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1389[gthomas] Re: Pre or post-Easter Jesus

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  • Kevin Johnson
    Aug 20, 1999
      joseph@... (joseph baxter) writes:

      > Well, it doesn't require speculation to expose the unique sayings
      > to possible contexts in which the sayings were uttered.

      True. But in this case, I do not believe it helps us to understand
      GTh 28 by viewing it as a saying of the Risen Jesus. I'm not
      saying that "exposing the unique sayings to possible contexts"
      is not a valid procedure, but (1.) some evaluation of the result should
      follow and (2.) other possible contexts should also be explored. In
      this case, (1.) shows us that there is relatively little other evidence that
      GThomas sayings are post-Easter (no post-Easter settings, no overt
      references to the crucifixion or resurrection, only one saying that is
      placed in the Passion story [the end of 79 by Luke], and the
      ambiguous phrases "the Living" and "the Living One"). As for (2.),
      exploring other contexts, it seems to me that it is certainly possible
      that saying 28 represents a lament similar to that spoken by the
      pre-Easter Jesus in Mt 23:37 // Lk 13:34. Here are the two texts:

      GThomas 28 -
      Jesus said, "I took my stand in the midst of the world and in flesh I
      appeared to them. I found them all drunk and I found none of them
      thirsty. And my soul ached for the sons of men, because they are
      blind in their hearts see not, for empty they came into the world
      and empty they seek to leave it."

      Mt 23:37 -
      "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and
      stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather
      your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under
      her wings, but you were not willing."

      In the first instance (GTh 28), Jesus is lamenting the plight of
      the "sons of men." In the second instance (Mt 23:37//Lk 13:34),
      Jesus is lamenting the plight of the "children" of Jerusalem.
      What is implied in both cases, it seems to me, is not so
      much the temporal setting of the saying as the identity
      of the speaker, i.e., that the speaker is speaking in the first
      person voice of God, implying either Jesus-as-Prophet
      (since the prophetic texts often assume the voice of God)
      or Jesus-as-Messiah ("God engendered," as the Essenes put it).
      And since GTh 28 specifically says, "in flesh I appeared to them,"
      the meaning seems Messianic rather than Prophetic.

      To cast 28 as post-Easter is to disregard the Messianic
      implications of such a saying for a pre-Easter Jesus.

      >Some will project, and
      >some won't. Why not look for signs of unity in our projections?

      I'd prefer "deductions" to "projections" but, in any case,
      well said. Agreed.

      - Kevin Johnson
      (Achilles37@... / kjohnson@...)
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