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Re: [GTh] Proto-Thomas

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  • klaus schilling
    ... What prevents monachs from nearby monastry Chenoboskion from having translated and bound all the NHL stuff and some other coptic heretic manuscripts found
    Message 1 of 12 , Oct 31, 2002
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      Jim Bauer writes:
      > the book it seems plausible there may be others. The NHL community may
      > very well have had a Neoplatonist bias, if they were translating Plato.

      What prevents monachs from nearby monastry Chenoboskion from having
      translated and bound all the NHL stuff and some other coptic heretic
      manuscripts found not far from there a few centuries ago?

      Klaus Schilling
    • Grondin
      ... result, ... in ... of ... Hi Frank- While you and I are on separate paths, I would like to second this suggestion that the GThomists saw Jesus as a
      Message 2 of 12 , Nov 2, 2002
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        [Frank McCoy]:
        > What I suspect is that the Thomas community viewed Jesus as having been a
        > hierophant, revealing, to those close to him, holy mysteries. As a
        result,
        > I suspect, they weren't interested in his birth, they weren't interested
        in
        > his itinerary during the ministry period, they weren't interested in any
        of
        > his alleged miracles, they weren't interested in his death, etc., etc..
        > Rather, all they were interested in were his sayings.

        Hi Frank-

        While you and I are on separate paths, I would like to second this
        suggestion that the GThomists saw Jesus as a hierophant, and to tie together
        several sayings as a bundle of reasons for thinking so. I think that several
        interpretational quandries may draw closer to solution in the process.

        First, I want to draw some connections between #43 and #13, which is not
        often done. Thom 43 talks about the disciples having become "like those
        Jews" (or "like those Judaeans"), in that they either love the tree and hate
        (or ignore) its fruit, or love the fruit and hate (or ignore) the tree. In
        Thom 13, we are presented with the alleged views of two purported "Jews" -
        Matthew and Peter. Matthew is made to say that Jesus is like a wise
        philosopher, and in so doing it seems that he is being made to express a
        love for the "fruit" of Jesus (i.e., his wise sayings), but an ignoring of
        the presumed divine nature of the "tree" (Jesus) itself. On the other hand,
        Peter is made to say that Jesus is like a "righteous" (DIKAIOS) angel (or
        messenger), thereby seemingly being made to express a love for the "tree",
        but an ignoring of its "fruits". Thomas is thus positioning itself in
        opposition to these two alleged Jewish views of Jesus. It seems to regard
        itself as a third force that incorporates a portion of (but not the whole
        of) the other two views. Jesus is wise, as Matthew says, but his wisdom is
        divine wisdom, not the practical or earthly wisdom of a human philosopher.
        Peter is right to regard Jesus is a messenger from heaven, but he's wrong to
        think of him as "righteous" in the sense of either or both (1) being an
        advocate of Jewish Law and (2) bringing punishment for sinners.

        Now then, I have to confront some seemingly contradictory evidence. Peter's
        statement in 13 echoes the title of Jacob contained in 12. The word DIKAIOS
        is used only twice in GThom - in 12 and 13. While #12 must be regarded as a
        commendation of Jacob, the fact that Peter is clearly supposed to be wrong
        in #13 must be taken, I think, to indicate that "righteousness" is _not_ to
        be considered a divine quality of Jesus, in the final judgment of the
        authors. A host of GThom sayings attests to that. So what about #12? I want
        to suggest that it's a "weed" sown by "his enemy" among the "good seed", and
        that it is the one who will "die" between the "two resting on a bed" (in
        this case, 12 & 13, with the word DIKAIOS serving to conjoin the two). As
        may be seen, this analysis reeks of my self-referential puzzle theory, but
        there's no help for that - it has too much explanatory power to ignore. In
        this case, it explains why Jacob's views (as presumably echoed by Peter) are
        only partially correct, even though he's praised in #12. GThom is seemingly
        aware of the claims that both Peter and Jacob saw the risen Jesus, and thus
        that they have the status of important "witnesses" to J's divine nature (as
        opposed to Matthew), but the text seems to criticize them for expecting him
        to return to earth in a fiery (and righteous) apocalypse - and for
        suggesting that the kingdom may not be here and now. Thus, GThom may be seen
        as intermediary between the hypothetical non-narrative (and non-apocalyptic)
        logia attributed to Matthew by Papias, and the narrative (and apocalyptic)
        canonical view (which I do not presume to have been fully developed at the
        time of origin of GThom, BTW).

        Mike Grondin
        The Coptic Gospel of Thomas, saying-by-saying
        http://www.geocities.com/mwgrondin/sayings.htm
      • Grondin
        ... non-apocalyptic) ... Let me spell this out a little more. I believe that the original GThomists were responding to two texts that they had before them -
        Message 3 of 12 , Nov 2, 2002
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          > ... GThom may be seen
          > as intermediary between the hypothetical non-narrative (and
          non-apocalyptic)
          > logia attributed to Matthew by Papias, and the narrative (and apocalyptic)
          > canonical view (which I do not presume to have been fully developed at the
          > time of origin of GThom, BTW).

          Let me spell this out a little more. I believe that the original GThomists
          were responding to two texts that they had before them - the Sayings of the
          Lord according to Matthew, and a version of the Gospel of Peter that
          preceded the canonicals. Presumably, they incorporated material from both
          sources, which explains two things: (1) the mixture of narrative
          ("Matthean") and non-narrative ("Petrine") material, and (2) the parallels
          to later canonical material - caused by the fact that that material was
          itself based on the sources available also to the GThomists. The GThomists
          chose the "Matthean" sayings genre, probably because that was the older one,
          but they incorporated elements of GP that would later show up in the
          canonicals as well.

          Mike Grondin
          Mt. Clemens, MI
        • Grondin
          ... Sorry, I got this backwards. Basically-narrative material would be Petrine and basically-non-narrative would be Matthean . If I may add two hypotheses:
          Message 4 of 12 , Nov 2, 2002
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            > ... the mixture of narrative
            > ("Matthean") and non-narrative ("Petrine") material ...

            Sorry, I got this backwards. Basically-narrative material would be "Petrine"
            and basically-non-narrative would be "Matthean". If I may add two
            hypotheses: (1) the "Sayings of the Lord according to Matthew" = Q, and (2)
            the later "Gospel of Matthew" was so-named because it incorporated the
            earlier sayings-source attributed to Matthew - and was presumably the first
            to do so. However, it joined that source (in the same way I'm positing that
            GThomas joined two sources) with the narrative of Mark's gospel. This
            hypothetical textual strategy common to GThom and GMatt, to "marry" two
            sources (left-and-right? male-and-female? gentile-and Jewish?), can be seen,
            I think, as a reflection of GThom 33 - "That which you will hear in BOTH
            ears, shout from your housetops!" In other words, "if two [sources] make
            peace with each other in this [textual] house" (in Jewish terms, if there's
            two witnesses), they can "move mountains". (BTW, the second "ear phrase" in
            GTh 33 is _not_ dittography, as Valantasis and others assert. Compare the
            Greek version to see that this cannot be the case.)

            Mike Grondin
            Mt. Clemens, MI
          • fmmccoy
            ... From: Jim Bauer To: Sent: Thursday, October 31, 2002 2:16 AM Subject: Re: [GTh] Proto-Thomas ... It ...
            Message 5 of 12 , Nov 2, 2002
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              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "Jim Bauer" <jbauer@...>
              To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Thursday, October 31, 2002 2:16 AM
              Subject: Re: [GTh] Proto-Thomas


              > But the most important thing about the man, something that started a whole
              > world religion, was the belief that he rose from the dead. No one would
              > have noticed him were these stories not circulating from an early date.
              It
              > would be sort of like, let's say some movement grew up around Martin
              Luther
              > King & will become in the next few centuries a major world religion &
              nobody
              > noticed he was black. For this reason GTh seems more like somebody's
              > notebooks on J's sermons--which might be what you were trying to say about
              > Proto-Thomas & its community--than something highly structure &, at least
              > for me, makes the entire mathematization you propose mere coincidence.

              Hi Jim!

              There is no question but that the type of Christianity found in the New
              Testament, the type of Christianity that has bcome a world religion, is
              anchored in the belief that Jesus rose from the dead and then ascended into
              heaven, from whence he shall return someday. (Just the resurrection from
              the dead would have been insufficient, e.g., the alleged resurrection of
              Lazarus from the dead, even if real, did not make Lazarus worthy of worship
              because he later died).

              Still, there remains the possibility that, in early Christianity, there was
              another type of Christianity that thought of Jesus as a hierophant and/or
              teacher and/or sage and/or heavenly Revealer and that rejected the whole
              idea of a bodily resurrection. Such early Christians would have rejected
              the truthfulness of the claims that Jesus was bodily resurrected from the
              dead and would have treasured the sayings attributed to Jesus.

              Evidence for just such a variety of early Christianity is found not only in
              GTh but, if it is real, also the postulated Q.

              Certainly, if what Jesus said was highly esteemed even when he was still
              alive, then some notebooks of his sayings might have been made, even before
              his death, by some of his followers and later incorporated into GTh and/or Q
              and/or antecedents of them like the postulated Proto-Thomas.

              (Jim)
              > Also, how often in your scheme do you suggest Thomas was redacted? ISTM
              > that, even if the Proto-Thomas community wasn't interested in anything but
              > his sayings, later writers would have tampered with it & inserted some of
              > the material we encounter in the canonicals, be it fact or fiction.

              (Frank)
              What I envison is that, c. 85-90 CE, someone took two documents, i.e.,
              Proto-Thomas and Pre-Thomas, and some oral traditions and combined them into
              GTh. In this process, I assume, there was some redacting of the earlier
              material, both written and oral, by the author of GTh.

              (Jim)
              > To me it looks like there are clearly Neoplatonic & Gnostic elements,
              which
              > I believe were inserted by a translator. This view springs from the
              > translation of Plato in the NHL, which is so bad it wasn't even recognized
              > as being the Republic until after several years. True, we don't know if
              the
              > same guy translated GTh, but if there's even one terribly bad translation
              in
              > the book it seems plausible there may be others. The NHL community may
              > very well have had a Neoplatonist bias, if they were translating Plato.

              (Frank)
              Oh, I agree that there probably was redacting done to GTh after it was
              completed.

              Certainly, GTh has Neoplatonic and proto-Gnostic characteristics. Also,
              they do seem to become more overt and common in what appear to be later
              strata. However, they do appear to be present even in the earliest strata.

              Could you give one or two examples of sayings, in GTh, where, you suspect,
              a later redactor added Neoplatonic and/or Gnostic characteristics?

              (Jim)
              > Tell me--how do you see Thomas as fitting into the Gnostic movement? For
              > them, the resurrection occurred _before_ death, ie, it was a symbol--but J
              > still gets resurrected. If I remember correctly (correct me if I'm
              wrong),
              > you date the final version of GTh to 90 CE. This was late enough to have
              > been exposed to some of the earliest Gnostics, &/or their precursors. In
              > any case, since Gnosticism evolved out of Jewish apocalypticism (among
              other
              > things), the laws of parallel evolution could have independently created
              > Gnostic-like myths. This is a tentative statement on my part because
              there
              > wouldn't have to be a resurrection myth even if they paralleled other
              > elements of Gnostic myth.

              (Frank)
              I see GThomas as giving us a look into an early phase of a Christian
              movement that evolved into Gnosticism. I don't think that GThomas is
              Gnostic--which is why, earlier in this post, I refer to it as having
              proto-Gnostic elements rather than as having Gnostic elements.

              How do you see Gnosticism as evolving out of Jewish apocalypticism?

              (Jim)
              > It still seems to me that, whether the sources are Gnostic or Christian,
              the
              > resurrection myth was central to the entire J movement. For this reason I
              > still think it unlikely that all narrative would be missing from GTh
              unless
              > it was extremely early, ie, most of the material composed during J's
              > lifetime, or at least an oral tradition begun around HJ, which would
              explain
              > why the narrative is absent. However, this could still point to the
              > narrative as being late-dated, even though this contradicts what I said
              > above, that no one would have noticed him without those stories.

              (Frank)
              I don't see a contradiction in what you say. Stories about Jesus must have
              been present from the begiinning, but this doesn't necessitate that they got
              written down right away. My own investigations into Q lead me to think that
              the latest additions to it regard John the Baptist and related topics and
              are quasi-narrative in format. From this, it is but one step to the
              development of the first narrative gospel, i.e, GMark. So, as I perceive
              it, the earliest Christian documents, such as the postulated Proto-Thomas,
              were basically sayings gospels,. and only later did the narrative gospels
              evolve into being.

              Also, I don't see the resurrection as being central to the thought in
              GThomas . Can you cite any passages, in GThomas, in which, you think, the
              resurrection is alluded to?

              Frank McCoy
              1809 N. English Apt. 17
              Maplewood, MN USA 55109
            • Jim Bauer
              ... recognized ... translation ... strata. ... suspect, ... Neoplatonism: 11) On the day when you were one, you became two. But when you become two, what
              Message 6 of 12 , Nov 3, 2002
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                > (Jim)
                > > To me it looks like there are clearly Neoplatonic & Gnostic elements,
                > which
                > > I believe were inserted by a translator. This view springs from the
                > > translation of Plato in the NHL, which is so bad it wasn't even
                recognized
                > > as being the Republic until after several years. True, we don't know if
                > the
                > > same guy translated GTh, but if there's even one terribly bad
                translation
                > in
                > > the book it seems plausible there may be others. The NHL community may
                > > very well have had a Neoplatonist bias, if they were translating Plato.
                >
                > (Frank)
                > Oh, I agree that there probably was redacting done to GTh after it was
                > completed.
                >
                > Certainly, GTh has Neoplatonic and proto-Gnostic characteristics. Also,
                > they do seem to become more overt and common in what appear to be later
                > strata. However, they do appear to be present even in the earliest
                strata.
                >
                > Could you give one or two examples of sayings, in GTh, where, you
                suspect,
                > a later redactor added Neoplatonic and/or Gnostic characteristics?

                Neoplatonism:
                11) On the day when you were one, you became two. But when you become two,
                what will you do?
                The Neoplatonists believed that the world was created thru a process of
                emanation from the One, the Beautiful, & the Good (as Plotinus hypostatized
                God) into the Nous, or Mind, followed by the World Soul. This passage seems
                to reflect that view. However, I cannot state this unambiguously as it is
                also part of the Johannine tradition: "the Logos became flesh and dwelt
                among us".

                Gnosticism:
                22) Jesus said to them: When you make the two one, and when you make the
                inside like the outside and the above like the below and the male and female
                one and the same, so that the male not be male and the female not be female;
                and when you fashion eyes in the place of an eye, and hands in place of a
                hand, and a foot in place of a foot, and a likeness in place of a likeness,
                then you will enter the Kingdom.
                The theme of "making the two one" is more characteristic of Gnostic (and
                Oriental) thought than it is of Christianity, even though this idea was
                central to the alchemical tradition and hence to many Christians up to the
                point where the system was finally disproved. The Gnostic scriptures are
                full of "making the two one" but I don't believe there's a single reference
                to it in the canonicals.
                >
                > (Jim)
                > > Tell me--how do you see Thomas as fitting into the Gnostic movement?
                For
                > > them, the resurrection occurred _before_ death, ie, it was a symbol--but
                J
                > > still gets resurrected. If I remember correctly (correct me if I'm
                > wrong),
                > > you date the final version of GTh to 90 CE. This was late enough to
                have
                > > been exposed to some of the earliest Gnostics, &/or their precursors.
                In
                > > any case, since Gnosticism evolved out of Jewish apocalypticism (among
                > other
                > > things), the laws of parallel evolution could have independently created
                > > Gnostic-like myths. This is a tentative statement on my part because
                > there
                > > wouldn't have to be a resurrection myth even if they paralleled other
                > > elements of Gnostic myth.
                >
                > (Frank)
                > I see GThomas as giving us a look into an early phase of a Christian
                > movement that evolved into Gnosticism. I don't think that GThomas is
                > Gnostic--which is why, earlier in this post, I refer to it as having
                > proto-Gnostic elements rather than as having Gnostic elements.
                >
                > How do you see Gnosticism as evolving out of Jewish apocalypticism?

                This belief is what Kurt Rudolph expressed in _Gnosis_. I personally
                believe that Hans Jonas' assessment is more accurate: he dates the
                beginnings of Gnosticism to "the acute Hellenization of Oriental thought"
                during the time of the Alexandrian Empire.
                >
                Jim Bauer
                Havre, MT
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