- Jul 20, 2006I'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
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