Gospel of Thomas Saying 101

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This Gospel of Thomas Commentary is part of the Gospel of Thomas page at Early Christian Writings.

Nag Hammadi Coptic Text

Gospel of Thomas Coptic Text


(101) <Jesus said:> He who does not hate his father and his mother like me cannot be a [disciple] to me. And he who does [not] love [his father] and his mother like me cannot be a [disciple] to me. For my mother [ . . . ], but [my] true [mother] gave me life.


(101) <Jesus said>, "Those who do not hate their [father] and their mother as I do cannot be [disciples] of me. And those who [do not] love their [father and] their mother as I do cannot be [disciples of] me. For my mother [. . .] But my true [mother] gave me life."


105 [101]. "He who has not, like me, detested his father and his mother cannot be my disciple; and he who has loved h[is father a]nd his mother as much as he loves me cannot be my disciple. My mother, indeed, has [. . .] because in truth she gave me life."

Funk's Parallels

GThom 55, GThom 105, Luke 14:25-33, Luke 9:23-27, Matt 10:34-39, Matt 16:24-28, Mark 8:34-9:1.

Visitor Comments

This makes perfect sense, since to deny the hate and/or love is to deny oneself.

I like the reference to the true mother giving birth to Jesus because he acknowledges that God is not only masculine but can also be feminine and give life.
- Five_crowss

As a disciple one hates the self-destructive attitudes learnt from one's parents, but also recognises one's innate love for one's parents. For the innate adult selves of one's parents have supported the growth of one's self.
- Rodney

As a process this works its course & there will come a time when the "patient" will reject everything that previously appeared to him to be good. He will even curse God and curse his teacher. Until he/she has passed through that phase they cannot be said to have overcome their Commanding Self [nafs-i-ammarra] or lower nature. How can you be said to know yourself if you have not witnessed the ugly in you as well as the shining?
- Thief37

Similar hate your parents strictures are recorded. They are not necessarily meant to be taken literally but may well have been used by a teacher as shock treatment almost certainly to only one member of a group of pupils. It is a blunt instrument, a tool of last resort and recognised by modern western psycholgists studying brainwashing in the Korean police action. The victim is open when struck such an emotional blow and better able to absorb/remember the words, the situation, the people, the occasion, etc, as a result. I have seen it used under similar authentic circumstances. But without having a fuller account of the situation of the Thomasian usage we cannot be sure that this technique was being used here. However we should be aware of this instrumental tool.
- Thief37

What happened to 'Honor your father and mother?' Unless your earthly father and mother are to be disowned in preference for your Father in Heaven and Mother of conscious thought?
- bromikl

Like Jack Kilmon suggests for saying 55 the word 'hate' is likely better translated to 'set aside'. Thus this saying most likely speaks of setting aside the will of one's bodily mother and father who naturally wish to protect a child from the world's dangers. Jesus, however, urges us to drop these defenses and to trust in the Lord, our spiritual mother and father, even unto death.
- reader

Our greatest loyalty (love) should not be to our biological parents who gave us their genetic materials (which makes us predisposed to their attitudes) to experience this life, but rather to the mother father priciple that gave birth to the spirit within.
- Roland

Scholarly Quotes

Marvin Meyer writes: "'my true [mother]': perhaps the holy spirit, who may be described as the mother of Jesus in such texts as the Secret Book of James, the Gospel of the Hebrews, and the Gospel of Philip. Thus the conundrum presented in the saying (hate parents and love parents) is resolved by positing two orders of family and two mothers of Jesus." (The Gospel of Thomas: The Hidden Sayings of Jesus, p. 105)

Robert M. Grant and David Noel Freedman write: "The substance of this saying has already been provided in Saying 56 [55]. Here, however, Jesus explicitly states that he himself hates his (earthly) father and mother (see Saying 96). The repeated phrase, 'cannot be my disciple,' comes, like most of the saying, from Luke 14:26. What he said about his mother (who gave him life?) cannot be recovered from the broken text. Perhaps he said, as in the Gospel of the Hebrews, that his mother was the Holy Spirit. The statement about loving father and mother may refer to loving the Father and the Holy Spirit. Verbally it is quite close to Matthew 10:37: 'He who loves father or mother more than me cannot be my disciple.' The sense is quite different, however. On 'father and mother' see Saying 102 [105]." (The Secret Sayings of Jesus, p. 189-190)

Funk and Hoover write: "Verse 1 of this saying, by itself, could have been voted pink, as a similar saying was in Luke 14:26. But here the first saying is joined by its opposite (v. 2), which makes it a paradox. One cannot both hate and love parents at the same time. The rest of the saying in Thomas is fragmentary, but enough remains to suggest that Thomas was making a distinction between two different kinds of mothers and fathers. The Fellows had to conclude that Thomas has revised an authentic tradition and developed it in some new but unknown direction." (The Five Gospels, p. 527)

J. D. Crossan writes: "In all cases where Thomas has two or more versions of a synoptic aphorism, one is usually more gnostic than the other. So also here. Gos. Thom. 101 'is a doublet of Saying 55. That part of its text which is parallel to the Lukan account of hating is almost identical with Saying 55. Its additional material seems clearly to be a more developed gnostic interpretation of the saying: hat this world, love the spiritual' (Sieber: 121). For my present purpose, it is less important to discuss this gnosticizing tradition of the triple-stich aphoristic compound than to note that, now the cross sayinghas completely disappeared inside the family one, save for the common Coptic term behind 'in My way' (55) and 'as I do' (101). But Gos. Thom. 101 still retained the triple-stich format of the aphoristic compound. He even retained the double-stich parallelism of Aphorism 113 [Mt 10:37 // Lk 14:26], but the second stich is now in antithetical (hate/love) parallelism rather than in the original synonymous parallelism (hate/hate). Gos. Thom. 101 is a gnosticized redaction of Gos. Thom. 55." (In Fragments, p. 136)

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Gospel of Thomas Saying 101

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