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[gthomas] Re: Q and Jesus

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  • Achilles37@aol.com
    ... While it is true that the Q GTh sayings traditions do not explicitly refer to the crucifixion or resurrection (nor do they ever mention Messiah), we
    Message 1 of 28 , Aug 1 8:35 AM
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      On 99-07-22 at 17:14:39 EDT, Stevan Davies wrote:

      > Isn't it one of the standard problems
      > arising from Q GTh considerations that they don't seem to have
      > ever heard of any crucifixion or resurrection? [And for Paul that
      > he doesn't seem to have heard of anything else?]

      While it is true that the Q GTh sayings traditions do not
      explicitly refer to the crucifixion or resurrection (nor do they
      ever mention "Messiah)," we cannot conclude from this
      that the authors of Q and GTh are unfamiliar
      with the crucifixion, the resurrection, or the conception of
      Jesus as Messiah. Just that they didn't attribute sayings
      about these matters to the pre-Easter Jesus.

      Furthermore, these sayings traditions do include a few
      indirect references to these matters -

      "Pick up your cross and follow me;" (GTh 55)
      "We know that you will leave us;" (GTh 12)
      "There is nothing buried that shall not be raised" (Gr. GTh 6,
      Oxyrhynchus burial shroud);
      "Twenty-four prophets spoke in Israel and all of them spoke
      about (lit. "in") you" (GTh 52)

      and so on. Hence, I do not believe that the sayings
      tradition embodied in Q and GTh can be considered
      as evidence of groups of early Christians who have
      a form of Christianity that was devoid of the concept
      that Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate, died,
      and then rose from the dead three days later - that is,
      a form of Christianity based on the Jesus son of Ananus
      story where the hero is not crucified and does not rise
      from the dead. All we can say is that, for the author of
      GTh at least, eternal life was gained by understanding
      the words of Jesus, and not necessarily by faith in the
      Risen Jesus, a la Pauline Christianity.

      The Passion story was believed to have circulated
      independently at a very early date before it was
      incorporated into the narrative gospels. If so, this might
      account for the fact that the Q/GTh sayings traditions
      don't deal with it - there may have been a separate
      document or oral tradition that already did.

      - Kevin Johnson
    • Mark Goodacre
      ... This is an important qualification. In the case of Q we need to tread more carefully still since it is, of course, source-critically extrapolated from
      Message 2 of 28 , Aug 2 6:27 AM
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        On 1 Aug 99, at 11:35, Achilles37@... wrote:

        > While it is true that the Q GTh sayings traditions do not
        > explicitly refer to the crucifixion or resurrection (nor do they
        > ever mention "Messiah)," we cannot conclude from this
        > that the authors of Q and GTh are unfamiliar
        > with the crucifixion, the resurrection, or the conception of
        > Jesus as Messiah. Just that they didn't attribute sayings
        > about these matters to the pre-Easter Jesus.

        This is an important qualification. In the case of Q we need to tread
        more carefully still since it is, of course, source-critically extrapolated
        from Matthew and Luke. Since Q is often defined as a sayings
        source with no passion and resurrection story, one might almost say
        that there is no passion & resurrection by definition, particularly since
        there are well known Minor Agreements between Matthew and Luke
        against Mark in the Passion Narrative (cf. Kloppenborg, _Formation
        of Q_, pp. 85-7).

        Further, on the question of whether the "Christ" terminology is present
        in Q, it is arguable that it is implicit in Q 7.22. In the same passage,
        the Matthean version has the explicit terminology (Matt. 11.2),
        sometimes overlooked in reconstructions of Q, in spite of the fact that
        the usage is rather un-Lukan.

        > Furthermore, these sayings traditions do include a few
        > indirect references to these matters -
        >
        > "Pick up your cross and follow me;" (GTh 55)
        > "We know that you will leave us;" (GTh 12)
        > "There is nothing buried that shall not be raised" (Gr. GTh 6,
        > Oxyrhynchus burial shroud);
        > "Twenty-four prophets spoke in Israel and all of them spoke
        > about (lit. "in") you" (GTh 52)

        See too David Seeley's interesting piece on "Jesus Death in Q" from
        NTS 32 (1992), reproduced on-line on the Synoptic-L site:

        http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l/jdeath.htm

        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
      • joseph baxter
        ... On what basis do you assume that the Gospel of Thomas refers to a pre-Easter Jesus? Joe Baxter joe
        Message 3 of 28 , Aug 2 11:05 PM
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          At 08:35 AM 8/1/99 , "Achilles" wrote:
          >On 99-07-22 at 17:14:39 EDT, Stevan Davies wrote:
          >
          > > Isn't it one of the standard problems
          > > arising from Q GTh considerations that they don't seem to have
          > > ever heard of any crucifixion or resurrection? [And for Paul that
          > > he doesn't seem to have heard of anything else?]
          >
          >While it is true that the Q GTh sayings traditions do not
          >explicitly refer to the crucifixion or resurrection (nor do they
          >ever mention "Messiah)," we cannot conclude from this
          >that the authors of Q and GTh are unfamiliar
          >with the crucifixion, the resurrection, or the conception of
          >Jesus as Messiah. Just that they didn't attribute sayings
          >about these matters to the pre-Easter Jesus.


          On what basis do you assume that the Gospel of Thomas refers to a
          pre-Easter Jesus?

          Joe Baxter



          joe
        • joseph baxter
          I am re-posting this as I don t see it on Netscape. Even so, I received a copy. Strange. ... On what basis do you assume that the Gospel of Thomas refers to a
          Message 4 of 28 , Aug 5 12:28 AM
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            I am re-posting this as I don't see it on Netscape. Even so, I received a
            copy. Strange.

            At 08:35 AM 8/1/99 , "Achilles" wrote:
            >On 99-07-22 at 17:14:39 EDT, Stevan Davies wrote:
            >
            > > Isn't it one of the standard problems
            > > arising from Q GTh considerations that they don't seem to have
            > > ever heard of any crucifixion or resurrection? [And for Paul that
            > > he doesn't seem to have heard of anything else?]
            >
            >While it is true that the Q GTh sayings traditions do not
            >explicitly refer to the crucifixion or resurrection (nor do they
            >ever mention "Messiah)," we cannot conclude from this
            >that the authors of Q and GTh are unfamiliar
            >with the crucifixion, the resurrection, or the conception of
            >Jesus as Messiah. Just that they didn't attribute sayings
            >about these matters to the pre-Easter Jesus.


            On what basis do you assume that the Gospel of Thomas refers to a
            pre-Easter Jesus?

            Joe Baxter



            joe
          • Mike Grondin
            ... Egroups has been having problems the last week or so with their message boards. They say they re working on it, but as I write this, for example, our board
            Message 5 of 28 , Aug 5 6:49 AM
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              At 12:28 AM 08/05/99 -0700, joseph baxter wrote:
              >I am re-posting this as I don't see it on Netscape. Even so, I received a
              >copy. Strange.

              Egroups has been having problems the last week or so with their message
              boards. They say they're working on it, but as I write this, for example,
              our board says "1359-1369 of 1372", which means that messages 1370-1372 are
              not immediately accessible. They can be read by selecting message 1369,
              then using the forward arrow that appears within that message. Rest assured
              that if you've received a message from the group, others have received it
              as well, and it is archived.

              Mike
            • Mark Goodacre
              Joe Baxter wrote: ... It seems to me that there are three options:  (1). that Thomas is depicting a pre-Easter Jesus (2). that Thomas is depicting a
              Message 6 of 28 , Aug 6 9:39 AM
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                Joe Baxter wrote:

                > On what basis do you assume that the Gospel of Thomas refers to a
                > pre-Easter Jesus?

                It seems to me that there are three options:
                
                (1). that Thomas is depicting a pre-Easter Jesus
                (2). that Thomas is depicting a post-Easter Jesus.
                (3). that Thomas is ambivalent, unclear about or uninterested in the
                distinction between pre and post-Easter Jesus.

                In favour of (1) we have the fact that so many of the sayings attributed
                to Jesus are paralleled in other texts that attribute them to a pre-Easter
                Jesus, i.e locate them in the narrative of a ministry that takes place
                before his crucifixion. Also in favour of this are the occasional hints of
                human relationships and the trappings of the ministry as reported
                elsewhere, e.g. eating at table, a woman popping up in the crowd,
                interaction with disciples like Simon Peter, Mary Magdalene and so
                on.

                Against (1) we have the absence of any solid geographical location at
                all, reference to "the living one" and general lack of interest in the
                narrative features that are a part of all our other early texts that depict
                the pre-Easter Jesus, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Q, Peter, P. Eg.
                etc.

                These same features might speak in favour of (2), but against this
                option are the features that speak in favour of (1), as well as the lack
                of reference to resurrection. Jesus is "the living one", not "the
                resurrected one". It is difficult to believe that the author was
                deliberately giving known pre-Easter sayings a post-resurrection
                setting without some statement that he was doing this.

                The most plausible option is thus some form of (3): the author either did not
                care or did not think about it or was deliberately ambiguous. As Koester says,
                Thomas is apparently indifferent to story-time. The fundamental theological
                tendency of the gospel is, as he rightly notes, “the view that the Jesus
                who spoke these words was and is the Living One, and thus gives life
                through his words” (quoted from "Gnomai Diaphorai", p. 139).

                As a relative newcomer to Thomas studies I would be interested to
                hear other opinions. Do the three options above exhaust the
                possibilities? If so, is option 3 the most helpful option?

                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
              • joseph baxter
                ... . . . . ... I think you are probably right. The fundamental theological tendency of the gospel is, as he rightly notes, the view that the Jesus who spoke
                Message 7 of 28 , Aug 7 12:52 AM
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                  At 09:39 AM 8/6/99 , Mark wrote:

                  >It seems to me that there are three options:
                  >(1). that Thomas is depicting a pre-Easter Jesus
                  >(2). that Thomas is depicting a post-Easter Jesus.
                  >(3). that Thomas is ambivalent, unclear about or uninterested in the
                  >distinction between pre and post-Easter Jesus.
                  >
                  >In favour of (1) we have the fact that so many of the sayings attributed
                  >to Jesus are paralleled in other texts that attribute them to a pre-Easter
                  >Jesus, i.e locate them in the narrative of a ministry that takes place
                  >before his crucifixion.

                  . . . .

                  >The most plausible option is thus some form of (3): the author either did
                  >not
                  >care or did not think about it or was deliberately ambiguous. As Koester
                  >says,
                  >Thomas is apparently indifferent to story-time.



                  I think you are probably right.

                  The fundamental theological tendency of the gospel is, as he rightly notes,
                  "the view that the Jesus
                  who spoke these words was and is the Living One, and thus gives life
                  through his words" (quoted from "Gnomai Diaphorai", p. 139).


                  I am not sure if I agree with Koester's interpretation of the Living One
                  as one external being, i.e. Jesus.
                  IMO the concept may be very similar to Atman, or Self, i.e., that the
                  Living One is actually our self beyond ego. Being. Thus, we have the
                  explanation of this passage as " Does not Jesus say, 'Whoever finds himself
                  is superior to the world?' " Thus, one who finds himself is the Living One.

                  But let me get back to the principal subject. Along with the ambiguity you
                  spoke of, there references that can probably best be interpreted in a
                  post-Easter time frame. For example

                  (1.)
                  28. Jesus said, "I took my place in the midst of the world, and I appeared
                  to them in the flesh. I found all of them intoxicated; I found none of them
                  thirsty. And My soul became afflicted for the sons of men, because they are
                  blind in their hearts and do not have sight; for empty they came into the
                  world, and empty too they seek to leave the world. But for the moment they
                  are intoxicated. When they shake off their wine, then they will repent."

                  Funk and Hoover in their 5G say of this passage

                  "Yeshu depicts himself as a redeemer who descends to earth and ascends to
                  heaven. . . . However, . . .there are specifically gnostic twists. The
                  spiritual state of humanity . . . is stupefied with passion and
                  drunkenness, blind to any spiritual understanding. The savior comes to
                  awaken such persons to their true origins. This complex . . . is a summary
                  version of gnostic redeemer myths that depict the human condition and the
                  possibility for salvation."

                  5G's view is forced by the assumption that these words are associated with
                  Yeshu before his crucifixion. Yeshu after his crucifixion would not be
                  viewed as someone who descended to earth. Yeshu's "I took my place in the
                  midst of the world" looks more like a post-crucifixion statement which
                  looks back on his public role as depicted in the 4G . Truly he found that
                  the spiritual state of humanity was "stupefied with passion and
                  drunkenness."He found them blind to any spiritual understanding. This is
                  not a redeemer speaking, but a man who had suffered at the hands of his
                  fellow man.

                  The suggestion here is a Jesus who has retired from his public role. This
                  is consistent with the lack of crowd scenes in GThomas. As I recall only
                  one of the sayings refers to a crowd. Jesus's role is somewhat reminiscent
                  of a Lao Tse who has gone into retreat in the wilderness.


                  (2.)
                  12. The disciples said to Jesus, "We know that You will depart from us. Who
                  is to be our leader?"

                  Jesus said to them, "Wherever you are, you are to go to James the
                  righteous, for whose sake heaven and earth came into being."


                  I understand that this passage is sometimes taken as a creation of James's
                  followers. That, of course, is one of the possibilities. Whether or not
                  this may be the case, the passage seems to imply a post-Easter time frame.
                  There is nothing in the pre-Easter story line which suggests the immanence
                  of Jesus's departure.

                  (3.) Then we have the recurring theme of "deathlessness" in many of the
                  passages. Pre-crucifixion, it really doesn't have a heck of a lot of
                  context. There is very little correspondence in the synoptics. John uses
                  the phrase "eternal life," but that is a somewhat different term, and even
                  in John the term is not really rooted in the storyline. Instead it's part
                  of the theological fluff.

                  Looking at it from the post-rez perspective, the term at least has some
                  relationship to the story line. Someone who is resurrected is arguably
                  immortal.

                  I think another perspective should also be considered, i.e., that Jesus
                  didn't die, but instead survived the cross. Looking at it from the
                  post-crucfxn survival perspective the term has a vivid relationship to the
                  story line and is very appropriate. Given Yeshu's many miracles, his
                  survival of the crucifixion might be interpreted as evidence of his
                  deathlessness.

                  While both the post-rez perspective and the post-crucfxn survival
                  perspective are consistent with the theme of deathlessness, and both imply
                  a post-Easter time frame, the choice of deathlessness as a theme and an
                  adjective, while overlooking the rez theme and rez adjectives, arguably
                  imply some distancing from a resurrection interpretation of Jesus's
                  post-crucifixion survival.

                  (4.) Many of the differences between the 4Gs and GThomas can (among other
                  interpretations) be interpreted as a line of development in Jesus's
                  thinking and teaching. From my perspective, at least, I see many of the
                  GThomas passages as the more advanced philosophical expression. This could
                  be interpreted in at least two ways:
                  1. These passages in Thomas represent a private teaching for those
                  capable of understanding it.
                  2. These passages represent a post-Easter teaching.

                  With kind regards,

                  Joe Baxter




                  joe
                • Stevan Davies
                  ... I d suggest option (4), that the question presupposes a worldview absent from Thomas and therefore it is meaningless. For an example of another
                  Message 8 of 28 , Aug 7 9:12 AM
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                    > At 09:39 AM 8/6/99 , Mark wrote:
                    >
                    > >It seems to me that there are three options:
                    > >(1). that Thomas is depicting a pre-Easter Jesus
                    > >(2). that Thomas is depicting a post-Easter Jesus.
                    > >(3). that Thomas is ambivalent, unclear about or uninterested in the
                    > >distinction between pre and post-Easter Jesus.

                    > >The most plausible option is thus some form of (3): the author either did
                    > >not
                    > >care or did not think about it or was deliberately ambiguous.

                    I'd suggest option (4), that the question presupposes a worldview
                    absent from Thomas and therefore it is meaningless. For an example
                    of another meaningless question: "Is it the nirmanakaya,
                    sambogakaya, or dharmakaya of Jesus who speaks in the Gospel of
                    Thomas?" Such a question presupposes that Thomas is a text of
                    Mahayana Buddhism, which it isn't. The question in question
                    presupposes that Thomas is a text of resurrection-oriented
                    Christianity, which it isn't. One cannot say of the Buddhist
                    question that "Thomas is ambivalent, unclear about or uninterested
                    in the distinction between nirmanakaya and sambogakaya Jesus,"
                    for all of those options presuppose that Thomas is familiar with the
                    terms. Rather, Thomas' standing in regard to the question is not
                    a characteristic of Thomas in any way.

                    > > As Koester
                    > >says,Thomas is apparently indifferent to story-time.

                    Again, I think this sort of statement is meaningless. Does it mean
                    anything to say that the sayings of Lao Tzu, or Proverbs, are
                    "indifferent to story-time?" Seems to me the same as if to say
                    that the texts are "indifferent to the taxonomy of beetles."

                    In both cases something absent from the text seems to be taken
                    to be a definitive characteristic of the text. I suppose one can say
                    "we have texts that concern themselves with story-time leading
                    to an easter post-easter differentiation and Thomas isn't one of
                    them" but that doesn't amount to much.

                    > The fundamental theological tendency of the gospel is, as HK rightly notes,
                    > "the view that the Jesus
                    > who spoke these words was and is the Living One, and thus gives life
                    > through his words" (quoted from "Gnomai Diaphorai", p. 139).
                    >
                    Joe Baxter
                    > I am not sure if I agree with Koester's interpretation of the Living One
                    > as one external being, i.e. Jesus.
                    > IMO the concept may be very similar to Atman, or Self, i.e., that the
                    > Living One is actually our self beyond ego. Being. Thus, we have the
                    > explanation of this passage as " Does not Jesus say, 'Whoever finds himself
                    > is superior to the world?' " Thus, one who finds himself is the Living One.

                    I agree with Joe here. Indeed, there are a few question/answer
                    segments of Thomas where disciples are "seeking Jesus" and are
                    told rather to direct their efforts to their own present
                    circumstances. That "Jesus gives life" is not what Thomas is
                    about but, rather, it is about individuals finding life for themselves.
                    "The finger pointing to the moon is not the moon." Thomas' sayings
                    are the finger but Koester et al. seem to think them the moon.

                    >> (1.)
                    > 28. Jesus said, "I took my place in the midst of the world, and I appeared
                    > to them in the flesh. I found all of them intoxicated; I found none of them
                    > thirsty. And My soul became afflicted for the sons of men, because they are
                    > blind in their hearts and do not have sight; for empty they came into the
                    > world, and empty too they seek to leave the world. But for the moment they
                    > are intoxicated. When they shake off their wine, then they will repent."
                    >
                    > Funk and Hoover in their 5G say of this passage
                    >
                    > "Yeshu depicts himself as a redeemer who descends to earth and ascends to
                    > heaven. . . . However, . . .there are specifically gnostic twists. The
                    > spiritual state of humanity . . . is stupefied with passion and
                    > drunkenness, blind to any spiritual understanding. The savior comes to
                    > awaken such persons to their true origins. This complex . . . is a summary
                    > version of gnostic redeemer myths that depict the human condition and the
                    > possibility for salvation."

                    There is nothing that can be done, so far as I can tell, about this
                    sort of incompetence. NOWHERE in 28 is there any reference to
                    "passion." NOWHERE in 28 is there any reference to "awakening" much
                    less to "persons' true origins." This stuff just isn't in there. Why
                    do they say it is? Because you have to have it in there in order to
                    have it be a "summary version of gnostic redeemer motifs." This is
                    reasoning on the abysmal level of John Meier. In fact, if F and H had
                    bothered to read #28 they would discover that people "come into the
                    world empty, and they also seek to depart from the world empty." Thus
                    the desideratum is something in the world to be found there. It is
                    not something folks arrive into the world with but don't know they
                    have, as it would be for gnosticism.

                    > (2.)
                    > 12. The disciples said to Jesus, "We know that You will depart from us. Who
                    > is to be our leader?"
                    >
                    > Jesus said to them, "Wherever you are, you are to go to James the
                    > righteous, for whose sake heaven and earth came into being."
                    >
                    >
                    > I understand that this passage is sometimes taken as a creation of James's
                    > followers. That, of course, is one of the possibilities. Whether or not
                    > this may be the case, the passage seems to imply a post-Easter time frame.
                    > There is nothing in the pre-Easter story line which suggests the immanence
                    > of Jesus's departure.

                    Mark is ENTIRELY focused on the immediacy of Jesus' departure so you
                    can indeed have a "pre-Easter story line which suggests the immanence
                    of Jesus's departure." The time-frame of the passage is prior to
                    Jesus departure... presumably it was made-up afterwards though.

                    Steve
                  • Mark Goodacre
                    ... I think that this is just my (3) (the author either did not care or did not think about it or was deliberately ambiguous) refined a bit in a particular
                    Message 9 of 28 , Aug 10 6:35 AM
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                      On 7 Aug 99, at 11:12, Stevan Davies wrote:

                      > I'd suggest option (4), that the question presupposes a worldview
                      > absent from Thomas and therefore it is meaningless.

                      I think that this is just my (3) (the author either did not care or did not
                      think about it or was deliberately ambiguous) refined a bit in a
                      particular direction. Of course the question presupposes a worldview
                      absent in Thomas: that's why the question needs to be asked and
                      why, in the context of discussion of Christian origins (in which this
                      question emerged), it is interesting.

                      > For an example
                      > of another meaningless question: "Is it the nirmanakaya,
                      > sambogakaya, or dharmakaya of Jesus who speaks in the Gospel of
                      > Thomas?" Such a question presupposes that Thomas is a text of
                      > Mahayana Buddhism, which it isn't. The question in question
                      > presupposes that Thomas is a text of resurrection-oriented
                      > Christianity, which it isn't. One cannot say of the Buddhist
                      > question that "Thomas is ambivalent, unclear about or uninterested
                      > in the distinction between nirmanakaya and sambogakaya Jesus,"
                      > for all of those options presuppose that Thomas is familiar with the
                      > terms. Rather, Thomas' standing in regard to the question is not
                      > a characteristic of Thomas in any way.

                      Perhaps. Unless it is a part of Thomas's agenda to avoid such things
                      deliberately, in which case the question becomes quite relevant. The
                      difference between the question posed and this analogy is the
                      historical context within which Thomas emerges, isn't it? If it is unique
                      or anomalous among similar early texts that focus on Jesus, then that
                      very fact is historically interesting, isn't it?

                      > In both cases something absent from the text seems to be taken
                      > to be a definitive characteristic of the text. I suppose one can say
                      > "we have texts that concern themselves with story-time leading
                      > to an easter post-easter differentiation and Thomas isn't one of
                      > them" but that doesn't amount to much.

                      I agree that we do not want to skew interpretation of Thomas as a
                      text by asking it questions that it does not want to answer. But I think
                      that for the question of Christian origins, Thomas's lack of story-time
                      is indeed interesting, isn't it? For example, what Jesus texts are there
                      that compare in this respect with Thomas? If there are some, how
                      similar are they? If there aren't any, then how interesting!

                      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
                    • joseph baxter
                      ... The question is not meaningless just because the worldview is absent from Thomas, unless we are ready to assume that the passages in issue (those
                      Message 10 of 28 , Aug 10 11:00 PM
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                        >On 7 Aug 99, at 11:12, Stevan Davies wrote:
                        >
                        > > I'd suggest option (4), that the question presupposes a worldview
                        > > absent from Thomas and therefore it is meaningless.

                        The question is not meaningless just because the worldview is absent from
                        Thomas, unless we are ready to assume that the passages in issue (those
                        potentially, or suggestively post-Easter) are pre-Easter (in which case we
                        want to explain the context in which they arise, taking into account the 4G).

                        If we look at the passages in issue in a post-Easter context, the issue of
                        how Yeshu's presence post-Easter came about arises to us. So we
                        consider why the author, who was closer in time to these events than us,
                        and who had heard the main stories, or possibly even witnessed some of the
                        events, made no direct reference to them.

                        True, there are many possible explanations. The issue is speculative.
                        Nonetheless, the simplest explanation is that the author wasn't concerned
                        with history. In a sense, the teachings were being offered as being beyond
                        history.

                        Even so, we are concerned with history, and so it is right that we examine
                        the passages for historical inferences. I haven't seen this done by anyone
                        closely.

                        Isn't it true that our texts may stem from a period in which it was
                        unacceptable, unwise, or even dangerous, to write anything that directly
                        challenged certain views? For example, Theophilis, the bishop who torched
                        the Library of Alexandria, also reportedly rode the Egyptian monastery
                        circuit, fanatically cleaning house. Codes were sometimes used between
                        monasteries.



                        > > For an example
                        > > of another meaningless question: "Is it the nirmanakaya,
                        > > sambogakaya, or dharmakaya of Jesus who speaks in the Gospel of
                        > > Thomas?" Such a question presupposes that Thomas is a text of
                        > > Mahayana Buddhism, which it isn't.

                        Well, if I knew what these kayas were, I could comment with my bogas.

                        >The question in question
                        > > presupposes that Thomas is a text of resurrection-oriented
                        > > Christianity, which it isn't.


                        Mark:

                        If it is unique
                        >or anomalous among similar early texts that focus on Jesus, then that
                        >very fact is historically interesting, isn't it?
                        >
                        > For example, what Jesus texts are there
                        >that compare in this respect with Thomas? If there are some, how
                        >similar are they? If there aren't any, then how interesting!

                        The text that comes to mind, as a kind of passionate sequel to Thomas, is
                        the Gospel of Philip. There we find that interesting counter-cultural view
                        that the resurrection must occur before death. A de-emphasis of the
                        external resurrection. This is all very consistent with the Thomasine
                        emphasis on the inside.

                        With kind regards,

                        Joe Baxter






                        joe
                      • Kevin Johnson
                        ... There is the blessing from A woman in the crowd. There is the unnamed man who wants Jesus to divide his father s inheritance for him (which is probably
                        Message 11 of 28 , Aug 12 8:24 AM
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                          Joseph Baxter wrote:

                          > The suggestion here is a Jesus who has retired from his public role.
                          > This is consistent with the lack of crowd scenes in GThomas.
                          > As I recall only one of the sayings refers to a crowd.
                          > Jesus's role is somewhat reminiscent
                          > of a Lao Tse who has gone into retreat in the wilderness.

                          There is the blessing from "A woman in the crowd."
                          There is the unnamed man who wants Jesus to divide
                          his father's inheritance for him (which is probably not the
                          type of mundane request a person who has risen from
                          the dead typically gets). There are unnamed questioners
                          who ask Jesus about some of the controversial topics
                          of the time, such as whether they should pay Roman taxes
                          (as they show him a coin) and whether or not circumcision
                          is beneficial. There is a Samaritan walking by carrying a
                          lamb. There is the family of Jesus waiting outside. There is
                          a meal inside Salome's house. No, these sayings are not
                          uttered by a Jesus "who has retired from his public role,"
                          but by a Jesus who is actively situated within the culture
                          of the place and time.

                          > I think another perspective should also be considered,
                          > i.e., that Jesus didn't die, but instead survived the cross.

                          Hmm... this sounds familiar. Was it, then, someone's else's
                          (maybe Simon's?) side that the soldier (Longinus, I think)
                          thrust his spear into? And was he, in actuality, looking down
                          on them and laughing? (For someone who is not otherwise
                          recorded as laughing, it's a rather odd time to break into
                          hysterics, don't you think?). Or did the disciples take him
                          down and manage to revive him?

                          Regardless of whether you believe that Jesus
                          never died on the cross (which makes for very interesting
                          speculation, of course) or whether you take the more
                          conventional approach of postulating a post-Resurrection
                          speech, to impose a post-Easter framework on
                          the Gospel of Thomas is like saying, as Steven put it, "Is
                          it the nirmanakaya, sambogakaya, or dharmakaya of Jesus
                          who speaks in the Gospel of Thomas?" It is imposing
                          a framework from a different environment.

                          Having said that, I agree with you that saying 28 is "suggestive"
                          (though nothing more) of a post-Easter framework. In fact,
                          it was taken for just that (being "suggestive" of a post-Easter
                          framework) when only the Oxyrhynchus fragments were known.
                          But now that we have the remainder of the Gospel, we see
                          that it contains other evidence to the contrary, which I thought
                          Mark Goodacre summed up well:

                          > In favour of (1) we have the fact that so many
                          > of the sayings attributed to Jesus are paralleled
                          > in other texts that attribute them to a pre-Easter
                          > Jesus, i.e locate them in the narrative of a ministry
                          > that takes place before his crucifixion. Also in favour of
                          > this are the occasional hints of human relationships
                          > and the trappings of the ministry as reported
                          > elsewhere, e.g. eating at table, a woman popping up
                          > in the crowd, interaction with disciples like Simon Peter,
                          > Mary Magdalene and so on.

                          Mark also writes:
                          > Against (1) we have the absence of any solid
                          > geographical location at all, reference to "the living one"
                          > and general lack of interest in the
                          > narrative features that are a part of all our other early texts
                          > that depict the pre-Easter Jesus, Matthew, Mark, Luke,
                          > John, Q, Peter, P. Eg. etc.

                          Surely saying 60 is the exception to Mark's geographical
                          argument, but the general lack of place-names in Thomas
                          is due to the paucity of narrative more than anything else.
                          Whoever compiled this Gospel was interested in the actual
                          words of Jesus more than the place (or time!) that he spoke
                          them. Consequently, questions about location or story-time
                          become irrelevant.

                          Moreover, Mark is quite correct when he writes that

                          > Jesus is "the living one", not "the
                          > resurrected one". It is difficult to believe that the author was
                          > deliberately giving known pre-Easter sayings a post-resurrection
                          > setting without some statement that he was doing this.

                          This is the critical factor here. Post-Easter speeches
                          of Jesus were given post-Easter settings, usually with
                          his disciples on the Mount of Olives. Furthermore, these
                          writings were generally cast in the form of relevatory
                          discourses in which the questioners of Jesus are never
                          unnamed as they sometimes are in the Gospel of Thomas.

                          This post-Resurrection relevatory discourse genre is
                          foreign to the Gospel of Thomas. Consequently, I agree
                          with Mark that the author of the Gospel of Thomas was:

                          > ambivalent, unclear about or uninterested in the
                          > distinction between pre and post-Easter Jesus.

                          - Kevin Johnson
                          (Achilles37@... / kjohnson@...)
                        • joseph baxter
                          ... Gthomas incorporates some of the sayings from the other Gospels (4G). I am not referring to the common materials. I am referring to the sayings which are
                          Message 12 of 28 , Aug 12 11:30 PM
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                            At 08:37 AM 8/12/99 , Kevin wrote:
                            >Joseph Baxter wrote:
                            >
                            > > The suggestion here is a Jesus who has retired from his public role.
                            > > This is consistent with the lack of crowd scenes in GThomas.
                            > > As I recall only one of the sayings refers to a crowd.
                            > > Jesus's role is somewhat reminiscent
                            > > of a Lao Tse who has gone into retreat in the wilderness.
                            >
                            >There is the blessing from "A woman in the crowd."
                            >There is the unnamed man who wants Jesus to divide
                            >his father's inheritance for him (which is probably not the
                            >type of mundane request a person who has risen from
                            >the dead typically gets). There are unnamed questioners
                            >who ask Jesus about some of the controversial topics
                            >of the time, such as whether they should pay Roman taxes
                            >(as they show him a coin) and whether or not circumcision
                            >is beneficial. There is a Samaritan walking by carrying a
                            >lamb. There is the family of Jesus waiting outside. There is
                            >a meal inside Salome's house. No, these sayings are not
                            >uttered by a Jesus "who has retired from his public role,"
                            >but by a Jesus who is actively situated within the culture
                            >of the place and time.


                            Gthomas incorporates some of the sayings from the other Gospels (4G). I am
                            not referring to the common materials. I am referring to the sayings which
                            are uniquely Thomas, and as to these I am raising the question of whether
                            they are pre or post-Easter. In my opinion, the weight of the evidence from
                            the GThomas unique sayings points to a post-Easter setting for these sayings.


                            > > I think another perspective should also be considered,
                            > > i.e., that Jesus didn't die, but instead survived the cross.
                            >
                            >Hmm... this sounds familiar. Was it, then, someone's else's
                            >(maybe Simon's?) side that the soldier (Longinus, I think)
                            >thrust his spear into? . . . . Or did the disciples take him
                            >down and manage to revive him?


                            Actually, the medical view frequently heard is that the spear relieved
                            pressure and may have helped to keep him alive. This entire debate was
                            fully aired in Crosstalk several months ago. In any case, the prevailing
                            Christian view is that he was alive on the cross and alive three days
                            later. If you believe he was alive on Easter, by far the simplest view is
                            that he didn't die on the cross. This view is consistent with a post-Easter
                            GThomas.

                            Given the limited evidence concerning his death/survival/resurrection,
                            it's really a matter of belief, i.e. what theological and/or evidentiary
                            perspective provides you the greatest vision.

                            With kind regards,

                            Joe Baxter




                            joe
                          • Achilles37@aol.com
                            In a message dated 99-08-13 02:13:41 EDT, Joseph Baxter writes: If, by this, you
                            Message 13 of 28 , Aug 13 4:34 AM
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                              In a message dated 99-08-13 02:13:41 EDT,
                              Joseph Baxter writes:

                              << Gthomas incorporates some of the sayings from the
                              other Gospels (4G). >>

                              If, by this, you mean to imply that Thomas was dependent
                              on the canonical gospels, then we differ here. If, on the other
                              hand, you are merely pointing out that they overlap, then
                              you are certainly correct.

                              To get to your next point - that the sayings that are unique
                              to Thomas are post-Easter. By what evidence? If you are
                              willing to grant that the overlapping sayings are pre-Easter,
                              what makes you believe that sayings not in the 4G imply
                              a post-Easter framework? Certainly the "overlapping" sayings
                              are mixed in with the "unique" sayings and the text itself
                              implies no difference between these types of sayings,
                              i.e., this is a distinction you are making which is not
                              to be found in the text itself. If the author provides no cues,
                              then your framework is external, rather than internal.
                              And since the framework is external, it might as well be the
                              framework of Mahayana Buddhism, as Steve suggested,
                              or anything else you might want to arbitrarily impose.

                              In terms of the idea that Jesus survived the cross,
                              again, where is the evidence? Is it just that this seems
                              to be the most natural explanation to account for
                              stories that he was seen again? Or do we have
                              evidence of others who survived crucifixion by the
                              Romans? At any rate, this concept is irrelevant to
                              the Gospel of Thomas. If you want to state, as you
                              do, that certain sayings in GThomas should be
                              understood in the light of a post-crucifixion framework,
                              (since "post-Easter" will no longer suffice as you
                              deny the Resurrection here), then whether he rose
                              from the dead or survived through some other means is
                              immaterial, unless you are arguing that there are clues
                              to his surviving the cross in the Gospel of Thomas.
                              And if that is the case, then we have moved from the
                              realm of evidence and argument into the sphere of
                              speculation and projection and GThomas once again
                              becomes the spiritual equivalent of a Rorschach ink
                              blot test.

                              - Kevin Johnson
                              (Achiless37@... / kjohnson@...)
                            • Jim Bauer
                              HOW I ROSE FROM THE DEAD IN MY SPARE TIME AND SO CAN YOU ... From: joseph baxter To: gthomas@egroups.com ;
                              Message 14 of 28 , Aug 14 9:58 AM
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                                HOW I ROSE FROM THE DEAD IN MY SPARE TIME
                                AND SO CAN YOU
                                -----Original Message-----
                                From: joseph baxter <joseph@...>
                                To: gthomas@egroups.com <gthomas@egroups.com>; M.S.Goodacre@...
                                <M.S.Goodacre@...>
                                Date: Wednesday, August 11, 1999 12:32 AM
                                Subject: [gthomas] Re: Pre or post-Easter Jesus


                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > If it is unique
                                >>or anomalous among similar early texts that focus on Jesus, then that
                                >>very fact is historically interesting, isn't it?
                                >>
                                >> For example, what Jesus texts are there
                                >>that compare in this respect with Thomas? If there are some, how
                                >>similar are they? If there aren't any, then how interesting!
                                >
                                >The text that comes to mind, as a kind of passionate sequel to Thomas, is
                                >the Gospel of Philip. There we find that interesting counter-cultural view
                                >that the resurrection must occur before death. A de-emphasis of the
                                >external resurrection. This is all very consistent with the Thomasine
                                >emphasis on the inside.


                                Interesting that someone would bring up the counter-culture with respect to
                                the resurrection which occurs before death. Yeah, and I'm several decades
                                past my decade; before he died, Timothy Leary was one of my best friends.
                                So, the first time I ever dropped acid, I rose from the dead.
                                Unfortunately, despite Tim's telling me, "We all know illegal drugs are
                                better than legal ones," the stuff eventually turned me into a paranoid
                                manic-depressive.

                                Turning to more scholarly matters, you can find the following in the intro
                                to Jung's PSYCHOLOGY AND ALCHEMY: "I apologize if the above sounds like a
                                Gnostic myth. We are moving thru the deep psychological waters where gnosis
                                is in fact rooted. The message of Christianity is gnosis and the
                                unconscious compensation is gnosis to a still higher degree."

                                And, now that the subject of drug cults has come up, how does John Allegro's
                                THE SACRED MUSHROOM AND THE CROSS impact on the drunkenness which is not of
                                this world?

                                Jim Bauer
                                >
                                >With kind regards,
                                >
                                >Joe Baxter
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >joe
                                >
                                >------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                >
                                >eGroups.com home: http://www.egroups.com/group/gthomas
                                >http://www.egroups.com - Simplifying group communications
                                >
                                >
                                >
                              • joseph baxter
                                ... This is my meaning. ... . I have gone into this evidence already, although not in detail. In terms of the idea that Jesus survived the cross, again, where
                                Message 15 of 28 , Aug 17 10:38 PM
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                                  At 04:34 AM 8/13/99 , you wrote:
                                  >In a message dated 99-08-13 02:13:41 EDT,
                                  >Joseph Baxter writes:
                                  >
                                  ><< Gthomas incorporates some of the sayings from the
                                  >other Gospels (4G). >>
                                  >
                                  >If, by this, you mean to imply that Thomas was dependent
                                  >on the canonical gospels, then we differ here. If, on the other
                                  >hand, you are merely pointing out that they overlap, then
                                  >you are certainly correct.

                                  This is my meaning.


                                  >To get to your next point - that the sayings that are unique
                                  >to Thomas are post-Easter. By what evidence?
                                  .
                                  I have gone into this evidence already, although not in detail.

                                  In terms of the idea that Jesus survived the cross,
                                  again, where is the evidence?

                                  Well, this was fully discussed in crosstalk some months ago, and many of
                                  those who subscribe to GThomas many have read more than they wanted about
                                  this. But for your benefit I will check the archives.

                                  >Is it just that this seems
                                  >to be the most natural explanation to account for
                                  >stories that he was seen again?

                                  His being seen again would offer an explanation for the powerful
                                  development of Christianity. The survival view, as you say, seems to be a
                                  natural explanation for the stories that he was seen again.

                                  > Or do we have
                                  >evidence of others who survived crucifixion by the
                                  >Romans?

                                  Yes, this was mentioned. Josephus (someone can provide the cite here) ,
                                  does he not refer to his own approaching the Roman Governor, to save the
                                  life of two men, and one lived? Joseph of A sought the body of Jesus from
                                  Pilate long before the body should have died.

                                  >At any rate, this concept is irrelevant to
                                  >the Gospel of Thomas. If you want to state, as you
                                  >do, that certain sayings in GThomas should be
                                  >understood in the light of a post-crucifixion framework

                                  I am not saying that they should be so understood. But, since that
                                  represents 50 percent of the total possibilities, it deserves at least some
                                  of our attention, especially since it hasn't received any of our attention
                                  to date.

                                  >,
                                  >(since "post-Easter" will no longer suffice as you
                                  >deny the Resurrection here)

                                  I have never denied the resurrection. I do not deny the supernatural in our
                                  lives. But it seems to me that belief in an event as supernatural requires
                                  it being revealed to you. This is not the medium to share revelation. But
                                  we can talk about things that occur naturally and let God reveal what He
                                  will reveal.

                                  >we have moved from the
                                  >realm of evidence and argument into the sphere of
                                  >speculation and projection

                                  Well, it doesn't require speculation to expose the unique sayings to
                                  possible contexts in which the sayings were uttered. Some will project, and
                                  some won't. Why not look for signs of unity in our projections?


                                  With kind regards,

                                  Joe Baxter


                                  >

                                  joe
                                • joseph baxter
                                  ... The unique sayings in Thomas are clearly counter-cultural. The philosophy is very modern. That is why is has appeal some 2000 years later. ... I also knew
                                  Message 16 of 28 , Aug 18 12:04 AM
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                                    At 09:58 AM 8/14/99 , you wrote:
                                    >HOW I ROSE FROM THE DEAD IN MY SPARE TIME
                                    >AND SO CAN YOU
                                    >-----Original Message-----
                                    >From: joseph baxter <joseph@...>
                                    >To: gthomas@egroups.com <gthomas@egroups.com>; M.S.Goodacre@...
                                    ><M.S.Goodacre@...>
                                    >Date: Wednesday, August 11, 1999 12:32 AM
                                    >Subject: [gthomas] Re: Pre or post-Easter Jesus
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > > If it is unique
                                    > >>or anomalous among similar early texts that focus on Jesus, then that
                                    > >>very fact is historically interesting, isn't it?
                                    > >>
                                    > >> For example, what Jesus texts are there
                                    > >>that compare in this respect with Thomas? If there are some, how
                                    > >>similar are they? If there aren't any, then how interesting!
                                    > >
                                    > >The text that comes to mind, as a kind of passionate sequel to Thomas, is
                                    > >the Gospel of Philip. There we find that interesting counter-cultural view
                                    > >that the resurrection must occur before death. A de-emphasis of the
                                    > >external resurrection. This is all very consistent with the Thomasine
                                    > >emphasis on the inside.
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >Interesting that someone would bring up the counter-culture with respect to
                                    >the resurrection which occurs before death.

                                    The unique sayings in Thomas are clearly counter-cultural. The philosophy
                                    is very modern. That is why is has appeal some 2000 years later.

                                    > Yeah, and I'm several decades
                                    >past my decade; before he died, Timothy Leary was one of my best friends.

                                    I also knew Timothy Leary. I paid him a legal visit in prison. In a way he
                                    was something of a Christ figure. He symbolized a very threatening
                                    challenge to the dominant culture. The authorities really put it to him in
                                    a big way. (Just like Yeshu) He got a 25 year term for a joint or two.
                                    They also took his book rights. Unfortunately he lacked Yeshu's guts.
                                    Under pressure, he turned on his friends.

                                    Ultimately he was only into himself.

                                    With kind regards,

                                    Joe Baxter




                                    joe
                                  • Mark Goodacre
                                    Apologies if some of you have seen this before, but it was new to me: http://www.gwdg.de/~rzellwe/nhs/nhs.html A first class site featuring German
                                    Message 17 of 28 , Aug 18 3:40 AM
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                                      Apologies if some of you have seen this before, but it was new to me:
                                      http://www.gwdg.de/~rzellwe/nhs/nhs.html
                                      A first class site featuring German translations, introductions and notes to the Nag
                                      Hammadi texts, including of course Thomas. Gerd Luedemann is involved with
                                      this.
                                      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
                                    • Kevin Johnson
                                      ... True. But in this case, I do not believe it helps us to understand GTh 28 by viewing it as a saying of the Risen Jesus. I m not saying that exposing the
                                      Message 18 of 28 , Aug 20 9:43 AM
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                                        joseph@... (joseph baxter) writes:

                                        > Well, it doesn't require speculation to expose the unique sayings
                                        > to possible contexts in which the sayings were uttered.

                                        True. But in this case, I do not believe it helps us to understand
                                        GTh 28 by viewing it as a saying of the Risen Jesus. I'm not
                                        saying that "exposing the unique sayings to possible contexts"
                                        is not a valid procedure, but (1.) some evaluation of the result should
                                        follow and (2.) other possible contexts should also be explored. In
                                        this case, (1.) shows us that there is relatively little other evidence that
                                        GThomas sayings are post-Easter (no post-Easter settings, no overt
                                        references to the crucifixion or resurrection, only one saying that is
                                        placed in the Passion story [the end of 79 by Luke], and the
                                        ambiguous phrases "the Living" and "the Living One"). As for (2.),
                                        exploring other contexts, it seems to me that it is certainly possible
                                        that saying 28 represents a lament similar to that spoken by the
                                        pre-Easter Jesus in Mt 23:37 // Lk 13:34. Here are the two texts:

                                        GThomas 28 -
                                        Jesus said, "I took my stand in the midst of the world and in flesh I
                                        appeared to them. I found them all drunk and I found none of them
                                        thirsty. And my soul ached for the sons of men, because they are
                                        blind in their hearts see not, for empty they came into the world
                                        and empty they seek to leave it."

                                        Mt 23:37 -
                                        "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and
                                        stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather
                                        your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under
                                        her wings, but you were not willing."

                                        In the first instance (GTh 28), Jesus is lamenting the plight of
                                        the "sons of men." In the second instance (Mt 23:37//Lk 13:34),
                                        Jesus is lamenting the plight of the "children" of Jerusalem.
                                        What is implied in both cases, it seems to me, is not so
                                        much the temporal setting of the saying as the identity
                                        of the speaker, i.e., that the speaker is speaking in the first
                                        person voice of God, implying either Jesus-as-Prophet
                                        (since the prophetic texts often assume the voice of God)
                                        or Jesus-as-Messiah ("God engendered," as the Essenes put it).
                                        And since GTh 28 specifically says, "in flesh I appeared to them,"
                                        the meaning seems Messianic rather than Prophetic.

                                        To cast 28 as post-Easter is to disregard the Messianic
                                        implications of such a saying for a pre-Easter Jesus.

                                        >Some will project, and
                                        >some won't. Why not look for signs of unity in our projections?

                                        I'd prefer "deductions" to "projections" but, in any case,
                                        well said. Agreed.

                                        - Kevin Johnson
                                        (Achilles37@... / kjohnson@...)
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