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9602Re: [GTh] Christological Peculiarities

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  • Richard Hubbard
    Oct 1, 2010
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      ARIADNE: Paul writes, ' But, as it is written, 'What no eye has seen,
      nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for
      those who love him'--1 Cor 2:9 It is obvious then that Thomas preceded
      Paul. Wouldn't you think that correct?

      RICK: Although I am open to the possibility that at least some elements
      of the Gospel of Thomas may be "early", I'm quite a ways from agreeing
      that the presence of this particular wording in both Thomas and Paul can
      be construed as irrefutable evidence that Thomas preceded Paul or,
      especially, that Thomas had read Paul's correspondence. Quite similar
      verbiage exists elsewhere, as Chris points out in his blog. It seems to
      me that the only thing we can say with confidence is that L. 17 is
      chronologically positioned so that there is no doubt that Is 64:4
      preceded both the composition of Thomas and Paul's letters. Moreover, it
      seems to me that Paul's introduction, "as it is written", is pretty well
      accepted evidence that he is alluding to Isaiah. One could wonder then,
      if Paul knew that text, why would it have not been equally possible that
      the version of it in Thomas did not also derive from Isaiah? So, in a
      few words, "No, I don't think it is 'obvious that Thomas preceded

      ARIADNE: I would date the Gospel of Thomas very early, likely around 43

      RICK: Again, this is a conclusion that others have argued for but,
      again, I'm not convinced that such a conclusion is completely
      defensible. As I've tried to say over, and Over and OVER is that the
      Gospel of Thomas as we have it is almost certainly a composite
      manuscript. The manuscript itself dates toward the end of the fourth
      century. It's central character, Jesus, dates at least 350 years earlier
      and Greek progenitors of the Coptic text (the Poxy fragments) post-date
      Jesus' presumed execution by several decades. It is impossible, ISTM, to
      imagine that the text as we have it did not undergo substantial revision
      and updating to accommodate "new information" consistent with changed
      understandings about Jesus and what he said (here I like to quote what I
      call the Jack Kilmon Dictum: "Don't forget these texts have been highly
      screwed around with"). To try to assign a "date" to a text that is
      likely to have been so heavily redacted is the height of bravery.

      Rick Hubbard

      |-----Original Message-----
      |From: gthomas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:gthomas@yahoogroups.com]
      |Sent: Friday, October 01, 2010 1:26 AM
      |To: Richard Hubbard; gthomas@yahoogroups.com
      |Subject: {SPAM?} Re: [GTh] Christological Peculiarities
      |Importance: Low
      |Hi Rick,
      |I would date the Gospel of Thomas very early, likely around 43 A.D. To
      answer your
      |2nd question there is evidence that Paul had read the Gospel of Thomas.
      |For example, The following saying from Gospel of Thomas was paraphrased
      |Paul: "Jesus said, 'I will give you what no eye has seen, what no ear
      has heard,
      |what no hand has touched, what has not arisen in the human heart.
      |Paul writes, ' But, as it is written, 'What no eye has seen, nor ear
      heard, nor the
      |human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him'--1
      Cor 2:9
      |It is obvious then that Thomas preceded Paul. Wouldn't you think that
      |Here is a link with more explanation that you might be interested to
      |In friendship,
      |Ariadne Green
      |On Sep 26, 2010, at 9:32 AM, Rick Hubbard wrote:
      |It may be difficult to relate what I am writing about directly to the
      Gospel of Thomas,
      |but I'll do my best.
      |One of the widely recognized characteristics of the Gospel of Thomas is
      the absence
      |of the so-called "developed Christology" that permeates the NT canon.
      This, some
      |have argued, is evidence of the presence of very early Jesus tradition
      in the saying
      |collection. The assumption behind such arguments, as near as I can
      tell, is that
      |developed Christologies emerged (or began to emerge) several decades
      |Jesus' execution. Therefore, one could say, since there is no
      developed Christology
      |in Thomas, indeed virtually no reference at all the
      passion-death-resurrection cycle,
      |ipso facto the Gospel of Thomas is "early."
      |But here's something that really puzzles me. Most handbooks and
      commentaries I
      |have read concede that the earliest writings in the NT canon are the
      Pauline letters
      |and those (which are indisputably Pauline) are to be dated 50-ish. That
      means Paul
      |was writing roughly 20-25 years after the crucifixion. In these letters
      it is abundantly
      |clear that there is indeed a set of emerging Christologies (notice the
      plural). Some
      |folks attribute the Christological language in the epistles to Paul's
      own theological
      |hypothesizing, but even so it is fairly widely conceded that certain
      elements in Paul's
      |letters are evidence of "Christological hymns" that Paul appropriated
      from elsewhere.
      |In other words there were some elements of an esoteric Christology even
      prior to
      |Paul (examples below).
      |This seems to raise two questions; First, and more generally, how in
      the world, in the
      |space of two decades or so following the death of Jesus, did there
      emerge **this**
      |"confession" embedded in Romans 1:3b-4a (reconstructed as follows by
      |Strecker (_Theology of the New Testament_. DeGruyter: 2000, p66-74)?
      |Jesus [Christ]
      |Descended from David
      |Declared the Son of God with power by resurrection from the dead.
      |An even more developed example includes Philippians 2:6-7, 9-11 is no
      less puzzling
      |for the same reason:
      |In the form of God, (but) not equal with God; (Who) emptied himself
      |EKENWSIN) taking the form of a slave; Born in human likeness, in that
      |humbled himself; Exalted by God and given a name above every other
      name at
      |whose name every knee should bend on earth, under the earth and in
      |Every tongue should confess Jesus Christ is Lord.
      |Compare the above with yet another allegedly pre-Pauline formula (I
      Corinthians 15:
      |3b-4b, 5a):
      |Christ died for our sins
      |According to the scriptures
      |He was buried
      |He was raised
      |He appeared to Cephas.
      |The second question that comes to my mind is this: Given the very
      nature of the
      |above formulae, I can't imagine that they would have gone unnoticed, or
      that they
      |weren't repeated everywhere the Jesus traditions(s) circulated. So, if
      Thomas is
      |early, why aren't there at least vestiges of this material that was
      known to Paul? Or,
      |conversely, if Thomas is late (and if it is dependent on the synoptics,
      as well) why is
      |there absolutely no evidence of these confessional elements (much less
      the more
      |"robust" later versions)? At a minimum, would not one think that there
      would be at
      |least some polemic against these Christological appellations if they
      were known and
      |if the Thomas-ites understood themselves to be extraposed to this
      understanding of
      |Rick Hubbard
      | ! < /p>
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