if you want to experience what he meant
saying-1; not taste death.
(latest update: 20-11-2018)
And He says,
Whoever finds the interpretation of these sayings
will not experience death.
He said to them: Whoever hears (comprehends) these words
shall never taste death. (Oxyr.)
DeConick (2006) does not include this saying in her KERNEL because it would have been
added later on to give the collection another outlook; from unfulfilled eschatology to “a utopian
consciousness within the boundaries of the Church”. However, whether Thomas should be
regarded as eschatological depends on one’s interpretation of the meaning of “the kingdom” in
Thomas, and this varies widely among scholars (see saying-3 on more on the kingdom).
“To taste death” is an expression commonly found in Semitic languages ( DeConick, 2006),
and has several, independent parallels, such as John 8:51-52, but also all three synoptic gospels
contain this expression. So, it could well be maintained that this saying is “original”. I could not
but include this first saying here.
Whether not experiencing or tasting death refers to what people in general mean by
“eternal life” remains to be seen; it could well mean that death holds no longer any
threat or fear to those who follow the sayings (death is nothing to us - Epicurians),
whereas Thomas’ Jesus, just like the Buddha and the Pyrrhonists, suspended judgment
about anything after death. In any case, “not to taste death” and “finding the kingdom” have
a similar meaning, which perhaps refers to such an individual shift of one’s perception of reality,
that it cannot be defined in ordinary language.
Listen to some Buddhist scripture:
The Sutta-Nipata says (Max Muller): Without a cause and unknown is the life of mortals in
this world, troubled and brief, and combined with pain. For there is not any means by which
those that have been born can avoid dying; after reaching old age there is death, of such a
nature are living beings. As ripe fruits are early in danger of falling, so mortals when born are
always in danger of death. As all earthen vessels made by the potter end in being broken,
so is the life of mortals. Both young and grown-up men, both those who are fools and those
who are wise men, all fall into the power of death, all are subject to death. Not from weeping
nor from grieving will anyone obtain peace of mind, but the greater his pain will be,
and his body will suffer.
However, knowing the terms of the wise, do not grieve,
and those who have left sorrow will be