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[XTalk] Re: Gospel Sources

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  • Robert M Schacht
    On Sat, 29 Jan 2000 13:56:22 -0500 Mahlon H. Smith ... Yeah, but I was thrown off by your response to Covey. Rather than perpetuate this thread ad nauseum,
    Message 1 of 6 , Jan 30, 2000
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      On Sat, 29 Jan 2000 13:56:22 -0500 "Mahlon H. Smith"
      <mahlonh.smith@...> writes:
      > >
      > > The type of "ruthless suppression" of non-canonical texts that I
      > was
      > > talking about did not often entail posses of orthodox book-burners
      > > scouring the private libraries of upper Egypt.
      >
      > Bob Schacht responded:
      > >
      > > Well, that *is* kinda what I thought you meant. ...

      Mahlon responded:
      >
      > .... I thought I had clarified what I meant by
      > "ruthless" in my previous reply to Tom Kopecek. ...

      Yeah, but I was thrown off by your response to Covey.

      Rather than perpetuate this thread ad nauseum, let me concede several
      points:

      1. As Elaine Pagels made me aware years ago (The Gnostic Gospels, etc.)
      the 3rd to 5th centuries, through the era of the ecumenical councils, saw
      a considerable amount of polemic from all sides, and not merely from
      whoever held the orthodox flag at the moment (posession of which shifted
      from time to time, as you have noted recently in your correspondence with
      Tom Kopecek). You provided a good sampling of such polemic.

      2. Some Bishops promoted certain works (not always the ones in the
      current canon), and banned others (sometimes including books *in* the
      current canon.)

      3. The bishops sometimes added sanctions to their recommendations,
      including in rare circumstances excommunication.

      But now notice: None of these affects life and limb. In fact, as you
      yourself wrote, you did not even mean squads of book-burners roaming the
      bishop's territory. Here is where two different senses of 'ruthlessness'
      diverged. *Within the domain of text* the bishops (and their opponents)
      sometimes vigorously opposed texts which they didn't like. And since the
      inception of the thread had to do with the survival of texts (as opposed
      to people), you were technically correct. And since we spend so much time
      analyzing texts, the world of the texts often seems to be the 'real
      world.'

      But this opposition, or "ruthlessness," as you termed it, was only
      secondarily in the domain of flesh-and-blood ruthlessness, which was
      perhaps the main thing that I was reacting to in connection with that
      word.

      Respectfully,
      Bob
      Robert M. Schacht, Ph.D.
      Northern Arizona University
      Flagstaff, AZ
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