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Re: [GTh] Gthomas "Premises" [?]

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  • Tom Saunders
    Thank you Rick for this...... ... Any example of a document that can be attributed to a genre should qualify as some type of literary style. The GoT was
    Message 1 of 9 , Jun 5, 2001
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      Thank you Rick for this......

      > 1.
      > Gth is an example of a literary genre called a "sayings collection."

      > 4.
      > Gth is a collection of sayings assembled by a compiler, not a literary
      > work written by an author.


      Any example of a document that can be attributed to a genre should qualify
      as some type of literary style. The GoT was written by authors starting
      with the notes and oral tales at places like Mt. Olivet, as described in Acts.

      To deny the GoT as a literary work is to discount its usefulness as a
      script, and other configurations and uses for it, especially as a learning
      platform. As a learning platform just like the computer programs we operate,
      the sayings operate the same way with respect to what they do. Sayings match,
      meld, and relate to other parts of the NT, and each other.

      I would argue that the GoT is in affect a literary work based upon its very
      planned configuration which contains far too much function to deny it as a
      literary work.

      Tom
    • Rick Hubbard
      [Tom Wrote] I would argue that the GoT is in affect a literary work based upon its very planned configuration ..... The first part of what you say is
      Message 2 of 9 , Jun 7, 2001
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        [Tom Wrote]
        "I would argue that the GoT is in affect a literary work based upon
        its very
        planned configuration ....."

        The first part of what you say is probably representative of the view
        of the majority of people, i.e., that it is "in affect [sic] a
        literary work..." There are, I suppose, dozens of reasons why this
        notion is embraced and the idea that Gth has some "planned
        configuration" (organizational structure) is certainly one of the
        reasons.

        Interestingly, the *absence* of organizational structure is frequently
        invoked as evidence that Gth is *not* a literary work, in the sense
        that it does not reflect the creativity of an "author." The
        alternative is that it simply a list (or in other terminology, a
        "database") of Jesus sayings.

        Personally, I don't know whether Gth should be classified as a
        literary work (in the conventional sense) or not. I do agree, however,
        that it lacks any cohesive organizational structure. It may be a
        paradox, or an inconsistency in thinking, that I agree that it should
        be assigned to the genre of "sayings collection" (and therefore more
        generically similar to the Sentences of Sextus in the NHL than to the
        canonical gospels in the NT).



        Rick Hubbard
        Humble Maine Woodsman


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      • Jack Kilmon
        ... From: Rick Hubbard To: Sent: Thursday, June 07, 2001 6:31 AM Subject: RE: [GTh] Gthomas Premises :
        Message 3 of 9 , Jun 7, 2001
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          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Rick Hubbard" <rhubbard@...>
          To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Thursday, June 07, 2001 6:31 AM
          Subject: RE: [GTh] Gthomas "Premises" : (Is Gth a Literary Work?)


          > [Tom Wrote]
          > "I would argue that the GoT is in affect a literary work based upon
          > its very
          > planned configuration ....."
          >
          > The first part of what you say is probably representative of the view
          > of the majority of people, i.e., that it is "in affect [sic] a
          > literary work..." There are, I suppose, dozens of reasons why this
          > notion is embraced and the idea that Gth has some "planned
          > configuration" (organizational structure) is certainly one of the
          > reasons.

          It just struck me that the GoT would have been a liturgical document. The
          logia
          would have been read as part of a church service. It may be interesting to
          look
          at it in "blocks" of logia to see if a calendrical structure can be seen.

          Jack
        • Rick Hubbard
          [Jack Wrote:] It just struck me that the GoT would have been a liturgical document. The logia would have been read as part of a church service. It may be
          Message 4 of 9 , Jun 7, 2001
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            [Jack Wrote:]
            It just struck me that the GoT would have been a liturgical document.
            The
            logia
            would have been read as part of a church service. It may be
            interesting to
            look
            at it in "blocks" of logia to see if a calendrical structure can be
            seen.

            It seems to me that a recall a similar suggestion has been made. I
            can't remember where, however. Maybe it was on this list.

            Examining Gth for evidence of a "calendrical structure" would be an
            interesting exercise, but I'm not sure it would be productive. What
            kind of calendrical structure would one look for? A liturgical one
            perhaps? Which liturgical calendar do you think would be a good model?

            Rick Hubbard
            Humble Maine Woodsman
          • Tom Saunders
            ... Thank you Rick and Jack. I have had a little time to think about explaining the GoT as a literary style. I quite imagine that artists, say the Bellini
            Message 5 of 9 , Jun 7, 2001
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              > Sent: Thursday, June 07, 2001 6:31 AM
              > Subject: RE: [GTh] Gthomas "Premises" : (Is Gth a Literary Work?)
              >
              >
              > > [Tom Wrote]
              > > "I would argue that the GoT is in affect a literary work based upon
              > > its very planned configuration ....."

              Thank you Rick and Jack.

              I have had a little time to think about explaining the GoT as a literary
              style.

              I quite imagine that artists, say the Bellini School, had the same kind of
              fascination the first time they ever saw a triptych. Instead of a singular
              rectangle containing synergies inside the rectangle, the triptych's center,
              or internal chamber has its synergies both from the center painting and the
              external paintings.

              What a dangerous concept for a religious painting. Its heresey in the first
              order. An external in synergy with an internal theme. Does this make the
              triptych void and delete as a work of art produced by Gnostics? No, it makes
              it a more complex work of art, which requires a different approach to the
              painting's mesage.

              Many triptychs fold up into a case. Whether or not the GoT can correlate
              with a calendar it can be compared to the triptych in the sense that it does
              seem to unfold and correlate in many ways with the works of many others.

              I don't know a literary term synonomous to the artistic term triptych, but
              some of you might.

              Tom
            • Jeffrey Glen Jackson
              ... While it may not have internal structure of higher order than an individual saying and lower than the list which is the work as a whole, I think it does
              Message 6 of 9 , Jun 7, 2001
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                > The first part of what you say is probably representative of the view
                > of the majority of people, i.e., that it is "in affect [sic] a
                > literary work..." There are, I suppose, dozens of reasons why this
                > notion is embraced and the idea that Gth has some "planned
                > configuration" (organizational structure) is certainly one of the
                > reasons.
                >
                > Interestingly, the *absence* of organizational structure is frequently
                > invoked as evidence that Gth is *not* a literary work, in the sense
                > that it does not reflect the creativity of an "author." The
                > alternative is that it simply a list (or in other terminology, a
                > "database") of Jesus sayings.

                While it may not have internal structure of higher order
                than an individual saying and lower than the list which is
                the work as a whole, I think it does have a unifying
                principle controlling the selection and redaction of sayings.

                From the "Scholar's Translation":

                > These are the secret sayings that the living Jesus
                > spoke and Didymos Judas Thomas recorded.

                > 1 And he said, "Whoever discovers the interpretation
                > of these sayings will not taste death."

                For "secret" other translations have "hidden" or "obscure", which
                I think better captures the intent of the author. It is not the sayings
                themselves that are secret, but the understanding of them that is.
                This knowledge, presumably only obtainable from the cult that
                produced the book, is what grants salvation according to saying 1.
                The sayings are selected and redacted to remove anything
                self-interpretive, hence the alleged "more primitive form" often noted.

                This path to salvation contrasts starkly with the faith of Paul's
                teaching and the faith revealed by works of James' teaching. I
                would thus argue that GTh postdates that period. Since it has
                parallels to Gospel of John and one of the Gospel of Hebrews
                (Ebionite? Gospel) as well as the Synoptics, and because I think
                its forms of those sayings are redacted to its purpose, I think
                it likely that it is ultimately dependent on those works, and
                thus dates to the second century.

                The lack of order corresponding to the sources' order is,
                I suggest, because the compiler is not the redactor. That is,
                the compiler of the sayings is recording sayings he was taught
                orally by the cult leader/founder who was the actual redactor.
              • Rick Hubbard
                What Jeffrey says here is a remarkable insight, in my opinion. [Jeff wrote:] For secret other translations have hidden or obscure , which I think better
                Message 7 of 9 , Jun 7, 2001
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                  What Jeffrey says here is a remarkable insight, in my opinion.

                  [Jeff wrote:]
                  "'For secret" other translations have "hidden" or "obscure", which
                  I think better captures the intent of the author.'"

                  It is appropriate that focus should be shifted away from the
                  conventional "genre" discussion to the broader, and perhaps more
                  relevant question, "What was the intent of the compiler?" In short,
                  why was this document assembled?

                  {Jeff wrote:]
                  "It is not the sayings themselves that are secret, but the
                  understanding of them that is. This knowledge, presumably only
                  obtainable from the cult that
                  produced the book, is what grants salvation according to saying 1."

                  The central element of gnosticism is arguably the process of
                  redemption (akin to "salvation," but which bears a slightly different
                  connotation from a technical perspective).

                  [Jeff wrote:]
                  "This path to salvation contrasts starkly with the faith of Paul's
                  teaching and the faith revealed by works of James' teaching."

                  This is an obvious, but to my mind, consistently ignored, fact that
                  has lead to an over-emphasis on how Gth "parallels" orthodox
                  Christianity, instead of how it differs from it.

                  No doubt, all of this will stimulate further discussion along these
                  lines.


                  Rick Hubbard
                  Humble Maine Woodsman
                • Ron McCann
                  On the subject of whether the GoT is a literary work, a liturgical work, or a simple collection of wise sayings, it seems to me that I read somewhere quite
                  Message 8 of 9 , Jun 7, 2001
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                    On the subject of whether the GoT is a literary work, a liturgical work, or
                    a simple collection of wise sayings, it seems to me that I read somewhere
                    quite some time ago that wandering teachers of those times carried such
                    sayings-collections about, and used them as proof texts or aide memoires for
                    an accompanying Oral teaching. The sayings in Thomas are so bereft of
                    context that without such an accompanying Oral exposition they are virtually
                    unintelligible. They beg for an Oral expositor. It seems to me that we have
                    such difficulty with Thomas that the document must have been intended to be
                    accompanied by a Teacher who would explain the sayings. The Teachers
                    vanished and regrettably, we have only the document. So I don't think it was
                    intended as a literary work or liturgical one, and it certainly isn't a
                    Gospel.

                    Ron McCann
                    Saskatoon, Canada

                    ----- Original Message -----
                    From: "Jack Kilmon" <jkilmon@...>
                    To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
                    Sent: Thursday, June 07, 2001 6:08 AM
                    Subject: Re: [GTh] Gthomas "Premises" : (Is Gth a Literary Work?)


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                  • Rick Hubbard
                    [Ron wrote:] On the subject of whether the GoT is a literary work, a liturgical work, or a simple collection of wise sayings, it seems to me that I read
                    Message 9 of 9 , Jun 8, 2001
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                      [Ron wrote:]

                      "On the subject of whether the GoT is a literary work, a liturgical
                      work, or
                      a simple collection of wise sayings, it seems to me that I read
                      somewhere
                      quite some time ago that wandering teachers of those times carried
                      such
                      sayings-collections about..."

                      If you can recall where you saw the writing to which you refer, it
                      would be enlightening to read, I'm sure.

                      [Ron Wrote:]
                      "So I don't think it was intended as a literary work or liturgical
                      one, and it certainly isn't a Gospel."

                      On the question of whether Gth should be defined as a gospel, Helmut
                      Koester suggests, "This corpus [the writings that are candidates]
                      should include all those writings which are constituted by the
                      transmission, use and interpretation of materials from and about Jesus
                      of Nazareth." _Ancient Christian Gospels_. Philadelphia: Trinity Press
                      International, 1990 (p47). In fact, in the opening pages of the book,
                      there is a relatively lengthy treatment of the whole issue of "what's
                      a gospel?" Good reading and thought provoking.


                      Rick Hubbard
                      Humble Maine Woodsman
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