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10440Re: [GTh] Xmas Season Greetings

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  • Jordan Stratford
    Dec 30, 2012
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      On 2012-12-29, at 4:30 PM, Tom Reynolds wrote:

      My question remains: Where does GT fit into what we know of 1st Century Christians? My answer is: If it is Gnostic, it does not fit! It is either NOT gnostic or NOT 1st century. To make it fit one must construct a 1st century Christianity that does not fit the available evidence. This, to me, is the theory defining the data when the data should generate the theory.

      I'd respond that Birger Pearson sees the indisputably Sethian-Gnostic text "Apocalypse of Adam" as a 2nd Century BCE text.  So we have Gnostics in the field at the time period.  It's not unreasonable to posit a first century Gn text.  Pagel's remarks on the Gospel of Mary are an example.

      I'd add that the overall tone of GT is Gnostic, in both its soteriology (the only thing which is really going to save you is gnosis) and its framing (this is secret stuff and if you understand it, you won't taste death).  So it's without question *philosophically* and *epistemologically* Gnostic.  If we are to say that it's NOT Gnostic, all we're really saying is that it isn't Sethian and it isn't Valentinian, which is certainly a distinction.  But on Pearson's Gnostic checklist (cosmology, cosmogeny, soteriology and anthropogeny) GT contains two and implies (according to Erhman) the others. 1, 24, 30,50,67, 70, and 77 are just a few of the most obvious examples.  GT70 is probably the most Gnostic line in the entire corpus of Gn studies.

      Now I'm not suggesting that GT necessarily is a first-century Gnostic text. – I doubt very much that it is first century.  But I dispute your assertion that it doesn't fit the evidence when constructing the theory, which it most certainly does.   We DO have Gnostics in the first century, and we DO have clearly-identifiable Gnostic teachings in Thomas.  That doesn't mean that the dates and content coincide, but it also doesn't mean that they don't.

      Jordan

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