The Lost Gospel
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Gospel of Thomas

A.D. 1945

St. Thomas is known as
St. Thomas is known as "doubting Thomas" since he demanded physical proof of Jesus' resurrection. This painting by Rembrandt depicts Jesus showing the wound on his side to the skeptical Apostle.
Photograph copyright Archivo Iconografico, S.A./Corbis

he Gospel of Thomas emerged from the 20th-century finds at Nag 'Hammadi, Egypt, and has probably generated more attention and debate than any other text from that ancient trove.

The Gospel is purported to be the work of St. Thomas, one of the Twelve Apostles. It includes some 114 sayings or teachings of Jesus.

The Coptic, or Egyptian Christian, text reflects early Christian philosophies that deemphasized the events of Jesus' life and instead stressed his teachings. Gnostics believed that an elite group of humans could become enlightened through the acquisition of unique knowledge and rise above the corruption of the material world to the divine. This school of thought emphasized the role of Jesus as a teacher with the ability to help others attain their own spiritual enlightenment.

The Gospel includes familiar, if slightly altered, New Testament phrases and sayings. It also includes many unusual sayings not found in other texts. Most scholars believe that this Gospel was written after the canonical New Testament Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), perhaps in the early second century A.D.