Thursday, March 22, 2012

Christopher Skinner, What are they saying about the Gospel of Thomas?

My copy of Christopher Skinner, What are they Saying about the Gospel of Thomas? arrived just the other day and I'd like to recommend it as a great way of catching up on the latest in Gospel of Thomas research.

Here are the details:
Since its discovery the Gospel of Thomas has been the subject of intense study for those with interests in the developments of earliest Christianity. Three questions remain unanswered in contemporary scholarship: (1) When was Thomas composed?; (2) What is the relationship between Thomas and the canonical Gospels?; (3) What theological outlook is presented in the Gospel of Thomas? This volume provides a comprehensive overview of recent scholarly opinions on these three questions.

From the back cover:

"A very valuable book for both students and scholars mired in the ever-growing swamp of Thomas scholarship. After the text itself, this is an excellent place to identify the nodal issues in the study of the Gospel of Thomas."
                                                                              - Simon Gathercole
                                                                                Cambridge University

"The Gospel of Thomas is the noncanonical gospel that everyone wants to  know about. More is written on Thomas than on any other early Christian gospel outside of the New Testament. But the scholars do not agree about the character of this enigmatic work, its relationship to the New Testament, its date, its 'gnostic' character or the role it should play in Historical Jesus research. But now Christopher Skinner has provided a clear, coherent and compelling account of the diverse perspectives on this text, explaining how the scholars approach its enigmas, offering students an ideal starting point to what they are saying about the Gospel of Thomas."
                                                                                 - Mark Goodacre
                                                                                   Duke University

Gathercole and Goodacre, eh?  Those names have a ring to them.  This book is going to be really helpful in my undergraduate course on Non-canonical Gospels.  On amazon, the book is a snip at only $6.40.


Rick Sumner said...

Vaguely germane below. . .It's always so frustrating to see books that aren't available in a digital edition, though the 6 buck price tag eases it somewhat.

I've actually read "The Beloved Disciple in Conflict," but have not read the Skinner work it is addressing ("John and Thomas: Gospels in Conflict"), for exactly that reason.

Since you are both web savvy enough to doubtlessly see the problem, but soon to release a book with no electronic edition I can find, perhaps you'd share where the breakdown is occurring? Is it at the publisher?

The first outlet to offer an ebook subscription service for academic books is going to make an awful lot of money. If publishers don't coalesce into some sort of operation soon, Amazon is going to become hegemon.

Mark Goodacre said...

Great question, Rick. I think it's the publishers, overall, who are dragging their feet on this one. I have made my second book (The Synoptic Problem: A Way through the Maze) free online for that reason, and I'd love to see my other books online in kindle versions etc. for free. One of the ways forward is simply to ask the publishers for electronic versions and to hope that, in due course, they will press ahead.