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Acts of Thomas, The

Late-second-or early-third-century Gnostic writing; supposed account of the apostle Thomas's missionary journey and martyrdom in India; claims to have been written by Thomas, yet its grammatical style and known history reveal an origin at least a century after the apostles' deaths. The theology is clearly Gnostic i.e., one's salvation comes by attaining certain "higher knowledge" and rejecting the material (tangible) in favor of the metaphysical (intangible); this is especially evident in its negative view of marriage and sexuality. Sexual pleasure, even in the context of a loving marriage, is described as "lasciviousness and bitterness of soul." Thomas's martyrdom may have an authentic historical tradition, but no early Christian writer considered Acts of Thomas to have any authority for believers or any place among the canonical Scriptures. See also canon; Gnosticism.

Printed with permission from Bethany House Publishers, South Bloomington, Minnesota from the book "The Da Vinci Codebreaker : an easy-to-use fact checker for truth seekers" by James L. Garlow.

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