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RE: [GTh] #95 & #109

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  • David C. Hindley
    ... said, if you have money, do not lend it at interest, but give it to one from whom you will not get it back of GoT 95 versus son finding a treasure, and
    Message 1 of 25 , Mar 7, 2002
      Bill Arnal said:

      >>This contradiction in the use of imagery [i.e., "Jesus
      said, 'if you have money, do not lend it at interest, but
      give it to one from whom you will not get it back" of GoT 95
      versus son finding a treasure, and loans it out at interest
      of GoT 109) is a point I've also noted, and I think it has
      significance, possibly in two different ways. First, I'm
      quite in agreement with you that if we are to do
      tradition-historical or stratification analysis of Thomas,
      looking at these different uses of the same image is
      definitely part of the relevant evidence. It seems to
      indicate two different perspectives on much the same issues,
      and often these issues seem to have a social orientation --
      that is, some Thomas material seems to assume a fairly
      counter-cultural stance, while some is rather conservative
      (if that's the right way to frame the issue -- it may not
      be).<<

      But is it really a contradiction? Lending at interest is
      forbidden in the torah - but only between Jews. It was
      perfectly "legal" to lend (with interest) to Gentiles. The
      two sayings may well refer to two different, and unstated,
      contexts: inter-ethnic charity (GoT 95) and unexpected
      bounty/change in status (GoT 109).

      In other words, does concentrating on the issue of lending
      money at interest result in a comparison between apples and
      oranges?

      Respectfully,

      Dave Hindley
      Cleveland, Ohio, USA

      PS: Recently obtained a copy of your book. Very impressive!
    • Candace Jones
      This is a short piece on the Gospel of Thomas that I wrote that I d like some feedback on. Jean Jones The interesting Gospel of Thomas by Jean Jones According
      Message 2 of 25 , Mar 7, 2002
        This is a short piece on the Gospel of Thomas that I wrote that I'd like
        some feedback on. Jean Jones

        The interesting Gospel of Thomas by Jean Jones

        According to the book jacket of The Gospel of Thomas The Hidden Sayings of
        Jesus with a new translation introduction & notes by Marvin Meyer, "The
        Gospel of Thomas was discovered in 1945 among the Gnostic texts at Nag
        Hammadi in Upper Egypt. Reportedly dictated by Jesus to his brother, Judas
        Thomas the Twin, founder of the churches of the East, Thomas reveals a Jesus
        who merges with the wisdom of the sophists, with Diogenes, Plato, and
        Socrates."
        Explaining the discovery of The Gospel of Thomas in more detail, Ian Wilson,
        author of Jesus: The Evidence, writes,
        Four hundred miles south of Oxyrhynchus, in a cave-dotted mountainside near
        the Upper Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi, a group of Arab peasants were
        digging for natural fertilizer beneath a boulder when they came across a
        large, sealed earthenware jar. Hoping for gold, one of the group eagerly
        smashed this open with a mattock, but to their disappointment, all that
        tumbled out was a collection of thirteen leather-bound papyrus books and
        some loose papyri, mostly written in Coptic, the language of Egypt after
        than spoken during the time of the pharaohs. When, following various
        adventures, these reached scholarly scrutiny, they turned out to be mostly
        apocryphal works of the fourth century - an 'Apocalypse of Paul', a 'letter
        of Peter to Philip', an 'Apocalypse of Peter', a 'Secret Book of James',
        etc. - thought to have been part of the library of one of the fringe Gnostic
        groups which proliferated during Christianity's earliest centuries. (19)
        Wilson continues however, that "one work beginning 'These are the secret
        sayings which the living Jesus spoke, and which Didymos Judas Thomas wrote
        down', was qualitatively different. It seemed nothing spectacular, simply
        comprising some 114 sayings attributed to Jesus, and without any account of
        his crucifixion and resurrection." Wilson writes that this "'Gospel of
        Thomas', as it became labeled, (was discovered that it) could . . . be dated
        as a whole back to second century AD, bringing it to within a century and a
        half of the lifetime of Jesus."
        The reason why the Gospel of Thomas could be dated so far back was because
        fragments of the Gospel of Thomas had been discovered earlier in 1895 (that
        date back to the second century AD) but no one knew for sure until the
        complete text was discovered and published after 1945.
        The question is what does this all mean? Well, the Gospel of Thomas has no
        account of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. In fact, according to Harold
        Bloom (who wrote an interpretation of The Gospel of Thomas), "unlike the
        canonical gospels, that of Judas Thomas the Twin spares us the crucifixion,
        makes the resurrection unnecessary, and does not present us with a God named
        Jesus."
        The question to ask is "How is this possible?" Marvin Meyer, author of the
        new translation of the Gospel of Thomas, writes, "an excellent case can be
        made of the position that the Gospel of Thomas is not fundamentally
        dependent upon the New Testament gospels, but that it preserves sayings that
        at times appear to be more original than the New Testament parallels" (13).
        To prove this point, Meyer quotes from the Gospel of Thomas saying 9: (which
        reads as follows) Jesus said, "Look, the sower went out, took a handful (of
        seeds), and scattered (them). Some fell on the road, and the birds came and
        pecked them up. Others fell on rock, and they did not take root in the soil
        and did not produce heads of grain. Others fell on thorns, and they choked
        the seeds and worms devoured them. And others fell on good soil, and it
        brought forth a good crop: It yielded sixty per measure and one hundred
        twenty per measure" (14).
        Meyer writes that "this saying, known as the parable of the sower, is also
        preserved in all three synoptic gospels: Matthew 13:3-9, Mark 4: 2-9, Luke
        8: 4-8. In each instance in the New Testament gospels, the parable itself is
        followed by an allegorical interpretation (see Matthew 13:18-23, Mark
        4:13-20, Luke 8:11-15) that applies the elements of the parable to the life
        of the church. It is widely acknowledged among scholars that these
        allegorical interpretations were produced by the early church as Christians
        attempted to apply the details of a parable about farming in rural Palestine
        to features of church life during the latter half of the first century"
        (14). Meyer continues by writing that "the absence of allegorical
        interpretations in connection with this and other parables in the Gospel of
        Thomas helps confirm that such elements were added later" (14).
        Marvin Meyer also believes that Jesus was different than John the Baptist
        who warned others about the upcoming Kingdom of Heaven. In Meyer's view,
        "especially in Jesus' sayings of wisdom we may glimpse something of the
        historical Jesus. According to this way of understanding Jesus, he may not
        have been an apocalyptic figure at all. In the Gospel of Thomas and the
        first version of Q, Jesus does not use apocalyptic images to announce the
        coming of God's kingdom, but rather declares that the kingdom is already a
        present reality" (16). Meyers then argues that the historical Jesus was most
        likely a "Cynic teacher" and that the "Cynics emerged from the philosophical
        tradition of Socrates as social critics and popular philosophers who lived a
        simple life and employed sharp, witty sayings in order to make people raise
        questions about their own lives" (17).
        Was Jesus then no more than a Socratic teacher, in the tradition of Socrates
        himself, who was a great philosopher, but in the end, was only a man?
        This depends on how far back you date the Gospel of Thomas. If it dates back
        to when the original Gospels where written (which seems to be the case) this
        leaves a person in a quandary. Generally, conservative scholars date the
        Gospel of Thomas later, or consider the document as "Gnostic." According to
        The Five Gospels What Did Jesus Really Say? The Search for the Authentic
        Words of Jesus by Robert W. Funk, Roy W. Hoover, and The Jesus Seminar,
        "gnosticism was a religious movement in antiquity that infiltrated a number
        of religious traditions, including Judaism and Christianity. Fundamental to
        the Gnostic outlook was the conviction that the world is evil." These men
        contend that "perhaps it is best to describe Thomas as reflecting an
        incipient Gnosticism. There are, after all, a number of ways in which Thomas
        is not Gnostic at all. Thomas has no doctrine of the creation; it provides
        no account of the fall" (501).
        As for dating the Gospel of Thomas, Helmut Koester from Harvard University
        writes that the Gospel of Thomas "in its most original form. . .may well
        date from the first century" (125).
        Thus, the Gospel of Thomas is maybe older than the gospels of the Bible. And
        what kind of Jesus populates the Gospel of Thomas? A Jesus who has not been
        Christianized. A Jesus who gave wise sayings and whose life was not as
        important as what he said. Was the original Jesus (the historical Jesus) a
        wise sayer of sayings or a Socrates figure? Based on what I've seen, the
        case for Jesus being a Socratic human being only is a compelling one, one
        that the Gospel of Thomas seems to prove.




        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "David C. Hindley" <dhindley@...>
        To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Thursday, March 07, 2002 10:29 AM
        Subject: RE: [GTh] #95 & #109


        > Bill Arnal said:
        >
        > >>This contradiction in the use of imagery [i.e., "Jesus
        > said, 'if you have money, do not lend it at interest, but
        > give it to one from whom you will not get it back" of GoT 95
        > versus son finding a treasure, and loans it out at interest
        > of GoT 109) is a point I've also noted, and I think it has
        > significance, possibly in two different ways. First, I'm
        > quite in agreement with you that if we are to do
        > tradition-historical or stratification analysis of Thomas,
        > looking at these different uses of the same image is
        > definitely part of the relevant evidence. It seems to
        > indicate two different perspectives on much the same issues,
        > and often these issues seem to have a social orientation --
        > that is, some Thomas material seems to assume a fairly
        > counter-cultural stance, while some is rather conservative
        > (if that's the right way to frame the issue -- it may not
        > be).<<
        >
        > But is it really a contradiction? Lending at interest is
        > forbidden in the torah - but only between Jews. It was
        > perfectly "legal" to lend (with interest) to Gentiles. The
        > two sayings may well refer to two different, and unstated,
        > contexts: inter-ethnic charity (GoT 95) and unexpected
        > bounty/change in status (GoT 109).
        >
        > In other words, does concentrating on the issue of lending
        > money at interest result in a comparison between apples and
        > oranges?
        >
        > Respectfully,
        >
        > Dave Hindley
        > Cleveland, Ohio, USA
        >
        > PS: Recently obtained a copy of your book. Very impressive!
        >
        >
        >
        > --------------------------------------------------------------------
        > Gospel of Thomas Homepage: http://home.epix.net/~miser17/Thomas.html
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        >
        >
      • William Arnal
        ... I would certainly regard this as a possibility if I felt that Thomas were, say (as just one example), recording snippets from the life of Jesus -- one s
        Message 3 of 25 , Mar 7, 2002
          David Hindley wrote:

          >But is it really a contradiction? Lending at interest is
          >forbidden in the torah - but only between Jews. It was
          >perfectly "legal" to lend (with interest) to Gentiles. The
          >two sayings may well refer to two different, and unstated,
          >contexts: inter-ethnic charity (GoT 95) and unexpected
          >bounty/change in status (GoT 109).

          I would certainly regard this as a possibility if I felt that Thomas were,
          say (as just one example), recording snippets from the life of Jesus --
          one's first task would be to try to iron out apparent contradictions in such
          a portrait. The problem with this suggestion here, however immediately
          plausible it may be (and it is, I think), is that, first, I see Thomas as a
          literary work, and so imagine that the author would have consciously filled
          in the blanks for us if indeed he were presenting a consistent "take" on
          interest. Neither saying, however, specifies to WHOM the interest-bearing
          loans are given, a critical datum, and one that clearly cannot be taken for
          granted, if one wishes to read the sayings as you've suggested. Indeed, in
          neither case is the motif of "interest" required by the story, or by the
          story's basic point: in the first, you can just say, give without expecting
          to recieve; and in the second, you can just say, and the man had lots of
          money, and (e.g.) engaged in commerce, or some such thing. Which suggests to
          me that the "interest" here is important and central to the author, since
          its appearance is not just dictated by the structure of the stories
          themselves.

          The other reason I'm hesitant to accept this interpretation (at least HERE,
          in Thomas) is because this example is not the ONLY case where Thomas uses
          metaphors or images in self-contradictory ways. The same is true of
          "wealth," "poverty," "drunkeness," and a bunch of others. So it seems most
          economical to me, in light of Thomas' penchant for contradictory images, to
          assume that when we encounter something like this, it is indeed
          contradictory.

          Bill
          ___________________________
          William Arnal
          Department of Religion
          University of Manitoba

          "Well, I can see I'm not in Paris"
          -- Ernest Hemingway, on landing in Winnipeg



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        • Tom Saunders
          I think Bill and all the others in this particular discussion are missing two distinct facts that can serve to clear up the mystery of monitary wealth. First
          Message 4 of 25 , Mar 7, 2002
            I think Bill and all the others in this particular discussion are missing two distinct facts that can serve to clear up the mystery of monitary wealth. First there are more references to the concept of wealth than just 95, and 109.
            (100) "They showed Jesus a gold coin and said to Him : "Caesar's men demand taxes from us." He said to them : "Give Caesar what belongs to Caesar, give Elohîm what belongs to Elohîm, and give Me what is Mine."

            There is also the rich man that filled his storehouse so he would not want, but then died before he could save his soul. The point is the moral implications of money was so arbitrary at the time that the early Christians probably did not know how to deal with it. Even as late as Thomas Aquinas (Christian History Mag. this month) recognized the evil of money changers. It is a sin to take money without rendering a fair service, being a shylock.

            In Mathew 25 there is another reference to money in the Parable about the servent with the money given him by his master. Things did not go as planned. I think the concept of personal wealth and how it effected different people just served to confuse anyone who was trying to figure out the moral implications of wealth in repidly changing economies. Now and then. "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle........"

            In the Temple of Jesus time you could not spend money in the temple that was not 'temple money." You changed your money at the door and got ripped off by the Tony Sopranos of the time. Inside were Tony's guys that sold you 'temple fair." The needy, and those that really needed help could not get in. (History Channel's Christian History series)

            I think the sentiment in these days might go like, "if you have money do not be a shylock. Do not fill your storehouse with evil."

            Tom







            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • David C. Hindley
            ... that Thomas were, say (as just one example), recording snippets from the life of Jesus -- one s first task would be to try to iron out apparent
            Message 5 of 25 , Mar 7, 2002
              Bill Arnal said:

              >>I would certainly regard this as a possibility if I felt
              that Thomas were, say (as just one example), recording
              snippets from the life of Jesus -- one's first task would be
              to try to iron out apparent contradictions in such a
              portrait. The problem with this suggestion here, however
              immediately plausible it may be (and it is, I think), is
              that, first, I see Thomas as a literary work, and so imagine
              that the author would have consciously filled in the blanks
              for us if indeed he were presenting a consistent "take" on
              interest.

              The other reason I'm hesitant to accept this interpretation
              (at least HERE, in Thomas) is because this example is not
              the ONLY case where Thomas uses metaphors or images in
              self-contradictory ways. The same is true of "wealth,"
              "poverty," "drunkeness," and a bunch of others.<<

              Snippets can be made use of out of their original context,
              and literary use of such snippets may involve relationships
              not inherent in the original accounts.

              What strikes me about many of the Thomas sayings and
              parables, as well as some of the canonical sayings and
              parables, are that they seem to have the same sort of folksy
              earthiness reminiscent of country life. Only a few, if any,
              seem to require a town/city (versus a village) context.

              These seem to be platforms upon which to anchor commentary.
              But where did they come from? I am not ready to say "Well,
              it must be Jesus." Neither, it appears, does your mentor
              Kloppenborg-Verbin, based upon the seminar of the prior
              year. At least he is being cautious with that kind of
              speculation.

              Since you have evidently engaged in quite a bit of research
              into the economic life of the peasant society of
              Galilee/Judea, I am interested in your perspective about the
              relevance for this. I believe there is a chapter or so in
              your book about this, so maybe I should take a look. You may
              already have there answered my question, but perhaps a
              lurker or two would like to be keyed in.

              Respectfully,

              Dave Hindley
              Cleveland, Ohio, USA
            • Rick Hubbard
              [Bill wrote:] This contradiction in the use of imagery is a point I ve also noted, and I think it has significance, [snip] This is an approach I took to Thomas
              Message 6 of 25 , Mar 8, 2002
                [Bill wrote:]
                This contradiction in the use of imagery is a point I've also noted, and I
                think it has significance,
                [snip]
                This is an
                approach I took to Thomas in a long-ago article in HTR (1995?), in which I
                attempt a preliminary stratification of the text, partly on this basis.

                For those who wish to read this article which I definitely encourage) it is
                "The Rhetoric of Marginality: Apocalyptisim, Gnosticism, and Sayings
                Gospels." _Harvard Theological Review_ 88:4 (1995)471-494.

                [Bill wrote:]
                On the other hand, it occurred to me later that Thomas involves these sorts
                of contradictions WAY too often for the phenomenon to be just an accidental
                by-product of different layers of tradition.
                [snip]
                I've written an
                article on this as well, much more recently, but unfortunately it's still in
                press. I MIGHT have even posted a version of it to this list. (I don't
                remeber.)

                A version of Bill's article is in fact still posted on the GThomas
                discussion group's home page at:
                http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gthomas/files/reviews/ThomRhet.htm

                Bill's remark below serves as an appropriate point of departure for those
                who may wish to explore his thesis in further detail.

                Anyway, this sort of deliberate opposition of images strikes me as
                one of Thomas' key redactional characteristics, and a decidely
                under-recognized one at that.

                Rick Hubbard
                Humble Maine Woodsman
              • Rick Hubbard
                [Bill Arnal wrote:] ... said, if you have money, do not lend it at interest, but give it to one from whom you will not get it back of GoT 95 versus son
                Message 7 of 25 , Mar 8, 2002
                  [Bill Arnal wrote:]

                  >>This contradiction in the use of imagery [i.e., "Jesus
                  said, 'if you have money, do not lend it at interest, but
                  give it to one from whom you will not get it back" of GoT 95
                  versus son finding a treasure, and loans it out at interest
                  of GoT 109) is a point I've also noted, and I think it has
                  significance,

                  [David Hindley wrote:]
                  But is it really a contradiction? Lending at interest is
                  forbidden in the torah - but only between Jews. It was
                  perfectly "legal" to lend (with interest) to Gentiles. The
                  two sayings may well refer to two different, and unstated,
                  contexts: inter-ethnic charity (GoT 95) and unexpected
                  bounty/change in status (GoT 109).

                  Agreed. The two sayings may arise from different social circumstances. The
                  issue, however, is that they are clearly juxtaposed in Thomas AND that
                  juxtapositions in Thomas are not isolated to the practice of usury. It seems
                  to me that Bill has identified a characteristic feature in GTh that invites
                  much closer scrutiny. Throughout GTh there are contradictory assessments
                  about poverty, wealth, commercial enterprise, political power, and other
                  social behaviors. In my opinion, Bill is right when he confers significance
                  to this phenomenon.

                  I am eager to see Bill's revised article on this subject (where will it be
                  published, Bill?). In particular, I am interested in whether there are any
                  correlations between the strata identified in the 1995 HTR article and the
                  refined dichotomies which he presumably discusses in his forthcoming paper.



                  Rick Hubbard
                  Humble Maine Woodsman
                • William Arnal
                  ... I m not sure what you re getting at here. Of course, I agree with this statement (above) as it stands, but don t quite see how you would apply this to the
                  Message 8 of 25 , Mar 8, 2002
                    David Hindley wrote:

                    >Snippets can be made use of out of their original context,
                    >and literary use of such snippets may involve relationships
                    >not inherent in the original accounts.

                    I'm not sure what you're getting at here. Of course, I agree with this
                    statement (above) as it stands, but don't quite see how you would apply this
                    to the sayings at issue. IF your point is that both (contradictory) sayings
                    could have been spoken by Jesus, in different contexts, and not originally
                    have contradicted each other, well, I agree that this is possible, though
                    (as per below), I also have no reason to think that everything (or anything,
                    for that matter) that Thomas attributes to Jesus was really spoken by him.

                    >These seem to be platforms upon which to anchor commentary.
                    >But where did they come from? I am not ready to say "Well,
                    >it must be Jesus." Neither, it appears, does your mentor
                    >Kloppenborg-Verbin, based upon the seminar of the prior
                    >year. At least he is being cautious with that kind of
                    >speculation.

                    We might be talking past each other again. Did I seem to imply that Thomas
                    sayings must or should go back to Jesus? No, like you and like Kloppenborg,
                    I can't see Thomas as testimony to the historical Jesus -- it, like the
                    canonicals, is a theological-literary production, I assume.

                    >Since you have evidently engaged in quite a bit of research
                    >into the economic life of the peasant society of
                    >Galilee/Judea, I am interested in your perspective about the
                    >relevance for this. I believe there is a chapter or so in
                    >your book about this, so maybe I should take a look. You may
                    >already have there answered my question, but perhaps a
                    >lurker or two would like to be keyed in.

                    I'm still not sure what your question is!

                    Bill
                    ___________________________
                    William Arnal
                    Department of Religion
                    University of Manitoba

                    "Well, I can see I'm not in Paris"
                    -- Ernest Hemingway, on landing in Winnipeg



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                  • William Arnal
                    ... Not much revised at all, actually. The version that s posted in connection with this list is essentially the final version. The things was originally
                    Message 9 of 25 , Mar 8, 2002
                      Rick Hubbard wrote:

                      >I am eager to see Bill's revised article on this subject (where will >it be
                      >published, Bill?).

                      Not much revised at all, actually. The version that's posted in connection
                      with this list is essentially the "final" version. The things was originally
                      written for last year's meeting of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies,
                      in Edmonton, Alberta, in connection with a larger session on Rhetoric in the
                      NT organized by Willi Braun. After it was all over, Willi decided to publish
                      the papers in a forthcoming volume from Wilfrid Laurier University Press. I
                      have no idea when this will be completed, or when it's likely to see the
                      light of day.

                      >In particular, I am interested in whether there are >any
                      >correlations between the strata identified in the 1995 HTR article and >the
                      >refined dichotomies which he presumably discusses in his forthcoming
                      > >paper.

                      No! I haven't. This is an issue I'm afraid to touch, at least for the
                      moment.

                      Bill
                      ___________________________
                      William Arnal
                      Department of Religion
                      University of Manitoba

                      "Well, I can see I'm not in Paris"
                      -- Ernest Hemingway, on landing in Winnipeg



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                    • David C. Hindley
                      ... I guess I was questioning the literary or theological priority that you put on the shared word interest over socio-economic factors that might explain
                      Message 10 of 25 , Mar 8, 2002
                        Bill Arnal asks, quizzically:

                        >>I'm still not sure what your question is!<<

                        I guess I was questioning the literary or theological
                        priority that you put on the shared word "interest" over
                        socio-economic factors that might explain two apparently
                        contradictory statements about lending money. Your heart of
                        your interest in Thomas apparently has more to do with the
                        finished product rather than the origin of its source(s).
                        The latter is where my interest lies.

                        My comments about peasant economy were to suggest that quite
                        a few sayings/parables in Thomas have such a setting in
                        mind. The implication, which I did not state but was
                        alluding to, is that the sayings/parables (whatever their
                        origin) drawn upon by the author(s) and/or editors of Thomas
                        may have alluded to a wide range of situations. However, the
                        way that the author(s) and/or editors of Thomas chose to
                        associate them (by pairing them in order to emphasize
                        oppositions based upon keywords like "interest") may, then,
                        be secondary to their origins.

                        >>Neither saying, however, specifies to WHOM the
                        interest-bearing loans are given, a critical datum, and one
                        that clearly cannot be taken for granted, if one wishes to
                        read the sayings as you've suggested. Indeed, in neither
                        case is the motif of "interest" required by the story, or by
                        the story's basic point: in the first, you can just say,
                        give without expecting to receive; and in the second, you
                        can just say, and the man had lots of money, and (e.g.)
                        engaged in commerce, or some such thing. Which suggests to
                        me that the "interest" here is important and central to the
                        author, since its appearance is not just dictated by the
                        structure of the stories themselves.<<

                        You reasoned that since there are no overt statements in
                        these sayings about the context of the lending activity,
                        then such contexts "cannot be taken for granted." I would
                        disagree. Few statements, especially if they are trying to
                        make a rhetorical point, expressly state all their premises.
                        The author/speaker often intends for context to be assumed
                        by the reader/hearer's imagination, so as to get them
                        personally involved in the conclusion (as in the enthymeme).

                        The use to which such sayings were put by a later author,
                        such as the author of Thomas, may deliberately (and I would
                        think probably did, in this case) ignore or modify those
                        original contexts, if only to make a new, and different,
                        point.

                        Since you have apparently invested a large amount of time
                        and resources reading on the subject of peasant economy (and
                        I agree with almost everything you said in _Jesus and the
                        Village Scribes_), I had hoped you would have a greater
                        appreciation for the implied circumstances of some of these
                        sayings. Or do they only help us understand why and how
                        Galilean village scribes preserved sayings traditions, such
                        as Q?

                        I do not think that it is an uncritical assumption to
                        understand GoT 95 as a critique of Jewish landowners or
                        government retainers who lend to fellow Jews at interest (a
                        practice that the literary and papyri evidence clearly shows
                        was happening in the 1st century CE) which by extension
                        means the saying was suggesting that such people lend money
                        at interest to Gentiles (a practice also known from literary
                        evidence), and understand GoT 109 to be a representation of
                        the joy someone might feel to be unexpectedly released from
                        a subsistence existence (specifically, as a freeholding
                        peasant farming a family plot) to the much more secure
                        position of a wealthy man with money to lend to Gentiles.

                        The message of these two sayings seems to have been an
                        examination of just who was one's brother was supposed to be
                        and how one treated him: Charity voluntarily extended to
                        fellow-Jews vs economic exploitation extended to Gentiles.
                        It clearly suggests a reversal of normal roles between Jews
                        and Gentiles. Perhaps this is not, today, a politically
                        correct position for the original author(s) of these sayings
                        to have had, but it does appear to me to be what he/they was
                        thinking.

                        Respectfully,

                        Dave Hindley
                        Cleveland, Ohio, USA
                      • Jim Bauer
                        I was just digging around in Strong s exhaustive concordance trying to find a line of scripture which I think relevant to this discussion. It was the line,
                        Message 11 of 25 , Mar 8, 2002
                          I was just digging around in Strong's exhaustive concordance trying to find
                          a line of scripture which I think relevant to this discussion. It was the
                          line, spoken to Peter(?), "Go, sell all that you have and come follow me."
                          The idea is that encouraging people to give away their money and join a
                          group led by a wandering itinerant wisdom teacher may be part of some
                          general ascetic slant on the part of the authors of Thomas. I didn't find
                          the passage I wanted but instead found the following. Matthew 13:44, which
                          parallels Thomas very strikingly:
                          "The Kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found
                          and covered up; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys
                          that field."

                          The material here is recognizably similar to the version in Thomas, but
                          Thomas seems more complete, more complex, adds more detail. One argument
                          often made about Thomas as a possible source of original sayings/historical
                          Jesus material for the Bible is that the canonical ones seem to have been
                          fleshed out, that Thomas is more primitive. Yet in this case it seems like
                          the opposite happened and loss of components has actually made it more
                          adaptive to its audience. As in Matthew 13:52, it seems a mixture of "what
                          is new and old". Ideas only survive if they are selected-for, so possibly
                          the saying had to be pared down to make it acceptable to a Gentile audience,
                          which in turn allowed it to survive as a creed (Christianity) and not a cult
                          (Gnosticism and related ideas).

                          (45) continues with a similar theme:

                          "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a man in search of fine pearls, who,
                          on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and
                          bought it."

                          I am particularly impressed between the resemblance's here between this
                          scripture and the Gnostic "The Hymn of the Pearl". I am not well acquainted
                          enough with this particular scripture to objectively comment on this
                          particular bit of speculation.

                          #47 repeats a theme from Thomas--a net being cast into the sea by a wise
                          fisherman--but at a different location in the text. In Thomas this
                          particular parable, #8, is removed from the two sayings, #95 and #109, which
                          were originally being discussed here. In this case it does seem to resemble
                          the idea that Thomas was put together somewhat randomly, or perhaps that the
                          author of Matthew deliberately chose to cluster these sayings purely as a
                          literary device.

                          Jim Bauer
                        • William Arnal
                          ... Okay, I ve got it now. What I d say in response is this: at the very least, my comments on the interest mtoif were focused on Thomas as a finished
                          Message 12 of 25 , Mar 8, 2002
                            David Hindley wrote:

                            >I guess I was questioning the literary or theological
                            >priority that you put on the shared word "interest" over
                            >socio-economic factors that might explain two apparently
                            >contradictory statements about lending money. Your heart of
                            >your interest in Thomas apparently has more to do with the
                            >finished product rather than the origin of its source(s).
                            >The latter is where my interest lies.

                            Okay, I've got it now. What I'd say in response is this: at the very least,
                            my comments on the "interest" mtoif were focused on Thomas as a finished
                            product, and were made without prejudice to the earlier significance,
                            sources, context, etc. of these two sayings. I am not UNinterested in the
                            question of the origin of Thomas' sources; I just wasn't addressing that in
                            my comments.

                            >My comments about peasant economy were to suggest that quite
                            >a few sayings/parables in Thomas have such a setting in
                            >mind. The implication, which I did not state but was
                            >alluding to, is that the sayings/parables (whatever their
                            >origin) drawn upon by the author(s) and/or editors of Thomas
                            >may have alluded to a wide range of situations. However, the

                            Yes, I have no problem with this.

                            >way that the author(s) and/or editors of Thomas chose to
                            >associate them (by pairing them in order to emphasize
                            >oppositions based upon keywords like "interest") may, then,
                            >be secondary to their origins.

                            Again, I completely agree. In fact, I might be inclined to state this even
                            more emphatically: what the author/editor did with these sayings is PROBABLY
                            secondary to their origins, and probably recasts this import considerably.

                            >You reasoned that since there are no overt statements in
                            >these sayings about the context of the lending activity,
                            >then such contexts "cannot be taken for granted." I would
                            >disagree. Few statements, especially if they are trying to
                            >make a rhetorical point, expressly state all their premises.
                            >The author/speaker often intends for context to be assumed
                            >by the reader/hearer's imagination, so as to get them
                            >personally involved in the conclusion (as in the enthymeme).

                            Fair enough, though I'm not sure how well this observation applies in this
                            case. Again, I was talking about the import of the sayings IN THOMAS, and
                            not their original point. I would think that UNLESS the wording and context
                            really make a particular external but supposedly implicit interpretive move
                            "natural" (e.g., if there were much talk about Jew-Gentile distinctions in
                            Thomas; and if the sayings in question more flatly contradicted each other
                            [as in, "Jesus said, do not lend moeny at interest" and "Jesus said, lend
                            money at interest"]; etc.), it's most safe to avoid invoking such a thing
                            FOR THE TEXT IN QUESTION (I'm not shouting, just underlining). I don't know
                            if that's very clear.

                            >The use to which such sayings were put by a later author,
                            >such as the author of Thomas, may deliberately (and I would
                            >think probably did, in this case) ignore or modify those
                            >original contexts, if only to make a new, and different,
                            >point.

                            Yes, again. I think our "disagreement" here is really just a function of my
                            having originally misunderstood your point.

                            >Since you have apparently invested a large amount of time
                            >and resources reading on the subject of peasant economy (and
                            >I agree with almost everything you said in _Jesus and the
                            >Village Scribes_), I had hoped you would have a greater
                            >appreciation for the implied circumstances of some of these
                            >sayings.

                            Ouch! But the problem here is that I can't for the life of me really figure
                            out what the context of Thomas -- as a text! -- might be. I assume that the
                            sayings that appear in Thomas (at least the ones the author didn't compose
                            himself) do derive from a Galilean, peasant, rural context. But I'm not at
                            all confident that Thomas as a document SHARES that context. Maybe so, maybe
                            not. Even if it does, the text strikes me as having such a "spiritualizing"
                            religiosity as to make the links between its theology and context
                            extraordinarily difficult to make out. To put this as sharply as possible: I
                            think Thomas can indeed tell us a great deal about peasant ideology and
                            context; but I do not think (or at least, have yet to be convinced) that
                            peasant ideology and context can tell us a lot about Thomas (in its final
                            form)!

                            >The message of these two sayings seems to have been an
                            >examination of just who was one's brother was supposed to be
                            >and how one treated him: Charity voluntarily extended to
                            >fellow-Jews vs economic exploitation extended to Gentiles.
                            >It clearly suggests a reversal of normal roles between Jews
                            >and Gentiles. Perhaps this is not, today, a politically
                            >correct position for the original author(s) of these sayings
                            >to have had, but it does appear to me to be what he/they was
                            >thinking.

                            As I say, I have no difficulty with this interpretation as it applies to the
                            "original" context of the individual sayings. But for me to be convinced
                            that it applies to Thomas, as a literary work, I would want to see some
                            evidence that Thomas assumes and cares about the Jew-Gentile distinction.

                            Bill
                            ___________________________
                            William Arnal
                            Department of Religion
                            University of Manitoba

                            "Well, I can see I'm not in Paris"
                            -- Ernest Hemingway, on landing in Winnipeg



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                          • mwgrondin
                            ... But Dave, the person who finds the treasure in Th109, and who then proceeds to lend money at interest, is not the one who originally owned the family plot,
                            Message 13 of 25 , Mar 10, 2002
                              --- Dave Hindley wrote:
                              > I do not think that it is an uncritical assumption to
                              > understand ... GoT 109 to be a representation of
                              > the joy someone might feel to be unexpectedly released from
                              > a subsistence existence (specifically, as a freeholding
                              > peasant farming a family plot) to the much more secure
                              > position of a wealthy man with money to lend to Gentiles.

                              But Dave, the person who finds the treasure in Th109, and who then
                              proceeds to lend money at interest, is not the one who originally
                              owned the family plot, and evidently is not a peasant. For all we
                              know, this buyer might have been a Gentile.

                              Regards,
                              Mike
                            • David C. Hindley
                              ... who then proceeds to lend money at interest, is not the one who originally owned the family plot, and evidently is not a peasant. For all we know, this
                              Message 14 of 25 , Mar 10, 2002
                                Mike Grondin says:

                                >>But Dave, the person who finds the treasure in Th109, and
                                who then proceeds to lend money at interest, is not the one
                                who originally owned the family plot, and evidently is not a
                                peasant. For all we know, this buyer might have been a
                                Gentile.<<

                                You are right that I assumed the ethnicity of the subject of
                                the story was a Jew. In a way, you have uncovered a problem
                                in my way of interpretation of these sayings. Ironically, it
                                is the same problem I complained that others were doing.
                                <oops!>

                                I am not sure I understand what you mean when you say the
                                man who finds the treasure was "not a peasant."

                                109) Jesus said, "The Kingdom is like a man who had a
                                [hidden] treasure in his field without knowing it. And
                                [after] he died, he left it to his son. The son did not know
                                (about the treasure). *He inherited the field and sold
                                [it].* And the one who bought it went plowing and found the
                                treasure. He *began* to lend money at interest to whomever
                                he wished."

                                First, the son who inherited the field went on to sell it.
                                Generally, in this period (1st century CE) peasants had a
                                propensity to sell land and elites to buy or otherwise
                                acquire control over it. That tells me that the seller (the
                                inheriting son) was likely not himself an elite/wealthy
                                landowner, although still a freeholder. Where his father's
                                treasure came from is a puzzle. It would seem that the son
                                was not as affluent as the father was.

                                Using what we do know about the economics of that time (and
                                I am basing this on what I am currently reading, David A.
                                Fiensy, _The Social History of Palestine in the Herodian
                                Period_, 1991, and Jack Pastor, _Land and Economy in Ancient
                                Palestine_, 1997) I reconstruct the following scenario:

                                The father, facing confiscation of his good land, tries to
                                hedge his future prospects by hiding money in the poor lands
                                he expected to retain (possibly part of ancestral lands),
                                but ultimately did not survive the transition, never having
                                the chance of telling his son about the treasure. Loss of
                                status by an elite family often accompanied changes in
                                government. The best land was often confiscated from the
                                retainers of the former rulers and turned into royal
                                estates.

                                Another possibility is that the father acquired the treasure
                                by brigandage, and was thus himself a poor peasant who had
                                nothing but crappy land to farm. He is caught and executed
                                before telling his son what he secreted.

                                That the buyer discovers it when the inheriting son did not
                                suggests that he discovered it while trying to plough/work
                                the land. This would imply that the inheriting son did not
                                do so, or he would likely have found his father's treasure
                                himself. This in turn suggests that the son was not used to
                                working poor land, so I am inclined to think his father was
                                a dispossessed elite of an old order. The inheriting son,
                                then, unaware of the treasure his father secreted, and
                                facing the prospect of farming poor land as a common
                                peasant, throws up his hands and gives up farming entirely,
                                likely moving to a town or city to become a retainer for the
                                elite classes, or worse.

                                That the buyer only begins to lend money at interest after
                                discovering the treasure suggests that he was also not
                                already an elite/wealthy landowner. But why would a peasant
                                buy crappy land? According to James C. Scott, peasants in SE
                                Asia will invest quite a lot of physical effort and capital
                                just to eke a little more productivity out of land and meet
                                family subsistence needs. This includes buying or leasing
                                additional sub-par land that requires more intense farming
                                effort than the other land he already owns or leases. Scott
                                notes that the less land a family owns, the more they are
                                willing to pay for more. [_The Moral Economy of the
                                Peasant_, 1976, pg. 13-14] If there is any correspondence
                                between these cultures, the inheriting son saw a good
                                opportunity to unload the land, and ran with it.

                                But to get back to your other point, yes these could well
                                have been Gentiles. I guess that the nationality of the
                                subjects of the stories hinges on where these stories
                                originated (e.g., from the Jesus movement in rural Galilee,
                                as many seem to think, or maybe borrowed for rhetorical
                                purposes from oral/written lore of Gentile origin, as I
                                think). It also hinges on how the author or editors of
                                Thomas intended these stories to be understood by the
                                readers and hearers of the book, and here I would think that
                                he intended the stories to be understood in a Jewish
                                context, which also presumes that the readers & hearers
                                would have a minimal awareness of Jewish land tenancy
                                practices.

                                Respectfully,

                                Dave Hindley
                                Cleveland, Ohio, USA
                              • mwgrondin
                                ... Well, I said that he was _evidently_ not a peasant, since he had money to buy the land. The price of the land, however, was evidently not nearly as great
                                Message 15 of 25 , Mar 10, 2002
                                  --- Dave Hindley wrote:
                                  > I am not sure I understand what you mean when you say the
                                  > man who finds the treasure was "not a peasant."

                                  Well, I said that he was _evidently_ not a peasant, since
                                  he had money to buy the land. The price of the land, however,
                                  was evidently not nearly as great as the value of the treasure.

                                  > The father, facing confiscation of his good land, tries to
                                  > hedge his future prospects by hiding money in the poor lands
                                  > he expected to retain (possibly part of ancestral lands),
                                  > but ultimately did not survive the transition, never having
                                  > the chance of telling his son about the treasure. ...
                                  > Another possibility is that the father acquired the treasure
                                  > by brigandage, and was thus himself a poor peasant who had
                                  > nothing but crappy land to farm. He is caught and executed
                                  > before telling his son what he secreted.

                                  But Dave, you're forgetting that the father _didn't know_ about
                                  the treasure! Looks like you'll have to redo this part of your
                                  elaborate construction. I'd say you're right, however, about
                                  the nature of the land, the Coptic word suggesting wilderness or
                                  undeveloped land, as in Th78 ("Why did you come out into the
                                  field?") and Th21 ("[My disciples] are like little children
                                  dwelling in a field that isn't theirs.") The problem with the
                                  word 'field' is that it's an open question whether it would be
                                  developed or undeveloped, whereas the Coptic word and the Greek
                                  underlying it apparently could only have meant undeveloped land
                                  (hence when the buyer in Th109 "comes plowing", he's doing
                                  something that the original owners hadn't done to that piece
                                  of land). In simplistic terms, I think the moral of the story
                                  isn't "Don't sell your land", but rather "Use the land you got."

                                  M.
                                • tsgnosis
                                  Hi Dave, This, to me, is the danger of taking too intellectual an approach to the Gospel of Thomas. According to the logion, the father did not know he had a
                                  Message 16 of 25 , Mar 10, 2002
                                    Hi Dave,

                                    This, to me, is the danger of taking too intellectual an approach to
                                    the Gospel of Thomas. According to the logion, the father did not
                                    know he had a treasure, so he couldn't have hidden it himself.

                                    This logion seems to speak more of the treasure hidden within all of
                                    us. When we go 'plowing' within, we find the treasure to which this
                                    logion refers. Unfortunately, neither the father nor the son made the
                                    effort.

                                    Mike's translation from the Coptic actually says the person who
                                    bought the land "Did he begin to give money (at interest) to those he
                                    loves." This seems reasonable enough, that he would share the wealth,
                                    since we have a fine example of this in Jesus. What I'm curious about
                                    is the (at interest). Mike, could you shed some light on this?

                                    Laura
                                  • David C. Hindley
                                    ... about the treasure! Looks like you ll have to redo this part of your elaborate construction. I was concentrating on the fact that
                                    Message 17 of 25 , Mar 11, 2002
                                      Mike Grondin notes:

                                      >>But Dave, you're forgetting that the father _didn't know_
                                      about the treasure! Looks like you'll have to redo this part
                                      of your elaborate construction.<<

                                      Details, details! <g>

                                      I was concentrating on the fact that the text *also* says
                                      that the son knew nothing of the treasure. Why did the
                                      author repeat that the father and the son both did not know
                                      of it? It still seems as if the story is meant to form a
                                      neat contrast: wealth to poverty to wealth.

                                      The delay in response was due to my feeble attempt to try
                                      and look at the Coptic, but I have "two" many distractions
                                      competing for my attention (ages 9 & 2).

                                      I noticed the word forms in your interlinear sounded funny:

                                      The-kingdom * she-is-comparable * to-a-man * who-had-he *
                                      [t]here * in *his-field * a-treasure * hid[ing] * [he-bein]g
                                      * not-knowing * about him

                                      I take it "she" is the field and "he" is the treasure.
                                      "Hidden" is partly conjectural (unless it is the only
                                      possible word that fits). The word you translate
                                      "not-knowing" is in the word index, with the meaning "to
                                      know (obj)".

                                      I am still curious whether the statement that is usually
                                      translated "without knowing it" could be also rendered
                                      something like "without disclosing it." Is a meaning like
                                      this possible, based upon your knowledge of Coptic?

                                      Respectfully,

                                      Dave Hindley
                                      Cleveland, Ohio, USA

                                      PS: John Moon pointed out, off list, that read the way it is
                                      usually rendered, GoT 109 could be thought of as a lesson
                                      about a heir who is unaware of the riches if his inheritance
                                      and sells it, only to see another benefit from it's riches.
                                      The "replacement theology" found in the canonical gospels
                                      comes to mind, yet it does not seem that this was what the
                                      editor of Thomas wanted to emphasize, as I cannot think of
                                      any overtly anti-Jewish sayings in the entire book. Bill
                                      Arnal, for his part, (seems to have) considered the emphasis
                                      of 109 (when compared to 95) to be loan interest!
                                    • William Arnal
                                      ... Not at all. In fact I m not sure why you d say this. The saying *mentions* interest, and I noted that this (apparently) contradicts another saying in
                                      Message 18 of 25 , Mar 12, 2002
                                        David Hindley wrote:

                                        >any overtly anti-Jewish sayings in the entire book. Bill
                                        >Arnal, for his part, (seems to have) considered the emphasis
                                        >of 109 (when compared to 95) to be loan interest!

                                        Not at all. In fact I'm not sure why you'd say this. The saying *mentions*
                                        interest, and I noted that this (apparently) contradicts another saying in
                                        valuation of interest. That's all. It doesn't mean that I think that
                                        interest is the central point of this saying.

                                        Bill
                                        ___________________________
                                        William Arnal
                                        Department of Religion
                                        University of Manitoba

                                        "Well, I can see I'm not in Paris"
                                        -- Ernest Hemingway, on landing in Winnipeg



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                                      • Grondin
                                        ... I assume that the author wanted to make it clear to the reader that the son was ignorant also. But as to why the story requires both father and son, I
                                        Message 19 of 25 , Mar 12, 2002
                                          Dave Hindley writes:
                                          > I was concentrating on the fact that the text *also* says
                                          > that the son knew nothing of the treasure. Why did the
                                          > author repeat that the father and the son both did not know
                                          > of it?

                                          I assume that the author wanted to make it clear to the reader that the son
                                          was ignorant also. But as to why the story requires both father and son, I
                                          don't know. Seems to me that it must be of some importance, but what?

                                          > I noticed the word forms in your interlinear sounded funny:

                                          > The-kingdom * she-is-comparable * to-a-man * who-had-he *
                                          > [t]here * in *his-field * a-treasure * hid[ing] * [he-bein]g
                                          > * not-knowing * about him
                                          >
                                          > I take it "she" is the field and "he" is the treasure.
                                          > "Hidden" is partly conjectural (unless it is the only
                                          > possible word that fits). The word you translate
                                          > "not-knowing" is in the word index, with the meaning "to
                                          > know (obj)".

                                          The root word in the verbal phrase means 'to know' (or 'to be aware of'),
                                          but the prefix 'NAT' is a negation, transforming it into its opposite 'to be
                                          ignorant of', lit., 'to not know'.

                                          > I am still curious whether the statement that is usually
                                          > translated "without knowing it" could be also rendered
                                          > something like "without disclosing it." Is a meaning like
                                          > this possible, based upon your knowledge of Coptic?

                                          Not that I'm aware of.

                                          Regards,
                                          Mike
                                        • dchindley
                                          ... *mentions* interest, and I noted that this (apparently) contradicts another saying in valuation of interest. That s all. It doesn t mean that I think that
                                          Message 20 of 25 , Mar 13, 2002
                                            --- In gthomas@y..., "William Arnal" <warnal@h...> wrote:

                                            >>Not at all. In fact I'm not sure why you'd say this. The saying
                                            *mentions* interest, and I noted that this (apparently) contradicts
                                            another saying in valuation of interest. That's all. It doesn't mean
                                            that I think that interest is the central point of this saying.<<

                                            Sorry, I did not mean to impute an idea to you.

                                            Out of curiosity, could you provide a brief summary of the criteria
                                            you used to base your published (1995?) analytical breakout of GoT
                                            mentioned in earlier posts? I have not yet had a chance to find a
                                            copy of the journal it is in, but am interested in what would have
                                            been written there.

                                            Thanks!

                                            Dave Hindley
                                            Cleveland, OH (USA)
                                          • Rick Hubbard
                                            [Dave asked:] Out of curiosity, could you provide a brief summary of the criteria you used to base your published (1995?) analytical breakout of GoT mentioned
                                            Message 21 of 25 , Mar 14, 2002
                                              [Dave asked:]

                                              Out of curiosity, could you provide a brief summary of the criteria
                                              you used to base your published (1995?) analytical breakout of GoT
                                              mentioned in earlier posts?

                                              I did my best to try to summarize Bill's article last summer. Although there
                                              is always the danger that I have missed something altogether, or that I have
                                              mis-stated Bill's position, the "breakout" of the strata is close to
                                              accurate (at least). Here's the link:
                                              http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gthomas/message/3998

                                              Rick Hubbard
                                              Humble Maine Woodsman
                                            • William Arnal
                                              ... Thanks for this, Rick. I wasn t able to reply to Dave s original message yet because any copies of the article I have are back at the office, and I m at
                                              Message 22 of 25 , Mar 14, 2002
                                                Hey all:

                                                >[Dave asked:]
                                                >
                                                >Out of curiosity, could you provide a brief summary of the criteria
                                                >you used to base your published (1995?) analytical breakout of GoT
                                                >mentioned in earlier posts?
                                                >
                                                >[and Rick replied]
                                                >
                                                >I did my best to try to summarize Bill's article last summer. Although
                                                > >there
                                                >is always the danger that I have missed something altogether, or that >I
                                                >have
                                                >mis-stated Bill's position, the "breakout" of the strata is close to
                                                >accurate (at least). Here's the link:
                                                >http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gthomas/message/3998

                                                Thanks for this, Rick. I wasn't able to reply to Dave's original message yet
                                                because any copies of the article I have are back at the office, and I'm at
                                                home today. But this saves me the necessity of a (belated) reply.

                                                Bill
                                                ___________________________
                                                William Arnal
                                                Department of Religion
                                                University of Manitoba

                                                "Well, I can see I'm not in Paris"
                                                -- Ernest Hemingway, on landing in Winnipeg



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                                              • David C. Hindley
                                                ... summer. Although there is always the danger that I have missed something altogether, or that I have mis-stated Bill s position, the breakout of the
                                                Message 23 of 25 , Mar 14, 2002
                                                  Rick Hubbard said:

                                                  >>I did my best to try to summarize Bill's article last
                                                  summer. Although there is always the danger that I have
                                                  missed something altogether, or that I have mis-stated
                                                  Bill's position, the "breakout" of the strata is close to
                                                  accurate (at least). Here's the link:
                                                  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gthomas/message/3998 <<

                                                  I must have missed this one! Well, at least I now have
                                                  something to do over the weekend. Still have to find the
                                                  article, though.

                                                  Thanks again!

                                                  Respectfully,

                                                  Dave Hindley
                                                  Cleveland, Ohio, USA
                                                • Michael Mozina
                                                  ... sayings must or should go back to Jesus? No, like you and like Kloppenborg, I can t see Thomas as testimony to the historical Jesus -- it, like the
                                                  Message 24 of 25 , Jun 19, 2002
                                                    William Arnal Wrote on 3/08/02:

                                                    >>We might be talking past each other again. Did I seem to imply that Thomas
                                                    sayings must or should go back to Jesus? No, like you and like Kloppenborg,
                                                    I can't see Thomas as testimony to the historical Jesus -- it, like the
                                                    canonicals, is a theological-literary production, I assume.

                                                    I'm at work at the moment, and I can't seem to locate your posts about the
                                                    oral traditions of Thomas. I'll look again at home for these posts since I
                                                    am very curious about your analysis of this issue.

                                                    I did however run across this comment of yours about the origins of Thomas,
                                                    and I'm curious if you wouldn't mind giving me me a short explanation of
                                                    *WHY* you can't see this as a testimony to the historical Jesus, and instead
                                                    "assume" it's a theological-literary production. From my vantange point,
                                                    Thomas seems very randomly slapped together and I don't see much of an
                                                    underlying "production" to it. The randomness of these sayings, as opposed
                                                    to grouped "themes", seems to lend credence to the notion that these were
                                                    recorded at different times as the author happened to pen them down, rather
                                                    than this list representing a well thought out "production" per se.

                                                    [Michael Mozina]
                                                    [sig added by ed. Contributors should sign messages.]
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