Re: [GTh] Ian Brown's Review of Skinner's Thomas Book
- Thanks for posting the review, Mike. And for posting Chris Skinners' blog response. I agree with Chris' response to the extent that we cannot simply assume our starting positions without being aware of opposing positions, and I agree that North American scholarship has in large part not taken continental scholarship into account (and vice versa). But I do not think this means that we must reach an absolute consensus re: Thomas' date and relationship with the New Testament in order to address other questions with regard to Thomas. Sure, people don't agree on these questions but, not to sound cliche or dismissive, but people studying Christian origins don't agree on a lot. This does not mean, however, that these contended questions get asked over and over and over again until one side capitulates (although that happens as well).
It seems to me both Chris and you, Mike, offer very reasonable solutions to this impasse. We can begin at points of general consensus, or points held by a majority while acknowledging that these points are still debated. Or we can do what Chris praises April DeConick for doing, establish our hypothesis as thoroughly as possible. This way even if the reader disagrees with the thesis, or parts of the thesis (as Chris seems to disagree with DeConick), the reader can still appreciate how that thesis was reached. I would argue that this is exactly what scholars do, establish a defend thesis. With regard to Thomas specifically, we do this as well. I just don't see why those theses should be limited to Thomas' date and relationship with the NT when there are so many more interesting questions to be asked.