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Re: Thomasine dating

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  • Anne Quast
    ... Could it be that Thomas felt that what Jesus taught was far more important than the actual resurrection? Or as Jim says he does not believe the
    Message 1 of 7 , Jun 27, 1998
      At 15:20 27/06/98 -0400, Jim West wrote:
      >At 03:06 PM 6/27/98 -0400, you wrote:
      >
      >Only one comment...
      >
      >>It is difficult for me to believe that GTh is completely unaware of the
      >>crucifixion. The lack of a specific reference to crucifixion seems to me
      >>like being a part of the _special editorial agenda of Thomas_, rather than
      >>plain not knowing about it. This seems pretty evident to me... What do
      >>people think?
      >>
      >>Best,
      >>
      >>Yuri.
      >
      >I too think that GThom knows the resurrection tradition (though probably not
      >an "empty tomb" tradition). He simply leaves it out:
      >1- because it is unnecessary to his goal of providing pithy Jesus sayings as
      >tools of instruction (i.e.- I take Thomas, and Q- of which Thomas is a
      >later redaction- as examples of Christian wisdom literature; essentially the
      >equivalent of the OT wisdom tradition),
      >or
      >2- because he does not buy it. I.e., he does not believe the resurrection
      >stories and thus he does not include them.
      >
      >
      >Best,
      >
      >Jim
      >
      Could it be that Thomas felt that what Jesus taught was far more important
      than the actual resurrection? Or as Jim says 'he does not believe the
      resurrection stories...' Would this then be the basis of John 20: 26-29 the
      story of the doubting Thomas?
    • Mike Grondin
      ... This is, of course, not a specific reference to crucifixion , but the fact that the word cross is rendered as a sacra nomina abbreviation, rather than
      Message 2 of 7 , Jun 27, 1998
        Yuri Kuchinsky writes:
        > It is difficult for me to believe that GTh is completely unaware of
        > the crucifixion. The lack of a specific reference to crucifixion
        > seems to me like being a part of the _special editorial agenda of
        > Thomas_, rather than plain not knowing about it. This seems pretty
        > evident to me... What do people think?

        Saying 55b is relevant to the above point:
        > And whoever does not hate his brothers and sisters and take up
        > his cross in my way will not be worthy of me. (Lambdin tr)

        This is, of course, not a "specific reference to crucifixion", but the
        fact that the word "cross" is rendered as a sacra nomina abbreviation,
        rather than by use of the full Greek word, leaves virtually no doubt
        that the crucifixion is presupposed by the author(s) of the text.

        Mike
        ____________________________________
        The Codex II Student Resource Center
        http://www.Geocities.com/Athens/9068
      • y.kuchinsky@utoronto.ca
        ... This may be so, Jim. And yet, GTh would need to refer to this tradition somehow, if only in a dismissive sort of way, because it would have been difficult
        Message 3 of 7 , Jun 28, 1998
          On Sat, 27 Jun 1998, Jim West wrote:
          > At 03:06 PM 6/27/98 -0400, Yuri wrote:

          > >It is difficult for me to believe that GTh is completely unaware of the
          > >crucifixion. The lack of a specific reference to crucifixion seems to me
          > >like being a part of the _special editorial agenda of Thomas_, rather than
          > >plain not knowing about it. This seems pretty evident to me... What do
          > >people think?

          > I too think that GThom knows the resurrection tradition (though probably
          > not an "empty tomb" tradition). He simply leaves it out: 1- because it
          > is unnecessary to his goal of providing pithy Jesus sayings as tools of
          > instruction

          This may be so, Jim. And yet, GTh would need to refer to this tradition
          somehow, if only in a dismissive sort of way, because it would have been
          difficult to avoid.

          ...

          > or 2- because he does not buy it. I.e., he does not believe the
          > resurrection stories and thus he does not include them.

          This looks more like it to me.

          As Mike G. noticed, Thomas does seem to be aware of the crucifixion
          tradition. But he thinks it's not such a big deal. It's not the central
          concern for GTh.

          Best,

          Yuri.
        • James R. Covey
          ... Riley, Gregory J. Resurrection Reconsidered: Thomas and John in Controversy Minneapolis: Fortress, 1995. Pp. x + 222. $15.00 (paper). There s a review by
          Message 4 of 7 , Jun 29, 1998
            re missive of 28/06/98 03:00 AM signed -Anne Quast- :

            >Could it be that Thomas felt that what Jesus taught was far more important
            >than the actual resurrection? Or as Jim says 'he does not believe the
            >resurrection stories...' Would this then be the basis of John 20: 26-29 the
            >story of the doubting Thomas?

            Riley, Gregory J.
            Resurrection Reconsidered: Thomas and John in Controversy
            Minneapolis: Fortress, 1995. Pp. x + 222. $15.00 (paper).

            There's a review by our own Steve Davies (who ain't convinced) at:

            http://shemesh.scholar.emory.edu/scripts/SBL/Reviews/6aug28.html?riley

            James

            -------------------------
            James R. Covey
            WWW Systems Developer
            Cochran Interactive Inc.
            http://www.cochran.com
            direct ph. # 902.422.8915
            office fax # 902.425.8659
            jrcovey@...
          • Jim West
            ... Now that s interesting. Perhaps the Thomas tradition does in fact stem from somewhere in the early church where the resurrection itself is denied. Thomas
            Message 5 of 7 , Jun 29, 1998
              At 12:00 PM 6/28/98 +0900, you wrote:
              >
              >Could it be that Thomas felt that what Jesus taught was far more important
              >than the actual resurrection? Or as Jim says 'he does not believe the
              >resurrection stories...' Would this then be the basis of John 20: 26-29 the
              >story of the doubting Thomas?

              Now that's interesting. Perhaps the Thomas tradition does in fact stem from
              somewhere in the early church where the resurrection itself is denied.
              Thomas is, of course, later rehabilitated by the writer of John; but perhaps
              there is an undercurrent here in the historical development because the
              ressurection is considered secondary or unimportant by some Thomasine
              christians.

              With our paucity of sources we will never know. But....

              Best,

              Jim

              +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
              Jim West, ThD
              Pastor, Petros Baptist Church
              Adjunct Professor of Bible,
              Quartz Hill School of Theology

              jwest@...
            • Stevan Davies
              I wrote ... Yuri wrote ... OK for editorial work within a text, but not OK for whole sayings added into the text. Folks just don t seem to get it. The thesis
              Message 6 of 7 , Jun 29, 1998
                I wrote
                > > Although half of one saying in Thomas shifts from its location in the Gk
                > > to the Cp Thomas there are ZERO interpolations and additions of sayings
                > > to be found when Gk is compared to Cp.
                Yuri wrote
                > This one example of "half of one saying in Thomas" shifting from its
                > location in the Gk to a different location in the Cp Thomas is a good
                > example of continuing editorial work. We can be pretty sure that more of
                > such editorial work was taking place as GTh was transmitted along over
                > time.

                OK for editorial work within a text, but not OK for whole sayings
                added into the text.

                Folks just don't seem to get it. The thesis is VERY widely held,
                perhaps universally (except, as usual, by me) that Coptic Thomas
                if not also Greek Thomas, had sayings added into it here and
                there. Sounds OK, it's a possibility. Not quite so good as saying
                that they were added onto the end, which would be a bit less
                trouble, but not a bad theory. So what would confirm the theory
                but sayings added into the sequences known from Oxyrhynchus.
                There aren't any. What would tend to disconfirm the theory?
                The fact that sayings are not added into the sequences known
                from Oxyrhynchus. So we have a theory with actual evidence
                for-and-against which turns out to be against. Conclusion? People
                just state the theory anyhow, as though self-evident.

                > Of course we have to keep in mind that our evidence sample is way too
                > small for certainty about what changes in the text may have been made over
                > time. Some sayings may well have been added later. Bits and pieces may
                > have been added to various sayings. Bill Arnal suggested this already.

                Bits and pieces may have been added before Oxyrhynchus "two into
                one" etc. but later? I dunno. Maybe.

                > What I'm saying is primarily meant to answer criticisms that some bits and
                > pieces of later canonical stuff may turn up in GTh. I'm not sure how much
                > exactly has been identified so far, but it's certainly not much.
                > Nevertheless, if some assorted bits are identified, I don't think this
                > should detract from GTh being basically precanonical.

                That's right. Bits is the key word. Imagine the response of
                intelligent scholars to the thesis "It is impossible that any scribal
                or translational harmonization took place in the centuries before
                Copt Thomas was buried." Well, actually, most both A) believe
                this and B) recognize it for an absurdity.

                > > Thus the evidence we have
                > > indicates that Thomas' tradition did NOT lend itself to bits being added
                > > in here and there.
                >
                > Debatable.

                Go ahead and debate. I've given the "evidence we have" above.
                You got any "evidence" to the contrary, or just "I tend to think."

                > > You may say "maybe it happened" but insofar as there
                > > is any evidence (above) it didn't.
                >
                > Well, let's take a look at POxy 654, 27-31 (logion 5):
                >
                > http://huizen.dds.nl/~skirl/oxshroud.htm
                >
                > Jesus says, "K[now what is be]fore your face, and [that which is hidden]
                > from you will be reveal[ed to you. For there i]s nothing hidden which will
                > not [be made] mani[fest] and (nothing) buried which will not [be raised
                > up]".
                >
                > And the Coptic GTh says: "There's nothing hidden" instead of "There's
                > nothing buried".
                >
                > What does this tell us? That a key phrase had its meaning changed
                > significantly at a later stage. It is as if the editor of GTh wanted to
                > remove this reference to physical resurrection... And this of course leads
                > up to what I wrote previously:

                Huh? the editor of GTh Gk put it in! Then it got left out in GTh Cpt.
                This doesn't mean anything to me except that scribal error is
                inevitable.

                And there's a hunk of the "lilies of the field" business
                missing in Copt Thomas. So, if anything, the evidence goes towards
                things being left out of Copt Thomas, not put in.

                > > > It is difficult for me to believe that GTh is completely unaware of
                > > the > crucifixion. The lack of a specific reference to crucifixion seems
                > > to me > like being a part of the _special editorial agenda of Thomas_,
                > > rather than > plain not knowing about it. This seems pretty evident to
                > > me... What do > people think?
                >
                > So here we see a glimpse of this special editorial agenda of Thomas, don't
                > we?

                No. You cannot argue from what isn't there to what the agenda was
                unless you have some solid reason to think that things were left out
                on purpose (you have this evidence for apoc sayings) or that one
                would know for sure that some stuff would have to be put in, unless
                some powerful agenda were at work to keep it out.

                > > Why should Thomas care?
                >
                > Good question, and here's the answer. He should care because great many
                > Christians care very much about the resurrection.

                This is "canonical bias". The resurrection oriented Christians who
                wrote NT stuff are a dangerous source for the inference that all
                Christians were that way. Even on Crosstalk you have Mahlon's
                notion of Jesus' importance (cynicish sage) and Davies' notions
                of what Xianity mainly got started from (spirit experience) neither
                of which have anything to do with the resurrection... this is not to
                say that the resurrection was thought important by some, but to say
                that the resurrection didn't have to be particularly important to
                others. I'll say again: "people appearing to others after death is
                NOT unusual in the ancient world or anywhere else and so the claim
                that Jesus did so could NOT have been the main deal for his cult."

                > you should certainly expect references to "Class Struggle" or to
                > the "Evil Bourgeoisie". Because this is the very core of Marxism.
                > Similarly, the very core of post-Easter movement was resurrection.

                No it wasn't. Core was experiences called spirit (or the teachings of
                Jesus, if you're Mahlon).

                > It is my opinion that the earliest Christian origins post-Easter were
                > centred around the idea of the Resurrection of the Lord. Without this,
                > Christianity would have not even been a blip on the radar screen to us now
                > -- one more tiny cult, one of hundreds of thousands, vanished without a
                > trace in the mists of history... I see those first visions of Peter, or
                > whoever it was who had visions first, as the original Big Bang from which
                > the post-Easter movement developed onwards.

                Paul would agree, Mark too. Certainly not John. Nor Q or Thomas.

                > Well, the question is obviously, Do you really want to claim that GTh
                > dates from before 30, i.e. pre-Easter? Because this is the only way the
                > reference to the resurrection could be omitted in a natural way.

                Q seems to have managed it well enough. But, anyhow, suppose I
                simply theorize that these are the sayings of the living Jesus, i.e.
                not dead yet, and the compiler of Thomas had the simpleminded
                intelligence to think that before he died Jesus didn't spend much
                time chatting about his demise. No big deal. Paul, for example,
                doesn't give us instances of Jesus speaking about his crucifixion
                while he's alive even though he might have done. I'm prone to think
                that the first person who thought Jesus did that sort of thing was
                Mark.

                > Here's what I consider GTh to be. I think it was, along with Q, the public
                > catechesis/teachings of the young movement. The private teachings would
                > have been secret, and would have included the liturgical stuff, the
                > material underlying basic Christian rituals. This is the stuff that was
                > gradually incorporated into pMk, SecMk, and Mk (in that order) and later
                > became non-secret.

                I'd say the secret teachings show up in John, if you were to ask,
                but you didn't, so I won't.

                Steve
              • y.kuchinsky@utoronto.ca
                On Mon, 29 Jun 1998, Stevan Davies wrote: Yuri wrote: ... Steve, I can see that quite a few posters already got involved in this debate about the resurrection.
                Message 7 of 7 , Jul 1, 1998
                  On Mon, 29 Jun 1998, Stevan Davies wrote:
                  Yuri wrote:

                  ...

                  > > Good question, and here's the answer. He should care because great many
                  > > Christians care very much about the resurrection.
                  >
                  > This is "canonical bias". The resurrection oriented Christians who
                  > wrote NT stuff are a dangerous source for the inference that all
                  > Christians were that way. Even on Crosstalk you have Mahlon's
                  > notion of Jesus' importance (cynicish sage) and Davies' notions
                  > of what Xianity mainly got started from (spirit experience) neither
                  > of which have anything to do with the resurrection... this is not to
                  > say that the resurrection was thought important by some, but to say
                  > that the resurrection didn't have to be particularly important to
                  > others. I'll say again: "people appearing to others after death is
                  > NOT unusual in the ancient world or anywhere else and so the claim
                  > that Jesus did so could NOT have been the main deal for his cult."

                  ...

                  > > It is my opinion that the earliest Christian origins post-Easter were
                  > > centred around the idea of the Resurrection of the Lord. Without this,
                  > > Christianity would have not even been a blip on the radar screen to us now
                  > > -- one more tiny cult, one of hundreds of thousands, vanished without a
                  > > trace in the mists of history... I see those first visions of Peter, or
                  > > whoever it was who had visions first, as the original Big Bang from which
                  > > the post-Easter movement developed onwards.
                  >
                  > Paul would agree, Mark too. Certainly not John. Nor Q or Thomas.
                  >
                  > > Well, the question is obviously, Do you really want to claim that GTh
                  > > dates from before 30, i.e. pre-Easter? Because this is the only way the
                  > > reference to the resurrection could be omitted in a natural way.
                  >
                  > Q seems to have managed it well enough. But, anyhow, suppose I
                  > simply theorize that these are the sayings of the living Jesus, i.e.
                  > not dead yet, and the compiler of Thomas had the simpleminded
                  > intelligence to think that before he died Jesus didn't spend much
                  > time chatting about his demise. No big deal. Paul, for example,
                  > doesn't give us instances of Jesus speaking about his crucifixion
                  > while he's alive even though he might have done. I'm prone to think
                  > that the first person who thought Jesus did that sort of thing was
                  > Mark.
                  >
                  > > Here's what I consider GTh to be. I think it was, along with Q, the public
                  > > catechesis/teachings of the young movement. The private teachings would
                  > > have been secret, and would have included the liturgical stuff, the
                  > > material underlying basic Christian rituals. This is the stuff that was
                  > > gradually incorporated into pMk, SecMk, and Mk (in that order) and later
                  > > became non-secret.

                  Steve,

                  I can see that quite a few posters already got involved in this debate
                  about the resurrection. But clarity about basic assumptions and
                  terminology has been somewhat lacking, or so it seems. What are we really
                  debating here? Let me try to clarify the historical background a little in
                  order to bring some focus to this debate.

                  It is very clear that already very early on, ca. 50 CE, there were those
                  Christians who denied the resurrection, and those who believed in it. This
                  is evident from Paul's writings.

                  But already here the question must be asked, What kind of a resurrection?
                  Did the deniers deny the materialistic view of resurrection (i.e. bodily
                  resurrection), or the spiritual one? We don't know, but probably
                  materialistic. I would think that the earliest general belief would have
                  been in the non-materialistic resurrection.

                  So these are the complexities here, but let's leave this aside for a
                  while.

                  Now, to remind, our main question is, Was resurrection the central event
                  for earliest Christians? Obviously it was the central event for some, but
                  perhaps not for all? Maybe not, but what about the Jerusalem core of
                  believers, the earliest Ebionites, including James and Peter? I certainly
                  think that for them the resurrection, and the associated Second Coming of
                  the Lord, were central. It is also my belief that Paul was with them
                  theologically, at least in his early years as a preacher.

                  So if you'd wish to maintain that there were some Christians who did not
                  subscribe to this view, probably they were elsewhere. Perhaps in Galilee?
                  So, in other words, for you to maintain that for some Christians the
                  resurrection was not central, you'd have to postulate multiple centres for
                  earliest Christianity.

                  A while back we discussed various ideas about such multiple centres.
                  Morton Smith believed that there may have been as many as three discrete
                  centres from early on. According to Smith, post-Easter, different
                  followers of Jesus may have started different traditions about Jesus. Some
                  of his earliest followers were probably (1) Hellenistic Jews, and they may
                  well have seen Jesus as a sort of a legal teacher or philosopher. Others,
                  (2) also most likely believing Jews (Aramaic-speaking?), saw him as a
                  Messiah, and yet others (3) as primarily a miracle worker. Smith suggests
                  that the latter were probably gentiles or Hellenists.

                  So the first two groups Smith suggested were believing Jews, and the third
                  possibly Gentile-centred. The #2 were probably strict legalists, and
                  sticklers for the Law. It is the #3 that may have been centred in Galilee?
                  The #1 were probably oriented towards the Greek philosophy, and thus would
                  have been the closest to the Cynic mode.

                  Since it is my opinion that Adoptionism was the central feature of the
                  earliest Jerusalem Christianity (i.e. Jesus was believed to have been
                  adopted by God as his Son), from the point of view of Christology, the Son
                  of God would have been the earliest title of Jesus post-Easter. This title
                  would also have fit well with the group #3. But the title Messiah/Christ
                  would have been also applied pretty early by group #2, and perhaps by #1.

                  So these are the various possibilities. Now, how would the GTh fit into
                  any of these groups. What would be the GTh community? Probably #1, since
                  #1 probably wouldn't have been so interested in the resurrection? GTh fits
                  very well with the early Jerusalem Church. It specifically honours James.

                  Is it possible that #1 and #2 were originally united and then split into
                  two rival groups? Myself, I would tend to incline to this view. And so in
                  this case all of the earliest Jerusalem Christians would have been
                  interested in the resurrection, but later some of them may have lost their
                  interest...

                  Is it possible that there were some pre-Easter followers of Jesus (let's
                  call them Group X, or would it have been simply our old group #3) who
                  never cared about the resurrection post-Easter? I guess so. But then, they
                  had nothing to do in Jerusalem, a centre of the Jewish Temple cult, the
                  place that was apparently quite marginal to the Historical Jesus'
                  ministry.

                  But would it have been possible for this Group X to have been merrily
                  unaware of the circumstances of Jesus' ignoble death? Did they try to
                  carry on spreading the pre-Easter teachings of the Master as if nothing
                  happened? Or were they rather trying to keep performing some miracles in
                  the imitation of the Master, as Morton Smith would have probably guessed,
                  as if the death on the Cross never happened? All this I doubt. The death
                  of their Master would have affected them in some way surely.

                  I don't think GTh would have been the product of such a Group X, anyway
                  you define it. I don't think this is that kind of a document. But this is
                  what you are apparently seeking to maintain?

                  Regards,

                  Yuri.

                  Yuri Kuchinsky || Toronto

                  http://www.trends.net/~yuku/bbl/bbl.htm

                  The goal proposed by Cynic philosophy is apathy, which is
                  equivalent to becoming God -=O=- Julian
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