A perennial and seemingly irresolvable conflict affecting the studies of early Christianity, the quest for the historical Jesus, and the Synoptic Gospels has been whether the Gospel of Thomas and the diverse traditions that it preserves should be dated before or after the Synoptic Gospels. Scholars have primarily tended to resolve the issue by establishing its independence from or dependence upon the Synoptic Gospels. Recently, however, there have been signs that new methods may be opening up new vistas with respect to the dating issue. To name but a few, the diverse scholarship of Nicholas Perrin, April DeConick, and Risto Uro has been devoted to establishing new and creative methods precisely with respect to this problem. This essay seeks to use an alternative methodology whereby we examine a particular logion, in this case logion 53 on circumcision, and attempt to plot its particular teaching on an early Christian trajectory. After briefly surveying a few alternative methods for dating the Gospel of Thomas, we examine logion 53 within the Gospel of Thomas and suggest that its teaching on circumcision fits well within the larger Thomasine context, and then compare it with other early Christian texts on circumcision. We suggest that this logion fits well within a late first century or early second century context.

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