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Proverbs in the Gospel of Thomas

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Chapter Summary

This chapter studies the form and function of proverbial speech in the Gospel of Thomas. It observes how proverbial speech forms are used in the Gospel of Thomas. The chapter examines two forms which grow out of proverbial speech, but are used in wider contexts: the makarism and the saying in the form, "whoever". Then, it studies the proverbs in Thomas. The chapter proves instructive to compare the thrust of Thomas' use of these forms with that of the Synoptics. The topic is important from the fact that proverbial speech does play a significant role in a gnostic document; on the whole, the writings in the Nag Hammadi collection are in other forms, though some, such as the Gospel of Philip, like this one contain a sizeable number of proverbs. One important form originating in proverbial tradition is the makarism or beatitude.

Keywords: gnostic document; Gospel of Thomas; makarism; Nag Hammadi collection; Philip; proverbs

10.1163/9789004266155_009
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