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I recently downloaded a lecture regarding the Coptic Gospel of St Thomas. I was compleatly unaware that St Thomas wrtoe a gospel let alone in the coptic langauge. My question is weather the coptic orthodox church regards this as genuine and y do we not use it?. I had a quck read tothe gospel it is written very different to the other 4 and has events and sayings written in it that the other 4 gospels do not. Should we read it?
Requested by Dameanz and Answered by Fr. Antonios Kaldas on 26-Oct-2005 06:18 (1698 reads)
The Gospel of Thomas is considered APOCRYPHAL by all Christian Churches. This means that it was not written by St Thomas and was not inspired by the Holy Spirit. The reasons for this include:

1. Scholars have worked out that the earliest possible date for the writing of the Gospel of Thomas was 140AD. It is more likely it was written even later. This is, of course, many decades after the Apostle St Thomas' martyrdom.

2. It contains many indications that it was written to support the Gnostic heresy and has been found among other Gnostic books (see below).

3. It contains many errors that directly disagree with the Bible.

4. None of the ancient Fathers of the Church accepted it as being inspired by the Holy Spirit, and some actually condemned it.

5. It was never accepted by any Council of the Church as being part of the Bible.

The reason it is available in Coptic is that the oldest versions of it were found in Egypt, most famously, among the Nag Hammadi documents. These are a group of very ancient manuscripts that belonged to the library of a group of heretics probably related to the Gnostic heresy. It is likely that the Coptic version was translated from a Greek original.

The authors of the Gospel of Thomas appear to have taken a lot of information from the four accepted Gospels, but interpreted them according to the Gnostic tradition which put a heavy stress on the value of wisdom.

Occasionally, you will find some traditions or stories in our Synaxarium (lives of the saints) or Church history that are very similar to the apocryphal gospels. This may be because both the Church tradition and the writers of the apocryphal gospels recorded a true historical tradition. Or, it may be that some one in the Church was not aware of the dodgy source he was quoting from when he included it in the Church history. We know that the Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit and without any errors, but we cannot say the same for the historical stories that have been recorded by many different people over the centuries.

There is nothing wrong with reading it, so long as you understand it's true value (ie. not much). If you are really interested, you will find a lot of information at:

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/thomas.html