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Re: [GTh] Thomas Tradition and Tyre IV

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  • fmmccoy
    INTRODUCTION This is the fourth in a series of nine posts in which it is argued that there are three strata in GTh and they provide us with information on the
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 2, 2002
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      INTRODUCTION

      This is the fourth in a series of nine posts in which it is argued that
      there are three strata in GTh and they provide us with information on the
      Thomas church: its locataion, history, sociological make-up, and beliefs.

      In this post, the relative dating of the three strata (the first of whcih
      consists of Proto-Thomas, the second of which consists of Pre-Thomas, and
      the third of which consists of the late strata) is made.

      RELATIVE DATING: PART I

      If the proposed relative chronology of: (1) Proto-Thomas, (2) Pre-Thomas,
      and (3) the final strata in GTh is correct, then there should be evidence
      that (1) the units in Proto-Thomas, on the average, are earlier than the
      units in Pre-Thomas and that (2) the units in Pre-Thomas, on the average,
      are earlier than the units in the final strata in GTh.

      Indeed, such is the case.

      For example, let us take the Jesus Seminar's grading of the sayings in GTh
      as recorded in their The Five Gospels--where grades range from black (almost
      certainly not genuine) to red (almost certainly genuine).

      It will be assumed that sayings of Jesus they designate as wholly black (to
      be referred to as B sayings) will, on average, be later in origin than
      sayings they designate to be wholly or in part either pink or red (to be
      referred to as P sayings).

      Of the 43 units in the proposed Proto-Thomas, there are 26 that contain P
      sayings (2, 5, 6, 9, 10, 31, 32, 33, 35, 36, 39, 41, 45, 47, 62, 63, 64, 65,
      89, 92, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99) and 6 that contain B sayings (7, 37, 38,
      43, 44, 90)

      Of the 36 units in the proposed Pre-Thomas, there are 23 that contain B
      sayings (1, 27, 28, 29, 30, 53, 56, 58, 59, 60, 66, 67, 69, 70, 71, 73, 74,
      75, 77, 105, 108, 110, 111) and 6 that contain P sayings (26, 54, 69, 76,
      78, 109).

      Of the 35 units in the remaining material, there are 24 that contain B
      sayings (11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 23, 49, 50, 51, 52, 80, 83, 84, 85,
      87, 88, 101, 102, 104, 112, 114) and 5 that contain P sayings (14, 20, 86,
      100, 113).

      This evidence suggests that Proto-Thomas is much earlier in composition than
      Pre-Thomas (26P vs. 6P and 6B vs. 23B), but that Pre-Thomas is only slightly
      earlier in composition than the latest strata material in GTh (6P vs. 5P and
      23B vs. 24B)..

      RELATIVE DATING: PART II

      In "The Rhetoric of Marginality: Apocalypticism, Gnosticism, and Sayings
      Gospels" (Harvard Theological Review, 88:4, 1995), Bill Arnal postulates the
      existence of two stratum in GTh. The earlier (see p. 478) is "the sapiential
      stratum" and it includes GTh 3. 5. 6. 9. 14. 16. 20. 26. 31, 32, 34-36, 42,
      45, 47, 54, 55, 57, 63-65, 71, 74, 76, 89, 95-98, 107, 109, and 110. The
      later (see p.479) is "the gnostic-leaning stratum" and it includes Gth 11,
      13, 15, 18, 21-22, 27-28, 49-50, 51, 60, 61, 83, 84, 101, 105, 108, 11, and
      114.

      In the proposed Proto-Thomas, there are 20 Sapiential sayings (3, 5, 6, 9,
      31, 32, 34, 35, 36, 42, 45, 47, 63, 64, 65, 89, 95, 96, 97, 98) and one
      Gnostic-leaning saying (61).

      In the proposed Pre-Thomas, there are 6 Gnostic-leaning sayings (27, 28, 60,
      105, 108, 111) and 10 Sapiential sayings (26, 54, 55, 57, 71, 74,76, 107,
      109, 110).

      In the remaining material, there are 13 Gnostic-leaning sayings (11, 13, 15,
      18, 21, 22, 49, 50, 51, 83, 84, 101, 114) and 4 Sapiential sayings (14, 16,
      20, 86).

      This evidence indicates that Proto-Thomas is much earlier than Pre-Thomas
      (20S vs. 10S and 1G vs. 6G).

      This evidence indicates that Pre-Thomas, in turn, is substantially earlier
      that the latest strata of material in GTh (10S vs. 4S and 6G vs. 13G).

      RELATIVE DATING: PART III

      In "The Original Gospel of Thomas" (Vigiliae Christianae, LVI: 2, 2002, pp.
      167-199), A. D. DeConick postulates that there was an early edition of GTh
      he calls the kernel gospel.

      Of the 114 units in GTh, he suggests that 60 were wholly present in the
      postulated kernel gospel. Of these 60, 34 are present in the postulated
      Proto-Thomas (2, 5, 8, 9, 10, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 39, 40, 41, 42, 44,
      45, 46, 47, 48, 62, 63, 65, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99)

      Of these 60, 17 are present in Pre-Thomas (25, 26, 30, 54, 55, 57, 58, 66,
      71, 72, 73, 74, 76, 78, 79, 107, 109).

      Of these 60, 9 are present in the latest strata in GTh (15, 17, 20, 81, 82,
      86, 102, 103, 104).

      Of the 114 units in GTh, he suggests that 16 were partially present in the
      postulated kernel gospel. Of these 16, five are present in the postulated
      Proto-Thomas (4, 6, 38, 61, 64)

      Of these 16, 4 are present in Pre-Thomas (60,
      68, 69, 100, 111).

      Of these 16, 7 are present in the latest strata of GTh (11, 14, 16, 21, 23,
      24, 100).

      Of the 114 units in GTh, he suggests that 38 were completely absent from the
      postulated kernel gospel. Of these 38, four are in the postulated
      Proto-Thomas (3, 7, 37, 43)

      Of the 38, 15 are present in Pre-Thomas (1, 27, 28, 29, 53, 56, 59, 67, 70,
      75, 77, 105, 106, 108, 110).

      Of the 38, 19 are present in the latest strata of GTh (12, 13, 18, 19, 22,
      49, 50, 51, 52, 80, 83, 84, 85, 87, 88, 101,112, 113, 114).

      The evidence he presents for the existence of the postulated kernel gospel
      is quite weak. In particular, he fails to demonstrate that this kernel
      gospel has any internal organization to it.

      Still, I think it likely that the units in his proposed kernel gospel are,
      on the average, of earlier origin than the other units in GTh,

      For example, he (p. 198) states, "Second, just over fifty percent of the
      sayings in the kernel gospel are paralleled in Q. Not even one saying with
      a Q parallel, however, can be found in the later layers. This also cannot
      be a coincidence. It suggests to me that the sayings in the kernel gospel
      of Thomas are some of the oldest witnesses to the Jesus traditions.
      Additionally, my initial analysis of the kernel gospel seems to indicate
      that neither Q nor the kernel Thomas were literarily dependent upon the
      other."

      On the premise that, on the average, the units wholly present in the
      postulated kernel gospel are earlier than those completely absent from the
      postulated kernel gospel, then Proto-Thomas is much earlier than Pre-Thomas
      (34K vs. 17K and 4L vs. 15L), and Pre-Thomas, in turn, is somewhat earlier
      than the last strata in GTh (17K vs 9K and 15L vs. 19L)..

      (Note: The greatest number of units that partially come from the Kernel
      gospel are found in the latest strata of GTh (7 as compared to the 5 to be
      found in Proto-Thomas and the 4 to be found in Pre-Thomas). This, ISTM, is
      an indication that there was considerable editorial activity in the latest
      strata of GTh, with late additions being made to earlier material..

      RELATIVE DATING: SUMMARY

      The proposed relative chronology of: (1) Proto-Thomas, (2) Pre-Thomas,
      and (3) the final strata in GTh, is supported by the evidence, which
      suggests that (1) the units in Proto-Thomas, on the average, are earlier
      than the units in Pre-Thomas and that (2) the units in Pre-Thomas, on the
      average, are earlier than the units in the final strata in GTh.

      This evidence is more dramatic for Proto-Thomas in comparison to Pre-Thomas
      than it is for Pre-Thomas in comparison to the final strata in GTh. This
      suggests that there was a greater time-lag between the writing of
      Proto-Thomas and Pre-Thomas than there was between the writing of Pre-Thomas
      and the writing of GTh.

      (Continued in post V of a IX post series)

      Frank McCoy
      1809 N. English Apt. 17
      Maplewood, MN USA 55109
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