Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Saying 31


Jesus said, ‘A prophet is without honor in his homeland. A doctor does not heal the people who know him.’


Saying 31 compares the treatment a prophet receives from his peers to that of a doctor: they each face rejection or resentment from the people who knew them before their careers. All four of the New Testament gospels contain a similar teaching, but only Luke’s version mentions a doctor like Thomas does. A possible explanation is that in the earliest oral traditions, the saying mentioned only the poor reception of a prophet in his homeland. Traditions diverged, with one form accruing the detail of the doctor, while another added mention of ‘their own house’. Mark received the ‘house’ version, which Matthew and Luke then received through Mark. Meanwhile, Thomas and Luke each received variants on the ‘doctor’ version, which Luke combined with what he got from Mark. John followed the synoptics, trimming the excess details. The fluidity of oral tradition makes it difficult to pin down when Saying 31 entered into the Gospel of Thomas, its general primitivity suggests an earlier time frame.



6.4 Then Jesus said to them, ‘Prophets are not without honor, except in their homeland, and among their own kin, and in their own house.’


13.57 And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, ‘Prophets are not without honor except in their own homeland and in their own house.’


4.23–24 He said to them, ‘Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, “Doctor, cure yourself!” And you will say, “Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.” ’ And he said, ‘Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in his homeland.’


4.43–44 When the two days were over, he went from that place to Galilee (for Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own homeland).

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