The "Hymn of the Pearl": An Ancient Counterpart to "O My Father" | BYU Studies

The "Hymn of the Pearl": An Ancient Counterpart to "O My Father"

The "Hymn of the Pearl": An Ancient Counterpart to "O My Father"
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The "Hymn of the Pearl": An Ancient Counterpart to "O My Father"

Author James V. Garrison, Author John W. Welch,

One of the most endearing writings found in early Christianity is known as the "Hymn of the Pearl." This text has immediate appeal to readers of all levels and resonates a beautiful message of a soul's journey from a premortal home, through mortality, and back to heavenly parents. To this extent, the poem can be seen as an early Christian counterpart to the early Latter-day Saint hymn "O My Father."

The Hymn of the Pearl is quoted in an apocryphal work entitled The Acts of the Apostle Thomas, probably named after Didymus Judas Thomas, the same Thomas who doubted Christ's resurrection. Many manuscripts of the Acts survive, but only two contain the Hymn of the Pearl; one is a Syriac version and the other is in Greek. The original text of the hymn appears to have been written in Syriac, probably in the first or second century A.D.