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progress, but its outcome. Finally, in light of the fact that physical standing was generally associated
with worship and prayer,495 it is quite telling that the Thomasine attitude towards prayer is profoundly
negative: Jesus refuses to fast and pray in saying 104, even claiming that prayer leads to condemnation
in Thomas 14:2.496
Third, there is no reason to suppose that sayings 16, 23, 49, and 75 are somehow connected to
baptism. Although Jonathan Z. Smith and several other scholars after him have tried to place a number
of Thomasine sayings, especially saying 37,497 within a baptismal context, their attempts were hardly
successful.498 Moreover, as Risto Uro has pointed out, some of Thomasine regulations seem to be
incompatible with any “type of baptismal process we know about from other first- and second-century
sources.”499 For instance, while Did. 7:4 exhorts the one being baptized to fast one or two days prior
to his or her baptism, Thomas 14:1 claims that fasting is sinful.
8.2. The Varieties of “Standing” in Thomas
The expression őƙĩേĩŃġŇƑ is used seven times in the Coptic Thomas, viz. in sayings 16, 18, 23,
28, 50, 75, and 99. Since the Coptic text of Thomas is a translation from Greek, it seems necessary to
discuss the terminology employed in the Greek Vorlage of Thomas before proceeding to the analysis
of Thomasine “standing.”
In the vast majority of instances where the Sahidic New Testament reads ġƙĩŃġŇƑ (in Sahidic
Coptic, the stative form ġƙĩ is often used instead of the infinitive form őƙĩ), the Greek text reads
ἵστημι.500 There is little doubt that, as a rule, őƙĩേĩŃġŇƑ in Coptic texts renders ἵστημι in their Greek
The same certainly holds true for Thomas for the following reasons. First, P. Oxy. 1 preserves
the beginning of the Greek text of saying 28, and there is no reason to doubt that it is identical to the
Vorlage of the Coptic text:
Thomas 28:1 (P. Oxy. 1)
Thomas 28:1 (NHC II)
λέγει Ἰ(ησοῦ)ς· ἔ[σ]την ἐν μέσῳ τοῦ κόσμου καὶ Łĩƛĩേ ij‫ر‬േ ƛĩേ ġĩijőƙĩേ ĩŃġŇേ ƙͩേ ŇĹįŇĩേ ͧŁĵĿŅĹĿŅേ
ἐν σαρκὶ ὤφθην αὐτοῖς
Second, the phrasing of Thomas 99:1 is remarkably similar to that of Matt 12:47 and Luke 8:20.
The expression ġƙĩŃġŇƑ in the Sahidic version of Luke 8:20 corresponds to ἵστημι in the Greek text,
so we can be fairly certain that the same Greek verb was used in the Vorlage of Thomas. The following
synoptic table compares Thomas 99:1 only with Luke 8:20, because the Sahidic New Testament, as
well as a few other important witnesses, omits Matt 12:47:501
Cf. Williams 1985, 91.
For a detailed analysis of these sayings, see Marjanen 1998b, 170–2.
See Smith 1978, 1–23; Davies 1983, 117–37; MacDonald 1987, 50–63.
See the discussion in Uro 2003, 70–2.
Uro 2003, 72.
See Wilmet 1957–1959, 2:1155–60.
It is worth noting that, since Matt 12:47 is necessary to the flow of the narrative, it must have been in the original text.
Metzger 1994, 26–7, argues that it “apparently was accidentally omitted because of homoeoteleuton”: verses 12:46 and
12:47 both end with λαλῆσαι.