Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Saying 27


[Jesus said,] ‘If you do not fast from the world, you will not find the kingdom [of God].’

‘[And] if you do not observe the Sabbath as a Sabbath, you will not see the Father.’


The phrasing ‘observe the Sabbath as a Sabbath’ in the Greek version (ΣΑΒΒΑΤΙΣΗΤΕ ΤΟ ΣΑΒΒΑΤΟΝ) is close to that in LXX Lev 23.32 (ΣΑΒΒΑΤΙΕΙΤΕ ΤΑ ΣΑΒΒΑΤΑ). It is doubtful either Jesus or his earliest disciples—themselves all Judeans—would need to address the necessity of Sabbath observance, which suggests that Saying 27 did not come from the earliest version of the Gospel of Thomas. This suggests the saying came from someone in a pro-Torah side of the Jesus Movement in later decades, as gentiles began joining the movement. However, the first half of Saying 27 was likely an even later addition. Fasting has been spiritualized as a general rejection or self-exclusion ‘from the world’, rather than the literal act of piously abstaining from food.



23.32 It shall be to you a Sabbath of complete rest, and you shall deny yourselves; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening you shall keep your Sabbath.

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