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[gthomas] Crossan online seminar

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  • Michael Grondin
    The online Crossan seminar sponsored by Crosstalk ends Friday. GThom has been one of the texts discussed in this unique online seminar on HJ source materials
    Message 1 of 17 , Mar 2, 2000
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      The online Crossan seminar sponsored by Crosstalk ends Friday. GThom has
      been one of the texts discussed in this unique online seminar on HJ source
      materials and methods. If we can get permission of the relevant parties, we
      may be able to repost some of those messages here, but in any case, they
      can be viewed online at http://www.egroups.com/group/hjmaterialsmethodolgy.
      (If anyone has difficulty getting to this URL, please contact me or one of
      the other moderators offlist.)

      Mike
    • Yuri Kuchinsky
      Greetings, I m reposting now a part of hjmaterialsmethodolgy discussion that seems relevant to some of the issues discussed on thomas list before, for example,
      Message 2 of 17 , Mar 5, 2000
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        Greetings,

        I'm reposting now a part of hjmaterialsmethodolgy discussion that seems
        relevant to some of the issues discussed on thomas list before, for
        example, re: Was Jesus Torah-observant? Stevan asked the following
        question, and Crossan replied. The original post is here,

        http://www.egroups.com/group/hjmaterialsmethodolgy/179.html?

        The issue seems quite relevant to GOT since the big question about GOT
        appears to be Just how Jewish a document is it? If we accept Crossan's
        views (that the Gentiles were included very early) as seen below, then GOT
        may as well be a Gentile/Cynic philosophical document where the OT is left
        far behind already. But I disagree. I think the Jesus movement was
        entirely Jewish until well into the 2nd c, and that Judaism entirely
        comprises the background of GOT.

        So here are my comments on Steve's question and on Crossan's comments.

        > >From: "stevan davies" [20]sdavie-@...
        > >To: [21]hjmaterialsmethodolg-@egroups.com
        > >Subject: [HJMatMeth] Persecuting what?
        > >Date: Thu, Mar 2, 2000, 1:24 PM
        > >
        >
        > > Thank you and Jeff for arranging and carrying through this seminar.
        > >
        > > I'd like to close by asking you what it was that Paul was persecuting.
        > > Paul and Luke, who are generally considered independent sources,
        > > report Paul's persecution of the Christian Churches of God in Judea
        > > down to Damascus. This persecution took place within a few years
        > > of Jesus' death and according to Luke explicitly and Paul implicitly
        > > was carried out with authority from high Judean officials. I assume
        > > that these reports are true and am very curious as to what you think
        > > he was persecuting both in sociological terms (what were these
        > > churches of God in Judea?) and content terms (what did they do
        > > that would justify legal sanctions by Judean officials)?
        > >
        > > Stevan Davies

        This is a good question, Steve, but I think it presupposes another
        important question, namely, What would have caused two things to happen
        even before Paul got involved into any of this?

        1. There was persecution of Jesus people in Jerusalem associated with the
        killing of Stephen.

        2. Some Jesus people were forced to flee, including to Damascus.

        So why was Stephen killed? Whatever was the cause of this, would also have
        been the cause of Paul's behavior prior to his conversion. So why was
        Stephen killed then? Well, for example, his final speech as given in Acts
        has plenty of "Samaritanisms". Relations between Jews and Samaritans were
        poor, to say the least. Also see below for more re: intra-Jewish factional
        disputes.

        And even further question is presupposed here of course, namely, Why was
        Jesus, himself, killed? But that's a million $ question!

        > Fri
        > 3
        > Mar
        >
        > Subject: Re: Persecuting what?
        > From: John Dominic Crossan
        >
        > Let me begin by focusing on Paul and Damascus, Stevan. I am
        > impressed by the fact that Acts and Paul both mention Damascus, but I
        > do not accept as historical Luke's claim that Paul was on a mission
        > from the Jerusalem authorities to persecute Christians in Damascus. I
        > find that much more likely as Luke's theological geography in which
        > everything goes out from Jerusalem until, at the end of the Acts, Rome
        > takes over as the center of Christianity (for Luke).

        I agree with this argument.

        > The way I read Paul's almost off-hand mention of Damascus in Gal 1:17
        > is that he was living there at the time.

        I agree.

        > I understand his mention of himself as persecutor in Gal 1:13 & Phil
        > 3:6 as follows. He probably had an official function within Damascus
        > synagogue(s) in terms of general discipline for the Jewish community.
        > The big question then becomes this for me: What were some Christian
        > Jews saying/doing that was so offensive that the synagogue(s) would
        > approve Paul's persecution? I am not imagining by that term any lethal
        > possibilities, but punishments could extend from the use of flogging
        > if one wished to stay within the community or excommunication by being
        > cast outside (I would consider that a quite devastating punishment
        > within its ancient cultural milieu). It does not seem to me that
        > claims for Jesus' messiahship would be adequate to create such
        > "persecutions."

        Perhaps inadequate by itself, but one wonders if this was not an important
        contributing factor?

        > In fact, the only thing I can imagine that would have brought down
        > such punishments on Christian Jews was the claim that, since we are
        > now in the apocalyptic consummation, God is bringing in the Gentiles
        > into fellowship with us Jews and not demanding circumcision from their
        > males and probably not any other purity considerations either.

        I think it's a bit early for this factor to emerge. Such a radical
        revision of traditional Jewish practices would have been unlikely to
        emerge at such an early point. So I see a problem with what Dom is saying
        here.

        > (It might even have involved, although this is much more speculative,
        > a calendrical change of the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday.)

        Now, this seems more realistic to me in general, although perhaps not in
        particular. I don't see a calendrical change of the Sabbath from Saturday
        to Sunday as emerging at such an early date. But some kind of a dispute
        about chronology of ritual celebrations, similar to those reflected in
        Qumran wrtings, is possible and even likely in my view.

        Basically, what I see as the original reason for Jesus being crucified was
        a Jewish sectarian dispute. It was originally a halakhic dispute between
        two Jewish factions. Jesus went against the official Judaism of the time
        and he was punished brutally. Perhaps other factors also intervened, such
        as political.

        Basically, IMHO Jesus was killed for the same or similar reason as John
        the Baptist was killed before him. In general, also considering the
        evidence from HMt, I believe Jesus was a follower of JB. He probably
        assumed the leadership of JB people after JB was killed.

        > I am, however, much more confident of that first reason for
        > persecution than of the second. What happened to Paul in his
        > "conversion" was that he turned from persecuting Christian Jews for
        > Gentile-as-Gentile inclusion, not just into letting them alone, or
        > becoming a Christian Jew, or becoming a Christian Jew with a mission
        > to his fellow Jews, but becoming, precisely, the apostle of the
        > Gentiles.

        Too early for this. Here I think we see the Myth of Paul -- the supposed
        Unique and Special Apostle to the Gentiles Appointed So Miraculously by
        God Himself From Day One -- being accepted uncritically by Crossan.

        > He was, in other words, as he saw it, called by God to do exactly what
        > he had been persecuting.

        The most natural thing for Paul would have been to become a member of an
        existing Jesus community in Damascus, and fully to accept their faith,
        whatever it was.

        > All of that concerns Damascus alone. You mentioned "Paul's persecution
        > of the Christian Churches of God in Judea down to Damascus." I do not
        > see the independent sources saying that or at least saying it as
        > clearly as they do about Damascus persecution (Acts: Paul and Stephen?
        > historical?). Paul mentions, in Gal 1:22 that he was "not known by
        > sight to the churches of Christ in Judea," but then in 1 Thess 2:14 he
        > mentions that those churches had been persecuted. I always thought
        > that had something to do with the persecutions that we know about only
        > from Acts concerning, for example, Stephen, James, or Peter.

        Agreed.

        > In any case, those latter two individuals fit well into the situation
        > under Herod Agrippa I in the early 40s. But I do not see Paul involved
        > here (unless, as mentioned, with Stepen?). You may be seeing something
        > that I do not, but in general, I don't find any claims that are
        > convincing enough to think of Paul persecuting "in Judea down to
        > Damascus."

        Agreed.

        Best wishes,

        Yuri.

        Yuri Kuchinsky | Toronto | http://www.trends.ca/~yuku/bbl/bbl.htm

        Biblical history list http://www.egroups.com/group/loisy - unmoderated

        The goal proposed by Cynic philosophy is apathy, which is
        equivalent to becoming God -=O=- Julian
      • Michael Grondin
        ... This position is patently absurd, Yuri. The early inclusion of the Gentiles is as well-attested as any historical fact can be. You must be using the word
        Message 3 of 17 , Mar 5, 2000
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          At 12:01 PM 03/05/00 -0500, Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:
          >The issue seems quite relevant to GOT since the big question about GOT
          >appears to be Just how Jewish a document is it? If we accept Crossan's
          >views (that the Gentiles were included very early) as seen below, then GOT
          >may as well be a Gentile/Cynic philosophical document where the OT is left
          >far behind already. But I disagree. I think the Jesus movement was
          >entirely Jewish until well into the 2nd c, and that Judaism entirely
          >comprises the background of GOT.

          This position is patently absurd, Yuri. The early inclusion of the Gentiles
          is as well-attested as any historical fact can be. You must be using the
          word 'Jewish' in a new and strange way, but if so, it's incumbent on you to
          explain your idiosyncratic usage.

          Mike
        • Yuri Kuchinsky
          ... Mike, I m not using the word Jewish in any new or strange way. Just the regular way. I guess the key here is the Historical Paul, because tradition
          Message 4 of 17 , Mar 6, 2000
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            On Sun, 5 Mar 2000, Michael Grondin wrote:

            > At 12:01 PM 03/05/00 -0500, Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:
            > >The issue seems quite relevant to GOT since the big question about GOT
            > >appears to be Just how Jewish a document is it? If we accept Crossan's
            > >views (that the Gentiles were included very early) as seen below, then GOT
            > >may as well be a Gentile/Cynic philosophical document where the OT is left
            > >far behind already. But I disagree. I think the Jesus movement was
            > >entirely Jewish until well into the 2nd c, and that Judaism entirely
            > >comprises the background of GOT.
            >
            > This position is patently absurd, Yuri. The early inclusion of the
            > Gentiles is as well-attested as any historical fact can be. You must
            > be using the word 'Jewish' in a new and strange way, but if so, it's
            > incumbent on you to explain your idiosyncratic usage.

            Mike,

            I'm not using the word 'Jewish' in any new or strange way. Just the
            regular way.

            I guess the key here is the Historical Paul, because tradition credits him
            with a big role in opening up the movement to Gentiles. Arguably, all 4
            gospels bear Pauline influence to some extent. So the question is How do
            we interpret the HP? And how could Pauline influence impact all 4 gospels?
            Big questions.

            Now, assuming that all 4 gospels bear Pauline influence to some extent,
            could this impact occur early? Seems impossible. After all, Paul was still
            largely a marginal figure at the time he was killed in Rome in the 60s. He
            had nothing to do with the Jesus movement in Rome, in Alexandria, and
            (arguably) in Jerusalem -- all big and influential places. His area of
            influence was in parts of Syria and in a few other rather marginal places.
            So how did Pauline influence come to influence (and even dominate!) the
            mainstream movement in Rome, in Alexandria, in Jerusalem, etc? And when
            exactly did this happen? Big questions.

            My guess that all this happened very gradually in the years 70-150, but
            probably especially after 130, after the second Jewish revolt was crushed
            (a time noted for antisemitism in the Roman Empire generally). From this
            it follows that the early versions of the gospels probably showed very
            little Pauline influence -- in fact I believe they showed next to none.
            Whatever Pauline influence we find in our canonical gospels now must have
            been added later, in the course of their secondary expansion well into the
            2nd c.

            So this is my answer to your question.

            Regards,

            Yuri.

            Yuri Kuchinsky -=O=- http://www.trends.ca/~yuku

            What are the things of long ago? Tell us, that we may
            reflect on them, and know their outcome; or declare
            to us the things to come -=O=- Isaiah 41:22
          • Michael Grondin
            ... In your latest note, you seem to be backing off from this position, and that s all to the good. As I understand it now, your argument is based on equating
            Message 5 of 17 , Mar 6, 2000
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              At 12:01 PM 03/05/00 -0500, Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:
              >... the big question about GOT
              >appears to be Just how Jewish a document is it? If we accept Crossan's
              >views (that the Gentiles were included very early) as seen below, then GOT
              >may as well be a Gentile/Cynic philosophical document where the OT is left
              >far behind already. But I disagree. I think the Jesus movement was
              >entirely Jewish until well into the 2nd c, and that Judaism entirely
              >comprises the background of GOT.

              In your latest note, you seem to be backing off from this position, and
              that's all to the good. As I understand it now, your argument is based on
              equating Gentile interest with Paul. Furthermore, you see his influence as
              "marginal" until the second Jewish war of 130. I think both of these ideas
              are false, but I also think that even if they're both true, your own
              account of Pauline influence belies your earlier claims (above), which are
              entirely too strong, and which seemingly fly in the face of the internal
              evidence of the GOT itself.

              >I guess the key here is the Historical Paul, because tradition credits him
              >with a big role in opening up the movement to Gentiles.

              "Big role" is quite different from "all Gentiles are Paul's", of course,
              which is what seems to be required for your sweeping judgement about
              "entirely Jewish". Even before Paul, we have Stephen and the Hellenists as
              evidence of the appeal of the Jesus movement to at least non-Hebraic
              (Greek-speaking) Jews. One of the seven (Nicolas), for example, is said to
              be "a proselyte from Antioch". As I see it, the movement in and outside
              Judea spread most rapidly along the proselytic fringe - the place of
              newly-converted Jews, and those who were drawn to the Jewish religion but
              not yet converted (which would have involved circumcision, of course). My
              point is that this natural audience was not created by Paul, but was
              independent of him and existed in places he never visited. He appealed to
              it, but so did others. And it was from this proselytic fringe that the
              Gentiles were drawn, in so great numbers that the requirement for
              circumcision was dropped. When was it dropped? You may argue against it,
              but I find it persuasive that it occurred before the first Jewish war, not
              after the second (which would have required a rewriting of Acts). If so,
              and for all these reasons, ISTM quite clear that the appeal to the Gentiles
              was not confined to regions under Pauline influence. It must have occurred
              also in Rome, Alexandria, and Judea itself. (That latter to a lesser
              extent, of course, since the proselytic fringe would have necessarily been
              much wider in the diaspora.)

              >[Paul's] area of
              >influence was in parts of Syria and in a few other rather marginal places.

              How marginal were Antioch, Edessa, and Syria in general, in terms of
              writings that would come to define Christianity? It's been claimed recently
              that the Gospels of Matthew, Peter, and Thomas, all had Syrian provenance.
              But restricting ourselves just to the GOT, even if your equation of Paul
              with the Gentiles is correct, then GOT came out of the region influenced by
              Paul, hence your arguments about Paul's marginality with respect to the
              entire movement don't apply to the GOT. In fact, far from succeeding in
              showing that "Judaism entirely comprises the background of GOT", you seem
              to have established the contrary.

              Regards,
              Mike

              The Coptic Gospel of Thomas, saying-by-saying
              http://www.geocities.com/athens/9068/sayings.htm
            • Yuri Kuchinsky
              ... But most people think Paul s role or at least influence was central in this, Mike. This is what tradition tells us. NT is mostly a Pauline document (in its
              Message 6 of 17 , Mar 7, 2000
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                On Mon, 6 Mar 2000, Michael Grondin wrote:
                > At 12:01 PM 03/05/00 -0500, Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:

                > >... the big question about GOT
                > >appears to be Just how Jewish a document is it? If we accept Crossan's
                > >views (that the Gentiles were included very early) as seen below, then GOT
                > >may as well be a Gentile/Cynic philosophical document where the OT is left
                > >far behind already. But I disagree. I think the Jesus movement was
                > >entirely Jewish until well into the 2nd c, and that Judaism entirely
                > >comprises the background of GOT.
                >
                > In your latest note, you seem to be backing off from this position,
                > and that's all to the good. As I understand it now, your argument is
                > based on equating Gentile interest with Paul.

                But most people think Paul's role or at least influence was central in
                this, Mike. This is what tradition tells us. NT is mostly a Pauline
                document (in its final redaction).

                > Furthermore, you see his influence as "marginal" until the second
                > Jewish war of 130.

                My guess is that Paul's influence came to be dominant very gradually in
                the years 70-150.

                > I think both of these ideas are false, but I also think that even if
                > they're both true, your own account of Pauline influence belies your
                > earlier claims (above), which are entirely too strong, and which
                > seemingly fly in the face of the internal evidence of the GOT itself.

                How so?

                > >I guess the key here is the Historical Paul, because tradition credits him
                > >with a big role in opening up the movement to Gentiles.
                >
                > "Big role" is quite different from "all Gentiles are Paul's", of
                > course, which is what seems to be required for your sweeping judgement
                > about "entirely Jewish". Even before Paul, we have Stephen and the
                > Hellenists as evidence of the appeal of the Jesus movement to at least
                > non-Hebraic (Greek-speaking) Jews.

                OK.

                > One of the seven (Nicolas), for example, is said to be "a proselyte
                > from Antioch".

                Proselites to Judaism were considered by other Jews to be fully Jews.

                > As I see it, the movement in and outside Judea spread most rapidly
                > along the proselytic fringe - the place of newly-converted Jews,

                I see no evidence for this.

                > and those who were drawn to the Jewish religion but not yet converted
                > (which would have involved circumcision, of course).

                This is a separate claim, and I see no more evidence for it that for the
                one above.

                > My point is that this natural audience was not created by Paul, but
                > was independent of him and existed in places he never visited. He
                > appealed to it, but so did others. And it was from this proselytic
                > fringe that the Gentiles were drawn, in so great numbers that the
                > requirement for circumcision was dropped.

                I don't follow your reasoning.

                > When was it dropped? You may argue against it, but I find it
                > persuasive that it occurred before the first Jewish war,

                You're assuming that (1) some central authority made the decision (2) that
                would be binding for all to accept uncircumsized believers (3) fully into
                the movement (4) before 70?

                Four assumptions are involved, and all four are rather tenuous.

                > not after the second (which would have required a rewriting of Acts).
                > If so, and for all these reasons, ISTM quite clear that the appeal to
                > the Gentiles was not confined to regions under Pauline influence. It
                > must have occurred also in Rome, Alexandria, and Judea itself. (That
                > latter to a lesser extent, of course, since the proselytic fringe
                > would have necessarily been much wider in the diaspora.)

                It is part of traditional Judaism to accept converts who then become fully
                Jewish. This is not directly related to Christianity.

                > >[Paul's] area of
                > >influence was in parts of Syria and in a few other rather marginal places.
                >
                > How marginal were Antioch, Edessa, and Syria in general, in terms of
                > writings that would come to define Christianity?

                But do we have any evidence that Paul's influence was dominant or even so
                important in all these places?

                Take a look at this passage that is seemingly historically based,

                Acts 13:1
                In the church at Antioch there were prophets and
                teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of
                Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the
                tetrarch) and Saul.

                So here you have the list of leaders of Antioch community. Saul is the
                last on the list. Sure is significant.

                > It's been claimed recently that the Gospels of Matthew, Peter, and
                > Thomas, all had Syrian provenance.

                For Thomas, Syrian provenance seems strong. For others it is tenuous.

                > But restricting ourselves just to the GOT, even if your equation of
                > Paul with the Gentiles is correct, then GOT came out of the region
                > influenced by Paul,

                Even if influenced, then to what extent?

                > hence your arguments about Paul's marginality with respect to the
                > entire movement don't apply to the GOT. In fact, far from succeeding
                > in showing that "Judaism entirely comprises the background of GOT",
                > you seem to have established the contrary.

                I don't see it, Mike. But OTOH your desire to see GOT both very early AND
                Gentile seems to be mutually self-defeating. If GOT is early, then surely
                it must be Jewish. If it's Gentile, then surely it's not early?

                Regards,

                Yuri.

                Yuri Kuchinsky -=O=- http://www.trends.ca/~yuku

                What are the things of long ago? Tell us, that we may
                reflect on them, and know their outcome; or declare
                to us the things to come -=O=- Isaiah 41:22
              • Michael Grondin
                ... Lk and Jn, yes. But I d say Mk and Mt, no. As long as we re generalizing. ... My guess is that Jewish influence quickly lost ground after the first Jewish
                Message 7 of 17 , Mar 8, 2000
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                  At 01:45 PM 03/07/00 -0500, Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:
                  >NT is mostly a Pauline document (in its final redaction).

                  Lk and Jn, yes. But I'd say Mk and Mt, no. As long as we're generalizing.

                  >My guess is that Paul's influence came to be dominant very gradually in
                  >the years 70-150.

                  My guess is that Jewish influence quickly lost ground after the first
                  Jewish war, and that Paul's views were already dominant by 100 at latest.

                  >Take a look at this passage that is seemingly historically based,
                  >Acts 13:1 In the church at Antioch there were prophets and
                  > teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of
                  > Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the
                  > tetrarch) and Saul.
                  >So here you have the list of leaders of Antioch community. Saul is the
                  >last on the list. Sure is significant.

                  Yes it is. Now look at Acts 11:19-21:
                  Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection
                  with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch,
                  telling the message only to Jews. Some of them, however - men from
                  Cyprus and Cyrene - went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks
                  also ... The Lord's hand was with them, and a great number of
                  people believed and turned to the Lord. (NIV)

                  Which supports my point that appeal to the Gentiles was early and not
                  confined to Paul. Again I go back to your original sweeping generalization
                  (which you've never withdrawn) that the movement was "entirely Jewish" up
                  to the 2nd c. Do you have the guts to admit that you might have at least
                  overstated the case?

                  >I don't see it, Mike. But OTOH your desire to see GOT both very early AND
                  >Gentile seems to be mutually self-defeating. If GOT is early, then surely
                  >it must be Jewish. If it's Gentile, then surely it's not early?

                  Now wait a minute. I didn't claim that the GOT was "Gentile", whatever that
                  means. After all, Philo was early and Jewish AND influenced by Greek
                  philosophy. So there's a false dichotomy at work in your reasoning, I
                  think. In point of fact, I believe that GOT sees itself in opposition to
                  centrist Christianity of both varieties - Gentile and Jewish-oriented. If
                  you say it has a Jewish background, I don't know how I could disagree with
                  that, since all Xn writings could be said to have a Jewish background. If
                  you mean something more than that, you'll have to tell me what it is.

                  Regards,
                  Mike

                  The Coptic Gospel of Thomas, saying-by-saying
                  http://www.geocities.com/athens/9068/sayings.htm
                • Yuri Kuchinsky
                  ... Well, Mike, as far as Mk is concerned there seems to be little doubt that it s Pauline and wide open to Gentiles. Mt may be seen as somewhat less Pauline,
                  Message 8 of 17 , Mar 9, 2000
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                    On Wed, 8 Mar 2000, Michael Grondin wrote:
                    > At 01:45 PM 03/07/00 -0500, Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:

                    > >NT is mostly a Pauline document (in its final redaction).
                    >
                    > Lk and Jn, yes. But I'd say Mk and Mt, no. As long as we're
                    > generalizing.

                    Well, Mike, as far as Mk is concerned there seems to be little doubt that
                    it's Pauline and wide open to Gentiles. Mt may be seen as somewhat less
                    Pauline, but it does seem to have a later Pauline editorial layer.

                    > >My guess is that Paul's influence came to be dominant very gradually in
                    > >the years 70-150.
                    >
                    > My guess is that Jewish influence quickly lost ground after the first
                    > Jewish war,

                    But the question is How quickly?

                    > and that Paul's views were already dominant by 100 at latest.

                    I doubt it very much.

                    > >Take a look at this passage that is seemingly historically based,
                    > >Acts 13:1 In the church at Antioch there were prophets and
                    > > teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of
                    > > Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the
                    > > tetrarch) and Saul.
                    > >So here you have the list of leaders of Antioch community. Saul is the
                    > >last on the list. Sure is significant.
                    >
                    > Yes it is.

                    I'm glad you agree.

                    > Now look at Acts 11:19-21:
                    > Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection
                    > with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch,
                    > telling the message only to Jews. Some of them, however - men from
                    > Cyprus and Cyrene - went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks
                    > also ... The Lord's hand was with them, and a great number of
                    > people believed and turned to the Lord. (NIV)
                    >
                    > Which supports my point that appeal to the Gentiles was early and not
                    > confined to Paul.

                    I don't quite see it in this text.

                    > Again I go back to your original sweeping generalization (which you've
                    > never withdrawn) that the movement was "entirely Jewish" up to the 2nd
                    > c. Do you have the guts to admit that you might have at least
                    > overstated the case?

                    OK, I guess I will have to qualify my original sweeping statement
                    somewhat. How about "The movement was almost entirely Jewish up to the 2nd
                    c."?

                    Now, let's look again at Acts 11:19-21, and try to attend carefully to
                    what it says, supposing the passage preserves an authentic historical
                    tradition, which it probably does.

                    "Some early believers were expelled from Jerusalem after the death of
                    Stephen and they traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, but
                    telling the message only to Jews."

                    And this indicates to me that this was the earliest tradition. Surely then
                    I don't see any opening to the Gentiles on the part of Jesus and his
                    earliest followers.

                    "Some of them, however - men from Cyprus and Cyrene - went to Antioch and
                    began to speak to Greeks also."

                    Again, this implies to me strongly that the earliest movement was not wide
                    open to Greeks/Gentiles previous to the innovation as mentioned above
                    (speaking to Greeks also).

                    Now, to qualify this, we should keep in mind that the Jewish tradition as
                    such had never been closed to the Gentiles, exactly. Gentiles were always
                    welcome if they agreed to follow the Torah.

                    As to "speaking to Greeks also" innovation, a couple of questions arise.

                    a) when was it introduced exactly? There's no real clarity here.

                    b) was it really such an innovation? After all, it is generally known that
                    in Hellenistic synagogues there had always been "God-fearers", i.e. not
                    yet circumcised Gentiles who were attending meetings with a view of
                    perhaps becoming Jews later.

                    And also let's not forget the other half of humanity! Women don't need a
                    circumcision, of course, to become Jews. So for them, the admittance to
                    the Jewish community, as for example by marriage, would not have been
                    problematic in any way.

                    So my conclusion is that Acts 11:19-21 really tells us more about the
                    earliest shape of the Jesus movement than about how the opening to the
                    Gentiles had been achieved. In fact it appears to tell us very little
                    indeed about the opening of the movement to Gentiles.

                    > >I don't see it, Mike. But OTOH your desire to see GOT both very early AND
                    > >Gentile seems to be mutually self-defeating. If GOT is early, then surely
                    > >it must be Jewish. If it's Gentile, then surely it's not early?
                    >
                    > Now wait a minute. I didn't claim that the GOT was "Gentile", whatever
                    > that means. After all, Philo was early and Jewish AND influenced by
                    > Greek philosophy. So there's a false dichotomy at work in your
                    > reasoning, I think. In point of fact, I believe that GOT sees itself
                    > in opposition to centrist Christianity of both varieties - Gentile and
                    > Jewish-oriented. If you say it has a Jewish background, I don't know
                    > how I could disagree with that, since all Xn writings could be said to
                    > have a Jewish background. If you mean something more than that, you'll
                    > have to tell me what it is.

                    True, Philo, and the Jewish tradition in general, show quite a few Greek
                    influences. In fact, if one listens to Robert Graves, then even the OT has
                    plenty of remarkably close parallels in Greek mythological/religious
                    tradition (see his and Patai's HEBREW MYTHS). But our main question seems
                    to be, Did GOT originate before or after the Jesus movement was wide open
                    to Gentiles? I think it originated before, although perhaps later 2 c.
                    redactions modified it somewhat.

                    Regards,

                    Yuri.

                    Yuri Kuchinsky -=O=- http://www.trends.ca/~yuku

                    What are the things of long ago? Tell us, that we may
                    reflect on them, and know their outcome; or declare
                    to us the things to come -=O=- Isaiah 41:22
                  • Ronald David McCann
                    Gentlemen, Pardon an interloper in your debate. Paul was apparently a Pharisee adherant prior to his conversion, and allegedly quite zealous. Yet his
                    Message 9 of 17 , Mar 9, 2000
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                      Gentlemen,
                      Pardon an interloper in your debate. Paul was apparently a Pharisee
                      adherant prior to his conversion, and allegedly quite zealous. Yet his
                      Jewishness was not the only Jewishness of his time. There was another
                      root-the Sadducees, and converts to the New Way are equally probable.

                      When I look at the pitifully few references to Sadducean beliefs in the
                      literature, I am still struck with the similarity of the belief system to
                      the Thomas crowd. One little change, and Sadducean adherants could embrace
                      the non-apolyptic, non physical resurrection, and especially the secret
                      tradition fully. The material on Sadducees is so scant that little can be
                      gleaned except that apart from being of the elite, we know they were
                      there.

                      Change one significant factor- namely - they did not believe in the
                      (physical) resurrection Scenario at the End of Day, and a Sadducee could
                      become a Jewish Chistian. Thomas speaks to no physical resurrection, no
                      end of Days and substitues a spiritual resurrection while in the flesh
                      for a rising from the dead at a general resurrection. Now that is
                      something a Sadducee could " sink his teeth into".

                      I posit a bunch of Sadducean converts speaking the secret teaching as
                      fanning out and eventually headquartering in Syrain Edessa and perhaps
                      eventualy coutering Paul.

                      So much for what Jewishness.

                      Thomas may well have been a Sadducean product, and I agree that
                      Xtian/Jewish communities, divisibly must have existed through the East
                      with equal splits.

                      I guess I am saying "Don't dismiss the Sadducees" because, to me, Thomas,
                      and indeed the very earliest Chistian-Jewish communities were influenced
                      by them.

                      In fact, I think presently that original Thomas was a Sadducean-
                      creation.

                      Any Comments?

                      Ron McCann


                      verse
                      viewpoints, surerly s
                    • Michael Grondin
                      Yuri- Our discussion (like too many others) has no doubt suffered from a failure to clearly define the central terms involved. What does it mean, for example,
                      Message 10 of 17 , Mar 9, 2000
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                        Yuri-

                        Our discussion (like too many others) has no doubt suffered from a failure
                        to clearly define the central terms involved. What does it mean, for
                        example, to say that a text is "Jewish-Christian" or "Gentile-Christian"?
                        But there are other problems as well. One is that you are trying to draw a
                        conclusion based on general historical circumstances, rather than on the
                        internal evidence of the text itself. As I understand it, your argument
                        amounts to saying that (1) Christianity was "almost entirely"
                        Jewish-oriented prior to at least 100, and (2) GOT was written before 100,
                        therefore (3) GOT is almost certainly "Jewish" (whatever that means). I
                        agree with (2) and disagree with (1), but more than that, I'd point out
                        that this is a probabilistic argument - which means that both its premises
                        and its conclusion are only probable. However strong you make the
                        probability of the premises, GOT might still be one of the exceptions to
                        the probabilistic conclusion - written, say, in some little out-of-the-way
                        pocket of Gentile Xianity in Syria. In any case, whether GOT is or is not
                        an exception to the argument can be so easily determined by internal
                        textual evidence (or so it seems), that one wonders why you even bother to
                        approach the question from this indirect angle?

                        I've deliberately avoided responding to every point of this discussion,
                        because some of them would soon lead very far away from the central
                        question. I'll have to leave it up to the reader to judge the relative
                        persuasiveness of most of the point-counterpoints. But I would like to put
                        a couple of your statements - which relate to premise (1) above -
                        side-by-side and see how you would resolve their apparent inconsistency:

                        (A) "Paul's influence came to be dominant very gradually in the years 70-150."
                        (B) "NT is mostly a Pauline document (in its final redaction)."

                        The combination of the above statements implies, of course, that all of the
                        books of the NT received their final redaction much closer to 150 than 100
                        (before which they were supposedly written). I assume you're taking
                        advantage of the fact that no manuscripts or clear references have been
                        found predating 150, but I think you should at least admit in all honesty
                        that your view is not widely shared, and doesn't have much positive
                        evidence going for it. This doesn't mean that you're wrong, of course, but
                        it does mean that your arguments have to be stronger than otherwise might
                        be called for. In fact, a strong positive case has to be made - not just an
                        assertion and associated fending-off of objections. That's the burden that
                        those of us who find ourselves occasionally in the minority have to be
                        willing to bear, if we're interested in making our point, and not just
                        tilting at windmills.

                        I could be wrong, but I believe that most scholars would say that whatever
                        "Gentile" aspects are to be found in the NT were already basically there
                        prior to 100. That surely implies that Pauline/Gentile influence must have
                        been great prior to 100, and such an implication is consistent with what
                        seems to be a commonsensical view that Jewish influence would have
                        necessarily declined rapidly after the first Jewish war. Indeed, it would
                        have been at this time (66-75) that it would have been most politic for Xn
                        writers to stress the differences between their movement and Judaism
                        proper, and to invent stories of favorable attitudes and actions by
                        individual Romans during the time of Jesus. The only alternative that I can
                        see is to maintain that the "Pauline" stuff wasn't added until around 60-80
                        years later (and non-Pauline stuff removed?), but I can't imagine where one
                        would find the evidence necessary to present any kind of a strong case for
                        THAT position (quoting Loisy doesn't count <g>). One could make a WEAK
                        case, of course, but why bother?

                        In any case, much of this is beside the point. If you have some criteria by
                        which one could judge whether a text is "Jewish-Christian" or
                        "Gentile-Christian", I think the best course of action would be to lay them
                        out, so we can discuss their validity, and then apply them to the text
                        itself. The indirect probability approach you've adopted is just doubly
                        unconvincing to me: first, because one of its premises is highly debatable,
                        and second, because even if the argument is sound, it doesn't prove what
                        you want it to prove, namely that the GOT is "Jewish" (whatever that means).

                        Regards,
                        Mike

                        The Coptic Gospel of Thomas, saying-by-saying
                        http://www.geocities.com/athens/9068/sayings.htm
                      • Yuri Kuchinsky
                        ... Sure, Ron. But also there may be yet other possibilities. The Qumran community had their own interpretations of the Scriptures, too, for example. Besides,
                        Message 11 of 17 , Mar 10, 2000
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                          On Thu, 9 Mar 2000, Ronald David McCann wrote:

                          > Gentlemen, Pardon an interloper in your debate. Paul was apparently a
                          > Pharisee adherant prior to his conversion, and allegedly quite
                          > zealous. Yet his Jewishness was not the only Jewishness of his time.
                          > There was another root-the Sadducees, and converts to the New Way are
                          > equally probable.

                          Sure, Ron. But also there may be yet other possibilities. The Qumran
                          community had their own interpretations of the Scriptures, too, for
                          example. Besides, there were, as I believe, 6 varieties of pharisees. Also
                          the Samaritans. Samaritan tradition has clear links with various NT
                          documents. So we should not oversimplify the variety of Jewish traditions.
                          It is this background that I think best explains the conflicts which
                          resulted in the death of JB and of Jesus.

                          > When I look at the pitifully few references to Sadducean beliefs in
                          > the literature, I am still struck with the similarity of the belief
                          > system to the Thomas crowd. One little change, and Sadducean adherants
                          > could embrace the non-apolyptic, non physical resurrection, and
                          > especially the secret tradition fully. The material on Sadducees is so
                          > scant that little can be gleaned except that apart from being of the
                          > elite, we know they were there.
                          >
                          > Change one significant factor- namely - they did not believe in the
                          > (physical) resurrection Scenario at the End of Day, and a Sadducee
                          > could become a Jewish Chistian. Thomas speaks to no physical
                          > resurrection, no end of Days and substitues a spiritual resurrection
                          > while in the flesh for a rising from the dead at a general
                          > resurrection. Now that is something a Sadducee could " sink his teeth
                          > into".

                          The concept of spiritual resurrection would have been not so difficult to
                          accept for most Jews. I believe this was the earliest Christian belief.
                          Bodily resurrection and Tomb Burial seem to be later additions.

                          > I posit a bunch of Sadducean converts speaking the secret teaching as
                          > fanning out and eventually headquartering in Syrain Edessa and perhaps
                          > eventualy coutering Paul.
                          >
                          > So much for what Jewishness.
                          >
                          > Thomas may well have been a Sadducean product, and I agree that
                          > Xtian/Jewish communities, divisibly must have existed through the East
                          > with equal splits.
                          >
                          > I guess I am saying "Don't dismiss the Sadducees" because, to me,
                          > Thomas, and indeed the very earliest Chistian-Jewish communities were
                          > influenced by them.
                          >
                          > In fact, I think presently that original Thomas was a Sadducean-
                          > creation.

                          Maybe, but in any case it was a Jewish creation. After all,

                          27 "... If you do not observe the sabbath as a sabbath you will not
                          see the Father."

                          Regards,

                          Yuri.

                          Yuri Kuchinsky in Toronto -=O=- http://www.trends.ca/~yuku

                          It is a far, far better thing to have a firm anchor in nonsense than
                          to put out on the troubled seas of thought -=O=- John K. Galbraith
                        • Yuri Kuchinsky
                          ... Yes, Mike, this is what I m doing. ... While I think GOT was written before 100, I also think it was probably re-edited after 100. ... But you will have to
                          Message 12 of 17 , Mar 11, 2000
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                            On Fri, 10 Mar 2000, Michael Grondin wrote:

                            > Yuri-
                            >
                            > Our discussion (like too many others) has no doubt suffered from a
                            > failure to clearly define the central terms involved. What does it
                            > mean, for example, to say that a text is "Jewish-Christian" or
                            > "Gentile-Christian"? But there are other problems as well. One is that
                            > you are trying to draw a conclusion based on general historical
                            > circumstances,

                            Yes, Mike, this is what I'm doing.

                            > rather than on the internal evidence of the text itself. As I
                            > understand it, your argument amounts to saying that (1) Christianity
                            > was "almost entirely" Jewish-oriented prior to at least 100, and (2)
                            > GOT was written before 100, therefore (3) GOT is almost certainly
                            > "Jewish" (whatever that means).

                            While I think GOT was written before 100, I also think it was probably
                            re-edited after 100.

                            > I agree with (2) and disagree with (1), but more than that, I'd point
                            > out that this is a probabilistic argument - which means that both its
                            > premises and its conclusion are only probable. However strong you make
                            > the probability of the premises, GOT might still be one of the
                            > exceptions to the probabilistic conclusion

                            But you will have to agree that with the study of early Christianity if
                            only we could always be so lucky as to be able to establish a
                            "probabilistic conclusion". Keep in mind that we are trying to solve a big
                            jigsaw puzzle with most pieces missing. If, under these circumstances, we
                            can still establish something as probable, I think we've done pretty well.

                            > - written, say, in some little out-of-the-way pocket of Gentile
                            > Xianity in Syria.

                            But I think I've already refuted this. Comparing GOT text with other
                            Syrian texts from the same time shows that this was a mainstream textual
                            tradition in Syria, not some little pocket.

                            > In any case, whether GOT is or is not an exception to the argument can
                            > be so easily determined by internal textual evidence (or so it seems),
                            > that one wonders why you even bother to approach the question from
                            > this indirect angle?

                            As I said before, when we are trying to solve a big jigsaw puzzle with
                            most pieces missing, every bit of evidence is important.

                            > I've deliberately avoided responding to every point of this
                            > discussion, because some of them would soon lead very far away from
                            > the central question. I'll have to leave it up to the reader to judge
                            > the relative persuasiveness of most of the point-counterpoints. But I
                            > would like to put a couple of your statements - which relate to
                            > premise (1) above - side-by-side and see how you would resolve their
                            > apparent inconsistency:
                            >
                            > (A) "Paul's influence came to be dominant very gradually in the years
                            > 70-150."
                            >
                            > (B) "NT is mostly a Pauline document (in its final redaction)."

                            Where's the inconsistency?

                            > The combination of the above statements implies, of course, that all
                            > of the books of the NT received their final redaction much closer to
                            > 150 than 100 (before which they were supposedly

                            Supposedly? Supposedly for who?

                            > written). I assume you're taking advantage of the fact that no
                            > manuscripts or clear references have been found predating 150, but I
                            > think you should at least admit in all honesty that your view is not
                            > widely shared,

                            Of course not. It's a minority view in our time.

                            > and doesn't have much positive evidence going for it.

                            Plenty of evidence. Quite a few scholars in fact think that Lk and Jn may
                            date from ca 110. Not such a small minority.

                            > This doesn't mean that you're wrong, of course, but it does mean that
                            > your arguments have to be stronger than otherwise might be called for.
                            > In fact, a strong positive case has to be made - not just an assertion
                            > and associated fending-off of objections. That's the burden that those
                            > of us who find ourselves occasionally in the minority have to be
                            > willing to bear, if we're interested in making our point, and not just
                            > tilting at windmills.

                            Arguments for late dating? You can find them in Loisy.

                            > I could be wrong, but I believe that most scholars would say that
                            > whatever "Gentile" aspects are to be found in the NT were already
                            > basically there prior to 100.

                            But this is merely an appeal to authority.

                            > That surely implies that Pauline/Gentile influence must have been
                            > great prior to 100, and such an implication is consistent with what
                            > seems to be a commonsensical view that Jewish influence would have
                            > necessarily declined rapidly after the first Jewish war.

                            Sure it would have declined. But how rapidly?

                            > Indeed, it would have been at this time (66-75) that it would have
                            > been most politic for Xn writers to stress the differences between
                            > their movement and Judaism proper,

                            Why?

                            Also your assumption seems to be that there was a substantial difference
                            between "their movement" and "Judaism proper" already before 66-75, which
                            makes your argument somewhat circular.

                            > and to invent stories of favorable attitudes and actions by individual
                            > Romans during the time of Jesus.

                            Why? You mean they suddenly started to love the Romans after Israel and
                            Jerusalem were devastated?

                            > The only alternative that I can see is to maintain that the "Pauline"
                            > stuff wasn't added until around 60-80 years later (and non-Pauline
                            > stuff removed?),

                            Not at all. As I said before, my position is that Paul's influence came to
                            be dominant very gradually in the years 70-150.

                            > but I can't imagine where one would find the evidence necessary to
                            > present any kind of a strong case for THAT position (quoting Loisy
                            > doesn't count <g>). One could make a WEAK case, of course, but why
                            > bother?

                            Many arguments can be made for my position, as opposed to the one you seem
                            to be attributing to me.

                            > In any case, much of this is beside the point. If you have some
                            > criteria by which one could judge whether a text is "Jewish-Christian"
                            > or "Gentile-Christian", I think the best course of action would be to
                            > lay them out, so we can discuss their validity, and then apply them to
                            > the text itself.

                            Well, I'm talking about the important watershed, i.e. When was Jesus
                            movement opened wide to Gentiles, and Torah-adherence was abandoned? Paul
                            seems to be associated with this strongly as "most scholars think". Also,
                            When did antisemitic passages get added to our canonical texts? This, to
                            me, is the difference between "Jewish-Christian" and "Gentile-Christian"
                            in a nutshell.

                            > The indirect probability approach you've adopted is just doubly
                            > unconvincing to me: first, because one of its premises is highly
                            > debatable,

                            Which one? A or B?

                            > and second, because even if the argument is sound, it doesn't prove
                            > what you want it to prove, namely that the GOT is "Jewish" (whatever
                            > that means).

                            But as I say, this sort of an argument, if established on the grounds of
                            genereal probability, would be difficult to ignore.

                            Best,

                            Yuri.

                            Yuri Kuchinsky | Toronto | http://www.trends.ca/~yuku/bbl/bbl.htm

                            Biblical history list http://www.egroups.com/group/loisy - unmoderated

                            The goal proposed by Cynic philosophy is apathy, which is
                            equivalent to becoming God -=O=- Julian
                          • Michael Grondin
                            ... Ah, now we re getting somewhere, though not where you want to go. I ll stipulate that anti-semitism is a sufficient condition for a text having been
                            Message 13 of 17 , Mar 11, 2000
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                              At 10:32 AM 03/11/00 -0500, Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:
                              >When did antisemitic passages get added to our canonical texts? This, to
                              >me, is the difference between "Jewish-Christian" and "Gentile-Christian"
                              >in a nutshell.

                              Ah, now we're getting somewhere, though not where you want to go. I'll
                              stipulate that anti-semitism is a sufficient condition for a text having
                              been written or redacted by Gentile Christians. But it's not a necessary
                              condition - which means that this criterion fails to establish the
                              conclusion you want it to.

                              If a passage is anti-semitic (in the proper sense of that word), it
                              presumably cannot have been written by a Jewish Christian, but if a text is
                              NOT anti-semitic, it might still have been written by a Gentile Christian.
                              In terms of people instead of texts, while all anti-semitic Christians are
                              Gentiles, not all Gentile Christians are anti-semitic. (And here, of
                              course, I'm using the word 'Christian' in the sense of anyone who believes
                              that Jesus had a supernatural nature, whether that person follows the
                              ethical injunctions attributed to Jesus or not.)

                              Since I have a feeling I'm not explaining things too well this morning, let
                              me put it another way. Let's assume that I agree with you that (1') if a
                              text contains anti-semitisms, then it shows itself to have been written or
                              redacted by Gentile Xn's. It does NOT follow that (2') if a text does NOT
                              contain anti-semitisms, then it WASN'T written or redacted by Gentile Xn's.
                              In terms of symbolic logic:

                              (1) If A, then B.
                              (2) If not-A, then not-B.

                              (1) says that A is a sufficient condition for B, (2) says that it's a
                              necessary condition. (1) does NOT imply (2). I'm willing to stipulate to
                              (1), but what you need is (2), and that's what you haven't established.
                              Therefore, the criterion of anti-semitism does NOT show that GOT is
                              "Jewish-Christian". It can be "Gentile-Christian" and still not have any
                              anti-semitisms.

                              Regards,
                              Mike

                              The Coptic Gospel of Thomas, saying-by-saying
                              http://www.geocities.com/athens/9068/sayings.htm
                            • Michael Grondin
                              ... Actually, not at all. It would only be difficult to ignore if we didn t have Thomas right in front of us. But we do. So an argument from historical
                              Message 14 of 17 , Mar 11, 2000
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                                At 10:32 AM 03/11/00 -0500, Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:
                                >... this sort of an argument, if established on the grounds of
                                >general probability, would be difficult to ignore.

                                Actually, not at all. It would only be difficult to ignore if we didn't
                                have Thomas right in front of us. But we do. So an argument from historical
                                circumstances as to what its nature "must be" is superfluous. We have only
                                to look at it to see what its nature actually is. You yourself have pointed
                                to two passages as indications that it's Jewish-Christian (viz., the
                                references to Jacob and the sabbath). This is by far the best way to go as
                                far as I'm concerned. I think the reason you developed your argument from
                                historical circumstances is that you were more interested in saying
                                something about the canonicals and the early Xn movement than in saying
                                something about Thomas. You sort of just tacked on the Thomas observations
                                as an after-thought.

                                Regards,
                                Mike

                                The Coptic Gospel of Thomas, saying-by-saying
                                http://www.geocities.com/athens/9068/sayings.htm
                              • Yuri Kuchinsky
                                ... Sure, Mike, but I don t think this discussion would have been happening at all if the internal evidence of GOT was all clear and unambiguous. As it is, it
                                Message 15 of 17 , Mar 12, 2000
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                                  On Sat, 11 Mar 2000, Michael Grondin wrote:
                                  > At 10:32 AM 03/11/00 -0500, Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:

                                  > >... this sort of an argument, if established on the grounds of
                                  > >general probability, would be difficult to ignore.
                                  >
                                  > Actually, not at all. It would only be difficult to ignore if we
                                  > didn't have Thomas right in front of us. But we do. So an argument
                                  > from historical circumstances as to what its nature "must be" is
                                  > superfluous. We have only to look at it to see what its nature
                                  > actually is.

                                  Sure, Mike, but I don't think this discussion would have been happening at
                                  all if the internal evidence of GOT was all clear and unambiguous. As it
                                  is, it is somewhat ambiguous, and so arguments regarding its general
                                  historical place and context become important. If I establish on the basis
                                  of a general overview of early Christian movement that GOT is probably
                                  Jewish-Christian, then the burden of proof shifts on the opponent to show
                                  why this should be not so.

                                  > You yourself have pointed to two passages as indications that it's
                                  > Jewish-Christian (viz., the references to Jacob and the sabbath). This
                                  > is by far the best way to go as far as I'm concerned. I think the
                                  > reason you developed your argument from historical circumstances is
                                  > that you were more interested in saying something about the canonicals
                                  > and the early Xn movement than in saying something about Thomas. You
                                  > sort of just tacked on the Thomas observations as an after-thought.

                                  Well, this is an interesting theory, Mike. But I think you're now alluding
                                  to the unhappy events that took place on Crosstalk list in January, and to
                                  my decision not to take part in Crosstalk discussion any longer because of
                                  these problems. I have stated my grievances in regard to Crosstalk style
                                  of moderation elsewhere in detail, and the moderators of Crosstalk have
                                  never addressed them publicly. So this is where the matter rest for now.
                                  The conflict remains unresolved.

                                  Now you appear to be suggesting that I'm trying to compensate, so to
                                  speak, for not posting to Crosstalk by posting to Thomas list? Now, even
                                  if this were to be so, would you personally object to this?

                                  But in any case, all my posts should be judged on their own merit. If they
                                  are relevant then they belong to thomas list. I'm interested in the
                                  scientific historical study of earliest Christianity, and I think GOT is
                                  part of earliest Christianity, so where is there a problem?

                                  The alternative, I suppose, would be to try to separate GOT completely
                                  from its historical context and from the study of the Historical Jesus,
                                  and I hope nobody is advocating that.

                                  Regards,

                                  Yuri.

                                  Yuri Kuchinsky | Toronto | http://www.trends.ca/~yuku/bbl/bbl.htm

                                  Biblical history list http://www.egroups.com/group/loisy - unmoderated

                                  The goal proposed by Cynic philosophy is apathy, which is
                                  equivalent to becoming God -=O=- Julian
                                • Michael Grondin
                                  ... It wasn t my intention to refer to that, but rather to the paragraph on Thomas that you appended ( tacked on ) to the copy of the hjmaterials message that
                                  Message 16 of 17 , Mar 12, 2000
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                                    > [me to UYuri]: I think the
                                    > reason you developed your argument from historical circumstances is
                                    > that you were more interested in saying something about the canonicals
                                    > and the early Xn movement than in saying something about Thomas. You
                                    > sort of just tacked on the Thomas observations as an after-thought.

                                    At 01:53 PM 03/12/00 -0500, Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:
                                    >Well, this is an interesting theory, Mike. But I think you're now alluding
                                    >to the unhappy events that took place on Crosstalk list in January, and to
                                    >my decision not to take part in Crosstalk discussion any longer because of
                                    >these problems.

                                    It wasn't my intention to refer to that, but rather to the paragraph on
                                    Thomas that you appended ("tacked on") to the copy of the hjmaterials
                                    message that you sent to the Thomas list, to whit:

                                    "The issue seems quite relevant to GOT since the big question about GOT
                                    appears to be Just how Jewish a document is it? If we accept Crossan's
                                    views (that the Gentiles were included very early) ..., then GOT
                                    may as well be a Gentile/Cynic philosophical document where the OT is
                                    left far behind already. But I disagree. I think the Jesus movement was
                                    entirely Jewish until well into the 2nd c, and that Judaism entirely
                                    comprises the background of GOT."

                                    This is the paragraph with which I found myself very much in disagreement,
                                    and which led to this discussion. To summarize my disagreements:

                                    1. The question of "how Jewish is it?" is not to my mind "the big question"
                                    about GOT.
                                    2. I agree with Crossan that "the Gentiles were included very early", and
                                    I'm convinced that the evidence supports that view.
                                    3. Nothing follows from (2) as to whether GOT is "Jewish" or not.
                                    4. What it means to be a "Jewish[-Christian] text" is not clear, nor is it
                                    clear what the alternatives are. Are there any Xn texts at all that you
                                    would count as examples of "Gentile/Cynic philosophical documents"?
                                    5. The assertion that "Judaism entirely comprises the background of GOT" is
                                    IMO either trivial or false. Insofar as it's true of every Xian text, it's
                                    trivial. Insofar as it implies that the writers/redactors of GOT had no
                                    contact at all with non-Jewish-Xian ideas, it's surely false.
                                    6. The assertion that "the Jesus movement was [almost] entirely Jewish
                                    until well into the 2nd c" is false and baseless. (Note: "almost entirely"
                                    means to me at least over 90%. If you had said "predominantly" [i.e., over
                                    50%], and changed the date, you might have a case.)

                                    That's quite a lot to disagree with in a single paragraph, so I must
                                    believe that the issue of the degree of "Jewishness" of early Xianity in
                                    general is what's driving you to say these things, and that the GOT is only
                                    incidental to your main concern. Unfortunately, I don't see how this text
                                    can resolve that larger issue. The internal evidence is, as you say,
                                    ambiguous (or mixed). If GOT were clearly "Jewish" (whatever that means),
                                    then you could use that fact to make the larger point about early Xianity.
                                    But the absurdity you've gotten yourself into is by arguing from a general
                                    premise (see 6 above) which is even more debatable than its conclusion. Do
                                    you see what I'm saying? In any argument, it's the premises that should
                                    appear to be unquestionable, so that one is necessarily led to the desired
                                    (and more questionable) conclusion. That's why I think that you're not
                                    using this argument in the proper way to establish a conclusion (i.e., that
                                    GOT is "Jewish"), but rather as an indirect method of presenting its
                                    premises (i.e., that early Xianity was "almost entirely" Jewish). Thus, I
                                    see the argument itself as a facade under cover of which you're trying to
                                    smuggle in the larger issue. Yet still some progress can be made if I can
                                    come to understand what you're saying when you refer to a text as
                                    "Gentile/cynic". Anti-semitism won't do it, because that isn't a necessary
                                    feature of a "Gentile-Xian" text, as I explained in an earlier note. What
                                    other criteria do you have in mind? Or, again, can you give some examples
                                    of "Gentile/cynic" Xian texts?

                                    Regards,
                                    Mike

                                    The Coptic Gospel of Thomas, saying-by-saying
                                    http://www.geocities.com/athens/9068/sayings.htm
                                  • Yuri Kuchinsky
                                    ... Mike, And I think Crossan is grievously wrong. But he s not alone, of course. He s wrong along with great many in his profession. And all this is directly
                                    Message 17 of 17 , Mar 15, 2000
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                                      On Sun, 12 Mar 2000, Michael Grondin wrote:

                                      > I agree with Crossan that "the Gentiles were included very early", and
                                      > I'm convinced that the evidence supports that view.

                                      Mike,

                                      And I think Crossan is grievously wrong. But he's not alone, of course.
                                      He's wrong along with great many in his profession. And all this is
                                      directly relevant to determining the historical context of GOT.

                                      The distorting factors that make him wrong are two. One is the delusion of
                                      Pauline authenticity of a lot of stuff that it would have never entered
                                      into Paul's head to author. Highly evolved gnostic passages whose real
                                      time frame is ca 150 are dated ca 50? And all this is merely assumed and
                                      never demonstrated. A serious bungle indeed.

                                      And second distorting factor is the standard Two Source Theory, which is a
                                      false solution to the Synoptic problem. Because of this simplistic and
                                      false solution, manifestly late Gentile-oriented passages in Mk that were
                                      added probably ca 150 are credited with being ca 70. This is quite a
                                      substantial delusion and distorting factor indeed.

                                      The result? We have the Gentiles taking over the Jesus movement before 70,
                                      which is impossibly early. We have the Historical Paul that is made of
                                      cardboard. And we have a homeless GOT that has "no place to lay its head".

                                      "Early daters" would like to date GOT before 70, i.e. before Mk. But then
                                      how come so much of it sounds so un-apocalyptic, and therefore so un-OT?
                                      We know that in Israel the years before the war with the Romans seemed to
                                      be infused with messianism.

                                      Is it possible that Jesus was un-apocalyptic, and then his followers
                                      became apocalyptic? This is how Crossan would like to see things. But I
                                      think it's a lot more natural to see the source of un-apocalypticism in
                                      the years much after 70, as the Messianic expectations were being
                                      inevitably disappointed. The movement would have been looking for a new
                                      focus then, and gnosticism would have seemed like a good one.

                                      So what are the early daters really saying? They would like HJ to be
                                      un-apocalyptic laid-back social worker, I suppose, maybe even mostly
                                      secular-minded? But here early daters are divided on whether he was an
                                      un-apocalyptic laid-back philosopher, or if he was an un-apocalyptic
                                      laid-back medicine man. But were he to have been primarily a medicine man,
                                      i.e. Baptist exorcist type, then he could have hardly been laid-back? Oh,
                                      well..

                                      So, all right, Jesus was un-apocalyptic, but then for some reason his
                                      followers all went astray and became apocalyptic? All except one, that is,
                                      by the name of Didymus Judas Thomas, who managed to preserve the "original
                                      teachings" in some "little pocket" of society, until that too vanished
                                      (except for what little managed to trickle into the sands of Nag Hammadi
                                      for us to discover, to be sure).

                                      If we suppose that all his followers went astray and became OT-oriented
                                      and apocalyptic all of a sudden, then this must have happened before 70,
                                      right? But I thought that according to Crossan we have the Gentiles taking
                                      over the Jesus movement before 70 in a big hurry? Sure seems like there
                                      are some problems with this scenario somehow? One may indeed wonder how
                                      could back-to-the-Torah movement be happening at the same time as the
                                      let's-dump-the-Torah movement..

                                      But these are only some of the wonders of modern NT scholarship with
                                      Crossan at its head. For example, what about the solid historical
                                      tradition that it was Paul who was instrumental in opening the movement to
                                      Gentiles? Looks like we lost Paul out of our picture now, and someone else
                                      has been opening the movement to the Gentiles, because at the time of
                                      Paul's death he was maybe Number 100 in the movement's hierarchy, and
                                      could not have had much weight. As reflected in the canon, wasn't the main
                                      struggle for orthodoxy between the followers of Peter and those of Paul?
                                      If so, this must have been happening well past 70. Oh, well..

                                      Also we do know on good authority that Thomasine tradition was anything
                                      but marginal and hiding in a little pocket.. Clearly it was the mainstream
                                      textual tradition in Syria. And yet it seems to have nothing to do with
                                      the writings of Paul, although Syria was his main base. Another puzzler
                                      for modern enlightened NT scholarship..

                                      And besides all this, what happened to the well attested early ties of
                                      Jesus with John the Baptist? I guess early daters are trying to lose this
                                      one too in a big hurry?

                                      It seems to me that in order even to begin to have some kind of a coherent
                                      case, Crossan and the early daters will need to deal with the real history
                                      of Jesus movement, as opposed to the cardboard and make-believe "standard
                                      modern view".

                                      For my own part, I think GOT represents a selection and an elaboration of
                                      Jesus movement sayings materials with a clear editorial bias towards
                                      un-apocalyptic, and towards the realized eschatology. In my view, GOT had
                                      a similar history to that of the synoptic gospels, i.e. it was a
                                      work-in-progress for perhaps 100 years from 50 to 150. Parts of it even
                                      look to me like critical commentary on the canonical gospels. HJ was
                                      probably not even close to saying a lot of these things.

                                      Also there's substantial and increasing evidence that Jesus was a disciple
                                      of JB, and took over the movement after John was killed.

                                      Regards,

                                      Yuri.

                                      Yuri Kuchinsky | Toronto | http://www.trends.ca/~yuku/bbl/bbl.htm

                                      The goal proposed by Cynic philosophy is apathy, which is
                                      equivalent to becoming God -=O=- Julian
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