Thursday, January 4, 2024

Saying 80


Jesus said, ‘Whoever has come to know the world has found the body. The world is not worthy of whoever has found the body.’


Saying 56 and Saying 80, each of which only survives in Coptic, are nearly identical. The inclusion of two near-verbatim copies of the same teaching is strong evidence for the theory that sayings in the Gospel of Thomas were compiled over time from various oral and written traditions, sometimes haphazardly. Saying 56 uses ⲠⲦⲰⲘⲀ (ptōma, corpse) while Saying 80 has ⲤⲰⲘⲀ (sōma, body), suggesting that they are independent translations of an earlier Semitic-language version. The original word was either Aramaic פגר (pəḡar) or Syriac ܦܓܪ (pəḡar). Each word means ‘corpse’ or ‘body’. It is also possible that the verb ‘find’ translated Aramaic מצא (məṣā) or Syriac ܡܨܐ (māṣē), meaning both ‘find’ or ‘overcome’. From these points, ‘has found the body’ may be reconstructed ‘has overcome the body’. A recurring element in the later additions to the Gospel of Thomas is the repudiation of the earthly body, leaning to an ascetic denial of bodily desires. Salvation comes through the wisdom which enables a person to recognize ‘the world’ for what it is.



11.37–38 They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two, they were killed by the sword, they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented—of whom the world was not worthy.

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