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5636Re: Why did Gospel of John call the Apostle Thomas "Didymos"

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  • Stan Harstine
    Aug 1, 2008
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      After reading the comments on Thomas Didymos while on vacation, I would
      like to add a few pieces of research information. I deleted these
      comments from the final copies of both the SBL presentation and the
      Perspectives in Religious Studies publication of "Un-doubting Thomas".

      "William Bonney briefly discusses this issue in a footnote. He
      references Bultmann's discussion that the Greek word "Thomas" is a
      transliteration of a Semitic word for twin, thus the evangelist's
      identification "Thomas, the one called Didymus."[1] Some efforts have
      been made seeking to identify the missing twin of Thomas. While the
      Acts of Thomas identifies this absent sibling as Jesus,[2] other
      possible siblings are also mentioned. Elizabeth C. Piasecki, argues in
      her essay published in the National Student Essay Competition in
      Divinity, 1981, that the "twin" is Nathanael. This identification is
      based more on the literary structuring of the two pericope than on any
      genetic information. Interestingly, both the Nathanael episode, Jn
      1.43-51, and the Thomas episode, Jn 20.24-29 contain recognition scenes;
      the topic to which we now turn. "

      William Bonney, Caused to Believe, (Leiden: Brill, 2002), p. 137, n. 20

      Piasecki, Elizabeth C. "Nathanael: the twin of 'doubting' Thomas." Pages
      101-106 in Church Divinity, 1981: National Student Essay Competition in
      Divinity. Edited by John H. Morgan. Notre Dame, IN: Church Divinity
      Monograph Series, 1981.

      I fear that we are prone to read too much into some comments recorded
      2000 years ago. As most of this audience are aware, the Gospel of
      Thomas refers to Thomas as the "twin" to Jesus.


      Stan Harstine, Ph.D.

      Friends University

      2100 W. University Ave..

      Wichita, KS 67213-3379



      [1] William Bonney, Caused to Believe, (Leiden: Brill, 2002), p. 137,
      n. 20

      [2] "But the Lord said to him; 'I am not Judas who is also Thomas, I am
      his brother.'" Acts of Thomas, 11, translated by Han J.W. Drijvers in
      Wilhelm Schneemelcher, ed., New Testament Apocrypha, Vol 2, translated
      by R. McL. Wilson, (Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1992), pp.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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