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Re: [GTh] GTh and Counter Culture

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  • Jim Bauer
    ... My comment: The problem I have with this is that there were a few hundred years in between the earliest Greek fragments of Thomas and the final Coptic
    Message 1 of 29 , Apr 18, 2002
      Rick says in the following post:

      > What we have then, in the existing Coptic text of Thomas, is evidence of a
      > social ethos that was at odds with "the establishment" and its values.

      My comment: The problem I have with this is that there were a few hundred
      years in between the earliest Greek fragments of Thomas and the final Coptic
      document found at Nag Hammadi. In short, there was no one thing at the
      times of compilation which could be called "the" counter-culture. The
      Greek originals were probably also derived in turn from earlier, highly
      fragmented, Aramaic originals in the form of notes on Jesus' sermons and
      other "sayings" which the compilers of Thomas collected. During this long
      time-span there was probably no one thing which could be called
      "counter-cultural".

      Consider the counter-cultural "hippies" of the 60s. In fact, Timothy Leary
      originated the term as far as I know. In the last book he wrote before he
      died, _Chaos and Cyber-Culture" argues (fairly lucidly for someone who's
      done acid 1,000 times) that the student protestors in China's Tien en Mein
      (sp?) square were a continuation of the counter-culture of the 60s.

      Were they?

      I've made quite a few on-line friends in China and they've never even heard
      of the hippies. ISTM that there could have been no direct cultural
      propagation of "counter-cultural" ideas between China's student protesters
      and the group which Tim inaugurated. Also, much of the 60s counter-culture
      revolved around doing mass quantities of psychedelic drugs, and it's very
      sad to say this, but the drug scene has degenerated from seeking mystical
      experiences (whether real or imaginary) into a bunch of crack heads
      destroying their brains with drugs worse than LSD and the dope dealers who
      support their habits by getting them addicted.

      > Patterson postulates that the connection between this anti-establishment
      > mentality and what is conventionally described as "Gnosticism" with this
      > statement: "Gnosticism provided the framework in which the social protest
      of
      > leaving family and village behind could be re-imagined in theological
      terms.

      My comment: Reimagining things in theological terms was done by nearly all,
      if not all, theological groups at that time, whether Gnostic or orthodox.
      Also, I don't think that during the epoch Jesus himself lived there was a
      dualism between these two and that he probably heard thoughts from both
      sides, as did the authors of Thomas. It also seems possible that leaving
      family and friends is not at all uncommon in ascetic practice of many
      different cultures, and not all these can be called "counter-cultural".

      > In my opinion, Patterson has correctly observed that Coptic GTh represents
      > the views of a group of people (but not necessarily a "community") who
      have
      > abandoned the dominant social order.

      My comment: I'm not quite sure what you mean by stating that "the group of
      people who have abandoned the dominant social order" is not a "community".
      As far as I know, a community is simply a group of people who share common
      characteristics, whether in physical location (rural, town, city, country
      &c), similar spiritual ideas (pagan, Christian, Muslim &c) and share many,
      more types of other characteristics. In short, a community can be made of
      virtually any set of similarities as long as they have something in common.
      ISTM that you'd _have_ to call the early composers of Thomas "a community"
      no matter how close or disparate it was.

      Jim Bauer
    • Jim Bauer
      Frank McCoy, after he stated that there were few conspicuous elements of Gnostic thought in GThom, went on to state the following to defend his thesis that the
      Message 2 of 29 , Apr 18, 2002
        Frank McCoy, after he stated that there were few conspicuous elements of
        Gnostic thought in GThom, went on to state the following to defend his
        thesis that the first five sayings of GThom are about "Wisdom", though he
        neglected to mention that for the Gnostic, Wisdom is the Whore and the Holy
        One, as in "The Thunder, Perfect Mind". (Sometimes I think the latter
        should be paraphrased as "Wholly One.") "The world is Sophie's abortion"
        does not seem to regard either one of them well.
        >
        > THE STRUCTURE TO GTHOMAS 1-5
        >
        > If the suggested meanings of GThomas 1-5 are reasonably close to their
        > intended meanings, then 1 and 5 basically have the same message, i.e., If
        > you possess Wisdom, then you will be able to properly interpret and
        > understand the sayings to be found in GThomas.
        >
        > As for the interior sayings, i.e., 2,3, and 4, they all regard other
        rewards
        > one will have if one obtains Wisdom and the penalties one will incur if
        one
        > fails to obtain Wisdom.
        >
        > So, I suggest, GThomas 1-5 is an exhortation to obtain Wisdom: with it
        > opening and closing with the observation that you need to obtain Wisdom
        in
        > order to properly interpret and understand the sayings to be found in
        > GThomas.
        >
        >
        Frank, the trouble I have with your methodology is that it resembles the
        so-called "building block approach to scripture". Ever been in a motel
        room? Ever look at the Gideon Bible? You'll find a whole list of places to
        look for things in the Bible appropriate to your particular needs. These
        consist of verses yanked at random out of the OT, Gospels, epistles,
        whatever. Using this kind of approach you can "prove" virtually anything
        you want.

        Even worse is the "Bible code" which has been widely disseminated by
        Fundamentalists, especially by a couple movies about "the Omega Code"--what
        they do is read maybe every other word in the Bible, every 10th word, every
        10th letter, whatever, and it's supposed to reveal great truths and contain
        hidden messages.

        In short, I don't think you managed to make a real solid proof for your case
        even though it looks interesting. To start with, go to www.gnosis.org and
        run "Sophie" thru the search engine.

        Jim Bauer
      • Lance Owens
        An excellent summary of the Wisdom connection of GTh from Frank McCoy. I agree with the thesis. Next question: What is Wisdom ? The Wisdom tradition praises
        Message 3 of 29 , Apr 19, 2002
          An excellent summary of the Wisdom connection of GTh from Frank McCoy. I agree with the thesis.

          Next question: What is "Wisdom"? The Wisdom tradition praises it, but never explicates it. My own take is that Wisdom is essentially an experience of inner, perceptive knowing. It is not didactically transmissible as such, and thus the silence upon its revelation. As in Wis. Sol: "She makes men prophets...."

          Is this perhaps akin to the very meaning of Gnosis? And what tradition of early Christianity embraced the image of Sophia/Wisdom? Is it surprising that this is the tradition in whose provenance the GTh was apparently guarded? And that this tradition would be a tradition of "prophets" -- of a creative vision with mythopoetic power?

          The many arguments about strata interest and then logically confound me. Sacred traditions hold their most precious oral and textual transmissions as, well, sacred. What would be more sacred than the words of the Living Jesus? GTh was not a political manifesto, or an argumentative pamphlet. It was almost certainly a precious and well-guarded possession of a faith community. Of course there were emendations, translations, and intertextual restatements. But frank and gross alteration of such a document seems intuitively unlikely. (Proof? I can only offer intuition here, based on study of many sacred traditions.)

          GTH was revered by a community of transmission, and to those who guarded it we might attribute more than a little integrity of intent. Even if they were Gnostic heretics, so called. (I would make a similar argument for the Gospel of John within the Johannine tradition.)

          Lance Owens

          -------------------------------------------------------
          Ed note: For members unfamiliar with the name, Lance Owens is (or at least
          was when I worked with him about five years ago) manager of the very fine
          website known as "The Gnosis Archive" ( http://gnosis.org/welcome.html ),
          which is best-rated by Britannica and Lycos. Nestled within the rich content of that site is the Nag Hammadi Library (http://gnosis.org/naghamm/nhl.html ), which contains almost all the English translations found in James Robinson's book of the same name, and which I'm sure many members have perused over the years. This may be an opportunity (if Lance doesn't mind) to ask questions about his site and such features as the search function which members may
          have had occasion to use in the course of their personal research. (MWG)
        • Ron McCann
          Jim, It seems to me that Frank is trying to supply the missing universal solvent to Thomas that by your own admission, scholarship has so far been unable to
          Message 4 of 29 , Apr 19, 2002
            Jim,

            It seems to me that Frank is trying to supply the missing "universal
            solvent" to Thomas that by your own admission, scholarship has so far been
            unable to formulate.
            That seems to be that Thomas has a large Philonic Thought content- not that
            it is Gnostic.

            In my respectful opinion, and I have followed his posts for quite some time,
            he has a credible thesis for at least some large parts of Thomas, that hangs
            together well.

            I am quite convinced, now, that Thomas underwent a major revision circa AD
            90 during which a lot of Philo's ideas were incorporated. I am beginning to
            think this took place in Alexandria where Philo's ideas may then have been
            coin-of-the-realm.

            I think Frank makes a good case for part of the Thomas material, although
            clearly not all of it is grist for his mill. But it should not be dismissed
            or taken lightly, in my view, even if his approach is not an "approved"
            scholarly one.

            It seems to me we will all continue to "spin our wheels" here until we
            "psyche-out" the theology or theologies of the groups that had a hand in the
            creation/revision of Thomas, and this is a good start.
            That post is a superb piece of exegesis based on Philo's notions. It yields
            an uncanny "fit". Credit where credit is due.
            Thank you Frank.

            Ron McCann
            Saskatoon, Canada
          • fmmccoy
            ... From: Jim Bauer To: Sent: Thursday, April 18, 2002 10:46 PM Subject: Re: [GTh] GTh and Counter Culture ...
            Message 5 of 29 , Apr 19, 2002
              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "Jim Bauer" <jbauer@...>
              To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Thursday, April 18, 2002 10:46 PM
              Subject: Re: [GTh] GTh and Counter Culture


              > Frank McCoy, after he stated that there were few conspicuous elements of
              > Gnostic thought in GThom,

              Jim Bauer:

              To clarify, the above is not my position--for I am *not* absolutely
              convinced that there is even one element of Gnostic thought in GThomas, much
              less a few conspicuous elements of Gnostic thought in GThomas.

              To repeat what I said in the previous post, this is my position, "I guess
              that what I'm saying is that we face a chicken and egg
              problem--which came first, Gnosticism or the thought we find in GThomas?
              Until I see firm evidence that Gnosticism came first, I cannot accept the
              notion that there are undeniable elements of Gnostic thought in GThomas."

              Frank McCoy
              1809 N. English Apt 17
              Maplewood, MN USA 55109
            • Michael Everson
              ... I would like to suggest that wisdom is, well, wisdom, and would like to ask whether the Wisdom tradition capitalized the noun or not. Wisdom is the
              Message 6 of 29 , Apr 20, 2002
                At 05:10 -0600 2002-04-19, Lance Owens wrote:
                >An excellent summary of the Wisdom connection of GTh from Frank
                >McCoy. I agree with the thesis.
                >
                >Next question: What is "Wisdom"? The Wisdom tradition praises it,
                >but never explicates it.

                I would like to suggest that wisdom is, well, wisdom, and would like
                to ask whether the "Wisdom tradition" capitalized the noun or not.

                Wisdom is the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good
                judgement; the quality of being wise. (The Oxford New Dictionary of
                English, 2001)

                If a definition like that doesn't satisfy, then don't use the word
                "wisdom". Use one of the native terms. Or look at the Sanskrit
                tradition, where these concepts always have equivalents.
                --
                Michael Everson *** Everson Typography *** http://www.evertype.com
              • fmmccoy
                ... From: Ron McCann To: Sent: Friday, April 19, 2002 4:53 PM Subject: Re: [GTh] GTh and Counter Culture
                Message 7 of 29 , Apr 20, 2002
                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: "Ron McCann" <ronmccann1@...>
                  To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
                  Sent: Friday, April 19, 2002 4:53 PM
                  Subject: Re: [GTh] GTh and Counter Culture


                  (snip)

                  > I am quite convinced, now, that Thomas underwent a major revision circa AD
                  > 90 during which a lot of Philo's ideas were incorporated. I am beginning
                  to
                  > think this took place in Alexandria where Philo's ideas may then have been
                  > coin-of-the-realm.
                  >
                  > I think Frank makes a good case for part of the Thomas material, although
                  > clearly not all of it is grist for his mill. But it should not be
                  dismissed
                  > or taken lightly, in my view, even if his approach is not an "approved"
                  > scholarly one.
                  >
                  > It seems to me we will all continue to "spin our wheels" here until we
                  > "psyche-out" the theology or theologies of the groups that had a hand in
                  the
                  > creation/revision of Thomas, and this is a good start.
                  > That post is a superb piece of exegesis based on Philo's notions. It
                  yields
                  > an uncanny "fit". Credit where credit is due.
                  > Thank you Frank.
                  >

                  Ron McCann:

                  You're welcome!

                  Note, too, that, in that post, I also cited Ecclesiasticus and the Wisdom of
                  Solomon. They were a part of the Septuagint bible used in Alexandria. So,
                  that they might also have had an influence on some GThomas material is
                  additional evidence that at least a part of the GThomas tradition is based
                  on Alexandrian Judaism.

                  If so, then the big question is over when and where the influence of
                  Alexandrian Judaism first entered into the GThomas tradition.

                  You are suggesting that this occurred roughly 90 CE in Alexandria.

                  Where do you think that the GThomas community was located before 90CE?
                  Also, what do you think was its thelogical perspective prior to it being
                  influenced by Alexandrian Judaism?


                  Frank McCoy
                  1809 N. English Apt. 17
                  Maplewood, MN USA 55109
                • Rick Hubbard
                  [Frank Wrote;] I have difficulties accepting that there are undeniable elements from Gnosticism in GThomas. I fail to see in it, for example, the notion of
                  Message 8 of 29 , Apr 21, 2002
                    [Frank Wrote;]
                    I have difficulties accepting that there are undeniable elements from
                    Gnosticism in GThomas. I fail to see in it, for example, the notion of the
                    emanations of progressively inferior beings that is an integral element of
                    classical Gnosticism. Again, I fail to see in it the notion that the Cosmos
                    was created by an inferior being.

                    This observation is entirely correct. There are none of the mentioned
                    elements present in GTh. I doubt if anyone would argue to the contrary. The
                    absence of a particular cosmology does not, however, mean that there is no
                    evidence of gnostic sensitivities in the gospel.

                    It would exceed the time and space available for me to cite every
                    commentator who agrees that there is unmistakable evidence of gnostic
                    proclivities in Thomas (and in fact, I'm not sure I could even provide an
                    exhaustive list of *all* those who do). Perhaps it is sufficient to simply
                    mention one of the more prominent scholars who have compiled what I believe
                    is compelling evidence for gnostic tendencies in GTh.

                    First on the list would of course be Stephen Patterson (The Gospel of Thomas
                    and Jesus [Sonoma: Polebridge Press, 1993]). In my previous post I offered
                    the following comment by Patterson:

                    “Gnosticism provided the framework in which the social protest of leaving
                    family and village behind could be re-imagined in theological terms. Within
                    a gnostic framework, social radicalism [Patterson’s special technical term
                    for counter-culturalism] could become something more that radical *askesis*
                    designed to raise questions about the social world. …it has become a matter
                    of identity and the basis of a claim to life.” [Patterson, 1993 200].

                    The point Patterson is trying to make here, if I understand him correctly,
                    is that the shift toward gnostic sensibilities grew out a new orientation to
                    the world that resulted from the failure of social radicalism as an
                    alternative way of living. This gave rise to a fundamentally anti-cosmic
                    stance, but this stance did not, in itself, require adoption of the
                    so-called "classical" gnostic cosmogony. Therefore, it seems tome, it is not
                    unsurprising that evidence of this cosmogony is lacking in GTh.

                    [snip]

                    [Frank wrote:]
                    I guess that what I'm saying is that we face a chicken and egg
                    problem--which came first, Gnosticism or the thought we find in GThomas?
                    Until I see firm evidence that Gnosticism came first, I cannot accept the
                    notion that there are undeniable elements of Gnostic thought in GThomas.

                    With respect to the final sentence above, I'll simply repeat what I said
                    earlier. There is evidence, and there are sound arguments, that "undeniable
                    elements of Gnostic thought" *are* present in GTh. Unless I see a convincing
                    rebuttal to the arguments made by Patterson, and a through-going impeachment
                    of the evidence he cites in those arguments, I will remain in disagreement
                    with Frank's position. The question about which came first can easily be
                    answered by a brief survey of recent research on Gnosis (Gnosis was *not*
                    invented by Thomas and it borders on the absurd to even speculate that it
                    was).

                    It seems to me that one of the catalysts for misunderstanding and
                    disagreement on this topic may be that the very definition of "Gnosticism"
                    is misunderstood. The classic definition of Gnosticism may be found in Kurt
                    Rudolph's _Gnosis_ [Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1984]. To be sure, a certain
                    cosmogony is one of the characteristics of gnosticism (and that is, as I've
                    conceded, missing from Thomas). Often overlooked (perhaps intentionally) by
                    students of the history of the religions of the ancient Mediterranean basin
                    is that Gnosticism is also a kind of "social protest." Rudolph observes,
                    "...the social situation of the oppressed and exploited was not given much
                    attention anywhere in antiquity. The utopian schemes put forward by many
                    Greek literary men and philosophers like Zeno, Hecataeus, Euhermus, or
                    Iambulus remained pure ideals and were without effect in practice. [to this
                    list I believe should be added Philo]... the dependent classes, lacking in
                    support because of their ideological isolation, were left to develop their
                    own concepts...[Rudolph, 1984 292]. The development of alternatives to the
                    mainstream culture (i.e., conventional values) "became means of expression
                    of a social protest. Gnosis was without doubt the most radical voice in this
                    circle." To my utter delight, Rudolf quotes Karl Marx in this regard, it is
                    "'protest against the real misery'. Thus Gnosis can be largely understood as
                    an ideology of the dependent petty bourgeoisie..." [idem, 292].

                    With this in mind, Patterson's characterization of the connection between
                    the counter-culturalism/social radicalism and gnosticism comes into sharper
                    focus.

                    Rick Hubbard
                    Humble Maine Woodsman
                  • BitsyCat1@aol.com
                    In a message dated 04/21/2002 10:00:36AM, rhubbard@midmaine.com writes:
                    Message 9 of 29 , Apr 21, 2002
                      In a message dated 04/21/2002 10:00:36AM, rhubbard@... writes:

                      << Gnosticism provided the framework in which the social protest of leaving

                      family and village behind could be re-imagined in theological terms. Within

                      a gnostic framework, social radicalism [Patterson’s special technical term

                      for counter-culturalism] could become something more that radical *askesis*

                      designed to raise questions about the social world. …it has become a matter

                      of identity and the basis of a claim to life.” [Patterson, 1993 200].


                      The point Patterson is trying to make here, if I understand him correctly,

                      is that the shift toward gnostic sensibilities grew out a new orientation to

                      the world that resulted from the failure of social radicalism as an >>

                      JOHN Moon< to which I make this inquiry and Point>?

                      Not to Argue as it were with Paterson, but wouldn't a great deal of this
                      statement also be true of the Essenes and the Qumran community.
                      Didn't they also abandon family in search of a new religious radicalism and
                      attempt social reform in the desert?
                      What IM saying Is This. These conditions pre existed the writing of Thomas
                      and possibly Y 'shua Bar Yosefs Ministry and Life.
                      If we accept this as a definition then we must entertain a Jewish
                      Gnosticism that pre exists The 30 CE Mark. This may be in fact true. I pose
                      this as a question >
                      Does this mean That Thomas is Gnostic or it grew out of a pre existing
                      Jewish Gnostic Climate. The Product of A. Gnostic element already in Judaism?


                      Regards John Moon
                      Springfield, Tenn 37172
                      johnmoon3717@...
                    • Jacob Knee
                      Dear Rick, Thanks for the thought provoking messages. It reminds me, in a way, of Valantasis work on Thomas. I m just wondering if you see any specific social
                      Message 10 of 29 , Apr 21, 2002
                        Dear Rick,

                        Thanks for the thought provoking messages. It reminds me, in a way, of
                        Valantasis work on Thomas.

                        I'm just wondering if you see any specific social location with respect to
                        which Thomas is counter cultural?

                        Best wishes,
                        Jacob Knee
                        (Cam, Gloucestershire)
                      • Rick Hubbard
                        [Jacob wrote:] I m just wondering if you see any specific social location with respect to which Thomas is counter cultural? My apologies for the delay in
                        Message 11 of 29 , Apr 25, 2002
                          [Jacob wrote:]
                          I'm just wondering if you see any specific social location with respect to
                          which Thomas is counter cultural?

                          My apologies for the delay in responding to this straight-forward question.
                          I've tried to be careful about my answer, but I'm less than certain that it
                          is fully satisfactory.


                          I'll begin with this general observation. Stephen Patterson's _Gospel of
                          Thomas and Jesus_ (Polebridge, 1993) offers a fairly through discussion of
                          the question of Thomas' social setting (esp. pp 163-170; 196-213). Patterson
                          seems to align himself (mostly) with Gerd Thiessen's proposition that the
                          earliest Jesus people were wandering itinerants who were fundamentally
                          un-rooted in society. Patterson suggests that, fairly early on, many of
                          these wanderers adopted a more sedentary life style that embraced the social
                          structures of settled communities. There were exceptions however; some
                          people seem to have continued to practice less sedentary modes of existence.
                          Thomas seems to reflect the ethos of the latter constituency. Patterson's
                          appraisal, at this level, is persuasive.

                          Nevertheless, the identity of the precise social location reflected in GTh
                          remains elusive. At best, we can only say that Thomas seems to exhibit low
                          esteem for certain conventional practices that one would ordinarily
                          associate with highly structured social settings (urban, perhaps?). In
                          particular, exploitative business and economic conventions are routinely
                          deprecated. The closing line of GTh 64, "Dealers and merchants [will] not
                          enter the places of my Father," is an explicit condemnation of commerce. The
                          description of the fate of the usurer's son, after the usurer "gave" a
                          vineyard to some farmers and then "taxed" the recipients, illustrates
                          Thomas' low regard for landlords. Conversely, on a positive note, the
                          victims of an oppressive economic system are praised and comforted in GTh
                          54, 68, 69 (Blessed are the poor..; Blessed are you when[ever] they hate
                          (and) persecute you...; Blessed are those who suffer from hunger so that the
                          belly of the one who wishes (it) will be satisfied." In a few words, Thomas
                          clearly seems to identify the privileged elite as antagonists.

                          Religion in general, and regulations about piety and purity in particular,
                          are unfavorably cast at various junctures in GTh. Logion 14 places on Jesus'
                          lips outright condemnations of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving, "If you
                          fast, you will bring forth sin for yourselves. And if you pray you will be
                          condemned. And if you give alms, you will do harm to your spirits." The
                          same saying inverts traditional distinctions between pure and impure, For
                          what goes into your moth will not defile you. Rather, what comes out of your
                          mouth will defile you.". GTh 53 should also not be overlooked as evidence of
                          Thomas's rejection of conventional religious practices. When the disciples
                          inquire whether circumcision is beneficial, Jesus is made to say, "...if it
                          were beneficial, their father would beget them circumcised from their
                          mother..." Likewise the criticism of the Pharisees in GTh 39 should not go
                          un-noticed. "The Pharisees and the scribes have received the keys of
                          knowledge, (but) they have hidden them."

                          Thomas exhibits indisputable hostility toward both economic and religious
                          social institutions on the occasions cited above. While this hostility does
                          not represent an consistent "theme" in the gospel, its presence, in what is
                          presumably a heavily redacted document, suggests that the gospel's curators
                          sympathized with these counter cultural sentiments (or at least did not find
                          them sufficiently offensive to expunge them). Thomas' concerns therefore cut
                          across the grain of these social conventions, in particular. Patterson cites
                          other examples (121-170) which he summarizes with this statement:

                          "...Thomas Christianity was characterized by a socially radical ethos, which
                          included much time on the road, if not a thoroughly itinerant lifestyle
                          altogether, severance of family ties and responsibilities, a kind of willful
                          poverty which required the Thomas Christian to beg for food and shelter, a
                          relativizing of the codes of purity and the conventions of piety, including
                          prayer, fasting, and the giving of alms, a certain cynical attitude over
                          against the powers that be (emperors, kings and the like), a predilection
                          for minimal organization and openness to participation by women in the
                          group."




                          Rick Hubbard
                          Humble Maine Woodsman
                        • fmmccoy
                          ... From: Rick Hubbard To: Sent: Thursday, April 25, 2002 5:48 AM Subject: RE: [GTh] GTh and Counter
                          Message 12 of 29 , Apr 28, 2002
                            ----- Original Message -----
                            From: "Rick Hubbard" <rhubbard@...>
                            To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
                            Sent: Thursday, April 25, 2002 5:48 AM
                            Subject: RE: [GTh] GTh and Counter Culture


                            (snip)
                            >
                            > Nevertheless, the identity of the precise social location reflected in GTh
                            > remains elusive. At best, we can only say that Thomas seems to exhibit low
                            > esteem for certain conventional practices that one would ordinarily
                            > associate with highly structured social settings (urban, perhaps?). In
                            > particular, exploitative business and economic conventions are routinely
                            > deprecated. The closing line of GTh 64, "Dealers and merchants [will] not
                            > enter the places of my Father," is an explicit condemnation of commerce.

                            Rick Hubbard:

                            As I have mentioned in past posts, there are some indications that some of
                            the counter-cultural and/or unconventional aspects of GThomas thought might
                            have their roots in Therapeutism.

                            The closing line of GTh 64 might be another example of possible Therapeutic
                            influence on the GThomas community. The "dealers and merchants" of this
                            line, ISTM, are people who are seeking to make profits on their commercial
                            activities. As such, they are, in terms of Therapeutic thought, people
                            acting evily--for the Therapeutae believed profit-taking to be evil. So, in
                            Cont (66), Philo states, "They take their stand in a regular line in an
                            orderly way, their eyes and hands lifted up to Heaven, eyes because they
                            have been trained to fix their gaze on things worthy of contemplation,
                            *hands in token that they are clean from gain-taking and not defiled through
                            any cause of the profit-making kind."* (my emphasis) In a foot-note, the
                            translator, F.H Colson, states that the final phrase "any cause of the
                            profit-making kind" can perhaps be more loosely rendered as "anything that
                            might be regarded as a money-making enterprise."


                            >The
                            > description of the fate of the usurer's son, after the usurer "gave" a
                            > vineyard to some farmers and then "taxed" the recipients, illustrates
                            > Thomas' low regard for landlords. Conversely, on a positive note, the
                            > victims of an oppressive economic system are praised and comforted in GTh
                            > 54, 68, 69 (Blessed are the poor..; Blessed are you when[ever] they hate
                            > (and) persecute you...; Blessed are those who suffer from hunger so that
                            the
                            > belly of the one who wishes (it) will be satisfied." In a few words,
                            Thomas
                            > clearly seems to identify the privileged elite as antagonists.

                            Again, there might be a Therapeutic influence here. They believed that all
                            people should be equal and, so, were against the prevailing system where a
                            few economically exploited and politically subjugated the many. So,
                            according to Philo (Cont., 70), they condemned "the wrongful and covetous
                            acts of some who pursued that source of evil, inequality, (and) have imposed
                            their yoke and invested the stronger with power over the weaker."

                            >
                            > Religion in general, and regulations about piety and purity in particular,
                            > are unfavorably cast at various junctures in GTh. Logion 14 places on
                            Jesus'
                            > lips outright condemnations of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving, "If you
                            > fast, you will bring forth sin for yourselves. And if you pray you will be
                            > condemned. And if you give alms, you will do harm to your spirits." The
                            > same saying inverts traditional distinctions between pure and impure, For
                            > what goes into your moth will not defile you. Rather, what comes out of
                            your
                            > mouth will defile you.". GTh 53 should also not be overlooked as evidence
                            of
                            > Thomas's rejection of conventional religious practices. When the disciples
                            > inquire whether circumcision is beneficial, Jesus is made to say, "...if
                            it
                            > were beneficial, their father would beget them circumcised from their
                            > mother..." Likewise the criticism of the Pharisees in GTh 39 should not go
                            > un-noticed. "The Pharisees and the scribes have received the keys of
                            > knowledge, (but) they have hidden them."

                            As I mentioned in a prior post, Philo provides evidence that the Therapeutae
                            made a distinction between Mosaic Law and the Word of God and that, further,
                            some of them stopped obeying Mosaic Law on the premise that it is sufficent,
                            for salvation, to only obey the Word of God.


                            >
                            > Thomas exhibits indisputable hostility toward both economic and religious
                            > social institutions on the occasions cited above. While this hostility
                            does
                            > not represent an consistent "theme" in the gospel, its presence, in what
                            is
                            > presumably a heavily redacted document, suggests that the gospel's
                            curators
                            > sympathized with these counter cultural sentiments (or at least did not
                            find
                            > them sufficiently offensive to expunge them). Thomas' concerns therefore
                            cut
                            > across the grain of these social conventions, in particular. Patterson
                            cites
                            > other examples (121-170) which he summarizes with this statement:
                            >
                            > "...Thomas Christianity was characterized by a socially radical ethos,
                            which
                            > included much time on the road, if not a thoroughly itinerant lifestyle
                            > altogether, severance of family ties and responsibilities, a kind of
                            willful
                            > poverty which required the Thomas Christian to beg for food and shelter, a
                            > relativizing of the codes of purity and the conventions of piety,
                            including
                            > prayer, fasting, and the giving of alms, a certain cynical attitude over
                            > against the powers that be (emperors, kings and the like), a predilection
                            > for minimal organization and openness to participation by women in the
                            > group."
                            >

                            Again, there are indications of a Therapeutic influence on the GThomas
                            community. For example, the Therapeutae forsook home, family, and personal
                            wealth. Again, they were the only Jewish sect at the time of Jesus who made
                            women full members of their group.

                            As respects an itinerant lifestyle, some Therapeutae practiced it, but
                            others (such as those at their headquarters near Alexandria) had a settled
                            life-style and lived in cheaply constructed dwellings. But, then, didn't
                            the GThomas community have both those practicing an itinerant lifestyle and
                            those practicing a settled life-style?

                            (Note: Rick, out of curiousity, how does Patterson reconcile his belief that
                            Thomas Christians begged for food with the condemnation, in GTh 14, of
                            alms-giving? Does he have any "hard" evidence that they begged for food?)

                            Frank McCoy
                            1809 N. English Apt. 17
                            Maplewood, MN USA 55109
                          • rs_oxbrow
                            from steve oxbrow, yeovil UKRE: [GTh] GTh and Counter Culture I have always taken the denigration of usurers and traders etc to be much more overtly anti Roman
                            Message 13 of 29 , Apr 29, 2002
                              from steve oxbrow, yeovil UKRE:
                              [GTh] GTh and Counter Culture I have always taken the denigration of
                              usurers and traders etc to be much more overtly anti Roman and Judean
                              elite than the 4 gospels that 'made it' into the Bible.I questioned
                              why Gth was not included in the set texts for our Open University
                              coures on "Culture, identity and power in the Roman Empire" The
                              impression I gain is that GTh is the original on which the other 4
                              were based in order to make the new religion fit the Roman culture
                              and fill the power vacuum created by the increasing dissatisfaction
                              with the Pagan panoply and thus firmly of right period (Roman Empire)
                            • Rick Hubbard
                              [Frank Wrote:] As I have mentioned in past posts, there are some indications that some of the counter-cultural and/or unconventional aspects of GThomas
                              Message 14 of 29 , Apr 30, 2002
                                [Frank Wrote:]
                                As I have mentioned in past posts, there are some indications that some of
                                the counter-cultural and/or unconventional aspects of GThomas thought might
                                have their roots in Therapeutism.

                                Frank, if you ever hear of a company looking for a Philo Salesman, you
                                should apply. Your persistence and tenacity would make you a very wealthy
                                man <grin>.

                                More seriously, however, I am not persuaded (nor even intrigued) by your
                                suggestion that there is a "Therapeutism" present in Thomas.

                                Regrettably I don't have time to discuss some of the "finer points" of your
                                proposition. Instead, I'd like to call your attention (and that of other
                                correspondents) to the article at this link:

                                http://www.findarticles.com/cf_0/m2399/n1_v91/20512260/p1/article.jhtml

                                This is a copy of an article from the _Harvard Theological Review_ (Jan
                                1998, 1-25). It was jointly written by Joan Taylor and Philip Davies
                                (although the on-line version does not properly credit Davies). The on-line
                                version lacks the Greek text, so it is a bit difficult to follow.
                                Nevertheless, one can get a general sense of the authors' arguments.

                                Just to summarize, Taylor and Davies argue that there was no such thing as a
                                "species Therapeutae." Therapeutae is nothing more than a generic word that
                                describes those who lead a contemplative life. One example of these
                                therapeutae was a community of evidently elite and privileged navel-gazers
                                who congregated in Egypt. According to Taylor and Davies, it is incorrect to
                                conclude that there was a clearly identifiable sect (like the Essenes)
                                called Therapeutae.

                                I doubt seriously if you will be especially receptive to the article, but I
                                look forward to your rebuttal.

                                Rick Hubbard
                                Humble Maine Woodsman
                              • Ron McCann
                                ... From: Rick Hubbard To: Sent: Tuesday, April 30, 2002 8:45 AM Subject: RE: [GTh] GTh and Counter Culture
                                Message 15 of 29 , Apr 30, 2002
                                  ----- Original Message -----
                                  From: "Rick Hubbard" <rhubbard@...>
                                  To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
                                  Sent: Tuesday, April 30, 2002 8:45 AM
                                  Subject: RE: [GTh] GTh and Counter Culture


                                  > [Frank Wrote:]
                                  > As I have mentioned in past posts, there are some indications that some
                                  of
                                  > the counter-cultural and/or unconventional aspects of GThomas thought
                                  might
                                  > have their roots in Therapeutism.
                                  >
                                  > Frank, if you ever hear of a company looking for a Philo Salesman, you
                                  > should apply. Your persistence and tenacity would make you a very wealthy
                                  > man <grin>.
                                  >
                                  > More seriously, however, I am not persuaded (nor even intrigued) by your
                                  > suggestion that there is a "Therapeutism" present in Thomas.
                                  >
                                  I would have to agree with Rick, here, Frank. You've raised this before. I
                                  didn't think then and I don't think now that your case for that is strong;
                                  although I still find your Philo stuff compelling.

                                  Ron McCann
                                  Saskatoon, Canada
                                • Tom Saunders
                                  Therapeutism and other isms and cisms seem to get discounted quickly, but the GThom does not seem to render too much that lends to its origin in
                                  Message 16 of 29 , Apr 30, 2002
                                    Therapeutism and other 'isms and cisms' seem to get discounted quickly, but the GThom does not seem to render too much that lends to its origin in epistemology. Chadwick's "The Early Church" has Valantinus advocating the GThomas. I think it is likely that early Marcionites used it too, as Marcion is more noted for the use of gospels and written material. This puts at least a version of the GTh before the 2nd century.

                                    Accordig to some of the literature on the Marcion website, Marcion had followings that could have encompassed almost half the Christian population at one time...... http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Ithaca/3827/Library.html

                                    Chadwick points out that the early church was in a life and death struggle with Valantinians, and Marcionites which lasted well into the 4th centruy. The Gnostic sects numbered over a dozen in Marcion's time and none of them agreed, many of them hated the other for the particular epistemology each of them 'dreamed up.' The rest of Chritianity in the 1st century was just as big a mess, some addressed by Paul. Orgies in one church, complete celabacy in others.

                                    Our Coptic version of the GTh does not promote any distinctive qualities from a Valentinian, or Marcionic point of view that I see. I wonder if the redactions some in this group detect in the GTh are attempts to put it back in its original form, outside the boundries of particular Gnostic secular beleifs?

                                    Tom Saunders






                                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                  • Jacob Knee
                                    I m just trying to imagine a concrete social location for this pattern of existence. The Gospel of Thomas is produced by wandering scribes? But who is
                                    Message 17 of 29 , May 6, 2002
                                      I'm just trying to imagine a concrete social location for this pattern of
                                      existence. The Gospel of Thomas is produced by wandering scribes? But who is
                                      receiving them and why?

                                      (I think in a way of Bill Arnal's book on Q - and wonder if his critique of
                                      the itinerancy hypothesis extends to Pattterson's suggestion about the folks
                                      who produced Thomas?)

                                      Best wishes,
                                      Jacob

                                      -----Original Message-----
                                      From: Rick Hubbard [mailto:rhubbard@...]
                                      Sent: 25 April 2002 11:49
                                      To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
                                      Subject: RE: [GTh] GTh and Counter Culture

                                      [snip]

                                      "...Thomas Christianity was characterized by a socially radical ethos, which
                                      included much time on the road, if not a thoroughly itinerant lifestyle
                                      altogether, severance of family ties and responsibilities, a kind of willful
                                      poverty which required the Thomas Christian to beg for food and shelter, a
                                      relativizing of the codes of purity and the conventions of piety, including
                                      prayer, fasting, and the giving of alms, a certain cynical attitude over
                                      against the powers that be (emperors, kings and the like), a predilection
                                      for minimal organization and openness to participation by women in the
                                      group."
                                    • Tom Saunders
                                      Jacob Knee writes: I m just trying to imagine a concrete social location for this pattern of existence. The Gospel of Thomas is produced by wandering scribes?
                                      Message 18 of 29 , May 6, 2002
                                        Jacob Knee writes:

                                        I'm just trying to imagine a concrete social location for this pattern of
                                        existence. The Gospel of Thomas is produced by wandering scribes? But who is
                                        receiving them and why?

                                        From some recent reading I get the idea that most of the Gnostics and those related to them lasted longer than history gives them credit for.

                                        Tatian's "Letter to the Greeks" mirrors in parts word for word some of the early texts of the Chinese monastery in Xian, 641. The Chinese texts were written from early texts brought by a missionary from Syria named Aluoben. Tatian founded a group called Encratites (Masters of Themselves). Most of the works of these early Gnostic influenced groups probably disappeared, as early as the 2rd century.

                                        It is likiely that these groups became seperatist in nature and lasted as long as their house systems survived. Beginning with Marcion and then Valentinus, the Gnostics fell out of favor with the centralized Christian leadership in Antioch, Alexandria and the major cities which influenced the Christian epistemologies.

                                        Because some of these organizations lasted through the first 600 years it is likely that house systems that fell out of favor with larger organizations faded away like the Donates. The Nag Hammadi being found in Luxor suggests Gnostics got pushed further and further away from other centralized Christian groups which formed around Alexandria. Likely there were groups that are completely forgotten, but once had their own networks throughout the Eastern Christian movements.

                                        Tom Saunders


                                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                      • Tom Saunders
                                        The determination of whether or not the GTh can be aligned with counter culturism has to be associated with its effects on the corpus of the groups that had
                                        Message 19 of 29 , May 6, 2002
                                          The determination of whether or not the GTh can be aligned with counter culturism has to be associated with its effects on the corpus of the groups that had it. We know very little about that, except most historians might point out the trouble the Gnostics caused the rest of Christianity. That is when they went outside their own circles.

                                          Clear up until the time of Augustine, Manichees seem to have existed in force in Egypt. There is one aspect of Gnostics that must be considered and that is different groups did not like each other to the point of violence. Augustine had the power of the empire trough straight from Theodosious to 'crush' heretics.(380) But it appears that there was a network of early Christians that used Thomas. I think it is likely that Marcion had Thomas as well as Luke and Matthew. (There is a Gospel of Marcion which contains many possible references to Thomas)

                                          The Gospel of Mary addresses the subjects of matter, the mind, soul, and spirit, exactly in the same line of explanation as Tatian. These subjects got the early 'judasizers,' Romans and post Origen critic leaders nervous. (the moderators of this group seem to identify with this reluctance) This tension alone brought the early church into contention with anyone they proclaimed a heretic. Post Origen critics think everyonw but them, before them, were heretics. Now they are all Saints, go figure.

                                          Augustine rejected anyone who thought 'free will' was involved in any human/spiritual pursuit. Tatian, and the GTh as well as "Acts of Thomas," "Thomas the Contender" like the "Gospel of Mary" make it clear in part that Thomas is (must be) associated with the ideas common to Tatain, Valentinus, and possibly Marcion. That makes it a deadly piece of heretical eveidence to have in your possession by the time Theodosious gave the major leadership of the 'church' the power to put down heretics.

                                          This period many of the Manichees in Egypt gave up their texts. They were later critisized for this by other sects that hung on to them. The Coptic GTh is a survior of that time and along with the other Gnostic texts can be looked at as counter-cultural from the standpoint of early Christian anti-Gnostic movements from the 'establishment.'

                                          In my opinion the GTh was a major contributor to early Christian ideas which become fundamental to Gnosticism, some secular movements had radical ideas in regard to the main corpus of Christianity of the time. I think many of them scared everybody. I do not think all Gnostics were radical except in part. In its form Thomas seems to have a 'universal' appeal which might make it a highly desirable reference to enculturate others with vastly different ideas. This could have made it a suspect document as early as Paul's time in regard to Pagan magic.

                                          Tom Saunders








                                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                        • William Arnal
                                          ... Yup, it s hard to conceive of this in any concrete way, isn t it? Moreover, how and why are wandering radicals WRITING stuff? Do they carry around paper
                                          Message 20 of 29 , May 7, 2002
                                            Jacob Knee wrote:

                                            >I'm just trying to imagine a concrete social location for this pattern >of
                                            >existence. The Gospel of Thomas is produced by wandering scribes? But >who
                                            >is
                                            >receiving them and why?

                                            Yup, it's hard to conceive of this in any concrete way, isn't it? Moreover,
                                            how and why are wandering radicals WRITING stuff? Do they carry around paper
                                            and pen while refraining from carrying purse and staff?

                                            >(I think in a way of Bill Arnal's book on Q - and wonder if his >critique
                                            >of
                                            >the itinerancy hypothesis extends to Pattterson's suggestion about the
                                            > >folks
                                            >who produced Thomas?)

                                            Yes and no. I try to criticize the itinerancy hypothesis as vigorously as
                                            possible. This includes criticizing it in a general way, and so taking on
                                            briefly folks like Patterson and Crossan who have applied this concepts to
                                            texts other than Q. But the bulk of the book focuses on Q. I do quite
                                            explicitly address Patterson and Thomas, though, but briefly.

                                            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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                                          • Jacob Knee
                                            I ve read and really enjoyed your book but just wondered if the same kind of critique could be extended to cover the thought of wandering, destitute scribes
                                            Message 21 of 29 , May 7, 2002
                                              I've read and really enjoyed your book but just wondered if the same kind of
                                              critique could be extended to cover the thought of wandering, destitute
                                              scribes scribbling away at the Gospel of Thomas.

                                              In the case of Q you replace the wandering scribe theory with a much more
                                              specific, materially grounded hypothesis. Do you think anything like the
                                              same is possible for Thomas?

                                              Best wishes,
                                              Jacob

                                              -----Original Message-----
                                              From: William Arnal [mailto:warnal@...]
                                              Sent: 07 May 2002 16:44
                                              To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
                                              Subject: RE: [GTh] GTh and Counter Culture

                                              >(I think in a way of Bill Arnal's book on Q - and wonder if his >critique
                                              >of
                                              >the itinerancy hypothesis extends to Pattterson's suggestion about the
                                              > >folks
                                              >who produced Thomas?)

                                              Yes and no. I try to criticize the itinerancy hypothesis as vigorously as
                                              possible. This includes criticizing it in a general way, and so taking on
                                              briefly folks like Patterson and Crossan who have applied this concepts to
                                              texts other than Q. But the bulk of the book focuses on Q. I do quite
                                              explicitly address Patterson and Thomas, though, but briefly.

                                              Bill
                                              ___________________________
                                              William Arnal
                                              Department of Religion
                                              University of Manitoba
                                            • William Arnal
                                              ... Okay, I see what you re saying. And my answer is, yes, I think such an approach is not only possible with Thomas, but absolutely NECESSARY. I ve not really
                                              Message 22 of 29 , May 7, 2002
                                                Jacob Knee wrote:

                                                >In the case of Q you replace the wandering scribe theory with a much >more
                                                >specific, materially grounded hypothesis. Do you think anything like >the
                                                >same is possible for Thomas?

                                                Okay, I see what you're saying. And my answer is, yes, I think such an
                                                approach is not only possible with Thomas, but absolutely NECESSARY. I've
                                                not really attempted such an approach in any serious way myself, and in many
                                                ways, I think, Thomas would present obstacles to such an analysis that are
                                                not there for Q. But it's still do-able, I think. Any volunteers?

                                                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


                                                _________________________________________________________________
                                                Send and receive Hotmail on your mobile device: http://mobile.msn.com
                                              • Ron McCann
                                                Jacob, You are always politely wondering . Surely you have your own takes on this stuff. I know you are mostly blind. But what do you see? Iron ... From:
                                                Message 23 of 29 , May 7, 2002
                                                  Jacob,
                                                  You are always politely "wondering".
                                                  Surely you have your own takes on this stuff.
                                                  I know you are mostly blind.
                                                  But what do you see?
                                                  Iron
                                                  ----- Original Message -----
                                                  From: "Jacob Knee" <jknee@...>
                                                  To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
                                                  Sent: Tuesday, May 07, 2002 10:27 AM
                                                  Subject: RE: [GTh] GTh and Counter Culture


                                                  > I've read and really enjoyed your book but just wondered if the same kind
                                                  of
                                                  > critique could be extended to cover the thought of wandering, destitute
                                                  > scribes scribbling away at the Gospel of Thomas.
                                                  >
                                                  > In the case of Q you replace the wandering scribe theory with a much more
                                                  > specific, materially grounded hypothesis. Do you think anything like the
                                                  > same is possible for Thomas?
                                                  >
                                                  > Best wishes,
                                                  > Jacob
                                                  >
                                                  > -----Original Message-----
                                                  > From: William Arnal [mailto:warnal@...]
                                                  > Sent: 07 May 2002 16:44
                                                  > To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
                                                  > Subject: RE: [GTh] GTh and Counter Culture
                                                  >
                                                  > >(I think in a way of Bill Arnal's book on Q - and wonder if his >critique
                                                  > >of
                                                  > >the itinerancy hypothesis extends to Pattterson's suggestion about the
                                                  > > >folks
                                                  > >who produced Thomas?)
                                                  >
                                                  > Yes and no. I try to criticize the itinerancy hypothesis as vigorously as
                                                  > possible. This includes criticizing it in a general way, and so taking on
                                                  > briefly folks like Patterson and Crossan who have applied this concepts to
                                                  > texts other than Q. But the bulk of the book focuses on Q. I do quite
                                                  > explicitly address Patterson and Thomas, though, but briefly.
                                                  >
                                                  > Bill
                                                  > ___________________________
                                                  > William Arnal
                                                  > Department of Religion
                                                  > University of Manitoba
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > --------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                  > 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/
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                • Jacob Knee
                                                  I don t think it s possible to give good answers without having done really detailed work. I haven t done the detailed work so any answers I give would be just
                                                  Message 24 of 29 , May 7, 2002
                                                    I don't think it's possible to give good answers without having done really
                                                    detailed work. I haven't done the detailed work so any answers I give would
                                                    be just rehashes from the secondary literature or speculation which would
                                                    only be right by accident, if at all.

                                                    But I do 'wonder' and am happy to be provoking into trying to learn more.

                                                    Hope this helps,
                                                    Jacob Knee
                                                    (Cam, Gloucestershire)

                                                    -----Original Message-----
                                                    From: Ron McCann [mailto:ronmccann1@...]
                                                    Sent: 07 May 2002 19:08
                                                    To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
                                                    Subject: Re: [GTh] GTh and Counter Culture

                                                    [snip]
                                                  • Rick Hubbard
                                                    {Jacob Wrote:] ... [Bill Replied:] Okay, I see what you re saying. And my answer is, yes, I think such an approach is not only possible with Thomas, but
                                                    Message 25 of 29 , May 12, 2002
                                                      {Jacob Wrote:]
                                                      >In the case of Q you replace the wandering scribe theory with a much >more
                                                      >specific, materially grounded hypothesis. Do you think anything like >the
                                                      >same is possible for Thomas?

                                                      [Bill Replied:]
                                                      Okay, I see what you're saying. And my answer is, yes, I think such an
                                                      approach is not only possible with Thomas, but absolutely NECESSARY. I've
                                                      not really attempted such an approach in any serious way myself, and in many
                                                      ways, I think, Thomas would present obstacles to such an analysis that are
                                                      not there for Q. But it's still do-able, I think. Any volunteers?

                                                      First of all, I'm not volunteering!

                                                      Nevertheless- Bill, can you offer the **particular** obstacles you think may
                                                      impede the avenue of inquiry to Thomas that have taken in _Jesus and the
                                                      Village Scribes_?

                                                      Rick Hubbard
                                                      Humble Maine Woodsman
                                                    • William Arnal
                                                      ... Damn. You re just the man for the job, too! ... Yes, I think so. It s not that there are obstacles IN PRINCIPLE, it s that the way Q works, theologically
                                                      Message 26 of 29 , May 13, 2002
                                                        Hi Rick:

                                                        >First of all, I'm not volunteering!

                                                        Damn. You're just the man for the job, too!

                                                        >Nevertheless- Bill, can you offer the **particular** obstacles you >think
                                                        >may
                                                        >impede the avenue of inquiry to Thomas that have taken in _Jesus and >the
                                                        >Village Scribes_?

                                                        Yes, I think so. It's not that there are obstacles IN PRINCIPLE, it's that
                                                        the way Q works, theologically and redactionally, is rather different from
                                                        that of Thomas, and in ways that affect how the document can be analyzed. Q
                                                        is especially susceptible to detailed redaction criticism, as I think
                                                        Kloppenborg demonstrated in Formation, precisely because it is pretty
                                                        tightly organized. In Q you can use the construction of extended
                                                        elaborations, for example, to get at what the redactor was trying to
                                                        accomplish. In Thomas you're usually (or least more often) stuck with a
                                                        "primitive" form of the saying, with little redactional intervention, and
                                                        are forced to speculate about what the REDACTOR intended (where it's
                                                        different from the point of the saying on its own). Also, since Q has a
                                                        perspective that is pretty directly oriented toward the "real world," it's
                                                        relatively easy to draw out inferences from Q about what that real world
                                                        was. But Thomas' theology is so (apparently, anyway) "other-worldly," that
                                                        it's hard to infer a CONCRETE Sitz.

                                                        That's my 2 cents.
                                                        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


                                                        _________________________________________________________________
                                                        MSN Photos is the easiest way to share and print your photos:
                                                        http://photos.msn.com/support/worldwide.aspx
                                                      • Rick Hubbard
                                                        [Rick wrote] ... [Bill replied] Yes, I think so. It s not that there are obstacles IN PRINCIPLE, it s that the way Q works, theologically and redactionally, is
                                                        Message 27 of 29 , May 20, 2002
                                                          [Rick wrote]
                                                          >Nevertheless- Bill, can you offer the **particular** obstacles you >think
                                                          >may
                                                          >impede the avenue of inquiry to Thomas that have taken in _Jesus and >the
                                                          >Village Scribes_?

                                                          [Bill replied]
                                                          Yes, I think so. It's not that there are obstacles IN PRINCIPLE, it's that
                                                          the way Q works, theologically and redactionally, is rather different from
                                                          that of Thomas, and in ways that affect how the document can be analyzed. Q
                                                          is especially susceptible to detailed redaction criticism, as I think
                                                          Kloppenborg demonstrated in Formation, precisely because it is pretty
                                                          tightly organized. In Q you can use the construction of extended
                                                          elaborations, for example, to get at what the redactor was trying to
                                                          accomplish. In Thomas you're usually (or least more often) stuck with a
                                                          "primitive" form of the saying, with little redactional intervention, and
                                                          are forced to speculate about what the REDACTOR intended (where it's
                                                          different from the point of the saying on its own). Also, since Q has a
                                                          perspective that is pretty directly oriented toward the "real world," it's
                                                          relatively easy to draw out inferences from Q about what that real world
                                                          was. But Thomas' theology is so (apparently, anyway) "other-worldly," that
                                                          it's hard to infer a CONCRETE Sitz.



                                                          Perhaps classical redaction criticism is not the most effective method to
                                                          apply to the text of Thomas if the primary objective is to identify the
                                                          “real world” that it pre-supposes.

                                                          Last week I read through Kloppenborg (ed) _Conflict and Invention_ [Trinity,
                                                          1995]. One of the essays contained in the book was Jonathan Reed’s “The
                                                          Social Map of Q.” It seems to me that the tactic Reed uses to identify the
                                                          geographic locales in Q may suggest a way to approach Thomas so that, in a
                                                          very preliminary way, the outlines of its social context can be more clearly
                                                          identified.

                                                          I doubt that Reed had this in mind when he examined Q, but his method is
                                                          almost exactly the same as one that is used by software developers when
                                                          designing a new application. It is called ERD (Entity Relationship
                                                          Diagramming). The first step in this technique is to conduct a series of
                                                          interviews with everyone who will use, or will be otherwise affected by, the
                                                          proposed system. The interviews are written as a narrative (thereby creating
                                                          a text). When the “text” is complete, the next step is for a system analyst
                                                          to carefully comb through it and to identify all the “Entities” named by
                                                          those who were interviewed. Entities are people, organizations, physical
                                                          locations, and information clusters (documents such as reports, invoices,
                                                          etc.). These entities (all of which are nouns, incidentally) become the
                                                          backbone of the system design. They also describe the “real world” in which
                                                          the system will operate.

                                                          Reed follows this procedure almost exactly, although in a limited scope. He
                                                          identifies specific place names and topographical descriptions contained in
                                                          Q, then he notes, “Together, both the real and imagined places mentioned in
                                                          Q make up the *social map* [Reed’s emphasis] of the community behind Q. The
                                                          social map shared by the Q community is reflected in the text of Q and can
                                                          be analyzed and sifted for clues to the actual location of the Q community.”
                                                          [p18] In other words, Reed began with a text, identified specific entities
                                                          in the text, then created a diagram of the entities (a map). So far as I
                                                          know, Reed’s conclusions have not been overtly criticized by other Q
                                                          scholars, and therefore, it seems that his general strategy is sound.

                                                          The question, then, is whether a similar (but expanded) approach to Thomas
                                                          would be likely to yield any useful clues about the “real world(s)”
                                                          presupposed within the collection? I don't mean to suggest that it would be
                                                          useful to examine only place names (as Reed investigated in Q), but all
                                                          "entities" that are present in the GTh text. These entities should include
                                                          people, places, objects, and institutions (real and imaginary). I’m inclined
                                                          to think that this could be an informative investigation, but I’m reluctant
                                                          to exert much effort to do so without hearing some input from others.

                                                          Rick Hubbard
                                                          Humble Maine Woodsman
                                                        • William Arnal
                                                          ... In fact, as far as I can tell, they have been pretty thoroughly accepted by other Q folks. ... I think that this is a brilliant idea, and that there is a
                                                          Message 28 of 29 , May 20, 2002
                                                            Rick Hubbard wrote:

                                                            >in the text, then created a diagram of the entities (a map). So far as >I
                                                            >know, Reed�s conclusions have not been overtly criticized by other Q
                                                            >scholars, and therefore, it seems that his general strategy is sound.

                                                            In fact, as far as I can tell, they have been pretty thoroughly accepted by
                                                            other Q folks.

                                                            >would be likely to yield any useful clues about the �real world(s)�
                                                            >presupposed within the collection? I don't mean to suggest that it >would
                                                            >be
                                                            >useful to examine only place names (as Reed investigated in Q), but all
                                                            >"entities" that are present in the GTh text. These entities should >include
                                                            >people, places, objects, and institutions (real and imaginary). I�m
                                                            > >inclined
                                                            >to think that this could be an informative investigation, but I�m
                                                            > >reluctant
                                                            >to exert much effort to do so without hearing some input from others.

                                                            I think that this is a brilliant idea, and that there is a lot of potential
                                                            here. Since it's possible that too many of the entities in Thomas will be
                                                            "spiritual entities" it is also possible that the procedure will not work.
                                                            But it SHOULD be tried, I think.

                                                            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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