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RE: [GTh] The Gospel of James

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 of 14 , Nov 2, 2012
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              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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