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Stories From The Gospel Of Thomas In The Quran

“The Gospel of Thomas” doesn’t say anything about Mohammad, but it does contain several stories also found the in Quran. “Thomas” is considered a work of fiction. Why does the Quran quote sections from “Thomas” as history?

In the Quran we read a remarkable test that is given to confirm that Allah was its author.

“This Quran could not have been devised by an but Allah. It confirms what was revealed before it, and fully explains the scriptures. It is beyond doubt from the Lord of the Universe. If they say, ‘He invented it himself,’ say, ‘Bring me one chapter like it. (Quran 10:37-38)

This is an important claim. The assumption is that the Quran’s text is completely unique. It reveals things never before revealed. Indeed there are several stories that seem to be “new revelation” about many of the events and people in the Bible. But are they unique? In many cases, they are not only notunique, but often show a high degree of similarity with a class of 2nd-4th century writings known as the Pseudepigrapha. These writings are legends and myths of Christianity told by the early church for illustrative purposed. They were not regarded as historical facts until after Mohammad’s relayed them as such. Note these comparisons from the Gospel of Thomas to the Quran.

Jesus Makes Clay Birds Alive

“I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, in that I make for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by Allah’s leave…” (Quran 3:49)

Two Pseudepigraphic texts go into detail regarding these supposed events. The first is from the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, written near 150 A.D. by a Gentile (as opposed to the Jewish Apostle it is named for). 

“See, your child is at the stream, and has taken clay and molded twelve birds; he has profaned the Sabbath.” Joseph came to the place and seeing what Jesus did he cried out, “Why do you do on the Sabbath what it is not lawful to do?” Jesus clapped his hands and cried out to the sparrows, “Be gone.” And the sparrows flew off chirping. The Jews saw this and were amazed. They went away and described to their leaders what they had seen Jesus do.” 

This is one example of a doctrine or teaching from the Quran having a counterpart in legend. The importance of this example is in how the story is used. In church history the story was illustrative – not historical. In the Quran, the story is told as an actual event that happened in history. This is truly remarkable because the Quran relates what is a known fiction as historical fact. Can the Quran be the word of Allah and tell fiction as history?

Another important story from the Quran is Satan’s rejection of Allah and the creation of man. It bears a striking similarity to a book called, “Bartholomew.”

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  1. Peace Friend,

    >The assumption is that the Quran’s text is completely unique.

    That is certainly one intepretation, and an assumption one can go by. Another is that in “confirming what was revealed before it” in your rendering, it straightens out stories that have been widely told incorrectly. “Bring me one surah like it” can refer to many characteristics – absolute uniqueness is not mentioned.

    >In the Quran, the story is told as an actual event that happened in history.

    Again, this is one intepretation. 2:26 leads one to say it is not certain what is history and what is similtude.


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