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Re: RE: [GTh] Dating evidence

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  • Grondin
    ... Well, this is certainly a new approach, Dave. Since gTh shows no signs of classical gnosticism, then maybe it s buried under the surface? And so we proceed
    Message 1 of 23 , May 26 10:31 PM
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      -- Dave Hindley wrote:
      > The editor(s) of GoT seem to
      > delight in (re?)casting sayings and stories about Jesus in
      > such a way that, reading between the lines, a reader/hearer
      > in tune to the editors POV would infer a meaning that is
      > diametrically opposed to the surface meaning of the passage.

      Well, this is certainly a new approach, Dave. Since gTh shows no signs of
      classical gnosticism, then maybe it's buried under the surface? And so we
      proceed to add extraneous little modifiers here and there to all the sayings
      and - viola! - we find what we've constructed! But how exactly is that
      supposed to demonstrate that *that* was the POV of the editors - given that
      we could take any number of entirely different POV's and do precisely the
      same thing? Furthermore, what would have been the motivation, and where do
      we find a prototype of such literary shenanigans? These general objections
      should be enough to throw cold water on this particular academic exercise
      even if there were no difficulties of execution, but the re-interpretive
      enterprise itself soon leads to seriously counter-intuitive results, as
      follows:

      > 3a) Jesus said, "If those who lead you say, 'See, the
      > Kingdom [of the creator god] is [centered] in the sky [that
      > is, up in the heavens],' then the birds of the sky will
      > precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' [as in
      > the beast rising out of the sea in the book of Revelation?]
      > then the fish will precede you. 3b) Rather, the [real]
      > Kingdom is inside of you [you have a spark of the Fullness
      > within you that drove you to discover the meanings contained
      > within this book], and it is outside of you [i.e., outside
      > the world of your sense perceptions, that is, it is based on
      > a world of pure ideas].

      Here, the ancient reader is supposed to have ascertained that the author is
      using the word 'kingdom' in two different ways in the same saying, and that,
      midway in the saying, he suddenly and without warning switches from one to
      the other! No one could possibly understand such verbal duplicity unless
      there were some signal that that's what was going on, but there's no such
      signal. In fact, what "signal" there is indicates that the author is about
      to give us the location of that very same kingdom that he said was not in
      the sky or in the sea. Nothing whatsoever prepares the reader for a switch
      of reference - or even indicates that there _are_ two different kingdoms in
      the first place. Thus, there's simply no justification for this impossibly
      convoluted reading.

      All in all, I'm hard put to see anything at all that this approach has going
      for it.

      Mike Grondin
      Mt. Clemens, MI
    • David C. Hindley
      Mike, ... Perhaps. ... maybe it s buried under the surface?
      Message 2 of 23 , May 27 9:51 AM
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        Mike,

        >>Well, this is certainly a new approach, Dave.<<

        Perhaps.

        >>Since gTh shows no signs of classical gnosticism, then
        maybe it's buried under the surface?<<

        No signs? Are you sure? You are only right if you are
        looking for the classic technical terms (and there are still
        a couple). Bentley Layton finds the basic interpretive
        framework in a "Hellenistic" myth of the soul, laid out most
        obviously in sayings 18, 29 & 50 (and more coherently laid
        out in the Hymn of the Pearl). I am not disputing this.
        Layton says: "Once the myth had been recognized or
        reconstructed by the ancient reader it would have provided a
        framework within which the other, more traditional sayings
        could be interpreted." It is still a mythical framework,
        found more completely outside the document, that is read
        into it in exactly the same manner as I did with the gnostic
        redeemer myth.

        >>And so we proceed to add extraneous little modifiers here
        and there to all the sayings and - viola! - we find what
        we've constructed!<<

        They are added to understand the interpretative framework at
        work, and everyone does it in their minds no matter what
        framework they have adopted. I put it on paper to make it
        clear what *I* was assuming and to avoid the possibility
        that the preconceived notions of lurkers might interfere
        with their understanding of my point.

        >>But how exactly is that supposed to demonstrate that
        *that* was the POV of the editors - given that we could take
        any number of entirely different POV's and do precisely the
        same thing?<<

        Could we? Could you? I would say it would be very difficult
        to interpret the terminology employed in Thomas in a
        consistent manner like I tried to do using the gnostic
        redeemer myth, but possible. I just chose the myth that
        seemed to be most likely, based on the context in which
        Coptic Thomas was found (among other texts that were clearly
        related to the classic gnostic redeemer myth).

        If Thomas had its origins in a group that followed a form of
        this Hellenistic myth of the soul, then I would expect it to
        contain some technical terms used by that myth, but what
        about the form Thomas took in its Coptic translation as
        found at Nag Hammadi? We know changes were made (or at the
        very least the tradition diverged in the course of its
        literary development) by comparing the Greek fragments with
        the Coptic version. I assumed, for the sake of
        investigation, that the Coptic Thomas, found among classic
        gnostic texts, was edited an edited version of the original
        Thomas in order to make it conform to the classic gnostic
        myth.

        >>Furthermore, what would have been the motivation, and
        where do we find a prototype of such literary shenanigans?<<

        I am not so sure I understand what you specifically mean by
        "shenanigans" (i.e., do you mean "What critics interpret
        Thomas in such an obviously incorrect way?" or "Where else
        do we have cases of documents that overtly mean almost the
        exact opposite to their overt meanings?")? Saying one thing
        and meaning another is called Irony, and has been a standard
        rhetorical technique since Aristotle.

        Respectfully,

        Dave Hindley
        Cleveland, Ohio, USA
      • Tom Saunders
        Thank you Mike. That clears up the James chronology. Damn the Pharisees and the History Channel, for they have hidden the keys to the Kingdom so that no
        Message 3 of 23 , May 27 12:27 PM
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          Thank you Mike. That clears up the James chronology.

          'Damn the Pharisees and the History Channel, for they have hidden the keys to the Kingdom so that no viewer will find them.'

          On a serious side, the probability that Thomas was written before the death of James (all of them) seems very unlikely. The reference in the GTh to James is like the pro Pauline ideas in the sense that this was a first century rift, or reference to an event that occurred in the early Xian history.

          A later rift is that started by Tertullian against women. This would have occurred around 197 A.D. (+ or -)
          and may be the reason for an addition of saying 114. Tetullian wrote:

          "You are the Devils gateway. You are she who persuaded him who the Devil did not dare attack. Do you not know that everyone of you is an Eve? The sentence of God on your sex lives on in this age: the guilt, of necessity, lives on too."

          As Tertullian later became a Gnostic he may have lived to regret the statement.

          I see all these issues as cause for redaction of Thomas, but they all happen before the year 200 A. D. Does this 'rift theory' of mine have any merit?

          Tom Saunders
          Platter Flats, Ok













          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Grondin
          Hi Dave, ... Exactly the same manner ? I don t think so. Layton extrapolates from what s in gTh about the soul, whereas your revisions of the kingdom sayings
          Message 4 of 23 , May 27 1:23 PM
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            Hi Dave,
            You wrote:
            > ... a "Hellenistic" myth of the soul... is a mythical framework,
            > found more completely outside the document, that is read
            > into it in exactly the same manner as I did with the gnostic
            > redeemer myth.

            "Exactly the same manner"? I don't think so. Layton extrapolates from what's
            in gTh about the soul, whereas your revisions of the kingdom sayings don't
            appear to have any basis at all within the text itself. There's nothing to
            indicate two kingdoms or two "fathers". As Layton writes:

            "... the Thomas literature shows no unmistakable signs of being Valentinian
            or classically gnostic. Instead, it presupposes only an uncomplicated
            Hellenistic myth of the divine origins of the self; conceives of god as
            UNITARY; does not discuss the alleged error of wisdom; puts no stress on
            revisionistic retelling of the myth of Genesis; and does NOT teach about an
            ignorant maker of the world." (_The Gnostic Scriptures_, p.360, emphasis
            mine)

            > ... what about the form Thomas took in its Coptic translation as
            > found at Nag Hammadi? We know changes were made (or at the
            > very least the tradition diverged in the course of its
            > literary development) by comparing the Greek fragments with
            > the Coptic version. I assumed, for the sake of investigation,
            > that the Coptic Thomas, found among classic gnostic texts,
            > was ... an edited version of the original Thomas in order to make
            > it conform to the classic gnostic myth.

            But you admit that it didn't conform, even as amended. That's the whole
            basis of your assumption that it means something radically different from
            what it says. Furthermore, none of the revisions that we have in view from
            the Greek to the Coptic seem to support your working hypothesis that the
            purpose of the redaction was to make it "conform to the classic gnostic
            myth".

            > ... what would have been the motivation, and
            > where do we find a prototype of such literary shenanigans?
            [Dave]:
            > I am not so sure I understand what you specifically mean by
            > "shenanigans" (i.e., do you mean "What critics interpret
            > Thomas in such an obviously incorrect way?" or "Where else
            > do we have cases of documents that overtly mean almost the
            > exact opposite to their overt meanings?")? Saying one thing
            > and meaning another is called Irony, and has been a standard
            > rhetorical technique since Aristotle.

            Sure, and we have works of satire,etc. But these are all, to the best of my
            knowledge, plays or narrative works. And there are indications galore within
            such works that that's what they are. But I'm not aware of any prototype for
            Thomas as you envision it, nor of any motivation for such an additional
            obscurity of meaning as it necessitated by this view.

            Mike Grondin
          • David C. Hindley
            Mike, ... extrapolates from what s in gTh about the soul, whereas your revisions of the kingdom sayings don t appear to have any basis at all within the text
            Message 5 of 23 , May 27 7:17 PM
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              Mike,

              >>"Exactly the same manner"? I don't think so. Layton
              extrapolates from what's in gTh about the soul, whereas your
              revisions of the kingdom sayings don't appear to have any
              basis at all within the text itself. There's nothing to
              indicate two kingdoms or two "fathers".<<

              Well, let's go back to your objection to the way I
              interpreted GoT 3:

              >>Here, the ancient reader is supposed to have ascertained
              that the author is using the word 'kingdom' in two different
              ways in the same saying, and that, midway in the saying, he
              suddenly and without warning switches from one to the other!
              No one could possibly understand such verbal duplicity
              unless there were some signal that that's what was going on,
              but there's no such signal.<<

              Look again. Assuming "Kingdom" has no gnostic connotations:

              3a) Jesus said, "If those who lead you say, 'See, the
              Kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will
              precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then
              the fish will precede you. 3b) RATHER, the Kingdom is inside
              of you, and it is outside of you." <emphasis mine>

              There is a transition in definition of what Kingdom means
              here. "Those" people suggesting a kingdom in the sky or in
              the sea are certainly thinking of some sort of material
              kingdom that will impose itself on the world. Yes? If not,
              what? A Kingdom that is inside as well as outside of
              yourself is no ordinary material kingdom. The text, at very
              minimum must be talking about two different kinds of
              kingdoms.

              3c "When you come to know yourselves, then you will become
              known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons
              of the living Father. 3d) But if you will not know
              yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that
              poverty."

              So, by coming to know oneself one realizes that he is a son
              of the living Father, and this all somehow relates to how
              some kind of kingdom is both inside you and outside of you.
              "Inside you" I can understand as a function of knowing
              oneself. "Outside you" evidently relates to the state in
              which you dwell, the implication being that knowing oneself
              on the inside equates metaphorically with living a full
              life, and not knowing oneself equates metaphorically with
              living in poverty. The contrast, then, is in two entirely
              different kingdoms: one inside of you and another one in
              which you physically dwell.

              I'll concede then that my suggestion that "outside you"
              referred to "outside the world of your sense perceptions,
              that is, it is based on a world of pure ideas" was clearly
              not correct.

              >>"... the Thomas literature shows no unmistakable signs of
              being Valentinian or classically gnostic. Instead, it
              presupposes only an uncomplicated Hellenistic myth of the
              divine origins of the self; conceives of god as UNITARY;
              does not discuss the alleged error of wisdom; puts no stress
              on
              revisionistic retelling of the myth of Genesis; and does NOT
              teach about an ignorant maker of the world." (_The Gnostic
              Scriptures_, p.360, emphasis mine)<<

              I'll have to both agree and disagree with Layton. Yes, no
              "unmistakable" signs, which I would say means clear cut
              classical-gnostic technical terminology, but where should
              that line really get drawn? Does it necessarily have to be
              stated in technical terms, or can it be implied?

              I'd say that "god" (by which I take Layton to mean "Father")
              is indeed described differently in various places in GoT.

              3 the living Father* know yourselves
              15 your Father worship one who was not born of woman
              27 the Father If you do not ... will not find the Kingdom
              or see
              40 the Father grapevine ... planted outside of ...
              destroyed
              44 the Father blasphemes against
              50 the Living Father* we are the elect of
              53 their father beget them already circumcised
              57 the Father The Kingdom of (enemy sowed weeds)
              61 my Father* given some of the things of (undividedness)
              64 My Father* merchants will not enter the Places of
              69 the Father they who have truly come to know
              76 the Father The kingdom of (a shrewd merchant)
              79 the Father who have heard the word of ...
              83 the Father image ... concealed in ... the light of
              96 the Father The Kingdom of (leaven)
              97 the Father The Kingdom of (an empty jar)
              98 the Father The Kingdom of (a man who wanted to kill)
              99 My Father* Those who do the will of are mothers,
              brothers, etc
              113 the Father the Kingdom of (spread out but nobody sees)

              If you look at these, the passages marked with asterisks are
              much different in nature than those which are not. It is a
              contrast between "my Father" or "the Living Father" versus
              "the (plain old) Father" or once "their father" (with regard
              to circumcision).

              But even if I am completely wrong, what is this about
              worshipping one not born of women? Or destroying
              unauthorized grapevines? Or blasphemy (against whom, and
              what could have possibly been said)? Or sowing weeds? The
              list goes on and on ... What have these things to do with an
              underlying Hellenistic myth about the divine soul? I'm
              sorry, it is a "key" that does not by itself seem to unlock
              much.

              At the very least, are we not dealing with an external,
              physical kingdom ruled by "the Father" contrasted with an
              internal, spiritual (I hate that term) kingdom ruled by "my
              (Jesus') Father"? That is not dualistic? Is that not
              something a classical gnostic could take and run with to use
              as support for his own myth? Or had not someone already done
              so by the time of the Coptic version of Nag Hammadi? I'm
              kind of inclined to think ... yes.

              Respectfully,

              Dave Hindley
              Cleveland, Ohio, USA
            • Grondin
              ... In a way, yes. Or rather, it s talking about two different _concepts_ of the kingdom . It doesn t grant, however, that the material concept to which it s
              Message 6 of 23 , May 27 9:50 PM
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                Dave Hindley wrote:
                > There is a transition in definition of what Kingdom means
                > here. "Those" people suggesting a kingdom in the sky or in
                > the sea are certainly thinking of some sort of material
                > kingdom that will impose itself on the world. Yes? If not,
                > what? A Kingdom that is inside as well as outside of
                > yourself is no ordinary material kingdom. The text, at very
                > minimum must be talking about two different kinds of
                > kingdoms.

                In a way, yes. Or rather, it's talking about two different _concepts_ of
                "the kingdom". It doesn't grant, however, that the material concept to which
                it's opposed is either real or entitled to the honorific title "the
                kingdom". It entertains the possibility of a material kingdom only for the
                purpose of rejecting it, but it assumes throughout that there is one and
                only one kingdom under consideration - namely, the one involved in all that
                Xian kingdom talk. I don't quite know how to say this, but it's a comparison
                of two different concepts of the same thing, not of two different things.
                (The reasoning can't be, I think, "X is not in the sky, rather Y is inside
                you", it must be "X is not in the sky, rather X is inside you.")

                > 3c "When you come to know yourselves, then you will become
                > known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons
                > of the living Father. 3d) But if you will not know
                > yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that
                > poverty."
                >
                > So, by coming to know oneself one realizes that he is a son
                > of the living Father, and this all somehow relates to how
                > some kind of kingdom is both inside you and outside of you.
                > "Inside you" I can understand as a function of knowing
                > oneself. "Outside you" evidently relates to the state in
                > which you dwell, the implication being that knowing oneself
                > on the inside equates metaphorically with living a full
                > life, and not knowing oneself equates metaphorically with
                > living in poverty. The contrast, then, is in two entirely
                > different kingdoms: one inside of you and another one in
                > which you physically dwell.

                OK, but the environment in which one physically dwelt wasn't taken by _any_
                Xian to be "the kingdom of God", so this is different from the material
                concept of "the kingdom" in Th3 - which is supposed to be something that
                hasn't arrived yet, or which is located elsewhere than where the reader
                dwells.

                > I'll have to both agree and disagree with Layton. Yes, no
                > "unmistakable" signs, which I would say means clear cut
                > classical-gnostic technical terminology, but where should
                > that line really get drawn? Does it necessarily have to be
                > stated in technical terms, or can it be implied?

                I guess this is a rhetorical question, but I'll respond to it anyway. Two
                things: first, the implication has to be clear, and second, there must be
                some plausible hypothesis for a group of gnostics hiding their true
                doctrines in this rather unusual way.

                > I'd say that "god" (by which I take Layton to mean "Father")
                > is indeed described differently in various places in GoT.
                > ... (examples deleted)
                > If you look at these, the passages marked with asterisks are
                > much different in nature than those which are not. It is a
                > contrast between "my Father" or "the Living Father" versus
                > "the (plain old) Father" or once "their father" (with regard
                > to circumcision).

                Well, since the spokesman in most sayings is "the Living Jesus", it seems
                likely that his "my Father" would be "the Living Father". "Their father"
                does seem to present difficulties, but it doesn't suggest that "their
                father" is the demiurgic creator/maker of everything. It may be simply that
                "their father" is not the real "Father" (as in Hebrew scriptures, the gods
                of other nations are not the "real" God). Leaving aside that one saying,
                however, can you draw a distinct line between what is written about "the
                Father" and what is written about "my Father"/"the Living Father"?

                > But even if I am completely wrong, what is this about
                > worshipping one not born of women? Or destroying
                > unauthorized grapevines? Or blasphemy (against whom, and
                > what could have possibly been said)? Or sowing weeds? The
                > list goes on and on ... What have these things to do with an
                > underlying Hellenistic myth about the divine soul? I'm
                > sorry, it is a "key" that does not by itself seem to unlock
                > much.

                I agree, but of course Layton didn't claim that it unlocked every door.

                > At the very least, are we not dealing with an external,
                > physical kingdom ruled by "the Father" contrasted with an
                > internal, spiritual (I hate that term) kingdom ruled by "my
                > (Jesus') Father"?

                I don't think so. I don't see any evidence of "an external, physical
                kingdom". What there may be evidence of is an opposing belief in an external
                _spiritual_ kingdom that one could get to only through physical death (or
                thru the second coming). Some of GThom's opponents may have understood "My
                kingdom is not of this world" in that way.

                Regards,
                Mike (Grondin)
              • Michael Mozina
                Luke 17:20: And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with
                Message 7 of 23 , Jun 3, 2002
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                  Luke 17:20: And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of
                  God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not
                  with observation:
                  21: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom
                  of God is within you.

                  Why is it always assumed that this notion of the Kingdom being found within
                  is a purely Gnostic idea when Luke also records this same concept? Was
                  Jesus gnostic in that way? How are we defining gnostic concepts?
                • Rick Hubbard
                  Jesus gnostic in that way? How are we defining gnostic concepts? Indeed! How ARE we defining gnostic concepts? Responses are encouraged. RH
                  Message 8 of 23 , Jun 4, 2002
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                    Jesus gnostic in that way? How are we defining gnostic concepts?

                    Indeed! How ARE "we" defining gnostic concepts?

                    Responses are encouraged.

                    RH
                  • Jim Bauer
                    ... From: Rick Hubbard To: Sent: Tuesday, June 04, 2002 8:21 AM Subject: RE: RE: [GTh] Dating evidence ...
                    Message 9 of 23 , Jun 5, 2002
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                      ----- Original Message -----
                      From: "Rick Hubbard" <rhubbard@...>
                      To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
                      Sent: Tuesday, June 04, 2002 8:21 AM
                      Subject: RE: RE: [GTh] Dating evidence


                      > Jesus gnostic in that way? How are we defining gnostic concepts?
                      >
                      > Indeed! How ARE "we" defining gnostic concepts?
                      >
                      > Responses are encouraged.

                      I like to define Gnostic as 1) the God beyond God (which is actually one of
                      Jewish theologian Martin Buber's terms), 2) the Made Maker and 3) the
                      Redeemed Redeemer.

                      Jim Bauer
                    • Jack Kilmon
                      ... From: Jim Bauer To: Sent: Wednesday, June 05, 2002 11:11 AM Subject: Re: RE: [GTh] Dating evidence ... of
                      Message 10 of 23 , Jun 5, 2002
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                        ----- Original Message -----
                        From: "Jim Bauer" <jbauer@...>
                        To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
                        Sent: Wednesday, June 05, 2002 11:11 AM
                        Subject: Re: RE: [GTh] Dating evidence


                        >
                        > ----- Original Message -----
                        > From: "Rick Hubbard" <rhubbard@...>
                        > To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
                        > Sent: Tuesday, June 04, 2002 8:21 AM
                        > Subject: RE: RE: [GTh] Dating evidence
                        >
                        >
                        > > Jesus gnostic in that way? How are we defining gnostic concepts?
                        > >
                        > > Indeed! How ARE "we" defining gnostic concepts?
                        > >
                        > > Responses are encouraged.
                        >
                        > I like to define Gnostic as 1) the God beyond God (which is actually one
                        of
                        > Jewish theologian Martin Buber's terms), 2) the Made Maker and 3) the
                        > Redeemed Redeemer.

                        In the embryonic stages of gnosticism. it would be unthinkable to suggest
                        that the Old Testament was less than historical. Everything from the
                        talking snake and jackass and the little man bobbing about with the entire
                        earthy land fauna. The books depict a sulking, petty, vindictive creator
                        demanding praise and worship and being pissed off if he doesn't get it. His
                        favorite people in the books get to break every one of the 10 rules he is
                        supposed to have written in stone. They commit incest, murder, genocide and
                        child sacrifice. How then could this disparity of behavior be explained?
                        The Gnostic decided that the Bible depicted a lesser god of less than good
                        character who created everything material and the "Big Guy" was of the
                        spirit and was the "good guy." Since the bad guy made us, we could only
                        join the "good guy" in the spirit world if we had the secret recipe.

                        Hey, sounds reasonable to me. <g>

                        Jack
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