Gospel of Thomas Commentary: Saying 049 Solitaries have come from the kingdom

Early Christian Writings Commentary

Title: Gospel of Thomas Commentary: Saying 49

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

(49) Jesus said: Blessed are the solitary and the elect, for you will find the kingdom, for you came forth from it, (and) you will return to it again.

LAYTON[2]4CM Translator ID: T68

(49) Jesus said, “Blessed are those who are solitary and superior, for you (plur.) will find the kingdom; for since you came from it you shall return to it.”

DORESSE[3]4CM Translator ID: T81

54 [49]. Jesus says: “Blessed are the solitary and the elect, for you will find the Kingdom! Because you have issued from it, you will return to it again.”

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

GThom 23
• GThom 75
• GThom 106
GThom 16

Scholarly Quotes

Robert M. Grant and David Noel Freedman write: “The ‘single’ or ‘solitary’ ones will find the kingdom or, in Saying 75, will enter the bride chamber. They are no more from the world than Jesus himself is (John 17:16); they are one as Jesus and the Father are one (John 17:23). Where Jesus is, they will also be (John 17:24).” 

The Secret Sayings of Jesus, p. 160

Helmut Koester points out a parallel to John 16:28: “I have come out from the Father and I have come into the world. I am again leaving the world and return to the Father.” 

Ancient Christian Gospels, p. 121

Gerd Ludemann writes: “The beatitude moves from the third person plural to the second person plural in the same way as the beatitude in Logion 54. For the ‘solitary ones’ cf. 4.2; 16.4; 75, etc. For the notion that the solitary ones are the elect cf. 23.1-2.” 

Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 614

Funk and Hoover write: “Thomas 49 and 50 constitute a miniature catechism for Thomean Christianity. Thomas 49 depicts Thomas Christians as those who have come into the world from another realm, to which they will one day return. This is a central tenet of the mythology of Gnosticism.”

The Five Gospels, p. 502


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

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