Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Skinner's WATSA the Gospel of Thomas? - Le Donne
So about a month ago I popped into the Flora Lamson Hewitt Library in Berkeley to check out five or six titles by April DeConick and Petr Pokorný when I stumbled upon this little number by Chris Skinner. I had seen it online, but I hadn't picked it up. I am so grateful that I did! (By the way, this is what the world will miss when our brick and mortar libraries decrease.) It is a perfect addition to the WATSA series. Skinner introduces the field in a concise way with emphasis on the latest developments.
Is there merit to DeConick's "rolling corpus" theory? Is Thomas a Gnostic text? And what do we mean by that? Perhaps we ought to consider Thomas as an ascetic, middle-Platonic, Syrian mystic, or wisdom text... and how do these relate to the Gnostic tendencies of the book's development? Any simplistic labeling of Thomas as "Gnostic" without qualification will bring shame upon one's household, it seems.
Really, chapter four is worth far more than the pocket change it will take to buy this book. Skinner speaks to the relationship between the biblical Gospels and Thomas. He concludes with a chapter that relates Thomas scholarship to historical Jesus studies. The entire book can be read in one sitting (I recommend a heavy dose of De La Soul while you read it) and will bring you up to speed on a quickly developing conversation.