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7188Recovering Thomas

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  • sarban
    Jul 20, 2006
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      I've recently been reading April DeConick's 'Recovering the Original
      Gospel of Thomas.' which has been previuosly discussed on this group.

      I've found it a very informative and thought-provoking book and I would
      recommend it to other list members.

      I find the proposed history of development of Thomas broadly
      convincing but remain convinced that the earliest ascertainable form of
      Thomas, the 'Thomas Kernel' is dependent on the synoptics.

      This means obviously that I am dating the Kernel later than DeConick
      does, but in terms of its relatively primitive theology the Kernel certainly
      dates from before the Bar-Kochba war and its effects on the relation of
      Christianity to Judaism, and is probably older than the reign of Hadrian
      particularly if one is to avoid either an improbably late date for final
      Thomas or an improbably rapid development from the Kernel to the final

      This makes very interesting the discussion on pages 242-243 of
      'Recovering ,,, Thomas' where the Kernel is convincingly linked to the
      Diatessaron and the Pseudo-Clementines.

      The type of relation between Thomas and the Diatessaron is difficult to
      decide (although the Old Syriac which sometimes shares the
      agreements between the Diatessaron and Thomas and sometimes does
      not is IMO an important part of the puzzle) IE we cannot say whether
      the Diatessaron (or an earlier form thereof) influenced Thomas or
      whether Thomas (or an earlier form thereof) influenced the Diatessaron.

      The relation of Thomas to the Pseudo-Clementines may be another
      matter. There is a strong case that the gospel parallels in the Pseudo-
      Clementines (which is where the parallels to Thomas are all found)
      come from an early synoptic harmony also used by Justin Martyr and
      lying behing the Gospel of the Ebionites.

      Since parallels between Thomas and this material appear to be entirely
      limited to synoptic type pasages, it is most plausible to suppose that
      the Thomas Kernel is not only ultimately dependent on the synoptics
      but dependent on them via a synoptic harmony, also used by Justin
      etc. With a date of the Thomas Kernel in the very early 2nd century
      this is a startling idea (most scholars would put the first synoptic
      harmonies considerably later) but it seems the best explanation for
      the data.

      Andrew Criddle

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