The Ancient Debate Over Doubting Thomas

Most scholars believe that the majority of the lost Gospels were written decades and in some cases centuries after Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. But a minority think one of the long-abandoned texts, the Gospel of Thomas, was very much on the mind of John's author when he sat down to write in about A.D. 95.

Elaine Pagels is part of that minority, which sees certain verses in John as refutations of Thomasine thought and a valuable illustration of how the early Christian communities lobbied for their version of Christ and his message. "I'm not saying [John] was responding to...

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