Original Research

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

A G van Aarde
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 26, No 3 | a253 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v26i3.253 | © 2005 A G van Aarde | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 October 2005 | Published: 03 October 2005

About the author(s)

A G van Aarde, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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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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1. Syncrisis as literary motif in the story about the grown-up child Jesus in the temple (Luke 2:41–52 and the Thomas tradition)
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