3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Solid Introduction to the Gospel of Thomas
, July 24, 2012
Skinner does an excellent job introducing the issues that surround the Gospel of Thomas. He reviews three areas: 1. the date of Thomas' composition; 2. the relationship it has to the canonical Gospels, and 3. the theological outlook of the Gospel. These three areas are largely overlapping, and oftentimes in discussion of the Gospel of Thomas the issues are confused. For example, scholars will assume the Gnostic background of the Gospel, and argue that it must be a second century document. Or they assume that it is independent of the canonical Gospels and seek to place it in the first century. In reality, the reader must assess each saying on its own terms.
The strength of the books is the bibliography. Skinner does a great job introducing the reader to the conversations and the conversation partners. I have a pretty long list of books that seem to represent the critical points of Thomas studies.
There are a few minor quibbles: 1. an abridged bibliography was provided, but a full bibliography would have been much more beneficial. As it is, one needs to review the footnotes for pertinent bibliography. 2. The discussion focused mostly on the scholarly discussion about Thomas, and as a result Skinner did not spend much time interacting with the text of the Gospel. And 3. I would have expected some discussion on the language of the Gospel. Admittedly, these may take away from the purpose of the series "What are they Saying About;" nonetheless this would have been helpful