Finally, I have settled on a subject for my term paper due in a week. I will be writing on the 13th logion of The Gospel of Thomas. For those who are unfamiliar with this text it reads this way in James M. Robinson’s translation 1:

Jesus said to his disciples, “Compare me to someone 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 whom you are like.”

Jesus said, “I am not your (sg.) master. Because you (sg.) have drunk, you (sg.) have become intoxicated from the bubbling spring which I have measured out.” And he took him and withdrew and told him three things. When Thomas returned to his companions, they asked him, “What did Jesus say to you?”

Thomas said to them, “If I tell you one of the things which he told me, you will pick up stones and throw them at me; a fire will come out of the stones and burn you up.”

This narrative echoes that which is found in Matthew 16:13-20; Mark 8:27-30; and Luke  9:18-22. In each of the Synoptic accounts unnamed disciples give half-right answers while Peter declares Jesus’ messianic identity. In Thomas 13 the author names the disciples. One is Peter; one is Matthew. Interestingly enough one of those who gives the wrong answer is the very one who gives the correct answer in the Synoptic accounts.

I have just read Nicholas Perrin’s interpretation of this text, but I would like to hear what other plausible options others out there might like to contribute before I begin writing my paper. Even if you are not familiar with Thomas but you would like to toss out a possibility please feel free to do so.


[1] James M. Robinson, ed. The Nag Hammadi Library. San Francisco, CA: Harper, 1990. 127.