Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Saying 60


A Samaritan was carrying a lamb as he traveled to Judah. He said to his disciples, ‘That man is binding the lamb.’

They said to him, ‘So that he may kill it and eat it.’

He said to them, ‘While it is alive, he will not eat it. Instead, after he has killed it and it is a carcass.’

They said, ‘He is not able to do it any other way.’

He said to them, ‘You, then, seek for yourselves a place within rest, so that you will not become a carcass and be eaten!’


Saying 60 is generally regarded as corrupt in its surviving form. The Coptic text literally says the man ‘surrounds’ the lamb. One theory is that this looks like a mistranslation of Syriac ܟܪܟ (kārēk, bind); the man has tied up the lamb to prevent it from struggling when he kills it for food. Other solutions on this point suggest some text is missing, which clarified that the man was, e.g., chasing the lamb or carrying it over his shoulders. Whatever the explanation for the first statement, the meaning of the passage is still obscure. It is probably a truncation of a story in which Jesus discussed the Torah’s dietary restrictions, which was edited into a wisdom lesson on being spiritually dead (compare Sayings 7 and 11). Jesus instructs his disciples that, to avoid becoming such a person, they must find in this life the ‘rest’ which awaits in the future/afterlife (Sayings 1, 50, 51).

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