Was Thomas the twin brother … of Jesus?

We bet the headline today got your attention. This week we ran across some fun things recorded in a 3rd century apocryphal text called the Acts of Thomas. This is a different book from The Gospel of Thomas that we have mentioned in other posts. This one is just fun to think about:

  • Thomas the Twin. In The Acts of Thomas, the author claims that Jesus and Thomas were twins. How’s that happen when one of the twins is supposed to be conceived by God? Well, the author is silent on the how, but this type of biological arrangement is not unknown in the ancient world. Specifically, in Roman legends the god Hercules had a mortal twin brother from the same mother.
  • It gets better. After Jesus’ death, the apostles draw straws to determine where they each get to go for their missionary work. Thomas draws the India straw. He is not happy about that. Possibly because there is another story telling how he spent some of his earlier years in India (with Jesus?). And you know how young people can sometimes be … maybe … a little rowdy. The book implies that Thomas may have gotten into some trouble during his first go ‘round. 
  • A wedding ceremony. While in India, Thomas is asked to preside over a wedding ceremony. He reluctantly agrees, and then spends time alone with the bride after the ceremony (noooo, not doing that). He convinces her that sexual abstention is the only way to achieve connection to God (a popular, albeit short-lived, position of certain early Christian sects). And she bought in! The groom wasn’t happy. Her father the King wasn’t happy. Thomas left town immediately.   

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