Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Saying 46

English

Jesus said, ‘From Adam to John the Baptizer, no one among those born of women is more exalted than John the Baptizer that his eyes should not break. But I have said that whoever among you will become a child will know the kingdom and he will be more exalted than John.” ’


Interpretation

The phrase ‘born of women’ is an idiom meaning ‘human, mortal’ (compare Saying 15). Some elements expanded the saying by the time it entered Thomas, compared to the synoptic parallels. ‘From Adam to John the Baptizer’ and ‘that his eyes should not break’ were added to stress John’s uniqueness. The latter phrase most likely refers to the respectfully averting one’s gaze out of humility, rather than staring them down. The second half comparing with children seems to be the same saying as Mark 10.13–16, which came to Thomas’ author already combined with the saying about John. While it is possible a simpler version of Saying 46 existed in the earliest edition of the Gospel of Thomas, in its present form the saying appears to have been edited with knowledge of the synoptic gospels.


Parallels

Deuteronomy

28.65 Among those nations you shall find no ease, no resting place for the sole of your foot. There Yhwh will give you a trembling heart, failing eyes, and a languishing spirit.

Mark

10.13–16 People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me. Do not stop them, for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.’ And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and favored them.

Matthew

11.11 ‘Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptizer. Yet the least in the kingdom of the skies is greater than he.’

Luke

7.28 ‘I tell you, among those born of women no one is greater than John. Yet the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.’

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