Is Thomas gnostic?

It appears that it is now possible to add polls to WordPress blogs (assuming one is able to deal with the tech bits), so I thought I’d do a slightly more serious one than I’ve seen on other blogs in the last day or so. When I tell people I’m doing a PhD on the Gospel of Thomas, many nod sagely and say “Oh, yes, the Gnostic gospel.” I actually don’t think it’s Gnostic but I’m wondering what other readers of this blog think. You will be pleased to see that there is an option where you can write in your own answer in case you don’t like any of mine. There is probably a character limit for the write-in box. If you find out what it is, please let me know. 🙂


It appears that the comments in “other” don’t show up when you check the votes, so I will paste them here. So far, there are three:

  • Wisdom literature with gnostic overtones
  • It’s eclectic – wisdom traditions, mystic traditions, gnostic traditions, synoptic
  • Gnostic, but only because that’s what I read somewhere.

Update 2

And a fourth:

  • Wisdom open to gnostic interpretation

Update 3

The results say there are now five comments, but I can only find four.  I may have accidentally deleted it when I pressed ctrl-W instead of shift-W If your comment hasn’t been included, you might like to post a comment or email me at jredman2 at une dot edu dot au and I’ll put it up anonymously.

8 thoughts on “Is Thomas gnostic?

  1. Pingback: Is Thomas gnostic? « Judy’s research blog « Opening the Scriptures: OT in the NT

  2. The Gospel of Thomas threatens the status-quo of conservative, literal Christianity – the enemies of Gnosticism – who have done everything they can to make the Gospel of Thomas disappear again, by declaring it Gnostic and therefore heretical.

    There is no ‘Gnostic theorising’ in Thomas – it is more likely to have been written at the time the canonical gospels were written and maybe even earlier.

    “Thomas, if anything is anti-Gnostic, with its emphasis on the presence of the Kingdom of Heaven within the world now . . . Gnosticism emphatically insisted that the Kingdom of Heaven is to be found in the highest sphere above this world and certainly not here among the archons.”

    ~Stevan Davies

  3. I came into the unknown
    and stayed there unknowing
    rising beyond all science.

    I did not know the door
    but when I found the way,
    unknowing where I was,
    I learned enormous things,
    but what I felt I cannot say,
    for I remained unknowing,
    rising beyond all science.

    It was the perfect realm
    of holiness and peace.
    In deepest solitude
    I found the narrow way:
    a secret giving such release
    that I was stunned and stammering,
    rising beyond all science.

    I was so far inside,
    so dazed and far away
    my senses were released
    from feelings of my own.
    My mind had found a surer way:
    a knowledge of unknowing,
    rising beyond all science.

    And he who does arrive
    collapses as in sleep,
    for all he knew before
    now seems a lowly thing,
    and so his knowledge grows so deep
    that he remains unknowing,
    rising beyond all science.

    The higher he ascends
    the darker is the wood;
    it is the shadowy cloud
    that clarified the night,
    and so the one who understood
    remains always unknowing,
    rising beyond all science.

    This knowledge by unknowing
    is such a soaring force
    that scholars argue long
    but never leave the ground.
    Their knowledge always fails the source:
    to understand unknowing,
    rising beyond all science.

    This knowledge is supreme
    crossing a blazing height;
    though formal reason tries
    it crumbles in the dark,
    but one who would control the night
    by knowledge of unknowing
    will rise beyond all science.

    And if you wish to hear:
    the highest science leads
    to an ecstatic feeling
    of the most holy Being;
    and from his mercy comes his deed:
    to let us stay unknowing,
    rising beyond all science.


    The above Poem by John of the Cross threatens the doctrine of conservative, literal Christianity – the enemies of “mysticism” – who have done everything they can to make esoteric insight disappear by declaring it heretical.
    There is no mention of the Rosary, No mention of the Holy Spirit, no mention of Cathcetism and no mention of the Trinity, no mention of the Blood of Jesus!
    John of the Cross’ poem then is obviously anti-Christian, with its emphasis on inner experience and vision and not reading the Bible. One can only conclude John of the Cross was not a Christian and anything he wrote is not Catholic

    ~ Benjamin

  4. Pingback: Reflection for November 7, 2008: Thomas is NOT a Gnostic Gospel « Prayers and Reflections

  5. The Gospel of Thomas is Gnostic IF you compare it to the testaments written and ‘edited’ by those of men. I think a more important thing to look at is the age of this gospel and that at a time before the use of organized religions, that these teachings were realized. It is not secret that various religions have modified their teachings over centuries to benefit their own religion. If we were to discover more of these teachings, maybe we can do away with the fluff and get to the real messages.

  6. It is childish riddles which gives clues how to unveil the “dark sayings” of the Bible, which dark sayings are always prophesies of Christ. The woman represents those who do not see clearly since “the woman was deceived”. So she must become male, or those who do not understand must be made to understand. The bride of Christ will understand.

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