The Apocalypse of Thomas

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The emergence of this book has been recent. The Gelasian Decree denounces the book ‘proclaimed the Revelation of Thomas’ as apocryphal, and that was all that was known of it. In 1908, an excerpt in the Berlin MS. (eighth-ninth century) of Jerome’s Chronicle was detected by Dr. Frick. In the eighteenth year of Tiberius, the manuscript includes this remark:

The apocryphal writing, said to be by Thomas the apostle, it states that the Lord Jesus told him that from his ascension into heaven to his second advent the time comprised is nine jubilees.

This does not appear in any of the printed texts. Previously, in 1907, F. Wilhelm had published, in his Deutsche Legenden and Legendare, a text from a Munich MS. which initially attracted little attention, but was in fact the lost Apocalypse of Thomas.


In the same year E. Hauler revealed that a leaf of a fifth-century palimpsest at Vienna, the same that contains a leaf of the Epistle of the Apostles, was a fragment of this book. Professor E. von Dobschutz had, before this, commenced preparing a volume of the Apocalypse based on manuscripts at Munich and Rome which had not yet emerged. In the Journal of Theological Studies for 1910, the beginning of a book from a Verona MS. (of eighth century) was printed. 

Latin appears to have been the authentic language of the pamlimpsest, and the data of the fuller text points to the time of Arcadius and Honorius as the period when it was written. 

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