Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [GTh] #95 & #109

Expand Messages
  • 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 1 of 25 , Mar 7, 2002
    • 0 Attachment
      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
      > To unsubscribe from this group,
      > send a blank email to gthomas-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
      >
      > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
      >
      >
    • 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 2 of 25 , Mar 7, 2002
      • 0 Attachment
        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



        _________________________________________________________________
        Send and receive Hotmail on your mobile device: http://mobile.msn.com
      • 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 3 of 25 , Mar 7, 2002
        • 0 Attachment
          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 4 of 25 , Mar 7, 2002
          • 0 Attachment
            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 5 of 25 , Mar 8, 2002
            • 0 Attachment
              [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 6 of 25 , Mar 8, 2002
              • 0 Attachment
                [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 7 of 25 , Mar 8, 2002
                • 0 Attachment
                  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



                  _________________________________________________________________
                  Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at http://explorer.msn.com/intl.asp.
                • 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 8 of 25 , Mar 8, 2002
                  • 0 Attachment
                    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



                    _________________________________________________________________
                    Join the world�s largest e-mail service with MSN Hotmail.
                    http://www.hotmail.com
                  • 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 9 of 25 , Mar 8, 2002
                    • 0 Attachment
                      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 10 of 25 , Mar 8, 2002
                      • 0 Attachment
                        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 11 of 25 , Mar 8, 2002
                        • 0 Attachment
                          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



                          _________________________________________________________________
                          Send and receive Hotmail on your mobile device: http://mobile.msn.com
                        • 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 12 of 25 , Mar 10, 2002
                          • 0 Attachment
                            --- 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 13 of 25 , Mar 10, 2002
                            • 0 Attachment
                              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 14 of 25 , Mar 10, 2002
                              • 0 Attachment
                                --- 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 15 of 25 , Mar 10, 2002
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  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 16 of 25 , Mar 11, 2002
                                  • 0 Attachment
                                    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 17 of 25 , Mar 12, 2002
                                    • 0 Attachment
                                      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



                                      _________________________________________________________________
                                      Join the world�s largest e-mail service with MSN Hotmail.
                                      http://www.hotmail.com
                                    • 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 18 of 25 , Mar 12, 2002
                                      • 0 Attachment
                                        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 19 of 25 , Mar 13, 2002
                                        • 0 Attachment
                                          --- 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 20 of 25 , Mar 14, 2002
                                          • 0 Attachment
                                            [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 21 of 25 , Mar 14, 2002
                                            • 0 Attachment
                                              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



                                              _________________________________________________________________
                                              Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at http://explorer.msn.com/intl.asp.
                                            • 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 22 of 25 , Mar 14, 2002
                                              • 0 Attachment
                                                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 23 of 25 , Jun 19, 2002
                                                • 0 Attachment
                                                  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.]
                                                Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.