at the time. Not actually referring to genders.
Jul 22, 2009 Daniel rated it really liked it
Shelves: woo-woo
It was good to finally read a gnostic (also Gnostic) text to see for myself what was considered heretical by the early Roman Catholic Church. Leloup's commentary was often insightful, though I often had different ones. But then, such texts generally have several layers of meaning. I would recommend this to open-minded Christians and open minded non-Christians alike.

In many ways, it reads like Buddhism.
Karl Nordenstorm
I am glad this document was discovered, but even more so that it was lost.

Why? It is a collection of opaque Koan-like sayings that would be fodder for senseless arguments between theologians.

A typical verse is the following:

4 Jesus said, "The person old in days won't hesitate to ask a little child seven days old about the place of life, and that person will live. For many of the first will be last, and will become a single one."
Fred Kohn
Aug 29, 2015 Fred Kohn rated it liked it
Somewhat disappointing after reading LeLoup's commentary on the Gospel of Mary Magdalene. In this one, he comes off more like a guru (in the most negative sense of the word) than a commentator. Still, there was some interpretation which was based on comparison to other works, which I appreciated, rather than the more usual "shot in the dark" feel, which I did not. And as with The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, I really liked the translation.
Nov 23, 2013 Rose rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This version of this was really nice because it put the verses side by side with any canonical New Testament equivalents that there were for reference, and it also explained a lot of the philosophy and translating that went into putting it together, where misunderstandings can arise from, etc.

I also liked the gospel itself. A few more mystical/pantheistic/gnostic type things that really resonated well with me.
Ethan Brouder

This is quite possibly the most interesting piece of theological writing I have ever read. Not because I believe it or find it convincing but because it is so absurd and cryptic that it feels more like T.S. Eliot's Wasteland then it feels like a Gospel. Furthermore, the controversy that surrounds the text makes reading it feel delightfully naughty– as though one is eating forbidden fruit from a guarded tree.
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  • The Gnostic Bible
  • The Gospel of Mary Magdalene
  • The Lost Gospel: The Book of Q and Christian Origins
  • Inner Christianity: A Guide to the Esoteric Tradition
  • The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle
  • The Gnostic Paul: Gnostic Exegesis of the Pauline Letters
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  • Melchizedek & the Mystery of Fire
  • Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament
  • Gnosticism: New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowing
  • The Gospel of Judas
  • Hermetica: The Greek Corpus Hermeticum and the Latin Asclepius in a New English Translation, with Notes and Introduction
  • Alone with the Alone: Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn 'Arabi
  • The Gnostic Discoveries: The Impact of the Nag Hammadi Library
  • Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography
  • The Five Gospels: What Did Jesus Really Say? The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus

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“Gospel of Thomas. Coptic 3) Jesus said, "If those who lead you say, 'Look, the Realm is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather, the Realm is inside of you and outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the children of the living Father. But if you will not know yourselves, you live in poverty and it is you yourselves” 3 likes
“LOGION 58 Yeshua said: Blessed are those who have undergone ordeals. They have entered into life. (CF. PSALMS 33:19; JAMES 1:12; I PETER 3:14.) Popular wisdom agrees that people who have never suffered are lacking in maturity; there is a dimension of life that “they wouldn’t understand.” For those who are committed to the path of self-knowledge, trials and difficulties are teachings. Suffering is accepted, but with neither resignation nor complicity. In this way, ordeals can serve as aids to enlightenment and gnosis. Absurdity, pain, illness, solitude, death—sooner or later we will meet them all. Yet it is possible to completely accept and transcend them. Life is to be sought and discovered in every circumstance. Our suffering can be authentically shared and understood only by those who have also passed through the experience of suffering. Without this shared experience, their reassurances are hollow and it is better that they remain silent when faced with someone in agony. If we really want to offer someone who is suffering a transfusion of peace and serenity, the best we can do is to be in touch with that in ourselves which is already beyond death.” 1 likes
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