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2456[gthomas] Re: Weeden on GTh 61

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  • Michael Grondin
    Mar 30, 2000
      At 01:03 PM 03/30/00 -0500, Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:
      >Reading Ted's analysis make me wonder about what's going on on Crosstalk
      >nowadays. Posters there seem to spend huge amounts of time arguing, and
      >authoring interminable posts about what seems like straws in the wind.
      >Such as if Mk was written in northern Israel or in southern Israel? As if
      >there's any hope of ever determining this for sure...

      Well, now, Yuri, as I've said before, things that interest you may not
      interest other folks, and vice versa. Myself, I find text-critical issues
      quite interesting, and certainly much more susceptible of resolution than
      the wide-ranging and ill-defined historical issues you favor. (Talking
      about "interminable posts", have you made any headway yet in convincing
      anyone that Xianity was almost entirely Jewish prior to 150?) Actually, I
      found the Crosstalk discussion of Weeden's ideas quite stimulating and
      productive, especially as I had not previously encountered the view that
      Mark was written in the East.

      >The truth most likely is that it [Mark] was written over a 100 years,
      >possibly in the West, by a dozen hands with influences coming from
      >different places, and based on different sources.

      Hmm. And during that 100 years was never disseminated to others, so that we
      might find a copy of any one of its early versions? "Possibly in the West"?
      OK, but also possibly in the East, so what's the point of saying that? And
      how many major redactions do you suppose there might have been in that
      extremely long 100-year period? Two? Six? Twenty? Fifty? If this is "the
      truth most likely" to you, I'm afraid I don't share your sense of
      historical probability. And I think I know the source of the difference in
      our senses. If I may say so, you (or your sources) seem to have fallen
      victim to the not-uncommon malady one might call "historical time
      distortion", i.e., the subconscious feeling that somehow 100 years back
      then didn't count for anywhere near as much as it does today, in the sense
      that not much could have been done in relatively "short periods" like a
      year or two, or even ten or twenty. So in your mind it took five
      generations to write Mark. Geez, you'd think they would've gotten tired of
      working on it. Or turned out something a little better. But wait! Maybe
      they did! Maybe what we now know as Mark is really Mark, the first
      generation, and Matthew is Mark, the 2nd generation, etc. That would
      account for those 100 years, maybe. But wait again - I'd better stop - I'm
      getting a headache.

      >Speaking about Ted's piece, what are his speculations really based on?
      >He's using some apocryphal inferences about who the daughter of Herod was,
      >while forgetting all about the Salome that actually _is_ attested as a
      >close disciple of Jesus?

      According to Ted's thesis, as I understand it, the "close disciple" Salome
      is a Markan creation whose name was chosen so as to make her symbolic of
      the actual Herodian Salome. As you say, the actual Salome is not mentioned
      in Mark, presumably so as not to confuse the symbolism. Since you yourself
      believe that Mark was subject to many hands over a long period of time, I'm
      sure you can appreciate that it cannot have been just a simple little
      non-metaphorical story. But you can find out more about this by consulting
      Ted's original piece on Crosstalk, or by writing to Ted himself.

      >> Jesus said: "Two will rest on a bed. The one will die, the other will
      >> live." Salome said: "(So) who are you, man? You have gotten a place
      >> on my couch as a <stranger> and you have eaten from my table." Jesus
      >> said to her: "I am he who comes from the one who is (always) the same.
      >> I was given some of that which is my Father's." "I am your disciple!"
      >> Therefore I say: If someone becomes <like> (God), he will become full
      >> of light. But if he becomes one, separated (from God), he will become
      >> full of darkness.
      >So where do we get any indication that this is not a reference to the
      >Salome of Mk, who is one of close and true disciples of Jesus?

      Already you're begging the question, since Ted believes that the Salome of
      Th 61 IS the Salome of Mk - he just doesn't agree with you that the Salome
      of Mk is a real, non-symbolic person. In any case, hold on, cuz Ted is
      about to answer your question in the passage you quote immediately
      following, but then proceed to ignore:

      >> That a very interesting and strange exchange between Jesus and Salome.
      >> Unlike all other characters in Thomas, she does not question Jesus
      >> with sincere intent to be taught by him. She interrogates him in a
      >> very confrontational matter: "So who are you man?" And what she
      >> confronts him about is that he has crashed her party. She is clearly
      >> cast as someone of means ("my couch" and "my table'). She speaks with
      >> a sense of authority to back up her confrontational assertiveness. She
      >> sounds like her own barroom bouncer, demanding to know what right he
      >> has to crash her party. It fits an elite profile of a woman in courtly
      >> setting with courtly authority.
      >> Moreover, GT 61 seems to have some redactional seams suggesting that
      >> this passage has been reworked or inserted. Salome's surprising
      >> declaration, "I am your disciple," indicating a sudden conversion to
      >> discipleship,
      >Why "sudden"? Mk indicates that she's one of the close and true disciples
      >of Jesus.

      Now you see, you've not only ignored Ted's argument, but forgotten your own
      original question as well. You asked him to tell you why the Salome of Th
      61 is different from the "surface" Salome of Mk, and when he does so, you
      ignore his answer and shift the ground of your argument. Ted gives a number
      of indicators that the Salome of Th 61 is *not* presented there as being a
      "close and true disciple", and yet you beg the question (again) by saying
      that she _must be_ because Mark says she is. This kind of shiftyness on
      your part doesn't exactly lend credence to your position. Perhaps you
      didn't read the whole thing before responding to parts of it.

      >> ... Ted has presented a viable and coherent
      >> alternative explanation for the apparently clumsy insertion of "I'm
      >> your disciple" into the text sometime after it was originally written.
      >Actually, I don't think Ted's explanation is either viable or coherent.

      Opinion noted. But your counter-argument, such as it is, doesn't even
      present a serious or consistent challenge to Ted's interpretation, IMO.

      >The only interesting thing that I see in this GOT passage that, I agree,
      >is quite possibly corrupt, is Salome's direct question, "So who are you
      >man?" This seems to support the view that early disciples of Jesus did not
      >think of him as Christ. In other words, supporting the view that low
      >christology was normative earliest christology of the movement.

      There's an interplay between hypothesis and data, as you know.
      Unfortunately, you ignore the interpretation of the data in Th 61 presented
      by Ted (namely that Salome speaks like a person of means and power, not
      like a humble disciple). This seems to indicate that you are
      over-interested in your hypothesis and under-interested in any data in
      Thomas, which places the objectivity of your assessments in question.


      The Coptic Gospel of Thomas, saying-by-saying
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