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The Gospel of (according to) Thomas

©  Wim van den Dungen


by Didymus Jude Thomas ca. A.D.75-100.

translated by Wim van den Dungen,
Antwerp, 1997.

The present English translation has been inspired by the work of Doresse (1959, 1986), Robinson (1977), Blatz (1987), Dietzfelbinger (1988), Layton (1987), Quispel (1991), Meyer (1992) and Slavenburg & Glaudemans (1994).


Here are the secret sayings which Jesus the Living spoke, and which Didymus Jude Thomas wrote down.

(1) And He said : "He who penetrates the meaning of these words will not taste death."

(2) Jesus said : "Let him who seeks not cease to seek until he finds : when he finds, he will become troubled. When he is troubled, he will wonder, and he will reign over the All."

(3) Jesus said : "If those who lead You say to You : 'See, the Kingdom is in heaven !', then the birds of the sky will be there before You. If they say to You, 'It is in the sea !', then the fish will be there before You. But the Kingdom is inside You and outside You. When You know yourselves, then You will be known, and You will know that You are the children of the Living Father. But if You do not know yourselves, then You dwell in poverty ; then You are that poverty."

(4) Jesus said : "A person old in days will not hesitate to ask a child of seven days about the Place of Life, and he will live ! For many who are first will become last, and they will become one and the same."

(5) Jesus said : "Know that what is before your face, and what is hidden from You will be revealed to You. For nothing hidden will fail to be revealed."

(6) His disciples asked and said to Him : "Do You want us to fast ? How shall we pray and give alms ? What diet shall we observe ?" Jesus said : "Tell no lie and do not what You hate, for all things are plain in the face of Heaven. For nothing hidden will fail to be revealed, and nothing covered will remain without being uncovered."

(7) Jesus said : "Fortunate is the lion which the man eats so that the lion becomes a man ; and cursed is the man whom the lion eats so that the man becomes a lion."

(8) Then He said : "A man is like a wise fisherman who casts his net into the sea and drew it up from the sea full of small fish. Among them he found a fine large fish. The wise fisherman threw all the small fish back into the sea and chose the large fish without hesitation. He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

(9) Jesus said : "See, the sower went out, filled his hand, and scattered the seed. Some fell on the road ; birds came and gathered them. Others fell on rocky ground, did not take root in the soil, and did not give ears of corn. And others fell among thorns ; they choked the seeds and worms ate them. And others fell on good soil and gave good fruit : it bore sixty per measure and a hundred and twenty per measure."

(10) Jesus said : "I have cast fire upon the world, and see, I watch over it until it blazes up."

(11) Jesus said : "This heaven will pass away, and the one above it will pass away. The dead are not alive, and the living will not die. In the days when You consumed death, You made death alive. When You come to dwell in the light, what will You do ? On the day when You were one, You became two. But when You become two, what will You do ?"

(12) The disciples said to Jesus : "We know that You will leave from us. Who is to be our leader ?" Jesus said to them : "From where You stand now, You are to go to James the Just, for whose sake heaven and earth came into being."

(13) Jesus said to His disciples : "Compare Me and tell Me whom I am like." Simon Peter said to Him : "You are like a righteous angel." Matthew said to Him : "You are like a wise philosopher." Thomas said to Him : "Master, my mouth is wholly incapable of saying what You are like." Jesus said : "Your Master, because You have drunk, I am not ; You have become intoxicated from the bubbling spring of living water which I have measured out." And He took him aside and spoke three words to him. When Thomas came back to his companions, they asked him : "What did Jesus say to You ?" Thomas answered them : "If I tell You one of the words He said to me, You will take up stones and throw them at me and fire will come out of the stones and burn You."

(14) Jesus said to them : "If You fast, You will give rise to sin for yourselves ; and if You pray, You will be condemned ; and if You give alms, You will harm your spirit and when You enter any land and travel over the country, if they receive You, eat what they will set before You, and heal the sick among them. For what goes into your mouth will not defile You, but what comes out of your mouth will defile You."

(15) Jesus said : "When You see one who was not born of woman, prostrate yourselves on your faces and worship. That one is your Father."

(16) Jesus said : "Men think, perhaps, that it is peace which I have come to bring to the world. They do not know that I have come to bring to the earth : discord, fire, sword, and war. Indeed, if there are five in a house : three will be against two, and two against three, the father against the son, and the son against the father. And they will stand alone."

(17) Jesus said : "I shall give You what no eye has seen and what no ear has heard and what no hand has touched and what never arose in the heart of man."

(18) The disciples said to Jesus : "Tell us how our end will be." Jesus said : "So have You discovered the beginning, that You look for the end ? For where the beginning is, there the end will be. Fortunate is he who stands at the beginning ; he will know the end and will not taste death."

(19) Jesus said : "Fortunate is he who was before he became. If You become My disciples and listen to My words, these stones will serve You. For there are five trees for You in Paradise which remain unshaken summer and winter and their leaves do not fall. He who knows them will not taste death."

(20) The disciples said to Jesus : "Tell us what the Kingdom of Heaven is like." He said to them : "It is like a mustard seed, the smallest of all seeds. But when it falls on tilled soil, it produces a big plant and becomes a shelter for the birds of the sky."

(21) Mary said to Jesus : "What are your disciples like ?" He said : "They are like children who have settled in a field which is not theirs. When the owners of the field come, they will say : 'Let us have our field back.' When they will let them have the field back they will stand naked in their presence. Therefore I say to You, if the owner of a house knows that the thief is coming, he will stay awake till he comes and will not let him break in the house of his domain to carry away his goods. You, then, be on your guard against the world. Gird your loins with great strength so that the robbers find no way to come to You, for they will find the advantage which You expect. Let there be among You a smart man. When the fruit was ripe, he quickly came with his sickle in his hand and harvested it. He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

(22) Jesus saw infants being suckled. He said to His disciples : "These infants who suck are like those who enter the Kingdom." They said to Him : "Shall we then enter the Kingdom as infants ?" Jesus said to them : "When You make the two one, and when You make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside, and the above like the below, and when You make the male and the female one, so that the male will not be male nor the female female ; and when You fashion eyes in place of an eye, and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, and a likeness in the place of a likeness ; then will You enter the Kingdom."

(23) Jesus said : "I shall choose You, one from a thousand, and two from ten thousand, and they shall be as a single one."

(24) His disciples said to Him : "Show us the place where You are, since it is necessary for us to seek it." He said to them : "He who has ears, let him hear. There is light within a man of light, and he lights up the whole world. If he does not shine, there is darkness."

(25) Jesus said : "Love your brother like your own soul, watch over him like the apple of your eye."

(26) Jesus said : "You see the mote in your brother's eye, but You do not see the beam in your own eye. When You cast out the beam of your own eye, then You will see clearly enough to cast out the mote from your brother's eye."

(27) "If You do not fast as regards the world, You will not find the Kingdom. If You do not observe the Sabbath as Sabbath, You will not see the Father."

(28) Jesus said : "I took My place in the midst of the world, and I appeared to them in flesh. I found them all drunk. I found none of them thirsty. And My soul ached for the sons of men, because they are blind in their heart and do not see that they came empty into the world, and empty they seek to leave it. But for the moment they are drunk. When they have slept off their wine, they will repent."

(29) Jesus said : "If the flesh came into being for the sake of the spirit, it is a wonder. But if the spirit came into being for the sake of the body, it is a wonder of wonders. Indeed, I marvel at how this great wealth has made its home in this poverty."

(30) Jesus said : "Where there are three gods, they are gods. Where there are two or one, I am with him."

(31) Jesus said : "No prophet is accepted in his own town ; no physician heals those who know him."

(32) Jesus said : "A fortified city built on a high mountain cannot fall, nor can it be hidden."

(33) Jesus said : "Preach from your roof-tops that which You will hear in your ear. For no one lights a lamp and puts it under a bushel, nor does he put it in a hidden place, but rather he sets it on a lamp-stand so that all who come in and go out will see its light."

(34) Jesus said : "When a blind man leads another blind man both fall into a ditch."

(35) Jesus said : "It is not possible for anyone to enter the house of a strong man and take him by force unless he binds his hands ; then one can ransack his house."

(36) Jesus said : "Do not be concerned from morning until evening and from evening until morning about what You will put on."

(37) His disciples said : "When will You reveal yourself to us and when will we see You ?" Jesus said : "When You strip without being ashamed and take up your clothes and place them under your feet like little children and trample on them, then You will see the Son of the Living One, and You will not fear."

(38) Jesus said : "Often You have desired to hear these words which I am saying to You, and You have no one else to hear them from. There will be days when You will seek Me and will not find Me."

(39) Jesus said : "The Pharisees and the scribes have taken the keys of knowledge and hidden them. They have not entered, nor have they allowed those who wish so to enter. You, however, be as shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves."

(40) Jesus said : "A vine shoot is planted away from the Father. Because it is not fastened, it will be plucked up from its roots and perish."

(41) Jesus said : "To him who has something will be given. And from him who has nothing will be taken away even the little he has."

(42) Jesus said : "Be passers-by."

(43) His disciples said to Him : "Who are You, that You say these things to us ?" Jesus said to them : "From what I say to You, You do not realize who I am. But You have become like the Jews, for they like the tree and hate its fruit and like the fruit and hate the tree !"

(44) Jesus said : "He who blasphemes against the Father will be forgiven, and he who blasphemes against the Son will be forgiven, but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven either on earth or in heaven."

(45) Jesus said : "Grapes are not harvested from thorns, nor are figs gathered from thistles, for they do not give fruit. But someone good brings forth good things from his storehouse ; someone evil brings forth evil things from the evil storehouse, which is in the heart, and says evil things. For if one's heart is filled with that, one brings forth evil things."

(46) Jesus said : "Among those born of women, from Adam until John the Baptist, there is none greater than John the Baptist that his eyes should not be lowered before him. Yet I have said, that if one of You becomes like a child he will know the Kingdom and be higher than John."

(47) Jesus said : "It is impossible for a man to mount two horses nor draw two bows. And it is impossible for a servant to serve two masters ; otherwise, he will honor the one and insult the other. No man drinks old wine and desires at the same instant to drink new wine. And new wine is not put into old wineskins, lest they should burst ; nor is old wine put into a new wineskin, lest it should spoil it. An old patch is not sown onto a new garment, for a tear would result."

(48) Jesus said : "When two make peace with each other in this one house, they will say to the mountain, 'Move !' and it will move."

(49) Jesus said : "Fortunate are You, the alone and the elect, for You will find the Kingdom. Because You came from it, You will also return to it again."

(50) Jesus said : "If they say to You, 'Where did You come from ?', say to them : 'We came from the light, the place where the light came into being of itself, established itself and revealed itself in their image. If they say to You : 'Who are You ?', say : 'We are its sons. We are the elect of the Living Father.' If they ask You : 'What is the sign of your Father in You ?', say to them : 'It is movement and rest.'

(51) His disciples said to Him : "On what day will the rest come to those who are dead, and on what day will the new world come ?" He said to them : "What You expected has come, but You do not recognize it."

(52) His disciples said to Him : "Twenty-four prophets spoke in Israel, and all of them spoke about You." He said to them : "You have passed over the Living One who stands before You and have spoken of the dead."

(53) His disciples said to Him : "Is circumcision useful or not ?" He said to them : "If it were useful, their Father would beget them already circumcised from their mother. Rather, the true circumcision in spirit is in all ways useful."

(54) Jesus said : "Fortunate are the poor, for yours is the Kingdom of Heaven."

(55) Jesus said : "He who does not hate his father and his mother cannot be My disciple. And he who does not hate his brothers and sisters and take up his cross as I do will not be worthy of Me."

(56) Jesus said : "He who has come to know the world has found a corpse, and he who has found a corpse, the world is not worthy of him."

(57) Jesus said : "The Kingdom of the Father is like a man who had good seed. His enemy came by night and sowed weeds among the good seed. The man did not allow them to pull out the weeds ; he said to them : 'Do nothing ; so that You do not pull out the wheat along with the weeds.' For on the day of the harvest the weeds will be recognizable, and they will be pulled out and burnt."

(58) Jesus said : "Fortunate is the man who has suffered ; he found Life."

(59) Jesus said : "Look to the Living One while You are alive, lest You die and then seek to see Him and are unable to see."

(60) They saw a Samaritan carrying a lamb on his way to Judea. He said to His disciples : "Why does that man carry the lamb around ?" They said to Him : "So that he may kill it and eat it." He said to them : "He will not eat it as long as it is alive, but only if he kills it and it has become a corpse." They said to Him : "He cannot do so otherwise." He said to them : "But You, seek for a place for yourselves to rest, lest You become a corpse and be eaten."

(61) Jesus said : "Two will rest on a bed : the one will die, and other will live." Salome said : "Who are You, man ? You have taken a seat on my couch and have eaten at my table." Jesus said to her : "I am He who exists from the undivided. I was given some of the things of My Father." Salome said : "I am your disciple." Jesus said to her : "Therefore I say, if somebody is one, he will be full of light, but if he is divided, he will be full of darkness."

(62) Jesus said : "It is to those who are worthy of My mysteries that I tell My mysteries. Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is about to do."

(63) Jesus said : "There was a rich man who had a lot of money. He said : 'I shall put all my wealth to use so that I may sow, reap, plant, and fill my barn with harvest, with the result that I shall lack nothing.' Such were the thoughts of his heart, but during that night he died. He who has ears to hear, let him hear !"

(64) Jesus said : "A man had guests. And when he had prepared the dinner, he sent his servant to invite the guests. He went to the first one and said to him : 'My master invites You.' He said, 'I have claims against some merchants. They are coming to me this evening. I must go and give them my orders. I ask to be excused from the dinner.' He went to another and said to him : 'My master has invited You.' He said to him : 'I have just bought a house and am required for the day. I shall not have any spare time.' He went to another and said to him : 'My master invites You.' He said to him : 'My friend is going to get married, and I am to prepare the banquet. I shall not be able to come. I ask to be excused from the dinner.' He went to another and said to him : 'My master invites You.' He said to him : 'I have just bought a farm, and I am on my way to collect the rent. I shall not be able to come. I ask to be excused.' The servant returned and said to his master : 'Those whom You invited to the dinner have asked to be excused.' The master said to his servant : 'Go out into the streets and those whom You happen to find, and bring in those that want to dine.' Buyers and merchants will not enter the places of My Father."

(65) He said : "There was an honorable man who owned a vineyard. He leased it to tenant farmers so that they might work it and he might collect the fruit from them. He sent his servant so that the tenants might give him the fruit of the vineyard. They seized his servant and beat him, all but killing him. The servant went back and told his master. The master said : 'Perhaps they did not recognize him.' He sent another servant. The tenants beat this one as well. Then the owner sent his son and said : 'Perhaps they will show respect to my son.' Because the tenants knew that he was the heir to the vineyard, they seized him and killed him. Let him who has ears hear."

(66) Jesus said : "Show Me the stone which the builders have rejected. It is the cornerstone."

(67) Jesus said : "He who believes to know the All but not himself falls completely short."

(68) Jesus said : "Fortunate are You when You are hated and persecuted. Where You were persecuted they will find no place."

(69) Jesus said : "Fortunate are those who are persecuted in their hearts. It is they who have truly come to know the Father. Fortunate are those who are hungry, for they will satisfy their bellies."

(70) Jesus said : "If You bring forth what is within You, what You have will save You. If You do not have that within You, what You do not have within You will kill You."

(71) Jesus said : "I will destroy this construction, and no one will be able to rebuild it again."

(72) A man said to Him : "Tell my brothers to divide my father's possessions with me." He said to him : "Man, who has made Me a divider ?" He turned to His disciples and said to them : "I am not a divider, am I ?"

(73) Jesus said : "The harvest is great but the labourers are few. Pray the Lord to send out labourers for the harvest."

(74) He said : "Lord, many are around the water-spring but nobody is in the well."

(75) Jesus said : "Many stand outside at the door, but it is the solitaries who will enter the bridal chamber."

(76) Jesus said : "The Kingdom of the Father is like a man, a merchant, who owned goods and discovered a pearl. This merchant was clever. He sold the merchandise and bought the pearl alone. You also seek his enduring treasure where no moth comes near to eat and no worm destroys."

(77) Jesus said : "I am the Light that falls on all things. I am the All. From Me the All has gone out and to Me the All came back. Cleave a piece of wood, and I am there. Lift up a stone, and You will find Me there."

(78) Jesus said : "Why did You go out into the desert ? To see a reed shaken by the wind ? To see a man clothed in fine garments ? Your kings and your great men are the ones clothed in fine garments, and they are not able to know the truth."

(79) A woman from the crowd said to Him : "Fortunate is the womb which bore You and the breasts which fed You." He said to her : "Fortunate are those who have heard the Word of the Father and kept it. For days are coming when You will say : 'Fortunate the womb that has not conceived and the breasts which have not given suck.'

(80) Jesus said : "He who knew the world has mastered the body, but he who has mastered the body is superior to the world."

(81) Jesus said : "He who has grown wealthy will rule, and he who possesses power will renounce it."

(82) Jesus said : "Whoever is near Me is near the fire, and whoever who is far from Me is far from the Kingdom."

(83) Jesus said : "Images are visible to man, and the light which is in them is hidden in the image of the Light of the Father. He will reveal Himself and His image is hidden by His light."

(84) Jesus said : "When You see your own likeness, You rejoice. But when You see the images of yourselves which came into being before You, which do not die nor become visible, how much then will You be able to bear ?"

(85) Jesus said : "Adam came into being from a great power and a great wealth, and he did not become worthy of You. For had he been worthy of You, he would not have experienced death."

(86) Jesus said : "The foxes have their holes and the birds have their nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head and rest."

(87) Jesus said : "Wretched is the body which depends on a body, and wretched is the soul dependent on these two."

(88) Jesus said : "The angels and the prophets will come to You and give You what is yours. You, give them what is in your hands, and ask yourselves : 'On which day will they come to receive what is theirs ?'

(89) Jesus said : "Why do You wash the outside of the cup ? Do You not realize that He who made the inside is the same one who made the outside ?"

(90) Jesus said : "Come to Me, for My yoke is easy and My Lordship is mild, and You will find rest for yourselves."

(91) They said to Him : "Tell us who You are so that we may believe in You." He said to them : "You examine the face of the sky and of the earth, but You have not recognized He who stands in front of You, and You do not know how to examine this moment."

(92) Jesus said : "Seek and You will find. Yet, what You asked Me about in former times and which I did not tell to You then, I now desire to tell You, but You do not ask after it."

(93) "Do not give what is holy to the dogs, lest they throw it on the dunghill. Do not cast pearls to swine, lest they grind them {to bits}."

(94) Jesus said : "He who seeks will find, and he who knocks will be let in."

(95) Jesus said : "If You have money, do not lend it at interest, but give it to someone from whom You will not get it back."

(96) Jesus said : "The Kingdom of the Father is like a woman who put a little yeast in some flour, and made some big loaves with it. He who has ears, let him hear !"

(97) Jesus said : "The Kingdom of the Father is like a woman who was carrying a jar full of meal. While she was walking on a far road the handle of the jar broke and the meal emptied out behind her on the road. She did not realize it. She had noticed no accident. When she reached her house, she put the jar down and found it empty."

(98) Jesus said : "The Kingdom of the Father is like a man who wanted to kill a powerful man. In his own house he drew his sword and stuck it into the wall in order to find out whether his hand would be firm enough. Then he slew the powerful man."

(99) The disciples said to Him : "Your brothers and your mother are standing outside." He said to them : "Those here who do the will of My Father are My brothers and My mother. It is they who will enter the Kingdom of My Father."

(100) They showed Jesus a gold coin and said to Him : "Caesar's men demand taxes from us." He said to them : "Give Caesar what belongs to Caesar, give Elohim what belongs to Elohim, and give Me what is Mine."

(101) "He who does not hate his father and his mother as I do cannot become a disciple to Me. And he who does not love his father and his mother as I do cannot become a disciple to Me. For My mother {gave Me death}, but My true {Mother} gave Me life."

(102) Jesus said : "Damn the Pharisees, for they are like a dog sleeping in the manger of oxen, for neither does he eat nor does he let the oxen eat."

(103) Jesus said : "Fortunate is the man who knows where the robbers are going to enter, so that he may get up, gather his house, and girds his loins before they enter."

(104) They said to Jesus : "Come, let us pray and fast." Jesus said : "What then is the sin that I have committed, or wherein have I been at fault ? But when the bridegroom leaves the bridal chamber, then let them fast and pray."

(105) Jesus said : "He who knows his father and mother will he be called son of a harlot ?"

(106) Jesus said : "When You make the two one, You will become Sons of Man, and if You say : 'Mountain, move !', it will move."

(107) Jesus said : "The Kingdom is like a shepherd who had a hundred sheep. One of them, the largest, went astray. He left the ninety-nine and looked for that single sheep until he found it. When he had gone to such trouble, he said to the sheep : 'I love You more than the ninety-nine.'

(108) Jesus said : "He who will drink from My mouth will become like Me. I myself shall become like him, and the hidden will be revealed to him."

(109) Jesus said : "The Kingdom is like a man who had a treasure hidden in his field without knowing it. And after he died, he left it to his son. The son did not know about the treasure. He accepted the field and sold it. And the one who bought it went plowing and found the treasure. He began to lend money at interest to those who wanted it."

(110) Jesus said : "He who has found the world and become rich, let him renounce the world."

(111) Jesus said : "The heavens and the earth will be rolled up before You. And whoever is living from the Living One will not see death." Jesus says this : "He who finds himself, the world is not worthy of him."

(112) Jesus said : "Damn the flesh that depends on the soul ; damn the soul that depends on the flesh."

(113) His disciples said to Him : "When will the Kingdom come ?" Jesus said : "It does not come by expecting it. It will not be a matter of saying : 'See, it is here !' or : 'Look, it is there !'. Rather, the Kingdom of the Father is spread over the earth and men do not see it."

(114) Simon Peter said to them : "Let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of life." Jesus said : "Look, I will guide her in order to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit like You males. For every female who will make herself male will enter the Kingdom of Heaven."

Short Bibliography :

Blatz, B. : "Das koptische Thomasevangelium", in : Schneemelcher, W. (edit) : Neutestamentliche Apokryphen I, Tübingen, 1987, pp.93-114.
Couliano, I.P. : The Tree of Gnosis, San Francisco, 1992.
Dietzfelbinger, D. : "Das Evangelium nach Thomas", in : Apokryphe Evangelien aus Nag Hammadi, Andechs, 1988, pp.192-222.
Doresse, J. : The Secret Book of the Egyptian Gnostics, Vermont, 1986.
Grant, R.M. & Freedman, D.N. : The Gospel according to Thomas, Leiden, 1959.
Hartzema, R. : Het Thomas Evangelie, Amsterdam, 1980.
Layton, N. : "The Gospel according to Thomas", in : The Gnostic Scriptures. A new translation with annotations and introductions, London, 1987, pp.376-400.
Meyer, M. : The Gospel of Thomas, San Francisco, 1992.
Quispel, G. : "Het Evangelie naar de beschrijving van Thomas", in : Het Evangelie van Thomas en de Nederlanden, Baarn, 1991, pp.34-55.
Robinson, J.M. (edit) : The Nag Hammadi Library, Leiden, 1977.
Rudolph, K. : Gnosis, San Francisco, 1987.
Slavenburg, J. & Glaudemans, W.G. : Nag Hammadi Geschiften I & II, Deventer, 1994.


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initiated : 1997 - last update : 22 V 2009 - version n°1