038 Serpents and Doves

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This page forms part of the resources for 038 Serpents and Doves in the Jesus Database project of FaithFutures Foundation

Crossan Inventory | 038 Literature | 038 Parallels | 038 Commentary | 038 Poetry | 038 Images


(1) Thom 39:3 = POxy655 39:3
(2a) Matt 10:16b
(2b) GNaz 7
(3) IgnPol 2:2

Crossan analysis:

Item: 38
Stratum: I (30-60 CE)
Attestation: Triple
Historicity: +


(1) Thom 39:3

Jesus said, "The Pharisees and the scholars have taken the keys of knowledge and have hidden them. 2 They have not entered, nor have they allowed those who want to enter to do so. 3As for you, be as sly as snakes and as simple as doves." [Complete Gospels]

[λέγει Ἰ(ησοῦ)ς· οἱ Φαρισαῖοι καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς] ἔλ[αβον τὰς κλεῖδας] τῆς [γνώσεως. αὐτοὶ ἔ]κρυψ[αν αὐτάς. οὔτε] εἰσῆλ[θον, οὔτε τοὺς] εἰσερ[χομένους ἀφῆ]καν [εἰσελθεῖν. ὑμεῖς] δὲ γεί[νεσθε φρόνι]μοι ὡ[ς ὄφεις καὶ ἀ]κέραι[οι ὡς περιστε]ρα[ί]. (Thomas 1:39 AGOSP-T)

= POxy655 39:3(br>

[Jesus says, "The Pharisees and the scholars] have [taken the keys] of [knowledge; they themselves have] hidden [them. 2 Neither] have [they] entered, [nor] have they [allowed those who want to] enter [to do so. 3As for you, be as sly] as [snakes and as] simple [as doves]." [Complete Gospels]

Original language text of POxy655 is available online here.

2a) Matt 10:16b

"See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

“Ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ ἀποστέλλω ὑμᾶς ὡς πρόβατα ἐν μέσῳ λύκων· γίνεσθε οὖν φρόνιμοι ὡς οἱ ὄφεις καὶ ἀκέραιοι ὡς αἱ περιστεραί.” (Matthew 10:16 GNT-T)

(2b) GNaz 7

The Jewish Gospel: (wise) more than serpents. (Variant to Matthew 10:16 in the "Zion Gospel" edition)

Τὸ Ἰουδαϊκόν· “ὑπὲρ ὄφεις.” (Nazarene 1:7 AGOSP-T)

The [Zion Gospel] is the proposed source of the additions to Matthew used in the composition of the Gospel of the Nazoreans, which translated and expanded Greek Matthew into Aramaic or Syriac. GNaz is first cited by Hegesippus c. 180 CE and may have come from Western Syria. See Crossan, [Sayings Parallels] (54)

(3) IgnPol 2:2

"Be prudent as the serpent" in all things and "pure as the dove" for ever. For this reason you consist of flesh and spirit, that you may deal tenderly with the things which appear visibly; but pray that the invisible things may be revealed to you, that you may lack nothing and abound in every gift. [Sayings Parallels] (54)

φρόνιμος γίνου ὡς ὁ ὄφις ἐν ˹ ἅπασιν καὶ ἀκέραιος ⸂ εἰς ἀεὶ ⸃ ὡς ἡ περιστερά. διὰ τοῦτο σαρκικὸς εἶ καὶ πνευματικός, ἵνα τὰ φαινόμενά σου εἰς πρόσωπον κολακεύῃς· τὰ δὲ ἀόρατα αἴτει ἵνα σοι φανερωθῇ, ˹ ἵνα μηδενὸς λείπῃ καὶ παντὸς χαρίσματος περισσεύῃς. (Polycarp 2:2 AF-T)