The hypothesis that the Fourth Gospel is a theological response to the Gospel of Thomas is a recent development in the study of the New Testament and early Christianity. Assuming an early date for the Gospel of Thomas, the proponents of this hypothesis argue that the supposed "polemical" presentation of Thomas in the Fourth Gospel is evidence of a conflict between the early communities associated respectively with John and Thomas. However, a detailed narrative study reveals that the Fourth Gospel portrays a host of characters--disciples and non-disciples--in an equally unflattering light where an understanding of Jesus's origins, message, and mission are concerned. The present study attempts to demonstrate that the Fourth Gospel's presentation of Thomas is part and parcel of its treatment of "uncomprehending" characters. If this thesis is correct, it poses a significant challenge to the assumption that the Fourth Gospel contains a polemic against Thomas, or that it was written in response to the Gospel of Thomas or the community associated with Thomas.
Endorsements & Reviews-
"Skinner's argument 'that the Fourth Gospel's portrayal of Thomas is part and parcel of its overall treatment of "uncomprehending" characters' is persuasive. This presents a significant challenge to the view that the negative portrayal of Thomas is a clue to John's polemic against the Gospel of Thomas." --Charles H. Talbert Baylor University
"John and Thomas--Gospels in Conflict? is a first rate use of solid narrative study in the service of important historical questions and theories about early Christianity. This combination is rare, but is applied with such skill, that the results are clearly worth the effort. Read and learn more about John, Thomas, and the flaws of some readings of the Gospel of John's role in early Christian disputes." --Darrell L. Bock Research Professor of NT Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary
"Christopher Skinner offers us an engaging perspective on the role of Thomas in the Gospel of John that has clear implications for understanding both the functions of Johannine characterization and John's relationship to the Gospel of Thomas. What a shrewd argument! To my knowledge no other narrative-critical study has settled a historical-critical debate so convincingly." --R. Alan Culpepper McAfee School of Theology Mercer University
Christopher W. Skinner
Christopher W. Skinner holds a PhD from Catholic University of America and is Associate Professor of Religion at the University of Mount Olive in North Carolina. He has published numerous articles and is the author or editor of seven books including John and Thomas: Gospels in Conflict (Pickwick), What Are They Saying About the Gospel of Thomas, Characters and Characterization in the Gospel of John, and Mark as Story: Retrospect and Prospect. He lives in North Carolina with his wife, Tara and their three children.