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Re: Thoughts of GosThom

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  • Mark Goodacre
    A few remarks on the way that it seems to me both Steve and Mahlon see things. After writing persuasively about the question of randomness in Thomas, Mahlon
    Message 1 of 56 , Oct 1, 1998
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      A few remarks on the way that it seems to me both Steve and Mahlon see things.
      After writing persuasively about the question of randomness in Thomas, Mahlon
      concluded:

      > Ergo, GThom was composed without reference to any synoptic gospel or
      > source.

      What I still do not follow is why the apparent absence of the possibility of a
      good case for wholesale dependence is held to lead us to the conclusion that
      Thomas was composed without any reference to the synoptics. In other words,
      this is to polarise the debate again, isn't it?

      Likewise, Steve talks about "the dependence side" as those who think that
      Thomas is "a collection composed through interaction with the Canonical
      Scriptures . . ." Other Thomas bigwigs, like Steve, use the same terms of
      debate. Crossan:

      "Is it a dependent collection of sayings from within those four gospels or
      is it an independent witness to the tradition about the sayings of Jesus?
      Two separate reasons persuade me that Thomas is completely (sic)
      independent of the intracanonical tradition" (_Four Other Gospels_, p.
      35).

      Or take Patterson:

      "At issue has been the question of whether the Gospel of Thomas represents
      an independent codification of the Jesus' sayings tradition, or whether it
      is dependent on written versions of the canonical gospels. On the latter
      view, it would be easy to regard Thomas as a relatively late collection of
      materials excerpted from the canonical sources, and then modified to
      reflect the particular theological views of the later collector . . .
      However, on the view that Thomas represents an independent stream of the
      Jesus tradition, it would have to be taken seriously as another important
      witness to the origin and development of the early Christian sayings
      tradition, and perhaps relevant to the problem of Christian origins after
      all." (_Q-Thomas Reader_, p. 85).

      Having perused Andrew's most helpful Thomas Crosstalk archive, I find someone
      writing, in my opinion persuasively, that:

      "The assumption appears to be that Thomas is either wholly independent of
      the synoptics or wholly dependent. Since the wholly dependent line is
      held (rightly) to be unconvincing, it seems to be argued (in my opinion
      wrongly) that the wholly independent line is correct. Of course this
      exaggerates a little, and of course there is a great deal more
      sophistication and nuance in the argument than that summary suggests, but
      I am summarising what I see to be an underlying and unnecessary
      assumption."
      (http://www.teleport.com/~cabern/andrew/thomas/xtalk/thomas497.txt)

      Steve writes (on "the dependence side"):

      > Their problem and task is to explain how it is that what appears to
      > be a collection of sayings drawn from oral tradition is, in fact, not
      > this but rather is a collection composed through interaction with the
      > Canonical Scriptures despite the fact that sayings composed
      > through interaction with the Canonical Scriptures as found in the
      > writings of e.g. Justin, 2 Clement, don't look like this at all,
      > while Q (pace Mark G) does look a good deal like this.

      How similar is Q to Thomas? An old chestnut, I know, but I think that reports
      of their similarity have been greatly exaggerated. Further, my own position,
      lest I be confused with one on a wholesale "dependence side", is that Thomas
      is not primarily dependent on "the Canonical Scriptures", even if he (a)
      sometimes shows familiarity with the canonical Gospels and (b) is also familiar
      with oral traditions that have interacted with the Gospels. To talk about his
      familiarity with "Scriptures" or to talk about "literary dependence" is
      something I feel nervous about, and have done since I saw Vernon Robbins's
      point some time ago on Crosstalk (also in Andrew's archive) about the oral
      nature of Thomas over against the Synoptics.

      I would like to say to the list, though, how much I enjoyed Jeff Peterson's
      fascinating contribution on this topic. I look forward to being educated
      further -- and I hope to see that material in print.

      Mark
      -------------------------------------------
      Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
      Dept. of Theology Tel: +44 (0)121 414 7512
      University of Birmingham Fax: +44 (0)121 414 6866
      Birmingham B15 2TT
      United Kingdom

      Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre
      World Without Q: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/q
    • Michael T. MacDonell
      Dear Rene: I think it has a much simpler answer: Nobody cares what gender anybody is. Why should they? You pick the most likely, that s all. I cannot imagine
      Message 56 of 56 , Oct 22, 1998
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        Dear Rene:

        I think it has a much simpler answer: Nobody cares what gender anybody is.
        Why should they? You pick the most likely, that's all. I cannot imagine
        that the distinction, if known would alter any item in the ongoing
        conversation.

        Best Regards,
        Mike


        At 07:49 AM 10/22/98 -0700, you wrote:
        > This disembodied forum of cyberspace, where all is transmitted via
        >printed word, can lead to amusing curiosities such as myself
        >being referred to lately on Crosstalk as "she" and even most recently
        >"Renee" (contrary to the evidence!) when I am in fact quite happily
        >male... :) No apologies are in order by anyone except myself for not
        >putting "Mr." in front of the name.
        > It just goes to show how easy it is for all of us to go beyond the
        >documentary evidence!
        >
        > ------------------------
        >
        > I'll be posting more GTh-Synoptic parallel statistics in the next 24
        >hours...
        >
        >Regards,
        >
        >-Rene
        >
        >
        >Rene Salm
        >386 E. 29th Ave.
        >Eugene OR USA 97405
        >Tel: (541) 686-0296
        >e-mail: rsalm@...
        >
        ____________________________________
        Michael T. MacDonell, Ph.D.
        Doctoral Student in Biblical Studies
        Trinity College and Seminary
        ____________________________________
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