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GThom and double standards

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  • William Arnal
    Hello all: A recent post (from Brian Trafford? I think?) has suggested that the Gospel of Thomas is to be dated to the second century, essentially on thematic
    Message 1 of 26 , Apr 29, 2002
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      Hello all:

      A recent post (from Brian Trafford? I think?) has suggested that the Gospel
      of Thomas is to be dated to the second century, essentially on thematic
      grounds -- (1) the presence of "gnosticism" in it; (2) the assumption of
      trinitiarian theology; and (3) its misogyny. This is about the clearest case
      I could imagine (I couldn't have even made up a better one!) for double
      standards in the discussion of canonical vs. non-canonical materials. Not
      only do each of these assertions show a poor understanding of Thomas itself,
      but, even IF the text reflected the ideas it is alleged to reflect, THESE
      SAME IDEAS ARE PRESENT IN FIRST-CENTURY WRITINGS. The exact same technique,
      were it to be applied to canonical writings (which it never would be!),
      would yield second century dates for such texts as Matthew and 1
      Corinthians. More specifically:

      (1) In the post in quesiton, Thomas' alleged gnosticism is based on the
      incipit's claim that the text represents "secret sayings" of Jesus. That
      this is a poor index of gnosticism per se (and hence no reason to date
      Thomas to 2C) should be obvious. Better indices of gnosticism would be a
      combination of references to secret knowledge (which is not exactly what
      Thomas says here) with mythological references to such divine entities as
      the cosmic Lord, the archons, and so on, combined with a strong metaphysical
      dualism. Presumably the presence of such details clustered together (which,
      arguably, does not occur in Thomas) "proves" a "Gnostic" perspective. Fine.
      But even this cannot prove a second century date, unless we wish to date 1
      Cor that late -- the text I have in mind reads: "Yet among the mature we do
      impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this Aeon or of the Archons of
      this Aeon, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden
      wisdom of God, which God decreed before the Aeons for our glorification.
      None of the Archons of this Aeon understood this; for if they had, they wold
      not have crucified the Lord of Glory." Similar concerns with hidden
      knowledge occur elsewhere -- Mark 4 (and synoptic pars) is a great example.
      So the concern with hidden words of Jesus in Thomas a) does not demonstrate
      that Thomas is gnostic; and b) does not require a late date for Thomas.

      2) Thomas does not display trinitarian theology, nor any awareness of such.
      The text cited to support this odd assertion is, I presume (I'm working from
      memory here -- no copy of Thomas at home), the one that refers to "where
      there are three, they are gods." Jesus, n.b., does not include himself in
      this triad, so it can't be the trinity. Besides, Thomas uses the word "god"
      extremely rarely (only in two sayings), and only in circumstances where the
      "god[s]" are CONTRASTED to Jesus. When Thomas wishes to refer to the "God"
      of Jesus, he uses the term "Father." But even if we accepted, on such
      slender evidence, that Thomas assumed Trinitarian theology, can we then use
      this observation to date it to the second century? Only if, e.g., we would
      be willing to do the same with Matthew, which ends with an injunction to
      "baptize . . . in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit."
      Since Matthew also takes over the stuff from Mark 4 on secret knowledge
      handed over to the disciples, we must be forced to conclude that Matthew's
      combination of Gnosticism and Trinitarian doctrine should date it very, very
      late indeed.

      3) And then there's misogyny. Well, this is first of all a very poor reading
      of saying #114 which, if it is indeed NOT a late addition to Thomas (and I
      don't happen to think it is), needs to be tempered by other material in
      Thomas, notably saying #22 (I think; see below). In #114, PETER is presented
      as misogynistic, and then only as foil for Jesus' superior wisdom which
      recognizes that Mary's earthly gender is not of import. So Thomas #114 is
      actually polemicizing AGAINST misogyny. Moreover, while its potentially
      "inclusive" character is very ANDROCENTRIC (in that Mary's defective
      feminine character can/will be "corrected" to a more spiritual male one), it
      needs to be viewed alongside the rest of the document, which includes a
      saying (#22, I think) in which "the male and female become a single one, so
      that the male is not male, nor the female female" (again, that's rough --
      it's from memory). Hardly misogynist! But what if it were? If being
      misogynist requires a second century date, then what are we to do with the
      material in 1 Cor which explicitly subordinates women, and requires their
      silence?

      I don't address these arguments so much to make a case for an early date for
      Thomas (though I do think it's first century; but rebutting these kinds of
      arguments will hardly make a case for such a date!), but to point out how
      some folks operate with an egregious double standard when it comes to
      material outside the canon, applying arguments to this material that NEVER
      would (and never should) be applied to texts within the canon. It doesn't
      require a genius to see an apologetic significance to this, even if that
      significance is more structural than it is intentional.

      Bill
      ___________________________
      William Arnal
      Department of Religion
      University of Manitoba

      "I wish that I was born a thousand years ago.
      I wish that I'd sailed the darkened seas
      on a great big clipper ship,
      going from this land here to that,
      in a sailor suit and cap."
      -- Lou Reed


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    • bjtraff
      Good heavens Bill! I had no idea you would get yourself so excercized over this. If I may, I would like to go through each of your arguments. Then, if you
      Message 2 of 26 , Apr 29, 2002
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        Good heavens Bill! I had no idea you would get yourself so
        excercized over this. If I may, I would like to go through each of
        your arguments. Then, if you think a case can be made for actual
        double standards on my part, please feel free to offer your
        arguments. After all, I would hope that you would not wish to tar me
        with some kind of perceived double standard committed by someone
        else. :-)

        --- In crosstalk2@y..., "William Arnal" <warnal@h...> wrote:
        {snip much}
        >...but, even IF the text reflected the ideas it is alleged to
        >reflect, THESE SAME IDEAS ARE PRESENT IN FIRST-CENTURY WRITINGS. The
        >exact same technique, were it to be applied to canonical writings
        >(which it never would be!), would yield second century dates for
        >such texts as Matthew and 1 Corinthians. More specifically:

        Well, before we get to specifics, I do hope that you would be
        prepared to consider differences in degree. After all, it is through
        the study of developing thought that we often decide that a text,
        idea, or theology is later or earlier. If, on the other hand, you
        believe that such a standard is quite useless, then you are entitled
        to your opinion, but it would be one that remained in the minority.
        After all, the misogyny found in Thomas is qualitatively different
        from anything found in 1st Century documents, then I would hope that
        you would permit me to use it as one of my reasons for dating the
        text as later rather than earlier. After all, if I found the same
        level of misogyny in Matthew or 1 Corinthians, then I assure you that
        I would reconsider my date ranges for these documents as well. After
        all, I would hate to be accused of a double standard! ;-) I will
        look at the specific texts in each case below and see what we get.

        >(1) In the post in quesiton, Thomas' alleged gnosticism is based on
        >the incipit's claim that the text represents "secret sayings" of
        >Jesus. That this is a poor index of gnosticism per se (and hence no
        >reason to date Thomas to 2C) should be obvious.

        A central feature of Gnosticism is the secret or hidden nature of the
        knowledge being imparted. No Canonical text stresses that it is a
        collection of secret knowledge or wisdom, though at times some of the
        information being given is said to be a mystery, or even foolishness
        to non-believers. Of course, in this case the NT authors are being
        quite consistent with Hebrew Scriptures. On the other hand, if you
        can point me to any NT work that begins it's discussion with
        something like the prologue of GThomas, I would be happy to consider
        it:

        GThomas (Prologue): These are the secret sayings that the living
        Jesus spoke and Didymos Judas Thomas recorded.

        Now remember, as I was offering my reasons in the broadest possible
        strokes, I would hope that you would not think that this was my only
        reason for considering GThomas to be Gnostic, nor even the only
        saying I would classify as such. My point remains that of the
        Gospels, the focus on secret knowledge is uniquely present to a
        degree not found in the Synoptics or John. If you think that this is
        in error, then offer your verses from these texts, and we can
        compare them.

        > Better indices of gnosticism would be a combination of references
        >to secret knowledge (which is not exactly what Thomas says here)
        >with mythological references to such divine entities as the cosmic
        >Lord, the archons, and so on, combined with a strong metaphysical
        >dualism. Presumably the presence of such details clustered together
        >which, arguably, does not occur in Thomas) "proves" a "Gnostic"
        >perspective. Fine.

        It is difficult to argue a thing without first knowing what it is you
        are talking about. The context of the verses of GThomas is one of
        hidden knowledge and secret wisdom and discoveries. Nothing like it,
        especially in overall structure, style and content exists in the
        known 1st Century documents. I fail to see how pointing this fact
        out constitutes a double standard on my part.

        >But even this cannot prove a second century date, unless we wish to
        >date 1 Cor that late -- the text I have in mind reads: "Yet among
        >the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this
        >Aeon or of the Archons of this Aeon, who are doomed to pass away.
        >But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed
        >before the Aeons for our glorification. None of the Archons of this
        >Aeon understood this; for if they had, they wold not have crucified
        >the Lord of Glory."

        It does help if you offer both the passages in your citations, and
        their context, allowing us to check your translation and exegesis.
        In this case you are speaking of 1 Corinthians 2:3-7.

        1 Corinthians 2:3-7
        And I was with you in weakness and in much fear and trembling; and my
        speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in
        demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not
        rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
        Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom
        of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass
        away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God
        decreed before the ages for our glorification. None of the rulers of
        this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have
        crucified the Lord of glory.

        As we can see from the context of the passage, Paul is making light
        of his own wisdom and ability. Thus, far from claiming to be the one
        who imparts secret wisdom or knowledge, Paul is assuring his readers
        that the wisdom he is passing along comes not from him, but from God
        directly. Again this is well within the norms of Judaic thought at
        this period in time, and is far different from the sayings of Jesus
        contained in Thomas. Consider for example:

        Thomas 11
        Jesus said, "This heaven will pass away, and the one above it will
        pass away.
        The dead are not alive, and the living will not die. During the days
        when you ate what is dead, you made it come alive. When you are in
        the light, what will you do? On the day when you were one, you became
        two. But when you become two, what will you do?"

        Where is the parallel to ANY 1st Century thought found in the NT?
        How does the eating of a dead thing make it alive? And does this
        passage have any kind of meaning outside of the confines of ancient
        Gnostic philosophy? If it does, then I fail to see what it is.

        Thomas 13b
        Jesus said, "I am not your teacher. Because you have drunk, you have
        become intoxicated from the bubbling spring that I have tended."
        And he took him, and withdrew, and spoke three sayings to him. When
        Thomas came back to his friends they asked him, "What did Jesus say
        to you?"
        Thomas said to them, "If I tell you one of the sayings he spoke to
        me, you will pick up rocks and stone me, and fire will come from the
        rocks and devour you."

        Jesus is not the teacher? Thomas refuses to share the gospel with
        his friends out of fear of being stoned, and then having the stones
        devour them by fire? What parallel can we find to such beliefs in
        1st Century Christian documents?

        Thomas 14a
        Jesus said to them, "If you fast, you will bring sin upon yourselves,
        and if you pray, you will be condemned, and if you give to charity,
        you will harm your spirits.

        As this directly contradicts anything said in Paul, or James, or any
        of the Canonical Gospels, and focuses the reader on the need to tend
        their "spirits" over against the needs of the law, or for prayer, or
        in the giving of charity, the Gnostic underpinnings are perfectly
        clear to me.

        Thomas 22b
        Jesus said to them, "When you make the two into one, and when you
        make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the
        upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single
        one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be female, when
        you make eyes in place of an eye, a hand in place of a hand, a foot
        in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then you will
        enter [the kingdom]."

        Once again we see a rejection of any individuality, together with an
        appeal to secret thinking and beliefs. The spirit takes the place of
        the physical, so far from Paul's assurance that in Christ there is no
        male or female, no Greek or Jew (Galatians 3:28) we see a in Thomas a
        complete denial of all that makes us human. Male and female cease to
        exist. Further, we can see that body is not transformed by God, as
        we see in 1 Corinthians 15, but, rather, it is transformed by the
        individual himself, a decidely non-1st Century Christian idea.

        I will stop with the examples for now, as the case that GThomas
        contains quantitatively and qualitatively more material that can and
        should be considered Gnostic is quite clear. If you reject such
        Gnosticism, then that is your right, but a verse by verse examination
        of the text would seem to indicate otherwise.

        >Similar concerns with hidden knowledge occur elsewhere -- Mark 4
        >(and synoptic pars) is a great example.

        I assume you are speaking of the following (as without references it
        is impossible to know with certainty):

        Mark 4:11-12
        And he said to them, "To you has been given the secret of the kingdom
        of God, but for those outside everything is in parables; so that they
        may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not
        understand; lest they should turn again, and be forgiven."

        Yet here Jesus is quoting directly from Isaiah 6:9-10 , and thus
        representing classic Jewish thought. What changes for the Canonical
        Gospels is that after the Resurrection nothing is to be kept secret
        any longer. Remember that Mark 1 begins with "The beginning of the
        gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God." Mark has no interest in
        keeping secrets any longer. The message is intended to go out to as
        wide an audience as possible. He may not have understood the reasons
        for the Jewish rejection of Jesus' status as the Messiah, the Christ,
        but when he sought to explain it, he appealed to Hebrew Scripture,
        not to secret knowledge. After all, it was not for lack of preaching
        that the Jews did not know about the claims of Jesus' followers.

        In fact, one of the truly striking features of Thomas is its total
        lack of reference to Hebrew Scriptures. Its thought was not rooted
        in Judaism (as opposed to 1st Century Christian texts, which
        constantly appeal to Hebrew Scripture and texts). It is rooted in
        Hellenistic philosophy, specifically that of Gnosticism.

        >So the concern with hidden words of Jesus in Thomas a) does not
        >demonstrate that Thomas is gnostic;

        You cannot establish your case by assertions Bill, unless you wish to
        straw man my arguments, and act as though my opening summary
        constitutes the sum total of my arguments in favour of the Gnoticism
        of GThomas. As I have shown above, I can assure you that it does
        not. If, however, you would like to debate this topic at length,
        then I would be happy to oblige.


        >and b) does not require a late date for Thomas.

        If you can demonstrate that Gnosticism existed in the 1st Century,
        then I will concede this point. In my view the evidence all points
        to the 2nd Century, as I know of no documents that are firmly dated
        to the 1st Century, and are likewise Gnostic.

        >2) Thomas does not display trinitarian theology, nor any awareness
        >of such. The text cited to support this odd assertion is, I presume
        >(I'm working from memory here -- no copy of Thomas at home), the one
        >that refers to "where there are three, they are gods."

        Actually, no, I was not thinking of Thomas 30, but, rather Thomas 44,
        though we can examine each in turn.

        Thomas 30
        Jesus said, "Where there are three deities, they are divine. Where
        there are two or one, I am with that one."

        Actually, none of the Gospels, nor the NT Canon would ever suggest
        that there were three deities. All are quite insistent (including
        John) that there is only one God. But Th30 does point to a line of
        thought that did develop in the 2nd Century, thus bolstering my
        overall argument for a late date. That said, I was actually thinking
        specifically of verse 44.

        Thomas 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."

        As I pointed out in my specific citations of the Synoptic parallels
        to this verse (Mark 3:28-29; Matt 12:31-32; Luke 12:10) the ONLY
        potential blasphemes mentioned are against either God alone, or
        against the Holy Spirit. In fact, Matthew and Luke in particular go
        out of their way to avoid calling it blaspheme against Jesus. From
        Luke 12:10 we see EREI LOGON EIV (speaks a word against) the Son,
        verses the much more theologically charged statement of BLASFHMHSANTI
        (blasphemes) against the Holy Spirit. Likewise, Matthew 12:32 uses
        EIPH LOGON KATA TOU UIOU (speak against the Son) to give the same
        sense, and in the previous verse calls this sin against the Holy
        Spirit PNEUMATOV BLASFHMIA, blaspheme against the Spirit.

        Very simply, in none of the Synoptics (nor even in John or Paul for
        that matter) is blaspheme against the Son (Jesus) mentioned as a sin
        one might commit. On this basis I consider this to be both a
        demonstration of higher Christology in Thomas, and a clear example of
        the kind of Trinitarian thinking that was found in the 2nd Century.
        In any case, I do not see how this can be cited as an example of me
        employing a double standard in my thinking. Had Luke or Matt made a
        similarly high Christological statement in their own respective
        sayings, I would have considered it as evidence in favour of late
        dating.

        > Jesus, n.b., does not include himself in
        > this triad, so it can't be the trinity.

        As he does include himself in the Trinity in verse 44 my point stands.

        >Besides, Thomas uses the word "god" extremely rarely (only in two
        >sayings), and only in circumstances where the "god[s]" are
        >CONTRASTED to Jesus. When Thomas wishes to refer to the "God" of
        >Jesus, he uses the term "Father." But even if we accepted, on such
        >slender evidence, that Thomas assumed Trinitarian theology, can we
        >then use this observation to date it to the second century? Only if,
        >e.g., we would be willing to do the same with Matthew, which ends
        >with an injunction to "baptize . . . in the name of the Father and
        >the Son and the Holy Spirit."

        There is a qualitative difference in the Christology of Matthew, Mark
        and Luke pre-Resurrection and post-Resurrection. After the
        Resurrection it is obvious that at least Matt and Luke consider Jesus
        to be something new, and I would argue, divine. In the case of
        Thomas, however, Jesus' status as God is made plain even before his
        death, and since the Resurrection does not even figure in Thomas, I
        would argue that this points not only to a later date, but also,
        again, to Gnostic thought that had developed along much the same
        lines of thinking in the 2nd Century.

        >Since Matthew also takes over the stuff from Mark 4 on secret
        >knowledge handed over to the disciples, we must be forced to
        >conclude that Matthew's combination of Gnosticism and Trinitarian
        >doctrine should date it very, very late indeed.

        Once again I must ask you to offer specific references to support
        your argument, as I do not wish to guess what passages you are
        considering as relevant here. For the record, I am more than willing
        to concede that the Canonical Gospels record a secrecy motif that
        seems to be in force prior to Jesus' death and Resurrection, but in
        each case this restriction is very clearly removed once the Gospel of
        that Resurrection is to be proclaimed. In contrast, Thomas is intent
        on highlighting the secret nature of Jesus' teaching long after he
        has died. This is in direct conflict with all that we know about 1st
        Century Christianity. Far from wanting to keep Jesus and his sayings
        a secret to outsiders, they celebrated the need to preach the Gospel
        to the entire world, even in the face of persecution and death.

        >3) And then there's misogyny. Well, this is first of all a very poor
        >reading of saying #114 which, if it is indeed NOT a late addition to
        >Thomas (and I don't happen to think it is), needs to be tempered by
        >other material in Thomas, notably saying #22 (I think; see below).
        >In #114, PETER is presented as misogynistic, and then only as foil
        >for Jesus' superior wisdom which recognizes that Mary's earthly
        >gender is not of import. So Thomas #114 is actually polemicizing
        >AGAINST misogyny. Moreover, while its potentially "inclusive"
        >character is very ANDROCENTRIC (in that Mary's defective feminine
        >character can/will be "corrected" to a more spiritual male one), it
        >needs to be viewed alongside the rest of the document, which
        >includes a saying (#22, I think) in which "the male and female
        >become a single one, so that the male is not male, nor the female
        >female" (again, that's rough -- it's from memory). Hardly misogynist!

        Let's take a look at the verse, then decide how poor a reading I have
        made of this text:

        Thomas 114
        Simon Peter said to them, "Make Mary leave us, for females don't
        deserve life." Jesus said, "Look, I will guide her to make her male,
        so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For
        every female who makes herself male will enter the kingdom of Heaven."

        In your view, Jesus is telling us that only after a woman has made
        herself into a man will she enter the kingdom of Heaven. This
        strikes me as very misogynistic on Jesus' part. From my reading, a
        female spirit is dead until it becomes male, after which it "may
        become a living spirit resembling (the) males". Again, this does not
        sound very pro-female to me. Thus, I hope you will understand if I
        would disagree with you, as I do not think that my reading would be
        considered extreme or unjustified. Your own understanding of this
        passage does escape me however. Why should a woman be denied entry
        to the kingdom as a woman, rather than as a man? Can you find a
        rational for this in any of the 1st Century Christian texts? I
        cannot.

        > But what if it were? If being misogynist requires a second century
        >date, then what are we to do with the material in 1 Cor which
        >explicitly subordinates women, and requires their silence?

        Once again there is a qualitative difference in what is being said.
        In the case of 1 Corinthians, Paul denies women specific roles and
        rights within the Church, but NO WHERE does he suggest that a woman
        cannot enter God's kingdom even if she remains a woman. I see no
        evidence from the NT that a woman was EVER expected to change herself
        into a man to enter God's kingdom. Such an idea is decidedly non-
        Jewish, and definitely represents the kind of thinking one would, and
        did, find in a 2nd Century Greek thinker.

        >I don't address these arguments so much to make a case for an early
        >date for Thomas (though I do think it's first century; but rebutting
        >these kinds of arguments will hardly make a case for such a date!),
        >but to point out how some folks operate with an egregious double
        >standard when it comes to material outside the canon, applying
        >arguments to this material that NEVER would (and never should) be
        >applied to texts within the canon.

        If you would like to make the case for 1st Century dating, then
        please do so. I have yet to see anything from you in support of your
        view beyond assertion, and misrepresentation of my own position.
        Further, you have accused me of applying a double standard without
        offering one piece of evidence in support of your charge, nor even
        bothered to ask me if or how my opinions would change if similar
        evidence were found in other texts. I take such a charge very
        seriously, as do you I would hope. Therefore, offer your examples of
        me applying a double standard, and I will consider them. Very simply,
        I do not think it is appropriate to level an accusation until you
        have actually asked me to apply my standards to specific texts.

        >It doesn't require a genius to see an apologetic significance to
        >this, even if that significance is more structural than it is
        >intentional.

        Yes, well, I know how you consider apologetics to be inappropriate in
        a purely historical discussion, and so do I. At the same time, I
        have not engaged in apologetics, so your questioning of my motives is
        misplaced. To make a charge of double standards stick, you must show
        how I have been inconsistent in my use of the evidence. Failing
        that, I would prefer that you focused on my specific arguments, and
        from them demonstrate how they fail to support my conclusions.

        Brian Trafford
        Calgary, AB, Canada
      • Michael Ensley
        Bill and Brian. Perhaps the GT is composed of both early and later sayings collected with a Gnostic bent by the later editor? I do not believe all the sayings
        Message 3 of 26 , Apr 30, 2002
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          Bill and Brian.
          Perhaps the GT is composed of both early and later sayings collected with a Gnostic bent by the later editor? I do not believe all the sayings are Gnostic and late.
          I see GT 114 as being anti-women. However, this might not make it a later saying.
          Always,
          Michael Ensley
          Beamsville,Ontario

          bjtraff <bj_traff@...>




          ---------------------------------
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          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • sdavies0
          What do you mean by the word gnostic ? I.e., how will we tell when a saying has a Gnostic bent? Steve DAvies ... collected with a Gnostic bent by the later
          Message 4 of 26 , Apr 30, 2002
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            What do you mean by the word "gnostic"? I.e., how will we
            tell when a saying has a Gnostic bent?

            Steve DAvies

            --- In crosstalk2@y..., Michael Ensley <mensley@y...> wrote:
            >
            > Bill and Brian.
            > Perhaps the GT is composed of both early and later sayings
            collected with a Gnostic bent by the later editor? I do not believe
            all the sayings are Gnostic and late.
            > I see GT 114 as being anti-women. However, this might not
            make it a later saying.
            > Always,
            > Michael Ensley
            > Beamsville,Ontario
            >
            > bjtraff <bj_traff@h...>
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > ---------------------------------
            > Do You Yahoo!?
            > Yahoo! Health - your guide to health and wellness
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • mwgrondin
            Brian- I don t wish to preempt Bill s response to the bulk of your note, but there are two issues of fact that I would like to bring to your attention, the one
            Message 5 of 26 , Apr 30, 2002
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              Brian-

              I don't wish to preempt Bill's response to the bulk of your note,
              but there are two issues of fact that I would like to bring to
              your attention, the one having to do with "speaking against"
              v "blaspheming", the other having to do with pre-death divinity.

              > As I pointed out in my specific citations of the Synoptic
              > parallels to this verse (Mark 3:28-29; Matt 12:31-32; Luke 12:10)
              > the ONLY potential blasphemes mentioned are against either God
              > alone, or against the Holy Spirit. In fact, Matthew and Luke in
              > particular go out of their way to avoid calling it blaspheme
              > against Jesus. From Luke 12:10 we see EREI LOGON EIV (speaks a
              > word against) the Son, verses the much more theologically charged
              > statement of BLASFHMHSANTI (blasphemes) against the Holy Spirit.
              > Likewise, Matthew 12:32 uses EIPH LOGON KATA TOU UIOU (speak
              > against the Son) to give the same sense, and in the previous
              > verse calls this sin against the Holy Spirit PNEUMATOV BLASFHMIA,
              > blaspheme against the Spirit.
              >
              > Very simply, in none of the Synoptics (nor even in John or Paul
              > for that matter) is blasphem[y] against the Son (Jesus) mentioned
              > as a sin one might commit. On this basis I consider this to be
              > both a demonstration of higher Christology in Thomas, and a clear
              > example of the kind of Trinitarian thinking that was found in the
              > 2nd Century.

              GTh44 doesn't use the Greek word for 'blasphemy'. In all three
              cases (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), it uses a Coptic idiom which is
              difficult to translate literally, but seems to be akin to "speak
              against". Nevertheless, I suppose you would say that this puts
              "the Son" on a par with the other two. But so what? So does John
              and, arguably, Paul. It won't do to compare Thomas to the synoptics
              alone. In particular, the christology in Thomas has got to be
              considered lower than that of John, wouldn't you say?

              As to divinity before death:
              > There is a qualitative difference in the Christology of Matthew,
              > Mark and Luke pre-Resurrection and post-Resurrection. After the
              > Resurrection it is obvious that at least Matt and Luke consider
              > Jesus to be something new, and I would argue, divine. In the case
              > of Thomas, however, Jesus' status as God is made plain even before
              > his death ...

              1. The only possible before/after-death distinction that I can
              recall in Thomas is the "bridegroom leaving the bridal chamber"
              thingy. In that case, however, it's stated that "they will fast
              and pray" post-death, which seems to count against the admonition
              against fasting in Th14. If so, the conclusions you draw from the
              anti-fasting stance of Th14 would be significantly weakened. In
              general, it seems that the Thomas sayings are represented as post-
              resurrection ("These are the hidden words of the LIVING Jesus").
              If this is so, and IF, as you assert (but see note 2 below) they
              present Jesus as being divine, then this would be consistent with
              the view you ascribe to the synoptics.

              2. "Jesus' status as God" seems to be pretty much confined to Th77,
              and, as usual, no indication is given as to whether he was supposed
              to have said this before or after death. (If after, your argument
              would be nullified, as above.) Nevertheless, even logion 77 is no
              more extreme than the Logos christology of John. If the latest GJn
              is 90 CE, then even if Thomas is, say, 95 CE, it at least avoids
              the pejorative connotations you and others seem to attach to "2nd
              century" (as if the difference of a few years before or after the
              then-non-existent turn of a century makes any great difference!)
              And again, one could point to passages in Paul which could be (and
              have been) interpreted as asserting the same sort of relationship
              between Jesus and God.

              Regards,
              Mike
            • Michael Ensley
              I was using the word Gnostic in its conventional sense in reference to the GT being seen as a Gnostic gospel. IMHO the GT did not start out this way. The GT
              Message 6 of 26 , Apr 30, 2002
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                I was using the word Gnostic in its conventional sense in reference to the GT being seen as a Gnostic gospel. IMHO the GT did not start out this way. The GT was a collection of sayings brought together in the 2nd century.
                The most important question is which sayings are early and predate the collection. The spin of the editor is less important to me. Actually, some of these sayings could have been changed by the editor to fit his spin.
                Always,
                Michael
                sdavies0 <sdavies@...> wrote: What do you mean by the word "gnostic"? I.e., how will we
                tell when a saying has a Gnostic bent?

                Steve DAvies




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              • Steve Black
                ... Bill, It seems to me that your critique about a double standard being applied to canonical material is not only correct, but perhaps unavoidable. A double
                Message 7 of 26 , Apr 30, 2002
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                  >Bill Wrote
                  >
                  >A recent post (from Brian Trafford? I think?) has suggested that the Gospel
                  >of Thomas is to be dated to the second century, essentially on thematic
                  >grounds -- (1) the presence of "gnosticism" in it; (2) the assumption of
                  >trinitiarian theology; and (3) its misogyny. This is about the clearest case
                  >I could imagine (I couldn't have even made up a better one!) for double
                  >standards in the discussion of canonical vs. non-canonical materials. Not
                  >only do each of these assertions show a poor understanding of Thomas itself,
                  >but, even IF the text reflected the ideas it is alleged to reflect, THESE
                  >SAME IDEAS ARE PRESENT IN FIRST-CENTURY WRITINGS. The exact same technique,
                  >were it to be applied to canonical writings (which it never would be!),
                  >would yield second century dates for such texts as Matthew and 1
                  >Corinthians.

                  Bill,
                  It seems to me that your critique about a double standard being
                  applied to canonical material is not only correct, but perhaps
                  unavoidable. A double standard implies in part and in some way a
                  privileging of one text over another - and isn't that what the whole
                  idea of canon is?

                  From a scholarly point of view, what I believe you are advocating is
                  a "leveling of the field" in regards to the use of all relevant
                  ancient texts. This is a good ideal - but the fact that we have a
                  canon is going to make this endeavor difficult. By this I mean that I
                  doubt any of us, regardless of our faith/non-faith positions, are
                  going to be able to fully ignore the canonical status of any given
                  text.

                  Of course you are 100% correct that we should not apply any different
                  criteria to canonical texts from non-canonical. My point is simply
                  that the [unavoidable?] impulse to do otherwise is the outcome of the
                  fact that there is a canon.

                  --
                  Steve Black
                  Vancouver School of Theology
                  Vancouver, BC
                  ---

                  Once in a while you can get shown the light
                  in the strangest of places in you look at it right...

                  -Robert Hunter From SCARLET BEGONIAS

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • mwgrondin
                  ... Maybe not, but Koester and Crossan have done pretty well at it. One thing that biases us is - as Bill s translation of some Pauline passages shows - a
                  Message 8 of 26 , Apr 30, 2002
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                    --- Steve Black wrote:
                    > ... I doubt any of us, regardless of our faith/non-faith
                    > positions, are going to be able to fully ignore the canonical
                    > status of any given text.

                    Maybe not, but Koester and Crossan have done pretty well at it. One
                    thing that biases us is - as Bill's translation of some Pauline
                    passages shows - a difference in translational standards. 'Aeon'
                    and 'archon', e.g., are routinely translated as 'age' and 'ruler'
                    in Paul's works, but in translations of non-canonical works, they're
                    usually left as is, thus tending to give non-canonical writings an
                    appearance of strangeness and mystery beyond that which our relative
                    unfamiliarity with them would merit. (An example of this from Thomas
                    is the translation of a Coptic phrase which, in Coptic translation
                    of Paul, has the everyday meaning 'everything' as the somewhat
                    mysterious and esoteric-sounding 'the All'.) Because the canon is
                    the canon, we unapologetically update its strange idioms to modern
                    language all the time, whereas we tend not to accord the same
                    privilege to non-canonical writings (the JS translations being an
                    exception to the rule).

                    Regards,
                    Mike
                  • William Arnal
                    ... Feel free! After starting into a lengthy response, I decided not to complete it. I stand by my original statements, and I think people will see why if they
                    Message 9 of 26 , Apr 30, 2002
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                      Mike Grondin wrote:

                      >I don't wish to preempt Bill's response to the bulk of your note,

                      Feel free! After starting into a lengthy response, I decided not to complete
                      it. I stand by my original statements, and I think people will see why if
                      they read both posts carefully, as well as look up the texts in question.

                      Bill
                      ___________________________
                      William Arnal
                      Department of Religion
                      University of Manitoba

                      "I wish that I was born a thousand years ago.
                      I wish that I'd sailed the darkened seas
                      on a great big clipper ship,
                      going from this land here to that,
                      in a sailor suit and cap."
                      -- Lou Reed


                      _________________________________________________________________
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                    • Michael Ensley
                      I agree with Bill here. It is obvious that most people treat the literature differently. I know a person who can rip the apocrypha apart and defend the
                      Message 10 of 26 , Apr 30, 2002
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                        I agree with Bill here. It is obvious that most people treat the literature differently. I know a person who can rip the apocrypha apart and defend the inerrancy of the Samuel.;-) Of course, consistency is not something we can all claim.;-) Actually,consistency is the hobgoblen of little minds. Not much point in arguing with such iMHO..
                        Always,
                        Michael
                        William Arnal <warnal@...> wrote:
                        Feel free! After starting into a lengthy response, I decided not to complete
                        it. I stand by my original statements, and I think people will see why if
                        they read both posts carefully, as well as look up the texts in question.




                        ---------------------------------
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                      • LeeEdgarTyler@aol.com
                        In a message dated 4/30/2002 4:31:04 PM Central Daylight Time, ... Much as I hate to pick even more nits than (unfortunately) I ve been called to lately, we
                        Message 11 of 26 , Apr 30, 2002
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                          In a message dated 4/30/2002 4:31:04 PM Central Daylight Time,
                          mensley@... writes:


                          > I agree with Bill here. It is obvious that most people treat the literature
                          > differently. I know a person who can rip the apocrypha apart and defend the
                          > inerrancy of the Samuel.;-) Of course, consistency is not something we can
                          > all claim.;-) Actually,consistency is the hobgoblen of little minds. Not
                          > much point in arguing with such iMHO..
                          > Always,
                          > Michael
                          >

                          Much as I hate to pick even more nits than (unfortunately) I've been called
                          to lately, we should note that Emerson said that "a *foolish* consistency is
                          the hobgoblin of little minds."

                          Obviously, that's the sort of consistency you had in mind, but it's only fair
                          to recognize that Emerson had a discriminating taste when it came to
                          consistency. The good sort is to be earnestly sought after in his
                          philosophy.

                          best,

                          re
                          Ed Tyler

                          http://hometown.aol.com/leeedgartyler/myhomepage/index.html


                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • bjtraff
                          ... As Bill has apparently begged off defending his assertions and beliefs, I am more than happy to continue this discussion here. ... Since the earliest MSS
                          Message 12 of 26 , Apr 30, 2002
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                            --- In crosstalk2@y..., "mwgrondin" <mwgrondin@c...> wrote:

                            > I don't wish to preempt Bill's response to the bulk of your note,
                            > but there are two issues of fact that I would like to bring to
                            > your attention, the one having to do with "speaking against"
                            > v "blaspheming", the other having to do with pre-death divinity.

                            As Bill has apparently begged off defending his assertions and
                            beliefs, I am more than happy to continue this discussion here.

                            I wrote:
                            > > As I pointed out in my specific citations of the Synoptic
                            > > parallels to this verse (Mark 3:28-29; Matt 12:31-32; Luke 12:10)
                            > > the ONLY potential blasphemes mentioned are against either God
                            > > alone, or against the Holy Spirit. In fact, Matthew and Luke in
                            > > particular go out of their way to avoid calling it blaspheme
                            > > against Jesus. From Luke 12:10 we see EREI LOGON EIV (speaks a
                            > > word against) the Son, verses the much more theologically charged
                            > > statement of BLASFHMHSANTI (blasphemes) against the Holy Spirit.
                            > > Likewise, Matthew 12:32 uses EIPH LOGON KATA TOU UIOU (speak
                            > > against the Son) to give the same sense, and in the previous
                            > > verse calls this sin against the Holy Spirit PNEUMATOV BLASFHMIA,
                            > > blaspheme against the Spirit.
                            > >
                            > > Very simply, in none of the Synoptics (nor even in John or Paul
                            > > for that matter) is blasphem[y] against the Son (Jesus) mentioned
                            > > as a sin one might commit. On this basis I consider this to be
                            > > both a demonstration of higher Christology in Thomas, and a clear
                            > > example of the kind of Trinitarian thinking that was found in the
                            > > 2nd Century.

                            Mike replied:
                            > GTh44 doesn't use the Greek word for 'blasphemy'.

                            Since the earliest MSS of GThomas is in Coptic, this is pretty much a
                            given. My point remains that in the 1st Century documents the texts
                            go out of their way to NOT associate the sin of blaspheme with
                            something one can commit against Jesus. No where in the Gospels, nor
                            in Paul (or anywhere else in the NT for that matter) is BLASFHMIA
                            associated with any being besides God and the Holy Spirit. Most
                            importantly for my argument, however, is the fact that in Thomas the
                            same word is used in relation to the Father, the Son, and the Holy
                            Spirit, signifying equality of status. Bill had argued that GThomas
                            shows no Trinitarian features, and I have demonstrated from the text
                            that it does.


                            >In all three
                            > cases (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), it uses a Coptic idiom which is
                            > difficult to translate literally, but seems to be akin to "speak
                            > against". Nevertheless, I suppose you would say that this puts
                            > "the Son" on a par with the other two.

                            As I do not personally read the Coptic language, I have relied upon
                            _The Complete Gospels: Annotated Scholars Version_ (Polebridge Press,
                            1994), and this version saw fit to translate the idiom
                            as "blaspheme." Normally I would prefer to use the original language,
                            but as the same idiom is used in each instance in GThomas (while in
                            the Synoptics all three deliberately avoid using BLASFHEMIA in
                            relation to sins against the Son), there is a clear indication of
                            equivalency in this text.

                            So now, on to the so what…

                            > But so what? So does John
                            > and, arguably, Paul.

                            Interestingly John never tells us that one can blaspheme against
                            Jesus. Thus, this particular belief does appear to be later than the
                            Synoptics, and arguably John as well. As for your references in
                            Paul, I do not know which you are thinking of specifically, so I must
                            reserve judgement.

                            >It won't do to compare Thomas to the synoptics
                            > alone. In particular, the christology in Thomas has got to be
                            > considered lower than that of John, wouldn't you say?

                            Actually, I would argue that it is at least as high as in John, as I
                            see no indication in GThomas that Jesus is subordinate to God in any
                            way. In John Jesus continues to insist repeatedly, as do the
                            Synoptics, that he does the will of the Father, and not his own, and
                            that his authority comes to him from the Father. Thomas has nothing
                            of the sort. Further, where in John (or any other 1st Century text)
                            do you see Jesus or his followers claiming that "he is all" as we see
                            in Th77?

                            I said:
                            >> There is a qualitative difference in the Christology of Matthew,
                            >> Mark and Luke pre-Resurrection and post-Resurrection. After the
                            >> Resurrection it is obvious that at least Matt and Luke consider
                            >> Jesus to be something new, and I would argue, divine. In the case
                            >> of Thomas, however, Jesus' status as God is made plain even before
                            >> his death ...

                            Mike responded:
                            > 1. The only possible before/after-death distinction that I can
                            > recall in Thomas is the "bridegroom leaving the bridal chamber"
                            > thingy. In that case, however, it's stated that "they will fast
                            > and pray" post-death, which seems to count against the admonition
                            > against fasting in Th14. If so, the conclusions you draw from the
                            > anti-fasting stance of Th14 would be significantly weakened. In
                            > general, it seems that the Thomas sayings are represented as post-
                            > resurrection ("These are the hidden words of the LIVING Jesus").

                            Interestingly, I have heard it often argued that the Resurrection
                            does not figure into GThomas at all, with these individuals arguing
                            that Thomas either did not know of it, or rejected its significance.
                            From my own point of view I must admit that it is not mentioned in
                            any clear fashion, but then much of GThomas appears to be clouded by
                            mystery and secret knowledge. Perhaps you see the reference to
                            the "living Jesus" as one of post-Resurrection, but this does not
                            come from a plain reading of the text, something that is generally
                            thought to be preferred to our projecting anachronistic beliefs and
                            knowledge back into those texts.

                            > If this is so, and IF, as you assert (but see note 2 below) they
                            > present Jesus as being divine, then this would be consistent with
                            > the view you ascribe to the synoptics.

                            As this is a very big if, and requires us to read into GThomas,
                            rather than taking the plain reading of the text, this does appear to
                            beg the question. After all, what makes you think that Didymos
                            recorded these words post-Resurrection? Is there something in the
                            text that I have missed?

                            > 2. "Jesus' status as God" seems to be pretty much confined to Th77,

                            What about Th30? Further, given the shortness of GThomas, why would
                            only a few passages in which Jesus is called divine be insignificant?

                            > and, as usual, no indication is given as to whether he was supposed
                            > to have said this before or after death. (If after, your argument
                            > would be nullified, as above.)

                            Why are you projecting the saying as being potentially post-
                            Resurrection? Do you have a textual, as opposed to apologetic reason
                            for doing this?

                            > Nevertheless, even logion 77 is no
                            > more extreme than the Logos christology of John. If the latest GJn
                            > is 90 CE, then even if Thomas is, say, 95 CE, it at least avoids
                            > the pejorative connotations you and others seem to attach to "2nd
                            > century" (as if the difference of a few years before or after the
                            > then-non-existent turn of a century makes any great difference!)

                            As my arguments for a 2nd Century dating do not rest only on the high
                            Christology and Trinitarian verses found exclusively in GThomas, this
                            merely ignores the rest of my argument. How do you explain the total
                            lack of references to Hebrew Scripture? How do you explain Jesus'
                            never claiming authority from His Father? Why is the misogyny found
                            in verse 114 so much more extreme than can be found in any of the
                            known 1st Century texts? It is always easier to critique only a
                            portion of a presentation rather than counter each valid point and
                            piece of evidence. In my view it is easier to explain the lack of
                            references to Hebrew Scripture as echoing a theology represented by
                            Marcion, for example, rather than any 1st Century document. The
                            refusal to claim authority from God is very much out of place with
                            the Jesus presented in 1st Century texts. The misogyny is
                            qualitatively worse than anything found in Paul or the Gospels, and
                            again seems more at home with 2nd Century beliefs, especially in
                            Gnosticism. Taken alone each argument is powerfully in favour of a
                            late dating for GThomas. Taken together, the cumulative weight of the
                            evidence is even stronger.

                            > And again, one could point to passages in Paul which could be (and
                            > have been) interpreted as asserting the same sort of relationship
                            > between Jesus and God.

                            Would you be willing to offer some passages we could consider please?

                            Thank you,

                            Brian Trafford
                            Calgary, AB, Canada
                          • sdavies0
                            ... high ... But not higher Christology than Colossians or Hebrews surely, wherein Jesus creates the world. ... There are no trinitarian verses. The
                            Message 13 of 26 , Apr 30, 2002
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                              --- In crosstalk2@y..., "bjtraff" <bj_traff@h...> wrote:

                              > As my arguments for a 2nd Century dating do not rest only on the
                              high
                              > Christology

                              But not higher Christology than Colossians or Hebrews surely, wherein
                              Jesus creates the world.

                              > and Trinitarian verses

                              There are no trinitarian verses. The "blasphemy" saying specifically
                              separates the so called trinity into three named beings two of whom
                              may be blasphemed and one not. This fits no trinity doctrine I have
                              ever heard of. It's less trinitarian than the Mt trinity passage
                              which puts that sort of language into the first century.

                              > found exclusively in GThomas, this
                              > merely ignores the rest of my argument. How do you explain the
                              total
                              > lack of references to Hebrew Scripture?

                              I would remind you that Jesus was a Galilean and it cannot be assumed
                              that he devoted much time to quoting Judean texts.

                              > How do you explain Jesus'
                              > never claiming authority from His Father?

                              Ahhh, possibly because he didn't do that until well after the time of
                              his death.

                              > Why is the misogyny found
                              > in verse 114 so much more extreme than can be found in any of the
                              > known 1st Century texts?

                              It's not so much more extreme than that found in the known first
                              century texts of Philo. And it's not misogyny. It is a defense of the
                              ability of women to enter the kingdom when it speaks of actual women.
                              It is "misogynous" only in its metaphorical language. It is not
                              correct to call a defense of women an example of misogyny.

                              > It is always easier to critique only a
                              > portion of a presentation rather than counter each valid point and
                              > piece of evidence.

                              This is almost inevitable in email argumentation. What you say in a
                              sentence requires a paragraph of refutation. People almost inevitably
                              respond to part of what one writes if one writes complexly. If you
                              expect a ten page response to your two pages of assertions you are
                              likely to be disappointed just by the nature of the medium.

                              > In my view it is easier to explain the lack of
                              > references to Hebrew Scripture as echoing a theology represented by
                              > Marcion, for example, rather than any 1st Century document.

                              Thomas saying 52 explains that documents' perspective on the subject.
                              It is not a Marcionite perspective.

                              > The
                              > refusal to claim authority from God is very much out of place with
                              > the Jesus presented in 1st Century texts.

                              An absence of X is not a text's "refusal" to have X. I'm not sure
                              that Q, for example, is filled with instances of Jesus claiming
                              authority from God... and if any these are not the same sort of
                              claims one finds in John which would be then refusing to have Jesus
                              claim that sort of authority.

                              > The misogyny is
                              > qualitatively worse than anything found in Paul or the Gospels, and
                              > again seems more at home with 2nd Century beliefs, especially in
                              > Gnosticism.

                              Philo uses the same sort of metaphors. You mistake a metaphor for a
                              reality, when the reality is that the saying defends women against
                              misogyny. Read it.

                              > Taken alone each argument is powerfully in favour of a
                              > late dating for GThomas. Taken together, the cumulative weight of
                              the
                              > evidence is even stronger.

                              Foo. A host of weak arguments does not add up to a good argunment.

                              Steve Davies
                            • sdavies0
                              No, actually you were using the word Gnostic in an operational sense, so that by the criterion of Gnostic we can determine set X of sayings and set Y, the
                              Message 14 of 26 , Apr 30, 2002
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                                No, actually you were using the word Gnostic in an operational
                                sense, so that by the criterion of "Gnostic" we can determine set X
                                of sayings and set Y, the one lacking the criterion and the other
                                not. Accordingly, it would be necessary to know more than just the
                                phrase "in its conventional sense" in order to apply the criterion
                                usefully to the full set of sayings. So, if you would be so kind as
                                to define the term operationally so that we can proceed to know when
                                a saying does or does not have a gnostic bent we can then go on to
                                make judgements vis a vis the "brought together in the second
                                century" supposition.

                                Steve Davies

                                --- In crosstalk2@y..., Michael Ensley <mensley@y...> wrote:
                                >
                                > I was using the word Gnostic in its conventional sense in
                                reference to the GT being seen as a Gnostic gospel. IMHO the GT did
                                not start out this way. The GT was a collection of sayings brought
                                together in the 2nd century.
                                > The most important question is which sayings are early and predate
                                the collection. The spin of the editor is less important to me.
                                Actually, some of these sayings could have been changed by the
                                editor to fit his spin.
                                > Always,
                                > Michael
                                > sdavies0 <sdavies@m...> wrote: What do you mean by the
                                word "gnostic"? I.e., how will we
                                > tell when a saying has a Gnostic bent?
                                >
                                > Steve DAvies
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > ---------------------------------
                                > Do You Yahoo!?
                                > Yahoo! Health - your guide to health and wellness
                                >
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                              • bjtraff
                                ... I do not recall Jesus being identified as being all things in either Colossians, nor Hebrews. Nor do I recall either book claiming that a sin against
                                Message 15 of 26 , Apr 30, 2002
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                                  --- In crosstalk2@y..., "sdavies0" <sdavies@m...> wrote:

                                  >But not higher Christology than Colossians or Hebrews surely,
                                  >wherein Jesus creates the world.

                                  I do not recall Jesus being identified as "being all" things in
                                  either Colossians, nor Hebrews. Nor do I recall either book claiming
                                  that a sin against Jesus was blaspheme.

                                  You said:
                                  >There are no trinitarian verses. The "blasphemy" saying specifically
                                  >separates the so called trinity into three named beings two of whom
                                  >may be blasphemed and one not. This fits no trinity doctrine I have
                                  >ever heard of. It's less trinitarian than the Mt trinity passage
                                  >which puts that sort of language into the first century.

                                  If one can only blaspheme against God (which, is, after all, the
                                  Jewish and Christian definition of blaspheme), then Jesus is being
                                  identified as equal with God and the Holy Spirit in this verse.
                                  Equally important, and as I have argued previously, the Synoptics go
                                  out of their way in this saying to avoid such a connection or
                                  equality.

                                  As for Matthew's citation in chapter 28, this is post-Resurrection,
                                  and I have already conceded that for Matt and Luke, Jesus is
                                  transformed into the divine after he rises from the dead. As for his
                                  divinity prior to his death, in the Synoptics this is much less
                                  apparent than is the case in GThomas.

                                  Me:
                                  > found exclusively in GThomas, this
                                  > merely ignores the rest of my argument. How do you explain the
                                  >total lack of references to Hebrew Scripture?

                                  You replied:
                                  >I would remind you that Jesus was a Galilean and it cannot be
                                  >assumed that he devoted much time to quoting Judean texts.

                                  You are confusing the issue here, as it makes no difference whether
                                  the historical Jesus referred to Hebrew Scripture or not (and if you
                                  have evidence that 1st Century Galileans were adverse to doing this,
                                  then I am open to it). The point is that every single known
                                  Christian text from the 1st Century refers copiously to Jewish
                                  Scripture. On this basis it is reasonable to look for evidence of
                                  these kinds of citations in other documents, and to use this evidence
                                  as part of the overall case for or against early dating. In the case
                                  of GThomas, their absense suggests both a late development, and
                                  Gnosticism.

                                  I asked:
                                  >How do you explain Jesus' never claiming authority from His Father?

                                  You wrote:
                                  >Ahhh, possibly because he didn't do that until well after the time
                                  >of his death.

                                  Once again you appear to be confusing your issues here. In every
                                  1st Century document connected to Jesus and early Christians, Jesus'
                                  authority is said to come from the Father. It makes no difference
                                  whether Jesus himself made this claim historically. At a minimum all
                                  1st Century Christians we know of made it on his behalf. If we wish
                                  to apply the same standard to GThomas, then the absense of even vague
                                  references is telling.

                                  I said:
                                  > > Why is the misogyny found
                                  > > in verse 114 so much more extreme than can be found in any of the
                                  > > known 1st Century texts?

                                  You again:
                                  > It's not so much more extreme than that found in the known first
                                  > century texts of Philo.

                                  Did Philo claim that woman could not enter heaven? If so, please
                                  offer your citations that I might check them. As for 1st Century
                                  documents, of course, the answer is no, so your appeal to a non-
                                  Christian source is interesting, but hardly decisive. Are you saying
                                  that GThomas is not Christian at all?

                                  >And it's not misogyny. It is a defense of the
                                  >ability of women to enter the kingdom when it speaks of actual
                                  >women.
                                  >It is "misogynous" only in its metaphorical language. It is not
                                  >correct to call a defense of women an example of misogyny.

                                  This is, without a doubt, one of the worst examples of special
                                  pleading I have ever seen. Please reread the text, and do not
                                  project your beliefs into it. Simply read the words and tell me what
                                  it says.

                                  I said:
                                  > It is always easier to critique only a
                                  > portion of a presentation rather than counter each valid point and
                                  > piece of evidence.

                                  You answered:
                                  >This is almost inevitable in email argumentation. What you say in a
                                  >sentence requires a paragraph of refutation. People almost
                                  >inevitably respond to part of what one writes if one writes
                                  >complexly. If you expect a ten page response to your two pages of
                                  >assertions you are likely to be disappointed just by the nature of
                                  >the medium.

                                  I do not expect a detailed reply to all of my evidence and
                                  arguments. I do, however, expect that one will address each piece of
                                  evidence before pronoucing final judgement. If, however, you are
                                  more content to remain committed to your original beliefs, regardless
                                  of the evidence, then such is your right, of course.

                                  > In my view it is easier to explain the lack of
                                  > references to Hebrew Scripture as echoing a theology represented by
                                  > Marcion, for example, rather than any 1st Century document.

                                  You:
                                  >Thomas saying 52 explains that documents' perspective on the
                                  >subject. It is not a Marcionite perspective.

                                  The specific saying that I cited and you snipped would be right at
                                  home with Marcionite thinking of course. As for what frames the
                                  persepective of the document as a whole, I would look to the "secret
                                  sayings" motif of the prologue, and verse 1, which says, "And he
                                  said, "Whoever discovers the interpretation of these sayings will not
                                  taste death." The discovery of secret or hidden knowledge is the
                                  root of Gnosticism, and GThomas is built upon this foundation.

                                  Me:
                                  > The refusal to claim authority from God is very much out of place
                                  >with the Jesus presented in 1st Century texts.

                                  You:
                                  > An absence of X is not a text's "refusal" to have X. I'm not sure
                                  > that Q, for example, is filled with instances of Jesus claiming
                                  > authority from God...

                                  It is not a valid argument to use a hypothetical document to evaluate
                                  a known one, especially as we have a plentiful supply of known first
                                  century Christian documents to examine. All contain "X" in this
                                  case, namely that Jesus' authority came from the Father and not from
                                  himself. They also contain multiple references to Hebrew Scripture.
                                  As these are clear, known, and objective standards by which we can
                                  judge and date other documents like GThomas, your refusal to use
                                  these tools is curious to say the least.

                                  >and if any these are not the same sort of
                                  >claims one finds in John which would be then refusing to have Jesus
                                  >claim that sort of authority.

                                  What are you talking about? Do you think that John's Jesus did not
                                  claim that his autority came from the Father? This assertion is
                                  simply astonishing. How then do you explain John 5:28, 43; 6:40;
                                  7:16-17; 8:28; 12:49; 14:10; 15:10?

                                  I said:
                                  > The misogyny is
                                  > qualitatively worse than anything found in Paul or the Gospels, and
                                  > again seems more at home with 2nd Century beliefs, especially in
                                  > Gnosticism.

                                  You again:
                                  > Philo uses the same sort of metaphors. You mistake a metaphor for a
                                  > reality, when the reality is that the saying defends women against
                                  > misogyny. Read it.

                                  I have read it. I also offered the full text. Please stop with the
                                  assertions and present some evidence please. Also, please address my
                                  point that known 1st Century texts did not reflect this low opinion
                                  of women, though some in the 2nd Century do.

                                  >Taken alone each argument is powerfully in favour of a
                                  >late dating for GThomas. Taken together, the cumulative weight of
                                  >the evidence is even stronger.

                                  You:
                                  > Foo. A host of weak arguments does not add up to a good argunment.

                                  And hand waving is fallacious reasoning Steve. If you wish to
                                  counter my arguments, the please offer your evidence, and actually
                                  address my arguments please. Rudeness also does not make for useful
                                  exchanges.

                                  Brian Trafford
                                  Calgary, AB, Canada
                                • mwgrondin
                                  ... Actually, the Greek POxy fragments predate the Coptic ms. Also, since Coptic used a good many Greek loan-words, it s not a given that a Greek word should
                                  Message 16 of 26 , Apr 30, 2002
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                                    --- I wrote:
                                    > GTh44 doesn't use the Greek word for 'blasphemy'. In all three
                                    > cases (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), it uses a Coptic idiom which is
                                    > difficult to translate literally, but seems to be akin to "speak
                                    > against".
                                    --- Brian responded:
                                    > Since the earliest MSS of GThomas is in Coptic, this is pretty
                                    > much a given.

                                    Actually, the Greek POxy fragments predate the Coptic ms. Also,
                                    since Coptic used a good many Greek loan-words, it's not a given
                                    that a Greek word should fail to be used. Nevertheless, I've looked
                                    up the ancient Coptic translation of Mt12:31-32, and therein Matt's
                                    BLASFHMIA is translated with the same Coptic phrase used in Th44.
                                    So I have to admit that the Coptic version of Th44 does refer to
                                    blasphemy against "the Son", as well as against "the Father"
                                    and "the Holy Spirit". Whether the earlier Greek version is the
                                    same in that respect is unknown, since we don't have the Greek
                                    version of that saying. This leaves it open whether the earliest
                                    GTh mentioned blasphemy against "the Son", or whether this was a
                                    later emendation.

                                    Now to turn to some of your specific claims about the blasphemy
                                    issue:
                                    (from an earlier note):
                                    > As I pointed out in my specific citations of the Synoptic
                                    > parallels to this verse (Mark 3:28-29; Matt 12:31-32; Luke 12:10)
                                    > the ONLY potential blasphem[i]es mentioned are against either God
                                    > alone, or against the Holy Spirit. In fact, Matthew and Luke in
                                    > particular go out of their way to avoid calling it blasphem[y]
                                    > against Jesus. From Luke 12:10 we see EREI LOGON EIV (speaks a
                                    > word against) the Son, vers[u]s the much more theologically
                                    > charged statement of BLASFHMHSANTI (blasphemes) against the Holy
                                    > Spirit. Likewise, Matthew 12:32 uses EIPH LOGON KATA TOU UIOU
                                    > (speak against the Son) to give the same sense, and in the
                                    > previous verse calls this sin against the Holy Spirit PNEUMATOV
                                    > BLASFHMIA, blaspheme against the Spirit.

                                    You seem to have proven too much, for if to "speak against the Holy
                                    Spirit" in Mt12:32 is *the same* as 12:31's "blasphemy against the
                                    Spirit", as you claim, then 12:32's "speak a word against the Son
                                    of Man" must also be blasphemy (albeit forgiveable), by parity of
                                    reasoning. It seems, then, that the proper conclusion is that the
                                    blasphemies mentioned in 12:31 cover speaking against "the Son of
                                    Man" as well as against "the Holy Spirit". I grant you that Luke is
                                    more careful than Matt, but you can perhaps see how someone reading
                                    GMt in the first century could draw the same conclusion I did, even
                                    if you disagree with it.

                                    > My point remains that in the 1st Century documents the texts
                                    > go out of their way to NOT associate the sin of blasphem[y] with
                                    > something one can commit against Jesus.

                                    ISTM that the only text that might be said to "go out of its way"
                                    is GLk. That's only one out of the three that even mention the
                                    saying. You can't argue from the silence of other texts.

                                    For the rest, I'm going to have to content myself with scattered
                                    comments, due to lack of time:

                                    > ... I would argue that it [GThom's christology] is at least as
                                    > high as in John, as I see no indication in GThomas that Jesus is
                                    > subordinate to God in any way.

                                    Th61.3: "I was given some of that which is my father's."

                                    > ... where in John (or any other 1st Century text) do you see Jesus
                                    > or his followers claiming that "he is all" as we see in Th77?

                                    Jn1:3: "All things came into being by him, and apart from him
                                    nothing came into being that has come into being."

                                    > Perhaps you see the reference to the "living Jesus" as one of
                                    > post-Resurrection, but this does not come from a plain reading
                                    > of the text, something that is generally thought to be preferred
                                    > to our projecting anachronistic beliefs and knowledge back into
                                    > those texts.

                                    Anachronistic? Didn't Xians of the 1st century believe that Jesus
                                    was still "living" in a non-physical sense? I think that the
                                    word 'living' in the incipit to GThom has to be taken in the very
                                    same sense that 'living' is used thruout GThom and in every other
                                    Xian text that contrasts true, eternal spiritual life with false,
                                    ephemeral physical life.

                                    > ... what makes you think that Didymos recorded these words post-
                                    > Resurrection? Is there something in the text that I have missed?

                                    Metaphor, perhaps? *Of course* the person Didymos didn't "record
                                    these words" post-resurrection or any other time. That's just
                                    window-dressing. But among the indications that it's to be taken
                                    as post-resurrection, there's this:

                                    "The things you asked me about in past times, and what I did not
                                    tell you in that day, now I am willing to tell you, but you do not
                                    seek them." (Th92.2, Patterson tr)

                                    [Mike]:
                                    > "Jesus' status as God" seems to be pretty much confined to Th77,
                                    [Brian]:
                                    > What about Th30?

                                    Has nothing to do with J being God, or even god-like. Simply
                                    says, "Where one or two are gathered in my name, I'm with 'em."

                                    > Further, given the shortness of GThomas, why would only a few
                                    > passages in which Jesus is called divine be insignificant?

                                    To my mind, Th77 is quite "out of synch" with the rest of Thomas.
                                    It may have been later added to the collection to reflect the Logos
                                    christology of John.

                                    > As my arguments for a 2nd Century dating do not rest only on the
                                    > high Christology and Trinitarian verses found exclusively in
                                    > GThomas, this merely ignores the rest of my argument.

                                    I told you in advance that I wasn't going to address the bulk of
                                    your argument. Honestly, I don't have enough time right now. But
                                    if you don't accept my objections to your arguments from blasphemy
                                    and high-christology, what's the point of my responding to other
                                    parts of your argument?

                                    Best,
                                    Mike Grondin
                                    Mt. Clemens, MI
                                  • bjtraff
                                    ... I would have to disagree with you here, Mike, as Matthew still insists on connecting speaking against the Holy Spirit found in 32b with blaspheme
                                    Message 17 of 26 , Apr 30, 2002
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                                      --- In crosstalk2@y..., "mwgrondin" <mwgrondin@c...> wrote:
                                      I wrote:
                                      > > As I pointed out in my specific citations of the Synoptic
                                      > > parallels to this verse (Mark 3:28-29; Matt 12:31-32; Luke 12:10)
                                      > > the ONLY potential blasphem[i]es mentioned are against either God
                                      > > alone, or against the Holy Spirit. In fact, Matthew and Luke in
                                      > > particular go out of their way to avoid calling it blasphem[y]
                                      > > against Jesus. From Luke 12:10 we see EREI LOGON EIV (speaks a
                                      > > word against) the Son, vers[u]s the much more theologically
                                      > > charged statement of BLASFHMHSANTI (blasphemes) against the Holy
                                      > > Spirit. Likewise, Matthew 12:32 uses EIPH LOGON KATA TOU UIOU
                                      > > (speak against the Son) to give the same sense, and in the
                                      > > previous verse calls this sin against the Holy Spirit PNEUMATOV
                                      > > BLASFHMIA, blaspheme against the Spirit.

                                      You replied:
                                      > You seem to have proven too much, for if to "speak against the Holy
                                      > Spirit" in Mt12:32 is *the same* as 12:31's "blasphemy against the
                                      > Spirit", as you claim, then 12:32's "speak a word against the Son
                                      > of Man" must also be blasphemy (albeit forgiveable), by parity of
                                      > reasoning. It seems, then, that the proper conclusion is that the
                                      > blasphemies mentioned in 12:31 cover speaking against "the Son of
                                      > Man" as well as against "the Holy Spirit".

                                      I would have to disagree with you here, Mike, as Matthew still
                                      insists on connecting "speaking against the Holy Spirit" found in 32b
                                      with "blaspheme against the Spirit" from 31b. The connection to any
                                      kind of blasphemy against the Son is specifically excluded in both
                                      31a and 32a. Had Matthew intended to call speaking against the Son
                                      blaspheme, he need only have said so directly, just as he does when
                                      referring to the Spirit.

                                      > I grant you that Luke is
                                      > more careful than Matt, but you can perhaps see how someone reading
                                      > GMt in the first century could draw the same conclusion I did, even
                                      > if you disagree with it.

                                      The structure of the two verses from Matthew show a clear
                                      distinction. Verse 31a speaks of every AMARTIA KAI BLASFHMIA (sin
                                      and blaspheme), drawing a distinction between them. In 31b he then
                                      connects BLASFHMIA directly with the PNEUMATA (the Spirit) alone. In
                                      32a Matthew shifts gears again, and says only that one could "speak
                                      against the Son" (EIPH LOGON KATA TOU UIOU), indicating that this
                                      would be a sin, but not blaspheme. To me Matthew is being just as
                                      careful as is Luke in his choice of words, and relating them to the
                                      crime of "sinning" against the Son (not blasphemous) and against the
                                      Spirit (blasphemous). After all, one could always sin without
                                      committing blaspheme (by sinning against one's fellow human beings),
                                      but blaspheme could only be committed against God alone. In my
                                      opinion this distinction was well known, especially to 1st Century
                                      Jews, one of the principle receivers of Matthew's Gospel.

                                      > > ... I would argue that it [GThom's christology] is at least as
                                      > > high as in John, as I see no indication in GThomas that Jesus is
                                      > > subordinate to God in any way.
                                      >
                                      > Th61.3: "I was given some of that which is my father's."

                                      The Scholars' Translation reads differently in this passage, and the
                                      difference is telling:

                                      Thomas 61c
                                      Jesus said to her, "I am the one who comes from what is whole. I was
                                      granted from the things of my Father."

                                      In my view at least, this translation does appear awkward, but it
                                      does not denote authority coming from the Father. More likely is that
                                      Jesus is claiming here to have to have come from the Father (the
                                      whole). Which translation do you use, and why would you prefer it to
                                      the Scholars (assuming you do, of course)?

                                      I asked:
                                      > ... where in John (or any other 1st Century text) do you see Jesus
                                      > or his followers claiming that "he is all" as we see in Th77?

                                      You replied:
                                      > Jn1:3: "All things came into being by him, and apart from him
                                      > nothing came into being that has come into being."

                                      There is a great difference in having all things come from (or
                                      created through) Jesus, and Jesus BEING all things.

                                      Me:
                                      > > Perhaps you see the reference to the "living Jesus" as one of
                                      > > post-Resurrection, but this does not come from a plain reading
                                      > > of the text, something that is generally thought to be preferred
                                      > > to our projecting anachronistic beliefs and knowledge back into
                                      > > those texts.

                                      You again:
                                      > Anachronistic? Didn't Xians of the 1st century believe that Jesus
                                      > was still "living" in a non-physical sense?

                                      No, 1st Century Christians believed that Jesus was still living in a
                                      physical sense (Luke 24:39, 42-43, Matt 28:9, John 20:27, 21:13).
                                      This was the meaning of the empty tomb. In any event, Thomas does
                                      not show an awareness of Jesus having entered the world as flesh, nor
                                      of dying, nor of rising again from the dead. This is why I called
                                      your understanding of the term "living Jesus" anachronistic as you
                                      must read this into the text.

                                      > I think that the
                                      > word 'living' in the incipit to GThom has to be taken in the very
                                      > same sense that 'living' is used thruout GThom and in every other
                                      > Xian text that contrasts true, eternal spiritual life with false,
                                      > ephemeral physical life.

                                      The Canonical Gospels insisted on a very fleshy Jesus. John 1 even
                                      tells us KAI O LOGON SARX (and the Word made flesh), using the most
                                      earthly form of flesh available in the Greek language. Similarly, in
                                      Luke 3:6 we see that all flesh (SARX) will "see the salvation of
                                      God."

                                      > > ... what makes you think that Didymos recorded these words post-
                                      > > Resurrection? Is there something in the text that I have missed?
                                      >
                                      > Metaphor, perhaps? *Of course* the person Didymos didn't "record
                                      > these words" post-resurrection or any other time. That's just
                                      > window-dressing. But among the indications that it's to be taken
                                      > as post-resurrection, there's this:
                                      >
                                      > "The things you asked me about in past times, and what I did not
                                      > tell you in that day, now I am willing to tell you, but you do not
                                      > seek them." (Th92.2, Patterson tr)

                                      Once again I think you are reading into the text. All that is
                                      indicated in this passage is that at one time Jesus did not tell his
                                      disciple a thing, an later he does tell him that thing. No death or
                                      resurrection is indicated. Further the context connects this saying
                                      with seeking and finding, something that in no way requires a
                                      resurrection per se.

                                      Thomas 92
                                      Jesus said, "Seek and you will find.
                                      In the past, however, I did not tell you the things about which you
                                      asked me then. Now I am willing to tell them, but you are not seeking
                                      them."


                                      > [Mike]:
                                      > > "Jesus' status as God" seems to be pretty much confined to Th77,
                                      > [Brian]:
                                      > > What about Th30?
                                      Mike again:
                                      > Has nothing to do with J being God, or even god-like. Simply
                                      > says, "Where one or two are gathered in my name, I'm with 'em."

                                      Thomas 30:
                                      Jesus said, "Where there are three deities, they are divine. Where
                                      there are two or one, I am with that one."

                                      The fact that the two or three gathered are deities does suggest that
                                      Jesus, too, is divine (or even conveys the divine status on those
                                      gathered).

                                      Me:
                                      > > Further, given the shortness of GThomas, why would only a few
                                      > > passages in which Jesus is called divine be insignificant?

                                      Mike:
                                      > To my mind, Th77 is quite "out of synch" with the rest of Thomas.
                                      > It may have been later added to the collection to reflect the Logos
                                      > christology of John.

                                      Perhaps, though this does strike me as special pleading. We must
                                      deal with the texts as they are if we are to be consistent. As I
                                      have always argued, the dates I assign to the texts I examine are of
                                      the final extant text, not to portions of it.

                                      Peace,

                                      Brian Trafford
                                      Calgary, AB, Canada

                                      P.S. Just because I think one line of argumentation is bad, does not
                                      mean I will treat all of your arguments as being bad or incorrect.
                                      If you have other objections, then please offer them, time permitting
                                      of course. If I should re-evaluate my opinion of the dating of
                                      GThomas, then I would like to hear all of the arguments for an
                                      earlier date.
                                    • Michael Ensley
                                      I understand your point on setting criterion by which we can divide the sheep from the goats within the GT. Actually, to be honest (refreshing) I do not have
                                      Message 18 of 26 , May 1, 2002
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                                        I understand your point on setting criterion by which we can divide the sheep from the goats within the GT. Actually, to be honest (refreshing) I do not have any confidence in our(yours and mine) ability to pull this off. Those who want to see Gnosticism will find it in the GT. This is mostly subjective IMHO. It reminds of those who see in HJ what they want to see. ;-) Of course,none of us would be guilty of this eh?
                                        I really do not have an agenda and my main point about the GT is the book was compiled over a period of time and thus to date it second or first century is a debate between the final copy vs the earlier sayings which correspond with Q. THus, IMHO the sayings in GT which correspond with Q are more likely to be early and maybe perhaps not gnostic.
                                        Always,
                                        Michael
                                        sdavies0 <sdavies@...> wrote: No, actually you were using the word Gnostic in an operational
                                        sense, so that by the criterion of "Gnostic" we can determine set X
                                        of sayings and set Y, the one lacking the criterion and the other
                                        not. Accordingly, it would be necessary to know more than just the
                                        phrase "in its conventional sense" in order to apply the criterion
                                        usefully to the full set of sayings.


                                        ---------------------------------
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                                      • sdavies0
                                        ... saying ... what ... and ... a ... against ... the ... my ... A host of weak arguments does not add up to a good argunment. ... useful ... Well, OK. I ll
                                        Message 19 of 26 , May 1, 2002
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                                          --- In crosstalk2@y..., "bjtraff" <bj_traff@h...> wrote:> You again:
                                          > > It's not so much more extreme than that found in the known first
                                          > > century texts of Philo.
                                          >
                                          > Did Philo claim that woman could not enter heaven? If so, please
                                          > offer your citations that I might check them. As for 1st Century
                                          > documents, of course, the answer is no, so your appeal to a non-
                                          > Christian source is interesting, but hardly decisive. Are you
                                          saying
                                          > that GThomas is not Christian at all?
                                          >
                                          > >And it's not misogyny. It is a defense of the
                                          > >ability of women to enter the kingdom when it speaks of actual
                                          > >women.
                                          > >It is "misogynous" only in its metaphorical language. It is not
                                          > >correct to call a defense of women an example of misogyny.
                                          >
                                          > This is, without a doubt, one of the worst examples of special
                                          > pleading I have ever seen. Please reread the text, and do not
                                          > project your beliefs into it. Simply read the words and tell me
                                          what
                                          > it says.
                                          > I said:
                                          > > The misogyny is
                                          > > qualitatively worse than anything found in Paul or the Gospels,
                                          and
                                          > > again seems more at home with 2nd Century beliefs, especially in
                                          > > Gnosticism.
                                          >
                                          > You again:
                                          > > Philo uses the same sort of metaphors. You mistake a metaphor for
                                          a
                                          > > reality, when the reality is that the saying defends women
                                          against
                                          > > misogyny. Read it.
                                          >
                                          > I have read it. I also offered the full text. Please stop with
                                          the
                                          > assertions and present some evidence please. Also, please address
                                          my
                                          > point that known 1st Century texts did not reflect this low opinion
                                          > of women, though some in the 2nd Century do.
                                          A host of weak arguments does not add up to a good argunment.
                                          >
                                          > And hand waving is fallacious reasoning Steve. If you wish to
                                          > counter my arguments, the please offer your evidence, and actually
                                          > address my arguments please. Rudeness also does not make for
                                          useful
                                          > exchanges.
                                          >
                                          > Brian Trafford

                                          Well, OK. I'll try to be more dignified. One forgets how easy it is
                                          to give offense over email.

                                          "114 Simon Peter said to them, "Make Mary leave us, for females don't
                                          deserve life." Jesus said, "Look, I will guide her to make her male,
                                          so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For
                                          every female who makes herself male will enter the kingdom of Heaven."

                                          What we have here is a controversy saying. There is an issue under
                                          discussion. One position is put into the mouth of the first
                                          participant. The contrary position is put into the mouth of the
                                          second and authoritative participant. The issue is whether women,
                                          human females, people of that sex, are or are not properly included
                                          within the group. We have here a sociological question having to do
                                          with the constitution of the group and the eligibility of sexes for
                                          potential membership. The reason given for the position that such
                                          people should not be included in the group is that they
                                          categorically, as a sex, don't deserve life. A position that women as
                                          such, human females, ought not ever be permitted to be members of
                                          that group can properly be categorized as misogynist as it derives
                                          from a judgement that women as such are incompetent and unworthy (of
                                          the life). Peter speaks as a misogynist.

                                          Now, the opposite view, that women are indeed competent, worthy of
                                          the life, eligible for membership in the social group under
                                          discussion is the opposite of misogyny. In saying 114 the
                                          authoritative figure of Jesus trumps, as it were, the subordinate
                                          figure of Peter. Accordingly the position to be upheld through that
                                          saying is anti-misogynous and the position to be dismissed is the
                                          misogynous position put into the mouth of Peter.

                                          The phrasing in the remainder of the saying: "I will guide her to
                                          make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling
                                          you males. For every female who makes herself male will enter the
                                          kingdom of Heaven." is not meant literally. Jesus does not intend to
                                          demand the physical reformation of female human beings into male
                                          human beings. He is speaking metaphorically. In this metaphorical
                                          pattern the signifier "male" is held to be proper to the
                                          signifier "living spirit" and the signifier "female" is not.
                                          Accordingly, as the condition "living spirit" is evidently required
                                          for entry both into "the kingdom of heaven," and by implication the
                                          group itself, attainment of the condition "living spirit" is
                                          requisite or, in metaphorical terminology, the condition "male" is
                                          requisite.

                                          Once one understands that the term "male" in the latter part of the
                                          saying is metaphorical, it is not too great a stretch, I don't think,
                                          for most people to come to realize that the statement "For every
                                          female who makes herself male will enter the kingdom of Heaven"
                                          contains one sexual term "female" that is meant to refer to actual
                                          human women, and another sexual term "male" that is metaphorical.
                                          Realizing this, one can go further and realize that the
                                          statement "For every female who makes herself male will enter the
                                          kingdom of Heaven" is anti-misogynous.

                                          Ironically, the saying itself indicates that certain people, for whom
                                          Peter is a metonym, fail to understand that the term "male" is
                                          metaphorical. Those people take the term literally and proceed to
                                          assume that females are ineligible for membership in the group. But
                                          Jesus corrects them by explaining that this assumption is mistaken
                                          and that females are as eligble as men are for the attaiment of the
                                          condition metaphorically labeled "male." Accordingly, the failure to
                                          distinguish between literal and metaphorical that leads to modern
                                          commentors thinking that 114 is misogynous is exactly the same
                                          failure that the saying itself was intended to address.

                                          I hope that clears that up.

                                          Steve Davies
                                        • bjtraff
                                          ... {Snip} ... I have never believed that Jesus was speaking literally here, and one would have to adopt a decidedly naïve understanding of the text in order
                                          Message 20 of 26 , May 1, 2002
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                                            --- In crosstalk2@y..., "sdavies0" <sdavies@m...> wrote:

                                            >"114 Simon Peter said to them, "Make Mary leave us, for females
                                            >don't deserve life." Jesus said, "Look, I will guide her to make her
                                            >male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you
                                            >males. For every female who makes herself male will enter the
                                            >kingdom of Heaven."
                                            >
                                            {Snip}
                                            >
                                            >The phrasing in the remainder of the saying: "I will guide her to
                                            >make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling
                                            >you males. For every female who makes herself male will enter the
                                            >kingdom of Heaven." is not meant literally. Jesus does not intend to
                                            >demand the physical reformation of female human beings into male
                                            >human beings. He is speaking metaphorically. In this metaphorical
                                            >pattern the signifier "male" is held to be proper to the
                                            >signifier "living spirit" and the signifier "female" is not.

                                            I have never believed that Jesus was speaking literally here, and one
                                            would have to adopt a decidedly naïve understanding of the text in
                                            order to read it as such. But I do see Jesus as saying that woman
                                            are inferior to men in terms of spiritual worthiness and wisdom, the
                                            two keys to Thomas' kingdom. Thus, they must be transformed by Jesus
                                            into spiritual men, and in being so transformed, turned from dead
                                            spirits to living ones. Should these women fail to become as men,
                                            then they will remain dead, and unworthy of wisdom and God's
                                            Kingdom. Very simply, Jesus is presented as thinking women are
                                            unworthy, *as* women, of entering the kingdom of Heaven, and this is
                                            misogynistic 2nd Century Greek thinking, very different in character
                                            from Judaic thought and 1st Century Christianity.

                                            >Accordingly, as the condition "living spirit" is evidently required
                                            >for entry both into "the kingdom of heaven," and by implication the
                                            >group itself, attainment of the condition "living spirit" is
                                            >requisite or, in metaphorical terminology, the condition "male" is
                                            >requisite.

                                            And by extension males have this quality by the very nature of their
                                            being male, while women lack it so long as they remain female in
                                            spirit and wisdom. Women are dead spiritually, and men are living.

                                            Even on a metaphorical level (male=living spirits, female=dead
                                            spirits), the misogyny is very clear.

                                            Brian Trafford
                                            Calgary, AB, Canada
                                          • mwgrondin
                                            Brian: As to Mt12:31-32, I find ambiguity, you do not. So be it. Except that there s another passage in which Matt unequivocally states that Jesus was
                                            Message 21 of 26 , May 2, 2002
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                                              Brian:
                                              As to Mt12:31-32, I find ambiguity, you do not. So be it. Except
                                              that there's another passage in which Matt unequivocally states
                                              that Jesus was blasphemed against:

                                              27.39: "Those, however, passing by [the cross] blasphemed him ..."

                                              What do you make of that?

                                              (Also, why do you use 'blaspheme' as the noun-form instead
                                              of 'blasphemy'? At first, I thought this was inadvertent, but now
                                              I see that you do it consistently.)
                                              ------------------------------------------------------------------

                                              > Th61.3: "I was given some of that which is my father's."
                                              [Brian]:
                                              > The Scholars' Translation reads differently in this passage,
                                              > and the difference is telling:
                                              >
                                              > Thomas 61c
                                              > Jesus said to her, "I am the one who comes from what is whole.
                                              > I was granted from the things of my Father."
                                              >
                                              > In my view at least, this translation does appear awkward, but it
                                              > does not denote authority coming from the Father. More likely is
                                              > that Jesus is claiming here to have to have come from the Father
                                              > (the whole). Which translation do you use, and why would you
                                              > prefer it to the Scholars (assuming you do, of course)?

                                              I currently prefer the Patterson-Robinson-Bethge translation, as
                                              found in _The Fifth Gospel_ (Trinity Press International, 1998), to
                                              the others, although I strongly disagree with their some of their
                                              reconstructions of missing material. The chief reason I don't like
                                              the Scholar's Translation is its gender neutrality; to me, that
                                              distorts the originators' thought for no good reason.

                                              As to what 61.3b asserts, I myself don't see any significant
                                              difference between:
                                              1. "I was given some of that which is my Father's." (Patterson)
                                              2. "I was granted from the things of my Father." (Scholars)
                                              3. "I was given out of the things of my Father." (literal)

                                              All three clearly imply to my ear that Jesus doesn't possess all
                                              the attributes of "the Father". And, since he could hardly be
                                              identified as "the Son" if he were disobedient to "the Father",
                                              I don't know what more you could ask to establish the relationship
                                              between son and father that you think is missing from Thomas.
                                              ------------------------------------------------------------------

                                              [Brian]:
                                              > ... where in John (or any other 1st Century text) do you see Jesus
                                              > or his followers claiming that "he is all" as we see in Th77?
                                              [Mike]:
                                              > Jn1:3: "All things came into being by him, and apart from him
                                              > nothing came into being that has come into being."
                                              [Brian]:
                                              > There is a great difference in having all things come from (or
                                              > created through) Jesus, and Jesus BEING all things.

                                              So they got a little over-enthusiastic.<g> Seriously, though, the
                                              latter portion of Th77 ("Split a timber, I am there; lift the stone,
                                              and you will discover me there."), may have been moved from its
                                              location following Th30 in the POxy fragments for the purpose of
                                              emphasizing that a creative agent (such as the Logos) could be seen
                                              as being present (in a sense) in all that he created. Nevertheless,
                                              this Johannine-type stuff seems out of place in Thomas. That plus
                                              the apparent movement of the two sentences from Th30 to Th77 leads
                                              me to believe that the original collection was written before GJn
                                              came along.
                                              ------------------------------------------------------------------

                                              > ... Thomas does not show an awareness of Jesus having entered
                                              > the world as flesh, nor of dying, nor of rising again from the
                                              > dead. This is why I called your understanding of the term "living
                                              > Jesus" anachronistic as you must read this into the text.

                                              Th28.1: "I stood in the middle of the world, and in flesh I
                                              appeared to them." (that this is to be understood as merely the
                                              appearance of flesh seems weak to me - "I appeared to them in
                                              flesh", not "I appeared to them to be in flesh".)

                                              "Anachronistic" is a poor choice of words for what you seem to be
                                              getting at. I think you see me as reading orthodox meaning into the
                                              text, or of taking much of it metaphorically rather than literally.
                                              The reverse of such charges could of course be applied to yourself,
                                              but in any case there's no anachronistic thinking involved, because
                                              all the concepts I use are anciently attested. Now if you want to
                                              exchange charges of eisegesis, we could do that. <g>

                                              [Mike]:
                                              > I think that the word 'living' in the incipit to GThom has to be
                                              > taken in the very same sense that 'living' is used thruout GThom
                                              > and in every other Xian text that contrasts true, eternal
                                              > spiritual life with false, ephemeral physical life.
                                              [Brian]:
                                              > The Canonical Gospels insisted on a very fleshy Jesus. John 1
                                              > even tells us KAI O LOGON SARX (and the Word made flesh), using
                                              > the most earthly form of flesh available in the Greek language.
                                              > Similarly, in Luke 3:6 we see that all flesh (SARX) will "see the
                                              > salvation of God."

                                              So what? THIS life is still not the REAL life in Xian (and Platonic)
                                              thought. C'mon, Brian, surely you find that distinction all over
                                              the place in Xian writings. The phrase 'the living Jesus' must be
                                              taken to refer to that believers' Jesus who has always "lived" -
                                              then, now, and forever. Obviously (to the Xian) he didn't "live"
                                              only during his human lifetime. Why should we think, then, that the
                                              compiler of the collection meant to assert or imply that Jesus
                                              spoke all of those words before his human death? To the Thomists
                                              (as to other Xians), he continued to be a "living" presence after
                                              his death.

                                              > "The things you asked me about in past times, and what I did not
                                              > tell you in that day, now I am willing to tell you, but you do not
                                              > seek them." (Th92.2, Patterson tr)
                                              [Brian]:
                                              > Once again I think you are reading into the text. All that is
                                              > indicated in this passage is that at one time Jesus did not tell
                                              > his disciple a thing, an[d] later he does tell him that thing.

                                              Oh, pooh. Taken literally like this, it has no importance
                                              whatsoever - nothing to recommend it for inclusion in the
                                              collection. The "past times" must be J's human lifetime if this
                                              logion is to have any significance.

                                              > No death or resurrection is indicated. Further the context
                                              > connects this saying with seeking and finding, something that
                                              > in no way requires a resurrection per se.

                                              Th92.1 is more of a pretext than a context. Nevertheless, the
                                              implication is that the object of all that metaphorical seeking and
                                              finding is Jesus himself. Did the Thomists believe that he suffered
                                              physical death? They must have, if Th28 is to be taken straight-
                                              forwardly ("I appeared to them in flesh"). But his death evidently
                                              had no theological significance for them, hence the lack of interest
                                              in it. Now I admit that all this could be turned on its head, and
                                              the lack of mention of his death interpreted as evidence of a
                                              docetic view, but that strikes me as *really* reading into the text.
                                              A stronger case could be made that the GThomists didn't believe that
                                              Jesus had risen in the flesh. But watch out there, cuz then they'd
                                              be prima facie candidates for the raison d'etre of Jn20:24-29
                                              (the "doubting Thomas" stuff), thus presumably dating that portion
                                              of GJn later than GTh.
                                              ------------------------------------------------------------------

                                              > Thomas 30:
                                              > Jesus said, "Where there are three deities, they are divine.
                                              > Where there are two or one, I am with that one."
                                              >
                                              > The fact that the two or three gathered are deities does suggest
                                              > that Jesus, too, is divine (or even conveys the divine status on
                                              > those gathered).

                                              Oh, alright. But the Coptic version may very well be corrupt, as
                                              many scholars assert. According to the Greek fragments, "Where there
                                              are three, they are without God", thus belaying any suggestion that
                                              the one or two are gods. (Frankly, I can't make much sense of 30.1
                                              in either version.)

                                              sumpin to chew on,
                                              Mike
                                            • Rick Hubbard
                                              It seems to me that efforts to date the Gospel of Thomas by citing its gnosticizing proclivities, its non-conformity with emerging Xtn theological
                                              Message 22 of 26 , May 3, 2002
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                                                It seems to me that efforts to "date" the Gospel of Thomas by citing its
                                                gnosticizing proclivities, its non-conformity with emerging Xtn theological
                                                propositions, or even its putative gender-centricity are doomed to failure.
                                                Persistent attempts to specify the gospel's "date of composition" ignore the
                                                near-certainty that the Coptic text of Thomas, as it is preserved in the Nag
                                                Hammadi library, is a composite document with what is probably a long
                                                redactional history. Brian Trafford's recent remarks on this matter
                                                completely ignore the trajectory of contemporary Thomas scholarship. If his
                                                assertions are read against the backdrop of recent research by responsible
                                                scholars they quickly fade into irrelevance.

                                                Not too many years ago, opinions among scholars about the relative age of
                                                Thomas generally could be classified as either "early" or "late." This
                                                "either/or" dichotomy is being displaced by an emerging consensus that
                                                Thomas contains material that is both "early" and "late" in terms of its
                                                placement in the text. For example, it is almost certain that the incipit
                                                and the colophon were comparatively late appendages to the sayings
                                                collection. Saying 114 has also been identified as a late addition. These
                                                are the "easy calls" and their validity can be verified by consulting recent
                                                secondary literature.

                                                At the other end of the spectrum, "the hard calls" are somewhat more
                                                difficult to describe with absolute precision. One of the most persuasive
                                                attempts to identify redactional activity in the Gospel was written by Bill
                                                Arnal (who regrettably has deferred the opportunity to address the
                                                assertions raised by Trafford in this forum). Arnal's article "The Rhetoric
                                                of Marginality: Apocalypticism, Gnosticism, and Sayings Gospels" [_Harvard
                                                Theological Review_, 88:4 (1995) 471-494] represents one of the most
                                                persuasive arguments for the presence of multiple editorial strata in
                                                Thomas. I won't even attempt to summarize the conclusions argued therein ;
                                                it is sufficient to say that it helps explain the presence of BOTH "gnostic"
                                                AND sapiential material in the same document. I recommend, moreover, that
                                                anyone who is disposed to assign a "date" to Thomas should do so only after
                                                having read and rebutted what Arnal says there. A careful reader will
                                                conclude that the Gospel of Thomas cannot be "dated" in the same manner that
                                                a single-author composition can be dated.

                                                Trafford quite clearly has not only not examined the article cited, but (as
                                                I already said) has ignored recent Thomas research altogether (the most
                                                egregious evidence of which is his presumption that Gnosticism is a II CE
                                                phenomenon, which is absurd on its face and represents nothing more than
                                                "Sunday School Scholarship").

                                                Rick Hubbard
                                                Humble Maine Woodsman
                                              • Rikk E. Watts
                                                ... I think one needs to be careful here, Gnosticism itself being a scholarly construct and something of multifaceted phenomenon. I suspect what Brian
                                                Message 23 of 26 , May 3, 2002
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                                                  on 3/5/02 5:30 AM, Rick Hubbard at rhubbard@... wrote:

                                                  > (the most
                                                  > egregious evidence of which is his presumption that Gnosticism is a II CE
                                                  > phenomenon, which is absurd on its face and represents nothing more than
                                                  > "Sunday School Scholarship").
                                                  >
                                                  I think one needs to be careful here, "Gnosticism" itself being a scholarly
                                                  construct and something of multifaceted phenomenon. I suspect what Brian
                                                  intended was that it is generally agreed that unambiguously Gnostic texts
                                                  date from the second century, the Gnostic character of earlier works, and
                                                  hence the existence of a pre-Christian Gnosticism, being disputed. (I'm not
                                                  sure the ad hominem "Sunday School Scholarship" sheds any light on the
                                                  discussion, not least since it is not uncommon to have such classes taught
                                                  by professors with earned doctorates in their fields; perhaps we could
                                                  confine ourselves to the arguments and leave the characterizations off-list;
                                                  thanks).


                                                  Rikk

                                                  Dr. Rikk E. Watts (Cantab) Ph. (604) 224 3245
                                                  Associate Professor of NT Fax. (604) 224 3097
                                                  Regent College
                                                  5800 University Boulevard, Vancouver, V6T 2E4
                                                • Rick Hubbard
                                                  [Rikk E. Watts wrote:] hence the existence of a pre-Christian Gnosticism, being disputed. (I m not sure the ad hominem Sunday School Scholarship sheds any
                                                  Message 24 of 26 , May 3, 2002
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                                                    [Rikk E. Watts wrote:]

                                                    hence the existence of a pre-Christian Gnosticism, being disputed. (I'm not
                                                    sure the ad hominem "Sunday School Scholarship" sheds any light on the
                                                    discussion, not least since it is not uncommon to have such classes taught
                                                    by professors with earned doctorates in their fields; perhaps we could
                                                    confine ourselves to the arguments and leave the characterizations off-list;

                                                    Agreed. "Sunday School Scholarship" was not a judicious choice of words. Let
                                                    me rephrase it so that I do not offend Trafford directly-- **anyone** who
                                                    pursues the line of argument to which I have objected demonstrates no
                                                    familiarity with current Thomas research.


                                                    Rick Hubbard
                                                    Humble Maine Woodsman
                                                  • Jacob Knee
                                                    At first glance there does seem to be a North American/European divide on what exactly is the consensus on the dating of Thomas and the traditions within it.
                                                    Message 25 of 26 , May 3, 2002
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                                                      At first glance there does seem to be a North American/European divide on
                                                      what exactly is the consensus on the dating of Thomas and the traditions
                                                      within it. For the Europeans I think of Baarda, the book edited by Uro and
                                                      pieces by Tuckett.

                                                      If this is the case (and I'd be really interested to hear that it's not) -
                                                      why is this?

                                                      Best wishes,
                                                      Jacob Knee
                                                      (Cam, Gloucestershire)

                                                      -----Original Message-----
                                                      From: Rick Hubbard [mailto:rhubbard@...]
                                                      Sent: 03 May 2002 13:31
                                                      To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com
                                                      Subject: RE: [XTalk] GThom and double standards

                                                      [snip]

                                                      Not too many years ago, opinions among scholars about the relative age of
                                                      Thomas generally could be classified as either "early" or "late." This
                                                      "either/or" dichotomy is being displaced by an emerging consensus that
                                                      Thomas contains material that is both "early" and "late" in terms of its
                                                      placement in the text. For example, it is almost certain that the incipit
                                                      and the colophon were comparatively late appendages to the sayings
                                                      collection. Saying 114 has also been identified as a late addition. These
                                                      are the "easy calls" and their validity can be verified by consulting recent
                                                      secondary literature.

                                                      [snip]
                                                    • bjtraff
                                                      As time is limited, and I am headed off for an extended long weekend, and will not return until Monday evening, this will be my last post. I do intend to
                                                      Message 26 of 26 , May 3, 2002
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                                                        As time is limited, and I am headed off for an extended long weekend,
                                                        and will not return until Monday evening, this will be my last post.
                                                        I do intend to return to Frank's comments at that time, and will do
                                                        my best to cover off any other points raised in the meantime.

                                                        --- In crosstalk2@y..., "mwgrondin" <mwgrondin@c...> wrote:

                                                        > 27.39: "Those, however, passing by [the cross] blasphemed him ..."
                                                        >
                                                        > What do you make of that?

                                                        Greek is oftentimes a difficult language to translate, but in this
                                                        verse we see an instance of Matthew carefully following Mark's
                                                        wording. First, the specific word used is EBLASFHMOUN, so the
                                                        conjugation of the verb is different from what we see in Matt 12:31-
                                                        32, but this is not really the central point of contention in
                                                        translating 27:39. Greek words could, and did, have different
                                                        meanings based on context (even as some English words do as well),
                                                        and for both Jews and Christians, BLASFHMAI against God was
                                                        qualitatively different than any kind of blaspheme against others.
                                                        Thus, for example, Paul could speak of BLASFHMOUMAI against himself
                                                        and others, as he does in 1 Corinthians 10:30, and the author of
                                                        Titus could do likewise (BLASHMEIN) in Titus 3:2, modern translators
                                                        have properly understood that these authors were not thinking of the
                                                        specific sin of blasphemy against God, and have traditionally
                                                        translated it as "speak evil of" or "denounced" or "reviled" and the
                                                        like. Thus, for example, even Young's Literal Translation, and the
                                                        RSV, two of the most literal word for word translations do not
                                                        translate EBLASFHMOUN as "blaspheme."

                                                        All of that said, you do raise a good point. In researching your
                                                        question, I think it is important to consider the view of Raymond
                                                        Brownin his book _Death of the Messiah, Vol. 2_. In it, Brown is
                                                        careful to translate EBLASPHMOUN as blaspheme, and comments
                                                        extensively on the point (see pgs. 982, 986-989). In his view, Mark
                                                        deliberately chooses the word "blaspheme" as it "is a significant
                                                        word for Mark, supplying interesting inclusions with previous
                                                        usages." (BDM, pg. 986). In effect Mark is deliberately using the
                                                        strongest language possible to describe the action of the passersby,
                                                        and Matt echoes this theme. For both, Jesus is the Son of God, and
                                                        as such, speaking evil against him, especially while he is dying on
                                                        the cross, is a sin. This would reflect the view of the evangelists
                                                        as they would be thinking of their current (c. 50-70+ CE) enemies
                                                        who, no doubt, continued to see Jesus' death as a scandal, and proof
                                                        that he was not the Messiah. The deliberate choice of the word
                                                        EBLASFHMOUN is therefore a theological statement indicating high
                                                        Christology. Yet, the usage of blasphemy here, even as it was
                                                        deliberately NOT used in the earlier triple tradition of Mark 3:28-
                                                        30/Matt 12:31-32/Luke 12:10 is then made doubly significant. Once
                                                        again we can contrast how Jesus is viewed in the Synoptics prior to
                                                        his death and resurrection (and possibly even by Jesus himself, as
                                                        the words in this triple tradition may well go back to Jesus
                                                        himself), with how he is viewed afterwards by his early followers.
                                                        On this basis, Thomas' saying in verse 44 represents a much higher
                                                        Christology than we see in Matt 12/Mark 3, and is more along the
                                                        lines of Matthew 28:19. Thus, the later the probable date for
                                                        Canonical Matt (or Luke, as they are connected) is pushed back, the
                                                        later Thomas becomes as well. Since I see Thomas' presentation of
                                                        this saying as a later understanding of Mark 3/Matt 12/Luke 12, I
                                                        likewise date it later than any of them. On this basis, if Matt and
                                                        Luke are dated to 80-90 (my personal opinion), and did not feel free
                                                        to change Jesus' saying to reflect a later Christology, while Thomas
                                                        did change it, then Thomas would be, at a minimum, very late 1st
                                                        Century, but more probably early to mid 2nd Century. Additional
                                                        arguments I have already offered in favour of a late date add to that
                                                        opinion.

                                                        > (Also, why do you use 'blaspheme' as the noun-form instead
                                                        > of 'blasphemy'? At first, I thought this was inadvertent, but now
                                                        > I see that you do it consistently.)

                                                        My mistake. Call it a personal idiosyncrasy. I will try to be less
                                                        careless in the future.

                                                        > As to what 61.3b asserts, I myself don't see any significant
                                                        > difference between:
                                                        > 1. "I was given some of that which is my Father's." (Patterson)
                                                        > 2. "I was granted from the things of my Father." (Scholars)
                                                        > 3. "I was given out of the things of my Father." (literal)
                                                        >
                                                        > All three clearly imply to my ear that Jesus doesn't possess all
                                                        > the attributes of "the Father". And, since he could hardly be
                                                        > identified as "the Son" if he were disobedient to "the Father",
                                                        > I don't know what more you could ask to establish the relationship
                                                        > between son and father that you think is missing from Thomas.

                                                        I am not talking about Jesus possessing the attributes of the Father,
                                                        but rather, whether or not Thomas sees Jesus' authority as coming
                                                        from the Father. Th61 does not suggest anything like what we see in
                                                        the Synoptics or John on this point.

                                                        > Seriously, though, the
                                                        > latter portion of Th77 ("Split a timber, I am there; lift the
                                                        stone,
                                                        > and you will discover me there."), may have been moved from its
                                                        > location following Th30 in the POxy fragments for the purpose of
                                                        > emphasizing that a creative agent (such as the Logos) could be seen
                                                        > as being present (in a sense) in all that he created. Nevertheless,
                                                        > this Johannine-type stuff seems out of place in Thomas. That plus
                                                        > the apparent movement of the two sentences from Th30 to Th77 leads
                                                        > me to believe that the original collection was written before GJn
                                                        > came along.

                                                        Once again, I am dating GThomas as we have it today. Some of the
                                                        traditions and sayings may be earlier than this final redacted form,
                                                        but then, so is much of the Canonical Gospels earlier than their
                                                        final redacted form.

                                                        > Th28.1: "I stood in the middle of the world, and in flesh I
                                                        > appeared to them." (that this is to be understood as merely the
                                                        > appearance of flesh seems weak to me - "I appeared to them in
                                                        > flesh", not "I appeared to them to be in flesh".)

                                                        Your comment is interesting, as, given the wider context of contempt
                                                        for things of this world, and flesh in particular reflected in
                                                        GThomas as a whole, I would say that this statement is one of
                                                        Jesus "appearing" to be in the flesh, but not really being flesh.

                                                        > "Anachronistic" is a poor choice of words for what you seem to be
                                                        > getting at. I think you see me as reading orthodox meaning into the
                                                        > text, or of taking much of it metaphorically rather than literally.

                                                        I chose the term "anachronistic" because if we did not have the
                                                        Canonical Gospels and Paul to draw from, there would be no way, from
                                                        GThomas alone, to know that Jesus lived here on earth, died, and rose
                                                        again. You have projected that knowledge into the text from other
                                                        sources.

                                                        > The reverse of such charges could of course be applied to yourself,
                                                        > but in any case there's no anachronistic thinking involved, because
                                                        > all the concepts I use are anciently attested. Now if you want to
                                                        > exchange charges of eisegesis, we could do that. <g>

                                                        When dating a specific text, it is typical to examine the documents
                                                        that can be reasonably and reliably dated to the 1st Century, then
                                                        compare the features found in less certain documents, and decide
                                                        which are earlier, and which later. In this case, I use Paul and
                                                        Mark, as they are the most clearly 1st Century texts, then compare
                                                        Matt, Luke, John and Thomas to what is found in those texts. In each
                                                        case I see evidence of later development, thought, and Christology.
                                                        Given the general lack of awareness of one another, I have grouped
                                                        the final redacted forms of Matt, Luke and John to a period of time
                                                        of approximately 80-90. In examining Thomas, it shows evidence of
                                                        knowing not only the traditions contained in the Synoptics and John,
                                                        but also of ideas that became more popular in 2nd Century texts. On
                                                        these grounds I continue to believe that Thomas came after the
                                                        Canonical texts, and I do not see my evaluation as being tainted by
                                                        anachronistic thinking.

                                                        > [Mike]:
                                                        > > I think that the word 'living' in the incipit to GThom has to be
                                                        > > taken in the very same sense that 'living' is used thruout GThom
                                                        > > and in every other Xian text that contrasts true, eternal
                                                        > > spiritual life with false, ephemeral physical life.
                                                        > [Brian]:
                                                        > > The Canonical Gospels insisted on a very fleshy Jesus. John 1
                                                        > > even tells us KAI O LOGON SARX (and the Word made flesh), using
                                                        > > the most earthly form of flesh available in the Greek language.
                                                        > > Similarly, in Luke 3:6 we see that all flesh (SARX) will "see the
                                                        > > salvation of God."
                                                        >
                                                        > So what? THIS life is still not the REAL life in Xian (and
                                                        Platonic)
                                                        > thought. C'mon, Brian, surely you find that distinction all over
                                                        > the place in Xian writings. The phrase 'the living Jesus' must be
                                                        > taken to refer to that believers' Jesus who has always "lived" -
                                                        > then, now, and forever. Obviously (to the Xian) he didn't "live"
                                                        > only during his human lifetime. Why should we think, then, that the
                                                        > compiler of the collection meant to assert or imply that Jesus
                                                        > spoke all of those words before his human death? To the Thomists
                                                        > (as to other Xians), he continued to be a "living" presence after
                                                        > his death.

                                                        As I said above, if you did not have the Canonical Gospels to draw
                                                        upon, and could only examine Thomas, neither of us would even be
                                                        having this discussion. In all likelihood, Thomas would simply be
                                                        accepted as presenting a heavenly Jesus that lived in the world of
                                                        the spiritual, and not the physical. As this is a view of Jesus that
                                                        became very popular in 2nd Century and later texts, I think that we
                                                        should date Thomas to this period of time.

                                                        > > "The things you asked me about in past times, and what I did not
                                                        > > tell you in that day, now I am willing to tell you, but you do
                                                        not
                                                        > > seek them." (Th92.2, Patterson tr)
                                                        > [Brian]:
                                                        > > Once again I think you are reading into the text. All that is
                                                        > > indicated in this passage is that at one time Jesus did not tell
                                                        > > his disciple a thing, an[d] later he does tell him that thing.
                                                        >
                                                        > Oh, pooh. Taken literally like this, it has no importance
                                                        > whatsoever - nothing to recommend it for inclusion in the
                                                        > collection. The "past times" must be J's human lifetime if this
                                                        > logion is to have any significance.

                                                        Why? The Gnostics were offended by the idea of an earthly, fleshy
                                                        godman that could live AND die here on planet earth. Thomas seems to
                                                        share this sentiment.

                                                        > Oh, alright. But the Coptic version may very well be corrupt, as
                                                        > many scholars assert. According to the Greek fragments, "Where
                                                        there
                                                        > are three, they are without God", thus belaying any suggestion that
                                                        > the one or two are gods. (Frankly, I can't make much sense of 30.1
                                                        > in either version.)

                                                        Perhaps it is corrupt, but it is the extant copy that we must deal
                                                        with, and until something earlier pops up, we might as well be trying
                                                        to date the Signs Gospel and Passion Narrative, rather than GMark,
                                                        GMatt, GLuke and GJohn.

                                                        Brian Trafford
                                                        Calgary, AB, Canada
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