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[GTh] Re: Strata in Thomas: A proposed Reading of #88

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  • rahelzer
    ... Since we ve found fragments of GTh in various places, we know that messangers circulated copies of GTh, no? I really didn t mean anything more profound
    Message 1 of 5 , Apr 1, 2002
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      I wrote:

      > >One of the few things we know for sure about
      > >the Gospel of Thomas is that it was circulated
      > >around by messengers (in the sense of "mailmen").

      Bill writes:

      > How on earth do we *know* this? I see no evidence for it at all.

      Since we've found fragments of GTh in various
      places, we know that messangers circulated copies
      of GTh, no? I really didn't mean anything more
      profound than that, I'm afraid.


      > To the best of my knowledge, no such unfortunate person
      > is involved in Thomas scholarship, or NT study at all.
      > May the gods be praised.
      >
      > Bill (Arnal)

      arrghh! How embarrassing. Please don't take
      offence at my "scribal error"!

      Now that our dialog has gotten off to such a good
      start :-) I'd like to ask you (not unlike Abram
      barganing with Yawheh at Mamre) if you could outline
      for us your argument as to why you classify GTh 88
      as Gnostic? Is the argument easily summarized, or
      should I wait for the messanger to bring me a copy
      of your article?


      -Randy Helzerman
      (who is writing "Herr Professor Bill Arnal" on the board
      1,000 times after class)
    • Jim Bauer
      ... As I see it, if you really want to attempt a stratification of Thomas, it may have begun as an oral tradition, subsequently written down in a number of
      Message 2 of 5 , Apr 1, 2002
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        > Randy Helzerman writes:
        >
        > >One of the few things we know for sure about
        > >the Gospel of Thomas is that it was circulated
        > >around by messengers (in the sense of "mailmen").
        >
        > How on earth do we *know* this? I see no evidence for it at all.

        As I see it, if you really want to attempt a "stratification" of Thomas, it
        may have begun as an oral tradition, subsequently written down in a number
        of lost Aramaic fragments, which were then assembled into the original Greek
        version. It is perhaps possible (as I feel this is tentative) that places
        in GThom where similar sayings are clustered together may have been some of
        the splices between the fragments. ie, someone, reading from an Aramaic
        fragment, may say, "Jesus said, 'blessed are the..." & someone else may say,
        "yeah, he also said something similar in this fragmet I've got."
        >
        > >It is very likely that the evolving Gospel of
        > >Thomas was also circulated around by these
        > >quasi-official "prophets" (who were after all
        > >just "messengers from God).
        >
        > I see no evidence for this, either.

        I don't see mailmen as being "prophets", but I have to agree with Randy
        here--the thing did indeed need to be distributed somehow.
        >
        > >P. S. You pointed me to a article by Bill Anal--yeah, I saw it
        > > and asked our librarian to get me a copy. Can't wait to
        > > read it.
        >
        > One would have to be (anal, that is) to attempt a stratification of
        Thomas,
        > but good luck finding the article under this name. To the best of my
        > knowledge, no such unfortunate person is involved in Thomas scholarship,
        or
        > NT study at all. May the gods be praised.
        >
        As someone who almost went to the National Spelling Bee, I'd have to say,
        "Randy, use your word & grammar checkers a little more often".

        > Bill (Arnal)
        > ___________________________
        > William Arnal
        > Department of Religion
        > University of Manitoba
        >
        > "I wish that I was born a thousand years ago.
        > I wish that I'd sailed the darkened seas
        > on a great big clipper ship,
        > going from this land here to that,
        > in a sailor suit and cap."
        > -- Lou Reed

        Heroin, it's my wife & it's my life,
        Heroin, be the death of me.
        --also Lou Reed, the same song, actually.
        >
      • William Arnal
        ... But even that, I think, assumes too much. What we have, in fact, are a handful of fragments from, I think, 3 separate copies of Thomas is ONE place (the
        Message 3 of 5 , Apr 2, 2002
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          Randy Helzerman writes:

          > > How on earth do we *know* this? I see no evidence for it at all.
          >
          >Since we've found fragments of GTh in various
          >places, we know that messangers circulated copies
          >of GTh, no? I really didn't mean anything more
          >profound than that, I'm afraid.

          But even that, I think, assumes too much. What we have, in fact, are a
          handful of fragments from, I think, 3 separate copies of Thomas is ONE place
          (the POxy fragments), and another, single, MS from fairly nearby and from
          about a century or more later. This does not suggest wide distribution.
          Moreover, even if we grant a wider distribution than the MS evidence
          suggests (which I think I'm willing to do), there is no reason at all to
          imagine that the mechanism of that distribution took a form in ANY way
          analogous to "mail." I would be more inclined to assume that Thomas was
          transmitted more or less incidentally by personal contacts than by
          deliberate propagation.

          >arrghh! How embarrassing. Please don't take
          >offence at my "scribal error"!

          Not at all. I thought it was funny.

          >Now that our dialog has gotten off to such a good
          >start :-) I'd like to ask you (not unlike Abram
          >barganing with Yawheh at Mamre) if you could outline
          >for us your argument as to why you classify GTh 88
          >as Gnostic? Is the argument easily summarized, or
          >should I wait for the messanger to bring me a copy
          >of your article?

          Perhaps the latter is the best course of action. I wrote that piece many
          years ago, and don't remember the specific arguments re. 88 (if there even
          were any!). And I'm at home right now, so I don't have a copy of it handy.

          Bill
          ___________________________
          William Arnal
          Department of Religion
          University of Manitoba

          "I wish that I was born a thousand years ago.
          I wish that I'd sailed the darkened seas
          on a great big clipper ship,
          going from this land here to that,
          in a sailor suit and cap."
          -- Lou Reed


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        • William Arnal
          ... The problem is, when Arnal is encountered by most spell checkers, they don t (naturally enough) recognize it, and give anal as the nearest equivalent.
          Message 4 of 5 , Apr 6, 2002
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            Jim Bauer wrote:

            >As someone who almost went to the National Spelling Bee, I'd have to >say,
            >"Randy, use your word & grammar checkers a little more often".

            The problem is, when "Arnal" is encountered by most spell checkers, they
            don't (naturally enough) recognize it, and give "anal" as the nearest
            equivalent. This strikes me as divine justice of a sort.

            >Heroin, it's my wife & it's my life,
            >Heroin, be the death of me.
            >--also Lou Reed, the same song, actually.

            My very favourite song by Lou Reed, and possibly by anyone.

            Bill
            ___________________________
            William Arnal
            Department of Religion
            University of Manitoba

            "I wish that I was born a thousand years ago.
            I wish that I'd sailed the darkened seas
            on a great big clipper ship,
            going from this land here to that,
            in a sailor suit and cap."
            -- Lou Reed


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