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[gthomas] Q2 and Thomas

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  • Paul Miller
    Things being rather slow on GThomas these days I thought I would reproduce this interesting Crosstalk discussion from 1996. This will take a few posts to do so
    Message 1 of 10 , Jul 18 7:27 AM
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      Things being rather slow on GThomas these days I thought I would reproduce
      this interesting Crosstalk discussion from 1996. This will take a few posts
      to do so just delete if you find it uninteresting. ------- Paul Miller

      From: "Maureen Smith" <msmith@...>
      To: crosstalk@...: Q2 and Thomas (fwd)
      Remember Dennis Ingolfsland, who succumbed to e-mail overload not long
      ago and unsubscribed? I was sorry to see him go, because IMO he is a
      smart, knowledgeable, and reasonable evangelical. It was his posts that
      first tipped me off that I should be worrying about what use Burton
      Mack and others were making of Kloppenborg's stratification of Q, so I
      sent him a copy of my recent post on the subject. He has given me
      permission to post his response.
      I also just sent him Stephen Carlson's post on the advantages of a
      proto-Matthew hypothesis, which I am finding more and more intriguing.
      Now here's Dennis:Maureen,
      Congratulations on your new celebrity status. I'm assuming that you
      know that you have been cited in the latest issue of Time magazine in
      their cover story on Jesus (Time, April 8, 1996). I think that's
      pretty exciting.I also thought you had some very good observations:
      > When I noticed on Steve's list of parallels that there were some
      > parallels between Q2 and Thomas, I asked if that would be an
      > argument against the stratification of Q. Steve pleased me by
      > calling that a "nice sophisticated observation," and I'll have to
      > admit I thought it was pretty good myself in view of the fact that
      > I never heard of Q1 and Q2 and Q3 before I got mixed up with this
      > group. But Bill said it wasn't a good argument because Kloppenborg
      > always said that the Q2 redactors drew on existing (oral?) tradition
      > for some of their material.>
      Mack (following Kloppenborg) makes the point that "approximately one
      third of the sayings in the Gospel of Thomas have parallels in Q, and
      60% of these [ie 20% of the whole?] are from the earliest layer of Q"
      (Who Wrote the New Testament, 61; the bracketed remarks are mine).
      The other 40% comes from the rest of Q. In Mack's timeline in
      Appendix A of "The Lost Gospel" he indicates that GosThom borrowed
      from Q as redacted by Q2. Mack's argument seems to be that this
      proves that there was a GosThom community, distinct from the Q
      community, the Markan Community, Christ community, etc, which dates
      from at least as far in time as the Q1 community. But this proves
      nothing of the sort! All it would show is that the writer(s) of
      GosThom wrote sometime after Q was compiled (Q3 is only 10% of Q so
      its absense from GosThos would not prove that Q3 was not yet in
      existence). It does not prove that the "Q community" had a history
      prior to the completion of Q. For all we know, they may have been
      the group which split off from the so called "Johannine school" in the
      90's (and I think this is a very good possibility).
      Maureen, I think your observations about GosThom containing parallels
      in Q2 is significant because it demonstrates, IMO, that the Q
      community did not date back before Q2 as Mack assumes, or at lest,
      if it did, there is absolutely no evidence to support such a
      contention. If I understand Mack and Kloppenborg correctly, they
      believe that the Q2 redactions were created in response to the
      negative reaction the Q1 community had received. Even if Q2 drew on
      existing tradition, the apocalyptic and judgemental elements would
      still presumably be part of the Q2 redaction and would not have
      existed before Q2 (if someone says that the apocalyptic and
      judgemental elements existed in tradition previous to Q2,there would
      be no basis on which to stratify Q). Since GosThom has parallels to
      the Q2 tradition all we can say about a GosThom community is that it
      produced the GosThom sometime after Q2. Mack, however, argues that
      the Q1 parallels in GosThom prove that the GosThos community was one
      of the earliest Jesus groups, along with the Q1 community. I think
      your observation proves him to be in error. [Please note that I am
      writing all this off the top of my head without having thought it
      through very carefully. If you see errors in my logic, I would be
      greatful if you pointed them out to me]
      Second, I question the assertion that themes deemed
      > traditional "should" appear in the other versions. Jesus surely said
      > a lot of things in three years of ministry. If we have several sources,
      > I would expect there to be some overlap (which there is) and some
      > traditional material in each source that is unmatched in the others.
      I think you are right on with this one! Multiple attestation can be
      used to strengthen confidence in the historicity of an event or
      saying, but it cannot validly be used to undermine the historicity of
      an event or saying. Just because only one source records and event
      or saying does not mean that the event or saying never occurred. I
      suspect that if we threw out everthing in the history books which
      were not attested by multiple sources, we wouldn't have much left
      (comparatively speaking). I also suspect that critical scholars
      bring MUCH more skepticism to bear on the biblical sources than
      historians do on their sources (Heroditus, Tacitus, Seutonius, etc.). >
      > Am I correct in assuming that Crossan, the Jesus Seminar, and Mack
      > took Q1 to be the only part of the Q with authentic sayings of Jesus
      > and took Q2 to be the work of redactors and thus not attributable to
      > the historical Jesus? But if Kloppenborg says the redactors drew on
      > traditional materials, how could the Jesus researchers make this>
      assumption?
      I don't think Mack would agree that Q1 has a lot of authentic sayings
      of Jesus either. He thinks these early communities felt very free to
      create and edit Jesus sayings. I have a lot of trouble believing
      this. It seems to assume that Jesus' original followers just
      disbanded after Jesus died. If so, why were there Jesus' communities
      in the first place? And why were they willing to suffer such
      persecution? Granted, people will often suffer persecution for a
      good cause....but would they suffer, and watch their loved ones
      suffer, for stories they were just making up? (My understaning of
      early Christian suffering comes not only from Acts, but from Paul's
      genuine epistles, Josephus, and Tacitus). Mack's explaination
      that they were all just mythmaking while engaging in social formation
      around the notion of the kingdom is, IMHO, simply nonsense (though I
      don't have time to defend my positon on this right now). I would be
      happy to pursue this train of thought later, but 'nuf said on it for
      now. Anyway, I think your point is valid.
      Keep up the good work. Some day we will all be reading and
      commenting on YOUR books! I would be very interested in what Bill
      Arnal said in response to your post. Sincerely,Dennis
      ------------ Forwarded Message ends here ------------
      _________________
      Maureen


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    • Mike Grondin
      You ll have to excuse me, Paul, for thinking of this Qx business as nothing more than scholars playing with toys of their own device. I agree with Mark
      Message 2 of 10 , Jul 18 10:21 AM
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        You'll have to excuse me, Paul, for thinking of this Qx business as nothing
        more than scholars playing with toys of their own device. I agree with Mark
        Goodacre that the hypothesization of Q in the first place is suspect. But
        then this hypothetical document is divided into hypothetical strata, on
        grounds (I believe) which don't imply any temporal distinction between the
        strata. And then scholars start to argue about scenarios that might account
        for a *temporal* distinction between the strata! Perhaps it's the influence
        of the word 'stratification', which suggests archaeological layers - which
        in turn suggests temporal distinctions between those layers. Or perhaps
        it's our modern inability to imagine how a historical figure of the time
        might combine both sapiential and apocalyptic aspects, hence our need to
        separate the two. In any case, I confess to being quite impatient with
        arguments about the relationships between Q "strata" - seems to me an
        exercise in futility. (One might even suspect that academicians *like*
        arguing about issues of their own devising that aren't in principle
        decidable!)

        This is not to say that all attempts at stratification are to be eschewed.
        For example, ISTM that GTh 77a is a later addition to the main corpus -
        mainly on the grounds that it doesn't seem to fit with the major themes in
        the rest of the text. We might also suspect that #83 shows a Platonic
        influence not evident elsewhere. But I would be very suspicious of any
        attempt to separate huge chunks of text from each other, unless the grounds
        were explicitly logical, without historical implications - and even then I
        wouldn't call it 'stratification', because of the implications of that word.

        Mike

        The Coptic GThomas, saying-by-saying
        http://www.geocities.com/athens/9068/sayings.htm

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      • William E. Arnal
        ... Perhaps you should read the work you re criticizing Mike -- you d thereby avoid making irrelevant points. I hate to sound snotty about this, but I am SO
        Message 3 of 10 , Jul 18 11:57 AM
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          On Sun, 18 Jul 1999, Mike Grondin wrote:

          > influence not evident elsewhere. But I would be very suspicious of any
          > attempt to separate huge chunks of text from each other, unless the grounds
          > were explicitly logical, without historical implications - and even then I
          > wouldn't call it 'stratification', because of the implications of that word.

          Perhaps you should read the work you're criticizing Mike --
          you'd thereby avoid making irrelevant points. I hate to
          sound snotty about this, but I am SO sick of hearing these
          same criticisms over and over again, when in fact they
          don't touch the substance of the arguments for
          stratification. The stuff is in print -- read it!

          Bill


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        • Stevan Davies
          ... that word. That is the trouble with Thomas, isn t it? You think you ve got the major themes except that there are all of those other sayings that either
          Message 4 of 10 , Jul 18 3:05 PM
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            > From: Mike Grondin
            > This is not to say that all attempts at stratification are to be eschewed.
            > For example, ISTM that GTh 77a is a later addition to the main corpus -
            > mainly on the grounds that it doesn't seem to fit with the major themes in
            > the rest of the text. We might also suspect that #83 shows a Platonic
            > influence not evident elsewhere. But I would be very suspicious of any
            > attempt to separate huge chunks of text from each other, unless the grounds
            > were explicitly logical, without historical implications - and even then I
            > wouldn't call it 'stratification', because of the implications of
            that word.

            That is the trouble with Thomas, isn't it? You think you've got "the
            major themes" except that there are all of those other sayings that
            either have nothing to do with the major themes or actually have
            other themes entirely in mind. Interestingly, 77a is arguably the
            most anciently attested of all the Thomas sayings, fitting as it
            does with that host of pre-gospel "Jesus the Pantocrator" material,
            albeit first-person and not third-person.

            I was wondering whether the Q1/2 sayings material circulated
            as sayings attributed to "Jesus" and, if so, how is this known?

            Steve

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          • Mark Goodacre
            I enjoyed reading those old Crosstalk messages. As a general comment, one thing that concerns me is that the casual reader could get the impression that Q and
            Message 5 of 10 , Jul 19 5:22 AM
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              I enjoyed reading those old Crosstalk messages. As a general
              comment, one thing that concerns me is that the casual reader could
              get the impression that Q and Thomas have a special relationship in
              terms of overlapping content. There are of course many parallels to
              (what we call) Q material in Thomas but there are parallels also to
              sayings material from Mark, M, L, Mark-Q overlap, prima facie
              MattR of Mark and prima facie LukeR of Mark. The areas of
              overlap are essentially between Thomas and synoptic sayings material
              in general: Thomas has no special relationship with Q material. If
              there is any preference, I would say that it is with (what we would
              call) M + Q, the same kind of preference paralleled in other early
              Christian documents like the epistle of James, but -- as I say -- there
              is plenty of Mk & some L too.

              I realise that this will be Noddy stuff to most on the list, but I think that
              it is nevertheless worth reiterating for those who might be seduced into
              thinking that there is a special relationship between Q and Thomas in
              terms of content. Whether there might be a special relationship in
              terms of genre is a story for another day.

              Mark
              --------------------------------------
              Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
              Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
              University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 6866
              Birmingham B15 2TT United Kingdom

              http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre
              The New Testament Gateway
              Mark Without Q
              Aseneth Home Page

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            • Mike Grondin
              ... Could you specify some of this Jesus the Pantocrator material, Steve? Mike ... eGroups.com home: http://www.egroups.com/group/gthomas
              Message 6 of 10 , Jul 19 8:24 AM
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                >...77a is arguably the most anciently attested of all the Thomas
                >sayings, fitting as it does with that host of pre-gospel "Jesus
                >the Pantocrator" material, albeit first-person and not third-person.

                Could you specify some of this "Jesus the Pantocrator" material, Steve?

                Mike

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              • Mike Grondin
                ... Damn! I thought only Paul Miller was listening! But seriously, I m afraid that I d become so concerned about the lack of traffic on the list lately that I
                Message 7 of 10 , Jul 19 9:31 AM
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                  Bill Arnal:
                  >Perhaps you should read the work you're criticizing Mike --
                  >you'd thereby avoid making irrelevant points. I hate to
                  >sound snotty about this, but I am SO sick of hearing these
                  >same criticisms over and over again, when in fact they
                  >don't touch the substance of the arguments for
                  >stratification. The stuff is in print -- read it!

                  Damn! I thought only Paul Miller was listening! But seriously, I'm afraid
                  that I'd become so concerned about the lack of traffic on the list lately
                  that I allowed my ignorance to take its head. There are indeed reasons for
                  believing that "Q2" was a later addition to "Q1", and I apologize for
                  saying otherwise. But I'm surprised at your suggestion that many others
                  have made the same mistake. You mean I'm not the first to be aggressively
                  ignorant about the stratification of Q?

                  Mike

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                • Stevan Davies
                  ... No sooner said than done. GTh 77 Jesus said, It is I who am the light which is above them all. It is I who am all things. From me did all things come
                  Message 8 of 10 , Jul 19 10:10 AM
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                    > >...77a is arguably the most anciently attested of all the Thomas
                    > >sayings, fitting as it does with that host of pre-gospel "Jesus
                    > >the Pantocrator" material, albeit first-person and not third-person.
                    >
                    > Could you specify some of this "Jesus the Pantocrator" material, Steve?
                    >
                    > Mike

                    No sooner said than done.

                    GTh 77
                    Jesus said, "It is I who am the light which is above them
                    all. It is I who am all things. From me did all things come forth, and
                    unto me did all things extend.

                    1 Cor 8:6
                    yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came
                    and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through
                    whom all things came and through whom we live.

                    Col 1:16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on
                    earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or
                    authorities; all things were created by him and for him.

                    Heb 1:2
                    but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he
                    appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.

                    John 1:3
                    Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made
                    that has been made.

                    Steve

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                  • William Arnal
                    ... Hurray! ... Yes indeed, which is why I get so cranky about it (and for which I, uh, uh, apologize). This sorta thing appears in PRINT with amazing
                    Message 9 of 10 , Jul 19 1:51 PM
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                      At 12:31 PM 7/19/99 -0400, Mike Grondin wrote:

                      >Damn! I thought only Paul Miller was listening! But seriously, I'm afraid
                      >that I'd become so concerned about the lack of traffic on the list lately
                      >that I allowed my ignorance to take its head. There are indeed reasons for
                      >believing that "Q2" was a later addition to "Q1", and I apologize for
                      >saying otherwise.

                      Hurray!

                      >But I'm surprised at your suggestion that many others
                      >have made the same mistake. You mean I'm not the first to be aggressively
                      >ignorant about the stratification of Q?

                      Yes indeed, which is why I get so cranky about it (and for which I, uh, uh,
                      apologize). This sorta thing appears in PRINT with amazing regularity.
                      Kloppenborg, in particular, is constantly being "refuted" on the grounds
                      that "wisdom and apocalyptic are not incompatible" or that "the a priori
                      assumption that Jesus [!!] cannot have been an apocalyptist is anachronistic
                      and theologically motivated" etc. -- I fear that sheer repetition will turn
                      all this irrelevant argumentation into FACT, so that no one will actually
                      bother to read the quite different arguments on which the hypothesis is
                      actually founded.

                      Sorry to blow off on this -- the appropriate targets really are elsewhere.

                      Bill
                      __________________________________
                      William Arnal wea1@...
                      Religion/Classics check out my web page, at:
                      New York University http://pages.nyu.edu/~wea1/


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                    • Stevan Davies
                      ... Bill ... Bill Arnal has written a brief summary of Kloppenborg s case that he is too humble and self-effacing to mention. It s on the WWW off my Thomas
                      Message 10 of 10 , Jul 19 5:11 PM
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                        >> You mean I'm not the first to be aggressively
                        > >ignorant about the stratification of Q?

                        Bill
                        > Yes indeed, which is why I get so cranky about it (and for which I, uh, uh,
                        > apologize). This sorta thing appears in PRINT with amazing regularity.
                        > Kloppenborg, in particular, is constantly being "refuted" on the grounds
                        > that "wisdom and apocalyptic are not incompatible" or that "the a priori
                        > assumption that Jesus [!!] cannot have been an apocalyptist is anachronistic
                        > and theologically motivated" etc. -- I fear that sheer repetition will turn
                        > all this irrelevant argumentation into FACT, so that no one will actually
                        > bother to read the quite different arguments on which the hypothesis is
                        > actually founded.

                        Bill Arnal has written a brief summary of Kloppenborg's case
                        that he is too humble and self-effacing to mention. It's on the WWW
                        off my Thomas homepage at
                        http://www.miseri.edu/users/davies/thomas/billklop.htm


                        Steve

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