Institute for Antiquity and Christianity, Claremont CA

“The gospel according to Thomas”—that is what the two lines say at bottom center of this manuscript discovered at Nag Hammadi, Egypt. Believed to date from about the mid-first century to about the mid-second century, the Gospel of Thomas was not included in the New Testament canon even though it contains many sayings that scholars now believe are authentically attributable to Jesus. The original manuscript of Thomas remains lost; the version shown here is written with Greek characters but is composed in Coptic, a late Egyptian language. The discovery of Thomas and other noncanonical gospels has generated important new insights into early Christianity, as Robert J. Miller explains in the accompanying article. (The text at bottom in the photo is the beginning of another noncanonical text, the Gospel of Philip.)