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The Thomas Alternative

A Different Christianity with The Gospel of Thomas

September 28–29, 2018
Tupelo, Mississippi

In 1945 a new gospel was discovered that would alter the way scholars look at gospels, the origins of Christianity, even Jesus himself. The new gospel was identified as the previously known but never found Gospel of Thomas. This Seminar introduces the Gospel of Thomas, examines its vision of Jesus, and asks how Thomas challenges our understanding of the historical Jesus and the story of Christian beginnings.

Photo of Ruben Dupertuis

Rubén René Dupertuis (Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University) is Associate Professor of Religion at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. He is a contributor to Acts and Christian Beginnings: The Acts Seminar Report (2013) and is the co-editor of Engaging Early Christian History (2013).

Photo of Steven J Patterson

Stephen J. Patterson (Ph.D., Claremont Graduate School) is Geo. H. Atkinson Professor of Religious and Ethical Studies at Willamette University. He is the author of many books, most recently The Lost Way: How Two Forgotten Gospels Are Rewriting the Story of Christian Origins(2014).

Program Details

Discovering the Fifth Gospel

Ruben Dupertuis and Stephen J. Patterson

In 1945 an Egyptian farmer made a startling discovery: a collection of ancient Christian texts, mostly lost, now found, including the remarkable Gospel of Thomas—the “fifth gospel.”  What is the Gospel of Thomas?  How was it discovered?  Why has this discovery sent scholars scrambling for answers ever since?  Rubén René Dupertuis and Stephen J. Patterson introduce you to the Gospel of Thomas.

Friday evening, 7:30–9 pm

Christianity Beyond the Canon

Rubén René Dupertuis

The familiar notion of the New Testament canon invites us to think of texts that are either “in or out,” “good or bad.” But the range of texts and materials we have from the first few centuries of early Christianity actually paint a picture that is more varied, fluid, and unsettled. In this session, Rubén René Dupertuis will help us contextualize the significance of texts like the Gospel of Thomas.

Saturday, 9:30–10:30 am

Plato’s Gospel: The Theology of the Gospel of Thomas

Stephen Patterson

The Gospel of Thomas has been called a “Gnostic” gospel, a “wisdom” gospel, the “original” gospel, and “heresy.”  In this workshop Stephen Patterson clarifies what the Gospel of Thomas is and is not, how it works, and why it has caused so much controversy through the years.

Saturday, 11 am – noon

Question and Answers on Thomas and Christianity Beyond the Canon

Rubén René Dupertuis and Stephen J. Patterson

Patterson and Dupertuis answer your collected questions and lead a discussion of the significance of what you have heard so far.

Saturday, 1:30–2:30 pm

The Fifth Gospel Today: The Wisdom of Jesus Now

Rubén René Dupertuis and Stephen J. Patterson

What difference has the Gospel of Thomas made to the way scholars understand Jesus?  Christian origins?  Christianity in its first four centuries?  Can this collection of sayings make any difference today?  Patterson and Dupertuis will lead you in a discussion of the larger issues raised by their talks.

Saturday, 3–4 pm

Sponsor

Southern Progressive Alliance for Exploring Religion (SPAFER) and the Barbara Wendland Foundation, Temple, TX.

Local Contact and Information

All events at:

The Link Centre
Reception Hall
1800 W. Main Street
Tupelo, MS 38801

For local information, contact:

Jim High
highjim@gmail.com
(662) 401-1932

Fees

All Sessions

  • Individual Rate $75
  • Pre-registration Rate (extended to Sept 21st) $60
  • Additional Family Members $50

Single Sessions

  • Friday Evening Lecture $20
  • Saturday Morning Workshop $30
  • Saturday Afternoon Workshop $30

Refunds are available until two weeks before the event if requested in writing, minus a $10 administrative fee. No refunds will be given after that date.

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