Gospel of Thomas Commentary: Saying 059 We should meditate on the one who is alive

Early Christian Writings Commentary

Title: Gospel of Thomas Commentary: Saying 59

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

(59) Jesus said: Look upon the Living One so long as you live, that you may not die and seek to see him, and be unable to see him.

LAYTON[2]4CM Translator ID: T68

(59) Jesus said, “Consider the one who is alive while you (plur.) are alive, lest you die and then seek to behold that one – and you will not be able to behold.”

DORESSE[3]4CM Translator ID: T81

64 [59]. Jesus says: “Seek to see Him who is living, while you are living; rather than to die and to seek to see Him <only> when you can no longer see Him!”

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

• John 7:33-34 KJV
• John 8:21 KJV
• John 13:33 KJV
• John 14:8-11 KJV

Scholarly Quotes

Funk and Hoover write: “The ‘living one’ in this saying can refer only to Jesus himself (compare Thom 52:2 and the prologue). Here Jesus speaks of himself as the revealer who has the power to save from death those who seek him (Thomas 49-50 reflect this same notion). This language is that of Thomean Christianity, not Jesus.” 

The Five Gospels, p. 506

Gerd Ludemann writes: “The key word ‘living’ links the present logion with the previous one (‘found life’). Jesus is speaking of himself as the living one (cf. Prologue; 52.2) and emphasizing the either-or between (spiritual) life and (spiritual) death.” 

Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 619


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

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