Re: Thoughts of GosThom -Reply
> Date: Thu, 01 Oct 1998 19:53:50 -0500There is a ton of information about Thomas on my website
> From: Jeff Lohr
> Can anyone suggest reading materiel or send me a copy of a
> bibliography regarding the history of the gospel of thomas and its use
> within or not within the historical church. I am new to this sort of
> research. I do not have much background in religous history but i am
and particularly check out
which gives a huge Thomas bibliography.
As for its use in the historical church, there is very little
evidence of that. Probably all the references to Thomas (and
many of them to something else by the same name) could
be typed on a single sheet of paper.
- What has been left unsaid (during the course of this thread) are the
differences of the communities that produced the 4 Gospels versus the
community (or communities) that produced Thomas. The 4G represent the
community building needs of the early church, especially in the cities. GTh
seems to come from the wildernesswhere such needs are minimal.Thus as Mark
Goodacre commented some time ago, concerning a singular GTh reference to a
>The term "the crowd" is unparalleled elsewhere in Thomas but it isRandomness also works out just fine in the wilderness. Everything is
>very common in Luke. We find ourselves asking in Thomas "What
>crowd?" It is the first and the last that we hear of them. In Luke
>"the crowd" are with us throughout, and no more so than in the
>Central Section. "The crowd" are superfluous and irrelevant in
>Thomas but coherent, important and pervasive in Luke.
primitive. Why should verse be any different?
Would not Yeshu when he went into the wilderness have also taught? Is it any
surprise that his teachings were suited to the lifesyles of the ascetics,
who were his listeners?
If the teachings were mostly given in the wilderness, and given the fact
that they are suited to ascetics, that must be where its oral tradition was
first preserved. In time someone, possibly Thomas, wrote it down.
Ascetics are not ambitious. However deep and profound GTh may be, it
remained undeveloped. Thus, it is like a stone in the raw. This also
suggests that Yeshu only spent so much time as a teacher in the wilderness.
That, after all, wasn't his business.
This also provides some context to the issues. I have noticed in the
discussions a loose association between the words "independent" and "early"
on the one hand, and "dependent" and "late", on the other. These
associations are not always appropriate. An independent wilderness Gospel
could have existed in the oral tradition in a wilderness community for many
years, without being reduced to writing. Ascetics, as I said, are not
ambitious by nature. Given the independence of the wilderness community, it
could have been reduced to writing after certain of the 4G, and still remain
In the same way, oral traditions may have been separated by distance and
other factors. . The oral traditions in the cities may have been quite
different from the oral traditions in the wilderness. The folks in the
wilderness may have been skeptical of anything they heard that came from the
cities. This again allows something to be independent, even though late.