Gospel of Thomas Commentary: Saying 073 Workers for the harvest

Early Christian Writings Commentary

Title: Gospel of Thomas Commentary: Saying 73

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

(73) Jesus said: The harvest is indeed great, but the labourers are few. But pray the Lord, that he send forth labourers into the harvest.

LAYTON[2]4CM Translator ID: T68

(73) Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. So plead with the lord to dispatch workers for the harvest.”

DORESSE[3]4CM Translator ID: T81

77 [73]. Jesus says: “The harvest is great but the labourers are few. Pray the Lord to send labourers for the harvest.”

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

• Luke 10:1-16 KJV
• Matt 9:35-38 KJV
• John 4:31-38 KJV

Scholarly Quotes

Rabbi Tarfon in Pirke Aboth 2.20 says: “The day is short, and the work is great, and the laborers are slow, and the wages are high, and the master of the house is insistent.”

The Gospel of Thomas: The Hidden Sayings of Jesus, p. 97

Funk and Hoover write: “This saying evidently originated in the context of the Christian movement, at a time when missionary endeavor was a major activity. In addition, the image of the harvest is usually associated with the threat of judgment, a theme that was not characteristic of Jesus.”

The Five Gospels, p. 514

Gerd Ludemann writes: “The logion corresponds to Matt. 9.37-38/Luke 10.2 (=Q), but does not read ‘of the harvest’ after ‘the lord’ as Matthew and Luke do. There is no evidence of dependence on the Synoptic parallels.”

Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 627


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

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