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Original Research

The infancy Gospel of Thomas: Allegory or myth – Gnostic or Ebionite?

A G van Aarde

Verbum et Ecclesia; Vol 26, No 3 (2005), 826-850. doi: 10.4102/ve.v26i3.253

Submitted: 03 October 2005
Published:  03 October 2005


The aim of this article is to show that scholars assess the Infancy Gospel of Thomas disparagingly as “illogical”, “un-Christian” and “banal”. A more positive judgment is  that it is either “Gnostic” or “purified of Gnosticism”, or merely one of many ancient tales in the form of a historical allegory about Jesus as a child.  The article argues that the author of the Greek version of the Infancy Gospel of Thomas in Codex Sinaiticus (Gr 453) describes the miracles of Jesus in a positive and negative light as if he were an adult.  This phenomenon should be understood against the background that this second-century gospel is presented not so much in the genre of a Gnostic redeemer myth, but rather as a god-child myth that has neither an Orthodox nor a Gnostic orientation. Its context is rather early Ebionite Christianity.

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Author affiliations

A G van Aarde, University of Pretoria, South Africa



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ISSN: 1609-9982 (print) | ISSN: 2074-7705 (online)

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