- The Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Apocrypha
- List of Figures
- List of Contributors
- Introduction: What is Early Christian Apocrypha?
- Texts about Jesus: Non-canonical Gospels and Related Literature
- Apocryphal Texts about Other Characters in the Canonical Gospels
- Narratives about the Apostles: Non-canonical Acts and Related Literature
- Non-canonical Epistles and Related Literature
- Non-canonical Apocalypses and Prophetic Works
- The Influence of Jewish Scriptures on Early Christian Apocrypha
- Who Read Early Christian Apocrypha?
- The Formation of the New Testament Canon and Early Christian Apocrypha
- ‘Useful for the Soul’: Christian Apocrypha and Christian Spirituality
- Christology and Soteriology in Apocryphal Gospels
- Christology and Soteriology in Apocryphal Acts and Apocalypses
- The <i>Gospel of Thomas</i> and the Historical Jesus
- Other Apocryphal Gospels and the Historical Jesus
- Christian Apocrypha and the Developing Role of Mary
- The Apocryphal Mary in Early Christian Art
- The Role of the Apostles
- Judaism and Anti-Judaism in Early Christian Apocrypha
- Eschatology and the Fate of the Dead in Early Christian Apocrypha
- Liturgy and Early Christian Apocrypha
- Roman Imperialism: The Political Context of Early Christian Apocrypha
- Encratism, Asceticism, and the Construction of Gender and Sexual Identity in Apocryphal Gospels
- Encratism and the Apocryphal Acts
- Early Christian Apocrypha in Popular Culture
- Early Christian Apocrypha in Contemporary Theological Discourse
- Index of Modern Authors
- Index of Subjects and Ancient Texts
Abstract and Keywords
This essay offers an account and analysis of the impact of the Gospel of Thomas on historical Jesus scholarship. It address first the history of its discussion, including how Thomas has affected the way scholars analyse canonical (chiefly Synoptic) material relating to Jesus, as well as new sayings Thomas might have added to the database of evidence relevant to the historical Jesus quest. Then it turns to the peculiar critical challenges posed by Thomas, which have, so far, impeded progress toward scholarly consensus on such basic issues as Thomas’ date, theology, and use of sources. Finally, it generally strikes a note of cautious optimism that the Gospel of Thomas can make a positive contribution to the study of the historical Jesus, if afforded proper critical analysis.
Stephen J. Patterson is the George H. Atkinson Professor of Religious and Ethical Studies at Willamette University.
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