Although I originally intended to blog through Thomas: The Other Gospel by Nicholas Perrin it became evident that I did not have the time to do so. Nevertheless, I did finish the book so I will write my short summary review here.
Thomas: The Other Gospel is a fantastic introduction to Thomasine scholarship. In the first half of the book he gives attention to what other scholars have been saying about Thomas which includes special attention to the views of Stephen J. Patterson, Elaine Pagels, and April D. DeConick. Perrin explains why he agrees and disagrees with these scholars at various points.
This is an important section to read if one has any interest in Thomas scholarship. It will introduce the reader to people who need to be read to go further in this area of study. Equally, it will help you better understand by Perrin stands out from the rest of the crowd when it comes to Thomas.
In the second half of the book Perrin presents his own thesis. First, he begins with an argument that although we have a Coptic manuscript and pieces of Greek manuscripts for Thomas it is most likely it was originally written in Syriac. For those such as myself who are unfamiliar with Coptic and Syriac he does a fair job of helping make this subject easy to understand.
Second, he does a bit of historiography showing how the debate regarding apostolic succession could have led to the composition of Thomas in Edessa.
Finally, he examines the Christology of Thomas in juxtaposition to the canonical gospels.
This book did a fine job peaking my interest in Thomas as well as other writers, especially DeConick, who take positions other than his own. Hopefully it will lead to a few responses from other scholars so that we can continue to make sense of this odd, step-child of a gospel.
To purchase from Amazon.com go here.
To read my interaction with this work see the following parts: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.
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