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The Gospel of Thomas: Annotated & Explained (SkyLight Illuminations) Paperback – September 1, 2002
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"Professor Davies has taken the Gospel of Thomas to the next level of intelligibility and accessibility. The commentary stretches the mind, while the comprehensible and accessible translation make Jesus' (and Thomas’s) voice clear. A masterful resource for both spiritual and intellectual seekers!"
―Richard Valantasis, Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins, Iliff School of Theology
From the Inside Flap
--from the Foreword by Andrew Harvey
Top Customer Reviews
This book contains a solid translation of the Gospel of Thomas, a good introduction, plus a new age preface by Andrew Harvey. The great strength of the book is the saying by saying commentary. Davies does not try to give a unified interpretation of the Gospel of Thomas, but to "offer suggestions, share observations, and participate in a reader's seeking..." Prof Davies has a way of wheedling out the system of thought that lurks beneath the text, and he looks at the sayings as clearly as he can, disregarding religious or scholarly commonplaces. This is one of the three or four best books on the Gospel of Thomas.
Never mind exegese, dogma and historic church teachings. Make up your own mind with a refreshing text that still speaks to us on a very personal and direct level, unhindered by tradition.
When I've read this passage to my biblical studies and history classes in seminary, they can usually agree readily that this might not have been the best document to include in the canon of scripture, at least when thinking about it from a `preachability' standpoint, particularly if one tends toward literalist interpretations. But many of the passages in the Gospel of Thomas defy simplistic interpretation and understanding because they really are of a different world and different worldview, and have not had a long history of hermeneutic development as have other, equally difficulty canonical passages.
The Gospel of Thomas gained a significant audience during the first decades after its discovery in the Egyptian desert in 1945. Part of a collection that has come to be called the Nag Hammadi scriptures, they were discovered only a few years prior to the Dead Sea Scrolls, another set of documents that has been pivotal in increasing our understanding of the religious culture of the time two thousand years ago.
One scholar classified the Gospel of Thomas along with most other non-canonical gospels as failing to gain widespread acceptance not primarily because of the content, but because of the style - the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are all narrative in their development; they tell stories and narrate a history in addition to giving the wisdom of Jesus.Read more ›
The annotations help provide some context of the historical period that the Gospels were written, along with corresponding sayings incorporated into the New Testament Gospels.
The foreword by Andrew Harvey provides an inspiring viewpoint that sets the scene for reading the sayings attributed to Jesus.
The foreword also outlines the importance of saying 22, illustrating how it reveals the order "of the transformations that have to be undergone by every seeker if the 'Kingdom-consciousness' is to be realized."
The annotations offer evidence of the implied meanings to the sayings. The 'Kingdom-consciousness' is often related back to the creation stories of Genesis 1 & 2, with the creation of Adam and Eve, and the Garden of Eden. Not mentioned in the book, but perhaps apt, is Qabalistic Tree of Life, with Malkuth representing Kingdom. As with the sayings in the Gospel of Thomas that the Kingdom is within, and outside of you, there is a comparison within the Qabala that Kether is in Malkuth, and Malkuth is within Kether. To me, this suggests that by "entering" the Kingdom (or attaining "Kingdom-consciousness") one may reconnect with with the Divine.
Although the title suggests that in part this is the Gospel of Thomas "explained", it certainly isn't a spoiler of the mystery of each of the sayings. While some of the annotations certainly suggest the likely meaning of the saying it is still made clear that the sayings are ambiguous, and open to interpretation by the reader.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is one of the most insightful discussions around the true nature of early mystical Christianity and in particular the gospel of Thomas. Read morePublished 4 months ago by J tom Knostman
I like this book. This is one of two books on The Gospel of Thomas I bought. This book is a pleasure to read. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Dennis Moore
This is a good book and I used it for a basic overview of second temple life.. I used it on my thesis entitled: Those Who Heard It First: The Political Implications of the Sermon... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Hillel