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Re: [GTh] Out of Jerusalem

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  • Thomas Bond
    ... Thomas Bond writes: In general, I do not see any incompatibility between submit to community and cult and gird your loins against the world, and protect
    Message 1 of 8 , Mar 12, 2003
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      Tom Saunders Writes:

      >>In Peter's reign over the village, as the keeper of the keys, you don't get to own your own property. You submit to community and cult. In the GThom you gird your loins against the world, and protect your house from the robbers. Thomas is an unmistakable departure from 'Cephas Ministries.'

      Thomas Bond writes:

      In general, I do not see any incompatibility between "submit to community and cult" and "gird your loins against the world, and protect your house from the robbers." Do you mean temple cult or the community cult? I would say that in first century Judaism/s, submitting to community rules and participating in the community's cult was part and parcel of girding one's loins against the world and keeping a person from harm.

      Regarding Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5 (also Barnabas, a few verses before): the issue was not one of relinquishing private ownership of property. Peter rebukes Ananias for saying that he sold property and gave all the profit to the apostles, when in fact he did not. There are some "summaries" in Acts (e.g., 2:41-47) that seem to refer to communal ownership of property. Two things come to mind, however: (1) the summaries in Acts utilize other language that falls within the "friendship" topos; and (2) 1QS, a text which likely reflects the organization of a voluntary association, speaks of merging property with the "community," but also (in the penal code) requires that, if a person fraudulently uses the money of the community, it must be repaid from private funds. I.e., "having all things common" does not necessarily imply a rejection of private ownership of property. It seems to me that what we see in Acts parallels the kind of social obligation found in Hellenistic voluntary associations.

      Tom Saunders:

      >>Acts does not clarify how deeply the rifts must have been. This may have been very purposeful to avoid trashing one leadership over another.

      Thomas Bond:

      Yes. I am biased toward Fitzmyer's analysis that sees the concern for religio licita as a subtheme of Acts. Luke presents a Christianity that is not a cause for problems (i.e., disunity) in the Roman world, and a Christianity that is closely alligned with Judaism (which would give Christianity tenure), though by the time Acts was written Judaism had lost many of the priviledges of religio licita it had once enjoyed.

      Thomas Bond
    • Tom Saunders
      Thomas Bond writes: Do you mean temple cult or the community cult? I would say that in first century Judaism/s, submitting to community rules and
      Message 2 of 8 , Mar 12, 2003
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        Thomas Bond writes:

        Do you mean temple cult or the community cult? I would say that in first century Judaism/s, submitting to community rules and participating in the community's cult was part and parcel of girding one's loins against the world and keeping a person from harm.

        Thomas, thank you for such a good discussion.

        Using the term cult is a little dangerous but I think reading between the lines we see this kind of community organization described in Acts. At the core of the Christian movement was the effect of the spirit bearer, or 'pnuematophori.' In the words of Kenneth S. Latourette, "Though the Holy Spirit promised by Jesus, came the moral transformations which were so marked in the Christian fellowship."

        Ananias and Sapphira were such spirit bearers. We do not know much about this process but we know from Paul's letters that the Holy Spirit effected people differently giving them different gifts. ( 1 Corin. 12-, Romans 12:3-8. Gal. 5:22-23.) This is a kind of 'yoke' on the backs of community members. Especially when the death of Ananias and Sapphira demonstrate it can be deadly for those that bear it. Where is the forgiveness?

        Peter has justified or rationalized the deaths in a way that cannot be glossed over so well today. Prosecutors today would probably not by into the cause of death, "the Holy Spirit left them." It might work in Oklahoma.

        To be a spirit bearer in the Jerusalem community would mean that you assume the cloak of the spirit and wear it like Cebes said we wear the soul. Peter is demanding absolute submission to community and the binding of the Holy Spirit with the followers. Thomas says, "do not be concerned from day until night with what you shall wear."

        Neither Acts nor Thomas, is going to trash another Apostle. It is bad business, and it portrays Jesus, or the Kingdom of God as "divider." I think this is the motivation that kind of makes Acts a "fluff piece." Acts does not mention details about conflicts because nobody wants to 'judge' or divide the new kingdom.

        Tom Saunders
        Platter Flats, OK

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Michael Grondin
        ... and cult ... robbers. ... ... rules and ... one s loins ... To which might be added that the houses mentioned in Thomas are all either metaphors
        Message 3 of 8 , Mar 13, 2003
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          > Thomas Bond writes:
          >
          > In general, I do not see any incompatibility between "submit to community
          and cult"
          > and "gird your loins against the world, and protect your house from the
          robbers." ...
          > I would say that in first century Judaism/s, submitting to community
          rules and
          > participating in the community's cult was part and parcel of girding
          one's loins
          > against the world and keeping a person from harm.

          To which might be added that the "houses" mentioned in Thomas are all either
          metaphors themselves or occur within the context of parables. There's
          nothing to suggest actual private ownership of lands or houses on the part
          of the Thomasines. In fact, ascetism and abnegation from the world would
          seem to imply that one gets rid of as many ties to the physical world as
          possible. There still remains, however, the question of whether Thomas
          represents a more individualistic - as opposed to collectivistic - ascetic
          Christian ethic. It seems that one could adduce evidence on either side from
          the text, but aside from that, we know that some monastics preferred to live
          off by themselves, while others ('cenobites') gathered into communities
          governed by a "community rule". And clearly, monastics ("single ones") are
          in view within Thomas. Whether that means that Thomas (or parts of it) is
          individualistic, or (secondly) later than Tom Saunders speculates, is up for
          grabs.

          > Regarding Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5 (also Barnabas, a few verses
          > before): the issue was not one of relinquishing private ownership of
          property.
          > Peter rebukes Ananias for saying that he sold property and gave all the
          profit
          > to the apostles, when in fact he did not.

          That's certainly the way the issue is framed, but the author clearly implies
          that folks who owned land and/or houses and who wished to join the community
          were _expected_ to sell their property and give the _entire_ proceeds to the
          community. Which means that it wouldn't have been acceptable for Ananias (or
          anyone else) to say that he had sold his property for X amount, but was
          turning over only part of the proceeds (X-Y) to the community. Thus, the lie
          was only part of the offense. The clear implication is that if someone had
          "held back", but told the truth about it, the holding back would in itself
          be an offense against the spirit, and cause for rejection of communal
          membership.

          > There are some "summaries" in Acts (e.g., 2:41-47) that
          > seem to refer to communal ownership of property.

          As well Acts 4:34, which immediately precedes the Ananias story.

          > Two things come to mind, however: (1) the summaries in Acts
          > utilize other language that falls within the "friendship" topos; and
          > (2) 1QS, a text which likely reflects the organization of a voluntary
          > association, speaks of merging property with the "community,"
          > but also (in the penal code) requires that, if a person fraudulently
          > uses the money of the community, it must be repaid from private funds.
          > I.e., "having all things common" does not necessarily imply a rejection
          > of private ownership of property. It seems to me that what we see in
          > Acts parallels the kind of social obligation found in Hellenistic v!
          > oluntary

          The HTML formatting evidently caused this last line to be garbled. (This
          happened to me some time back when I temporarily switched from plain text to
          html formatting.) You meant "Hellenistic voluntary associations"? OK, let's
          take 1QS first. I think the implication you draw from that may not be
          warranted. There's a distinction to be made between "property" and "private
          funds" that may better account for what's in the text. "Property" would
          include houses and lands - the two items specifically mentioned in Acts as
          being sold to benefit the community. On the other hand, there's nothing said
          about the community member having or earning other private monies (from
          which the penalty mentioned in 1QS would presumably be paid).

          As to the friendship topos and Hellenistic voluntary associations, I have to
          confess ignorance about that. Can you elaborate on instances of voluntary
          associations wherein prospective members were expected to sell their houses
          and lands in order to gain membership?

          Finally, I have a "big picture" question. The account in Acts of communal
          living accords well with the designation of the Jerusalem community as "The
          Poor", but how does that connect exactly with J's purported teaching?
          "Blessed are the poor" and "Sell everything you have and follow me" are
          certainly there, but so is a lot of other stuff. Yet, when the apostles were
          on their own, this seems to be the central message that they drew from the
          teachings - in spite of the fact that Jesus himself apparently didn't give
          any thought to establishing any such community. What do you make of all
          this?

          Mike Grondin
          The Coptic Gospel of Thomas, saying-by-saying
          http://www.geocities.com/mwgrondin/sayings.htm
        • David C. Hindley
          ... disunity) in the Roman world, and a Christianity that is closely alligned with Judaism (which would give Christianity tenure), though by the time Acts was
          Message 4 of 8 , Mar 13, 2003
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            Thomas Bond says:

            >>Luke presents a Christianity that is not a cause for problems (i.e.,
            disunity) in the Roman world, and a Christianity that is closely alligned
            with Judaism (which would give Christianity tenure), though by the time Acts
            was written Judaism had lost many of the priviledges of religio licita it
            had once enjoyed.<<

            If I remember correctly, excepting for the conversion of the voluntary
            Temple tax into an obligatory Roman poll tax after 70 CE, the other Jewish
            privileges were not *legally* infringed upon. Whether general social
            attitudes towards Judaism became more negative or at least more suspicious
            or envious I don't know for sure, but would guess yes.

            What specific privileges are you referring to?

            Also, "religio licita" or "illicita" is kind of a modern scholarly
            construct, isn't it? I believe that these terms describe a technical *legal
            standing* that is inferred from rather scanty or much later evidence.

            Respectfully,

            Dave Hindley
            Cleveland, Ohio, USA
          • Michael Grondin
            ... either ... Thomasines should view the aspect of wealth and ownership. As you state it, I wouldn t agree with it either. But the point you refer to
            Message 5 of 8 , Mar 14, 2003
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              [Mike]:
              > To which might be added that the "houses" mentioned in Thomas are all
              either
              > metaphors themselves or occur within the context of parables. There's
              > nothing to suggest actual private ownership of lands or houses on the part
              > of the Thomasines. In fact, asceticism and abnegation from the world would
              > seem to imply that one gets rid of as many ties to the physical world as
              > possible.

              [Tom]:
              > I would not agree on the point that there is nothing to suggest how
              Thomasines should view the aspect of wealth and ownership.

              As you state it, I wouldn't agree with it either. But the "point" you refer
              to doesn't seem to be in the quoted material or anywhere else in my note. I
              think you've seriously misunderstood and misstated "the point" you thought I
              was making.

              As to the rest of your "big picture", Tom, I have to say that it's highly
              speculative, and not particularly well-grounded in historical and textual
              details. Too many mistakes in factual matters (such as your earlier mistake
              in identifying Philip the Evangelist with Philip the Apostle), too many
              misunderstandings and equivocations, too many jumpings to conclusions. I
              think the lesson in all this is that one probably shouldn't attempt a "big
              picture" until one has a good grasp of most of the relevant detailed
              historical evidence - and that takes many years of study. If I'm not at the
              point yet (and I don't think I am), then you aren't either. In general, it
              seems to be a good rule of thumb to match the size of one's hypotheses to
              the extent of one's actual competence in relevant matters textual and
              historical. Ironically, while this may seem quite a come-down from our
              inherent ambitions, it often (maybe even always!) turns out that important
              hypotheses are rooted in - and revealed by - what appear to be unimportant
              details. (You yourself have done some of this, but I think you're too
              anxious to move on to the big picture to give proper attention to the
              details.)

              Mike Grondin
              Mt. Clemens, MI
            • BrerFrase@aol.com
              In reply to Mr. Bond, Mr. Grondin poses this provocative big picture query -- ====================================================
              Message 6 of 8 , Mar 15, 2003
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                In reply to Mr. Bond, Mr. Grondin poses this provocative "big picture" query
                --
                ====================================================
                <<
                Finally, I have a "big picture" question. The account in Acts of communal
                living accords well with the designation of the Jerusalem community as "The
                Poor", but how does that connect exactly with J's purported teaching?
                "Blessed are the poor" and "Sell everything you have and follow me" are
                certainly there, but so is a lot of other stuff. Yet, when the apostles were
                on their own, this seems to be the central message that they drew from the
                teachings - in spite of the fact that Jesus himself apparently didn't give
                any thought to establishing any such community. What do you make of all
                this?

                Mike Grondin
                The Coptic Gospel of Thomas, saying-by-saying
                <A HREF="http://www.geocities.com/mwgrondin/sayings.htm>>">http://www.geocities.com/mwgrondin/sayings.htm>></A>
                ===========================================================

                My question --

                Anyone going to tackle Mr. Grondin's provocative query?
                If not, why not?


                TIA

                F. Hubbard



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • BitsyCat1@aol.com
                In a message dated 03/17/2003 6:29:55AM, tom@cherokeetel.com writes:
                Message 7 of 8 , Mar 17, 2003
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                  In a message dated 03/17/2003 6:29:55AM, tom@... writes:

                  << What exactly did I miss that Phillip wasn't Phillip, >>

                  Acts 6:5, Then Acts 8:5 to 14 (Now when the apostles who were in Jerusalem)
                  The Philip in 6:5 and into 8:5 on is not an Apostle Philip
                  He is the Philip chosen in Acts 6:5( A Hellenist) Note also in 8-14 that this
                  is in Samaria and that Peter and John are then sent from Jerusalem to Samaria.
                  Then in Act 8-25 they return to Jerusalem.( Peter and John)
                  Presumably back to the Apostles village (You mention).
                  He is also the one caught away on 8-39 and into Caesarea.Acts 8-40

                  Regards,

                  JOHN MOON
                  Springfield, Tenn. 37172
                  johnmoon3717@...
                • Tom Saunders
                  Thank you John Moon. In an effort to establish a structure of observation for proposing theory I have run across and slightly modified a list that was used in
                  Message 8 of 8 , Mar 18, 2003
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                    Thank you John Moon.

                    In an effort to establish a structure of observation for proposing theory I have run across and slightly modified a list that was used in an argument against Creationism. Science vs. non-science. It occurred to me that this list might help formulate better arguments.

                    The list is as follows:

                    Observation
                    Hypothesis
                    Testing
                    Debate
                    Rational Conclusion

                    Please feel free to expand on the elements of this list and the possible uses it could serve in determining proofs (likelihood) concerning the factual, textual, and historical study of the GThom.

                    Could I use the above set as an outline to argue a historical, and textual argument for placing the Apostle's village in the Southern part of the city at the foot of the Mt. of Olives? What other uses might this list have in studying Thomas?

                    Tom Saunders
                    Platter Flats, OK


                    ----- Original Message -----
                    From: BitsyCat1@...
                    To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
                    Sent: Monday, March 17, 2003 5:26 AM
                    Subject: Re: [GTh] Out of Jerusalem

                    In a message dated 03/17/2003 6:29:55AM, tom@... writes:

                    << What exactly did I miss that Phillip wasn't Phillip, >>

                    Acts 6:5, Then Acts 8:5 to 14 (Now when the apostles who were in Jerusalem)
                    The Philip in 6:5 and into 8:5 on is not an Apostle Philip
                    He is the Philip chosen in Acts 6:5( A Hellenist) Note also in 8-14 that this is in Samaria and that Peter and John are then sent from Jerusalem to Samaria.
                    Then in Act 8-25 they return to Jerusalem.( Peter and John)
                    Presumably back to the Apostles village (You mention).
                    He is also the one caught away on 8-39 and into Caesarea.Acts 8-40

                    Regards,

                    JOHN MOON
                    Springfield, Tenn. 37172
                    johnmoon3717@...


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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