Shuck and Jive

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Gospel of Thomas

The upcoming Jesus Seminar on the Road in Elizabethton will take a look at other texts that were an important part of early Christianity but were excluded from the movement that eventually became the dominant form of Christianity.

One of the most interesting collections of the sayings of Jesus is found in the
Gospel of Thomas. Here are all the sayings with commentary. Some of these sayings sound a lot like those found in the four gospels with which we are familiar. Some are quite different. Here are a few of my favorites:

Saying 13: Jesus said to his disciples, "Compare me to something and tell me what I am like."
  • Simon Peter said to him, "You are like a just messenger."
  • Matthew said to him, "You are like a wise philosopher."
  • Thomas said to him, "Teacher, my mouth is utterly unable to say what you are like."
  • Jesus said, "I am not your teacher. Because you have drunk, you have become intoxicated from the bubbling spring that I have tended."
And he took him, and withdrew, and spoke three sayings to him. When Thomas came back to his friends they asked him, "What did Jesus say to you?" Thomas said to them, "If I tell you one of the sayings he spoke to me, you will pick up rocks and stone me, and fire will come from the rocks and devour you."

Saying 22: Jesus saw some babies nursing. He said to his disciples, "These nursing babies are like those who enter the kingdom."
  • They said to him, "Then shall we enter the kingdom as babies?"
  • Jesus said to them, "When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be female, when you make eyes in place of an eye, a hand in place of a hand, a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then you will enter [the kingdom]."
Saying 3: Jesus said, "If your leaders say to you, 'Look, the (Father's) kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is within you and it is outside you.

When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that you are children of the living Father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you live in poverty, and you are the poverty."

Saying 70: Jesus said, "If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will save you. If you do not have that within you, what you do not have within you [will] kill you."

Saying 42: Jesus said, "Be passersby."

Saying 28: Jesus said, "I took my stand in the midst of the world, and in flesh I appeared to them. I found them all drunk, and I did not find any of them thirsty. My soul ached for the children of humanity, because they are blind in their hearts and do not see, for they came into the world empty, and they also seek to depart from the world empty. But meanwhile they are drunk. When they shake off their wine, then they will change their ways."

Saying 77: Jesus said, "I am the light that is over all things. I am all: from me all came forth, and to me all attained. Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there."

Saying 25: Jesus said, "Love your friends like your own soul, protect them like the pupil of your eye."

Arthur Dewey will present the
Gospel of Thomas Saturday morning, September 13th, at 9:30. Don't miss it! It is all part of Expand Your Mind Week, September 7-13!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. John,

    I'm disapointed you left out the whole "you have to be a man to get into heaven part.

    It's also interesting that you seem to abandon textural criticism and reason when evaluation your pet texts.