Tag Archives: koan

Broken Jars and Bloody Swords

1 Feb

“Jesus said: The kingdom of the [Father] is like a woman carrying a jar full of meal. While she was walking [on a] distant road, the handle of the jar broke (and) the meal poured out behind her on the road. She was unaware, she had not noticed the misfortune. When she came to her house, she put the jar down (and) found it empty.”
– Gospel of Thomas, saying 97

“Jesus said: The kingdom of the Father is like a man who wanted to kill a powerful man. He drew the sword in his house and drove it into the wall, that he might know that his hand would be strong (enough). Then he slew the powerful man.”
– Gospel of Thomas, saying 98

Few early Christian texts have drawn so much attention and have provoked so much debate as the Gospel of Thomas. Its time of composition and relationship to the New Testament remain contested, and its contents are often more enigmatic than elucidating. Take a gander at saying 11, for example: “On the day when you were one, you became two. But when you become two, what will you do?” What could that possibly mean? (Another post, another day.)

Two of these sayings, however, unlike many others in the Gospel of Thomas, lack canonical parallels: sayings 97 and 98. And, while usually each saying is read in isolation, evocative contrasts arise when reading these two bizarre and lonely lines together. Let’s get to it!

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