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

Re: [GTh] Xmas Season Greetings

Expand Messages
  • Tom
    I have yet to see evidence of 1st century gnostics before AD 90 at the earliest. The evidence is, as you say, a reading back of 2nd century gnostics as pagels
    Message 1 of 9 , Dec 30, 2012
    • 0 Attachment
      I have yet to see evidence of 1st century gnostics before AD 90 at the earliest. The evidence is, as you say, a reading back of 2nd century gnostics as pagels with the Gospel of Mary. Have you seen evidence that I haven't? Solid evidence would make a difference.

      [Tom - apparently to Jordan - MWG]
    • Jordan Stratford
      ... According to Pearson we have Sethian Gnostic texts dating from the second century BCE. Pagels puts Gospel of Mary in the first century CE, before Gospel of
      Message 2 of 9 , Dec 30, 2012
      • 0 Attachment

        On 2012-12-30, at 4:37 PM, Tom wrote:

        I have yet to see evidence of 1st century gnostics before AD 90 at the earliest. The evidence is, as you say, a reading back of 2nd century gnostics as pagels with the Gospel of Mary. Have you seen evidence that I haven't? Solid evidence would make a difference.

        According to Pearson we have Sethian Gnostic texts dating from the second century BCE.  

        Pagels puts Gospel of Mary in the first century CE, before Gospel of Thomas (seeing some Thomas elements as rebuttals of GoM).   

        Again this is not to say that the community of GT authorship belongs to first-century Sethian Gnostics, but rather to point out that there WERE first-century (and earlier) Gnostics.  

        We have to remember that we have no first century archaeology on any of this, and all the dating is conjecture.  We don't have a first century copy of anything, canonical or otherwise.  We have mentions of Markan material (but not the material itself) from around 110 CE.  We have a scrap of John from 140ish.  We have Irenaeus around 190 trying to sort it all out, so that gives us about 80 years to get all these texts in writing, get them translated, circulate them, and argue about them.  While we have Paul before all of that, we don't have him in any kind of circulation even 100 years after he wrote them. I don't think we'll ever have a coherent chronology of who had which texts when unless or until some decent archaeology surfaces.  The best we can say is Thomas _as a written work_ is somewhere in this 110-190 CE textual frenzy.

        Jordan
      • Mike Grondin
        ... What population? My understanding is that the literacy rate in Judaea (and among diaspora Jews, hence among Jewish Christians) was significantly higher.
        Message 3 of 9 , Dec 30, 2012
        • 0 Attachment
          [Tom Reynolds]:
          > My understand [sic] is that the population was 5-10% literate
          ...
           
          What population? My understanding is that the literacy rate in Judaea
          (and among diaspora Jews, hence among Jewish Christians) was
          significantly higher.
           
          > ... and virtually everything was presented orally. Except for
          contracts
          > most writings were memory/study aids.
           
          I doubt it. There were letters, for example. To say nothing of the works
          of Plato and Aristotle, e.g.. Do you have any examples of memory aids?
           
          > In [sic] was not till the mid-second century that NT books
          were
          > analysized [sic] as we do so now.
          That kind of analysis isn't much like what we do today.

          > Multiple works assert that all NT writings should be
          read, hopefully by
          > a trained orator, in order to capture how the early Christians
          actually
          > received them.
           
          What are some of these "multiple works" that assert that NT writings
          should be listened to (in the original language?)? And what interest is
          there in "captur[ing] how the early Christians actually received them",
          even if that were possible? Actually, we do know some of that, from
          the interpretive material added by the evangelists in their gospels. But
          of course they weren't illiterate, so by your standards they weren't
          representative. Then again, who can be, unless they're illiterate, Koine-
          speaking, and live in the first century?
           
          Mike
        • Tom Reynolds
          To: Mike Groden,   The statement 5-10% is the generally accepted estimate among both historical and religious scholars. To name a few, in addition to a direct
          Message 4 of 9 , Dec 31, 2012
          • 0 Attachment
            To: Mike [Grondin],
            The statement 5-10% is the generally accepted estimate among both historical and religious scholars. To name a few, in addition to a direct seminar of Walt Russel, Phd (Biola University) I have heard it lately from at least�four University Professors in video presentations from the Teaching Company. One Professor, Luke Timothy Johnson, Phd is from Emory University while the another is from Eastern University. A third, Kenneth W. Hart is more of a history Professor as ia a fourth, �William R Cook. These are just a few of the sources I have read or heard. All these Professors make the point that the text was dictated orally to a scribe and then read to the audience.
            It is true that highly educated Greeks read Plato, Aristotle, Homer and the Gilgamesh epic while highly educated Jews read the Jewish Scriptures but this was a very small percentage of the population. It is very unlikely that any of the 12 Apostles, or Jesus was literate in the sense we have today, save possibly Matthew. In fact the Pharisees were amazed at Jesus’ command of the Scripture because he was not “learnered”. Paul was literate but still used a scribe and Luke was probably literate. Among most Jews, literacy was limited to reading a verse or two of the Scripture. The ability to sit down and study a text as we do today was limited by both the ability and the availability of the text.
            The answer to one question you ask nay be interesting. “What interest is there in capturing what the early Christians received even if that were possible?” I will send you directly a couple of PDF articles on this subject that you can choose to post or otherwise share if you wish.
            In summary, there are three methods of interpretation.
            1-Historical, Author Centered
            2-Text centered
            3-Reader centered
            The secret of the historical, author centered approach is to capture the original purpose of the author of the text. The historical part is understanding the historical setting at the time it was written and the people it was written to. The analysis is top down meaning one must discover the overall purpose before drilling down to specific passages. Another consideration is genre. What is the genre of the text. For example, one would interpret poetry different from a historical narrative.
            In the case of GT, there is a dispute about who wrote it, where and when. If the text was written relatively early in Judah we know both the historical setting and the culture of the audience. OTOH, if it was written outside Judah, there is the different culture of a mixed Jewish-Greek nature. If it was written around the turn of the century, both the historical setting, culture and audience has changed dramatically. Finally, if it was written in the early-mid second century the culture was largely Greek. Note that in each of these time periods the likely author has changed.
            In the historical-author centered method the challenge of GT is to determine the purpose of the author. This analysis will change depending on the period postulated for GT’s writing. We assume that the text was used within the historical context, received by the audience in the culture of the time and responded to based on the cultural attitudes of the hearers.
            It, therefore, seems reasonable to interpret the text as it would have been understood within each cultural-historical setting in order to determine what we can about the author’s purpose.
            Regards,
            Tom Reynolds

            From: Mike Grondin
            To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Sunday, December 30, 2012 10:20 PM
            Subject: Re: [GTh] Re: Xmas Season Greetings
            [Tom Reynolds]:
            > My understand [sic] is that the population was 5-10% literate
            ...
            What population? My understanding is that the literacy rate in Judaea
            (and among diaspora Jews, hence among Jewish Christians) was
            significantly higher.
            > ... and virtually everything was presented orally. Except for
            contracts
            >�most writings were memory/study aids.
            I doubt it. There were letters, for example. To say nothing of the works
            of Plato and Aristotle, e.g.. Do you have any examples of memory aids?
            >�In [sic] was not till the mid-second century that NT books
            were
            >�analysized [sic]�as we do so now.
            That kind of analysis isn't much like what we do today.

            > Multiple works assert that all NT writings should be
            read,�hopefully by
            >�a trained orator, in order to capture how the early Christians
            actually
            >�received them.
            What are some of these "multiple works"�that assert that NT writings
            should be listened to (in the original language?)? And what interest is
            there in "captur[ing] how the early Christians actually received them",
            even if that were possible? Actually, we do know some of that, from
            the interpretive material added by the evangelists in their gospels. But
            of course they weren't illiterate, so by your standards they weren't
            representative. Then again, who can be, unless they're illiterate, Koine-
            speaking, and live in the first century?
            Mike
          Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.