Strange Sayings I

Our study of Thomas has been fruitful, and we have become (somewhat) versed in the writer’s thought forms and values. We come now to some (perhaps) more difficult sayings to interpret and hopefully find positive meaning in.

I tagged 21 sayings as ‘strange’, perhaps without strong associations with the other gospels and sort of like riddles (to me at least); here are the first five of those:

(7) Jesus said: Blessed is the lion which the man shall eat, and the lion become man; and cursed is the man whom the lion shall eat, and the lion become man. (cf I Peter 5:8)

(8) And he said: Man is like a wise fisherman, who cast his net into the sea and drew it up from the sea full of small fish. Among them the wise fisherman found a large good fish. He threw down all the small fish into the sea; he chose the large fish without trouble. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

(11) Jesus said: This heaven shall pass away, and that which above it shall pass away; and they that are dead are not alive and they that live shall not die. In the days when you were eating that which is dead, you were making it alive. When you come in the light, what will you do? On the day when you were one, you became two. But when you have become two, what will you do?

(13) Jesus said to his disciples: Make a comparison to me, and tell me whom I am like. Simon Peter said to him: Thou art like a righteous angel. Matthew said to him: Thou art like a wise man of understanding. Thomas said to him: Master, my mouth will no wise suffer that I say whom thou art like. Jesus said: I am not thy master, because thou hast drunk, thou hast become drunk from the bubbling spring which I have measured out. And he took him, went aside, and spoke to him three words. Now when Thomas came to his companions, they asked him: What did Jesus say unto thee? Thomas said to them: If I tell you one of the words which he said to me, you will take up stones and throw them at me; and a fire will come out of the stones and burn you up.

(15) Jesus said: When you see him who was not born of woman , throw yourselves down upon your face and worship him. He is your Father.

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One response

  1. 8 (fish) seems like a “The kingdom of God is like…” sayings, e.g. in Matthew 13.44-50, just with “Man” in place of “the KoG”. I wonder if “Man should be like a wise fisherman…” is meant. I don’t really have a guess on what 11 (heavens passing away) is saying, but I wonder if “when you were eating that which is dead” is implying some sort of Thomasine vegetarianism. Which may just be wishful thinking on my part :)On 13, I wonder if “three words” in the Greek (or Coptic…?) necessarily means “word” in the strict sense, or could just mean “three things” more broadly. (Like when we say “May I have a word with you?”) It would make it a lot less esoteric, since it’s hard to see how one word (in the strict sense) could make the disciples want to stone someone. Anyone know Greek? :)In general, it seems like this logion is saying Thomas passed a sort of test that Yeshua gave the disciples by refusing to compare him to anyone else. I have a very vague sense of why that might be the “right answer”, but I can’t really articulate it.

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