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1377[gthomas] Re: Pre or post-Easter Jesus

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  • Mark Goodacre
    Aug 10 6:35 AM
      On 7 Aug 99, at 11:12, Stevan Davies wrote:

      > I'd suggest option (4), that the question presupposes a worldview
      > absent from Thomas and therefore it is meaningless.

      I think that this is just my (3) (the author either did not care or did not
      think about it or was deliberately ambiguous) refined a bit in a
      particular direction. Of course the question presupposes a worldview
      absent in Thomas: that's why the question needs to be asked and
      why, in the context of discussion of Christian origins (in which this
      question emerged), it is interesting.

      > For an example
      > of another meaningless question: "Is it the nirmanakaya,
      > sambogakaya, or dharmakaya of Jesus who speaks in the Gospel of
      > Thomas?" Such a question presupposes that Thomas is a text of
      > Mahayana Buddhism, which it isn't. The question in question
      > presupposes that Thomas is a text of resurrection-oriented
      > Christianity, which it isn't. One cannot say of the Buddhist
      > question that "Thomas is ambivalent, unclear about or uninterested
      > in the distinction between nirmanakaya and sambogakaya Jesus,"
      > for all of those options presuppose that Thomas is familiar with the
      > terms. Rather, Thomas' standing in regard to the question is not
      > a characteristic of Thomas in any way.

      Perhaps. Unless it is a part of Thomas's agenda to avoid such things
      deliberately, in which case the question becomes quite relevant. The
      difference between the question posed and this analogy is the
      historical context within which Thomas emerges, isn't it? If it is unique
      or anomalous among similar early texts that focus on Jesus, then that
      very fact is historically interesting, isn't it?

      > In both cases something absent from the text seems to be taken
      > to be a definitive characteristic of the text. I suppose one can say
      > "we have texts that concern themselves with story-time leading
      > to an easter post-easter differentiation and Thomas isn't one of
      > them" but that doesn't amount to much.

      I agree that we do not want to skew interpretation of Thomas as a
      text by asking it questions that it does not want to answer. But I think
      that for the question of Christian origins, Thomas's lack of story-time
      is indeed interesting, isn't it? For example, what Jesus texts are there
      that compare in this respect with Thomas? If there are some, how
      similar are they? If there aren't any, then how interesting!

      Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
      Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
      University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 6866
      Birmingham B15 2TT United Kingdom

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