Gospel of Thomas Saying 49

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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


(49) Jesus said: Blessed are the solitary and the elect, for you will find the kingdom, for you came forth from it, (and) you will return to it again.


(49) Jesus said, "Blessed are those who are solitary and superior, for you (plur.) will find the kingdom; for since you came from it you shall return to it."


54 [49]. Jesus says: "Blessed are the solitary and the elect, for you will find the Kingdom! Because you have issued from it, you will return to it again."

Funk's Parallels

GThom 23, GThom 75, GThom 106, GThom 16.

Visitor Comments

Emphasis on the solitary is so frequent, it leads the reader to think that maybe the word solitary means something like "individual" and that in trying to find enlightenment without following others, being solitary will lead to enlightenment.
- Five_crowss

"Solitary" in the GT might refer to a concentrative mystical state that is not a sub-clinical pathology but is akin to 'Kaivalya' in the Yoga tradition or One Mind in some Buddhist traditions. That is: a state of such intense focus that it bypasses normal subject/object relationships and enters a non-dual singularity best typified by a term such as "solitary". Thomas 49 & 50 both outline this as a practical endeavour. "Superior" in this sense might not indicate ego-aggrandisement, but simply highlight the heightened value of this state to the spiritual seeker. Coming forth and returning are classic mystical experiences of the "solitary" state.
- Kailas

While this verse refers to the solitary and elect/superior, we all in fact came into the world from another realm and will return there at our death in this world. The solitary and elect who work at achieving the knowledge have only an advantage in figuring it out in any given life, not a preference over the rest of humanity.
- active mystic

You were sent to this world and arrived asleep [solitary] --- the elect [prophets etc] are however different being more advantageously breeched at the outset. You will [hopefully] be awakened and correctly so, and thus be eligible to reurn whence you came, enobled. It is a process [cf St George & the Dragon & similar]
- Thief37

The blind lead the blind. Don't follow the blind.
- Random

Scholarly Quotes

Robert M. Grant and David Noel Freedman write: "The 'single' or 'solitary' ones will find the kingdom or, in Saying 75, will enter the bridechamber. They are no more from the world than Jesus himself is (John 17:16); they are one as Jesus and the Father are one (John 17:23). Where Jesus is, they will also be (John 17:24)." (The Secret Sayings of Jesus, p. 160)

Helmut Koester points out a parallel to John 16:28: "I have come out from the Father and I have come into the world. I am again leaving the world and return to the Father." (Ancient Christian Gospels, p. 121)

Gerd Ludemann writes: "The beatitude moves from the third person plural to the second person plural in the same way as the beatitude in Logion 54. For the 'solitary ones' cf. 4.2; 16.4; 75, etc. For the notion that the solitary ones are the elect cf. 23.1-2." (Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 614)

Funk and Hoover write: "Thomas 49 and 50 constitute a miniature catechism for Thomean Christianity. Thomas 49 depicts Thomas Christians as those who have come into the world from another realm, to which they will one day return. This is a central tenet of the mythology of gnosticism." (The Five Gospels, p. 502)

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Gospel of Thomas Saying 49

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