Simple question--what evidence is there that the Gospel of Thomas may actually be Q?

For example, is there any solid evidence of Gospel of Thomas being composed before the synoptic gospels? Another example, is there any evidence of Thomas being composed in Aramaic?

Just hoping to hear some of the evidence for (and against) Thomas actually being Q.

  • 3
    Can you name one source that claims that Thomas is Q?
    – fdb
    Apr 15, 2015 at 21:08
  • I seem to recall the theory being put forth in "The Five Gospels" but my memory may be flawed. Apr 15, 2015 at 22:37
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    The question assumes that a 'Q' gospel existed, a fact that has by no means been established. Apr 16, 2015 at 12:12
  • @JonathanChell Excellent point but I was under the impression (perhaps mistaken) that the general consensus of scholars is that there was a Q document at some point in history. Apr 16, 2015 at 12:53
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    @OnorioCatenacci there are certainly many who do propose the existence of 'Q' but no evidence has ever been found to support it and most of those who continue to advocate it's existence tend to be more to towards the liberal end of scholarship. Many of them would also advocate later dating of the canonical gospels and they would deny divine inspiration of the scriptures - 'Q' is to liberal biblical scholarship what dark matter is to evolution :-D Apr 16, 2015 at 14:18

1 Answer 1


Since the Gospel of Thomas was first discovered, scholars have been divided on whether the gospel was written in the second century or early in the first century. One view is based on the assumption that gnosticism could not have existed before about the second century, because Christian doctrine could not have split into two distinct streams so soon after the death of Jesus. The view that the Gospel of Thomas was written early in the first century, around the same time as 'Q' is dominant among American scholars and is based on the relatively primitive nature of GThomas, its similarity to Q and it lack of any mention of the crucifixion. Stephen J.Patterson says in The Gospel of Thomas and Jesus, pp. 116-117:

The text thus dates to a period in which authority was still personal, or dependent upon a leader's personal charisma and powers of persuasion, and not yet apostolic properly speaking . . . All of this would suggest a date close to Paul. . . or to Mark.

The Q Gospel was certainly written in Greek, as can be established by comparing the occurrences of Q material in Matthew and Luke. The similarities between GThomas and Q demonstrate that GThomas was also written in Greek, and that they probably share a common source, also in the Greek language.

Those similarities are not close enough for GThomas actually to be Q, although it was hoped to be when first discovered. Even when material in GThomas is similar to material in Q, it does not occur in the same sequence as in Q. GThomas is mildly gnostic, with no hint of apocalypticism; Q is mildly apocalyptic, especially in its later stages, with no hint of gnosticism as we understand it.

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    I do not find the evidence for the Q theory convincing, however I don't see how a collection of sayings (the so called 'Gospel of Thomas') could be the source document for the narrative accounts which make up the synoptics Apr 16, 2015 at 12:16

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