Gospel of Thomas Commentary: Saying 058 The laborer

Early Christian Writings Commentary

Title: Gospel of Thomas Commentary: Saying 58

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

(58) Jesus said: Blessed is the man who has suffered; he has found life.

LAYTON[2]4CM Translator ID: T68

(58) Jesus said, “Blessed is the person who has labored and found life.”

DORESSE[3]4CM Translator ID: T81

63 [58]. Jesus says: “Blessed is the man who has laboured; he has found Life!”

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

• 1 Pet 3:14a KJV
• Jas 1:12 KJV

Scholarly Quotes

Marvin Meyer writes: “If this is a saying about those who work hard, as is likely, mention may be made of Proverbs 8:34-36, with its commendation of a person who continually observes the ways of Wisdom, or Sirach 51:26-27, with its injunction that one labour under the yoke of Wisdom, or the Cynic author ‘Crates,’ Epistles 15 and 16, with the observation that a Cynic is one who works hard at philosophy.” 

The Gospel of Thomas: The Hidden Sayings of Jesus, p. 92

Robert M. Grant and David Noel Freedman write: “Here we find an equivalent, in the form of a blessing, to the invitation repeated in Saying 90 from Matthew 11:28-30; in that saying Matthew’s reference to ‘labour’ is omitted, perhaps in order to be placed here. ‘Finding rest’ in Saying 90 is equivalent to ‘finding life’ here. See also Saying 10, on ‘working together.'” 

The Secret Sayings of Jesus, p. 165

Funk and Hoover write: “In form, this aphorism mimics the beatitudes found in Matthew (5:3-12) and Luke (6:20-22). But in content it recalls the ‘labours’ of Hercules. In early Christian times, Cynics and Stoics, two dominant schools of philosophy during the Greco-Roman period, 300 B.C.E. – 300 C.E., looked to Hercules as a kind of heroic founder.

This sort of borrowing from popular culture was common in the early Christian movement as the followers of Jesus added to the legacy of their teacher. Also, the promise of life echoes the prologue to Thomas and related motifs elsewhere in this gospel (101:3; 114:1; further, 18:3; 19:4; 85:2; 111:2).” 

The Five Gospels, p. 506


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

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