Friday, January 5, 2024

Saying 101


‘Whoever does not hate his father and his mother like I do cannot be my disciple, and whoever does not love his father and his mother like I do cannot be my disciple. For my mother […], while my true mother gave life to me.’


Compare Sayings 16, 55, and 99. The final sentence is broken just enough in the Coptic text that the attribute which distinguishes the first mother from the second is unclear. The reference to another, ‘true’ mother who ‘gave life’ suggests the first mother caused some form of deception or death. Beginning in the late first or early second century, some Christian texts began to identify God’s holy spirit as a personal being distinct from ‘God (the Father)’ himself, and thus a subset interpreted the holy spirit as Jesus’ mother. If this is the case here, the hated father and mother may refer to a person’s biological parents, while the loved father and mother would be God and the holy spirit. The final sentence might then be a contrast between one mother who brings a person into an earthly existence doomed to die, while the other mother rescues from this death by the person into the heavenly afterlife. Saying 101 is a clear reformulation of Saying 55 within a later theological development.



10.37–39 ‘Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.’


14.25–27 Now large crowds were traveling with him. And he turned and said to them, ‘Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.’

Odes of Solomon

19.1–2 A cup of milk was offered to me, and I drank it in the sweetness of the Lord’s favor. The son is the cup, and the Father is he who was milked, and the holy spirit is she who milked him.

Gospel of the Hebrews

‘My mother, the holy spirit, took me just now by one of my hairs and carried me off to the great Mount Tabor.’

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