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The Gospel of Thomas  By  cover art

The Gospel of Thomas

By: Jean-Yves Leloup, Jacob Needleman
Narrated by: Andy Rick
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Publisher's summary

A new translation and analysis of the gospel that records the actual words of Jesus

  • Explores the gnostic significance of Jesus's teachings recorded in this gospel
  • Explains the true nature of the new man whose coming Jesus envisioned
  • Translated and interpreted by the author of the best-selling The Gospel of Mary Magdalene and The Gospel of Philip

One of the cache of codices and manuscripts discovered in Nag Hammadi, the Gospel of Thomas, unlike the canonical gospels, does not contain a narrative recording Christ's life and prophecies. Instead it is a collection of his teachings—what he actually said. These 114 logia, or sayings, were collected by Judas Didymus Thomas, whom some claim to be Jesus's closest disciple. No sooner was this gospel uncovered from the sands of Upper Egypt than scholars and theologians began to bury it anew in a host of conflicting interpretations and polemics. While some say it is a hodgepodge from the canonical gospels, for others it is the source text from which all the gospel writers drew their material and inspiration.

In this new translation of the Gospel of Thomas, Jean-Yves Leloup shows that the Jesus recorded by the "infinitely skeptical and infinitely believing" Thomas has much in common with gnostics of non-dualistic schools. Like them, Jesus preaches the coming of a new man, the genesis of the man of knowledge. In this gospel, Jesus describes a journey from limited to unlimited consciousness. The Jesus of Thomas invites us to drink deeply from the well of knowledge that lies within, not so that we may become good Christians but so we may attain the self-knowledge that will make each of us, too, a Christ.

©2005 Jean-Yves Leloup. All Rights Reserved. (P)2005 Inner Traditions Audio. All Rights Reserved.

Critic reviews

"Among all the astonishing documents unearthed in 1945 near the desert village of Nag Hammadi, the Gospel of Thomas has made the greatest impact on our understanding of Christianity.... The words in this text have the power to touch an unknown part of ourselves that brings with it an undeniable recognition of truth and hope." (Jacob Needleman, author of Lost Christianity and The American Soul)

"In this remarkable book, scholar-mystic Jean-Yves Leloup invites us to meditate on the ‘eternal jewel,’ the revelation of Jesus, and on the reign of God spread all around us, within and without. May these logia of Jesus translated from the Gospel of Thomas fall on good soil and yield a bountiful harvest of peace, justice, and enlightenment." (Margaret Starbird, author of The Woman with the Alabaster Jar: Mary Magdalen and the Holy Grail)

"Leloup (The Gospel of Mary Magdalene; The Gospel of Philip), founder of the Institute of Other Civilization Studies and the International College of Therapists, reminds readers early in his introduction that 'whether we like it or not, Yeshua of Nazareth was not a writer. It is therefore impossible to speak of 'the authentic words of Jesus'. 'Because spoken words, later recorded, bear the indelible imprint of the listener, Leloup emphasizes that they represent only part of the truth; he invites us to consider the Gospels as a whole as '[d]ifferent points of view that exist both within us and outside of us, in historical and meta-historical dimensions.' Thus he humbly offers his translation as one among many. Following the complete text of the Gospel of Thomas, presented in both Coptic and an elegantly translated English (by Joseph Rowe, from the French) Leloup delicately unfolds its petals of meaning, logion (saying) by logion. Simultaneously inspiring and enlightening, his interpretation far surpasses mere exegesis, instead intricately melding the now with the then, the self with the Christ. Paraphrases from Meister Eckhart intermingle with quotations from Kafka and Dostoyevski, which coincide with wide-ranging religious references - from Judaism and Greek Orthodoxy to Krishnamurti and Shankara. If ever a translation of Thomas's gospel merited a place in a reader's back pocket, this is it." (Publisher's Weekly)