Gospel of Thomas Commentary: Saying 025 Love your sibling

Early Christian Writings Commentary

Title: Gospel of Thomas Commentary: Saying 25

Subheading:  This page explores modern interpretations of the Gospel according to Thomas, an ancient text preserved in a Coptic translation at Nag Hammadi and Greek fragments at Oxyrhynchus. With no particular slant, this commentary gathers together quotations from various scholars in order to elucidate the meaning of the sayings, many of which are rightly described as “obscure.”

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FromEarly Christian Writings 

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Horst Balz. (T87)
Bentley Layton. (T68)
Harold W Attridge. (T34)
Jean Doresse. (T81)
Robert Funk. (T71)

Our Ref:
ECST: 014.10.000.T34
ECST: 014.10.000.T68
ECST: 014.10.000.T71
ECST: 014.10.000.T81
ECST: 014.10.000.T87

Nag Hammadi Coptic Text

Gospel of Thomas Coptic Text

BLATZ[1]4CM Translator ID: T87

(25) Jesus said: Love your brother as your soul; watch over him like the apple of your eye.

LAYTON[2]4CM Translator ID: T68

(25) Jesus said, “Love your (sing.) sibling like your own soul; look out for that person like the apple of you eye.”

DORESSE[3]4CM Translator ID: T81

30 [25]. Jesus says: “Love thy brother like thy soul; watch over him like the apple of thine eye.”

Funk’s Parallels[4]4CM Translator ID: T71 , , , , , , , , .

• Lev 19:18 KJV
• Deut 6:5 KJV
• Luke 10:25-29 KJV
• Matt 22:34-40 KJV
• Rom 13:8-10 KJV
• Gal 5:13-15 KJV
Did 1:2
Barn 19:5 (Epistle of Barnabas)

Scholarly Quotes

Gerd Ludemann writes: “This verse [2] does not occur in the New Testament. However, the mode of expression does have parallels in the Old Testament: Deut. 32.10; Ps. 17.8; Prov. 7.2.” 

Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 603

Marvin Meyer writes: “Gospel of the Hebrews 5 has the saviour say, ‘And never rejoice except when you look upon your brother with love,’ and Didache 2:7 commands that ‘some you shall love more than your soul.'” 

The Gospel of Thomas: The Hidden Sayings of Jesus, p. 81

R. McL. Wilson writes: “As Grant and Freedman say, this is ‘purely Jewish,’ and Leipoldt and Guillaumont had already drawn attention to the Semitism involved in the use of ‘as thy soul’ for ‘as thyself.’ Quispel finds a parallel in the Person Diatessaron.

All the biblical passages have ‘they neighbour,’ but ‘brother’ occurs in Leviticus xix. 17; the one ground for hesitation over ascribing this saying to early and good tradition is that for Thomas ‘thy brother,’ in the words of Grand and Freedman, ‘means not an Israelite or another human being, but another Gnostic.’

It is difficult to avoid the suspicion that the scope of the saying has been deliberately narrowed. By an orthodox Christian it would, of course, be understood in the New Testament sense, but if Jesus were known to have quoted Leviticus it is difficult to account for the change. This may serve to remind us that the same words might be very differently interpreted in orthodox and in Gnostic circles.” 

Studies in the Gospel of Thomas, pp. 113-114


1 4CM Translator ID: T87
2 4CM Translator ID: T68
3 4CM Translator ID: T81
4 4CM Translator ID: T71

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