Gospel of Thomas Commentary: Saying 034 The blind cannot lead the blind

Early Christian Writings Commentary

Title: Gospel of Thomas Commentary: Saying 34

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

(34) Jesus said: If a blind man leads a blind man, they both fall into a pit.

LAYTON[2]4CM Translator ID: T68

(34) Jesus said, “If a blind person leads a blind person both will fall into a hole.”

DORESSE[3]4CM Translator ID: T81

39 [34]. Jesus says: “If a blind man leads another blind man, both of them fall into a ditch.”

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

• Luke 6:39 KJV
• Matt 15:10-20 KJV

Scholarly Quotes

Robert M. Grant and David Noel Freedman write: “This saying is derived from Matthew 15:14; for its substance is presented as a question in Luke 6:39. It follows Saying 34, because the mention of ‘light’ in that saying leads Thomas to think of sight or the lack of it.” 

The Secret Sayings of Jesus, p. 151

Funk and Hoover write: “This saying has the earmarks of a proverb. As prudential wisdom, it would be appropriate on the lips of almost any sage and it could have entered the tradition at almost any point.” 

The Five Gospels, p. 492


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

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