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date: 21 January 2021

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.

Keywords: Thomas, gospel, genre, historical Jesus, historical Jesus scholarship

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