Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [GTh] Bernhard's New Essay on GJW

Expand Messages
  • Ian Brown
    Jack, I think you ve misunderstood my point, and I apologize if I wasn t being clear. I don t think (nor do most people, I think it is safe to say) that GJW
    Message 1 of 13 , Nov 11, 2012
    • 0 Attachment
      Jack, I think you've misunderstood my point, and I apologize if I wasn't being clear. I don't think (nor do most people, I think it is safe to say) that GJW proves Jesus was married. What I sought to illuminate was that GJW was almost certainly NOT composed based on Mike's interlinear since there is evidence of it existing in the 80s, well before Mike made his site. This says nothing of the historical Jesus, only that GJW was composed priot to Mike's site being put up.

      Andrew, I'm afraid dismissing evidence without addressing it is not a good way to form an argument. So the note was unsigned. The fact that it is part of a larger collection, which includes a signed note, seems to suggest it is part of the same review. Additionally, if we want to argue for GJW's dependence on Mike's interlinear, then we must posit not only a forged ancient Coptic text, but also a forged 1980s German text. This seems to me to be EXTREMELY special pleading given that the ONLY REASON anyone would argue that a note that seems for all intents and purposes to belong to a set of notes on a papyri collection first reviewed in the 80s was forged, is that they are already assuming that papyri is a forgery. Kinda circular reasoning, I think.

      Ian Brown


      From: sarban <sarban@...>
      To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Sunday, November 11, 2012 3:37:16 PM
      Subject: Re: [GTh] Bernhard's New Essay on GJW

       
      
       
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Ian Brown
      Sent: Sunday, November 11, 2012 4:07 PM
      Subject: Re: [GTh] Bernhard's New Essay on GJW

       
      Correct me if I'm wrong, or if some new evidence has arisen, but isn't dependence on your interlinear, Mike, impossible given the fragment was in circulation in the early 1980s. See pages 2 and 3 of King's article, quoted below:

      . <SNIP> More directly relevant, the owner also has an unsigned handwritten note, stating the following:
      Professor Fecht glaubt, daß der kleine ca. 8 cm große Papyrus das einzige Beispiel für einen Text ist, in dem Jesusm  die direkte Rede in Bezug auf eine Ehefrau benutzt. Fecht meint, daß dies ein Beweis für eine mögliche Ehe sein könnte. 4
      Although the note is neither dated nor signed, it is presumed to belong to the 1982 correspondence between Prof. Munro (d. 2008) and Mr. Laukamp (d. 2001). If so, this (page 3) note is evidence that GosJesWife was in the possession of Mr. Laukamp in Berlin in the early 1980’s. The named Professor Fecht is likely Gerhard Fecht (d. 2006), who was on the faculty of Egyptology at the Free University, Berlin, at this time. Nothing else is known to us of the modern history of the papyrus.
      <SNIP>
      4. “Professor Fecht believes that the small fragment, approximately 8 cm in size, is the sole example of a text in which Jesus uses direct speech with reference to having a wife. Fecht is of the opinion that this could be evidence for a possible marriage.”

      Ian Brown

       
      I'm afraid that this unsigned undated handwritten note is not good evidence of anything.
      Andrew Criddle 


    • sarban
      Hi Ian Just to clarify my position. If the handwriting on the note closely resembles the known handwriting of say Professor Munro then I agree I was being too
      Message 2 of 13 , Nov 11, 2012
      • 0 Attachment
        
        Hi Ian
         
        Just to clarify my position.
         
        If the handwriting on the note closely resembles the known handwriting of say Professor Munro then I agree I was being too dismissive.
        However I don't think King's article claims this.
        Nor do the other documents mention such a note.
        The mere presence of such a note among a collection of other documents dating back to the 1980's is not sufficient to establish that this note itself dates from the 1980's
         
        Andrew Criddle.
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Ian Brown
        Sent: Sunday, November 11, 2012 9:28 PM
        Subject: Re: [GTh] Bernhard's New Essay on GJW

         


        Andrew, I'm afraid dismissing evidence without addressing it is not a good way to form an argument. So the note was unsigned. The fact that it is part of a larger collection, which includes a signed note, seems to suggest it is part of the same review. Additionally, if we want to argue for GJW's dependence on Mike's interlinear, then we must posit not only a forged ancient Coptic text, but also a forged 1980s German text. This seems to me to be EXTREMELY special pleading given that the ONLY REASON anyone would argue that a note that seems for all intents and purposes to belong to a set of notes on a papyri collection first reviewed in the 80s was forged, is that they are already assuming that papyri is a forgery. Kinda circular reasoning, I think.

        Ian Brown
         
      • Mike Grondin
        ... Almost certainly? Nah. What s interesting to me that this is the very position that I took back on Sept 26th, before the two pieces of evidence of
        Message 3 of 13 , Nov 11, 2012
        • 0 Attachment
          
          [Ian]:
          > What I sought to illuminate was that GJW was almost certainly NOT composed
          > based on Mike's interlinear since there is evidence of it existing in the 80s, well
          > before Mike made his site.
          "Almost certainly?" Nah. What's interesting to me that this is the very position
          that I took back on Sept 26th, before the two pieces of evidence of possible
          borrowing from my interlinear became known. The collector's note constitutes
          prima facie counter-evidence, to be sure, but its authenticity and dating have so
          far been only presumed (King's word), so it seems a bit odd that you would put
          so much weight on it. But what is your position? That it might have been a forgery
          from the 80's? OK, then we need to weigh the likelihood that the forger accidentally
          dropped a letter from two different lines, against the likelihood that he/she thought
          that the spelling was correct, because that's what was in the source being used.
           
          Mike Grondin
        • Ian Brown
          Quoting Mike But what is your position? That it might have been a forgery from the 80 s? OK, then we need to weigh the likelihood that the forger accidentally
          Message 4 of 13 , Nov 12, 2012
          • 0 Attachment
            Quoting Mike "But what is your position? That it might have been a forgery
            from the 80's? OK, then we need to weigh the likelihood that the forger accidentally
            dropped a letter from two different lines, against the likelihood that he/she thought
            that the spelling was correct, because that's what was in the source being used."

            Fair question, Mike. No, I don't think it was a forgery from the 80s (although I understand how my last post might have led you to think that, that's my fault for being unclear). My position is as follows, and takes into consideration the following evidence available to us all.

            1. We have a text that seems to have known parts of (or traditions that influenced) the Gospel of Thomas (except where is doesn't) on a credit card sized fragment.

            2. Karen King, who initially thought this text a fraud, worked with it for several months before determining it likely dates, both papyri and ink, to the 4th century CE.

            3. King did not simply come to this conclusion on her own, however, and enlisted the help of several papyrologists, including Roger Bagnall, one of the most well respected papyrologists in the world.

            4. Bagnall concluded that the handwriting found in the fragment is consistent with the handwriting of 4th century Coptic scribes. Additionally the papyri itself is carbon dated to the 4th century.

            5. Following this King introduced the fragment to the world at a scholarly conference for Coptic Studies, NOT via National Geographic, or CNN, or some other sensation forum.

            6. Neither Bagnall nor King have anything to gain from supporting a fake document, King especially. In a world where biblical scholars aren't exactly the most famous people in the world, King is one of the most well known outside of the academy and gains nothing from being part of a sensation.

            What I find most troublesome about the arguments for GJW being a modern document (as I mentioned early, although perhaps less clearly) is that these arguments are not engaging with the most significant points FOR this fragments 4th century dating, namely Bagnall's handwriting analysis and the 4th century date of the papyri. Is it still possible it is a modern production? Sure, but we are now dealing with a modern scribe who, far from bumbling his/her way through Coptic, has enough training to perfectly mimic the handwriting of a 4th century Coptic scribe, thus fooling one of the world's foremost experts on ancient handwriting. Is this really the simplest solution? No, it is not.

            It seems to me that what we have here is a 4th century text which used, or knew Thomas, or shared traditions about Thomas, especially re: female disciples.

            ian brown
          • Mike Grondin
            Hi Ian, I agree that there has been little engagement with the evidence on either side. The essays of Peppard and Paananen are outdated, since they were
            Message 5 of 13 , Nov 12, 2012
            • 0 Attachment
              Hi Ian,
               
              I agree that there has been little engagement with the evidence on either
              side. The essays of Peppard and Paananen are outdated, since they were
              responses to the first version of Watson's essay. The revised version
              of Watson's paper is also outdated, but there hasn't been any response
              even to that. Andrew B's latest essay is now the one to look at, and I
              must say that your characterization of it doesn't do it justice. The linkages
              to CGT are much more precise than your wording suggests. But turning
              to the other side of the coin, Stephen Carlson has made a good start by
              suggesting that the supposed Munro note about the fragment be carefully
              checked for authenticity (though the date of it will still remain in question.)
              Here's some other points of contact:
               
              1. It is evident that the papyrologists who initially examined the fragment
              were not well-versed in CGT. They spotted some similarities, but were
              unaware of the extent of agreement. It was only when this became obvious
              that the HTR article was delayed, and additional tests called for. Had the
              Harvard people not thought that the forgery case was strong, I doubt if
              this would have happened.
               
              2. The dating of the papyrus is irrelevant. As you no doubt know, old
              pieces of blank papyrus (or with faded writing) can be obtained. Even
              ink consistent with antiquity can be produced. (What happened to that
              scheduled ink-test, BTW?)
               
              3. "consistent with the handwriting of 4th century Coptic scribes":
              Well, in the first place, there were a variety of styles. Secondly, it
              doesn't strike me as particularly difficult to copy one of those styles.
              What you don't mention is that the writing instrument used was not a
              common one, nor is the blunt lettering very common either. Christian
              Askeland has also drawn attention to the unusual shaping of the omega.
              Which is not to say that it's impossible for the inscription to have been
              done in antiquity, but that the evidence isn't as strong as one might think.
              It would be good if Bagnall and/or HDS/HTR would make analogous
              exemplars available, but to my knowledge they haven't. Indeed, the
              silence of Bagnall and the whole King team since the initial publicity
              has been curious.
               
              Such are the first thoughts that come to me, anyway, in response
              to your comments.
               
              Mike Grondin
            • Mark Goodacre
              ... Yes, it s clear from King s HTR article that she and the others had not realized the full extent of the borrowing from Coptic Thomas. This is not criticism
              Message 6 of 13 , Nov 12, 2012
              • 0 Attachment
                On 12 November 2012 15:28, Mike Grondin <mwgrondin@...> wrote:

                > 1. It is evident that the papyrologists who initially examined the
                > fragment
                > were not well-versed in CGT. They spotted some similarities, but were
                > unaware of the extent of agreement. It was only when this became obvious
                > that the HTR article was delayed, and additional tests called for. Had the
                > Harvard people not thought that the forgery case was strong, I doubt if
                > this would have happened.

                Yes, it's clear from King's HTR article that she and the others had
                not realized the full extent of the borrowing from Coptic Thomas.
                This is not criticism of King or others -- I didn't spot it at first
                either; it was only after prolonged staring at it that it became
                clear. This is just the natural progress of scholarship -- sometimes
                it takes time and many pairs of eyes to see things that in the end are
                pretty clear.

                The breakthrough in Watson's piece was in realizing that the links
                were not simply those of the natural relationship of literary works to
                one another (as, e.g. intra-Synoptically or Thomas-Synoptics) but
                specifically in Coptic Thomas from Codex II and the Jesus' Wife
                Fragment.

                > 2. The dating of the papyrus is irrelevant. As you no doubt know, old
                > pieces of blank papyrus (or with faded writing) can be obtained. Even
                > ink consistent with antiquity can be produced. (What happened to that
                > scheduled ink-test, BTW?)

                Ian may be right that there has been carbon dating of the papyrus, but
                I have not seen reference to this. The ink test is still pending. The
                most recent statement I have seen on this is the recent Boston Globe
                article (which I'll blog shortly).

                Best wishes
                Mark
                --
                Mark Goodacre
                Duke University
                Department of Religion
                Gray Building / Box 90964
                Durham, NC 27708-0964 USA
                Phone: 919-660-3503 Fax: 919-660-3530

                http://www.markgoodacre.org
              • Tom Hickcox
                A well written article from the Boston Globe on Karen King.
                Message 7 of 13 , Nov 15, 2012
                • 0 Attachment
                Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.