Thomas the Apostle

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My Lord and my God.
The Kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living Father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty.

Thomas the Apostle, also called Doubting Thomas or Didymus (meaning "Twin," as does "Thomas" in Aramaic), was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He is most famous for questioning Jesus' resurrection when first told of it, then proclaiming "My Lord and my God" on seeing Jesus in John 20:28. He understands that Jesus is his Lord after he places his fingers into Jesus' side for Thomas said he wouldn't believe in the Lords resurrection unless he could see the mark of the nails in Jesus' hands and put his hand inside of them. Now that Thomas has seen Jesus, he believes in him and that he has died and been resurrected.

Quotes[edit]

Gospel of Thomas (c. 50? — c. 140?)[edit]

Main article: Gospel of Thomas

Quotes about Thomas[edit]

  • A similar saying in Luke 12:49 is clearly eschatological. "I came to cast fire on the earth, and how I wish that it were already kindled." Thomas changes future to past and present. The fire has been ignited, and Jesus keeps the world until it burns up; to be near the fire is to be near Jesus and the kingdom (Saying 82).
  • Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
  • Logion 10 has a parallel in Luke xii. 49, but with a change of emphasis. The canonical version looks to the future: "I came to cast fire upon the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!" In Thomas the fire has been kindled: "I have cast fire upon the world, and behold, I guard it until it is ablaze." This raises an interesting problem in relation to the common source of Matthew and Luke, since Matthew (x. 34) records a saying, "I came not to cast peace, but a sword." As already observed, something like this appears in logion 16, but in the saying in Thomas "division" and "fire" are paralleled in Luke, "sword" in Matthew. The question is whether in Thomas we have a conflation of the two synoptic versions, or a form of the saying derived from an independent tradition.

Quotes about Thomas in India and the St. Thomas myth[edit]

  • A number of scholars... have built on slender foundations what can only be called Thomas romances, such as reflect vividness of their imagination rather than the prudence of historical critics. ... The story of the ancient church of the Thomas Christians is of great significance for the whole history of Christianity in India. It is to be regretted that, when all the evidence has been collected and sifted, much remains uncertain and conjectural. ... Millions of Christians in South India are certain that the founder of their church was none other than the apostle Thomas himself. The historian cannot prove to them that they are mistaken in their belief. He may feel it right to warn them that historical research cannot pronounce on the matter with a confidence equal to that which they entertain by faith.
    • Stephen Neill, History of Christianity in India: The Beginnings to 1707 AD, Cambridge University Press, 1984.
  • Among those who like to say that "all are equally guilty", we also find the Christian missionaries. They too have a history of persecutions and temple destructions to cover up, not only in Europe and America, but in India as well. The Portuguese organized a branch of the Inquisition in Goa, and they practised conversion by force on a large scale. The French and British missionaries were less brutal, often resorting to subversion tactics and inducement by means of material advantages for converts, but they too have a record of temple destructions in India. Hundreds of churches contain rubble of the Hindu temples which they replaced. We may look a bit more closely into one case which sums it all up: the Saint Thomas church on Mylapore beach in Madras. According to Christian leaders in India, the apostle Thomas came to India in 52 AD, founded the Syrian Christian church, and was killed by the fanatical Brahmins in 72 AD. Near the site of his martyrdom, the Saint Thomas church was built. In fact this apostle never came to India, and the Christian community in South India was founded by a merchant Thomas Cananeus in 345 AD ( a name which readily explains the Thomas legend ). He led 400 refugees who fled persecution in Persia and were given asylum by the Hindu authorities. In Catholic universities in Europe, the myth of the apostle Thomas going to India is no longer taught as history, but in India it is still considered useful. Even many vocal secularists who attack the Hindus for relying on myth in the Ayodhya affair, off-hand profess their belief in the Thomas myth. The important point is that Thomas can be upheld as a martyr and the Brahmins decried as fanatics. In reality, the missionaries were very disgruntled that these damned Hindus refused to give them martyrs (whose blood is welcomed as the seed of the faith), so they had to invent one. Moreover, the church which they claim commemorates Saint Thomas' martyrdom at the hands of Hindu fanaticism, is in fact a monument of Hindu martyrdom at the hands of Christian fanaticism: it is a forcible replacement of two important Hindu temples (Jain and Shaiva), whose existence was insupportable to Christian missionaries. No one knows how many priests and worshippers were killed when the Christian soldiers came to remove the curse of Paganism from Mylapore beach. Hinduism doesn't practise martyr-mongering, but if at all we have to speak of martyrs in this context, the title goes to these Shiva-worshippers and not to the apostle Thomas.
    • Elst, Koenraad. Negationism in India: concealing the record of Islam.

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External links[edit]

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