Gospel of Thomas Saying 60

Previous - Gospel of Thomas Home - Next

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


(60) <They saw> a Samaritan carrying a lamb, who was going to Judaea. He said to his disciples: (What will) this man (do) with the lamb? They said to him: Kill it and eat it. He said to them: While it is alive he will not eat it, but (only) when he kills it (and) it becomes a corpse. They said to him: Otherwise he cannot do it. He said to them: You also, seek a place for yourselves in rest, that you may not become a corpse and be eaten.


(60) <THEY SAW> a Samaritan carrying a lamb as he went into Judaea. He said to his disciples, "This <. . .> . . . the lamb." They said to him, "So that he might slaughter it and have it to eat. He said to them, "He will not eat it while it (or he) is alive, but rather when he has slaughtered it so it becomes a carcass." They said, "Otherwise, he cannot do it?" He said to them, "You (plur.), too, seek for yourselves a place of repose, lest you become a carcass and be devoured.


[60. Doresse 64 continued.] Just then a Samaritan was going into Judea carrying a lamb. He <=Jesus> said to His disciples: "What <will> this man <do> with the lamb?" They answered: "He will kill it and eat it!" But he said to them: "He will not eat it as long as it is still alive, but only if he kills it and it becomes a corpse." They said to him: "In no other way will he hurt it!" <Then> he said to them: "You yourselves, then, seek a place of rest so that you do not become corpses and are eaten!"

Funk's Parallels

GThom 11:1, POxy654 7, GThom 7.

Visitor Comments

Your faith will be tested by other people. So after being in the world find a place to rebuild your faith or else you might lose it.
- seeker of faith

If we make a place for ourselves, where we are able to rest and recover, we can recover. And when we have recovered, we can continue our work with love.
- Peter T.

Find truth and understanding, and Satan cannot consume you.
- Random

The amplified translation of Strephon Kaplan-Williams makes more sense: 60 While Jesus was traveling with his students they met a man from Samaria carrying a lamb. Jesus said, 'See that tied up lamb. What do you think about it?' A student replied, 'He has the lamb tied up so he can eat it.' 'Yes,' Jesus answered, 'but he cannot eat the lamb while it is still alive. He must kill it first, must he not?' His students agreed, wondering what might be the teaching. Jesus continued, 'Take care you are not likewise tied up so your spirit will be killed and made into nothing by someone else. Only the truly free have life.'
- anon

Scholarly Quotes

Jean Doresse writes: "This dialogue recalls a notion found in the apocryphal II Epistle of Clement: 'The Lord said indeed: You shall be as lambs in the midst of wolves! Peter replied: And if the wolves rend the lambs? And Jesus said to Peter: After their death, the lambs have nothing further to fear from the wolves. You also, fear not those who kill you and cannot then make you suffer anything further. But fear him who after your death has power to cast your soul and your body into the gehenna of fire! Know then . . . that the promise of Christ is great . . . as also the Repose of the Kingdom . . .!'" (The Secret Books of the Egyptian Gnostics, p. 375)

Helmut Koester writes: "But at least one correction in the translation of the parable of the Samaritan Carrying a Lamb, suggested by Hans-Martin Schenke, needs to be emphasized: Gos. Thom. 60 is usually translated 'They saw a Samaritan carrying a lamb on his (i.e., the Samaritan's) way to Judaea.' But the text should certainly be restored to provide the following translation: 'He (i.e., Jesus) saw a Samaritan carrying a lamb, when he (i.e., Jesus) was on his way to Judaea.'" (Ancient Christian Gospels, p. 106)

Robert M. Grant and David Noel Freedman write: "It may be that Jesus is the lamb, but the details of the saying remain incomprehensible. More probably, the lamb is the world (see Saying 6 and Commentary). Note that the 'place' of rest is 'within,' as in Saying 25." (The Secret Sayings of Jesus, pp. 166-167)

Funk and Hoover write: "This is a complex dialogue culminating in the obscure saying in v. 6. The words attributed to Jesus in vv. 2 and 4 are probably incidental dialogue (holes in the manuscript make the text difficult to interpret) and so are the creation of the storyteller. The meaning of the pronouncement in v. 6 is unknown. The term 'rest' is a special Thomean or gnostic category, meaning 'salvation' (the term is discussed more fully in the comments on Thom 51:1-2). The saying as a whole is reminiscent of Thomas 7, which is also probably the invention of Thomas or his community. For the Thomean use of the term 'carcass' compare Thomas 58. All of these are reasons for thinking Thomas 60 is the special language of Thomas and not Jesus. In addition, there is no trace of this kind of language elsewhere in the words attributed to Jesus." (The Five Gospels, p. 506)

Gerd Ludemann writes: "The meaning of this logion consisting of a dialogue between Jesus and his disciples is obscure. Nevertheless it is certain that 'alive' (v. 4) is a key word linking it to Logion 59 and Logion 58. The Gnostics are to seek a place of rest (= salvation) for themselves (v. 6), so that they are not consumed by the world, like the lamb, and become a corpse. As the living beigns that they are they cannot be eaten and become corpses (v. 4)." (Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 620)

Stevan Davies writes: "This theme is peculiar to Thomas in early Christian writing. It stems from the observation that people do not eat living animals but dead ones (saying 60), an observation contrasted with the possibility of eating that which is living, which would entail living from the living one rather than from dead animals (saying 111)." (http://www.misericordia.edu/users/davies/thomas/jblprot.htm)

If you like the site, please buy the CD to support its work and get bonus stuff!
Copyright 2012 Peter Kirby <E-Mail>. See the Gospel of Thomas Bibliography & Credits.

Gospel of Thomas Saying 60

Previous - Gospel of Thomas Home - Next