Religion: New Sayings of Jesus

"Comparable in importance to the Dead Sea Scrolls and of even greater significance to students of the New Testament." That is how visiting Swiss Theologian Oscar Cullmann (TIME, March 23) described the subject of his lecture at Manhattan's Union Theological Seminary last week. Lutheran Cullmann was giving the public a first detailed and fascinating report on the so-called Gospel of St. Thomas, one of 44 Coptic manuscripts in leatherbound papyrus books found in 1946 in a tomb in upper Egypt some 60 miles from the city of Luxor.

Common denominator of this treasure-trove is Gnosticism, a potent heresy of Christianity's early days,...

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