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Re: [GTh] Q & Thomas: Teaser Tracts?

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  • Jack Kilmon
    ... From: Peter Kirby To: Sent: Wednesday, April 03, 2002 5:44 AM Subject: [GTh] Q & Thomas: Teaser Tracts?
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 3, 2002
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Peter Kirby" <kirby@...>
      To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Wednesday, April 03, 2002 5:44 AM
      Subject: [GTh] Q & Thomas: Teaser Tracts?


      > Hello,
      >
      > This note was originally posted to XTalk and has been posted to GThomas as
      > well at the request of Mike Grondin. Please feel free to respond in
      either
      > group.

      I responded on XTalk and will also here.

      >
      > I have just finished reading Philip Jenkins's _Hidden Gospels_. Most of
      the
      > book is dedicated to delineating the mythic fascination with the quest for
      > uncovering previously unknown gospels and exterminated heresies. This is
      > interesting in its own right, even though it constitutes a sort of
      > meta-scholarship rather than a discussion of the evidence proper
      concerning
      > early Christian history. However, there is one extract in which Jenkins
      > proposes a theory that would have consequences for our understanding of
      the
      > sources concerning Jesus and the early church, the stated subject of this
      > list. So I thought it would be appropriate to reproduce this passage for
      > the comments of the knowledgeable participants in this discussion group.
      >
      > It has often been noted that the reconstructed Q and the Gospel of Thomas
      do
      > not have anything to say about the atoning nature of the death of Jesus
      and
      > his subsequent resurrection. Rather, the focus is on the sayings of Jesus
      > in these works. Assuming the existence of Q and an early date for Thomas,
      > which is certainly an issue itself, this has led some to theorize that the
      > earliest Jesus movement did not believe in the resurrection of Jesus but
      > rather remembered him as a wisdom sage and that the idea of a saving death
      > and resurrection developed as the church attracted Hellenistic
      constituents.
      > This is the basic theory presented by Burton Mack and others.
      >
      > Against this conclusion, Jenkins proposes a different theory to explain
      the
      > silence of Q & Thomas on the death or resurrection of Jesus. I would like
      > to know what the list members think of his proposal, and so I will quote
      it,
      > although I hope I have not gone too far beyond fair use.


      I want to take time to read your post before commenting further but there is
      one small detail about "sayings" anthologies like putative Q and Thomas
      regarding the "atoning death" and "resurrection" material. Wisdom sayings
      are not normally expressed after death. There is a possibility that the
      "Jesus saids..." that were written down, perhaps by Matthew if Papias is to
      be believed, may have been written down when Jesus was STILL ALIVE and was
      the stemma for later translated versions reconstructed in "Q" and in the
      GoT. In short, Q and Thomas have no resurrection stuff simply because Jesus
      had not yet died.

      Jack
    • Grondin
      ... The Jenkins thesis is relevant to our list, hence my request to Peter that his note be posted here, but I admit to not knowiing much about the book at the
      Message 2 of 2 , Apr 4, 2002
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        Peter Kirby wrote:
        > This note was originally posted to XTalk and has been posted to GThomas as
        > well at the request of Mike Grondin.

        The Jenkins thesis is relevant to our list, hence my request to Peter that
        his note be posted here, but I admit to not knowiing much about the book at
        the time, and I would certainly join Rick and Bill (who responded on the
        XTalk list in the same vein as Rick) in asserting that the Jenkins thesis is
        wholly implausible, and derives from the desire of a conservative Xian to
        co-opt Thomas (and Q), rather than from any attempt at serious scholarship.
        Predictably, it gets a positive notice from N.T. Wright, the anti-Q bastion
        of Xian orthodoxy. From what I read in the reviews, the book exhibits a
        curiously schizophrenic attitude.You've heard of "If you can't beat 'em,
        join 'em" (one meaning being: if you can't argue successfully against a
        position, then try to co-opt it by showing that it's no different from your
        own)? Well, Jenkins evidently tries to do both. In one place he writes:

        "There never was a "Q community" or a group of "Thomas people" distinct from
        the
        mainstream Jesus Way, that is, the incipient Christian Church."

        Thus making the Alexandrian Archbishop Athanasius and other church fathers
        who specifically excluded the Gospel of Thomas from approved readings out to
        be simpletons - for they evidently didn't realize what Jenkins does, namely
        that the GTh was merely an introductory volume to orthodox Xianity, and had
        no ideas of its own distinct from that. How could those early church writers
        have been so mistaken about the nature of Thomas? Or is it rather that
        Jenkins is mistaken, and that his co-opting ploy is just, well, a ploy?

        Mike Grondin
        Mt. Clemens, MI
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