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[gthomas] Re: Thomasine sections

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  • Stevan Davies
    ... My faith in Thomasine propensities toward consistency is pretty low. Even its apparent distaste toward future-eschatology is inconsistent with 11 and 111.
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 24, 1999
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      Kevin wrote:
      > As to the evidence by contradiction in the example you cite
      > (don't pray and fast in 14, let them pray and fast in 104), well,
      > I would like to examine this a bit more closely. Now, the first
      > point to note here is that not all apparent contradictions
      > indicate redaction. For example, 95 says that if you have
      > money, do not lend it out but give it away. Saying 108,
      > however, says that the man who found the treasure began to
      > lend it out. Moreover, 81 says let him who has become rich
      > become king. But the apparent contradictions disappear when
      > we realize that 95 is a command, 108 is a parable, and 81
      > uses the term "rich" metaphorically. With all due respect, I
      > would argue, against Prof. Patterson, that 104 does _not_
      > "counsel prayer and fasting" (nor does it imply any
      > knowledge of the synoptics in my view - but that's a different
      > argument). Saying 104 says that the current time and
      > situation are not appropriate for traditional rituals of piety.
      > Likewise, saying 14 claims that the current situation is not
      > appropriate for traditional rituals of piety.
      >
      > So, in essence, I hold that 14 is saying that the disciples
      > of the messiah are going to have to do better than the
      > traditional rituals of piety ("unless your righteousness
      > exceed that of the Pharisees...") while 104 is also
      > saying that traditional rituals of piety are an inappropriate
      > response in the presence of the messiah. So I do not find
      > 14 and 104 to be contradictory or somehow mutually exclusive.

      My faith in Thomasine propensities toward consistency is
      pretty low. Even its apparent distaste toward future-eschatology
      is inconsistent with 11 and 111.

      I tend to think that 27 advocates a traditional ritual of piety
      in a manner apparently inconsistent with 14 and 53.

      But not 104, as I understand it.

      104) They said [to Jesus], "Come, let us pray today and let us
      fast." Jesus said, "What is the sin that I have committed, or
      wherein have I been defeated? But when the bridegroom leaves the
      bridal chamber, then let them fast and pray."

      I think this is consistent with 14a. The bridal chamber is
      probably a symbol for unity. The Thomasine Christian is supposed
      to attain unity. When attained, then there is no need for
      rituals of repentence for there is no sin or 'defeat.' But when
      the one becomes two (cf. 11) then let them fast and pray.
      Male/female unity is a motif also in 22 and Mark utilizes, or
      at least relates to it, when he writes about making the two one
      being a reference to marital union.

      > I assume that Prof. Davies had his reasons for suggesting a
      > break between 58 and 59. However, because sayings 56
      > through 61 are tied together by a general 'life/death' theme,
      > I would not be inclined to place a break between any of them.
      > In general, efforts to break Thomas into "earlier" (original) and
      > "later" (redacted) sections have not proven to be particularly
      > successful or fruitful.

      Prof. Davies doesn't think Prof. Davies' efforts to to break
      Thomas into sections has proven to be particularly successful
      or fruitful.

      Steve

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