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What's Early, What's Late

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  • Andrew Smith
    I m reading Meier s A Marginal Jew Vol. 1 at the moment. He has a chapter there which infamously dismisses all of the agrapha and apocryphal gospels as being
    Message 1 of 7 , Sep 27, 2000
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      I'm reading Meier's A Marginal Jew Vol. 1 at the moment. He has a chapter
      there which infamously dismisses all of the agrapha and apocryphal gospels
      as being useless in the quest for the historical Jesus. We discussed some of
      his arguments earlier this year. He argues individually for each significant
      case, but basically it comes down to this: if a non-canonical source has a
      parallel to the synoptics then it doesn't tell us anything about HJ that we
      don't know already; if a saying is unparalleled then it probably doesn't
      come from HJ.
      Anyway, I found his synoptic bias irritating and this got me on to thinking
      of what is early and what is late in GoT. We spend a lot of time discussing
      the synoptically paralleled core of material in GoT and judge this early.
      The more unusual material becomes late, even from the second century in
      some opinions. Yet if a saying originally came from Jesus this doesn't
      necessarily make it earlier than a saying from another source;
      alternatively, the synoptic sayings may be earlier, but not very much
      earlier.

      So, what if we reverse this? Then the unparalleled material precedes the
      Jesus material. What sort of picture would that give us? Well, some of the
      strangest logia are the Five Trees, and the Image and Light sayings. Where
      could these have come from? We find these ideas coming up in Philo, a
      contemporary of Jesus. Philo was also popular with some of the church
      fathers such as Origen, but GoT shows no sign of quoting directly from
      Philo--merely some of the ideas are similar. I don't see any reason to
      assume that all of Philo's ideas originated with him, and they may well have
      been discussed or even have originated in Jewish Hellenistic circles who
      were interested in Wisdom ideas.

      So, what sort of community might fit this picture? A group of Hellenistic
      Jews who discuss Philonic ideas, perhaps working in the wisdom tradition.
      Then an itinerant Christian comes around and converts them. They acquire
      Jesus sayings but of course don't completely abandon their previous
      interests, and the Jewish Christianity is grafted onto the Jewish Wisdom
      tradition. At some point they write down what they can remember and the
      Philonic/Wisdom sayings are put into the mouth of Jesus.

      This helped me to understand what Steve Davies was getting at with his
      argument that the Odes of Solomon was originally pre-Christian.
      Unfortunately he didn't really take time to argue this thoroughly, but he
      was more interested in the historical implications of it, so it was
      difficult to take it seriously.

      Whaddaya think?

      Best Wishes

      Andrew Smith
    • Rick Hubbard
      From my perspective, this is an important thread of discussion, which I hope will be taken up by others on the List. Time permitting (which, am afraid it
      Message 2 of 7 , Sep 27, 2000
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        From my perspective, this is an important thread of discussion, which I hope
        will be taken up by others on the List.

        Time permitting (which, am afraid it won't for a awhile), I do have some
        contributions to make to this discussion, but I'm sure it will go on without
        my participation.

        At any rate, GO FOR IT!

        Rick Hubbard
        Humble Maine Woodsman
      • Andrew Smith
        ... which I hope ... Well, there s no sign of it yet :( ... have some ... on without ... I ve just noticed that we don t even need Philo for the Image & Light
        Message 3 of 7 , Sep 30, 2000
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          --- In gthomas@egroups.com, "Rick Hubbard" <rhubbard@m...> wrote:
          >
          > From my perspective, this is an important thread of discussion,
          which I hope
          > will be taken up by others on the List.
          >
          Well, there's no sign of it yet :(

          > Time permitting (which, am afraid it won't for a awhile), I do
          have
          some
          > contributions to make to this discussion, but I'm sure it will go
          on
          without
          > my participation.
          >
          > At any rate, GO FOR IT!

          I've just noticed that we don't even need Philo for the Image & Light
          sayings,

          Wisdom of Solomon chap 7

          26: For she [Wisdom] is a reflection of eternal light,
          a spotless mirror of the working of God,
          and an image of his goodness.

          As another thought, those who think that GoT is dependent on the
          synoptics are forced to late date the synoptically parallelled
          sayings. Doesn't this leaves even more space for the sayings with
          connections to wisdom literature to be earlier than the synoptic-ll
          ones? I suppose they are usually written off as gnostic.

          Andr
        • Steve Allison
          Its unfortunate that there s been no activity lately. I would like to see comment on Andrew s suggestion below. Was there any other Jewish group or source
          Message 4 of 7 , Oct 22, 2000
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            Its unfortunate that there's been no activity lately. I would like to see
            comment on Andrew's suggestion below. Was there any other Jewish group or
            source with a philosophy like Philo's? Where does one go for a good
            synopsis of Philo?

            At 11:02 AM 09/27/2000 -0700, you wrote:
            >I'm reading Meier's A Marginal Jew Vol. 1 at the moment. He has a chapter
            >there which infamously dismisses all of the agrapha and apocryphal gospels
            >as being useless in the quest for the historical Jesus. We discussed some of
            >his arguments earlier this year. He argues individually for each significant
            >case, but basically it comes down to this: if a non-canonical source has a
            >parallel to the synoptics then it doesn't tell us anything about HJ that we
            >don't know already; if a saying is unparalleled then it probably doesn't
            >come from HJ.
            >Anyway, I found his synoptic bias irritating and this got me on to thinking
            >of what is early and what is late in GoT. We spend a lot of time discussing
            >the synoptically paralleled core of material in GoT and judge this early.
            >The more unusual material becomes late, even from the second century in
            >some opinions. Yet if a saying originally came from Jesus this doesn't
            >necessarily make it earlier than a saying from another source;
            >alternatively, the synoptic sayings may be earlier, but not very much
            >earlier.
            >
            >So, what if we reverse this? Then the unparalleled material precedes the
            >Jesus material. What sort of picture would that give us? Well, some of the
            >strangest logia are the Five Trees, and the Image and Light sayings. Where
            >could these have come from? We find these ideas coming up in Philo, a
            >contemporary of Jesus. Philo was also popular with some of the church
            >fathers such as Origen, but GoT shows no sign of quoting directly from
            >Philo--merely some of the ideas are similar. I don't see any reason to
            >assume that all of Philo's ideas originated with him, and they may well have
            >been discussed or even have originated in Jewish Hellenistic circles who
            >were interested in Wisdom ideas.
            >
            >So, what sort of community might fit this picture? A group of Hellenistic
            >Jews who discuss Philonic ideas, perhaps working in the wisdom tradition.
            >Then an itinerant Christian comes around and converts them. They acquire
            >Jesus sayings but of course don't completely abandon their previous
            >interests, and the Jewish Christianity is grafted onto the Jewish Wisdom
            >tradition. At some point they write down what they can remember and the
            >Philonic/Wisdom sayings are put into the mouth of Jesus.
            >
            >This helped me to understand what Steve Davies was getting at with his
            >argument that the Odes of Solomon was originally pre-Christian.
            >Unfortunately he didn't really take time to argue this thoroughly, but he
            >was more interested in the historical implications of it, so it was
            >difficult to take it seriously.
            >
            >Whaddaya think?
            >
            >Best Wishes
            >
            >Andrew Smith
            >
            >-------------------------------------------------
            >To post to gthomas, send email to gthomas@egroups.com
            >To unsubscribe, send a blank email to gthomas-unsubscribe@egroups.com

            Steve Allison
            Knoxville, TN
          • Richard Anderson
            how about a good website on Philo http://www.hivolda.no/asf/kkf/philopag.html Richard H. Anderson Where does one go for a good synopsis of Philo?
            Message 5 of 7 , Oct 22, 2000
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              how about a good website on Philo
              http://www.hivolda.no/asf/kkf/philopag.html
              Richard H. Anderson

              Where does one go for a good
              synopsis of Philo?
            • Rick Hubbard
              ... From: Andrew Smith To: gthomas@egroups.com Date: Thursday, November 02, 2000 10:07 PM Subject: Re: [gthomas]
              Message 6 of 7 , Nov 2, 2000
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                -----Original Message-----
                From: Andrew Smith <asmith@...>
                To: gthomas@egroups.com <gthomas@egroups.com>
                Date: Thursday, November 02, 2000 10:07 PM
                Subject: Re: [gthomas] What's Early, What's Late



                Andrew wrote:

                >Well, it was basically a bright idea that I hoped someone would take up.
                The
                >essence of it is: why should we assume that the the
                >non-synoptically-paralleled and non-Yeshuine material is late? If we can't
                >find any reasons to late-date it then why shouldn't we think that it
                >precedes the "Jesus" material? The parallels in Philo and Wisdom literature
                >fit with that. I don't really know where to go from here. What do I need to
                >show?


                You raise an interesting point with this question, "why should we assume
                that the the
                >non-synoptically-paralleled and non-Yeshuine material is late?"

                There does seem to be a tendency among some people to assume that what is
                not "authentic Jesus" material must be later than than the material that
                *is* "authentic Jesus" material. The proper question that should be posed,
                in my opinion, is what elements of the text may be linked to the core Jesus
                traditions? Conversely, what material is independent of the Jesus traditions
                *and* should that material be attributed to the individual creativity of the
                author *or* is there evidence that the author was influenced by other
                sources?

                The point of departure, if one is to pursue this line of investigation,
                should be to first to identify those portions of GThom which seem to have no
                external "parallels." That by itself is an interesting exercise because what
                you will find is that where evidently independent material is present in
                GThom, it exists in rather large blocks of material. In other words, when
                there is one logion that exhibits independent characteristics, almosst
                always there are several other logia before and after it that are also
                independent.

                You can make of that what you will, but if you wish to know "what to do
                next," it might be worthwhile to examine that seemingly idependent material
                very closely. Perhaps it would be worthwhile to look elsewhere in the Nag
                Hammadi corpus for evidence of influence. Philo of course would also be a
                good place to look.

                I'd be interested in seeing what conclusions you can reach.

                Rick Hubbard
                Humble Maine Woodsman
                >
                >Andrew
                >
                >
                >> At 11:02 AM 09/27/2000 -0700, you wrote:
                >>> I'm reading Meier's A Marginal Jew Vol. 1 at the moment. He has a
                chapter
                >>> there which infamously dismisses all of the agrapha and apocryphal
                gospels
                >>> as being useless in the quest for the historical Jesus. We discussed
                some of
                >>> his arguments earlier this year. He argues individually for each
                significant
                >>> case, but basically it comes down to this: if a non-canonical source has
                a
                >>> parallel to the synoptics then it doesn't tell us anything about HJ that
                we
                >>> don't know already; if a saying is unparalleled then it probably doesn't
                >>> come from HJ.
                >>> Anyway, I found his synoptic bias irritating and this got me on to
                thinking
                >>> of what is early and what is late in GoT. We spend a lot of time
                discussing
                >>> the synoptically paralleled core of material in GoT and judge this
                early.
                >>> The more unusual material becomes late, even from the second century in
                >>> some opinions. Yet if a saying originally came from Jesus this doesn't
                >>> necessarily make it earlier than a saying from another source;
                >>> alternatively, the synoptic sayings may be earlier, but not very much
                >>> earlier.
                >>>
                >>> So, what if we reverse this? Then the unparalleled material precedes the
                >>> Jesus material. What sort of picture would that give us? Well, some of
                the
                >>> strangest logia are the Five Trees, and the Image and Light sayings.
                Where
                >>> could these have come from? We find these ideas coming up in Philo, a
                >>> contemporary of Jesus. Philo was also popular with some of the church
                >>> fathers such as Origen, but GoT shows no sign of quoting directly from
                >>> Philo--merely some of the ideas are similar. I don't see any reason to
                >>> assume that all of Philo's ideas originated with him, and they may well
                have
                >>> been discussed or even have originated in Jewish Hellenistic circles who
                >>> were interested in Wisdom ideas.
                >>>
                >>> So, what sort of community might fit this picture? A group of
                Hellenistic
                >>> Jews who discuss Philonic ideas, perhaps working in the wisdom
                tradition.
                >>> Then an itinerant Christian comes around and converts them. They acquire
                >>> Jesus sayings but of course don't completely abandon their previous
                >>> interests, and the Jewish Christianity is grafted onto the Jewish Wisdom
                >>> tradition. At some point they write down what they can remember and the
                >>> Philonic/Wisdom sayings are put into the mouth of Jesus.
                >>>
                >>> This helped me to understand what Steve Davies was getting at with his
                >>> argument that the Odes of Solomon was originally pre-Christian.
                >>> Unfortunately he didn't really take time to argue this thoroughly, but
                he
                >>> was more interested in the historical implications of it, so it was
                >>> difficult to take it seriously.
                >>>
                >>> Whaddaya think?
                >>>
                >>> Best Wishes
                >>>
                >>> Andrew Smith
                >>>
                >>> -------------------------------------------------
                >>> To post to gthomas, send email to gthomas@egroups.com
                >>> To unsubscribe, send a blank email to gthomas-unsubscribe@egroups.com
                >>
                >> Steve Allison
                >> Knoxville, TN
                >>
                >>
                >> -------------------------------------------------
                >> To post to gthomas, send email to gthomas@egroups.com
                >> To unsubscribe, send a blank email to gthomas-unsubscribe@egroups.com
                >>
                >
                >
                >-------------------------------------------------
                >To post to gthomas, send email to gthomas@egroups.com
                >To unsubscribe, send a blank email to gthomas-unsubscribe@egroups.com
                >
              • Andrew Smith
                ... Well, it was basically a bright idea that I hoped someone would take up. The essence of it is: why should we assume that the the
                Message 7 of 7 , Nov 2, 2000
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                  on 10/22/00 5:58 PM, Steve Allison at dermarc@... wrote:

                  > Its unfortunate that there's been no activity lately. I would like to see
                  > comment on Andrew's suggestion below. Was there any other Jewish group or
                  > source with a philosophy like Philo's? Where does one go for a good
                  > synopsis of Philo?
                  >

                  Well, it was basically a bright idea that I hoped someone would take up. The
                  essence of it is: why should we assume that the the
                  non-synoptically-paralleled and non-Yeshuine material is late? If we can't
                  find any reasons to late-date it then why shouldn't we think that it
                  precedes the "Jesus" material? The parallels in Philo and Wisdom literature
                  fit with that. I don't really know where to go from here. What do I need to
                  show?

                  Andrew


                  > At 11:02 AM 09/27/2000 -0700, you wrote:
                  >> I'm reading Meier's A Marginal Jew Vol. 1 at the moment. He has a chapter
                  >> there which infamously dismisses all of the agrapha and apocryphal gospels
                  >> as being useless in the quest for the historical Jesus. We discussed some of
                  >> his arguments earlier this year. He argues individually for each significant
                  >> case, but basically it comes down to this: if a non-canonical source has a
                  >> parallel to the synoptics then it doesn't tell us anything about HJ that we
                  >> don't know already; if a saying is unparalleled then it probably doesn't
                  >> come from HJ.
                  >> Anyway, I found his synoptic bias irritating and this got me on to thinking
                  >> of what is early and what is late in GoT. We spend a lot of time discussing
                  >> the synoptically paralleled core of material in GoT and judge this early.
                  >> The more unusual material becomes late, even from the second century in
                  >> some opinions. Yet if a saying originally came from Jesus this doesn't
                  >> necessarily make it earlier than a saying from another source;
                  >> alternatively, the synoptic sayings may be earlier, but not very much
                  >> earlier.
                  >>
                  >> So, what if we reverse this? Then the unparalleled material precedes the
                  >> Jesus material. What sort of picture would that give us? Well, some of the
                  >> strangest logia are the Five Trees, and the Image and Light sayings. Where
                  >> could these have come from? We find these ideas coming up in Philo, a
                  >> contemporary of Jesus. Philo was also popular with some of the church
                  >> fathers such as Origen, but GoT shows no sign of quoting directly from
                  >> Philo--merely some of the ideas are similar. I don't see any reason to
                  >> assume that all of Philo's ideas originated with him, and they may well have
                  >> been discussed or even have originated in Jewish Hellenistic circles who
                  >> were interested in Wisdom ideas.
                  >>
                  >> So, what sort of community might fit this picture? A group of Hellenistic
                  >> Jews who discuss Philonic ideas, perhaps working in the wisdom tradition.
                  >> Then an itinerant Christian comes around and converts them. They acquire
                  >> Jesus sayings but of course don't completely abandon their previous
                  >> interests, and the Jewish Christianity is grafted onto the Jewish Wisdom
                  >> tradition. At some point they write down what they can remember and the
                  >> Philonic/Wisdom sayings are put into the mouth of Jesus.
                  >>
                  >> This helped me to understand what Steve Davies was getting at with his
                  >> argument that the Odes of Solomon was originally pre-Christian.
                  >> Unfortunately he didn't really take time to argue this thoroughly, but he
                  >> was more interested in the historical implications of it, so it was
                  >> difficult to take it seriously.
                  >>
                  >> Whaddaya think?
                  >>
                  >> Best Wishes
                  >>
                  >> Andrew Smith
                  >>
                  >> -------------------------------------------------
                  >> To post to gthomas, send email to gthomas@egroups.com
                  >> To unsubscribe, send a blank email to gthomas-unsubscribe@egroups.com
                  >
                  > Steve Allison
                  > Knoxville, TN
                  >
                  >
                  > -------------------------------------------------
                  > To post to gthomas, send email to gthomas@egroups.com
                  > To unsubscribe, send a blank email to gthomas-unsubscribe@egroups.com
                  >
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