The Gospel of Thomas: The Hidden Sayings of Jesus

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9780060655815: The Gospel of Thomas: The Hidden Sayings of Jesus

A fresh, authoritative English translation, with an informative introduction, fascinating explanatory notes, and the Coptic text, with interpretation by Harold Bloom, our pre–eminent literary critic.

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The gospel according to Thomas is an ancient collection of sayings attributed to Jesus and thought to be recorded by his brother Judas, the Twin (Thomas means "twin" in Aramaic). Some scholars suggest that this gospel was collected from New Testament sayings, while others believe it springs from a completely independent author because many of the quotations are not in the New Testament at all. It slept for two millennia in a stone jar until it was accidentally exhumed by a group of fertilizer gatherers in the northern Egyptian desert in 1945. (The gospel is just one document in the fourth-century papyrus library discovered near the city of Nag Hammadi, from which the entire collection gets its name.) Marvin Meyer's distinguished translation includes Coptic text on each left page and the English translation on the right. It is considered by many to be perhaps the closest we'll ever get to reading what was actually said by the historical Jesus. In The Gospel of Thomas, you'll discover a different kind of Christ--a wandering spiritual teacher from Galilee who performs no miracles, reveals little prophecy, announces no apocalypse, and dies for no one's sins. --P. Randall Cohan

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In this fresh and masterful translation, Marvin Meyer presents one of the world's best-loved sacred texts. Honed over the last twenty years through a dozen versions, Meyer's Thomas promises to remain the definitive translation for decades to come. Widely regarded by scholars as containing many of the original sayings of Jesus, The Gospel of Thomas was discovered in 1945 among the gnostic texts at Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt. Reportedly dictated by Jesus to his brother, Judas Thomas the Twin, founder of the churches of the East, Thomas reveals a Jesus who merges with the wisdom of the sophists, with Diogenes, Plato, and Socrates. In his interpretation, Harold Bloom writes about the Jesus who touches him, the uncanny voice he hears in the Gospel of Thomas, free of the dogmatic cast that has held Jesus in ecclesiastical captivity since the canonical Gospels were written. "Seeing what is before you is the whole art of vision for Thomas's Jesus", he writes. "Nothing mediates the self for the Jesus of the Gospel of Thomas. Everything we seek is already in our presence, and not outside our self. What is most remarkable in these sayings is the repeated insistence that everything is already open to you. You need but knock and enter". Through Marvin Meyer's lucid rendering of Christ's Zen master-like sayings we witness a gospel that, as Bloom puts it, "spares us the crucifixion, makes the resurrection unnecessary, and does not present us with a God named Jesus. No dogmas could be founded upon this sequence (if it is a sequence) of apothegms. If you turn to the Gospel of Thomas, you encounter a Jesus who is unsponsored and free".

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