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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Thomas (St.), Writings of.

Thomas (St.), Writings Of.

These are as follows:

1. THOMAE ACTA (Acts of Thomas), an Apocryphal work which belongs to a very high antiquity and was greatly esteemed among the Gnostics and Manichaeans (comp. Euseb. Hist. Eccles. 3, 25; Epiphan. Haeres. 42, 1; 51, 1; 53, 2, etc.). Augustine has undoubtedly referred to them in three places, viz. Cont. Faust. 22:79; Adimant. 17; De Sermnone Domini, 1, 20. In the Hist. Apostol. Abdiae, 9:1 (Fabricius, Codex Apocryph. 1, 689) these Acts are especially referred to. They were first edited by Thilo, in Codex Apocryphus Nov. Test. (Lips. 1832), vol. 1; afterwards by Tischendorf, in Acta Apostolorum Apocrypha (ibid. 1851), p. 190-234; see also the appendix to Apocalypses Apocrypha (ibid. 1856), p. 156-161. Connected with the Acta is the-

2. THOMAE CONSUMMATIO (Consummation of Thomas), which, like the former, was the source for the Hist. Apost. Abdice. It was edited first by Tischendorf from a cod. Paris. of the 11th century, and published in his Acta Apostolorum, p. 235-242. More important than these is the-

3. THOMAE EVANGELIUM (Gospel of Thomas). Next to the Protevangelium of James, it was the oldest and best known. Irenaeus probably knew it (comp. Adv. Haeres. 1, 20), while Origen (Horn. I in Lucam) mentions the same explicitly; Pseudo-Origen. Philosophus (ed. Emm. Miller, Oxon. 1851), p. 101 (comp. p. 94), speaks of its having been used by a Gnostic sect, the Naasenes, in the middle of the 2nd century; Euseb. (fHist. Eccles. 3, 25) mentions this gospel also, and Cyrill. Hierosol (Catech. p. 98, ed. Oxon. 1702; comp. ibid. 4, p. 66) thinks that this Thomas was the disciple of Manes. The origin of this, as well as of most of the Apocryphal gospels, must be sought among the Gnostics, and especially among those who embraced Docetism with regard to the person of Christ; and the very large number of miraculous stories mentioned in this gospel, which found so much favor among the Manichaeans, points to this Docetism. Accordingn to Irenaeus, loc. cit, the author must have belonged to the Marcosianic sect.

We have no complete text of this gospel, but fragments only. Cotelerius first published, in the notes to his Constit. Apostol. 6:17, a fragment according to the Parisian MS. of the 15th century; a larger portion was published by Mingarelli, Nuova Raccolta d'Opuscoli Scientifici (Venet. 1764), 12:73-155. Tischendorf found a larger number of MSS., but their variations caused him to publish a triple text in his collection-viz. two Greek and one Latin-with the following titles: θωμᾶ Ι᾿σραηλίτου φιλοσόφου ῥητὰ εἰς τὰ παιδικὰ τοῦ Κυ ρίου . This gives us the childhood of Jesus from his fifth to his twelfth year in nineteen chapters. Σύγ γραμμα τοῦ ἁγίου ἀποστόλου θωμᾶ περὶ τῆς παιδι κῆς αναστροφῆς τοῦ Κυρίου gives in eleven chapters the time from-the fifth to the eighth year. Tractatus de Pueritia Jesu secundum Thomam gives in fifteen chapters the time from the flight into Egypt to the eighth year of Christ's life. These texts are published by Tischendorf in his Evangel. Apocrypha (Lips. 1853); see also the LXI Prolegom. of the Apocal. Apocryph. A Syriac codex was published by Wright (Lond. 1875), in his Contributions to the Apocryphal Literature of the New Test., Collected and Edited from Syrian MISS. in the British Museum. (B. P.)

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These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Thomas (St.), Writings of.'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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