If you're interested in Thomas, but baffled but what translation/edition/commentary to get, look no further. This is the one. Most English translations of Thomas are a bit too scholarly, detached and clinical. In addition, almost all are translated by non-mystics. The fact is that it takes a mystics to understand a mystic. Liberals and conservatives alike are baffled by the teachings of the greatest mystic, Jesus of Nazareth, and concretize his teachings in unintended ways. Another problem is that editions which offer commentary or history vary greatly in quality and relevance. Some might dwell on Coptic grammar, or speculations (more likely assertions) of what might or might not have been gnostic beliefs, or whether Thomas is gnostic or not, or "authentic" or not, rights and wrongs in Church history, etc.
Leloup avoids these irrelevancies, and treats the text gently from his own wisdom, which is considerable. He seems a most intelligent mystic who knows the path the Jesus describes in Thomas. The layout of the book could not be better. The first 50 pages present the English translation side-by-side the Coptic, and the remainder is a saying-by-saying commentary (with numerous references to relevant Bible passages). Newcomers will undoubtedly want to read the short gospel straight through, and those who are already convinced of Thomas' worth will probably go straight to the commentary which Leloup says are more like meditations springing up from the "tilled earth of silence."
The translation here by Leloup and Rowe is brilliant. Instead of a word-for-word literalism, he uses a principle more like the dynamic equivalence which most modern Bible translations use. An example of the difference:
Where most translations of the prologue and first saying follow very closely to this:
"These are the secret words of the living Jesus, which Didymus Judas Thomas wrote down.
"And he said, 'whoever finds the meaing of these words will not taste death.'"
The Leloup/Rowe translation gives us:
"These are the words of the Secret.
They were revealed by the Living Yeshua.
Didymus Judas Thomas wrote them down.
And Yeshua said,
'Whoever lives the interpretation of these words
will no longer taste death.'"
All of the minor changes are significant, and I greatly feel, enhance the intended meaning. Whether or not the words were meant to be secret (and they're not now!) the whole theme of the gospel is the Secret of the Kingdom, the Secret of true Life. "words of the Secret" is a brilliant choice, as is "lives the interpretation" over "finds the meaning." Anyone who has spent any effort on spiritual practice soon learns that a solely intellectual understanding of spirituality counts for nothing.
Lastly, Leloup's phrase "will no longer taste death," brings home that we are in death, and in the process of dying. This Kingdom that Jesus preaches is a transforming awareness and renewal by God's Spirit that obliterates the taste of death. We become alive, immersed in the awareness of the One who really is, ruled by God, the Kingdom of the Father.