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Re: GThom and double standards

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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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