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RE: [GTh] Patterson's critique of an apocalyptic kernel in Thomas

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  • Judy Redman
    Hi Ian In short, Patterson s critique addresses both the kernel and the rolling corpus theory, and therefor the idea that the kernel was apocalyptic (given
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 9, 2012
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      Hi Ian



      In short, Patterson's critique addresses both the kernel and the rolling corpus theory, and therefor the idea that the kernel was apocalyptic (given that the rolling corpus theory is dependent on the ways in which she constructs the kernel).


      [Judy:] I actually think that the notion that the Thomas community was apocalyptic determines how she constructs the kernel, but the rolling corpus works as a theory, no matter how you conceptualise the theology of the community (within reason, of course). It is an idea that she found in some work by William McKane on Jeremiah in the International Critical Commentary series.


      Again, I think Patterson's critique points out some significant methodological issues with DeConick's stratification, and i would not ask for a response prior to dealing with the specifics of Patterson's critique, but I am interested to hear about the ways in which you make sense of DeConick's rolling corpus model, as I myself have been baffled by it.


      Have you read her initial work on this, DeConick, April D, 'The Original 'Gospel of Thomas'', Vigiliae Christianae, 56 (2) (2002), pp. 167-199? This was the first thing that I read on this and I remember thinking when I read Recovering that it wasn’t explained as clearly as it had been in the Vig Chr article. Which possibly isn’t particularly helpful to you, of course. It made a great deal of sense to me as I was reading it, but it’s quite a few years now since I read it.


      I now have Patterson’s article and am part way through it but about to stop for the night. I think it is unfortunate that he chose the parable of the mustard seed as his example because it is an oddity in the parables of the Kingdom in Thomas. All the other Kingdom parables say that the Kingdom is like a person – the mustard seed says the Kindom is like an object – the seed. I therefore think that it needs to be considered differently to the others, so the fact that it doesn’t fit doesn’t prove a great deal.





      From: Judy Redman <jredman2@...>
      To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Thursday, March 8, 2012 5:57:21 PM
      Subject: RE: [GTh] Patterson's critique of an apocalyptic kernel in Thomas



      I am really going to have to go back and do some re-reading and would really like to get a copy of Patterson’s paper before I comment in detail. Is Patterson critiquing the idea of a kernel and the rolling corpus theory, or critiquing the idea that it is apocalyptic?


      I think that the kernel and rolling corpus notion makes a great deal of sense, but don’t necessarily always agree with what DeConick says belongs in and out of the kernel.





      Judy Redman
      PhD Candidate, School of Humanities
      University of New England
      Armidale 2351 Australia
      ph:  +61 2 6773 3401
      mob: 0437 044 579
      web:  http://judyredman.wordpress.com/
      email:  jredman2@...


      From: gthomas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:gthomas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Bob Schacht
      Sent: Friday, 9 March 2012 8:58 AM
      To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [GTh] Patterson's critique of an apocalyptic kernel in Thomas



      At 02:11 PM 3/8/2012, Mike Grondin wrote:

      Hi Ian,
      Many thanks for your notice of Patterson's paper, and for the extended quotation
      from it. We've had occasion before on this forum to take notice of disagreement
      (not entirely polite) between Patterson and DeConick, but what struck me at first
      was the distinction that Patterson apparently draws between prophecy and either
      eschatology or apocalyptic. As he writes:
      > The sayings that had fooled Koester at first glance, and that would prompt him
      > eventually to backtrack, were all sayings that he would later classify as "prophetic
      > sayings."[ftn. 34] The sayings that Lelyveld took to be apocalyptic were also
      > prophetic sayings, as are many of the "eschatological" sayings in DeConick's kernel
      > Gospel. It is these prophetic sayings that have proven to be so misleading in the
      > discussion so far.
      His wording here seems to suggest that a "prophetic saying" cannot be either
      apocalyptic or eschatological, but it's not at all clear why one should think that.
      Maybe he explains this elsewhere in his article, or maybe Koester has a special
      definition of 'prophetic saying' of which I'm unaware (since I can't locate my
      copy of Koester at the moment), but compare the above wording with that of
      editor Robert Miller in 'The Apocalyptic Jesus: A Debate', in which Patterson
      was one of three JSem commentators arrayed against Dale Allison:
      > Apocalypticism is one kind of eschatology. Thus, all apocalypticism is
      > eschatological, but not every eschatology is apocalyptic. ... In this book
      > apocalypticism is understood as a kind of eschatology that envisions the
      > end of history coming soon and brought about by an overpowering divine
      > intervention. This occurrence will be evident by all people and will be pre-
      > ceded by cataclysmic events. Thus to describe Jesus as an apocalyptic
      > prophet [emphasis mine] is to claim that he taught that in the very near
      > future, within the lifetime of his contemporaries, God was going to intervene
      > directly and decisively to bring history to its divinely planned fulfillment.
      (AJ, p. 6)
      Is there a false dichotomy at play in Patterson's reasoning, or what?
      Mike Grondin

      I  think it is worthwhile to look into the intellectual history of this distinction. Crossan has some definite ideas on the subject, and devoted Chapter 15 to the distinction in his _Birth of Christianity_. He begins the chapter with a long quote from Marcus Borg's _Jesus in Contemporary Scholarship_, pp. 8-9. He also discusses apocalyptic in GThomas on pp. 252f, in a discussion of Bill Arnal's work.

      Bob Schacht
      Northern Arizona University


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