Christopher W. Skinner
What Are They Saying About the Gospel of Thomas?
New York: Paulist, 2012.
Available at Amazon.com
There has been a salvo of Gospel of Thomas (GTh) studies recently with volumes by Simon Gathercole, Mark Goodacre, and now a helpful overview of scholarship by Chris Skinner.Skinner usefully looks at several areas and gives a state-of-play as it is in scholarly circles:
1. GTh in historical perspective
2. The date of GTh
3. GTh and the canonical Gospels
4. The theology of GTh
5. GTh and the historical Jesus
In every case Skinner’s treatment is succinct and fair. He doesn’t grind any axe. In fact, it is difficult to identify where Skinner himself would land on several issues. He is not heralding GTh as a gateway into the “real Jesus,” nor engaging in apologetic polemics against GTh.
I rather liked the discussion on GTh and the canonical Gospels and the debate about whether GTh is dependent on them. I’m guessing that the majority are probably in favor of dependency.
The book is successful in its aim of helping the non-specialist navigate the maze of GTh scholarship. Besides reading GThom, I recommend it for anyone who is hoping to get a grip on what all the fuss about GThom is about.