Thursday, January 4, 2024

Saying 72


A man said to him, ‘Tell my brothers that they must divide my father’s possessions with me.’

He said to him, ‘Man, who has made me a divider?’ He turned to his disciples and said to them, ‘Surely I am not an divider?’


The man evidently recognizes Jesus as an authority figure, someone wise enough that, ideally, the man’s brother will listen to his intervention. However, Jesus rejects the man’s request. His desire to inherit his father’s material possessions has prevented him from understanding what Jesus is actually concerned for. The saying’s placement may have been intended to call to mind Saying 63, so that this man making the request of Jesus is someone else not ‘worthy’ to be his follower. While the passage is a dialogue, it does not follow the format used in most of the dialogues with unnamed disciples, nor does it feature the heavy embellishment of dialogues with named disciples. These points favor the book coming from an earlier stage in the book’s development.



12.13–14 Someone in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.’ But he said to him, ‘Man, who set me to be a judge or divider over you?’

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