Gospel of Thomas Saying 67

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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


(67) Jesus said: He who knows the all, (but) fails (to know) himself, misses everything.


(67) Jesus said, "If anyone should become acquainted with the entirety and should fall short of all (?), that person falls short utterly."


71 [67]. Jesus says: "He who knows the All, but has failed to know himself, has failed completely to know, <or: to find> the Place!"

Funk's Parallels

Book of Thomas the Contender 138:16-18.

Visitor Comments

He who knows very little of "the all" (world), but manages to know himself, gains everything. Jesus (pbuh) meant it when he said, "The meek shall inherit the earth."
- whacky

The perfectly informed scientist knows everything of the world. But if he does not know himself he knows nothing that is true and he knows nothing that is truly important.
- Simon Magus

Simon - Whether one is a perfectly informed scientist or not - it does not matter.
- passerby

Factual (cognitive) knowledge is necessary but not sufficient for becoming truly sane.
- Rodney

God is all around us. Yet a perfect knowing of this, a perfect understanding of the cosmos is not enough, for God is also to be found inside us. If we ignore that bit of God inside us, we fail utterly at knowing God.
- lilah

Any further comment would spoil the perfection of this observation...
- Thief37

The first step on the path of knowledge is to seek outwardly for truth, but truth cannot be found on the outside. Only truth's reflection is found there. It is then that the seeker may take the second step along the path, and seek inwardly. Within, the seeker catches sight of truth, whole and undivided, and soon realizes that they are that imperfect reflection. Finally, the seeker takes the third step and attains true knowledge, that both the truth and its reflection are of the same material, both expressions of the same divine, eternal truth, whole and undivided.
- Kurios

Apparently, much knowledge can make inner knowledge more difficult because we become bound by the intellect. Eno, who was illiterate, found enlightenment quickly once he had started to practice in earnest.
- Zooie

Scholarly Quotes

Robert M. Grant and David Noel Freedman write: "This saying is incomprehensible. Presumably Jesus is 'the All,' and 'everywhere' is where Jesus is, as in Saying 77. If - as is most uncertain - the saying is related to Jesus' words to Martha in Luke 10:41, 'There is need of few things or of one,' it would mean that to know Jesus is all that the believer needs. Perhaps the saying was garbled during transmission." (The Secret Sayings of Jesus, p. 173)

R. McL. Wilson writes: "Logion 67 Grant and Freedman, using a different translation, found incomprehensible, and they suggest that it may have been garbled in the transmission. The clue, however, had already been provided by Dr. Till, who after observing 'For him who wants to be saved it is necessary above all to recognize the vanity of the material world,' and quoting sayings to that effect, continues 'It is by no means sufficient to know the worthlessness of the material world. The indispensable perfection of knowledge is knowing oneself. For even "he who knows all the universe but does not know himself has mised everything".'" (Studies in the Gospel of Thomas, p. 28)

Funk and Hoover write: "This saying is as difficult to translate as it is to understand. The first clause may refer simply to one who is very knowledgeable - a know-it-all. In this case, the saying recalls the famous dictum of Socrates, 'Know thyself.' However, the word for 'all' is also a technical term in gnostic circles and refers to the whole of cosmic reality; it is usually translated as 'All,' with a capital A. Elsewhere in Thomas this term seems to carry this technical sense (note 2:4 and 77:1). The Fellows took the term here to be technical gnostic language also. They gave it a black designation as the result. Thomas 70 is a related saying." (The Five Gospels, p. 512)

Gerd Ludemann gives the translation, "Jesus said, 'Whoever knows the All (but) is deficient in himself is deficient in everything.'" Ludemann writes: "The 'All' is a technical term which relates to the universe, embracing the earth and the cosmos (cf. 2.4; 77.1). 'Know' takes up the same expression from 65.4, 7. According to Thomas, knowledge of the All and self-knowledge condition each other. The reason lies in the consubstantiality of the All with the Gnostic self. Thus according to Logion 77 Jesus is the light and at the same time the All. Whoever knows himself is Christ and himself becoems a person of light." (Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 624)

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Gospel of Thomas Saying 67

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