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RE: [GTh] The Gospel of James

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  • 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 1 of 14 , Nov 2, 2012

      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 2 of 14 , Nov 2, 2012
        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 3 of 14 , Nov 2, 2012
          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 4 of 14 , Nov 2, 2012
            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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