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Re: Misogyny in GThomas

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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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