Gospel of Thomas Saying 105

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


(105) Jesus said: He who knows father and mother will be called the son of a harlot.


(105) Jesus said, "Whoever is acquainted with the father and the mother will be called the offspring of a prostitute.


109 [105]. Jesus says: "He who knows father and mother shall he be called: Son of a harlot!"?

Funk's Parallels

John 8:39-47.

Visitor Comments

The child of a harlot is a child conceived without love. When you discover the self-destructive attitudes learnt from your parents you will regard yourself as such a child. (Fortunately one rapidly progresses beyond this.)
- Rodney

This is my favorite quote in the gospel, and all the gospels for that matter!
- Andy McM

Seems to me that "acquainted with the father and the mother" refers to a knowledge of our heritage as children of both "father" (G-D) and "mother" (earth). "He who knows both" will be called the offspring of a prostitute. Yet Jesus is not directly saying that this is true, only pointing out that such "will be called" this. Maybe this is a warning to those who will come to know.
- Eric

See Mark 3:22. The Hebrew God was male and most other Gods, especially of farmers, were female. If you can bring yourself to consider the possibility that Jesus might have said this, then Jesus was born of the Father and the Holy Spirit and the scribes from Jerusalem were the ones who called him a child of a whore; generally, the fertility Gods of farming peoples.
- James R

The passage could be referring to the importance placed on lineage. Jesus could be saying, "Your ancestry is irrelevant and will lead you to ruin." It is not the family (or reputation thereof) that is important. All must realize that they children of God, and God alone. You can not serve two masters.
- Corpus Shtev

I can't help feeling that the NOT chipped off the page: "He who knows NOT his father and mother..."
- Raya

Scholarly Quotes

Marvin Meyer writes: "This saying may be interpreted as a recommendation that one despise one's physical parents; compare sayings 55; 101. Book of Thomas 144,8-10 declares, 'Damn you who love intercourse and filthy association with womankind.' In Irenaeus, Against Heresies 1.23.2, evidence may be provided for another interpretation of the saying. There Irenaeus explains that Simon the Magician's associate Helena, a prostitute from Tyre, was understood to be the divine thought that was incarnated in body after body and that even became a whore, though she is actually 'the mother of all.' In a similar vein, the myth of the soul as presented in the Nag Hammadi text Exegesis on the Soul explains how the soul is raped and abused in the body and how the soul falls into prostitution. Origen may give reason to consider yet another interpretation of the saying. In Against Celsus 1.28; 32 Origen cites the tradition that Jesus was the illegitimate child of Mary, who 'bore a child from a certain soldier named Panthera.' It is known from a gravestone that a Sidonian archer named Tiberius Julius Abdes Pantera was in fact stationed in Palestine around the time of the birth of Jesus. In this regard perhaps compare John 8:41." (The Gospel of Thomas: The Hidden Sayings of Jesus, p. 106)

F. F. Bruce writes: "The point of this saying may be quite problematical. It may imply the denial that Jesus entered the world by such a supposedly unworthy manner as being born of woman. On the other hand, Jesus may be complaining that he himself, who konws his true Father and to be God (cf. John 8.18 ff.) - and possibly his true mother to be the Holy Spirit, as in the Gospel according to Hebrews - is nevertheless stigmatised as being 'born of fornication' (according to a probably mistaken interpretation of John 8.41). [The Jews' protest in John 8.41 ('we were not born of fornication') arises from their suspicion that Jesus was repeating Samaritan calumnies about the origin of the Jewish people (cf. verse 48, 'you are a Samaritan').]" (Jesus and Christian Origens Outside of the New Testament, p. 151)

Funk and Hoover write: "Parentage played a more important role in individual identity in antiquity than it does in modern Western societies. In Jewish-Christian disputes over Jesus, the charge was often made that Jesus was the illegetimate child of Mary and a Roman soldier. Most of the Fellows took Thomas 105 to refer to that charege and dispute. If this is indeed the allusion, then Jesus is made to speak here about himself and the special relation that he has to the Father (Thom 61:3) and the Mother (101:3), in both the literal and metaphorical senses. The saying then expresses early Christian reflection on the parentage of Jesus in the context of disputes with rival Judean groups." (The Five Gospels, p. 526)

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 105

Previous - Gospel of Thomas Home - Next