Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Saying 39


Jesus said, ‘The Pharisees and the scribes have taken the keys of knowledge and have hidden them. They have neither entered, nor permitted to enter those who [were about to | want to].’

‘But you should be wise like snakes and innocent like doves.’


Saying 39 comprises two separate teachings. The first part has parallels in both Matthew and Luke, which places the saying in the middle of a lengthy diatribe against corrupt religious leaders. The message has no practical application in that context; it only serves to demonstrate Jesus’ animosity toward those he deems hypocrites, outlining that they have been condemned by God and will soon face punishment. Saying 39 shifts focus in the Gospel of Thomas from how disciples should conduct themselves to how they should distinguish themselves from their religious opponents. This is accomplished by pairing with a second teaching that disciples should be innocent, but shrewd, a saying which Matthew also contains and has also paired with a barely-related analogy of sheep and wolves.



‘See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves. So be wise like snakes and innocent like doves.’

23.13 ‘But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. For you do not go in yourselves, and when others are going in, you stop them.’


11.52 ‘Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.’

No comments:

Post a Comment