Archive for the ‘Acts of Thomas’ Category

The Pope Reads Apocryphal Thomas Texts

Friday, December 8th, 2006

Back in September Pope Benedict XVI delivered a speech in which he stated that Thomas evangelized Syria and Persia, and then went on to western India, "from where Christianity also reached southern India."The statement angered Christians of southern India who claim Thomas evangelized the south himself. The Pope attempted to make peace with the group by issuing a corrected statement that cites the Acts of Thomas: "Lastly, let us remember that an ancient tradition claims that Thomas first evangelized Syria and Persia (mentioned by Origen, according to Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History 3, 1) then went on to Western India (cf. Acts of Thomas 1-2 and 17ff.), from where also he finally reached Southern India." Pope Benedict's original talk acknowledged the validity of the apocryphal book as a source of knowledge. The Acts of Thomas and Gospel of Thomas are apocryphal books, he said, but "in any case important for the study of Christian origins." For more on the story visit here and here.