Kingdom in the Gospel of Thomas

Document Type : Research Paper


PhD, Comparative Religions and Mysticism, Faculty of Law, Department of Theology and Political Science, Islamic Azad University, Science and Research Branch, Tehran, Iran



The Gospel of Thomas, a recent discovery within the Nag Hammadi Library, has captured the attention of scholars in recent decades. While some Church leaders consider it heretical, most researchers regard it as an authentic text from early Christianity, containing genuine words attributed to Jesus the Nazarene and his esoteric teachings. This unofficial gospel, despite its similarities to official Christian texts, reveals fundamental theological differences. In this study, we utilize passages from the Gospel of Thomas to highlight one such distinction concerning the concept of the "Kingdom." To clarify the notion of the "Kingdom," this gospel employs various analogies, including mustard, fire, dough, and shepherd. Unlike the official gospels, it asserts that the Kingdom is not an apocalyptic entity but rather a non-historical concept—something present in the here and now, something internal. The Gospel of Thomas posits that the Kingdom belongs to the Father and is accessible to the poor who earnestly pursue the goal of self-awareness. These are wayfarers who, akin to children, trample selfishness beneath their feet, uniting the inner and outer realms to overcome internal conflicts and achieve unity.


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