Unlocking the Secrets of the Gospel According to Thomas
This translation of the Gospel of Thomas represents a departure from the usual literal English of previous publications. It aims at providing a reader-friendly translation of the original Coptic language in contemporary idiomatic English, while remaining true to the complexities of the Coptic. The commentary seeks to clarify each saying as it likely would have been understood in the historical context of the Coptic language during the period of Thomas's popularity in Egypt. The sayings in Thomas in this period are no longer sayings of the Jewish man Jesus of Nazareth, but they have become sayings of a revelation bearer, the living Jesus, who announces a radical faith for a new age of the church. The historical matrix that best serves to inform the text is found in a continuation, albeit in a radical direction, of the traditional faiths represented in the earliest Christian literature. ""Hedrick, himself an expert in non-canonical (""apocryphal"") Gospels, has here presented for a popular audience a free-flowing non-literal (but accurate) translation of The Gospel of Thomas, with a commentary on each saying, followed by an extensive glossary to explain the more technical terms . . . [T]his impressive volume initiates in a readable way the beginner into the scholarly discussion as far as one may wish to go."" --James Robinson, Claremont Graduate University ""Professor Hedrick's clear modern-English translation and commentary will make this important early source for the teachings of Jesus understandable to anyone who is interested in the foundations of Christianity. His commentaries are particularly valuable because they show the many ways that Jesus' sayings in the Gospel of Thomas relate to Jesus' sayings in the Bible, as well as how those sayings are similar to other passages in ancient religious literature."" --Stevan Davies, Misericordia University ""A text like the Gospel of Thomas poses special difficulties to a translator: should its apparent obscurity be retained or clarified? Like all best translators, Charles Hedrick has first decided what the text means and then translates accordingly. The result is a fresh, often bold and unexpected, and yet always dependable translation of this important text."" --Ismo Dunderberg, University of Helsinki ""Unlocking the Secrets of the Gospel according to Thomas offers a reader-friendly introduction to the Gospel of Thomas that is, at the same time, the product of a career of detailed study of this early gospel. Hedrick's introduction is both balanced and readable, his new translation of the Coptic text is fresh and idiomatic, and his brief comments on each saying filled with learning. This is ideal for undergraduate teaching and for the general reader."" --John S. Kloppenborg, University of Toronto ""While clarifying its numerous relations to antique literature both within and outside the Bible, Hedrick presents Thomas' Gospel as a collection of sayings that speak for themselves by inviting each reader's individual response to the transforming wisdom of Jesus as seen by its users from the second century onwards, rather than as a mere historical artifact or aid for determining the character of Jesus' original message."" --John Turner, University of Nebraska Charles W. Hedrick is Distinguished Emeritus Professor at Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri. He is author of numerous books and articles on subjects relating to New Testament studies. His most recent book is: House of Faith or Enchanted Forest? American Popular Belief in an Age of Reason (Cascade Books, 2009).