Early Christian Writings
Gospel of Thomas Saying 40
Nag Hammadi Coptic Text BLATZ
(40) Jesus said: A vine has been planted outside of theFather; and since it is notestablished, it will be plucked out with its roots(and) will perish.
(40) Jesus said, "Agrapevine has been plantedoutside the father. And because it is not sound, itwill be plucked out by theroot and will perish."
45 . Jesus says: "A vineshoot was planted outsidethe Father. It did not growstrong: it will be plucked upfrom the root and it will perish."
This is a two-fold message,as most of Jesus' sayingswere. It has implications for both man and kingdoms, andthe apocalyptic tinge is notslight.- wackyLike many of the Thomassayings this one has both aspiritual interpretation and aconsistent but independentreal-world interpretation.The spiritual interpretation isthat the concept of individualidentity which our cultureimposes on each of us, beingillusory, will be destroyed,either at our physical deathor at the experience of enlightenment as to our owntrue nature which comes tothose who are determinedenough to understand thecentral point of the Gospel of Thomas. The real-worldinterpretation relates to thedestiny of the popular-basedorganized Christian religion.It is too shocking to be
Gerd Ludemann writes: "These verses come close to Matt. 15.13. Verse 2a is notcontained in Matt. 15.13, but can well be understood as an elaboration by Gnosticswho are concerned with inner fortification. Similarly, the use of 'vine' instead of 'planting' is not a reason for dismissing a genetic relationship to the text of Matthew.A dependence of this logion on Matthew is virtually certain, for Matt. 15.13 derivesfrom Matthean redaction." (
Jesus After 2000 Years
, p. 610)Funk and Hoover write: "This is another illustration of a proverb that Jesus may haveadopted. Vines planted without the assistance of the Father will not survive; they will be pulled up by the roots. The reference to being pulled up by the roots gives a slightapocalyptic tinge to the saying. This nuance is, of course, alien to Thomas." (
The Five Gospels
, p. 495)