Gospel of Thomas Saying 24

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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


(24) His disciples said: Teach us about the place where you are, for it is necessary for us to seek it. He said to them: He who has ears, let him hear! There is light within a man of light, and he lights the whole world. If he does not shine, there is darkness.


(24) His disciples said, "Show us the place where you are, for we must seek it." He said to them, "Whoever has ears should listen! There is light existing within a person of light. And it enlightens the whole world: if it does not enlighten, that person is darkness."


29 [24]. His disciples say to him: "Instruct us about the place where thou art, for we must know about it!" He says to them: "He who has ears, let him hear! If a light exists inside a luminous one, then it gives light to the whole world; but if it does not give light, <it means that it is> a darkness."

Funk's Parallels

POxy655 24, Luke 11:33-36, Matt 6:22-23, Matt 5:14-16, John 14:2-7, John 8:12-16, John 12:27-36, John 1:6-13, DialSav 27-28, DialSav 60-63, DialSav 77-78, DialSav 8, DialSav 14.

Visitor Comments

One who understands the message of Jesus has a responsibility to witness as to his knowledge and understanding when it is requested. The light is given, not thrust upon others. The time is made clear.
- active-mystic

His disciples said, "Show us the place where you are, for we must seek it." He said to them, "Whoever has ears should hear. There is life within a person of life, and it creates the whole world." (Note: An interestingly similar notion, respectably modeled so as to be accessible to students of science, lies at the heart of quantum physics. I allude to the notion of "the realization of a particular quantum state" in the presence of "the observer".)
- Simon Magus

The two ears refers to the two functions of the different sides of the brain. By integrating these functions one becomes aware of the innate repair process which illuminates the entire mind.
- Rodney

This is a simple statement, no hidden meanings--You have ears (dummy!) If you don't get it then you're not listening to the message. You have to have light to understand--If you have the understanding and don't try to enlighten those that don't understand then you may as well be the devil.
- Holly

cf the Koranic "Light within a Niche" --- sezammy@hotmail.com
- Thief37

The translations are incorrect. "The light of the body is in the eye. When the eye is single, the whole body shall be full of light. If the eye of the body is in darkness, how great the dakness!" The third eye "sees" light, that is when you are spiritually developed enough along the Path, with the assistance and guidance of a living Master (Jesus). Likewise hearing the sound (unsung melody=Holy Ghost) through the inner ear(s) is only possible after spiritual development. Both occur together. Thomas "saw" and heard both.
- Petrus

I am often surprised at how rarely mention is made of the northern Indian mystical tradition of a self-luminous inner light, which proceeds from a primordial Sound or Word (see Sant Mat or Sikh writings) 'projected' into every living thing, but most actualized in humanity. This light is manifested at the pineal gland locus, called the Third or Single Eye, hence references to "If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light." Those interested in pursuing some very provocative explanations on the true role of Light in mystical teachings both east and west would do well to spend some time researching the above spiritual practices...a lot will become clearer.
- Thomas of Edison

There is consciousness in every being and it defines the perspective that makes seeing possible. The world exists only as a materialisation of that consciousness. Differentiation between the self and the other is blindness with respect to the essence of the world. To see the same consciousness in oneself and in the outside world is to see the light.
- Z

Scholarly Quotes

Robert M. Grant and David Noel Freedman write: "The disciples ask to be shown where Jesus is, just as in John 13:36 Simon Peter asks where he is going, in John 14:5 Thomas asks about the way, and in John 14:8 Philip asks to be shown the Father. Jesus replies by urging them to 'hear' the hidden meaning of his words. They already possess spiritual illumination within themselves, for they have spiritual 'eyes' (Saying 23). Thomas paraphrases a saying of Jesus about the eye in Matthew 6:22-23; Luke 11:34-36. For the 'luminous' body of the gospels he substitutes the Gnostic conception of the 'luminous-man' (Pistis Sophia, chapter 125). Their light illuminates the whole world because they are 'the light of the world' (Matthew 5.14; another quotation of this verse is in Saying 33)." (The Secret Sayings of Jesus, pp. 145-146)

Jean Doresse writes: "Or better, 'the place where thou art' may be intended to refer to God Himself; in Hebrew God is often referred to by the paraphrase Maqom, which means 'the Place'. In this case, the disciples will be asking him how close he is to the Godhead, and Jesus replies, alluding to himself, that the light which he sends into the world is the proof that the divine Light is present in him." (The Secret Books of the Egyptian Gnostics, p. 373)

Joachim Jeremias writes: "Concerning the idea of the 'inner light' which shines from within a man, cf. Gospel of Thomas 24: 'Within a man of light there is light and it [or: he] lights the whole world.' Incidentally, the same idea is behind the rabbinical rule not to look at the priests while they pronounced the priestly blessing; in doing so they had to hold their hands before their eyes with the fingers spread out like a screen, because, as it was said, the divine glory 'glanced through the lattice [Cant. 2.9]'." (The Parables of Jesus, p. 163)

Gerd Ludemann writes: "The disciples do not need to look outside themselves, but as people of light they have light in themselves just as much as the light figure Jesus (cf. 77.1). Indeed, without this particle of light there would be darkness in the world. This statement seems to contain an indirect command to engage in mission in the world (cf. 33.1-3)." (Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 602)

Funk and Hoover write: "The concept of a person bearing a spark of light that recalls one's origin and determines one's nature is a gnostic commonplace. While reminsicent of other sayings about light, especially in the Gospel of John, it is here clearly a gnostic formulation." (The Five Gospels, p. 487)

Stevan Davies writes: "According to saying 24 people may actualize the light within them and thus see the world and themselves in terms of the light of creation. They will see the world in reference to its beginning perfection, stand at the beginning (saying 18), and need no future attainment. They will know themselves to be sons of the living Father (saying 3) -- that is, the image of God, no longer male or female and having made the male and female into a single one, they will enter the kingdom of heaven (saying 22)." (http://www.misericordia.edu/users/davies/thomas/jblprot.htm)

Stevan Davies writes: "According to Gos. Thom. 24 one learns that those seeking the place where Jesus is ought not seek Jesus himself, but will find what they seek within themselves, the primordial light which, when actualized, illuminates the world." (http://www.misericordia.edu/users/davies/thomas/jblprot.htm)

J. D. Crossan writes: "The six uses [of 'let him hear'] in Thomas have the double 'hear' in Gos. Thom. 8, 21 (as in Mark and Luke), but the single 'hear' in 24, 63, 65, 96 (as in Matthew). It is used mostly to conclude parables (8, 21, 63, 65, 96), but once to introduce an aphorism (24). Since Coptic has no participle, the opening is the equivalent of the Greek relatival format." (In Fragments, p. 70)

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Gospel of Thomas Saying 24

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