Stigmata is a film starring Patricia Arquette as a modern woman working as a hairdresser and an atheist who supernaturally acquires the wounds of Christ. The idea of an atheist experiencing stigmata is amusing in its own right, but the whole thing ends up being a plug for the gospel of Thomas.
The first time I looked at the gospel of Thomas, some years ago, it must have been a poor translation because it didn’t make much sense to me. For that reason I didn’t think it had much value. But having read a more coherent translation after watching this movie again, I revise my opinion.
- Several sayings look like they have been copied down out of the narrative context of other gospels which makes me think this gospel of Thomas is a second hand compilation of saying extracted from the other other gospels, with additions from who knows where. In any case, this removal of context makes this gospel less valuable for those trying to understand the original meaning intended.
- It strongly reminds me of what you can find in Islam, where there are many saying like this and more attributed to Jesus Though whether these sayings truly come from Him is somewhat dubious. But this and the lack of an account of Jesus’ death makes me wonder if this gospel of Thomas might have contributed to the founding of Islam in some way.
- Some people see in the Gospel of Thomas some Gnostic ideas and others see ideas opposed to church authority. The former would be a reason for me to dislike the text since I am not a fan of either Plato or the Gnostics, but I am not sure whether the Gnostic influence is all that significant. The latter might explain why my father liked this gospel, going along with the suggestion of the movie that the Catholic church hijacked Christianity away from Jesus for the purpose of power.
- I find the claim of Cyril of Alexandria that this text was made and used by the Manichæans to be another believable possibility.