ref: #1030 this list
"Historical benefit of Gibbon's ignorance"
--Sorry to hear you're stepping down, Paul, since just I wrote this however
as `dating of Thomas`
has popped up again, I'll send it along...
Dear Paul Miller,
I laughed out loud when I read your note - sorry I missed it.
You made a very good point.
I wrote: (Gibbon)
>has a 'middle of the road' treatment of the question.
I mean in general terms and how Gibbon portrayed Gnosticism; given writing
of the time, etc.
(Here's the part that made me laugh), you wrote:
>Gibbon died in 1794 long before the discovery of Thomas.
Yes. You included in your letter, my PS:
>PS. I'd date the document earlier than Gibbon did;
I mean here that Thomas was *part of a larger find* and given *the find
overall* (also included in
>within the bounds of radiometric dating
I'd say Thomas can be dated *within* Gibbon's characterization of Christian
Gnosticism. I ask you
(seem's you brought it up; so long ago you might not remember), as Gibbon
was not alive when we
could measure decay rates, i.e. in 1794, then what business do we even have
manuscripts Churchmen wrote about in the 3rd century?
If your assertion is followed through to it's bitter end then Gibbon was, in
fact, in a better
chronological position to contemplate Gnosticism than we are. I know you
don't think this ;-)
Christian Gnosticism however is well documented by Gibbon. Though he didn't
write about Thomas,
his overall portrayal speaks to the *NH find which Gibbon was ignorant of*.
I'm not recommending Gibbon as an authority on Thomas (though I don't think
Gibbon's portrayal of
Gnosticism is historically horrific) I merely wanted to, in answering a
general question, paint a big
picture of *historical validity; proved by Gibbon's ignorance* and thus
delineate Thomas from
canonical literature with one broad (glowing) brush. Sorry I didn't get back
to you on this, Paul, I
only just saw it.
Cheers, Beta David
betadavid (at) hotmail
Incidentally, just moments ago I posted an article that `dates Q` - as if Q
were an historical
document. I'm unaware if the Q-folks have an *exact year* in mind (I
couldn't find a posting about
this anyway); so I'd really appreciate someone letting me know if
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