[gthomas] Q2 and Thomas part 3
- From: "Stevan Davies" <miser17@...>To: crosstalk@...
Date: Mon, 8 Apr 1996 15:34:27 +0000Subject: Re: Q2 and
Thank you to Bill Arnal. Once I've read his letter a couple
more times I'll be considerably more knowledgable about
the sayings traditions than I was when I got up this morning.
And I don't mean that sarcastically!
But let's leave Klop and Mack aside and bring ol' Marcus Borg
on stage for awhile. He himself believes, and he has insisted in
print that it is the consensus among scholars, that
Jesus was not an apocalypticist and therefore sayings such as the
future Son of Man sayings are later creations.
However, if it is the case that Q2 is pulling those sayings out of
existing tradition rather than making them up only two possibilities
occur to me.1. Jesus said them.
2. There was some other community, not the Q folks, who
had some sort of message that was rejected by the masses
and this peeved them to such a degree that they made up the apoc. sayings.
But this is a bit much, as it would mean
that the complicated arguments that Mack makes to show the
mindset of the frustrated Q folks applied also to some other
otherwise unknown group who did make up such sayings
at a period quite considerably earlier than Q2 such that their
sayings became an accepted part of the oral tradition from
which Q2 took its stuff when the Q folks also got frustrated.
So, evidently, there was a collection of rather savage
Kingdom of God as vengeance sayings circulating prior to
Q2. Wouldn't that imply pretty strongly that Q1 would have
known them but deliberately chose to leave them out?
The only other alternative is that they came into being between
the time of Q1 and Q2 in some other community than Q. Subsequently
those sayings, or at least their ideology, was picked up by Q and
Mt Mk Lk Pl and it was known to Jn and Th.
If the sayings derive from Jesus we do have reason to think
that Thomas knew of that sort of saying and left them out.
If Q1 also did so then there may be interesting evidence of a somewhat
widespread pre-synoptic tendency to reject one principal element
of Jesus' messageStage one: The eschatological Jesus 30AD
Stage two: Q1/Th rejection of the eschatological Jesus 50AD
Stage three: Q2 etc. reaffirmation of the eschatological Jesus 60AD
[Stage four: Re-rejection of the eschatological Jesus 1980AD]
That would make the Q1/Thomas stage a particularly
interesting one to explore, it seems to me. What have we
got there? A sapientializing of eschatology followed by
an eschatologizing of the sapiential? That sounds silly,
but it is what you are left with, I think, if you assume that Q
didn't make up the Q2 eschatological sayings.
So, enlighten me WA or somebody. Where did the Q style
day of the Son of Man sayings come from? The Q people
didn't make them up (Klop) and Jesus didn't make them up
(Borg). Or did Jesus make them up? Isn't that the simplest
hypothesis that fits the evidence, even Klop's Q1/Q2 evidence?
But even those who think J spoke of a coming Kingdom in some
sense or other do NOT usually prefer to think that the Kingdom
expected to be anything like what the Q sayings say it will be like,
i.e. fire and brimstone and flood and lightning and woe unto Bethsaida
and Capurnaum cast into hell, and I will come on the clouds with the
angels whilst the stars fall from their spheres and woe unto her
who is with child in those days.
E.P. Sanders writes in *The Historical Figure of Jesus*
"As a desperate measure, people whom this [Jesus' eschatological
message] makes uncomfortable can say that everybody
misunderstood Jesus completely. He really wanted economic and social reform.
The disciples dropped that part of his teaching and made up sayings
about the future kingdom of God - which they then had to start
retracting, since the kingdom did not arrive. This assumes that we
can 'know' things for which there is no evidence, while
simultaneously 'knowing' that the evidence we have is based on total
incomprehension. Such views merely show the triumph of wishful
thinking." (page 183).
I think on 'crosstalk' this would be regarded as a 'flame' by
Sanders against Crossan and Borg and Kaylor and the JSem consensus.
So did Jesus offer the view that God would kill everyone on
earth except those who agreed with Jesus?
Or was this a later invention and, if so, by whom and why?What's going on
Date: Mon, 8 Apr 1996 22:52:47 -0400 (EDT)
From: William Arnal <warnal@...>
To: Stevan Davies <miser17@...>
Subject: Re: Q2 and Thomas
On Mon, 8 Apr 1996, Stevan Davies wrote:
> But let's leave Klop and Mack aside and bring ol' Marcus Borg
> on stage for awhile. He himself believes, and he has insisted in
> print that it is the consensus among scholars, that
> Jesus was not an apocalypticist and therefore sayings such as the
> future Son of Man sayings are later creations.
At the risk of giving offense again, Borg's assertion here is CRAPOLA.
There's no such consensus. Borg just uses this to escape having to make
the argument himself. I figure that's just sheer laziness. The really
weird thing is, Borg touts this "consensus" without himself, I believe,
accepting Q's stratification. Go figure.
> So, evidently, there was a collection of rather savage
> Kingdom of God as vengeance sayings circulating prior to
> Q2. Wouldn't that imply pretty strongly that Q1 would have
> known them but deliberately chose to leave them out?
> The only other alternative is that they came into being between
> the time of Q1 and Q2 in some other community than Q. Subsequently
> those sayings, or at least their ideology, was picked up by Q and
> Mt Mk Lk Pl and it was known to Jn and Th.
I don't find this as difficult a scenario as you evidently do. Who knows
how much time elasped between Q1 and Q2? Presumably, there could be an
oral tradition developing between the two, in which many of these sayings=
were composed. And Q2 redaction probably supplied some more. The other
thing is that Q2's ideology did not emerge out of thin air. Polemic due
to frustration is a way of explaining why Q2 utilized an apocalyptic
ideology that was "already in the air", but it does not explain why Q2
chose THIS vehicle as opposed to a range of others that might also have
sufficed (and in fact it played with several: the invocation of John, the=
deuteronomistic scheme, the prophets, Wisdom personfied, etc.). For it to=
have occurred to the Q2 redactor that apocalypticism was a good way to
rationalize the Jesus traditions, it's quite possible a nudge in this
direction was needed. Why not say that nudge was the fact that the oral
tradition at this point was already doing so to some degree, but with
slightly less choler than Q2 employed? So it's not like Q2 INVENTED
apocalypticism (as I've said before), and so we're spared of the
embarrassment of having to explain why Q2, which was not a source for
Thomas, John, Mark, etc., managed to disseminate its ideology all over
the place anyhow. And if this strikes one as GROSSLY hypothetical, let me=
point out that it's not much different than saying that e.g., Mark is
redactionally interested in portraying Jesus as the Son of God, even
though this is a theme that was already SECONDARILY present in the
> So, enlighten me WA or somebody. Where did the Q style
> day of the Son of Man sayings come from? The Q people
> didn't make them up (Klop) and Jesus didn't make them up
> (Borg). Or did Jesus make them up? Isn't that the simplest
> hypothesis that fits the evidence, even Klop's Q1/Q2 evidence?
Schurmann ( along time ago): They were made up somewhere in between. If
we're going to assume a creative oral tradiotion, why balk at this?
But let's look at the Son of Man sayings in Q. I'll just list references,=
rather than citing the text in full (I'm lazier than Davies on this
score!), and I'll assume for the sake of argument that "Son of Man" is
original Q even if only one evangelist using this specific wording. They
Q 6:22. This text is from the FIRST layer of Q. Mack puts it in Q2, but
sloppily and for all the wrong reasons. If anyone wants to dispute me on
this, I'll argue it, but for now, all I'll just hope y'all will take my
word for it. There is a parallel to this text in Thomas (68, 69), but the=
Thomas parallel does not contain reference to Son of Man. The term is
used as a title for Jesus himself.
Q 7:34: This is from Q2. There is not Thomas parallel. The term is used
as a title for Jesus himself, specifically NOT the resurrected or
Q 9:58: This is from the FIRST layer of Q. The reference in Q is to
either Jesus as a human being, or to human beings in general. Therfe is a=
Thomas parallel (86), and it is the ONLY parallel in Thomas with which
used shares a reference to "Son of man".
Q 11:30: This is Q2, and refers to the Son of Man as a Jonah-like sign
for "this generation." This is probably apocalyptic for Q, given its
context, but the saying itself does not require an apocalyptic
interpretation. And it is unclear whether the son of man refers to Jesus
being a prophet of repentance, and acting as a "sign" in that sense, or
whether it refers to Son of Man as judge, who will serve as a
self-evidence "sign." There is no parallel in Thomas.
Q 12:8: Q2, I think, with no Thomas parallels. This is the
"eschatological correlative" -- whoever confesses Jesus, the Son of Man
with confess in heaven. Again, this is only apocalyptic in context, it
assumes something of a disparity between Jesus himself and this son of
man figure, and does not require an apocalyptic judgement scene. In many
ways, it is little different from "whoever knows me knows him who sent
Q 12:10: Q2, an absolutely incomprehensible saying about blasphemy against
the Son of Man. It LOOKS like the term refers to Jesus here, since a
CONTRAST is made with the spirit, in which case the saying is decidely NOT
apocalyptic. There is a Thomas parallel (44), which seems to retain the
same sense as Q, but which does not refer to "the son of man", only to
Q 12:40: Q2. No one knows the hour of the coming of the Son of Man.
Oddly, there is a Thomas parallel here (21, 103; as well as: 1 Thess
5:1-2, Mark 13:35, 2 Peter 3:10, Rev 16:15!). NOT A SINGLE ONE OF THESE
PARALLELS REFERS TO THE SON OF MAN (wow!). Many of the parallels are
apocalyptic without using the son of man terminology, while Thomas is not=
apocalyptic at all: it's more a warning to know what to expect, and be
prepared, much like the parable of the assassin.
Q 17:24, 26, 30: all from Q2, no Thomas parallels, all refer to the
PAROUSIA of the Son of man and are clearly apocalyptic. Equally clearly,
they all were part of the little apocalyptic speech which gets
incorporated into Q at this point.
Q 22:28: Q2, possibly apocalyptic, refers to the exaltation of the Son
of man and the judging activity of his followers. It's rather muted,
though. No Thomas parallel.
I have not attempted to tabulate Marcan parallels to these, but it could
be done easily enough.
Stats for Thomas: 1. Absolute use of *prome* (The Man): 7 (?), 8 (as
replacement for "kingdom," apparently). 2. Son of man, singular: #86
(used in sense of "human being," but perhaps with connotation of
"righteous" human being, or perhaps Jesus himself). 3. "Sons of man": 28,=
106: sense is of saved human beings in the second case, humans generally
in the first. #86 is the only parallel with "son of man," #106 is
paralleled in the synoptics, but without this term.
SO: where does all this tedium lead us? It suggests several things to me:=
1. First and foremost, the son of man sayings, even in Q, are not at all
homogeneous. They mean different things at different times, and do not
even seem to refer consistently to Jesus. This should be something of a
tip-off that Q redaction did not create the term, and was not even
particularly redactionally interested in it: at least not enough to
smooth out the references and make them consistent.
2. While the term appears much more frequently in Q2 than in Q1, it does
occur twice in Q1, and even is used inconsistently in these two
references. So Q1 already knows of a tendency to call Jesus the son of
man, certainly in 6:22, maybe in 9:58.
3. Thomas also emplys the term inconsistently. He uses it much less
frequently, but does not show an aversion to it. He uses it in places
where his parallels do not, which suggests that we should be careful
about talking about a Thomas tendency to delete the term. But he also
fails to use it in places where his parallels have it. In at least one
instance (the hour when the theif is coming=A9, the tradition supports
Thomas against Q -- Son of Man is almost certainly secondary, because no
other traditions agree in having it.
3. Only once does the term appear in parallel Q/Thomas material, and
here with an unclear referent. It is in any case not apocalyptic in
4. The only strongly, unequivocally apocalyptic references to teh Son of
Man occur in a single cluster, unparalleled in Thomas. I believe (off the=
top of my head -- I didn't check) that Marks shares some of this
material, so it's reasonable enough to conclude that at some point,
pre-Q2, apocalyptic son of man sayings developed.
In sum: all of this suggests to me what Schurmann already said: that Son
of Man appears to arise secondarily in the oral tradition (it is only
VERY infrequently shared in independent parallel material), and yet does
not appear as part of the redactional interest of Q (or Thomas, for that
matter; Mark is a different story). But even more importantly, it
suggests that Son of Man was circulating in the tradition WITHOUT
apocalyptic connotations. In fact, judging from the instances enumerated,
most of the time "Son of Man" in Q is either not apocalyptic or is so
only by virtue of the context in which it appears: with the exception of
3 instances in chapter 17, "Son of man" in the tradition does not have a
clear apocalyptic reference. Q, apparently inherited the term, was
interested enough to interpret it apocalyptically where such a reading
was fairly obvious already, but was not enough interested to emend it in
other instances. It's all much more complicated, I guess, than a lot of
this discussion would imply.
> Or was this a later invention and, if so, by whom and why?
> What's going on here?
I don't know. Do the Son of Man stats I've offered suggest anything more
specific than what I've said? Or even something contrary (God forbid!) to=
what I've said? Would it help to work in Marcan parallels and see what
they tell us? Etc. Agaian, I think this is a case of something arising
post Jesus and pre documents, and it seems so incredibly inconsistent
that it's hard to tell what happened. I would suggest that the term "son
of man" was loaded enough, or mysterious enough, that once it worked its
way into the tradition, it could be harnessed to a variety of uses. This
does not prove that the term didn't originate with Jesus or didn't have
apocalyptic connotations at that point. But it does suggest that the that=
mere presence of the term prior to documentary redaction does not in
itself indicate that Jesus was an apocalyptist. This, coupled with the
remarks I made in response to Maureen's recent post, suggest to me that
the apocalyptic Jesus is not the OBVIOUS or commonsense view (Sanders
takes that rhetorically FAR too often IMHO), and requires as much defense=
and substantial argumentation as the sapiential Jesus.
And apologies for typos and such; also any failures to make sense -- I was
interrupted half way through, and tried to pick up my thread again, I'm
not sure how successfully. I'd apologize for length, too, but anyone who
has read this far probably doesn't mind anyway.
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