Gospel of Thomas Commentary: Saying 095 We should not lend at interest

Early Christian Writings Commentary

Title: Gospel of Thomas Commentary: Saying 95

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

(95) [Jesus said:] If you have money, (p. 49) do not lend at interest, but give [ . . . ] to him from whom you will not receive it back.

LAYTON[2]4CM Translator ID: T68

(95) [Jesus said], “If you (plur.) have money, do not lend it out at interest. Rather, give [it] to one from whom you will not get it back.”

DORESSE[3]4CM Translator ID: T81

99 [95]. [Jesus says: “If (?)] you have money, do not lend it at interest, but [. . .] who (?) will not take them from him.”

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

• Luke 6:27-36 KJV
• Matt 5:38-42 KJV

Scholarly Quotes

Gerd Ludemann writes: “the logion has a parallel in content in Matt. 5.42b/Luke 6.30. But the theme of interest recalls the antipathy of Thomas to merchants (cf. 64.12). However, this does not exclude the possibility that it was already contained in the tradition that Thomas is using.”

Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 636

Comparing Thomas to Matthew and Luke, Koester finds that the Thomas form is more original: “The ending of Luke 6:34 (‘Even sinners lend to sinners . . .’) is a secondary addition in analogy to the ending of the preceding saying Luke 6:33 (‘Even sinners do that’). Matt 5:42 reads, ‘Give to the one who asks you, and do not refuse one who wants to borrow from you.’ This may have preserved the wording of the original saying better than Luke 6:34, and Thomas’s version can be best explained as a development of this form.” 

Ancient Christian Gospels, p. 90

Funk and Hoover write: “Thomas records a saying that is parallel to Matt 5:42b: ‘Don’t turn away the one who triest to borrow from you.’ Thomas’ version may well be the earlier version since it is absolute: lend to those from whom you can’t expect to get your capital back.”

The Five Gospels, p. 522


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

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