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According to the principles of form criticism, which state that short sayings tend to get longer over time, the Gospel of Thomas’ sayings might have been written earlier than the same synoptic sayings.
Perhaps the Gospel of Thomas was a proto-gospel or even a source for our canonical gospels.
In that case, it would be the only first-century Gnostic Christian text—virtually all other Christian texts whose goal is are from the second or third centuries.
Recently, scholars Mark Goodacre and Simon Gathercole have argued the reverse—that the sayings of the Gospel of Thomas are an abbreviated version of earlier, canonical gospel sayings.
For example, Jesus compares the kingdom of God to a mustard seed (Gos Thom 20).
The synoptic gospels contain a longer version of the same saying, with each writer adding a few details about the nature of the tree and the birds that perch in it (Matt , Mark -32, Luke -19).
Still, many second-century Christian texts had as their goal.
Perhaps the author of the Gospel of Thomas felt that it was acceptable to omit certain details—for example, about the shadow cast by the mustard tree—to get to the point of the parable.
The Gospel of Thomas is unlike any other gospel text and has been an enigma ever since its discovery within the Nag Hammadi library in 1945.
Lacking any narrative whatsoever, its 114 sayings are difficult to understand.
Most notably present in Christian traditions that were later deemed heretical.
Gnosis is a Greek word meaning knowledge, a knowledge gained through the intuitive apprehension of spiritual truth.
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