Gospel of Thomas Commentary: Saying 045 Grapes do not come from thorns

Early Christian Writings Commentary

Title: Gospel of Thomas Commentary: Saying 45

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

(45) Jesus said: Grapes are not harvested from thorn-bushes, nor are figs gathered from hawthorns, [f]or they yield no fruit. [A go]od man brings forth good from his treasure; a bad man brings forth evil things from his evil treasure, which is in his heart, and he says evil things, for out of the abundance of his heart he brings froth evil things.

LAYTON[2]4CM Translator ID: T68

(45) Jesus said, “Grapes are not harvested from thorn trees, nor are figs gathered from thorn bushes, for those do not bear fruit. Good people produce good from their store. Evil people produce wicked things from their evil store within their hearts, and say wicked things. For out of the heart’s abundance they produce wicked things.”

DORESSE[3]4CM Translator ID: T81

50 [45]. Jesus says: “Grapes are not gathered from thistles, and figs are not gathered from thorns: they do not give fruit! [. . . a] good man brings out of his barn what is good, but a wicked man brings out of his wicked barn—which is in his heart—evil <things>, and from them he sows evil, because <they are> evil <things that> he brings out of the abundance of his heart.”

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

• Luke 6:43-45 KJV
• Matt 7:15-20 KJV
• Matt 12:33-37 KJV

Scholarly Quotes

Robert M. Grant and David Noel Freedman write: “From the fruits mentioned in Saying 44, Thomas goes on to give other sayings on the same subject, beginning with Matthew 7:16 then continuing with its parallel Luke 6:44-45. Luke 6:45 is parallel to Matthew 12:35, which also puts the saying about “treasure” in the context of “saying things”; but the saying in Thomas can be explained simply on a combination of Matthew 7:16-19 with Luke 6:44-45. The Gnostic is presumably the one who brings forth good things.” 

The Secret Sayings of Jesus, p. 157

Gerd Ludemann writes: “Verses 1-3 have a close parallel in Luke 6.44b-45b and in Matt. 7.16b; 12.35; 12.34b. The sequence grapes/figs agrees with Matt. 7.16b against Luke 6.44b (figs/grapes). Verse 4 recalls Luke 6.45c. As this part of the verse derives from Lukan redaction, the same thing may be presumed for the whole Thomas logion, which is to be designated a mixed quotation.” 

Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 612


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

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