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Re: [GTh] Redman's Response to Goodacre's Thomas Book

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  • Mark Goodacre
    I am most grateful to both Tony Burke and Judy Redman for their appreciative and thoughtful reviews. In due course, I d like to add a few reflections on them
    Message 1 of 26 , Mar 25, 2013
      I am most grateful to both Tony Burke and Judy Redman for their appreciative and thoughtful reviews.  In due course, I'd like to add a few reflections on them in my blog.  But one thought with respect to DeConick's "rolling corpus" model they both mention.  I think that they are right that it rewards serious reflection, but I am puzzled by the appeal to it in this context.  DeConick's "kernel gospel" in fact features virtually all of the Synoptic parallels.  In other words, DeConick's later materials, the accretions that form the later parts of this "rolling corpus", are virtually all among the non-Synoptic material.  

      All best
      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

    • Judy Redman
      Mark, I obviously can’t speak for Tony, but what I am referring to when I say that I find the “rolling corpus” model more convincing is the notion that
      Message 2 of 26 , Mar 25, 2013

        Mark,

         

        I obviously can’t speak for Tony, but what I am referring to when I say that I find the “rolling corpus” model more convincing is the notion that we have an early kernel that was adapted as it moved between oral and written modes ie that the Synoptic material was adopted and adapted over time within a Thomas community before it stabilised in the final text.  As I understand it, you are arguing rather that the author of Thomas picked up the Synoptic material at a later date – some time in the 140s – and adapted it at the point at which he wrote the original Greek version of the text. I agree with you that we need to take care not to get so enthusiastic about the role of orality that we neglect the textual relationships, but I would attribute a bigger role to oral transmission and the effect of human memory than you appear to.

         

        Does that help?

         

        Judy

         

        From: gthomas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:gthomas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Mark Goodacre
        Sent: Tuesday, 26 March 2013 1:03 AM
        To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [GTh] Redman's Response to Goodacre's Thomas Book

         

         

        I am most grateful to both Tony Burke and Judy Redman for their appreciative and thoughtful reviews.  In due course, I'd like to add a few reflections on them in my blog.  But one thought with respect to DeConick's "rolling corpus" model they both mention.  I think that they are right that it rewards serious reflection, but I am puzzled by the appeal to it in this context.  DeConick's "kernel gospel" in fact features virtually all of the Synoptic parallels.  In other words, DeConick's later materials, the accretions that form the later parts of this "rolling corpus", are virtually all among the non-Synoptic material.  

         

        All best

        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

      • Mark Goodacre
        Thanks, Judy. As I read DeConick s use of the rolling corpus model, the synoptic material almost all occurs in the kernel gospel . The accretions are
        Message 3 of 26 , Mar 25, 2013
          Thanks, Judy.  As I read DeConick's use of the "rolling corpus" model, the synoptic material almost all occurs in the "kernel gospel".  The "accretions" are generally non-synoptic material.   For example, Thomas 79 is part of the "kernel" and it is also synoptic material (Luke 11.27-28, 23.27-31).  Thomas 80 (non-synoptic material) accretes to the previous saying.  In other words, in her rolling corpus, the Synoptic material generally occurs at the formative stage; the accretions are basically non-synoptic material.  When we are looking at the Synoptic parallels, therefore, we need to be comparing them specifically to the kernel gospel and not the rolling corpus more generally, no?  Cheers, 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

        • Judy Redman
          This is not really a response to anyone s post, but a further comment on the issue of the nature of the relationship between Thomas and the Synoptics. One of
          Message 4 of 26 , Mar 25, 2013

            This is not really  a response to anyone’s post, but a further comment on the issue of the nature of the relationship between Thomas and the Synoptics.

             

            One of Mark’s arguments is that we are setting the bar too high when we expect the kind of verbatim correspondence between Thomas and the Synoptics that we find between the Synoptics themselves – that this is not usual in literature of the time. I think this depends on what level of evidence we are looking for. If we want to be able to say that there is very little doubt that the relationship between two texts is a literary one, I think we need either to have a high degree of verbatim or near verbatim correspondence, or to be sure that there is no other way that the author of the later text can be familiar with the material contained in the former than by having seen a copy of the text. If we are prepared to accept that Jesus was a real person who moved around first century Palestine teaching a reformed understanding of the Jewish faith, then we have to accept that there were many people who heard him teach, including quite a few who heard him many times and that he lived in a culture where oral transmission of stories and teachings was the norm, so parallel content without verbatim agreement doesn’t provide a particularly high level of certainty about a literary relationship between two texts.  By a high level of verbatim correspondence, I mean long strings of words – too long to be remembered by rote or to have occurred by chance. Without this, all that we can say is that it is clear that the author of the later text was familiar with the content of the earlier one and that this may have been a literary relationship.

             

            In looking at the relationship between the various Synoptics, we have a number of passages of verbatim or near verbatim agreement that are way too long to have come about in any other way than either copying directly from one text into another or a deliberate effort on the part of the early church to learn vast amounts of material by rote. With Thomas, the amount of evidence available is very much smaller – we can only compare Greek with Greek in the POxy fragments and there is only a small amount of parallel material in these. McIver and Carroll (McIver, Robert K. and Marie Carroll. "Experiments to Develop Criteria for Determining the Existence of Written Sources, and Their Potential Implications for the Synoptic Problem." JBL 121, no. 4 (2002): 667-687 and McIver, Robert K. and Marie Carroll. "Distinguishing Characteristics of Orally Transmitted Material When Compared to Material Transmitted by Literary Means." Applied Cognitive Psychology 18, no. 9 (2004): 1251-1269) suggest that we need to have at least 15-18 words correspondence to be able to be sure that copying has taken place. I would certainly argue that for stories in circulation in oral form within a community, 8-10 words could easily be achieved by chance supported by familiarity with an oral tradition. While copying could have taken place, this string length is not long enough to provide concrete evidence of copying. The only verbatim string of words from POxy  that is longer than 7-9 is a 13 word string from POxy1 and this presents a significant problem because POxy is the fragment that contains GTh26-30 then 77b then 31-33. If this is part of an actual manuscript of GTh, then we have evidence that the text was not always in the same form as we have it in NHC II,2, which provides support for a rolling corpus theory. If it is part of either a homily or a collection of favourite sayings from Thomas, then an equally plausible explanation for the correspondence is a harmonisation attempt on the part of a/the scribe.

             

            I would therefore say that the level of verbatim correspondence that we can demonstrate between Thomas and the Synoptics does not provide strong evidence for the author’s familiarity with the Synoptic texts, merely with the Synoptic tradition. Of course, it doesn’t exclude the possibility that the author of Thomas was familiar with the Synoptic texts because, as Mark argues, the fact that the author had a copy of a text in front of him would not have compelled him to copy it verbatim.

             

            Judy

             

             

            --

            Judy Redman
            PhD Candidate, School of Humanities
            University of New England
            Armidale 2351 Australia
            ph:  +61 2 6040 4571
            mob: 0437 044 579
            web:  http://judyredman.wordpress.com/
            email:  jredman2@...
             

             

             

          • sarban
            Hi Judy Would you agree that Thomas and the Synoptics share a common GREEK synoptic tradition (whether oral or written) ? Or do you think it possible that the
            Message 5 of 26 , Mar 25, 2013
              Hi Judy
               
              Would you agree that Thomas and the Synoptics share a common GREEK synoptic tradition (whether oral or written) ?
              Or do you think it possible that the Synoptics and Thomas are ultimately based on independent translations from Palestinian Aramaic into Greek ?
               
              Andrew Criddle
              ----- Original Message -----
              Sent: Monday, March 25, 2013 8:54 PM
              Subject: RE: [GTh] Redman's Response to Goodacre's Thomas Book

               

              This is not really  a response to anyone’s post, but a further comment on the issue of the nature of the relationship between Thomas and the Synoptics.

              One of Mark’s arguments is that we are setting the bar too high when we expect the kind of verbatim correspondence between Thomas and the Synoptics that we find between the Synoptics themselves – that this is not usual in literature of the time. I think this depends on what level of evidence we are looking for. If we want to be able to say that there is very little doubt that the relationship between two texts is a literary one, I think we need either to have a high degree of verbatim or near verbatim correspondence, or to be sure that there is no other way that the author of the later text can be familiar with the material contained in the former than by having seen a copy of the text. If we are prepared to accept that Jesus was a real person who moved around first century Palestine teaching a reformed understanding of the Jewish faith, then we have to accept that there were many people who heard him teach, including quite a few who heard him many times and that he lived in a culture where oral transmission of stories and teachings was the norm, so parallel content without verbatim agreement doesn’t provide a particularly high level of certainty about a literary relationship between two texts.  By a high level of verbatim correspondence, I mean long strings of words – too long to be remembered by rote or to have occurred by chance. Without this, all that we can say is that it is clear that the author of the later text was familiar with the content of the earlier one and that this may have been a literary relationship.

              <SNIP>

              I would therefore say that the level of verbatim correspondence that we can demonstrate between Thomas and the Synoptics does not provide strong evidence for the author’s familiarity with the Synoptic texts, merely with the Synoptic tradition. Of course, it doesn’t exclude the possibility that the author of Thomas was familiar with the Synoptic texts because, as Mark argues, the fact that the author had a copy of a text in front of him would not have compelled him to copy it verbatim.

              Judy

            • Jack Kilmon
              Hi Andrew: No book of the New Testament had ever been written originally in Aramaic, however, portions of the Gospels, including the vox Iesu, are translations
              Message 6 of 26 , Mar 25, 2013
                Hi Andrew:
                     No book of the New Testament had ever been written originally in Aramaic, however, portions of the Gospels, including the vox Iesu, are translations of written and/or oral Judean Aramaic sources. Aramaic interference in the syntax of those areas of New Testament Greek is obvious.  It gets more difficult with Thomas to identify Aramaisms in translational Coptic of translational Greek since it requires scholars facile in Greek, Coptic and Judean Aramaic (not Syriac).
                 
                Jack Kilmon
                 
                From: sarban
                Sent: Monday, March 25, 2013 4:34 PM
                Subject: Re: [GTh] Redman's Response to Goodacre's Thomas Book
                 


                Hi Judy
                 
                Would you agree that Thomas and the Synoptics share a common GREEK synoptic tradition (whether oral or written) ?
                Or do you think it possible that the Synoptics and Thomas are ultimately based on independent translations from Palestinian Aramaic into Greek ?
                 
                Andrew Criddle
                ----- Original Message -----
                Sent: Monday, March 25, 2013 8:54 PM
                Subject: RE: [GTh] Redman's Response to Goodacre's Thomas Book
                 
                 

                This is not really  a response to anyone’s post, but a further comment on the issue of the nature of the relationship between Thomas and the Synoptics.

                One of Mark’s arguments is that we are setting the bar too high when we expect the kind of verbatim correspondence between Thomas and the Synoptics that we find between the Synoptics themselves – that this is not usual in literature of the time. I think this depends on what level of evidence we are looking for. If we want to be able to say that there is very little doubt that the relationship between two texts is a literary one, I think we need either to have a high degree of verbatim or near verbatim correspondence, or to be sure that there is no other way that the author of the later text can be familiar with the material contained in the former than by having seen a copy of the text. If we are prepared to accept that Jesus was a real person who moved around first century Palestine teaching a reformed understanding of the Jewish faith, then we have to accept that there were many people who heard him teach, including quite a few who heard him many times and that he lived in a culture where oral transmission of stories and teachings was the norm, so parallel content without verbatim agreement doesn’t provide a particularly high level of certainty about a literary relationship between two texts.  By a high level of verbatim correspondence, I mean long strings of words – too long to be remembered by rote or to have occurred by chance. Without this, all that we can say is that it is clear that the author of the later text was familiar with the content of the earlier one and that this may have been a literary relationship.

                <SNIP>

                I would therefore say that the level of verbatim correspondence that we can demonstrate between Thomas and the Synoptics does not provide strong evidence for the author’s familiarity with the Synoptic texts, merely with the Synoptic tradition. Of course, it doesn’t exclude the possibility that the author of Thomas was familiar with the Synoptic texts because, as Mark argues, the fact that the author had a copy of a text in front of him would not have compelled him to copy it verbatim.

                Judy

              • Judy Redman
                Hi Mark, Yes, but I think we are talking past one another here. In talking about how the Synoptic-Thomas parallel material happened, we obviously need to be
                Message 7 of 26 , Mar 26, 2013

                  Hi Mark,

                   

                  Yes, but I think we are talking past one another here. In talking about how the Synoptic-Thomas parallel material happened, we obviously need to be making comparisons with the material that they have in common much of which is, as you say, the material that April designates as kernel.  What I find helpful about her model is not so much what she designates as kernel and what she designates as accretions but that the gospel began as a set of sayings which grew over time to accommodate the reality that Jesus did not return as expected and that it moved between written and oral form along the way. I think this is more likely than that Thomas came into being all at once in the 140s and this, for me, is to a very large extent a separate issue to that of whether the relationship between the texts is a literary one or not.

                   

                  I hope that makes a bit more sense – I was woken at 5 am by a mobile phone insisting that it needed to be plugged in to charge (not my phone) and at the end of the day am not feeling at my best and brightest and most coherent.

                   

                  Judy

                   

                  From: gthomas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:gthomas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Mark Goodacre
                  Sent: Tuesday, 26 March 2013 7:51 AM
                  To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: Re: [GTh] Redman's Response to Goodacre's Thomas Book

                   

                   

                  Thanks, Judy.  As I read DeConick's use of the "rolling corpus" model, the synoptic material almost all occurs in the "kernel gospel".  The "accretions" are generally non-synoptic material.   For example, Thomas 79 is part of the "kernel" and it is also synoptic material (Luke 11.27-28, 23.27-31).  Thomas 80 (non-synoptic material) accretes to the previous saying.  In other words, in her rolling corpus, the Synoptic material generally occurs at the formative stage; the accretions are basically non-synoptic material.  When we are looking at the Synoptic parallels, therefore, we need to be comparing them specifically to the kernel gospel and not the rolling corpus more generally, no?  Cheers, 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

                • Judy Redman
                  Jack, I understood Andrew to be asking me at what point I think the two traditions diverged - before or after the vox Iesu was translated from Aramaic into
                  Message 8 of 26 , Mar 26, 2013

                    Jack, I understood Andrew to be asking me at what point I think the two traditions diverged – before or after the vox Iesu was translated from Aramaic into Greek – rather than suggesting that there was a written version of any of the gospels.

                     

                    I have no Aramaic, so don’t feel competent to make this kind of determination. I am not actually saying that it is impossible for Mark’s theory to be correct, just that the evidence that we have available is does not offer a strong enough support to be categorical about this and other explanations are, IMHO, equally well supported.

                     

                    Judy

                     

                     

                    From: gthomas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:gthomas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jack Kilmon
                    Sent: Tuesday, 26 March 2013 2:33 PM
                    To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: Re: [GTh] Redman's Response to Goodacre's Thomas Book

                     

                     

                    Hi Andrew:

                         No book of the New Testament had ever been written originally in Aramaic, however, portions of the Gospels, including the vox Iesu, are translations of written and/or oral Judean Aramaic sources. Aramaic interference in the syntax of those areas of New Testament Greek is obvious.  It gets more difficult with Thomas to identify Aramaisms in translational Coptic of translational Greek since it requires scholars facile in Greek, Coptic and Judean Aramaic (not Syriac).

                     

                    Jack Kilmon

                     

                    From: sarban

                    Sent: Monday, March 25, 2013 4:34 PM

                    Subject: Re: [GTh] Redman's Response to Goodacre's Thomas Book

                     




                    Hi Judy

                     

                    Would you agree that Thomas and the Synoptics share a common GREEK synoptic tradition (whether oral or written) ?

                    Or do you think it possible that the Synoptics and Thomas are ultimately based on independent translations from Palestinian Aramaic into Greek ?

                     

                    Andrew Criddle

                    ----- Original Message -----

                    Sent: Monday, March 25, 2013 8:54 PM

                    Subject: RE: [GTh] Redman's Response to Goodacre's Thomas Book

                     

                     

                    This is not really  a response to anyone’s post, but a further comment on the issue of the nature of the relationship between Thomas and the Synoptics.

                    One of Mark’s arguments is that we are setting the bar too high when we expect the kind of verbatim correspondence between Thomas and the Synoptics that we find between the Synoptics themselves – that this is not usual in literature of the time. I think this depends on what level of evidence we are looking for. If we want to be able to say that there is very little doubt that the relationship between two texts is a literary one, I think we need either to have a high degree of verbatim or near verbatim correspondence, or to be sure that there is no other way that the author of the later text can be familiar with the material contained in the former than by having seen a copy of the text. If we are prepared to accept that Jesus was a real person who moved around first century Palestine teaching a reformed understanding of the Jewish faith, then we have to accept that there were many people who heard him teach, including quite a few who heard him many times and that he lived in a culture where oral transmission of stories and teachings was the norm, so parallel content without verbatim agreement doesn’t provide a particularly high level of certainty about a literary relationship between two texts.  By a high level of verbatim correspondence, I mean long strings of words – too long to be remembered by rote or to have occurred by chance. Without this, all that we can say is that it is clear that the author of the later text was familiar with the content of the earlier one and that this may have been a literary relationship.

                    <SNIP>

                    I would therefore say that the level of verbatim correspondence that we can demonstrate between Thomas and the Synoptics does not provide strong evidence for the author’s familiarity with the Synoptic texts, merely with the Synoptic tradition. Of course, it doesn’t exclude the possibility that the author of Thomas was familiar with the Synoptic texts because, as Mark argues, the fact that the author had a copy of a text in front of him would not have compelled him to copy it verbatim.

                    Judy

                  • E Bruce Brooks
                    To: GThos In Response To: Mark G On: Rolling Corpus From: Bruce Judy Redman, and now Mark G, have repeatedly referred to DeConick s rolling corpus theory of
                    Message 9 of 26 , Mar 26, 2013

                      To: GThos

                      In Response To: Mark G

                      On: Rolling Corpus

                      From: Bruce

                       

                      Judy Redman, and now Mark G, have repeatedly referred to DeConick’s “rolling corpus” theory of Thomas. I continue to wish I could persuade people to abandon this highly misleading term. A rolling average is an average of a constant number of terms, which discards at one end as it add at the other end, while moving along those numbers. It stays the same size, while varying in content. I can imagine a text that evolves in such a way, but this is not what DeConick is actually claiming for Thomas.

                       

                      To quote her (Vigiliae Christianae v56 #2 (May 2002) 180f, paraphrasing her source, McKane on Jeremiah, “a rolling corpus is a book that begins with the ipsissima verba of a prophet . . . Over time, additional material becomes aggregated and organized in relation to the core.” That is, no material is discarded, and the model is that of what I have elsewhere called an accretional text: a text that grows over time by the addition of material to an original core.

                       

                      DeConick’s example (p182) of a text process that discards is Marcion’s Luke and Pauline Letters. She might as easily have cited Luke’s treatment of Mark, let alone John’s treatment of both Mark and Luke (though these add as well as subtract). But these are examples of Text B operating on a complete and prior and outside Text A. They are not examples of text formation ab initio.

                       

                      DeConick thinks that an accretional model (composition in more than one impulse, and with more than one theological idea) is required by the diverse and sometimes self-contradictory nature of the contents of GThos. That can be evaluated on its merits (others, seemingly, are prepared to explain GThos as, well, explainable as it stands). But that discussion will proceed more smoothly, it seems to me, if all hands see DeConick’s proposal as that of a growth text, not that of a growth-and-discard text.

                       

                      Bruce

                       

                      E Bruce Brooks

                      Warring States Project

                      University of Massachusetts at Amherst

                       

                      Perhaps relevantly, Quispel in commenting on DeConick’s article (Vig Chr v60 #2, May 2006, 231-233), says “the authoress describes the growth of a kernel (“a speech Gospel”) into the present shape of the Gospel of Thomas.” Quispel does not, either in this sentence or later, refer to a “rolling corpus” model. I think that his description (as a growth text) is accurate for what DeConick is proposing, and that his ignoring of DeConick’s own term (“rolling corpus”) is wise, and worthy of present emulation.

                       

                    • ravensschmavens
                      I am not sure how helpful this corrective will be, but I don t think it is often enough said that the phrase, rolling corpus was originally coined by the Old
                      Message 10 of 26 , Mar 26, 2013
                        I am not sure how helpful this corrective will be, but I don't think it is often enough said that the phrase, "rolling corpus" was originally coined by the Old Testament scholar, William McKane in his work on the text of Jeremiah. If we are going to wrangle over its use (and especially if we are going to call it a misleading term), we should probably look at the way it was originally used by McKane and then borrowed for the construction of DeConick's model. (BTW, I have no dog in this fight as I am not particularly persuaded my April's argument. Just wanted to inject some clarity into the discussion.)

                        Chris

                        Sent from my iPad

                        On Mar 26, 2013, at 2:12 PM, "E Bruce Brooks" <brooks@...> wrote:

                         

                        To: GThos

                        In Response To: Mark G

                        On: Rolling Corpus

                        From: Bruce

                         

                        Judy Redman, and now Mark G, have repeatedly referred to DeConick’s “rolling corpus” theory of Thomas. I continue to wish I could persuade people to abandon this highly misleading term. A rolling average is an average of a constant number of terms, which discards at one end as it add at the other end, while moving along those numbers. It stays the same size, while varying in content. I can imagine a text that evolves in such a way, but this is not what DeConick is actually claiming for Thomas.

                         

                        To quote her (Vigiliae Christianae v56 #2 (May 2002) 180f, paraphrasing her source, McKane on Jeremiah, “a rolling corpus is a book that begins with the ipsissima verba of a prophet . . . Over time, additional material becomes aggregated and organized in relation to the core.” That is, no material is discarded, and the model is that of what I have elsewhere called an accretional text: a text that grows over time by the addition of material to an original core.

                         

                        DeConick’s example (p182) of a text process that discards is Marcion’s Luke and Pauline Letters. She might as easily have cited Luke’s treatment of Mark, let alone John’s treatment of both Mark and Luke (though these add as well as subtract). But these are examples of Text B operating on a complete and prior and outside Text A. They are not examples of text formation ab initio.

                         

                        DeConick thinks that an accretional model (composition in more than one impulse, and with more than one theological idea) is required by the diverse and sometimes self-contradictory nature of the contents of GThos. That can be evaluated on its merits (others, seemingly, are prepared to explain GThos as, well, explainable as it stands). But that discussion will proceed more smoothly, it seems to me, if all hands see DeConick’s proposal as that of a growth text, not that of a growth-and-discard text.

                         

                        Bruce

                         

                        E Bruce Brooks

                        Warring States Project

                        University of Massachusetts at Amherst

                         

                        Perhaps relevantly, Quispel in commenting on DeConick’s article (Vig Chr v60 #2, May 2006, 231-233), says “the authoress describes the growth of a kernel (“a speech Gospel”) into the present shape of the Gospel of Thomas.” Quispel does not, either in this sentence or later, refer to a “rolling corpus” model. I think that his description (as a growth text) is accurate for what DeConick is proposing, and that his ignoring of DeConick’s own term (“rolling corpus”) is wise, and worthy of present emulation.

                         

                      • Jordan Stratford
                        Re: rolling vs accretional The layman s term that arose from the Gospel of Philip group was drunken dinner party transcript to account for the repetition and
                        Message 11 of 26 , Mar 26, 2013
                          Re: rolling vs accretional

                          The layman's term that arose from the Gospel of Philip group was "drunken dinner party transcript" to account for the repetition and contradictory voices. The metaphor would seem to apply to Thomas as well.

                          Jordan
                        • E Bruce Brooks
                          To: GThos (GPG to see) In Response To: Christopher Skinner On: Rolling Corpus From: Bruce In my last, I carefully noted DeConick s reliance on McKane, and
                          Message 12 of 26 , Mar 26, 2013

                            To: GThos (GPG to see)

                            In Response To: Christopher Skinner

                            On: Rolling Corpus

                            From: Bruce

                             

                            In my last, I carefully noted DeConick’s reliance on McKane, and quoted her own characterization of that model. I am not concerned with whether McKane’s term “rolling corpus” rightly describes his view of Jeremiah, and I am not concerned to take up Jeremiah as such. I *am* concerned with the misleading implications of the term, which DeConick (and as far as her quote goes, also McKane) use to describe what I think is better labeled a growth or accretional text.

                             

                            I continue to think that Quispel had the right idea, and that the term “rolling corpus” should be silently disused in connection with DeConick’s view of GThos. That is, unless someone really wants to propose an add-and-discard model for that text, in which case “rolling corpus” will be available to them as the appropriate label.

                             

                            Bruce

                             

                            E Bruce Brooks
                            Warring States Project

                            University of Massachusetts at Amherst

                             

                            I think the real question is: Does the nature of the GThos material suggest a hypothesis of unitary or successive composition? Can the inconsistencies to which DeConick points be explained away (some esoteric texts are intentionally paradoxical), or must they be acknowledged as problematic for single-stage composition? If the latter, then DeConick’s argument holds, and a layer hypothesis will work better than an integral one.

                             

                            Quispel in passing proposed one core possibility, with which I happen to agree, but I don’t mean to preclude discussion. I *would* like to see the discussion take place. DeConick (in her Vigiliae Christianae article) gives specific examples of what she sees as “conflicting content” in GThos (p179). These include:

                             

                            Th 12 and 53; Th 113 and 111a

                             

                            and such “troublesome doublets” as Th 3/113. 38/92, 48/106, 55/101, 56/80, 87/112.

                            Would anyone care to discuss any of them? DeConick herself says (p180), “ . . . but is also evidence for multi-authors who layered the text with new source materials over a lengthy period of time.” (Notice DeConick’s use here of the term “layered”).

                             

                            I notice that it is almost but not quite possible to draw a line in gThos that divides the members of the the “troublesome doublets” she cites. If we exclude only the last of the above “doublets,” that line might come somewhere between Th 56 and 80. Implied question: Is there a point between those two passages that might have served, at one point in the process, as an intentional ending? In the way John 20 makes a plausible ending in the absence of John 21?

                             

                            A text can simply trail off, and I know several that do. But is this how gThos ends, or once ended?

                             

                          • Jack Kilmon
                            JACK] I see. I am convinced that Thomas was translated into Coptic from translational Greek for those logia that are genuine to Jesus based on at least one
                            Message 13 of 26 , Mar 26, 2013
                              JACK] I see.  I am convinced that Thomas was translated into Coptic from translational Greek for those logia that are genuine to Jesus based on at least one Aramaism that is identifiable.  I may go over Mike’s interlinear when I have time since he has done such a great job.
                               
                              Sent: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 4:17 AM
                              Subject: RE: [GTh] Redman's Response to Goodacre's Thomas Book
                               


                              Jack, I understood Andrew to be asking me at what point I think the two traditions diverged – before or after the vox Iesu was translated from Aramaic into Greek – rather than suggesting that there was a written version of any of the gospels.

                               

                              I have no Aramaic, so don’t feel competent to make this kind of determination. I am not actually saying that it is impossible for Mark’s theory to be correct, just that the evidence that we have available is does not offer a strong enough support to be categorical about this and other explanations are, IMHO, equally well supported.

                               

                              Judy

                               

                               

                              From: gthomas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:gthomas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jack Kilmon
                              Sent: Tuesday, 26 March 2013 2:33 PM
                              To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
                              Subject: Re: [GTh] Redman's Response to Goodacre's Thomas Book

                               

                               

                              Hi Andrew:

                                   No book of the New Testament had ever been written originally in Aramaic, however, portions of the Gospels, including the vox Iesu, are translations of written and/or oral Judean Aramaic sources. Aramaic interference in the syntax of those areas of New Testament Greek is obvious.  It gets more difficult with Thomas to identify Aramaisms in translational Coptic of translational Greek since it requires scholars facile in Greek, Coptic and Judean Aramaic (not Syriac).

                               

                              Jack Kilmon

                               

                              From: sarban

                              Sent: Monday, March 25, 2013 4:34 PM

                              Subject: Re: [GTh] Redman's Response to Goodacre's Thomas Book

                               




                              Hi Judy

                               

                              Would you agree that Thomas and the Synoptics share a common GREEK synoptic tradition (whether oral or written) ?

                              Or do you think it possible that the Synoptics and Thomas are ultimately based on independent translations from Palestinian Aramaic into Greek ?

                               

                              Andrew Criddle

                              ----- Original Message -----

                              Sent: Monday, March 25, 2013 8:54 PM

                              Subject: RE: [GTh] Redman's Response to Goodacre's Thomas Book

                               

                               

                              This is not really  a response to anyone’s post, but a further comment on the issue of the nature of the relationship between Thomas and the Synoptics.

                              One of Mark’s arguments is that we are setting the bar too high when we expect the kind of verbatim correspondence between Thomas and the Synoptics that we find between the Synoptics themselves – that this is not usual in literature of the time. I think this depends on what level of evidence we are looking for. If we want to be able to say that there is very little doubt that the relationship between two texts is a literary one, I think we need either to have a high degree of verbatim or near verbatim correspondence, or to be sure that there is no other way that the author of the later text can be familiar with the material contained in the former than by having seen a copy of the text. If we are prepared to accept that Jesus was a real person who moved around first century Palestine teaching a reformed understanding of the Jewish faith, then we have to accept that there were many people who heard him teach, including quite a few who heard him many times and that he lived in a culture where oral transmission of stories and teachings was the norm, so parallel content without verbatim agreement doesn’t provide a particularly high level of certainty about a literary relationship between two texts.  By a high level of verbatim correspondence, I mean long strings of words – too long to be remembered by rote or to have occurred by chance. Without this, all that we can say is that it is clear that the author of the later text was familiar with the content of the earlier one and that this may have been a literary relationship.

                              <SNIP>

                              I would therefore say that the level of verbatim correspondence that we can demonstrate between Thomas and the Synoptics does not provide strong evidence for the author’s familiarity with the Synoptic texts, merely with the Synoptic tradition. Of course, it doesn’t exclude the possibility that the author of Thomas was familiar with the Synoptic texts because, as Mark argues, the fact that the author had a copy of a text in front of him would not have compelled him to copy it verbatim.

                              Judy

                            • Mark Goodacre
                              Thanks, Judy, for your helpful comments. Yes, but this is the key issue -- did the Gospel of Thomas begin as a setting of sayings which grew over time , in a
                              Message 14 of 26 , Mar 26, 2013
                                Thanks, Judy, for your helpful comments.  Yes, but this is the key issue -- did the Gospel of Thomas begin as "a setting of sayings which grew over time", in a kind of evolutionary model?  My argument is that the diagnostic shards found in the parallel sayings in Thomas are sufficient to place a question mark against that kind of evolutionary model.  As you know, I think that one of the difficulties with studies of the Gospel of Thomas is that they tend to think in a kind of bottom-up form-critical way, beginning with primitive traditions and seeing development and accretion until we get to the unique materials.  I argue that a redaction-critical approach can look at the unique material and see how far that might help in understanding the selection of the Synoptic parallels.  But that, of course, is why the issue of Matthean and Lucan redaction in Thomas is so important, and it sounds like we disagree on that one.  Thanks again for engaging.  Cheers, 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

                              • Mark Goodacre
                                If I may, a quick comment on the use of McIver and Carroll in this context: ... There is a serious flaw in McIver and Carroll s experiments. They compared
                                Message 15 of 26 , Mar 26, 2013
                                  If I may, a quick comment on the use of McIver and Carroll in this context:

                                  On 25 March 2013 16:54, Judy Redman <jredman2@...> wrote:

                                  > McIver and Carroll (McIver, Robert K. and Marie Carroll.
                                  > "Experiments to Develop Criteria for Determining the Existence of Written
                                  > Sources, and Their Potential Implications for the Synoptic Problem." JBL
                                  > 121, no. 4 (2002): 667-687 and McIver, Robert K. and Marie Carroll.
                                  > "Distinguishing Characteristics of Orally Transmitted Material When Compared
                                  > to Material Transmitted by Literary Means." Applied Cognitive Psychology 18,
                                  > no. 9 (2004): 1251-1269) suggest that we need to have at least 15-18 words
                                  > correspondence to be able to be sure that copying has taken place.

                                  There is a serious flaw in McIver and Carroll's experiments. They
                                  compared results from experiments in contemporary English with data
                                  from the Gospels in Koine Greek. This is important because it takes
                                  many more words to say something in contemporary English than it takes
                                  to say the same thing in Koine Greek, so the 16/18 criterion is pretty
                                  useless. I have blogged about this on a couple of occasions and I am
                                  in the process of writing this up more fully:

                                  http://ntweblog.blogspot.com/2010/05/flaw-in-mciver-and-carrolls-article.html

                                  http://ntweblog.blogspot.com/2010/05/more-on-flaw-in-mciver-and-carrolls.html

                                  All best
                                  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 Reynolds
                                  Mark-   This could be flawed the other way. Quite a few scholars see oral societies as having virtually photographic memories with the ability to recite
                                  Message 16 of 26 , Mar 26, 2013
                                    Mark-
                                     
                                    This could be flawed the other way. Quite a few scholars see oral societies as having virtually photographic memories with the ability to recite entire passages verbatum. They cite current oral societies as having this ability.
                                     
                                    Tom
                                  • Judy Redman
                                    Mark, Thank you for engaging, too. The reading I have been doing about eyewitness testimony and human memory suggests to me that there is a somewhat different
                                    Message 17 of 26 , Mar 27, 2013

                                      Mark,

                                       

                                      Thank you for engaging, too. The reading I have been doing about eyewitness testimony and human memory suggests to me that there is a somewhat different way of looking at how Thomas and the Synoptics may have formed.  I have found the points you have made in analysing the issues raised by the texts really helpful, but I think that there may be another way of explaining them. I’ve also read recent papers by Paul Foster and Robert McIver which have added some other ideas. I have been trying for several months to find the mental space to pull everything together but it’s a very busy time of year for me because our academic year is only four weeks old, and  I haven’t been able to do so. I am hoping that I will get it done after Easter.  I don’t think that the bottom-up form-critical thinking works all that well, either, but the redactional model that you present doesn’t quite seem to work either.

                                       

                                      One issue I have with redactional models is that they imply that a later author takes someone else’s work and makes deliberate, calculated decisions to change it to fit the later author’s particular theological perspective. This doesn’t sit particularly well with me because I would like to think that the authors of the gospels were faithful people of good will who were recording the good news about Jesus as they understood it rather than deliberately trying to shape their audiences’ understanding by altering the tradition that was handed down by others. Another issue I have is that I think it relies too heavily on written text and while I agree that there has been a swing too far the other way, with orality being over emphasised, I would like to look more at the intersection between human memory and the oral phase of transmission. Thus, a model that allows for the development of variations over time and out of communities of faith and with some emphasis on oral transmission seems to me to be more in line with what would/should/could have happened.

                                       

                                      So at the moment I am saying that the general idea of a rolling corpus fits better with my understanding than something that produces a version at one point in time. In a month’s time, I might be saying something different. J  I think, incidentally, that Funk is wrong to say that simpler = earlier. Human memory studies on the handing down of stories suggest that it works the other way – as time goes on, the story gets simpler and simpler. Other forces, however, come into play, so I don’t think we can be dogmatic about it either way.

                                       

                                      Judy

                                       

                                       

                                       

                                      From: gthomas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:gthomas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Mark Goodacre
                                      Sent: Wednesday, 27 March 2013 10:27 AM
                                      To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
                                      Subject: Re: [GTh] Redman's Response to Goodacre's Thomas Book

                                       

                                       

                                      Thanks, Judy, for your helpful comments.  Yes, but this is the key issue -- did the Gospel of Thomas begin as "a setting of sayings which grew over time", in a kind of evolutionary model?  My argument is that the diagnostic shards found in the parallel sayings in Thomas are sufficient to place a question mark against that kind of evolutionary model.  As you know, I think that one of the difficulties with studies of the Gospel of Thomas is that they tend to think in a kind of bottom-up form-critical way, beginning with primitive traditions and seeing development and accretion until we get to the unique materials.  I argue that a redaction-critical approach can look at the unique material and see how far that might help in understanding the selection of the Synoptic parallels.  But that, of course, is why the issue of Matthean and Lucan redaction in Thomas is so important, and it sounds like we disagree on that one.  Thanks again for engaging.  Cheers, 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

                                    • Stephen Carlson
                                      ... I thought that was basically the intent behind Goodacre s use of the term knowledge of rather than literarily dependent upon. I realize that Tony
                                      Message 18 of 26 , Mar 27, 2013
                                        On Wed, Mar 27, 2013 at 11:25 AM, Judy Redman <jredman2@...> wrote:

                                        One issue I have with redactional models is that they imply that a later author takes someone else’s work and makes deliberate, calculated decisions to change it to fit the later author’s particular theological perspective.  

                                         
                                        I thought that was basically the intent behind Goodacre's use of the term "knowledge of" rather than "literarily dependent upon."  I realize that Tony Burke's review basically conflates the two concepts, but I think it should be underscored that Mark's approach is more nuanced than that.
                                         
                                        Stephen
                                        --
                                        Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D. (Duke)
                                        Post-Doctoral Fellow, Theology, Uppsala
                                      • JamesFrankMcGrath
                                        Tom, Hopefully the image used can show what is wrong with this reasoning, and why fewer and fewer scholars adopt the stance if they have kept up to date on the
                                        Message 19 of 26 , Mar 27, 2013
                                          Tom,

                                          Hopefully the image used can show what is wrong with this reasoning, and why fewer and fewer scholars adopt the stance if they have kept up to date on the study of orality and memory. "Photographic" memory is the ability to recall what was seen or read. But the more one is dealing with an oral society, the more on has to talk about memory functioning in the absence of a written text which makes words available pictorially.

                                          With such a text available, in a society with literacy, one can read and repeat the same words over and over again and commit them to memory that way. But that requires writing as a means to memorization. Without such a visual or other verbatim transcript, the very notion of repeating the exact same words becomes meaningless and at best impossible to verify.

                                          Best wishes,

                                          James


                                          ____________________________________
                                          Dr. James F. McGrath
                                          Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature
                                          Butler University
                                          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/
                                          ____________________________________

                                          --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, Tom Reynolds <tomreynolds_ilan@...> wrote:
                                          >
                                          > Mark-
                                          >  
                                          > This could be flawed the other way. Quite a few scholars see oral societies as having virtually photographic memories with the ability to recite entire passages verbatum. They cite current oral societies as having this ability.
                                          >  
                                          > Tom
                                          >
                                        • E Bruce Brooks
                                          To: GThos In Response To: Judy Redman On: Redactional Models From: Bruce Judy: One issue I have with redactional models is that they imply that a later author
                                          Message 20 of 26 , Mar 27, 2013

                                            To: GThos

                                            In Response To: Judy Redman

                                            On: Redactional Models

                                            From: Bruce

                                            Judy: One issue I have with redactional models is that they imply that a later author takes someone else’s work and makes deliberate, calculated decisions to change it to fit the later author’s particular theological perspective.  

                                            Bruce: That’s a rather pejorative way of putting it; it equates growth with corruption. Such things undoubtedly do happen (I have had editors either subtract my thoughts, or add their own, in a piece of mine which they are preparing for a collective volume, and I resent it enormously). But text growth can also occur if the author remains the same (or a series of text proprietors remains consecutive). An author (or proprietor; say the leader of a church) who still retains control of his original can at any time make changes in it, or add explanations to it, or supplement it with additional illustrations (just as I earlier today posted a revised version of my abstract for the SBL/EGL meeting next week). When (as frequently in Mark) we see a clearly interpolated passage, which nevertheless is present in all the manuscripts and thus does not come under suspicion of being a scribal change or other kind of subsequent alteration, we may well be in the presence of an authorial augmentation.

                                             

                                            I don’t see a narrative mainthread in gThos, and I also don’t see a systematic plan of exposition. If these are lacking, there is no easy test of interpolated material. The only suggestive points, as far as I can see, would be the ones DeConick is pointing to: doctrinal inconsistency. I would still like to see someone either confirm or refute her list of inconsistent passages, or at the other end of the scale, deal with her too-consistent doublets.

                                             

                                            If this list should not be thought a proper venue for those exercises, I would be glad to hear from any analytically-minded persons off-list.

                                             

                                            Bruce

                                             

                                            E Bruce Brooks

                                            Warring States Project

                                            University of Massachusetts at Amherst

                                             

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