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The Apocalypse Of Thomas

Alternate titles: The Revelation To Thomas

c. 300-400 C.E.

Very little of the history of the Apocalypse of Thomas is known; the only reference to it in ancient writings seems to be a single citation by Jerome. Two extant versions of the apocalypse exist in Latin, the longer being a later development. Historical allusions in the long text suggest a fifth-century date; the text speaks of a king--a "lover of the law"--with two sons whose names begin with A and H (Theodosius nicely fits the bill). The reference to the Latin alphabet would suggest that it was the original language of composition.

The longer text makes extensive use of metaphoric prophecy, similar to the canonical Apocalypse of John. Both texts describe how the destruction of the Earth and the raising of the dead will come about in the final seven days. Some of the imagery in the work could be interpreted as Gnostic, but not blatantly enough to be considered unorthodox.