Gospel of Thomas Saying 57

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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


(57) Jesus said: The kingdom of the Father is like a man who had [good] seed. His enemy came by night and sowed weeds among the good seed. The man did not allow them to pull up the weeds. He said to them: Lest you go and pull up the weeds, (and) pull up the wheat with it. For on the day of the harvest the weeds will be manifest; they will be pulled up and burned.


(57) Jesus said, "What the kingdom of the father resembles is a man who had a [good] (kind of) seed. His enemy came at night and scattered grass seed in with the good seed. The man did not let them pluck out the grass, saying to them, 'Do not, lest you (plur.) go to pluck out the grass and then pluck out the wheat along with it. For, on the day of the harvest the grass will be obvious, and it will be plucked out and burned.'"


62 [57]. Jesus says: "The Kingdom of the Father is like a man who has [good] seed <in his field.> By night his enemy came and sowed tares over the seed which is good. <But> this man did not allow them <his servants> to pluck up the tares, 'for fear', he told them, 'that in going to take away the tares, you carry off the wheat with it. But on the harvest day the tares will be recognisable; they will be taken away and burnt.'"

Funk's Parallels

Matt 13:24-30, Mark 4:26-29.

Visitor Comments

The taking away of evil and pain in our life would cause the goodness to go away, meaning that we would not learn the lessons that we need to learn in life. Eventually though there will be a time when all pain and evil will be taken away.
- seeker of truth

Those who are Christians for the wrong reasons will renounce Christ when their error becomes apparent to them.
- Simon Magus

The Father's kingdom is the total personality. The weeds are learnt self-destructive attitudes which vanish when harvested by the innate parental self.
- Rodney

Scholarly Quotes

Robert M. Grant and David Noel Freedman write: "This saying is a summary of the parable found in Matthew 13:24-30, without any significant variants - except that Thomas substitutes 'kingdom of the father' for 'kingdom of heaven.' It is odd that the tares are allowed to grow up with the wheat, since the little fish are thrown away in Saying 7; but this problem is explained in the parable itself. Thomas omits the explanation of the parable which is given in Matthew 13:37-43, no doubt because he has his own." (The Secret Sayings of Jesus, p. 165)

R. McL. Wilson writes: "The Matthean parable is one of those 'so vividly told that it is natural to assume that they arise out of some actual occurrence.' In Thomas the vivid detail has been omitted, and only the main points retained. This condensation would appear to indicate a later stage of development than that represented by the canonical parable, but does not decide the question whether we have here a summary made from Matthew or independent access to the same tradition at a later point. Grant and Freedman see no significant variants except the substitution of 'Father' for 'heaven,' but Quispel finds four agreements with the Diatessaron against Matthew. For Gnostic use of the parable Bauer refers to the eschatological 'harvest,' which provided the occasion for many Gnostic speculations. The passage of Heracleon's commentary to which he points had already been noted in this connection by Cerfaux." (Studies in the Gospel of Thomas, pp. 91-92)

Joachim Jeremias writes: "It will be seen that the ending is shorter than in Matthew, who, anticipating his allegorical interpretation, may . . . have somewhat over-elaborated the separation of wheat from tares (v. 30)." (The Parables of Jesus, p. 224)

Funk and Hoover write: "Although the version in Thomas lacks the appended allegorical interpretation, there is a distant echo of the final apocalyptic judgment made explicit in Matthew. This note is alien to Thomas, so it must have been introduced into the Christian tradition at an early date, probably by the first followers of Jesus who had been disciples of John the Baptist. Thomas retained the parable because it suggested, for his readers, that there were two kinds of persons in the world, those 'in the know' (members of the sect) and those dull of hearing." (The Five Gospels, p. 505)

Gerd Ludemann writes: "The logion has a close parallel in Matt. 13.24-30. Here Thomas 57 clearly presupposes the Matthaean version. First, the course of events is told more succinctly and is to be understood as an abbreviation, for secondly, there is no mention of the sowing of the seed (Matt. 13.24), the process of growth (Matt. 13.30a), and especially the suggestion of the servants that they should pull up the weeds immediately (Matt. 13.27), although a remnant of that has been left, namely the owner's answer (v. 3). In other words, this answer presupposes the conversation with the servants (Matt. 13.27-28). Thomas twists the parable to see non-Gnostics and Gnostics depicted in the weeds and in the good seed in order to emphasize the dualism between the two. Thomas has preserved the reference to the harvest (v. 4) in order to emphasize the lasting separation." (Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 618-619)

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Gospel of Thomas Saying 57

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