Gospel of Thomas Commentary: Saying 040 A parable of a grapevine

Early Christian Writings Commentary

Title: Gospel of Thomas Commentary: Saying 40

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

(40) Jesus said: A vine has been planted outside of the Father; and since it is not established, it will be plucked out with its roots (and) will perish.

LAYTON[2]4CM Translator ID: T68

(40) Jesus said, “A grapevine has been planted outside the father. And because it is not sound, it will be plucked out by the root and will perish.”

DORESSE[3]4CM Translator ID: T81

45 [40]. Jesus says: “A vine shoot was planted outside the Father. It did not grow strong: it will be plucked up from the root and it will perish.”

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

• Matt 15:10-20 KJV
• John 15:1-17 KJV
Ign. Trall. 11.1-2 (Ignatius, Letter to the Trallians)
Ign Phld. 3.1-3 (Ignatius, Letter to the Philadelphians)

Scholarly Quotes

Gerd Ludemann writes: “These verses come close to Matt. 15.13. Verse 2a is not contained in Matt. 15.13, but can well be understood as an elaboration by Gnostics who are concerned with inner fortification. Similarly, the use of ‘vine’ instead of ‘planting’ is not a reason for dismissing a genetic relationship to the text of Matthew. A dependence of this logion on Matthew is virtually certain, for Matt. 15.13 derives from Matthean redaction.” 

Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 610

Funk and Hoover write: “This is another illustration of a proverb that Jesus may have adopted. Vines planted without the assistance of the Father will not survive; they will be pulled up by the roots. The reference to being pulled up by the roots gives a slight apocalyptic tinge to the saying. This nuance is, of course, alien to Thomas.” 

The Five Gospels, p. 495


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

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