Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Gospel of Thomas in Aramaic / Syriac, 37 AD

Is this a copy of the earliest book of the Nazarenes ? The Gospel of Thomas... The Twin, written in Aramaic, ancient Hebrew script?

אלה הם אמירות הסודיות שחי ישו דבר ושהתאומים יהודה תומאס רשם

Translated: These are the secret sayings which the living Jesus spoke and which Didymus Jude Thomas wrote down.



Is this from a copy maintained by the Vatican ? On Wednesday, 27 September 2006 Pope BENEDICT XVI said the following regarding "Thomas the twin..... the proverbial scene of the doubting Thomas that occurred eight days after Easter is very well known. At first he did not believe that Jesus had appeared in his absence and said: "Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe" (Jn 20: 25).

As we know, Jesus reappeared among his disciples eight days later and this time Thomas was present. Jesus summons him: "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing" (Jn 20: 27).

Thomas reacts with the most splendid profession of faith in the whole of the New Testament: "My Lord and my God!" (Jn 20: 28). St Augustine comments on this: Thomas "saw and touched the man, and acknowledged the God whom he neither saw nor touched; but by the means of what he saw and touched, he now put far away from him every doubt, and believed the other" (In ev. Jo. 121, 5)..... A final point concerning Thomas is preserved for us in the Fourth Gospel, which presents him as a witness of the Risen One in the subsequent event of the miraculous catch in the Sea of Tiberias (cf. Jn 21: 2ff.) On that occasion, Thomas is even mentioned immediately after Simon Peter: an evident sign of the considerable importance that he enjoyed in the context of the early Christian communities.

Indeed, the Acts of Thomas and the Gospel of Thomas, both apocryphal works but in any case important for the study of Christian origins, were written in his name.

Lastly, let us remember that an ancient tradition claims that Thomas first evangelized Syria and Persia (mentioned by Origen, according to Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History 3, 1) then went on to Western India (cf. Acts of Thomas 1-2 and 17ff.), from where also he finally reached Southern India. - BENEDICT XVI, GENERAL AUDIENCE, Saint Peter's Square Wednesday, 27 September 2006

Oxyrhynchus papyrus fragments:

After the Coptic version of the complete text was discovered in 1945 at Nag Hammadi, scholars soon realized that three different Greek text fragments previously found at Oxyrhynchus, also in Egypt, were part of the Gospel of Thomas. These three papyrus fragments of Thomas date to between 130 and 250. Prior to the Nag Hammadi library discovery, the sayings of Jesus found in Oxyrhynchus were known simply as Logia Iesu. The corresponding Koine Greek fragments of the Gospel of Thomas, found in Oxyrhynchus are:

P. Oxy. 1 : fragments of logia 26 through 33, with the last two sentences of logion 77 in the Coptic version included at the end of logion 30 herein.
P. Oxy. 654 : fragments of the beginning through logion 7, logion 24 and logion 36 on the flip side of a papyrus containing surveying data.
P. Oxy. 655 : fragments of logia 36 through 39. 8 fragments designated a through h, whereof f and h have since been lost.

The wording of the Coptic sometimes differs markedly from the earlier Greek Oxyrhynchus texts, the extreme case being that the last portion of logion 30 in the Greek is found at the end of logion 77 in the Coptic. This fact, along with the quite different wording Hippolytus uses when apparently quoting it (see below), suggests that the Gospel of Thomas "may have circulated in more than one form and passed through several stages of redaction."

Although it is still generally assumed that the "Gospel of Thomas" was first composed in Greek, there is growing evidence that the Coptic Nag Hammadi text is a translation from Syriac (Aramaic). On comparing the Greek fragments from Oxyrhynchus with the fuller Coptic version, Nicholas Perrin argues that the differences can be attributed to the reliance of both on a common Syriac (Aramaic) source.

Richard Valantasis writes: "Assigning a date to the Gospel of Thomas is very complex because it is difficult to know precisely to what a date is being assigned. Scholars have proposed a date as early as AD 40 or as late as AD 140, depending upon whether the Gospel of Thomas is identified with the original core of sayings, or with the author's published text, or with the Greek or Coptic texts, or with parallels in other literature."

Valantasis and other scholars argue that it is difficult to date Thomas because, as a collection of logia without a narrative framework, individual sayings could have been added to it gradually over time.(However, Valantasis does date Thomas to 100–110 AD, with some of the material certainly coming from the first stratum which is dated to 30–60 AD. Dating the Gospel of Thomas

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