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10499Re: [GTh] Authorship and Dating GTh

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  • Tom Reynolds
    Feb 6, 2013
      Reply To: Rick Hubbard
      If you are of the opinion that my approach presented is ill advised or will likely be unfruitful, I can certainly understand your position.
      However, some of your comments underline why I tend to distrust conventional scholars. For example, estimates range from 2%-4% literacy to 5%-10% with literacy concentrated in the upper classes so it is unlikely you would be unable to make a list of phone numbers and even if you could, it would be difficult and expensive given the writing apparatus of the day. This is the point that Malina makes, that the culture was vastly different in NT times and we need to remove or colored glasses of our 21st century industrial revolution society in order to understand the texts of that time. It is possible, but very unlikely, that the original GTh was simply a list of sayings in an unorganized manner.
      Another lesson from cultural anthropology is that detailed study of the text without understanding the culture is unfruitful. As you rightly point out, the sayings of Jesus were spoken in Aramaic, written down in Greek and the copy we have is Coptic. What is left out is that the sayings were spoken by Jesus in Aramaic, distributed orally in Aramaic, translated orally from Aramaic to Greek and written down much later in Greek and later in Coptic. (We have Greek and partially Greek speaking churches long before any of the Gospels were written) When Luke researched his Gospel/Acts he noted that there were many written text and eyewitnesses remaining and he identifies both a sources. So, scholars conclude that Matthew/Luke is dependent on Mark (and a Q document) and Thomas is dependent on all three or maybe all three were dependent on Thomas when cultural anthropology says the eyewitness source would be preferred. Possibly nobody is dependent on anybody for all simply used the same oral source. In fact one writer states that he would rather talk with companions of the Apostles than consult the text.
      An example of interpretation from social science is the curious statements of female becoming male (GT114). However in Lk 10:38-42 we have Malina’s commentary that Martha was acting properly (in the role of a woman) while Mary was acting improperly (in the role of a man) yet Jesus commends Mary  (“has chosen the good part” NASB) Malina talks about 1st century culture being high-context (everybody knew their roles). Lk 10:38-42 may well have been instantly understood as Jesus commending Mary as rejecting the woman’s role in favor of the man’s. Therefore I am not so sure that GT 114 has no parallel in a Synoptic. The concept may be there but not the text.
      In fact I am looking at a recurring thread in GT where Jesus is saying that one must throw off the roles defined by society in light of NT teaching that makes the identical point once one understands the culture.
      Tom Reynolds

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