Gospel of Thomas Saying 40

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This Gospel of Thomas Commentary is part of the Gospel of Thomas page at Early Christian Writings.

Nag Hammadi Coptic Text

Gospel of Thomas Coptic Text


(40) Jesus said: A vine has been planted outside of the Father; and since it is not established, it will be plucked out with its roots (and) will perish.


(40) Jesus said, "A grapevine has been planted outside the father. And because it is not sound, it will be plucked out by the root and will perish."


45 [40]. Jesus says: "A vine shoot was planted outside the Father. It did not grow strong: it will be plucked up from the root and it will perish."

Funk's Parallels

Matt 15:10-20, John 15:1-17, Ign. Trall. 11.1-2, Ign Phld. 3.1-3.

Visitor Comments

This is a two-fold message, as most of Jesus' sayings were. It has implications for both man and kingdoms, and the apocalyptic tinge is not slight.
- wacky

Like many of the Thomas sayings this one has both a spiritual interpretation and a consistent but independent real-world interpretation. The spiritual interpretation is that the concept of individual identity which our culture imposes on each of us, being illusory, will be destroyed, either at our physical death or at the experience of enlightenment as to our own true nature which comes to those who are determined enough to understand the central point of the Gospel of Thomas. The real-world interpretation relates to the destiny of the popular-based organized Christian religion. It is too shocking to be publicly stated.
- Simon Magus

The grapevine is the constellation of learnt self-destructive responses which evaporates in the light of the innate adult self. Jesus knew no more about the future than we do, Simon Magus.
- Rodney

Poetic expression. A true teacher plants a sound vine [inside the father]. A false teacher plants vines outside the father and so they fail. A commentary on valid & viable esoteric schools versus false ones.
- Thief37

Scholarly Quotes

Gerd Ludemann writes: "These verses come close to Matt. 15.13. Verse 2a is not contained in Matt. 15.13, but can well be understood as an elaboration by Gnostics who are concerned with inner fortification. Similarly, the use of 'vine' instead of 'planting' is not a reason for dismissing a genetic relationship to the text of Matthew. A dependence of this logion on Matthew is virtually certain, for Matt. 15.13 derives from Matthean redaction." (Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 610)

Funk and Hoover write: "This is another illustration of a proverb that Jesus may have adopted. Vines planted without the assistance of the Father will not survive; they will be pulled up by the roots. The reference to being pulled up by the roots gives a slight apocalyptic tinge to the saying. This nuance is, of course, alien to Thomas." (The Five Gospels, p. 495)

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Gospel of Thomas Saying 40

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