From: (Richard Arnold)
Newsgroups: alt.religion.gnostic
Subject: Re: Gospel of Thomas - Nag Hammadi
Date: 13 Aug 1994 16:44:45 GMT
Organization: Clark Internet Services, Inc., Ellicott City, MD USA

JAN LUISE ( wrote: : Gospel of Thomas

: Do you agree the Gospel of Thomas was the best of the Nag Hammadi Find? : A friend of mine has done "a free translation based on a mystical : interpretation" that is by far clearer that any of the other translations. : ( yes,Chris, Bentley Layton's translation is excellent.)

The Gospel of Thomas is certaintly one of the more interesting of the Nag Hammadi books, both to scholars and to interested layman like myself. It appears to contain an earlier, primitive form of a portion of the Synoptic Gospels that were re-worked and distributed by Mark, Matthew, and Luke.

The current theory among scholars is that the Synoptics were compilations of at least two earlier documents that were in circulation in the first two decades after Jesus' crucifixion, the "Testimony Book" containing accounts of Jesus' deeds and miracles, and "Q" listing many of Jesus' sayings, teachings, and parables. The Thomas Gospel may be dependent mostly on "Q," and, although re-worked with a Gnostic slant, it may be closer to the original Q than can be gleaned from reading the Synoptics. For that reason, I was very interested in it, and gathered several books that translated or discussed it.

One translation that has been out there for awhile was done by Marvin Meyer, as part of his book "The Secret Teachings of Jesus: Four Gnostic Gospels" (Random House, 1984, ISBN 0-394-52959-6). The only problem I had with this translation was the attempt by Meyer to use modern, semi- politically correct terminology, avoiding gender-specific terms, etc. Thus, he translates "Son of Man" (a Messianic term) as "Child of Humanity." I understood his attempt to put the sayings in a modern context, but I still found it slightly annoying because it diluted the apoloclyptic nature of the language.

The best translation is found in the book that anyone interested in the Nag Hammadi writings should have: "The Nag Hammadi Library." (James Robinson, General Editor, Harper & Row, 1988 edition, ISBN 90-04-08856-3). All the books found at Nag Hammadi were translated into English by a team of scholars and researchers, with the attempt to be as accurate as possible. It has a great translation of the Thomas book.