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defined it in chapter 1, must have a different meaning. A sceptic could perhaps raise an objection and
suggest that sayings 16, 49, and 75 were never part of the “original” Thomas, but were added to the
collection at the Coptic stage of its textual transmission.446 In what follows, I will argue that this is
not the case.
The last verse of saying 16 reads, ġʼnőേŅĩĻġőƙĩേĩŃġŇĿʼnേĩʼnĿേͧĹĿĻġōĿŅ, “And they will stand
as solitary ones” (Thomas 16:4). One could suggest that this verse, if not the whole saying, was added
to Thomas to appeal to its alleged monastic audience.447 It is worth noting, however, that Thomas
16:4 is strikingly similar to Thomas 23:2, ġʼnőേŅĩĻġőƙĩേĩŃġŇĿʼnേĩʼnĿേĿʼnġേĿʼnőŇ, “And they will stand
as a single one.” Since doublets and repetitive formulas are important Thomasine rhetorical devices,
it is likely that both these verses were part of the “original” Thomas. The content of these two verses
also indicates that they were part of the “original” text. As I have already noted in section 7.1, Thomas
23:2 is part of a group of sayings that understands human perfection as being/becoming one. That
these sayings were part of the “original” Thomas, as I defined it in chapter 1, is clear from the fact
that one of them, Thomas 4, is attested not only by NHC II, but also by P.Oxy. 654.
It is also likely that saying 75 was part of the “original” Thomas. While it is doubtful that there
is an organizing principle that would explain the structure of the sayings collection as a whole, it is
clear that certain groups of sayings constitute thematic units. For instance, sayings 63, 64, and 65 are
a triad of parables in each of which “figures who seek or possess wealth or who strive for statusrecognition among their peers are criticized and their pursuits lampooned.”448 Similarly, sayings 73,
74, and 75 are a triad of antithetic aphorisms offering “three variants of the theme of the fewness of
the elect.”449 There seems to be no reason to doubt that the “original” Thomas employed thematic
grouping as an organizing principle. It seems clear, in fact, that sayings 73, 74, and 75 comprised one
of those “original” thematic groups, since, as Howard M. Jackson has shown, saying 74 is alluded to
in the “Celestial Dialogue” quoted by Celsus (see Origen, Cels. 8.15), this allusion being “the earliest
attestation to the Gospel of Thomas yet known.”450
Finally, it does not seem reasonable to assume that saying 49 is a later addition to the “original”
text of Thomas. The peculiar expression that we find in this saying, ĻĹĿĻġōĿŅ ġʼnőേ ĩŇŅĿŇŁ, also
occurs in the Dialogue of the Savior (NHC III 120.26: ͩŅőŇŁേĹͩͩĹĿĻĿōĿŅ; cf. NHC III 121.18–20).
As Risto Uro points out, even though the Dialogue of the Savior might not be directly dependent on
Thomas, “the great number of parallels and affinities” between the two texts indicates that they share
a “symbolic universe.”451 There seems to be no reason to doubt that the affinities between the
Another alternative is to suppose that sayings 16, 49, and 75 were part of the “original” text, but that these sayings did
not contain the word μοναχός. Klijn (see section 7.1.1, above) seems to entertain this possibility and think thatേRFCേCoptic
RP?LQJ?RMPേKGEFRേF?TCേSQCBേRFCേUMPBേĹĿĻġōĿŅ to render Greek εἷς. According to Klijn 1962, 272, by doing so the translator
“obviously tries to render a term unknown to him with the help of a word familiar to his readers.” As I have already
pointed out, this hypothesis seems to be very unlikely, since it leaves unclear why the translator was inconsistent, i.e. why
he did not always render εἷς withേĹĿĻġōĿŅ, but occasionally usedേĿʼnġ and ĿʼnġേĿʼnőŇ. It is also worth noting that, as I
have pointed out in chapter 5, the Coptic translator seems to have tried to be careful with terminology of Thomas and not
to render a Greek word with a different Greek word.
It is worth noting that some scholars hypothesize about the monastic setting of the Nag Hammadi codices. For a
discussion of this hypothesis see, e.g., Khosroyev 1995; Jenott and Pagels 2010; Lewis and Blount 2014; Lundhaug and
Jenott 2015.
Kloppenborg 2006, 43.
Montefiore and Turner 1962, 80. See also the discussion of saying 75 below.
Jackson 1992, 305
See Uro 2003, 46–51.