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Re: [XTalk] Excavating GThomas--Part I

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  • Frank McCoy
    ... Dear Stephen Goranson: Thank you! This is a most informative article. It has helped me to develop yet another possible early version of GTh, a
    Message 1 of 10 , Jul 16, 2002
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      --- goranson@... wrote:
      > Perhaps you would be interested in an article in the
      > latest Vigiliae
      > Christianae which presents several possible schemes
      > for the growth of
      > Gospel of Thomas.
      >

      Dear Stephen Goranson:

      Thank you! This is a most informative article.

      It has helped me to develop yet another possible early
      version of GTh, a Proto-Thomas text, which is outlined
      below.

      DEFINITIONS

      There are certain terms used in this post that should
      be defined for purposes of clarity.

      1. Unit = a numbered division of GTh, of which there
      are 114. It is assumed that this strictly modern
      numbering system accurately reflects the individual
      units of GTh as conceived by its author(s).

      2. Saying Unit = a unit in which only Jesus speaks

      3. Dialogue Unit = a unit in which, besides Jesus, one
      or more other people also speak.

      4. Section = a sequence of an odd number of units: (a)
      that is symmetrical, so that the two end units of a
      sequence will always be of the same type and (b) in
      which the two end units belong to a different type of
      unit than the center unit (i.e., if the two end units
      are saying units, then the center unit is a dialogue
      unit, and if the two end units are dialogue units,
      then
      the center unit is a saying unit).

      5. Special Unit = a unit that is one of the end or
      center units of a section

      A PROPOSAL

      It is proposed that there was an earlier version of
      GTh. a Proto-Thomas, consisting of these three
      sections:

      Section 1 GTh 2-10

      Section 2 GTh 31-48 and 61-65 and 89-90.

      Section 3 GTh 91-99

      REASONS FOR THINKING THIS LIKELY WAS A REAL DOCUMENT

      There are two basic reasons for thinking that the
      postulated Proto-Thomas likely was a real document.
      The first basic reason is that it appears to have
      internal organization. The second basic reason is
      that, it appears, the units in it are, on the average,
      of earlier origin than the rest of the units in
      GTh--which is what we would expect it it consists of
      the part of GTh first written down.

      INTERNAL ORGANIZATION--PART I

      Where s = saying unit and d = dialogue unit and a
      capitalized s (i.e. S) or a capitalized d (i.e., D) =
      a special unit, this is how each of the three
      proposed sections looks:

      1. 2-10: SsssDsssS

      2. 31-48, 61-65, 89-90:
      SsssssdsssssDsssssdsssssS

      3. 91-99: DsssSsssD

      Note that, if the center special unit be treated as a
      mirror plane, then each of these three sections
      displays mirror symmetry.

      Note, too, that each section consists of a square
      number of units. Thus, sections 1 and 3 each consist
      of 9 units--and 3x3 = 9. Again, section 2 consists of
      25 units--and 5x5 = 25.

      Indeed, this does not appear to be coincidence: for
      each of the 3x3 sections consists of three groups,
      with each of the three groups consisting of three
      units. So, in section 1, there are two sss groups and
      the remainding units (2S and 1D) constitute a third
      group of three units. Again, in section 3, there are
      two sss groups and the remaining units (2D and 1S)
      constitute a third group of three units.

      Further, section 2, the 5x5 section, consists of five
      groups, with each of the five groups consisting of
      five units. So, it contains four sssss groups and the
      remaining units (2S, 2d, and 1D) constitute a fifth
      group of five units.

      Note that, while section one is symmetrical, and while
      section three is symmetrical, and while both are of
      the same length, they are, as respects their special
      units, in an oppositional type of relationship:
      1. SsssDsssS
      3. DsssSsssD

      In any event, the highly organized mirror symmetrical
      arrangement to each of the three sections of the
      proposed Proto-Thomas is evidence which supports
      the hypothesis that this proposed document really did
      exist.

      INTERNAL ORGANIZATION--PART II

      There is evidence of a symmetrical relationship
      between the beginning SsssD
      sequence of the proposed Proto-Thomas (i.e., GTh 2-6)
      and the ending SsssD
      sequence of it (i.e., GTh 95-99).

      GTh 2-6 reads, "2. Jesus said, "Let him who seeks
      continue seeking until he finds. When he finds he
      will become troubled. When he becomes troubled, he
      will be astonished, and he will rule over the All."
      3. Jesus said, "If those who lead you say to you,
      'See, the Kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of
      the sky will precede you. If they say to you,
      'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you.
      Rather the Kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside
      of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you
      will become known, and you will realize that is is you
      who are the sons of the living Father. But if you
      will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it
      is you who are that poverty." 4.Jesus said, "The man
      old in days will not hesitate to ask a small child
      seven days old about the place of life, and he will
      live. For many who are first will become last, and
      they will become one and the same." 5.Jesus said,
      "Recognize what is in your sight, and that which is
      hidden from you will become plain to you. For there
      is nothing hidden which will not become manifest." 6.
      "His disciples questioned Him and said to Him, 'Do You
      want us to fast? How shall we pray? Shall we give
      alms? What diet shall we observe?' Jesus
      said, 'Do not tell lies, and do not do what you hate,
      for all things are plain in the sight of heaven. For
      nothing hidden will not become manifest, and nothing
      covered will remain without being uncovered.'"

      GTh 95-99 reads, "95. [Jesus said,] "If you have
      money, do not lend it at interest, but give [it] to
      one from whom you will not get it back." 96. Jesus
      [said], "The Kingdom of the Father is like a certain
      woman. She took a little leaven, [concealed] it in
      some dough, and made it into large loaves. Let him
      who has ears hear." 97. Jesus said, "The kingdom of
      the [Father] is like a certain woman who was
      carrying a jar full of meal. While she was walking
      [on] a road, still some distance from home, the handle
      of the jar broke and the meal emptied out behind her
      on the road. She did not ralize it; she had noticed
      no accident. When she reached her house, she set the
      jar down and found it empty," 98. Jesus said, "The
      Kingdom of the Father is like a certain man who wanted
      to kill a powerful man. In his own house he drew his
      sword and stuck it into the wall in order to find out
      whether his hand could carry through. Then he slew the
      powerful man." 99. The disciples said to Him, "Your
      brothers and your mother are standing outside." He
      said to them, "These here who do the will of my Father
      are My brothers and My mother. It is they who will
      enter the Kingdom of My Father."

      Note that 5 and 95 are clearly related: for both
      include the topic of alms-giving. Note, too, that we
      do not have the out-right rejection of alms-giving
      that is reflected in GTh 14--which is one of the units
      belonging to the proposed later additions to the
      proposed Proto-Thomas.

      Note that 96-99 regard the Kingdom: with 96-98 being
      three parables of the Kingdom and 99 being an
      admonition about the type of people who will
      enter the Kingdom. Note, too, that 99, where the
      brothers of Jesus are treated harshly, strongly
      contrasts with the outright adulation of James the
      Just (a brother of Jesus) in GTh 12--which is one of
      the units belonging to the proposed later additions to
      the proposed Proto-Thomas.

      In this regard, it is possible that 2-5 also regard
      the Kingdom. This is explicitly the case for 3, which
      describes how the Kingdom is both outside of you and
      inside of you. In 2, what is to be sought and found
      might be the Kingdom. In 4, the place of life might
      be the Kingdom as something outside you. In 5, the
      hidden that will become plain might be the Kingdom as
      something hid inside of you.

      To conclude, 2-6, the beginning to the proposed
      Proto-Thomas, might have a relationship to 95-99, the
      ending to the proposed Proto-Thomas: with 6 relating
      to 95 because both mention alms-giving and with 2-5
      relating to 96-99 because these units might all regard
      the Kingdom. With the units mentioning alms-giving
      designated A and the other units designated B, this
      is the relationship: BBBBA ABBBB

      Such a possible mirror symmetrical relationship
      between the beginning and the ending of the proposed
      Proto-Thomas increases the likelihood that it is
      a real document.

      INTERNAL ORGANIZATION--PART III

      After deleting the above discussed 2-6 and 95-99, the
      remaining units of the proposed Proto-Thomas (i.e.,
      7-10, 31-48, 61-65, and 89-94) have this arrangement:
      sssSSsssssdsssssDsssssdsssssSDsss.

      Let us look at the three S units in this sequence.
      The first is 10, "Jesus said, 'I have cast fire upon
      the earth, and see, I am guarding it until it
      blazes.'" The second is 31, "Jesus said, "No prophet
      is accepted in his own village; no physician heals
      those who know him.'" The third is 90, "Jesus
      said, 'Come unto me, for My yoke is easy and My
      lordship mild, and you will find repose for
      yourselves.'"

      All three of the S units appear to regard Jesus. This
      is clearly the case for 10 and 90. This is probably
      the case for 31. So, in Mark 6:4, Jesus applies this
      saying to himself. Again, in John 4:44, it is assumed
      that this saying applies to Jesus.

      This is remarkable, for, of the 26 s units, only 5
      (roughly, 20%) appear to regard Jesus, i.e., 38, 44
      (if the Son be understood to be Jesus), 62, 65 (if the
      son of the vineyard owner be understood to be Jesus),
      and 92.

      This suggests that it is no accident that the 3 S
      units in the postulated Proto-Thomas in the zone from
      7 to 94 all appear to regard Jesus. As a result, this
      is evidence which supports the hypothesis that the
      postulated Proto-Thomas was a real document.

      Again, let us look at the four dialogue (i.e., d and
      D) units. The first is 37, "His disciples said,
      'When will you become revealed to us and
      when shall we see You?' Jesus said, 'When you disrobe
      without being ashamed and take up your garments and
      place them under your feet like little children and
      tread on them, then [will you see] the Son of the
      Living One and you will not be afraid.'" The second
      is 43, "His disciples said to him, 'Who are You, that
      You should say these things to us?' 'You do not
      realize who I am from what I say to you, but you have
      become like the Jews, for they (either) love the tree
      and hate its fruit (or) love the fruit and hate the
      tree.'" The third is 61, "Jesus said, 'Two will rest
      on a bed: the one will die and the other will live.'
      Salome said, 'Who are You, man, that You, as
      though from the One, have come up on my couch and
      eaten from my table?' Jesus said to her, 'I am He who
      exists from the Undivided. I was given some of the
      things of my Father.' 'I am your disciple.'
      'Therefore I say, if he is <undivided>, he will be
      filled with light, but if he is divided, he will be
      filled with darkness.'" The fourth is 91, "They
      said to Him, 'Tell us who You are so that we may
      believe in You.' He said to them, 'You read the
      face of the sky and of the earth, but you have not
      recognized the one who (or: that which) is before you,
      and you do not know how to read this moment.'"

      As can be seen, each of these discourse units contains
      a request to Jesus, by one or more of his disciples,
      for him to provide knowledge regarding himself.

      This is remarkable, for none of the other 20 discourse
      units in GTh contain a request to Jesus, by one or
      more of his disciples, for him to provide knowledge
      regarding himself.

      This suggests that it is no accident that the four
      discourse units in the postulated Proto-Thomas in the
      zone from 7 to 94 all regard a request to Jesus, by
      one or more of his disciples, for him to provide
      knowledge about himself. As a result, this is
      evidence which supports the hypothesis that the
      postulated Proto-Thomas was a real document.

      EVIDENCE OF EARLY ORIGIN: PART I

      If the postulated Proto-Thomas is real, then, as it is
      postulated to be the early version of GTh, there
      should be evidence that its units, on the average, are
      earlier than the units in the proposed later
      additions. (Note: these proposed later additions are:
      Introduction-1, 11-30, 49-60, 66-88, and 100-114).

      Indeed, such is the case.

      For example, let us take the Jesus Seminar's grading
      of the sayings in GTh as recorded in their The Five
      Gospels--where grades range from black (almost
      certainly not genuine) to red (almost certainly
      genuine).

      It will be assumed that sayings of Jesus they
      designate as wholly black (to be referred to as B
      sayings) will, on average, be later in origin than
      sayings they designate to be wholly or in part either
      pink or red (to be referred to as P sayings).

      Of the 43 units in the proposed Proto-Thomas, there
      are 26 that contain P sayings (2, 5, 6, 9, 10, 31, 32,
      33, 35, 36, 39, 41, 45, 47, 62, 63, 64, 65 89, 92,
      94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99) and 6 that contain B sayings
      (7, 37, 38, 43, 44, 90)

      Conversely, of the 71 units in the proposed later
      additions to Proto-Thomas, there are 47 that contain B
      sayings (1, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 23, 27,
      28, 29, 30, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 56, 58, 59, 60, 66,
      67, 69, 70, 71, 73, 74, 75, 77, 80, 83, 84, 85, 87,
      88, 101, 102, 104, 105, 108, 110, 111, 112, 114) and
      10 that contain P sayings (14, 20, 26, 54, 69, 76, 86,
      100, 109, 113).

      So, this does suggest that, on the average, the
      sayings attributed to Jesus in the proposed
      Proto-Thomas are significantly earlier in origin than
      the
      sayings attributed to Jesus in the proposed later
      additions to Proto-Thomas--just as one would expect if
      Proto-Thomas was a real document.

      EVIDENCE OF EARLY ORIGIN: PART II

      In "The Rhetoric of Marginality: Apocalypticism,
      Gnosticism, and Sayings Gospels" (Harvard Theological
      Review, 88:4, 1995), Bill Arnal postulates the
      existence of two stratum in GTh. The earlier (see p.
      478) is "the sapiential stratum" and it includes GTh
      3. 5. 6. 9. 14. 16. 20. 26. 31, 32, 34-36, 42, 45,
      47, 54, 55, 57, 63-65, 71, 74, 76, 89, 95-98, 107,
      109, and 110. The later (see p.479) is "the
      gnostic-leaning stratum" and it includes Gth 11, 13,
      15, 18, 21-22, 27-28, 49-50, 51, 60, 61, 83, 84, 101,
      105, 108, 11, and 114.

      In the proposed Proto-Thomas, the proposed earlier
      Sapiential sayings are more highly represented than
      the proposed later Gnostic-leaning sayings: with 20
      Sapiential sayings (3, 5, 6, 9, 31, 32, 34, 35, 36,
      42, 45, 47, 63, 64, 65, 89, 95, 96, 97, 98) and one
      Gnostic-leaning saying (61).

      Conversely, in the proposed later additions to
      Proto-Thomas, the proposed later Gnostic-leaning
      sayings are more highly represented than the proposed
      earlier Sapiential sayings: with 19 Gnostic-leaning
      sayings (11, 13, 15, 18, 21, 22, 27, 28, 49, 50, 51,
      60, 83, 84, 101, 105, 108, 111, 114) and 13 Sapiential
      sayings (14, 16, 20, 26, 54, 55, 57, 76, 85, 86, 107,
      109, 110).

      Again, this is an indication that, on the average, the
      sayings attributed to Jesus in the proposed
      Proto-Thomas are of significantly earlier origin than
      the sayings attributed to Jesus in the proposed later
      additions to this Proto-Thomas--just as one would
      expect if Proto-Thomas was a real document.

      EVIDENCE OF EARLY ORIGIN: PART III

      In "The Original Gospel of Thomas" (Vigiliae
      Christianae, LVI: 2, 2002, pp. 167-199), A. D.
      DeConick postulates that there was an early edition of
      GTh he calls the kernel gospel.

      Of the 114 units in GTh, he suggests that 60 were
      wholly present in the postulated kernel gospel. Of
      these 60, 34 are present in the postulated
      Proto-Thomas (2, 5, 8, 9, 10, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36,
      39, 40, 41, 42, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 62, 63, 65, 89,
      90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99) and 26 are not
      (15, 17, 20, 25, 26, 30, 54, 55, 57, 58, 66, 71, 72,
      73, 74, 76, 78, 79, 81, 82, 86, 102, 103, 104, 107,
      109).

      Of the 114 units in GTh, he suggests that 16 were
      partially present in the postulated kernel gospel. Of
      these 16, five are present in the postulated
      Proto-Thomas (4, 6, 38, 61, 64) and 11 are not (11,
      14, 16, 21, 23, 24, 60, 68, 69, 100, 111).

      Of the 114 units in GTh, he suggests that 38 were
      completely absent from the postulated kernel gospel.
      Of these 38, four are in the postulated Proto-Thomas
      (3, 7, 37, 43) and 34 are not (1, 12, 13, 18, 19, 22,
      27, 28, 29, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 56, 59, 67, 70, 75,
      77, 80, 83, 84, 85, 87, 88, 101, 105, 106, 108, 110,
      112, 113, 114).

      The evidence he presents for the existence of the
      postulated kernel gospel is quite weak. In
      particular, he fails to demonstrate that this kernel
      gospel has any internal organization to it.

      Still, I think it likely that the units in his
      proposed kernel gospel are, on the average, of earlier
      origin than the other units in GTh,

      For example, he (p. 198) states, "Second, just over
      fifty percent of the sayings in the kernel gospel are
      paralleled in Q. Not even one saying with a Q
      parallel, however, can be found in the later layers.
      This also cannot be a coincidence. It suggests to me
      that the sayings in the kernel gospel of Thomas are
      some of the oldest witnesses to the Jesus traditions.
      Additionally, my initial analysis of the kernel gospel
      seems to indicate that neither Q nor the kernel Thomas
      were literarily dependent upon the other."

      Assuming that, *on the average*, the units wholly
      present in the postulated kernel gospel are earlier
      than those partially present in the postulated
      kernel gospel and that, in turn, the units partially
      present in the postulated kernel gospel are, *on the
      average*, earlier than those completely absent from
      the postulated kernel gospel, then, if the postulated
      Proto-Thomas is a real document, the expectation is
      that it contains a higher percentage of the units
      wholly in the postulated kernel gospel than of the
      units partially present in the postulated kernel
      gospel and that, in turn, it contains a higher
      percentage of the units partially present in the
      postulated kernel gospel than of the units completely
      absent from the postulated kernel gospel.

      Indeed, this is the case: with the postulated
      Proto-Thomas containing 34/60 (57%) of the units
      wholly present in the postulated kernel gospel, 5/16
      (31%) of the units partially present in the postulated
      kernel gospel, and 4/38 (11%) of the units completely
      absent from the postulated kernel gospel.

      Again, this is an indication that, on the average, the
      sayings attributed to Jesus in the proposed
      Proto-Thomas are of significantly earlier origin than
      the sayings attributed to Jesus in the proposed later
      additions to this Proto-Thomas--just as one would
      expect if Proto-Thomas was a real document.

      (Note: While I find the evidence for the postulated
      kernel gospel to be weak, I think it likely that there
      was at least one intermediate document between the
      proposed Proto-Thomas and GTh. Further, it is
      possible that such an intermediary document might have
      consisted of the proposed Proto-Thomas plus many of
      the kernel sayings not to be found in the proposed
      Proto-Thomas.)

      CONCLUDING REMARKS

      It can be hypothesised that there was a Proto-Thomas
      document consisting of GTh 2-10, 31-48, 61-65, and
      89-99. There are two basic reasons for thinking that
      this hypothesis is likely to be true. First, the
      postulated Proto-Thomas appears to have an internal
      structure to it. Second, the units assigned to
      Proto-Thomas appear to be, on average, of earlier
      origin than
      the units assigned to the later additions to
      Proto-Thomas.

      This is the first part of a two part posting. The
      second part will regard a possible sitz em leben for
      the writing of Proto-Thomas. It also will include the
      text of Proto-Thomas.

      Any suggestions or comments?

      Regards,

      Frank McCoy
      1809 N. English Apt. 17
      Maplewood, MN USA 55109






      > goranson@...
      >
      >









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    • Frank McCoy
      INTRODUCTION This is the second part of a two part posting on Proto-Thomas--a proposed early version of GTh which consists of GTh 2-10, 31-48, 61-65, and
      Message 2 of 10 , Jul 16, 2002
      • 0 Attachment
        INTRODUCTION

        This is the second part of a two part posting on
        Proto-Thomas--a proposed early version of GTh which
        consists of GTh 2-10, 31-48, 61-65, and 89-99.

        In this second part, it is suggested that Proto-Thomas
        was written at Tyre in the late fifties. Also, text
        of Proto-Thomas is given.

        THE SITZ EM LEBEN FOR PROTO-THOMAS

        For determining the sitz em leben for Proto-Thomas, I
        think that unit 61 is a good place to start, "Jesus
        said, 'Two will rest on a bed: the one will die and
        the other will live.' Salome said, 'Who are You, man,
        that You, as though from the One, have come up on my
        couch and eaten from my table?' Jesus said to her, 'I
        am He who exists from the Undivided. I was given some
        of the things of my Father.' 'I am your disciple.'"

        Salome is a very important person to the Proto-Thomas
        community, for she is, except for Jesus himself, the
        only person given a name in Proto-Thomas. Indeed,
        such a unique status indicates, to me, that she
        is the founder of the Proto-Thomas community.

        I suggest that she is the Syro-Phoenician woman, from
        the area around Tyre, mentioned in Mark 7:24-30.

        For one thing, this woman had a daughter lying on a
        bed. Is it a coincidence that lying on a bed/couch
        plays an important role in 61a? I think not.

        For another thing, the Syro-Phoenician woman tells
        Jesus, "Lord, even the doggies under the table eat
        from the crumbs of the children." Is it a
        coincidence that eating at a table plays an important
        role in 61a? I think not.

        So, I suggest, Salome is the name of the
        Syro-Phoenician woman of Mark 7:24-30 and she was the
        founder of the Proto-Thomas community.

        If so, then, as she resided in the vicinity of Tyre,
        and as she was a Gentile, and as Jews were a small
        minority in Tyre, the expectation is that the
        Proto-Thomas community was centered at Tyre and
        consisted of Gentiles.

        In this regard, unit 64 is very important.

        64 is a parable which also is found in the Q
        tradition. The Q tradition version of this parable,
        though, lacks this ending to 64, "Businessmen and
        merchants will not enter the Places of My Father."

        I take this to mean that the ending of 64 is not
        original to the parable, but was added to it because
        the Proto-Thomas community lived in an area which was
        a major center for trade and commerce. In this
        regard, it is significant that Tyre was a major center
        for trade and commerce.

        Also important is unit 8: where a man is fishing in
        the sea and takes the large fish and throws the rest
        back. This parable would have been of interest to
        people living on the sea-coast--and Tyre was on the
        sea-coast.

        Also, in view of the extensive over-lap between the
        Proto-Thomas tradition and the Q tradition, and in
        view of both communities focusing on sayings of Jesus
        and down-playing the significance of Jesus' death,
        there is a likelhood that the Proto-Thomas community
        was geographically close to the Q community.

        This is consistent with the Proto-Thomas community
        being located at Tyre--for Tyre was geographically
        close to Galilee: which probably was the location of
        the Q community.

        Further, there are several indications that the
        Proto-Thomas community consisted of Gentiles.

        Particularly important is unit 43b, where Jesus tells
        his disciples, "You do not realize who I am from what
        I say to you, but you have become like the Jews, for
        they (either) love the tree and hate its fruit (or)
        love the fruit and hate the tree."

        To me, this is a clear indication that the
        Proto-Thomas community consisted of Gentiles.

        Also, the lack of any references to Jewish scriptures
        in Proto-Thomas is consistent with the idea that the
        Proto-Thomas community was purely Gentile: being
        founded by a Gentile (i.e., the Syro-Phoenician woman)
        and consisting of Gentiles.

        Finally, the harsh attitude towards the brothers of
        Jesus in unit 99 is consistent with the idea that the
        Proto-Thomas community consisted of Gentiles who were
        hostile towards the Jerusalem Church led by James the
        Just, one of the brothers of Jesus--presumably because
        they were resisting pressure, from the Jerusalem
        Church, to start observing the Law of Moses.

        Relevant to the discussion is Acts 21:3-5 (RSV), "When
        we had come in sight of Cyprus, leaving it on the left
        we sailed to Syria, and landed at Tyre; for there the
        ship was to unload cargo (Which underscores the
        importance of Tyre as a center of trade and commerce).
        And having sought out the disciples, we stayed there
        for seven days. Through the Spirit they told Paul not
        to go on to Jerusalem. And when our days there were
        ended, we departed and went on our journey; and they
        all, with wives and children,
        brought us on our way till we were outside the city;
        and kneeling down on the beach we prayed and bade one
        another farewell."

        Here, we learn, there was a Christian community at
        Tyre in the mid-fifties. It apparently consisted of
        Gentiles--for they treat Paul and his followers
        as allies and warn him about the dangers he faced
        (from Christian Jews zealous for the Law)if he
        insisted on going to Jerusalem. This Christian
        community at Tyre, apparently composed of Gentiles,
        is, I suggest, the Proto-Thomas community.

        In line with this idea, it is noteworthy that, in Acts
        21:3-6, it is emphasised, the Spirit was important to
        the members of the Christian community at Tyre.
        Similarly, the Spirit was important to the members of
        the Proto-Thomas community: see unit 44, "Whoever
        blasphemes against the Father will be forgiven, and
        whoever blasphemes against the Son will be forgiven,
        but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will
        not be forgiven either on earth or in heaven."

        As for the dating of Proto-Thomas, I think that it was
        most likely written after the Proto-Thomas community
        made contact with Paul and/or one or more of his
        followers (for, I suspect, some of the units in it,
        particularly 7, have been influenced by Pauline
        thought), but while James the Just was still
        presiding over the Jerusalem Church (for I suspect
        that the harsh criticism of the brothers of Jesus in
        unit 99 is aimed at him). If the Proto-Thomas
        community be the Christian community at Tyre, with
        which Paul first made contact in the mid-fifties, this
        makes the most likely date for the writing of
        Proto-Thomas to be sometime in the late 50s--after
        Paul made contact with the Proto-Thomas community in
        the mid fifties, but before the death of James the
        Just in the early 60s.

        So, to conclude, it is suggested that the Sitz em
        Leben for Proto-Thomas was Tyre in the late fifties.
        In this case, the Proto-Thomas community was founded
        even while Jesus was still alive by a Syro-Phoenician
        woman named Salome and it consisted of Gentiles. It
        had contacts with both the Q community and the
        Jerusalem Church. As respects the Jerusalem Church
        and
        its leader, James the Just, it appears to have had a
        cool to hostile attitude. In this case, it came into
        contact with Paul in the mid-fifties and he was
        accepted by its members as an ally.

        In this case, the Proto-Thomas community differed in
        some major respects from the GTh community--which took
        Thomas to be its founder and thought that James the
        Just was the cat's meow. This indicates that there was
        a major passage of time between the writing of
        Proto-Thomas and GTh and/or that GTh was written at a
        far different location than Proto-Thomas.

        THE TEXT OF PROTO-THOMAS

        Section 1

        2.Jesus said, "Let him who seeks continue seeking
        until he finds. When he finds he will become
        troubled. When he becomes troubled, he will be
        astonished, and he will rule over the All."
        3. Jesus said, "If those who lead you say to you,
        'See, the Kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of
        the sky will precede you. If they say to you,
        'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you.
        Rather the Kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside
        of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you
        will become known, and you will realize that is is you
        who are the sons of the living Father. But if you
        will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it
        is you who are that poverty."
        4.Jesus said, "The man old in days will not hesitate
        to ask a small child seven days old about the place of
        life, and he will live. For many who are first will
        become last, and they will become one and the same."
        5.Jesus said, "Recognize what is in your sight, and
        that which is hidden from you will become plain to
        you. For there is nothing hidden which will not
        become manifest."
        6. His disciples questioned Him and said to Him, "Do
        You want us to fast? How shall we pray? Shall we give
        alms? What diet shall we observe?" Jesus said, "Do not
        tell lies, and do not do what you hate, for all things
        are plain in the sight of heaven. For nothing hidden
        will not become manifest, and nothing covered will
        remain without being uncovered."
        7.Jesus said, "Blessed is the lion which becomes man
        when consumed by man; and cursed is the man whom the
        lion consumes, and the lion becomes man."
        8. And he said, "The man is like a wise fisherman who
        cast his net into the sea and drew it up from the sea
        full of small fish. Among them the wise fisherman
        found a fine large fish. He threw all the small fish
        back into the sea and chose the large fish without
        difficulty. Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear."
        9. Jesus said, "Now the sower went out, took a handful
        (of seeds), and scattered them. Some fell on the road;
        the birds came and gathered them up. Others fell on
        rock, did not take root in the soil, and did not
        produce ears. And others fell on thorns; they choked
        the seed(s) and worms ate them. And others fell on
        the good soil and produced good fruit: it bore sixty
        per measure and a hundred and twenty per measure."
        10. Jesus said, "I have cast fire upon the world, and
        see, I am guarding it until it blazes."

        Section 2

        31.Jesus said, "No prophet is accepted in his own
        village; no physician heals those who know him."
        32. Jesus said, "A city built on a high mountain and
        fortified cannot fall, nor can it be hidden."
        33. Jesus said, "Preach from your housetops that which
        you hear hear in your ear (and) in the other ear. For
        no one lights a lamp and upts it under a bushel, nor
        does he put it in a hidden place, but rather he sets
        it on a lampstand so that everyone who enters and
        leaves will see its light."
        34.Jesus said, "If a blind man leads a blind man, they
        will both fall into a pit."
        35.Jesus said, "It is not possible for any one to
        enter the house of a strong man and take it by force
        unless he binds his hands; then he will (be) able to
        ransack his house."
        36. Jesus said, "Do not be concerned from morning
        until evening and from evening until morning about
        what you will wear."
        37. His disciples said, "When will you become revealed
        to us and when shall we see You?" Jesus said, "When
        you disrobe without being ashamed and take up your
        garments and place them under your feet like little
        children and tread on them, then [will you see] the
        Son of the Living One and you will not be afraid."
        38.Jesus said, "Many times have you desired to hear
        these words which I am saying to you, and you have no
        one else to hear them from. There will be days when
        you will look for Me and will not find Me."
        39. Jesus said, "The Pharisees and the scribes have
        taken the keys of Knowledge and hidden them. They
        themselves have not entered, nor have they allowed to
        enter those who wish to. You, however, be as wise as
        serpents and as innocent as doves."
        40. Jesus said, "A grapevine has been planted outside
        of the Father, but being unsound, it will be pulled up
        by its roots and destroyed."
        41. Jesus said, "Whoever has something in his hand
        will receive more, and whoever has nothing will be
        deprived of even the little he has."
        42. Jesus said, "Become passers-by."
        43. His disciples said to him, "Who are You, that You
        should say these things to us?" "You do not realize
        who I am from what I say to you, but you have become
        like the Jews, for they (either) love the tree and
        hate its fruit (or) love the fruit and hate the tree."
        44.Jesus said, "Whoever blasphemes against the Father
        will be forgiven, and whoever blasphemes against the
        Son will be forgiven, but whoever blasphemes against
        the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven either on earth
        or in heaven."
        45. Jesus said, "Grapes are not harvested from thorns,
        nor are figs gathered from thistles, for they do not
        produce fruit. A good man brings forth good from his
        storehouse; and evil man brings forth evil things from
        his evil storehouse, which is in his heart, and says
        evil things. For out of the abundance of the heart he
        brings forth evil things."
        46. Jesus said, "Among those born of women, from Adam
        until John the Baptist, there is no one so superior to
        John the Baptist that his eyes should not be lowered
        (before) him. Yet I have said, whichever one of you
        comes to be a child, will be acquainted with the
        Kingdom and will become superior to John."
        47. Jesus said, "It is impossible for a man to mount
        two horses or to stretch two bows. And it is
        impossible for a servant to serve two masters;
        otherwise he will honor the one and treat the other
        contemptuously. No man drinks old wine and
        immediately desires to drink new wine. And new wine
        is
        not put into old wineskins, lest they burst; nor is
        old wine put into a new wineskin, let it spoil it. An
        old patch is not sewn into a new garment, because a
        tear would result."
        48. Jesus said, "If two make peace with each other in
        this one house, they will say to the mountain, 'Move
        away,' and it will move away."
        61. Jesus said, "Two will rest on a bed: the one will
        die and the other will live." Salome said, "Who are
        You, man, that You, as though from the One,have come
        up on my couch and eaten from my table?" Jesus said
        to her, "I am He who exists from the Undivided. I was
        given some of the things of my Father." "I am your
        disciple." "Therefore I say, if he is <undivided>, he
        will be filled with light, but if he is divided, he
        will be filled with darkness."
        62.Jesus said, "It is those [who are worthy of My]
        mysteries that I tell my mysteries. Do not let your
        left hand know what your right hand is doing."
        63. Jesus said, "There was a rich man who had much
        money. He said, "I shall put my money to use so that
        I may sow, reap, plant, and fill my storehouse with
        produce, with the result that I shall lack nothing.'
        Such were his intentions, but that same night he died.
        Let him who has ears hear."
        64. Jesus said, "A man had received visitors. And
        when he had prepared the dinner, he sent his servant
        to invite the guests. He went to the first one and
        said to him, 'My master invites you.' He said, 'I
        have claims against some merchants. They are coming
        to me this evening. I must go and give them my
        orders. I ask to be excused from the dinner.' He
        went to another and said to him, 'My master has
        invited you.' He said to him, 'My friend is going to
        get married, and I am to prepare the banquet. I shall
        not be able to come. I ask to be excused from the
        dinner.' He went to another and said ato him, 'My
        master invites you.' He said to him, 'I have just
        bought a farm, and I am on my way to collect the rent.
        I shall not be able to come. I ask to be excused.'
        The servant returned and said to his master, 'Those
        whom you invited to the dinner have asked to be
        excused.' The master said to his servant, 'Go outside
        to the streets and bring back those whom you happen to
        meet, so that they may dine.' Businessmen and
        merchants will not enter
        the Places of My Father.'"
        65. He said, "There was a good man who owned a
        vineyard. He leased it to tenant farmers so that they
        might work it and he might collect the produce from
        them. He sent his servant so that the tenants might
        give him the produce of the vineyard. They seized his
        servant and beat him, all but killing him. The
        servant went back and told his master. The master
        said, 'Perhaps <they> did not recognize <him>.' He
        sent another servant. The tenants beat this one as
        well. Then the owner sent his son and said, 'Perhaps
        they will show respect to my son.' Because the
        tenants knew that it was he who was the heir to the
        vineyard, they seized him and killed him. Let him who
        has ears hear."
        89.Jesus said, "Why do you wash the outside of the
        cup? Do you not realize that he who made the inside
        is the same one who made the outside?"
        90. Jesus said, "Come unto me, for My yoke is easy and
        My lordship is mild, and you will find repose for
        yourselves."

        Section 3

        91. They said to Him, "Tell us who You are so that we
        may believe in You." He said to them, "You read the
        face of the sky and of the earth, but you have not
        recognized the one who (or: that which) is before you,
        and you do not know how to read this moment."
        92.Jesus said, "Seek and you will find. Yet, what you
        asked Me about in former times and which I did not
        tell you then, now I do desire to tell, but you do not
        inquire after it."
        93. <Jesus said,> "Do not give what is holy to dogs,
        lest they throw them on the dung-heap. Do not throw
        the pearls to swine, lest they grind it [to bits]."
        94. Jesus [said], "He who seeks will find, and [he who
        knocks] will be let in."
        95. [Jesus said,], "If you have money, do not lend it
        at interest, but give [it] to one from whom you will
        not get it back."
        96. Jesus [said], "The Kingdom of the Father is like a
        certain woman. She took a little leaven, [concealed]
        it in some dough, and made it into large loaves. Let
        him who has ears hear."
        97. Jesus said, "The kingdom of the [Father] is like a
        certain woman who was carrying a jar full of meal.
        While she was walking [on] a road, still some
        distance from home, the handle of the jar broke and
        the meal emptied out behind her on the road. She did
        not ralize it; she had noticed no accident. When she
        reached her house, she set the jar down and found it
        empty,"
        98. Jesus said, "The Kingdom of the Father is like a
        certain man who wanted to kill a powerful man. In his
        own house he drew his sword and stuck it into the wall
        in order to find out whether his hand could carry
        through. Then he slew the powerful man."
        99. The disciples said to Him, "Your brothers and Your
        mother are standing outside." He said to them,
        "Those here who do the will of My Father are My
        brothers and My mother. It is they who will enter the
        Kingdom of My Father."

        Comments and suggestions are welcomed.

        Frank McCoy
        1809 N. English
        Maplewood, MN USA 55109






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