> AS I recall Steven Davies Makes an Argument for MArkan Dependance.( From
> Thomas)Although I admit it has been a couple of Months since I read
> believe It was/is On line) at his site.
> Not all of Mark certainly but a certain Markan Dependencies. Therefore
> there are any Markan dependence on Thomas (Or the Common source of the
> Thomasine sayings) This then would satisfy the order you suggest.(
> if not specifically)
> In the case where a Dependence of Mark (Or sections thereof) Might be
> it would indicate to me that a section/s of Thomas Precede Mark, followed
> This of course would not rule out the fact that they were based upon a
> Gospel/Sayings list Like Unto the Ta Loggia, or even Q source, or yet
> unidentified source..nor rule out the fact that the dependant sections
> Pre Mark (Later assembled into the Gospel itself)
Dear John Moon:
I hear you! Even when dependencies can be established, the vectors of the
dependencies are *extremely* difficult to establish. The relationships
between the three Synoptic gospels are a good example. While most scholars
hold to Markan priority, an argument can be (and has been) made that Mark
knew both GLuke and GMatthew!
When one throws in postulated now lost gospels and/or lists, the scenarios
get more and more snarley and increasingly speculative
> Certainly I have never seen a discrepancy in thinking that "Parts" of
> Thomas precede both Mark and Matthew, and was most probably from a Common
> source. or sayings list. The Absence of Narrative, the more primitive
> lack of the Passion and Cross narratives. Either earlier or assembled
I would be cautious about thinking that a sayings gospel is earlier than a
narrative gospel with a passion narrative because of its allegedly
I suspect that the GTh and Q (if it existed) and any of their possible
predecessors had their origin in the greater Galilean area, including
Phoenicia and the region around Caesarea Philippi. The people in this
region, I suspect, only knew Jesus as someone who had an impressive message,
full of wisdom, that he delivered with authority. Further, to them, Jesus
had appeared to be, in some sense, a Son of God.
I further suspect that he did not say anything publicly in Galilee about
having to die in Jerusalem. Indeed, I suspect, Mark's motif of the
Messianic secret is intended to be an explanation for this situation. As a
result, the people in the greater Galilean area put no special significance
on his death.
So, the literature they produced focuses on the sayings of Jesus and
portrays him as being bringing a message full of wisdom and as being, in
some sense, a Son of God.
I suspect that at least the first couple narrative gospels had their origin
in the greater Judean area, including Perea and Idumaea. What these people
knew most about Jesus was his last week in Jerusalem and any earlier trips
he might have made to Jerusalem for feasts. So, they focus a substantial
amount of their gospels on the final week of Jesus in Jerusalem and (in the
case of GJohn) earlier visits to Jerusalem. Two of them even try to connect
the birth of Jesus with Judea by having him born in Bethlehem. Having been
traumatized by the crucifixion of Jesus, and exhilarated by reports of his
resurrection, they attached great meaning and significance to his passion
and ensuing events. These could be reported only in narrative format, so it
was decided to issue these gospels in a narrative format..
Therefore, I suspect, the differences between the sayings gospels and the
narrative gospels might more closely reflect a greater Galilean vs. greater
Judean division that an earlier vs. later division.
> Saying 114 could be a Pauline Statement referring to the
> Admonition that there is No male nor Female in Jesus Christ/Redacted and
> conflated into a dialog between Jesus, Peter, and Mary.
> But then there is the unsettling possibility that it is the
> way around? Paul read the saying and clarified its meaning in his Letters?
> The proof has not been shown to my satisfaction (And perhaps
> others) That Thomas is Dependent on Matthew or Mark.
> It would seem all that has been shown is that it is Either
> dependent on Matthew/Mark or, That Matthew and Mark contains elements of
> Thomas (And or Its Common source).
> Just as it might be either dependent on Paul, or Paul
> elements of Thomas. There is not enough evidence to prove the absolute
John, you raise another good point here. That is, while there is some
relationship between Pauline thought (especially as expressed in the
Corinthian correspondence) and thought in GTh, and while it is usually
assumed that it is Pauline thought that influenced GTh thought, it might
actually be that it was GTh thought that influenced Pauline thought!
How might Paul have been influenced by GTh thought?
Well, since the strongest Pauline parallels to GTh thought appear to occur
in the Corinthian correspondence, one possibility is that the Corinthian
Church was in communication with the Thomas community, with the Thomas
community influencing some of the members of the Corinthian Church and with
these particular members of the Corinthian Church, in turn, influencing
That it to say, it might be that there was a group of people in the
Corinthian Church who acted as mediators between the Thomas community and
Paul: with Paul being indirectly influenced by GTh thought through the
mediation of this group of Corinthians.
In this respect, it is noteworthy that the most Gnostic-like group at the
Corinthian Church had apparently been a group called the "strong" by Paul.
In The Social Setting of Pauline Christiianity: Essays on Corinth
(translated from German by John H. Shutz), Gerd Theissen (p. 132) thusly
speaks about the "strong" at Corinth, "The strong base their position on
their 'gnosis.' Paul seems to take up some of their arguments. 'All of us
possess knowledge' ([I Cor.] 8:1), 'an idol has no real existence....there
is no God but one' (8:4), 'all things are lawful' (10:23). The idea of the
'weak conscience' (8:7, 10, 12) may have come from them, as well as the
argument that 'food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food'
(6:13). Unmistakable in all these arguments is the determination to
surmount obsolete religious restrictions through 'knowledge.' Even if the
speculative fancies of later Gnostics cannot be imputed to the Corinthian
'gnostics,' as they certainly cannot, neither can the parallels between the
two be ignored. For a comparable 'liberal' position on meat sacrificed to
idols the only analogies within Chritianity come from Gnostic groups,..."
Further, it appears that the"strong" were upper class Corinthians.
Gerd Theissen (p. 138) states, "All of our observations, about forms
of eating, sociability, legitimation, and communication, point to the fact
that the strong probably belong to the few who are 'wise...powerful...and of
noble birth' (1:26)."
One of the observations he refers to is this (p.131), "There may have been
only a few powerful and well-born in Corinth (1:26), but it is among them
that we ought to look for those 'gnostics' who, in their contacts with the
pagan world, neither could nor did take much notice of their poorer
Christian brother's scruples."
Another of these observations is this (p.137), "Paul is told of the problems
by a congretational letter which clearly is formulated from the standpoint
of the strong. Other opinions are not reflected in the catch phrase 'all of
us possess knowledge' (8:1) leaving little room for that. The authors write
in the conviction that they can represent the community. They comprise the
leading circles. Paul is thus informed on the basis of a perspective 'from
above,' It is scarcely an accident that in contrast to this he receives
oral information (1:11; 11:18) about problems within the Corinthian
community which see things from below (1:26ff.; 11:20ff.)."
So, to conclude, there is evidence to think that the strong at Corinth came
from the uppermost strata of Corinthian society: with them being literate
and educated, politically powerful, and of noble birth. Further, it appears
that they were the leaders of the Corinthian Church.
So, what I am suggesting is that there was a group of upper class Gentiles
leading the Corinthian Church who, because of their gnostic-like tendencies,
might have been in contact with the Thomas community. Or, to be more
precise, might have been incontact with their peers in the Thomas
community--for I think it unlikely that they would have been carrying on a
dialogue with social inferiors in the Thomas community.
Indeed, as I have pointed out in some earlier posts, there is evidence that
the the Thomas community was led by a group of upper class Gentiles and that
these upper class Gentiles were responsible for the postulated
Proto-Thomas. Further, this postulated Proto-Thomas has some affinities in
thought with the thought of the "strong" at Corinth. In particular, it has
some units with a Gnostic "tinge" to them (e.g., 2, 7, and 61-62) and one
unit (i.e., 6) where dietary restictions are eliminated.
Possibly, then, the upper class Gentiles leading the Thomas community were
in communication with the upper class Gentiles leading the Corinthian
Church. This is especially likely if the Thomas community was located at
the port city of Tyre--for the easiest communication with the Corinthian
Church by the Thomas community (assuming that the Thomas community was not
near Corinth) would have been by sea; for Corinth was only a few miles from
the major port of Cenchreae.
In this case, then, there was a flow of thought from the upper class
Gentile Christians leading the Thomas community (located at Tyre?) to the
upper class Christian Gentiles leading the Corinthian Church to Paul.
So, John, I agree with you that we must be careful not to simply assume that
it was Pauline thought that influenced GTh thought rather than it was GTh
thought that influenced Pauline thought. Instead, we need to carefully
evaluate all the evidence--for at least some of it is consistent with the
hypothesis that GTh thought indirectly influenced Pauline thought through
the intermediary means of the "strong" at Corinth.
1809 N. English Apt. 17
Maplewood, MN USA 55109
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