14 Jesus said to them: If you fast, you will beget
a sin for yourselves; and if you pray, you will be
condemned; and if you give alms, you will do an
evil to your spirits.
And if you go into any land and travel in its
regions, if they receive you eat what they set
before you. Heal the sick among them. For that
which goes into your mouth will not defile you,
but that which comes forth from your mouth, that
is what will defile you.
I have to wonder if Thomas isn’t commenting on one
(or more) of the synoptics:
Matt 6:16-18: Jesus (in both gospels) was conscious
of the spiritual cost involved in hypocritical
fasting, praying, and giving alms that are no doubt
prevalent among us, and likely within us.
In Thomas Jesus speaks more incisively about these
things, you might say mercilessly, and he does it
here in such a way that if we’re guilty, we’re
condemned and if we’re innocent, then we’re likely
In the second paragraph he has addressed two other
passages from the synoptic account: Matt 10:5-8 and
The saying illustrates how close to the other gospels
Thomas is. We don’t know which one came first, but
if we postulate that Thomas was later, then we see
that he had a close familiarity with the others. In
fact two thirds of his sayings are close relatives
of synoptic verses, and students of Thomas can cite
a relative verse in all of them.
It still pains me very much to realize that the
‘Church Fathers’ banned it and in fact made a
concerted attempt to destroy it.