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The Gospel of James

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: GThos Cc: GPG, Alpha Again On: Arnal rev Hedrick From: Bruce Bill s review of Charles Hedrick s new book on Thomas focused some Thomas points for me. This
    Message 1 of 14 , Oct 31, 2012
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      To: GThos

      Cc: GPG, Alpha

      Again On: Arnal rev Hedrick

      From: Bruce

       

      Bill’s review of Charles Hedrick’s new book on Thomas focused some Thomas points for me. This comment toward the end of the review seemed especially suggestive to one who sees things from my angle:

       

      “And given the text’s interest in issues such as circumcision and Sabbath observance, but its lack of interest in Jesus’ death and resurrection, might it not be more helpful to think of Thomas as a Jewish than as a Christian text?”

       

      Tilt.

       

      As I have tried to suggest in recent years, those are not the only options. There were Christians who placed no emphasis on Jesus’ death and resurrection (that is, there were non-Pauline Christians; we need a term and I have called them Alpha Christians). But they were still Christians; that is, their belief and practice came from a reform Judaism which Jesus had preached, with emphasis on the ethical rather than the ritual side of Judaism. This Alpha Christianity had no inordinate interest in Jesus’s sayings, nor did it divinize Jesus himself, except perhaps in the future tense. It focused rather on key scriptural points (that is, key points in the Jewish scriptures) to which Jesus had drawn special attention. It was still Jewish in basic culture, and it drew some of its recitation texts from Jewish prayers (like the Two Ways, originally a separate text but now known chiefly in the form in which it is included as the first section of the Didache). But it developed these details of Jewish heritage in its own distinctive new “reformed” or Galilean context.

       

      Paul is there to tell us, as an eyewitness, that the ritually latitudinarian approach of Peter and other Alpha disciples to things like food purity (they cared nothing for it) suffered a change when James Zebedee was killed and Peter fled Jerusalem, and the resulting void at the top of the Jerusalem Christian leadership was filled by James the Lord’s Brother. James the B it was who renounced the previous latitudinarian Jerusalem ruling on food purity, and send agents to sniff out Paul’s violations (see Galatians). This James Christianity amounted to a reactionary movement among the Alpha Christians of Jerusalem, back toward the orthodoxy of Jewish observance from which Jesus himself had departed.

       

      [Parallels prove nothing, but they help to make the observed intelligible. Exactly the same movement back toward ritual and orthodoxy in an originally more latitudinarian movement occurred in early Confucianism, and it occurred when family members of Confucius took over the Confucian movement from the original disciples. In Confucianism, this occurred 80 years after the death of the founder. The similar retrograde movement in Alpha Christianity took place less than 20 years after the death of the founder. The timetables are thus not absolute, but the typology is familiar, and in this case I think suggestive].

       

      We are now at the year c47, and James the Brother is in charge at Jerusalem. I personally find James the Brother an unlikeable person, but I don’t deny that some at the time thought otherwise. James B evidently became something of a figure in what it is common practice to call Gnostic circles, and he figures also in the late Alpha literature, very notably in the Clementine Recognitions. He also appears in the Nag Hammadi Gnostic library. I think it is safe to say that James B’s ritually reactionary Christianity acquired, at least in some places, a Gnostic character.

       

      The death of the major apostles, Paul in c60 and Peter a few years later under Nero, brought to an end the Apostolic Age, and everybody was intensely aware of it. One huge result was textualization: reducing to consultable reference texts what had been a peripatetically preached and circular-letter expounded doctrine. These texts presently assumed the role of Scripture: in short, the death of the Apostles created the climate in which Christianity produced a functional parallel to the Jewish scriptures. The tendency to regard “faith” as something with a fixed content is evident already in the post-Pauline Pastorals, and the creation of new accounts of Jesus (Luke A and soon afterward Matthew, both of them pre-70 and thus coming very soon after the deaths of Paul and Peter) were another response.

       

      EVENT 1

       

      James the B (if we accept Josephus’ date, or that of his interpolator) died in 62. This event too, for those who followed the James B line in early Christianity, may well have produced a textual response. I now renew my earlier proposal that this response was what I here call the Gospel of James, a group of Jesus sayings reflecting Jamesian Christianity - ritualized, but not necessarily Atonement-fixated, and with some distinctly Gnostic elements. This amounted to items 1-12 of what is now called the Gospel of Thomas. The reason for “12” in a group highly aware of Jewish tradition in certain aspects, I leave to the speculation of the reader. The 12th and last of those sayings paints a literally cosmic portrait of James, a portrait that finds echoes and continuations in the Gnostic and also the later Alpha Christian literature.

       

      That document might have been composed as early as 64. At that date, what repertoire of Jesus sayings was available? The same as was available to Paul (see Koester, Ancient Christian Gospels): the Gospel of Mark, completed (or so I have given reasons to think) in c45, before any of the extant Pauline Epistles, and also before the earliest of the Second Tier Gospels, namely Luke A.

       

      gJas Sources

       

      If we now look at DeConick’s Original Gospel, what parallels and echoes does she find in these 12 passages? Her search is commendably broad, and what she finds is interesting. I think it goes to confirm, or at any rate not to refute, the above suggestion about gJas (=gThos 1-12). First, the Clementine Recognitions occurs repeatedly. This is clearly secondary to gJas, but it shows the persistence of these sayings in that tradition; ClemRec not only makes James an important figure in the narrative, it is aware of gJas as a text. (Wow). Where there are Synoptic parallels in gJas, as is not true for later material in gThos, the relation to Mark seems to be closest.

       

      There are a couple of seeming exceptions, and I note one: gJas  10, “Jesus said, I have cast fire upon the world, and look! I am guarding it until it blazes.” Compare Lk 12:49 (no Mt parallel), “I came to cast fire upon the earth. And would that it were already kindled” (both translations from DeConick). The two do not mean the same thing. What Luke meant by it is adequately signaled by the adjacent Lk 12:50, which in turn is a sort of version of Mk 10:30, and refers to the coming “baptism” (Crucifixion) of Jesus. The image, and the thought, are otherwise alien to Luke, and I think that here we have an outside saying that Luke, and nobody else among the Second Tier Gospel writers, has picked up. Why? Because it was there, and it was there because, in Antioch about the year 66, it was there in Luke’s immediate vicinity.

       

      In what I will continue to call gJas 10, the saying does not refer to Jesus’s death, in which as Bill Arnal well notes, this material has no interest, but in his esoteric teachings, which are the sum and total of gJas’ interest in Jesus. Jesus comes not to die, but to teach Life. Jesus, on earth for the moment, is concerned to protect his teachings, keeping them secret (guarding them) but also available to preferred learners (keeping them). This fits the whole tenor of gJas, as Lk 12:49 greatly fails to fit the tenor of Luke. In this phase, then, we have gJas > Lk A.

       

      EVENT 2

       

      The appearance of Luke A itself, following in very short order by Matthew (a sort of Jerusalem Christian response to Luke, and containing, as Luke had not, a Jamesian reversion to the whole Torah and a miraculous divinization of Jesus) created a new situation along the Jerusalem-Antioch axis in which both seem to have come into being. Regular Christianity had textualized itself, and in an updated form. The Matthean version was even contesting the divinization ground with gJas or the movement behind it.

       

      We next get a response of the gJas people, which was to dump James as their central figure (leaving him to others to develop), and adopt instead Thomas, who now becomes, by insight and no longer by close kinship (though the word Didymus does seem to make a substitute version of that claim). Thomas, of course, brings in the Indian aspect of early Christianity. Let me add parenthetically that to an Asian-aware reader, moving from narrow Mark to the vastly expanded horizon of Mt/Lk is an explosive experience. Stuff is coming in from all quarters, not limited to the Golden Rule (on which see gJas 6:2-3; the James people picked it up first; if this passage were handed to me as a translation of Confucian Analects 12:2, c0326, I would not only give it an A, I would recommend that student for a graduate fellowship). This new Gospel material, Mt/Lk, the gThos people (as we must now call them) proceed to adapt; they ransack the new Second Tier Gospels for stuff that can be made to fit their particular agenda. Not that they couldn’t and didn’t invent their own stuff, but Mt/Lk were the wave of the present, and they wanted it to carry them too.

       

      It is here that the Lk > Thos directionalities, so convincingly expounded in our time, come in.

       

      END

       

      I must quit sooner or later, and this is a good place. I see the following history:

       

      1. Mk

      2. Jerusalem Conference, 44

      3. Ascendency of James B at Jerusalem, c46

      4. Death of Paul, c60

      5. Death of James b, 62

      6. gJas (gTh 1-12), c64, includes Antioch exotica like Golden Rule

      7. Lk A, c67, incorporates the above and gJas 10

      8. Mt, c69, a Jerusalem and divinizing response to Lk A

      9. gThos, responds to and absorbs material from Lk/Mt

       

      NOTE

       

      I ended my previous note with a bookbuying suggestion, here is a conference suggestion. Any theory of early Christianity must include all the texts. The Alpha Christianity theory of early Christianity must do the same, and the above would be my first sketch of how gThos can be accommodated on that model. If it is wrong, it needs to be corrected or replaced; if it is in the right direction, it needs to be pursued and tested by further examination. I would welcome any proposals along that line. The Alpha Christianity discussion group, an open meeting for those interested in that general topic, would be one place where this possibility might be discussed. It is part of the coming SBL meeting in Chicago, and is scheduled for 8 AM, Monday 19 Nov, in the South Building, Room S102d at the McCormick Place Convention Center.

       

      Those interested are welcome to join us. For the full announcement, see p363 of the SBL Program Book, recently mailed. The Project’s Alpha web page, therein referred to, is at

       

      http://www.umass.edu/wsp/alpha/index.html

       

      This page and those to which it leads are being constantly updated; I will presently add a bit on the above idea of gThos. If there are suggestions or corrections, they may be sent at any time, to me at the present address or to the Project from the mail link on every page of the site.

       

      In the category of new opportunities, I might also mention the Project’s new journal, Warring States Papers, debuting later than hoped (v1, cover date 2010, came out only last May), but now operative and receiving manuscripts. Information, including author advisory, and library purchase info, is at

       

      http://www.umass.edu/wsp/journal/index.html

       

      About 1/6 of the annual 256 pages is reserved for NT matter, and items published there will come to the attention of the entire NT community, even if their libraries do not subscribe (though we do recommend this), since those parts of Warring States Papers are being indexed in New Testament Abstracts.

       

      The above is the Thomas suggestion, and these are the associated invitations. I can give further details of either, if anyone would find that useful.

       

      Bruce

       

      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project

      University of Massachusetts at Amherst

       

    • Mike Grondin
      Given your definition of Alpha Christianity, Bruce, it doesn t strike me as a particularly good fit. How about halfway between AC and Marcionism? (Less Jewish
      Message 2 of 14 , Nov 1, 2012
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        Given your definition of Alpha Christianity, Bruce, it doesn't strike me as
        a particularly good fit. How about halfway between AC and Marcionism?
        (Less Jewish than the former, more Jewish than the latter.) Yes, Thomas
        deals in the mileau of basic Jewish history, but it makes a special point to
        distance itself from the prophets. Why do so? To sever the connection
        between Jesus and the Jewish scriptures. Despite what may have been an
        ethnic Judaism, the Yeshuinism of Thomas seems to have been as far
        from Rabbinic Judaism as it was from Beta Christianity.
         
        Mike Grondin
      • E Bruce Brooks
        Mike, The subject is still young. But it might be interesting to graph all 1c Christian or paraChristian documents on a scale, depending on the extent to which
        Message 3 of 14 , Nov 1, 2012
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          Mike,

           

          The subject is still young. But it might be interesting to graph all 1c Christian or paraChristian documents on a scale, depending on the extent to which they rely on the authority of Jewish scriptures or practices. No one linear arrangement will solve all problems with these texts, but it would still be interesting to have that dimension. Thus, though Paul was against food purity, he was a great quoter of the Jewish scripture, at least when it suited him. He was antinomistic but proscriptural, if I may make up those words. Whereas the supposed deuteroPauline text Hebrews goes extremely far back toward Temple sacrifices as the core metaphor for Jesus.

           

          Given James (and after him, Matthew) as reverting toward full nomism, we might have something like this:

           

          James

          Matthew . . . . . . . . . Jesus, Alpha . . . . . . . . . . Paul . . . . . . . . . Marcion

          . . . . . Hebrews

           

          No?

           

          My question would then be, Where on this scale does gThos1-12 fit?

           

          Bruce

           

          E Bruce Brooks

          Warring States Project

          University of Massachusetts at Amherst

           

        • Rick Hubbard
          Bruce’s remarks have some relevance in light of what I have just begun reading: _How Jesus Became Christian- (Barrie Wilson, St Martin’s Press, 2008).
          Message 4 of 14 , Nov 1, 2012
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            Bruce’s remarks have some relevance in light of what I have just begun
            reading: _How Jesus Became Christian- (Barrie Wilson, St Martin’s Press,
            2008).

            Central to Wilson’s argument is that Jesus, his followers and his family
            were all Torah Observant Jews. After Jesus’ execution, and at least until
            about the time James was killed, the Jesus “movement” continued in that mode
            (Wilson’s reasoning behind that assertion I’ll omit). Wilson believes that
            it was Paul who grafted foreign religious elements onto the Jesus tradition.
            The way in which Paul did this became “wildly popular” (especially the part
            about male circumcision being unnecessary, according to Wilson) and in the
            two or three decades between the time of Pauls’ letter to the Galatians and
            the first written gospel the “Christian” elements had become prominent.

            One of the most noticeable features of the Thomas Gospel, from the 10,000
            foot view, is the absence of the resurrection cycle that is prominent in the
            canonical gospels. That has always puzzled me. Perhaps Wilson provides a
            clue to this puzzle and perhaps the Alpha Xty proposed by Bruce is really
            the “same side to two different coins”. Should Thomas (regardless of when it
            was written) be regarded as just another a witness to the development stream
            of a pre-Pauline post -Jesus Judaism?

            These are just some thoughts and an invitation to discuss further

            Rick Hubbard

            From: gthomas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:gthomas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
            Mike Grondin
            Sent: Thursday, November 01, 2012 1:07 PM
            To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [GTh] The Gospel of James

             
            Given your definition of Alpha Christianity, Bruce, it doesn't strike me as
            a particularly good fit. How about halfway between AC and Marcionism?
            (Less Jewish than the former, more Jewish than the latter.) Yes, Thomas
            deals in the mileau of basic Jewish history, but it makes a special point to
            distance itself from the prophets. Why do so? To sever the connection
            between Jesus and the Jewish scriptures. Despite what may have been an
            ethnic Judaism, the Yeshuinism of Thomas seems to have been as far
            from Rabbinic Judaism as it was from Beta Christianity.
             
            Mike Grondin
          • Bob Schacht
            ... I just can t let this pass. You are either ignorant of half a century of 1st century & Patristic scholarship, or have cavalierly tossed it aside. Or
            Message 5 of 14 , Nov 1, 2012
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              At 10:20 AM 11/1/2012, E Bruce Brooks wrote:


              Mike,
               
              The subject is still young.

              I just can't let this pass. You are either ignorant of half a century of 1st century & Patristic scholarship, or have cavalierly tossed it aside.
              Or perhaps you mean the subject of your "Alpha Christianity" is still young, which by inference tosses all previous scholarship aside because they haven't used your terminology or your particular framing of the debate. A little less grandiosity, please.

              Particular works of interest include Joseph B. Tyson's _The New Testament and Early Christianity_ (1990), James D.G. Dunn's _Unity and Diversity in the New Testament_ (1977), and Bauckham's _Jude and the Relatives of Jesus in the Early Church (1990), among many relevant works.

               But it might be interesting to graph all 1c Christian or paraChristian documents on a scale, depending on the extent to which they rely on the authority of Jewish scriptures or practices.

              You only betray your own ignorance with this statement. Just for starters, on this scale you would have to differentiate between Sadducees (who venerated only "the Books of Moses") from the Pharisees (who venerated, in addition, the Prophets and the Wisdom literature), and where would one place the Essene community, and the Zealots (to use only the Josephan sects)?

              No one linear arrangement will solve all problems with these texts,

              This statement I can agree with!

               but it would still be interesting to have that dimension. Thus, though Paul was against food purity, he was a great quoter of the Jewish scripture, at least when it suited him. He was antinomistic but proscriptural, if I may make up those words. Whereas the supposed deuteroPauline text Hebrews goes extremely far back toward Temple sacrifices as the core metaphor for Jesus.
               
              Given James (and after him, Matthew) as reverting toward full nomism, we might have something like this:
               
              James
              Matthew . . . . . . . . . Jesus, Alpha . . . . . . . . . . Paul . . . . . . . . . Marcion
              . . . . . Hebrews

              Sorry, but your graphic seems to have been garbled in cyberspace. Is this meant to portray a polar continuum from James and Matthew to Hebrews, with Jesus, Alpha, Paul, and Marcion lined up in between?

              My question would then be, Where on this scale does gThos1-12 fit?

              After declaiming, correctly, that "No one linear arrangement will solve all problems with these texts," you go on to return to your own favorite linear arrangement that seems to you the key to solve many of the problems of these texts. And why do you continue to ignore the Gospel of the Ebionites and other early non-Biblical Christian (your "paraChristian"? Psuedepigrapha?) texts such as are easily accessible in Barnstone's "The Other Bible" and elsewhere?

              I would prefer a more multi-dimensional approach, employing at least two such factors,
              • The divinity (or not) of Jesus [Christology]
              • What is required for salvation? (Soteriology]
              My mentor on these subjects is the patristic scholar Thomas Kopecek who, in an unpublished manuscript, wrote,
              We need to stress that during the first three centuries of the Jesus movement the Christologies taught by its various groups were remarkably different.
              From this perspective, your polar scale proposal makes little sense.

              If my rant is off-target, please clarify.

              Bob Schacht
              Northern Arizona University
            • Rick Hubbard
              With respect to Bruce’s desire to graphically illustrate the extent to which first century writings “rely on the authority of Jewish scriptures or
              Message 6 of 14 , Nov 1, 2012
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                With respect to Bruce’s desire to graphically illustrate the extent to
                which first century writings “rely on the authority of Jewish scriptures or
                practices”, I don’t know whether that would feasible or not, however I can
                tell you what shape of the graph should probably be:

                Imagine a pipe with a funnel at each end, with the pointy end of each funnel
                pointing out from the pipe. What goes in at one end is some primal “Jesus”
                element. What comes out at the other end is Christianity. All you would need
                to do is identify the data points for all the material whirling inside the
                pipe. Does that really sound like something that would be feasible?

                Rick Hubbard

                From: gthomas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:gthomas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
                Bob Schacht
                Sent: Thursday, November 01, 2012 3:06 PM
                To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: RE: [GTh] The Gospel of James

                 
                At 10:20 AM 11/1/2012, E Bruce Brooks wrote:

                Mike,
                 
                The subject is still young.

                I just can't let this pass. You are either ignorant of half a century of 1st
                century & Patristic scholarship, or have cavalierly tossed it aside.
                Or perhaps you mean the subject of your "Alpha Christianity" is still young,
                which by inference tosses all previous scholarship aside because they
                haven't used your terminology or your particular framing of the debate. A
                little less grandiosity, please.

                Particular works of interest include Joseph B. Tyson's _The New Testament
                and Early Christianity_ (1990), James D.G. Dunn's _Unity and Diversity in
                the New Testament_ (1977), and Bauckham's _Jude and the Relatives of Jesus
                in the Early Church (1990), among many relevant works.


                 But it might be interesting to graph all 1c Christian or paraChristian
                documents on a scale, depending on the extent to which they rely on the
                authority of Jewish scriptures or practices.

                You only betray your own ignorance with this statement. Just for starters,
                on this scale you would have to differentiate between Sadducees (who
                venerated only "the Books of Moses") from the Pharisees (who venerated, in
                addition, the Prophets and the Wisdom literature), and where would one place
                the Essene community, and the Zealots (to use only the Josephan sects)?


                No one linear arrangement will solve all problems with these texts,

                This statement I can agree with!


                 but it would still be interesting to have that dimension. Thus, though Paul
                was against food purity, he was a great quoter of the Jewish scripture, at
                least when it suited him. He was antinomistic but proscriptural, if I may
                make up those words. Whereas the supposed deuteroPauline text Hebrews goes
                extremely far back toward Temple sacrifices as the core metaphor for Jesus.
                 
                Given James (and after him, Matthew) as reverting toward full nomism, we
                might have something like this:
                 
                James
                Matthew . . . . . . . . . Jesus, Alpha . . . . . . . . . . Paul . . . . . .
                . . . Marcion
                . . . . . Hebrews

                Sorry, but your graphic seems to have been garbled in cyberspace. Is this
                meant to portray a polar continuum from James and Matthew to Hebrews, with
                Jesus, Alpha, Paul, and Marcion lined up in between?


                My question would then be, Where on this scale does gThos1-12 fit?

                After declaiming, correctly, that "No one linear arrangement will solve all
                problems with these texts," you go on to return to your own favorite linear
                arrangement that seems to you the key to solve many of the problems of these
                texts. And why do you continue to ignore the Gospel of the Ebionites and
                other early non-Biblical Christian (your "paraChristian"? Psuedepigrapha?)
                texts such as are easily accessible in Barnstone's "The Other Bible" and
                elsewhere?

                I would prefer a more multi-dimensional approach, employing at least two
                such factors,
                • The divinity (or not) of Jesus [Christology]
                • What is required for salvation? (Soteriology]
                My mentor on these subjects is the patristic scholar Thomas Kopecek who, in
                an unpublished manuscript, wrote,
                We need to stress that during the first three centuries of the Jesus
                movement the Christologies taught by its various groups were remarkably
                different.
                From this perspective, your polar scale proposal makes little sense.

                If my rant is off-target, please clarify.

                Bob Schacht
                Northern Arizona University
              • E Bruce Brooks
                To: GThos In Response To: Rick On: Graphic Representations From: Bruce Rick: Imagine a pipe with a funnel at each end, with the pointy end of each funnel
                Message 7 of 14 , Nov 1, 2012
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                  To: GThos
                  In Response To: Rick
                  On: Graphic Representations
                  From: Bruce

                  Rick: Imagine a pipe with a funnel at each end, with the pointy end of each
                  funnel pointing out from the pipe. What goes in at one end is some primal
                  "Jesus"
                  element. What comes out at the other end is Christianity

                  Bruce: This is a vertical, or timeline picture. I was working on the
                  horizontal dimension, but the vertical surely has its interest also. Still,
                  I am not sure how pointy the ends of the vertical model should be. The later
                  end in particular: were there not more kinds of Christianity at the end of
                  the funnel, say in the year 100, than there were at the beginning? If not,
                  how do we explain Epiphanius?

                  And how pointy is even the beginning end? Into the swirl of developing
                  Christianities, it seems to me, there were several feeder streams. One, and
                  from that we give it the name Christianity, was the life and teaching of
                  Jesus. That is more or less definitional. But the influence of Judaism
                  certainly did not stop with Jesus's take on Judaism, but continued to be
                  productive (though seemingly in different ways and different degrees with
                  different groups). Marcion and others resisted this input, but that is not
                  evidence that there was no input; perhaps rather the contrary.

                  Without much effort, we can also think of the Greek mystery religions, the
                  influence of secular teaching in Greek (this is the Progymnasmata angle, to
                  which much attention has recently been devoted), and the presence of what
                  people call Gnosticism. Since there exists a Jewish Gnosticism, it is
                  probably not adequate to call Gnosticism as a whole a splitoff from
                  Christianity; it seems better to identify it as one more input. It had its
                  influence on Christian groups, but it also seems to have had its own ongoing
                  history, sometimes colored by Platonism and sometimes not.

                  So I would tend to prefer a different physical model.

                  And how "primal" is even Jesus? Was Jesus unprecedented, a bolt out of
                  nowhere? Or was he in a tradition too? He was of course Jewish; that point
                  seems to have been gained. But if we consider where the Markan Jesus (the
                  earliest one we have) locates himself within Judaism, it is in a particular
                  corner of Judaism, the one partly defined by the Psalms and the Minor
                  Prophets. And standing ahead of him in that tradition is surely John the
                  Baptist, the persistence of whose movement Mark surely documents, and
                  perhaps also the Mandaean tradition, highly developed though that later
                  became. (One reversion in Christianity is back toward full Torah, as in
                  James the Brother and Matthew, but another is back toward the practices of
                  the parent Baptist movement, as witness the rite of baptism itself, which
                  gJn still remembers was not the practice of Jesus, but only of his
                  disciples.

                  This is all elementary, I suppose, but I think it suffices to make the
                  pointy funnel model questionable.

                  Bruce

                  E Bruce Brooks
                  Warring States Project
                  University of Massachusetts at Amherst
                • E Bruce Brooks
                  To: gThos In Response To: Bob Schacht On: Whatever From: Bruce [In a note to Mike Grondin, taking up his comment about the degrees of Jewishness in various
                  Message 8 of 14 , Nov 1, 2012
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                    To: gThos

                    In Response To: Bob Schacht

                    On: Whatever

                    From: Bruce

                     

                    [In a note to Mike Grondin, taking up his comment about the degrees of Jewishness in various Christianities, I had remarked]:

                     

                    Bruce: The subject is still young.

                     

                    [and there came this response from Bob Schacht]:


                    Bob: I just can't let this pass. You are either ignorant of half a century of 1st century & Patristic scholarship, or have cavalierly tossed it aside. Or perhaps you mean the subject of your "Alpha Christianity" is still young, which by inference tosses all previous scholarship aside because they haven't used your terminology or your particular framing of the debate. A little less grandiosity, please.

                     

                    Bruce: I didn’t think my remark was especially grandiose. It referred to the question of degrees of Jewishness, but that in turn came out of how to locate gThos, or its earliest segment, in terms of the Alpha Christianity model, so Bob’s second reading is sufficiently correct for present purposes.  Let me then take it up.

                     

                    What is it with the “Alpha Christianity” idea? Is it new, or as I have formulated it, does it disacknowledge previous discoveries or claims of the same sort? I can respond, and I guess I should, though it will require some detail, and in so doing I ask the patience of those who, on other lists or at SBL sessions, have heard some or all of it before.

                     

                    In a word, I would suggest that what I call Alpha Christianity is not just a new label for an old thing. It is in effect a new thing; a new recognition of an old but previously unrecognized fact about Christian history. The germ of the difference lies in my earlier comment to Bill Arnal: that between the “Jewish” and “Christian” alternatives which he mentions, there is a third alternative, one not customarily recognized (as his dichotomy in effect illustrates) in discussions of the ideological affinity of a given text. The discussion at several of the SBL Didache sessions, which centers, and inconclusively centers, on that same, to my mind too simple, Jewish or Christian dichotomy, is further witness; those present will easily recall others.

                     

                    The theory to which the term “Alpha Christianity” gives a name points, as important, to the fact that several known texts, both canonical and not, though contextually Christian, fail to mention the Resurrection in places where we would expect it. This is the unrecognized Christianity. Those texts would include:

                     

                    (1) The Epistle of James, which to Luther’s great disgust does not preach the Resurrection.

                     

                    (2) The Didache and the incorporated Two Ways text, concerning which scholars within the current calendar year debate whether it is Jewish or Christian, without considering whether there is a third option. Even in the liturgical sections of the Didache, even in the Eucharist prayers, these texts do not mention the Resurrection. One can search many a Didache commentary without seeing that lack noted, or commented upon; the excellent little commentary of Wlll Varner does not note it, and (as I have ascertained by checking with him) the author in fact denies that the Didache people lacked the Resurrection concept, and is proceeding to write further studies taking that line.

                     

                    (3) The hymn embedded in Philippians 2, which Fitzmyer acknowledges does not mention the Resurrection, though he goes on to assert that this does not prove that the church in Philippi lacked that concept.

                     

                    That makes three from the 1st century. From later times, and showing continued vitality, the pseudoClementine literature, in which Peter preaches endlessly, but somehow without ever mentioning the Resurrection of Jesus. Especially at that date, this is surely an amazing omission.

                     

                    This is quite an array. But as one NT scholar remarked, after hearing one of my recent SBL presentations, This stuff has been in plain sight for a long time, but you are the first person to put it together. He knows more about current scholarship than I do, and I take it, as a working hypothesis, that he was correct.

                     

                    Beyond that, there are more Alpha texts, not lying in plain sight, but having to be dug out of existing and more complicated texts, just as Lohmeyer dug the hymn out of Philippians. As far as I know, in these instances or their most complete form, it is myself who has done the digging. Those texts (and my claim to priority in those results) are as follows:

                     

                    (4) 1 John. It can be shown (or at any rate, in another SBL paper, I sought to show) that the forever perplexing 1 John can be resolved into a statement by an Alpha church, which has been interlineated with a Beta (or Resurrection Christianity) response, the whole then counting as a Beta document, albeit one whose continual internal contradictions have resisted mere segmentation, as O’Neill and others have shown by their efforts – in my opinion and that of some others, unsuccessful efforts - to solve it that way.

                     

                    (5) Mark. This is a stratified text, with early layers later than the later layers. Only the later layers of Mark are in contact with Paul and with the Resurrection doctrine. Mark has been stratified before, specifically by von Soden and Wendling at the beginning of the 20c, but their versions received no scholarly acceptance, and indeed they were too largely impressionistic. For one thing, they did not rely on the evidence of interpolation, which in my view is the key to the matter. At mid-century, Taylor showed the stratified character of the Markan Apocalypse, but he put it at the back of his book, and his book overall did not openly disturb the integral consensus about Mark. At the beginning of the present century, Adela Yarbro Collins, again at the back of the book (see p819), produced a stratification of the Markan Passion Narrative, in which the original version of that text entirely lacks the Resurrection narrative; it ends – repeat, it ends – with Mk 15:38, the Rending of the Veil. Again, Adela does not put this into her main treatment of Mark, and one eminent NT person (in fact, the very Richard Bauckham to whom Bob later refers) cited her commentary to me, in a private conversation, as proof that modern scholars uphold the integrity – the unstratifiedness – of Mark. Adela herself (with whom I was in contact both before and after the appearance of her commentary; my copy of the commentary is signed by her), definitely declines to apply to the rest of Mark the method which, to my mind, she so successfully applied to the Passion Narrative. That leaves the field open to someone else. As far as I know, I am at present the someone else. And since Bob seems to have raised the issue of priority, when was did my activity begin? Or more to the point, as scholarly priority is usually judged, when was it first made available to the scholarly community? My first proposal for a stratification of Mark was made, before an SBL audience, a year before the appearance of Adela’s commentary. The title of that presentation was Structural Evolution in Mark, the venue was SBL/NE, and the date was 21 Apr 2006. Adela’s commentary came out in 2007. Adela, as noted, does not see the whole of Mark as stratified. But if someone wanted to make that claim on her behalf, which of us in fact would have priority?

                     

                    (6) Luke. As some present will be aware, I observed years ago (first on the Synoptic list, and later in a formal presentation at national SBL) that the relocation of passages in Luke proves that Luke was composed in more than one phase, which I call Luke A and Luke B. Later development of that work has reached a three-stage model: Luke A (followed by Matthew), Luke B (incorporation some of Matthew’s best ideas, and also extending the Lukan corpus to the first part of Acts), and Luke C (extending Acts to its present size, in which Paul’s failure to convince the Jews of Rome is made to be the defining point, and indeed the separation point, for the Christian future).

                     

                    The interest of this, besides its merely philological charm (it incorporates the findings of several earlier scholars, including Torrey, but as part of a structure with a different tendency and meaning, avoiding for example Torrey’s translation scenario, which with many others I consider untenable), is that it shows Luke A as another unsuspected Alpha document. And why? Because not only does Luke in his Gospel refuse to copy the two places in which Mark, in some of the last additions to his Gospel, acknowledges the Atonement doctrine, the strong form of the Resurrection doctrine, but also, in his extended treatment of Paul, depicts Paul (get this) as never preaching the Atonement. The Paul who wrote Corinthians and Romans would surely be astonished, perhaps even indignant, at this picture of himself, which is reason to think it was not perpetrated during Paul’s lifetime. Further, on close examination, Luke’s debt to traditions like the one preserved in the Epistle of James, most obviously James’s extreme championing of the poor against the rich (also passionate and extreme in Luke A, though somewhat modified and tempered in Luke B, probably as a response to Matthew, who was appealing all too successfully to the well-to-do among the Gospel readership).

                     

                    One perhaps useful detail of this three-stage view of Luke is that it not only explains some anomalies in that text (such as the Nazareth scene coming earlier than the events to which it refers), but also incorporates the part of Goulder’s New Paradigm that was directionally convincing, and completes it with a directionally more accurate account of the other parts, thus disposing, in a different but I think more convincing way, of the specter of Q.

                     

                    My SBL paper on Luke got a positive reception at SBL (where the question of Goulder did come up in the question period), and the leader of that section, Paul Elbert, found it methodologically convincing; Paul presided over last year’s meeting of the annual Alpha Christianity meeting at SBL. I do not claim him as a supporter; that would be presumptuous. But neither he nor anyone in the original SBL audience (November 2007, the title, which in view of a mistaken enthusiasm of Streeter and Taylor was perhaps ill-chosen, was Prolegomena to Proto-Luke) has suggested that this result, such as it may be, was significantly anticipated by any earlier scholarship.

                     

                    That makes three new additions to the roster of non-Resurrection texts, for a total of 6 in the 1st century (plus one, the Clementine Recognitions, from later on). That is, my original researches, not wholly without precedent or parallel, but reaching results essentially new, have doubled the documentation for a 1st century Alpha or non-Resurrection form of Christianity. The additions come from the Markan beginning, the Lukan middle, and the Johannine end, of our documentation for 1st century Christianity. The case for Alpha, even if someone *had* posited it on the basis of previously available texts, which on present showing they had not, has been significantly strengthened as a result.

                     

                     

                    Anyone is free to disagree with these findings, and they have, in large numbers. But since it has come up, I think that, whether they are right or wrong, I am responsible for them.

                     

                    Bob thinks I have overlooked Dunn et al. Not true. In the recent summa of Dunn (and the parallel but differently disappointing summa of Meier, also still in progress), though both are beautifully printed and extensively argued, I don’t in the end find much that takes us beyond the previous understanding of the Gospel evidence for Jesus. For one thing, both accept the Lukan history of Christianity, as “beginning from Jerusalem.” I have argued that this is just Luke’s idea; Christianity actually began and prospered in, and was first propagated from, Galilee. (See again my SBL paper of a few years ago, The Secret History of the Twelve).

                     

                    The very idea that there could be an Alpha Christianity (that is, a Christianity without the Resurrection doctrine and its further development, the Atonement doctrine) strikes many in our time as simply absurd. I have repeatedly gotten that reaction from individuals, on E-lists and at face sessions at SBL. Those individuals regard the Resurrection as virtually definitive for Christianity. And so it is – but for Pauline Christianity. It is one of those accidents of history that modern Christianity is Pauline Christianity; it certainly could have gone in another direction, and for quite a while, it was indeed trying to go in several other directions. Paul himself is witness to continued and sometimes moral conflict with people who did not accept the Resurrection. If Christ was not raised, he says at one point, then our faith is vain. That view came to dominate what we can only call orthodox Christianity. The point, however, for me, is that to be orthodox is not necessarily to be original.

                     

                    As Walter Bauer noted in his important study Orthodoxy and Heresy, what are later regarded as heresies may not be perverse departures from an original doctrine; they may be instead earlier stages of the doctrine, condemned by the later stages as now inconsistent with preferred belief. It was promptly noted, by Strecker and others, that Bauer dealt with 2nd century cases, but declined to push his dangerous idea into the hot 1st century. Nor has anybody since, in any systematic way, as far as I know.

                     

                    Except perhaps myself. I herewith claim that those on whom Paul pronounces a curse at the end of  1 Cor (anathema, unquote; 1 Cor 16:22), and against whom he dispute theology in Romans, are the same people as he sought to persecute in his younger days. They are the original Christians, the pre-Resurrection Christians, who before the appearance of the Resurrection doctrine, which is an idea which arose at some point after the death of Jesus, had evidently spread not only to Paul’s neighborhood in Antioch, but to Alexandria (one convert being Apollos), Greece (Philippi, Corinth) and Rome. This earliest belief was thus not some momentary flicker, it was a bolt of lightning, and in that earliest form, it traveled far and fast, and in some places survived in recognizable form for centuries. Paul and his particular theology are not the first wave of Christian missionarizing, but the second, and everywhere the second wave went, it found in being, and contested the ground with, the converts of the first wave.

                     

                    Or so the results of the Alpha investigation tend to suggest. As to the ultimate success of that investigation, in terms of wider scholarly convincement in the present century, the jury is of course still out.

                     

                    If I and my colleagues have overlooked precise precedents not mentioned above, for any of the above, I will be glad to be informed of them. And if anyone in present company is interested in pursuing these possibilities themselves, in company with others, into the unfolding 21st century, I repeat my invitation to attend the open Alpha planning session at the coming SBL meeting. To mention no other points, the place of Thomas, in whole or part, in that picture of early Christian history could use a lot of work. For details of the meeting, see my previous note, or the SBL Program Book, p363.

                     

                    Bruce

                     

                    E Bruce Brooks

                    Warring States Project

                    University of Massachusetts at Amherst

                     

                  • E Bruce Brooks
                    To: GThos In Response To: Rick On: Jesus and Torah From: Bruce Rick, noting a recent publication (Wilson 2008), had characterized it thus: Rick: Central to
                    Message 9 of 14 , Nov 1, 2012
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                      To: GThos
                      In Response To: Rick
                      On: Jesus and Torah
                      From: Bruce

                      Rick, noting a recent publication (Wilson 2008), had characterized it thus:

                      Rick: Central to Wilson's argument is that Jesus, his followers and his
                      family were all Torah Observant Jews

                      Bruce: That has been said several times before, perhaps first by Matthew.
                      But it contradicts evidence from Mark, not suppressed in Matthew, that
                      Jesus's own account of his idea of the Commandments (Mk 10:19, slightly
                      expanded in Mt 19:18, with the elimination of Jesus's new rule about fraud
                      and the addition of the Love your Neighbor rule) did not go beyond what is
                      called the Second Table of the Decalogue, plus the repeated incidents in
                      Mark, largely preserved in Matthew, that show Jesus intentionally violating
                      the Sabbath law, a provision of the First Table.

                      I think the contradiction dooms the theory, even if (as some today still do)
                      we regard Matthew as the first and thus the most authoritative of the
                      Gospels. What Matthew has done is to add some sentences like the "jot and
                      tittle" statement, which contradict the burden of what Matthew has inherited
                      from Mark. But the inheritance, whether or not construed as such, renders
                      the Matthean position internally contradicted, and thus questionable.
                      Matthew is soft on the disciples, but even more significantly, he is soft on
                      the Pharisees.

                      Matthew is now first in the canon because it had become dominant already in
                      the 1c, as the study by Massaux shows in simply stupefying detail. As
                      Marcion found when his attempt to detach Christianity from Judaism failed,
                      and he himself was branded a heretic, the basing of Jesus theory on Jewish
                      scriptural predictions, a device which Matthew most fully developed, and
                      thus the dependence of Christianity on Judaism, which it proceeded, at least
                      textually, to expropriate for its purposes, had simply gone too far to be
                      reconsidered.

                      Rick (further): One of the most noticeable features of the Thomas Gospel,
                      from the 10,000 foot view, is the absence of the resurrection cycle that is
                      prominent in the canonical gospels. That has always puzzled me. Perhaps
                      Wilson provides a clue to this puzzle and perhaps the Alpha Xty proposed by
                      Bruce is really the "same side to two different coins". Should Thomas
                      (regardless of when it was written) be regarded as just another a witness to
                      the development stream of a pre-Pauline post -Jesus Judaism?

                      Bruce: As noted, I don't find the Wilson view (as Rick reports it) tenable.
                      I think it violates the historical order of the Gospels, and thus the rule
                      that early evidence is normally best evidence. But the absence of the
                      Resurrection from gThos is nevertheless striking. How it is to be explained
                      can perhaps best be discussed by those who know gThos really well, in its
                      Nag Hammadi and other context. My impression at this moment is that Gnosis,
                      or mystical knowledge of one sort or another, is in gThos something like a
                      substitute for the saving power of Jesus' death in Pauline Christianity, and
                      of course the scenario of ascent through the hostile powers to the final
                      stage has the same function in gThos that the Last Judgement has in the
                      Gospels. One would not expect two methods of salvation to appear side by
                      side in the same text, and it is not surprising that they don't. The
                      question, for me, is where the other scenario came from.

                      As to chronology, I earlier suggested that what to me seems to be the core
                      of gThos, namely its #1-12, ending in mystical veneration of James the B,
                      may have preceded the Second Tier Gospels, being indebted to Mark (and to a
                      bunch of other presumptively early stuff, conceivably including the Gospel
                      of the Hebrews, on which see again DeConick's notes), but to none of the
                      Second Tier Gospels. This puts what I have called the Gospel of James
                      (another term might be Proto-Thomas) in the same position relative to Mark
                      as Paul, whose notion of Jesus sayings seem to have derived in significant
                      part from Mark (see again Koester). But the balance of the gThos text, the
                      explicitly Thomas portion, seems to be post-Lukan and post-Matthean, as many
                      have argued, most recently (in book form) Mark Goodacre. I find those
                      arguments convincing, and have done so since some of them were first aired
                      on the old Synoptic list.

                      I thus don't think it works to analyze Thomas as a unity. Even toward the
                      end, there are too many clear cadence points, some of which were pointed out
                      a bit ago by Mike Grondin on this list. I treat these as overridden endings.
                      And there is the reference to James the B, in gThos 12, which seems to me
                      irresolvably weird if we posit a text which from the beginning identified
                      Thomas as its patron figure.

                      As for the 10,000 foot view of Thomas, which indeed shows no Resurrection
                      traces, I suggested in an earlier note that a similarly comprehensive view
                      of Mark, one which acknowledges and takes account of the stratification of
                      Mark, and concentrates only on the early strata, equally shows no
                      Resurrection traces. The fragment of Mark reconstructed by Adela Yarbro
                      Collins (see again p819 of her commentary) again shows no Resurrection
                      traces; hers might be called a 10,000 foot view of perhaps 5% of the
                      waterfront.

                      The whole waterfront, as I have been reporting since 2006 or so, is no less
                      interesting, and entirely consistent. No Resurrection. Something else
                      instead.

                      Bruce

                      E Bruce Brooks
                      Warring States Project
                      University of Massachusetts at Amherst
                    • Rick Hubbard
                      Hi Bruce- Actually I guess what didn t come through in my remarks about the pipe (and the graph idea in general) was just how far into my cheek my lounge was
                      Message 10 of 14 , Nov 2, 2012
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                        Hi Bruce-

                         

                        Actually I guess what didn’t come through in my remarks about the pipe (and the graph idea in general) was just how far into my cheek my lounge was stuck. So, yes the “pointy funnel model” is indeed “questionable”.

                         

                        Having said that, however, I continue to be plagued by the question of where Thomas “fits” in this pot of soup. Perhaps better still, I am plagued by the question of what tools are most appropriate for answering the preceding question. Obviously the only artifacts we have to work with are an assortment of texts, of which GThomas is one among many. It is tempting to say (but I won’t) that exclusively textcentric approaches to answering the question of fit is too often like shearing pigs: lots of noise but very little wool.

                         

                        Rick

                         

                        From: gthomas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:gthomas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of E Bruce Brooks
                        Sent: Thursday, November 01, 2012 5:49 PM
                        To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
                        Subject: RE: [GTh] The Gospel of James

                         

                         

                        To: GThos
                        In Response To: Rick
                        On: Graphic Representations
                        From: Bruce

                        Rick: Imagine a pipe with a funnel at each end, with the pointy end of each
                        funnel pointing out from the pipe. What goes in at one end is some primal
                        "Jesus"
                        element. What comes out at the other end is Christianity

                        Bruce: This is a vertical, or timeline picture. I was working on the
                        horizontal dimension, but the vertical surely has its interest also. Still,
                        I am not sure how pointy the ends of the vertical model should be. The later
                        end in particular: were there not more kinds of Christianity at the end of
                        the funnel, say in the year 100, than there were at the beginning? If not,
                        how do we explain Epiphanius?

                        And how pointy is even the beginning end? Into the swirl of developing
                        Christianities, it seems to me, there were several feeder streams. One, and
                        from that we give it the name Christianity, was the life and teaching of
                        Jesus. That is more or less definitional. But the influence of Judaism
                        certainly did not stop with Jesus's take on Judaism, but continued to be
                        productive (though seemingly in different ways and different degrees with
                        different groups). Marcion and others resisted this input, but that is not
                        evidence that there was no input; perhaps rather the contrary.

                        Without much effort, we can also think of the Greek mystery religions, the
                        influence of secular teaching in Greek (this is the Progymnasmata angle, to
                        which much attention has recently been devoted), and the presence of what
                        people call Gnosticism. Since there exists a Jewish Gnosticism, it is
                        probably not adequate to call Gnosticism as a whole a splitoff from
                        Christianity; it seems better to identify it as one more input. It had its
                        influence on Christian groups, but it also seems to have had its own ongoing
                        history, sometimes colored by Platonism and sometimes not.

                        So I would tend to prefer a different physical model.

                        And how "primal" is even Jesus? Was Jesus unprecedented, a bolt out of
                        nowhere? Or was he in a tradition too? He was of course Jewish; that point
                        seems to have been gained. But if we consider where the Markan Jesus (the
                        earliest one we have) locates himself within Judaism, it is in a particular
                        corner of Judaism, the one partly defined by the Psalms and the Minor
                        Prophets. And standing ahead of him in that tradition is surely John the
                        Baptist, the persistence of whose movement Mark surely documents, and
                        perhaps also the Mandaean tradition, highly developed though that later
                        became. (One reversion in Christianity is back toward full Torah, as in
                        James the Brother and Matthew, but another is back toward the practices of
                        the parent Baptist movement, as witness the rite of baptism itself, which
                        gJn still remembers was not the practice of Jesus, but only of his
                        disciples.

                        This is all elementary, I suppose, but I think it suffices to make the
                        pointy funnel model questionable.

                        Bruce

                        E Bruce Brooks
                        Warring States Project
                        University of Massachusetts at Amherst

                      • E Bruce Brooks
                        Rick, Nice joke, but I don t think the situation is quite that bad. When two texts inhabit the same time, they can reflect the character of that time, and in
                        Message 11 of 14 , Nov 2, 2012
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                          Rick,

                           

                          Nice joke, but I don’t think the situation is quite that bad.

                           

                          When two texts inhabit the same time, they can reflect the character of that time, and in addition one can reflect the other. The latter is what we call directionality. If one of the two texts was composed in spurts, giving both a later and an earlier part, then a contemporary text can be both before and after it. This can give what we call bidirectionality. Matthew and Luke show bidirectionality. I have suggested that gThos 1-12 and Luke also show bidirectionality. If so, that argues a close, or even intimate, relationship between the two. Which is surely a gain for our understanding of how they fit with each other, and with their common environment.

                           

                          Not that this or anything else solves all the problems, but it’s perhaps a step in the right direction.

                           

                          Another point: the Didache is one of the major Alpha texts (to use my name for the group of non-Resurrection Christian texts). It grew on its own, and then at some point, it was interpolated with a set of Matthean echoes. That’s one item.

                           

                          The socalled gThos (not a Gospel in the normally accepted sense of the word), if my suggestion proves out, may originally have had a small Jamesian core. But then at some point it extended itself using much material from Mt and Lk. That’s another item.

                           

                          The pattern is not exactly parallel, but the use of Mt/Lk following an initial independent phase is sufficiently parallel to be interesting. Then primitive gThos and the original Didache occupy the same position vis-a-vis Matthew. Hmmm. Then we ask . . .

                           

                          Or else we don’t. But I think the possibility of asking useful questions has not been exhausted by such of the secondary literature as I am aware of.

                           

                          Bruce

                           

                          E Bruce Brooks

                          Warring States Project

                          University of Massachusetts at Amherst

                           

                        • David
                          From my perspective, I think that the view that Christianity changed in various significant ways in the first 2 centuries is right on the money, as is the view
                          Message 12 of 14 , Nov 2, 2012
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                            From my perspective, I think that the view that Christianity changed in various significant ways in the first 2 centuries is right on the money, as is the view that a number of the biblical (and non-biblical) Christian documents that we see today have been subject to change, and that some may have initially been significantly different in their original form (e.g. Chapters 1-2 not being originally in Lk).

                            Given that (I assume) relatively non-controversial position, isn't it time to re-consider whether the 2nd century heretics were just the 'losers' in a struggle for dominance between the various Christian factions, and that we should really consider all these people and groups to be different 'flavors' of Christians? By the way, I think that the term 'Alpha Christian' should not be used in this context (sorry Bruce), because this term has been used since the 70's to denote a particular type of Christian teaching.

                            David Inglis, Lafayette, CA, 94549, USA

                            --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, Bob Schacht <bobschacht@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > At 10:20 AM 11/1/2012, E Bruce Brooks wrote:
                            >
                            >
                            > >Mike,
                            > >
                            > >The subject is still young.
                            >
                            > I just can't let this pass. You are either ignorant of half a century
                            > of 1st century & Patristic scholarship, or have cavalierly tossed it aside.
                            > Or perhaps you mean the subject of your "Alpha Christianity" is still
                            > young, which by inference tosses all previous scholarship aside
                            > because they haven't used your terminology or your particular framing
                            > of the debate. A little less grandiosity, please.
                            >
                            > Particular works of interest include Joseph B. Tyson's _The New
                            > Testament and Early Christianity_ (1990), James D.G. Dunn's _Unity
                            > and Diversity in the New Testament_ (1977), and Bauckham's _Jude and
                            > the Relatives of Jesus in the Early Church (1990), among many relevant works.
                            >
                            > > But it might be interesting to graph all 1c Christian or
                            > > paraChristian documents on a scale, depending on the extent to
                            > > which they rely on the authority of Jewish scriptures or practices.
                            >
                            > You only betray your own ignorance with this statement. Just for
                            > starters, on this scale you would have to differentiate between
                            > Sadducees (who venerated only "the Books of Moses") from the
                            > Pharisees (who venerated, in addition, the Prophets and the Wisdom
                            > literature), and where would one place the Essene community, and the
                            > Zealots (to use only the Josephan sects)?
                            >
                            > >No one linear arrangement will solve all problems with these texts,
                            >
                            > This statement I can agree with!
                            >
                            > > but it would still be interesting to have that dimension. Thus,
                            > > though Paul was against food purity, he was a great quoter of the
                            > > Jewish scripture, at least when it suited him. He was antinomistic
                            > > but proscriptural, if I may make up those words. Whereas the
                            > > supposed deuteroPauline text Hebrews goes extremely far back toward
                            > > Temple sacrifices as the core metaphor for Jesus.
                            > >
                            > >Given James (and after him, Matthew) as reverting toward full
                            > >nomism, we might have something like this:
                            > >
                            > >James
                            > >Matthew . . . . . . . . . Jesus, Alpha . . . . . . . . . . Paul . .
                            > >. . . . . . . Marcion
                            > >. . . . . Hebrews
                            >
                            > Sorry, but your graphic seems to have been garbled in cyberspace. Is
                            > this meant to portray a polar continuum from James and Matthew to
                            > Hebrews, with Jesus, Alpha, Paul, and Marcion lined up in between?
                            >
                            > >My question would then be, Where on this scale does gThos1-12 fit?
                            >
                            > After declaiming, correctly, that "No one linear arrangement will
                            > solve all problems with these texts," you go on to return to your own
                            > favorite linear arrangement that seems to you the key to solve many
                            > of the problems of these texts. And why do you continue to ignore the
                            > Gospel of the Ebionites and other early non-Biblical Christian (your
                            > "paraChristian"? Psuedepigrapha?) texts such as are easily accessible
                            > in Barnstone's "The Other Bible" and elsewhere?
                            >
                            > I would prefer a more multi-dimensional approach, employing at least
                            > two such factors,
                            > * The divinity (or not) of Jesus [Christology]
                            > * What is required for salvation? (Soteriology]
                            > My mentor on these subjects is the patristic scholar Thomas Kopecek
                            > who, in an unpublished manuscript, wrote,
                            > We need to stress that during the first three centuries of the Jesus
                            > movement the Christologies taught by its various groups were
                            > remarkably different.
                            > From this perspective, your polar scale proposal makes little sense.
                            >
                            > If my rant is off-target, please clarify.
                            >
                            > Bob Schacht
                            > Northern Arizona University
                            >
                          • Bob Schacht
                            ... Absolutely! IIRC, is this not the point of Pagels Gnostic Gospels? And Bart Ehrman s Lost Christianities? And other similar books? Indeed, we now even
                            Message 13 of 14 , Nov 2, 2012
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                              At 11:15 AM 11/2/2012, David wrote:
                              From my perspective, I think that the view that Christianity changed in various significant ways in the first 2 centuries is right on the money, as is the view that a number of the biblical (and non-biblical) Christian documents that we see today have been subject to change, and that some may have initially been significantly different in their original form (e.g. Chapters 1-2 not being originally in Lk).

                              Given that (I assume) relatively non-controversial position, isn't it time to re-consider whether the 2nd century heretics were just the 'losers' in a struggle for dominance between the various Christian factions, and that we should really consider all these people and groups to be different 'flavors' of Christians?

                              Absolutely! IIRC, is this not the point of Pagels' Gnostic Gospels? And Bart Ehrman's Lost Christianities? And other similar books? Indeed, we now even have The Gnostic Bible: Revised and Expanded Edition by Willis Barnstone and Marvin Meyer (Jun 30, 2009).
                              In fact, the whole scholarly apparatus of denying privileged status to the books of the NT leads us in this direction.

                               By the way, I think that the term 'Alpha Christian' should not be used in this context (sorry Bruce), because this term has been used since the 70's to denote a particular type of Christian teaching.

                              Agreed.


                              David Inglis, Lafayette, CA, 94549, USA

                              --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, Bob Schacht <bobschacht@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > At 10:20 AM 11/1/2012, E Bruce Brooks wrote:
                              >
                              >
                              > >Mike,
                              > >
                              > >The subject is still young.
                              >
                              > I just can't let this pass. You are either ignorant of half a century
                              > of 1st century & Patristic scholarship, or have cavalierly tossed it aside.
                              > Or perhaps you mean the subject of your "Alpha Christianity" is still
                              > young, which by inference tosses all previous scholarship aside
                              > because they haven't used your terminology or your particular framing
                              > of the debate. A little less grandiosity, please.
                              >
                              > Particular works of interest include Joseph B. Tyson's _The New
                              > Testament and Early Christianity_ (1990), James D.G. Dunn's _Unity
                              > and Diversity in the New Testament_ (1977), and Bauckham's _Jude and
                              > the Relatives of Jesus in the Early Church (1990), among many relevant works.
                              >
                              > >  But it might be interesting to graph all 1c Christian or
                              > > paraChristian documents on a scale, depending on the extent to
                              > > which they rely on the authority of Jewish scriptures or practices.
                              >
                              > You only betray your own ignorance with this statement. Just for
                              > starters, on this scale you would have to differentiate between
                              > Sadducees (who venerated only "the Books of Moses") from the
                              > Pharisees (who venerated, in addition, the Prophets and the Wisdom
                              > literature), and where would one place the Essene community, and the
                              > Zealots (to use only the Josephan sects)?
                              >
                              > >No one linear arrangement will solve all problems with these texts,
                              >
                              > This statement I can agree with!
                              >
                              > >  but it would still be interesting to have that dimension. Thus,
                              > > though Paul was against food purity, he was a great quoter of the
                              > > Jewish scripture, at least when it suited him. He was antinomistic
                              > > but proscriptural, if I may make up those words. Whereas the
                              > > supposed deuteroPauline text Hebrews goes extremely far back toward
                              > > Temple sacrifices as the core metaphor for Jesus.
                              > >
                              > >Given James (and after him, Matthew) as reverting toward full
                              > >nomism, we might have something like this:
                              > >
                              > >James
                              > >Matthew . . . . . . . . . Jesus, Alpha . . . . . . . . . . Paul . .
                              > >. . . . . . . Marcion
                              > >. . . . . Hebrews
                              >
                              > Sorry, but your graphic seems to have been garbled in cyberspace. Is
                              > this meant to portray a polar continuum from James and Matthew to
                              > Hebrews, with Jesus, Alpha, Paul, and Marcion lined up in between?
                              >
                              > >My question would then be, Where on this scale does gThos1-12 fit?
                              >
                              > After declaiming, correctly, that "No one linear arrangement will
                              > solve all problems with these texts," you go on to return to your own
                              > favorite linear arrangement that seems to you the key to solve many
                              > of the problems of these texts. And why do you continue to ignore the
                              > Gospel of the Ebionites and other early non-Biblical Christian (your
                              > "paraChristian"? Psuedepigrapha?) texts such as are easily accessible
                              > in Barnstone's "The Other Bible" and elsewhere?
                              >
                              > I would prefer a more multi-dimensional approach, employing at least
                              > two such factors,
                              >     * The divinity (or not) of Jesus [Christology]
                              >     * What is required for salvation? (Soteriology]
                              > My mentor on these subjects is the patristic scholar Thomas Kopecek
                              > who, in an unpublished manuscript, wrote,
                              > We need to stress that during the first three centuries of the Jesus
                              > movement the Christologies taught by its various groups were
                              > remarkably different.
                              >  From this perspective, your polar scale proposal makes little sense.
                              >
                              > If my rant is off-target, please clarify.
                              >
                              > Bob Schacht
                              > Northern Arizona University
                              >




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                            • Rick Hubbard
                              Where to begin? From the vantage point of some folks from the mid-first century perspective it could be said that the “heretics” were the ones who were
                              Message 14 of 14 , Nov 2, 2012
                              • 0 Attachment
                                Where to begin?

                                From the vantage point of some folks from the mid-first century perspective
                                it could be said that the “heretics” were the ones who were abandoning or
                                usurping Torah (Paul, et al). Ultimately it was THESE heretics (again Paul,
                                et al) that became dominant and eventually became known as “Christians”.

                                So, yes these “heretics” did change in significant ways and yes there was
                                undoubtedly competition for hegemony among groups. It became survival of the
                                fittest. Those with the broadest appeal thrived better and longer than the
                                more “esoteric” varieties, but eventually the Emperor Constantine decreed
                                enough to be enough and one remnant among the competitors became what is
                                considered “orthodoxy” (how’s that for 300 years of approximately accurate
                                history in a single sentence?)

                                But the question remains, where did the Thomas gospel folks fit in this mix?
                                I’d wager they were about a 3 or 4 on the 1st century heresy scale (Post
                                Nicaean Christianity being a 10 and pre-70 Judaism being a 1)

                                Rick Hubbard




                                From: gthomas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:gthomas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
                                David
                                Sent: Friday, November 02, 2012 2:15 PM
                                To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
                                Subject: [GTh] Re: The Gospel of James

                                 
                                From my perspective, I think that the view that Christianity changed in
                                various significant ways in the first 2 centuries is right on the money, as
                                is the view that a number of the biblical (and non-biblical) Christian
                                documents that we see today have been subject to change, and that some may
                                have initially been significantly different in their original form (e.g.
                                Chapters 1-2 not being originally in Lk).

                                Given that (I assume) relatively non-controversial position, isn't it time
                                to re-consider whether the 2nd century heretics were just the 'losers' in a
                                struggle for dominance between the various Christian factions, and that we
                                should really consider all these people and groups to be different 'flavors'
                                of Christians? By the way, I think that the term 'Alpha Christian' should
                                not be used in this context (sorry Bruce), because this term has been used
                                since the 70's to denote a particular type of Christian teaching.

                                David Inglis, Lafayette, CA, 94549, USA

                                --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, Bob Schacht <bobschacht@...> wrote:
                                >
                                > At 10:20 AM 11/1/2012, E Bruce Brooks wrote:
                                >
                                >
                                > >Mike,
                                > >
                                > >The subject is still young.
                                >
                                > I just can't let this pass. You are either ignorant of half a century
                                > of 1st century & Patristic scholarship, or have cavalierly tossed it
                                aside.
                                > Or perhaps you mean the subject of your "Alpha Christianity" is still
                                > young, which by inference tosses all previous scholarship aside
                                > because they haven't used your terminology or your particular framing
                                > of the debate. A little less grandiosity, please.
                                >
                                > Particular works of interest include Joseph B. Tyson's _The New
                                > Testament and Early Christianity_ (1990), James D.G. Dunn's _Unity
                                > and Diversity in the New Testament_ (1977), and Bauckham's _Jude and
                                > the Relatives of Jesus in the Early Church (1990), among many relevant
                                works.
                                >
                                > > But it might be interesting to graph all 1c Christian or
                                > > paraChristian documents on a scale, depending on the extent to
                                > > which they rely on the authority of Jewish scriptures or practices.
                                >
                                > You only betray your own ignorance with this statement. Just for
                                > starters, on this scale you would have to differentiate between
                                > Sadducees (who venerated only "the Books of Moses") from the
                                > Pharisees (who venerated, in addition, the Prophets and the Wisdom
                                > literature), and where would one place the Essene community, and the
                                > Zealots (to use only the Josephan sects)?
                                >
                                > >No one linear arrangement will solve all problems with these texts,
                                >
                                > This statement I can agree with!
                                >
                                > > but it would still be interesting to have that dimension. Thus,
                                > > though Paul was against food purity, he was a great quoter of the
                                > > Jewish scripture, at least when it suited him. He was antinomistic
                                > > but proscriptural, if I may make up those words. Whereas the
                                > > supposed deuteroPauline text Hebrews goes extremely far back toward
                                > > Temple sacrifices as the core metaphor for Jesus.
                                > >
                                > >Given James (and after him, Matthew) as reverting toward full
                                > >nomism, we might have something like this:
                                > >
                                > >James
                                > >Matthew . . . . . . . . . Jesus, Alpha . . . . . . . . . . Paul . .
                                > >. . . . . . . Marcion
                                > >. . . . . Hebrews
                                >
                                > Sorry, but your graphic seems to have been garbled in cyberspace. Is
                                > this meant to portray a polar continuum from James and Matthew to
                                > Hebrews, with Jesus, Alpha, Paul, and Marcion lined up in between?
                                >
                                > >My question would then be, Where on this scale does gThos1-12 fit?
                                >
                                > After declaiming, correctly, that "No one linear arrangement will
                                > solve all problems with these texts," you go on to return to your own
                                > favorite linear arrangement that seems to you the key to solve many
                                > of the problems of these texts. And why do you continue to ignore the
                                > Gospel of the Ebionites and other early non-Biblical Christian (your
                                > "paraChristian"? Psuedepigrapha?) texts such as are easily accessible
                                > in Barnstone's "The Other Bible" and elsewhere?
                                >
                                > I would prefer a more multi-dimensional approach, employing at least
                                > two such factors,
                                > * The divinity (or not) of Jesus [Christology]
                                > * What is required for salvation? (Soteriology]
                                > My mentor on these subjects is the patristic scholar Thomas Kopecek
                                > who, in an unpublished manuscript, wrote,
                                > We need to stress that during the first three centuries of the Jesus
                                > movement the Christologies taught by its various groups were
                                > remarkably different.
                                > From this perspective, your polar scale proposal makes little sense.
                                >
                                > If my rant is off-target, please clarify.
                                >
                                > Bob Schacht
                                > Northern Arizona University
                                >
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