Gnostic dating

In addition, as Craig Evans has pointed out, there is rather clear evidence that Thomas' author knows the final redaction of the four canonical Gospels, not just its source material.

Evans writes*: "Quoting or alluding to more than half of the writings of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1-2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Col., 1 Thess., 1 Timothy, Hebrews 1, Rev.), Thomas could be little more than a collage of New Testament and apocryphal material that have been interpreted, often allegorically, in such a way as to advance second- and third-century Gnostic ideas." Evans' careful demonstration shows that Thomas is even dependent on documents widely believed to be written in the last decade of the first century--i.e., the Johannine literature, including Revelation.

Thirty years later the discoverer himself, Muhammad 'Alí al-Sammán; told what happened.

Shortly before he and his brothers avenged their father's murder in a blood feud, they had saddled their camels and gone out to the Jabal to dig for sabakh, a soft soil they used to fertilize their crops.

In the first installment of this two-part series, I outlined the stark contrasts between the gnostic Jesus and “the Word become flesh.” These respective views of Jesus are lodged within mutually exclusive world views concerning claims about God, the universe, humanity, and salvation. Do we have a clue as to what Jesus, the Man from Nazareth, actually did and said as a player in space-time history?

Should such gnostic documents as the capture our attention as a reliable report of the mind of Jesus, or does the Son of Man of the biblical Gospels speak with the authentic voice?

Writings from the second through fourth centuries either make these claims outright or suggest them to modern readers.

Produced by individuals whom we now identify as "Gnostic," these texts have been put forward in recent years as reasonable alternative forms of Christianity, as branches which were unjustly suppressed, as teachings which should be allowed to modify the dogma that came down to us or as books that should have been incorporated into the Bible.

Naturally this is of concern to those orthodox Christians who understand what the texts actually contain.

Gnostics did not call themselves by that name and there were many variations of what we now call Gnosticism.

While some forms were completely unrelated to Christianity, others considered themselves a higher type of Christian.

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The 52 texts discovered in Nag Hammadi, Egypt include 'secret' gospels poems and myths attributing to Jesus sayings and beliefs which are very different from the New Testament.

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