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Re: [GTh] Timelessness

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  • pessy@chez.com
    ... did they have to pay taxes directly to Rome before the census of Quirin or just to the ethnarchs Herod and Archelaous who had their own coins with their
    Message 1 of 20 , Apr 16, 2003
      fmmccoy writes:
      > For dating purposes, GTh 100a is important, "They showed Jesus a gold coin
      > and said to Him, 'Caesar's men demand taxes from us.'"
      >
      > The first Caesar was Julius Caesar, who was made dictator in 44 BCE. So,
      > this passage appears to date GTh to later than 44 BCE.

      did they have to pay taxes directly to Rome
      before the census of Quirin
      or just to the ethnarchs Herod and Archelaous
      who had their own coins with their portrays on them?
      wasn't Judah the Galilean the first
      to protest against paying taxes to heathens?

      Klaus Schilling
    • Ron McCann
      Numismatics- the gold coin with Caesar s head- is a specific, that dates this saying to the first century. I also think that Thomas has material suggestive
      Message 2 of 20 , Apr 16, 2003
        Numismatics- the gold coin with Caesar's head- is a specific, that dates
        this saying to the first century.

        I also think that Thomas has material suggestive that it is pre- the AD 70
        fall and destruction of the temple.

        Hi everyone. I have been hors de combat this last six months due to a
        stroke. Like the proverbial bad penny, I turn up again.

        Ron McCann,
        Saskatoon, Canada

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Mark Goodacre" <M.S.Goodacre@...>
        To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Wednesday, April 16, 2003 7:47 AM
        Subject: [GTh] Timelessness


        > I'm fascinated by the "timelessness" of the Gospel of Thomas. Let me
        > try a thought experiment. Let's say we had no knowledge of any of
        > the major characters who appear in the NT and early Christian
        > literature, John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter, Thomas, Mary Magdalene,
        > James etc.; only the Gospel of Thomas survives. Would we have any
        > idea when and where the Gospel of Thomas was set other than in the
        > vaguest general terms that it was somewhere from 2nd Century BC to
        > 1st C. AD somewhere in Israel? The Gospel mentions Pharisees &
        > scribes (39, 102), Judea and a Samaritan (60). Is this the most
        > specific we can get?
        >
        > Mark
        > -----------------------------
        > Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
        > Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
        > University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 4381
        > Birmingham B15 2TT UK
        >
        > http://www.theology.bham.ac.uk/goodacre
        > http://NTGateway.com
        >
        >
        > --------------------------------------------------------------------
        > Gospel of Thomas Homepage: http://home.epix.net/~miser17/Thomas.html
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        > send a blank email to gthomas-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
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        >
      • fmmccoy
        ... From: To: Sent: Wednesday, April 16, 2003 2:21 PM Subject: Re: [GTh] Timelessness ... coin ... So, ... Dear
        Message 3 of 20 , Apr 17, 2003
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: <pessy@...>
          To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Wednesday, April 16, 2003 2:21 PM
          Subject: Re: [GTh] Timelessness


          > fmmccoy writes:
          > > For dating purposes, GTh 100a is important, "They showed Jesus a gold
          coin
          > > and said to Him, 'Caesar's men demand taxes from us.'"
          > >
          > > The first Caesar was Julius Caesar, who was made dictator in 44 BCE.
          So,
          > > this passage appears to date GTh to later than 44 BCE.
          >
          > did they have to pay taxes directly to Rome
          > before the census of Quirin
          > or just to the ethnarchs Herod and Archelaous
          > who had their own coins with their portrays on them?
          > wasn't Judah the Galilean the first
          > to protest against paying taxes to heathens?
          >

          Dear Klaus Schilling:

          You are assuming that the setting in GTh is somewhere in Israel and its
          divisions. However, this might be a false assumption. As I pointed out in
          the last post, it is nowhere explicitly said in GTh that any of the action
          takes place in Israel or in any of its divisions of Galilee, Perea, Idumea,
          Judea, and Samaria. Further, in GTh 60, it is explicitly clear that the
          action takes place somewhere other than Judea.

          Indeed, in light of the way that Jesus, in GTh, criticises the parts of the
          Law most difficult to observe in Gentile areas (i.e., the dietary, Sabbath,
          and circumcision ordinances), is it not likely that, in GTh, the setting is
          somewhere in the Diaspora?

          This raises the possibility that the historical Jesus conducted his ministry
          predominantly, perhaps even exclusively, in the Diaspora rather than in
          Israel.

          I wonder, does Paul, in any of his unquestionably genuine epistles (i.e.,
          Romans, Galatians, I and II Corinthians, and I Thessalonians), ever tell us
          where Jesus conducted his ministry or, even, tell us where he was crucified?

          Regards,

          Frank McCoy
          1809 N. English Apt. 17
          Maplewood, MN USA 55109
        • pessy@chez.com
          ... I see them all as second century pseudoepigraphs, with heretic origin and later catholified, a thesis already proposed by Bruno Bauer around 1850 and later
          Message 4 of 20 , Apr 17, 2003
            fmmccoy writes:
            >
            > I wonder, does Paul, in any of his unquestionably genuine epistles (i.e.,
            > Romans, Galatians, I and II Corinthians, and I Thessalonians),

            I see them all as second century pseudoepigraphs, with heretic origin
            and later catholified, a thesis already proposed by Bruno Bauer around 1850
            and later improved by van den Bergh van Eysinga around 1950.

            Klaus Schilling
          • Michael Grondin
            ... Idumea, ... Hi Frank, Yes, it s clear that since the Samaritan is said to be on his way to Judaea, he can t be already in Judaea. It s a very strange
            Message 5 of 20 , Apr 17, 2003
              Frank McCoy writes:
              > ... it is nowhere explicitly said in GTh that any of the action
              > takes place in Israel or in any of its divisions of Galilee, Perea,
              Idumea,
              > Judea, and Samaria. Further, in GTh 60, it is explicitly clear that the
              > action takes place somewhere other than Judea.

              Hi Frank,
              Yes, it's clear that since the Samaritan is said to be on his way to Judaea,
              he can't be already in Judaea. It's a very strange saying, as you know. One
              might think that the Samaritan is taking (or 'stealing', as Patterson, et
              al, have it) a lamb for the purpose of sacrificing it at the temple in
              Jerusalem, but my understanding is that Samaritans as a whole didn't
              sacrifice at the temple, since they had their own religious center at Mt.
              Gerazim in Samaria. In addition, I don't believe that the sacrificer was
              given back any parts of the sacrificial animal for personal consumption. If
              so, it's a mystery how the Samaritan could be said to anticipate the
              *eating* of the lamb. It may be that the Samaritan isn't going to sacrifice
              the lamb at all, but merely kill and eat it on his way to Judaea, or (more
              likely) it may be that the saying betrays a woeful ignorance of actual
              Jewish (and Samaritan) traditions, but I would still assume that the
              imagined setting is Samaria. Sure, there were Samaritans elsewhere, but it
              makes little sense to me that the story would be located anywhere other than
              in the home country of the Samaritan - through which, of course, Jesus and
              his followers would have had to pass in order to get from Galilee to Judaea.

              > Indeed, in light of the way that Jesus, in GTh, criticises the parts of
              the
              > Law most difficult to observe in Gentile areas (i.e., the dietary,
              Sabbath,
              > and circumcision ordinances), is it not likely that, in GTh, the setting
              is
              > somewhere in the Diaspora?

              I would agree that the place where GTh was written was unlikely to have been
              the same as the imagined setting of the sayings.

              > This raises the possibility that the historical Jesus conducted his
              ministry
              > predominantly, perhaps even exclusively, in the Diaspora rather than in
              > Israel.

              I don't see how this follows. If I write a story about Jesus in Galilee from
              my home in Michigan, does it raise the possibility that Jesus conducted his
              ministry in Michigan? Also, of course, we can't concentrate exclusively on
              GTh to the exclusion of the canonical gospels - wherein such "Israelite"
              towns as Capharnaum figure largely.

              Mike Grondin
              Mt. Clemens, MI
            • Michael Grondin
              ... Hi Ron, it s great to have you back! I feared the worst, and more than once considered writing a post-mortem accolade. Please take it easy, so that we can
              Message 6 of 20 , Apr 17, 2003
                Ron McCann wrote:
                > Hi everyone. I have been hors de combat this last six months due to
                > a stroke. Like the proverbial bad penny, I turn up again.

                Hi Ron, it's great to have you back! I feared the worst, and more than once
                considered writing a post-mortem accolade. Please take it easy, so that we
                can enjoy many more years of your contributions.

                Mike Grondin
                Mt. Clemens, MI
              • BitsyCat1@aol.com
                In a message dated 04/17/2003 13:42:24PM, mwgrondin@comcast.net writes:
                Message 7 of 20 , Apr 17, 2003
                  In a message dated 04/17/2003 13:42:24PM, mwgrondin@... writes:

                  << , but I would still assume that the imagined setting is Samaria. Sure, there were Samaritans elsewhere, but it makes little sense to me that the story would be located anywhere other than in the home country of the Samaritan - through which, of course, Jesus and his followers would have had to pass in order to get from Galilee to Judaea.
                  >>


                  John observes

                  You mean not unlike the famous and most used story of Jesus and the
                  Samaritan Woman at the well? Where his escapades in Samaria And an important
                  event in Jesus revelation is made in the canonical New Testament
                  (See Gospel of John the 4th Chapter) OR the story of the Good Samaritan
                  Mentioned in the Lukan account?

                  It seems to me that any tome that Jesus or the Gospel Writers wanted to
                  reveal something that the fact that it was a Samaritan and not a Judean was a
                  not so subtle put down.

                  That is even the Samaritan see what you Judeans or Galileans do not see.

                  I would probably find it odd if Thomas did not mention Samaritans in some
                  way if the Historical Jesus used this as a teaching method.


                  Regards john moon
                  2401 Crescent
                  Springfield, Tenn. 37172 johnmoon3717@...
                • David C. Hindley
                  ... Judaea, he can t be already in Judaea. It s a very strange saying, as you know. One might think that the Samaritan is taking (or stealing , as Patterson,
                  Message 8 of 20 , Apr 17, 2003
                    Mike Grondin says:

                    >>Yes, it's clear that since the Samaritan is said to be on his way to
                    Judaea, he can't be already in Judaea. It's a very strange saying, as you
                    know. One might think that the Samaritan is taking (or 'stealing', as
                    Patterson, et al, have it) a lamb for the purpose of sacrificing it at the
                    temple in Jerusalem, but my understanding is that Samaritans as a whole
                    didn't sacrifice at the temple, since they had their own religious center at
                    Mt. Gerazim in Samaria. In addition, I don't believe that the sacrificer was
                    given back any parts of the sacrificial animal for personal consumption.<<

                    I seem to recall that there was at least one type of sacrifice in which the
                    offerer received back some of the meat, and the one I am thinking about is
                    the Passover lamb. The sacrifice must be eaten in the city of Jerusalem. Why
                    a Samaritan would be heading there (presumably with his family) with a
                    sacrificial lamb I do not know.

                    It could be that "Samaritan" is meant to serve as a "type," maybe of
                    "outside" converts to Judaism, and has something to do with a tension
                    between the writer's group and the Jews. That could suggest just about
                    anywhere in the 1st or 2nd century CE, but more than likely it suggests
                    Coele Syria or Egypt (in that order), since these are where the tensions
                    were highest.

                    Respectfully,

                    Dave Hindley
                    Cleveland, Ohio, USA
                  • Michael Grondin
                    ... You re quite right, Dave. According to one modern source: In the biblical era ... the entire family joined in one common sacrifice. The size of the lamb
                    Message 9 of 20 , Apr 17, 2003
                      Dave Hindley writes:
                      > I seem to recall that there was at least one type of sacrifice in which
                      > the offerer received back some of the meat, and the one I am thinking
                      > about is the Passover lamb. The sacrifice must be eaten in the city of
                      > Jerusalem. Why a Samaritan would be heading there (presumably
                      > with his family) with a sacrificial lamb I do not know.

                      You're quite right, Dave. According to one modern source:

                      "In the biblical era ... the entire family joined in one common sacrifice.
                      The size of the lamb was chosen to suffice the family (or associated
                      families and guests) at that meal. No one ate alone on this evening and
                      nothing was to be left over from the sacrifice. If an individual had no
                      family, he or she joined with friends or another family so there would be a
                      group to share the lamb fully.
                      ...
                      Jewish tradition understood the sacrifice of the lamb to be the first step
                      of liberation. ... According to the biblical accounts, on the tenth of the
                      month of Nissan, the Hebrew slaves [in Egypt] ... sacrificed a lamb so they
                      could sprinkle its blood on the doorpost and be spared the final plague.
                      ...
                      Today, the Paschal lamb is remembered by the presence of the shank bone ...
                      on the seder plate. There is also a tradition not to eat dry roasted meat on
                      the seder night. Since the Paschal lamb was roasted dry, the absence of such
                      meat dramatizes the missing sacrifice." (Irving Greenberg, The Jewish Way,
                      Touchstone, Simon & Schuster, 1988, p. 40)

                      Mike Grondin
                      Mt. Clemens, MI
                    • Michael Grondin
                      John Moon observes ... I m not so sure of this as a general rule, John, but in any case, the Samaritan in GTh 60 doesn t seem to have any special insight or
                      Message 10 of 20 , Apr 18, 2003
                        John Moon observes
                        > It seems to me that any [time] that Jesus or the Gospel Writers wanted
                        > to reveal something that the fact that it was a Samaritan and not a Judean
                        > was a not so subtle put down.
                        >
                        > That is[,] even the Samaritan see[s] what you Judeans or Galileans do
                        > not see.

                        I'm not so sure of this as a general rule, John, but in any case, the
                        Samaritan in GTh 60 doesn't seem to have
                        any special insight or piety. Indeed, ISTM that he's merely a symbolic
                        stand-in for the world - which kills and eats "lambs" like the GThomists. On
                        this view, 60.6 ("You yourselves seek after a place of rest, so that you
                        won't become corpses and be eaten") isn't an add-on to the pericope, but
                        rather
                        its whole reason-for-being.

                        Steve Davies (_The Gospel of Thomas Annotated & Explained_) remarks on the
                        connection between 59 and 60 that both seem to be opposing a view that one
                        will find rest (60) and see the Living One (59) only in the hereafter. Both
                        sayings warn that if one doesn't do those things here and now, one will not
                        be able to do them after death. In the case of 60, the warning is that if
                        one doesn't find a place of rest in this world, the world will kill you.
                        What does the metaphor mean? I think it means that if the seeker doesn't
                        come to hold some firm set of spiritual beliefs (a place of rest), he/she
                        stands in danger of being overwhelmed by a sea of worldly concerns and
                        cares, so that his/her internal spirit becomes deadened. But the internal
                        spirit is the stuff of eternal life; if that becomes deadened, the soul (or
                        self) is going to be consumed by the world and isn't going to survive into
                        the hereafter. So this physical lifetime isn't a time of waiting (either for
                        the kingdom to come or for one's own death) - it's a time of preparation for
                        what the GThomists believed they would become in the hereafter. This was
                        perceived, I think, as a very personal, psychological, individualistic
                        search for salvation - as opposed to the supposed collective salvation to be
                        found in the church - though even an individualistic group was a group, and
                        had their own loose collective concerns for their own "brothers".

                        Mike Grondin
                        Mt. Clemens, MI
                      • fmmccoy
                        ... From: Michael Grondin To: Sent: Thursday, April 17, 2003 1:37 PM Subject: Re: [GTh] Timelessness ...
                        Message 11 of 20 , Apr 18, 2003
                          ----- Original Message -----
                          From: "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@...>
                          To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
                          Sent: Thursday, April 17, 2003 1:37 PM
                          Subject: Re: [GTh] Timelessness


                          > Frank McCoy writes:
                          > > ... it is nowhere explicitly said in GTh that any of the action
                          > > takes place in Israel or in any of its divisions of Galilee, Perea,
                          > Idumea,
                          > > Judea, and Samaria. Further, in GTh 60, it is explicitly clear that the
                          > > action takes place somewhere other than Judea.
                          >
                          > Hi Frank,
                          > Yes, it's clear that since the Samaritan is said to be on his way to
                          Judaea, he can't be already in Judaea. It's a very strange saying, as you
                          know. One might think that the Samaritan is taking (or 'stealing', as
                          Patterson, et al, have it) a lamb for the purpose of sacrificing it at the
                          temple in Jerusalem, but my understanding is that Samaritans as a whole
                          didn't sacrifice at the temple, since they had their own religious center at
                          Mt Gerazim in Samaria. In addition, I don't believe that the sacrificer was
                          given back any parts of the sacrificial animal for personal consumption. If
                          so, it's a mystery how the Samaritan could be said to anticipate the
                          *eating* of the lamb. It may be that the Samaritan isn't going to
                          sacrifice the lamb at all, but merely kill and eat it on his way to Judaea,
                          or (more likely) it may be that the saying betrays a woeful ignorance of
                          actual Jewish (and Samaritan) traditions, but I would still assume that the
                          imagined setting is Samaria. Sure, there were Samaritans elsewhere, but it
                          makes little sense to me that the story would be located anywhere other
                          than in the home country of the Samaritan - through which, of course, Jesus
                          and his followers would have had to pass in order to get from Galilee to
                          Judaea.
                          >

                          Hi Mike:

                          The rule of the game set up by Mark Goodacre is that we pretend that only
                          GTh survived. Gth does not say that Jesus was a Galilean or that he ever
                          set foot in Galilee. Nor does it say that he ever went to Judea. In short,
                          you're bringing in forbidden material from the other gospels to make your
                          argument.

                          You can, of course, assume that the imagined setting is Samaria simply
                          because that is where most Samaritans lived. However, I think that this is
                          reading more in GTh as an isolated document than is warranted.

                          Since GTh does not ever say that Jesus ever was anywhere in Israel, the
                          question arises as to whether, in it, the ministry of Jesus is set in the
                          Diaspora rather than Israel.

                          (Frank--original statement)
                          > > Indeed, in light of the way that Jesus, in GTh, criticises the parts of
                          the Law most difficult to observe in Gentile areas (i.e., the dietary,
                          Sabbath, and circumcision ordinances), is it not likely that, in GTh, the
                          setting is somewhere in the Diaspora?

                          (Mike--response)
                          > I would agree that the place where GTh was written was unlikely to have
                          been the same as the imagined setting of the sayings.

                          (Frank--reply to response)
                          I do not say anything about where GTh was written above. All I speak about
                          is "the setting" and, by that, I mean the locale(s) where Jesus is pictured
                          in GTh as conducting his ministry.

                          (Frank--original statement)
                          > > This raises the possibility that the historical Jesus conducted his
                          ministry predominantly, perhaps even exclusively, in the Diaspora rather
                          than in Israel.

                          (Mike--response)
                          > I don't see how this follows. If I write a story about Jesus in Galilee
                          from my home in Michigan, does it raise the possibility that Jesus conducted
                          his ministry in Michigan? Also, of course, we can't concentrate exclusively
                          on GTh to the exclusion of the canonical gospels - wherein such "Israelite"
                          towns as Capharnaum figure largely.

                          (Frank--reply to response)
                          First, you are not responding to my argument.

                          This is my argument:
                          That (1) GTh nowhere states that Jesus ever was anywhere in Israel, much
                          less that he ever was in Galilee, and that (2) the statements on the Law
                          attributed to Jesus in GTh likely arose in an area where Jews were under
                          heavy pressure from Gentiles to not obey the dietary, Sabbath, and
                          circumcision ordinances of the Law means that (3) it is possible that the
                          historical Jesus conducted his ministry primarily, perhaps even exclusively,
                          in the Diaspora.

                          Second, my argument is made under Mark Goodacre's ground rule that we
                          pretend that
                          only GTh survives to this day. If we abide by this rule, then we have
                          absolutely no evidence that Jesus was a Galilean or that he conducted his
                          ministry in Galilee.

                          Third, there are those, such as Mack, who argue that Mark is basically a
                          piece of fiction. If they are right, and if Mark is the earliest canonical
                          Gospel, then maybe the Galilean ministry and the placing of the crucifixion
                          in Jerusalem are fictions created by Mark. This is why, in my original
                          post, I asked whether Paul, in the epistles most scholars deem to be
                          genuine, ever says where Jesus conducted his ministry or where he was
                          crucified. (Note: I happen to currently believe that GMark was written
                          quite early (c. 50 CE) and is, in general, reasonably accurate. However, if
                          neither Paul nor the author of GTh speaks of a Galilean ministry and if
                          neither speaks of Jerusalem as the locale for the crucifixion of Jesus, then
                          I think that we need to explore the possibility that Mark's gospel is a work
                          of fiction and that Jesus might have conducted his ministry and been
                          crucified somewhere in the Diaspora).

                          Mike, I find it of interest that you bring-up Capernaum. In the hypothesised
                          Q, Jesus is explicitly said to enter Capernaum (Matt. 8:5, Luke7:1).
                          Further, this is one of six towns/cities mentioned in the hypothesised Q
                          (Capernaum, Bethsaida, Chorazim, Tyre, Sidon, and Jerusalem). So, two
                          marked contrasts between GTh and the hypothesised Q are that (1) Q alone
                          places Jesus in a Galilean setting during a part of his ministry period and
                          (2) Q alone mentions towns/cities .

                          Why does GTh, unlike the hypothesised Q, never say where Jesus was during
                          his ministry? Why does GTh, unlike the hypothesised Q, never mention any
                          towns/cities? Why does GTh, unlike the hypothesised Q, seem to have an air
                          of timelessness? Why does GTh, unlike the hypothesised Q, have no narrative
                          sequences?

                          Questions like these suggest that GTh and the hypothesised Q are un-like
                          each other in several fundamental respects. As Mark Goodrich states in The
                          Case Against Q (p. 176), "In short, Q shows clear signs of narrative
                          properties. When we turn to Thomas, however, there is nothing like this.
                          For this is a Gospel with no narrative, no time-line and no hint of
                          grounding in the geography of first century Palestine. There is a striking
                          absence of anything corresponding to the features we have been observing in
                          Q."

                          Mike, what is your explanation for these fundamental differences between GTh
                          and the hypothesised Q? Do you agree with Mark Goodacre that they weaken
                          the Q hypothesis--at least to the extent that they make it more difficult to
                          argue that GTh and the hypothesised Q belong to the same genre?

                          Regards,

                          Frank McCoy
                          1809 N. English Apt. 17
                          Maplewood, MN USA 55109
                        • fmmccoy
                          ... From: Ron McCann To: Sent: Thursday, April 17, 2003 12:47 AM Subject: Re: [GTh] Timelessness ... Hi
                          Message 12 of 20 , Apr 18, 2003
                            ----- Original Message -----
                            From: "Ron McCann" <ronmccann1@...>
                            To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
                            Sent: Thursday, April 17, 2003 12:47 AM
                            Subject: Re: [GTh] Timelessness


                            > Numismatics- the gold coin with Caesar's head- is a specific, that dates
                            > this saying to the first century.
                            >
                            > I also think that Thomas has material suggestive that it is pre- the AD 70
                            > fall and destruction of the temple.
                            >
                            > Hi everyone. I have been hors de combat this last six months due to a
                            > stroke. Like the proverbial bad penny, I turn up again.

                            Hi Ron:

                            Good to hear from you. I was wondering why you haven't posted recently.

                            The rule of the game set by Mark Goodacre is that we pretend that only GTh
                            has survived.

                            It is only in the Synoptic gospels that mention is made of Caesar's image on
                            the coin. So, if all we had was GTh, all we would know is that it was a
                            piece of gold. This is why I estimated the earliest possible date for GTh
                            at 44 BCE rather than when the first image of a Caesar appeared on a Roman
                            coin.

                            Regards,

                            Frank McCoy
                            1809 N. English Apt. 17
                            Maplewood, MN USA 55109
                          • Michael Grondin
                            ... short, ... I didn t realize you were trying to follow Mark s thought experiment. You seem to have deviated from it at key points, such as when you
                            Message 13 of 20 , Apr 19, 2003
                              Frank McCoy writes:
                              > The rule of the game set up by Mark Goodacre is that we pretend that only
                              > GTh survived. Gth does not say that Jesus was a Galilean or that he ever
                              > set foot in Galilee. Nor does it say that he ever went to Judea. In
                              short,
                              > you're bringing in forbidden material from the other gospels to make your
                              > argument.

                              I didn't realize you were trying to follow Mark's thought experiment. You
                              seem to have deviated from it at key points, such as when you discussed
                              Caesar's coin. As I understand Mark's "game", it was to pretend that we
                              didn't know who any of the persons were in GTh. That would presumably
                              include Caesar. I myself, however, wasn't playing the game, since it seems
                              to me to be seriously flawed. At the very least, it seems to do nothing
                              other than to guarantee its own point. If we cannot know who John the
                              Baptist was - or Jacob the Righteous - then of course we don't know anything
                              at all. If our not knowing anything at all makes the text "timeless", then
                              so be it, but that seems an empty and artificial "timelessness" indeed.
                              GThomas was written in a context and assumes reader's knowledge of that
                              context - whether that context was itself written or oral or both - and that
                              context made sense of it, and without that context there's little sense to
                              be made of it.

                              Regards,
                              Mike Grondin
                              Mt. Clemens, MI
                            • Ron McCann
                              Mike, Wasn t it Sam Clemens who said Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated. ? Accolades are welcome, but I would rather they not be posthumous. Consider
                              Message 14 of 20 , Apr 19, 2003
                                Mike, Wasn't it Sam Clemens who said "Reports of my death are greatly
                                exaggerated."? Accolades are welcome, but I would rather they not be
                                posthumous. Consider it a quirk.
                                Ron

                                ----- Original Message -----
                                From: "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@...>
                                To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
                                Sent: Thursday, April 17, 2003 1:12 PM
                                Subject: Re: [GTh] Timelessness


                                > Ron McCann wrote:
                                > > Hi everyone. I have been hors de combat this last six months due to
                                > > a stroke. Like the proverbial bad penny, I turn up again.
                                >
                                > Hi Ron, it's great to have you back! I feared the worst, and more than
                                > once considered writing a post-mortem accolade. Please take it easy, so
                                > that we can enjoy many more years of your contributions.
                                >
                                > Mike Grondin
                                > Mt. Clemens, MI
                              • Mark Goodacre
                                ... What I was trying to think about was whether we d be able to work out when and where the Gospel was set if we had no reference to characters known
                                Message 15 of 20 , May 13, 2003
                                  On 19 Apr 2003 at 12:12, Michael Grondin wrote:

                                  > I didn't realize you were trying to follow Mark's thought experiment.
                                  > You seem to have deviated from it at key points, such as when you
                                  > discussed Caesar's coin. As I understand Mark's "game", it was to
                                  > pretend that we didn't know who any of the persons were in GTh. That
                                  > would presumably include Caesar.

                                  What I was trying to think about was whether we'd be able to work out
                                  when and where the Gospel was set if we had no reference to
                                  characters known primarily from early Christian literature, Thomas,
                                  Peter, Matthew, Mary Magdalene etc. In other words, there is no
                                  specifically datable "political" figure in Thomas like Pontius
                                  Pilate, Herod Antipas, Caiaphas, which provides a contrast with the
                                  canonical Gospels. But as Frank points out, there is Caesar in 100;
                                  I suppose that's about as specific as Thomas gets with political
                                  figures.

                                  Even in 100, is Thomas rather less specific than the canonicals? We
                                  have a "gold piece" (NOUB) compared to "tribute money" (KHNSOS).

                                  > I myself, however, wasn't playing the
                                  > game, since it seems to me to be seriously flawed. At the very least,
                                  > it seems to do nothing other than to guarantee its own point. If we
                                  > cannot know who John the Baptist was - or Jacob the Righteous - then
                                  > of course we don't know anything at all.

                                  Good point; I wondered if that was too great a flaw before suggesting
                                  the thought experiment, not least because we do know of John the B.
                                  and James from Josephus. Even here, though, they are not major
                                  leaders / political figures in the same way Antipas, Pilate et al
                                  are, are they? Or is that too simplistic a way of looking at the
                                  text?

                                  > If our not knowing anything
                                  > at all makes the text "timeless", then so be it, but that seems an
                                  > empty and artificial "timelessness" indeed. GThomas was written in a
                                  > context and assumes reader's knowledge of that context - whether that
                                  > context was itself written or oral or both - and that context made
                                  > sense of it, and without that context there's little sense to be made
                                  > of it.

                                  I'm interested in this. How do we know that the the text assumes its
                                  readers' knowledge of the context within which it was written?

                                  Thanks
                                  Mark
                                  -----------------------------
                                  Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
                                  Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
                                  University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 4381
                                  Birmingham B15 2TT UK

                                  http://www.theology.bham.ac.uk/goodacre
                                  http://NTGateway.com
                                • Michael Grondin
                                  ... No question but that Thomas is less specific than the canonicals - though we couldn t prove it by Th100, wherein it is specified that the gold piece is
                                  Message 16 of 20 , May 13, 2003
                                    Mark Goodacre writes:
                                    > Even in 100, is Thomas rather less specific than the canonicals? We
                                    > have a "gold piece" (NOUB) compared to "tribute money" (KHNSOS).

                                    No question but that Thomas is less specific than the canonicals - though we
                                    couldn't prove it by Th100, wherein it is specified that the gold piece is
                                    intended as "tribute" (or "taxes" - or, as in 64.9, "rent" - the same Coptic
                                    word serving interchangeably).

                                    > How do we know that the the text assumes its
                                    > readers' knowledge of the context within which it was written?

                                    Primarily, I'd say it was the use of names without any explanation of who
                                    they were. Leaving aside the name 'IS', there's perhaps four or five levels
                                    of name-recognition involved, progressively narrowing the presumed audience.
                                    The title 'Caesar' would have been pretty well known far and wide over an
                                    extended period of time. The name of John the Baptist would have been
                                    familiar to non-Christians from Josephus and other sources (including the
                                    on-going Baptizer cult). James/Jacob is also mentioned by Josephus, as you
                                    note, though his name would most probably have been less well-known
                                    generally than John's. The Christian names - Peter, Mary, Matthew, and
                                    Thomas - further narrow the presumed audience to Christians. Finally, the
                                    mention of Salome seems to narrow it even further to a Christian sub-culture
                                    within which the name 'Salome' would have been more meaningful than it was
                                    in the canonicals.

                                    Getting back to 'IS', this was, of course, a "sacred name" abbreviation the
                                    meaning of which presumably would have been indecipherable to an audience
                                    unfamiliar with that particular Christian naming-convention. ("Sacred names"
                                    of non-persons, such as PNA for PNEUMA, and the abbreviation of 'stavros'
                                    ['cross'] in Th55- with its special symbol for combined 'T' and 'R' - also
                                    prima facie assume a Christian knowledge-base.)

                                    "Timelessness" (as perhaps in the Sentences of Sextus) would presumably
                                    entail the eschewing of names entirely, or the addition of identifying
                                    information for each one. Less universally, if one wanted to write for
                                    non-Christians in the time before Christianity became the official religion
                                    of the Roman Empire, one could have added extra identifying material to just
                                    the Christian names. The fact that this wasn't done at any of the various
                                    levels of name-recognition seems to indicate that a sub-culture of
                                    Christianity (perhaps Edessan) was the assumed context and/or knowledge-base
                                    of the audience.

                                    Respects,
                                    Mike Grondin
                                    Mt. Clemens, MI
                                  • Mark Goodacre
                                    ... I think it sounds vaguer -- NOUB (gold piece) and WwM (tax, rent) in Thomas over against KHNSOS (tribute money) and DENARION (denarius) in Mark, but it s a
                                    Message 17 of 20 , May 13, 2003
                                      On 13 May 2003 at 14:38, Michael Grondin wrote:

                                      > No question but that Thomas is less specific than the canonicals -
                                      > though we couldn't prove it by Th100, wherein it is specified that the
                                      > gold piece is intended as "tribute" (or "taxes" - or, as in 64.9,
                                      > "rent" - the same Coptic word serving interchangeably).

                                      I think it sounds vaguer -- NOUB (gold piece) and WwM (tax, rent) in
                                      Thomas over against KHNSOS (tribute money) and DENARION (denarius) in
                                      Mark, but it's a close call.

                                      > Primarily, I'd say it was the use of names without any explanation of
                                      > who they were. Leaving aside the name 'IS', there's perhaps four or
                                      > five levels of name-recognition involved, progressively narrowing the
                                      > presumed audience. The title 'Caesar' would have been pretty well
                                      > known far and wide over an extended period of time. The name of John
                                      > the Baptist would have been familiar to non-Christians from Josephus
                                      > and other sources (including the on-going Baptizer cult). James/Jacob
                                      > is also mentioned by Josephus, as you note, though his name would most
                                      > probably have been less well-known generally than John's. The
                                      > Christian names - Peter, Mary, Matthew, and Thomas - further narrow
                                      > the presumed audience to Christians. Finally, the mention of Salome
                                      > seems to narrow it even further to a Christian sub-culture within
                                      > which the name 'Salome' would have been more meaningful than it was in
                                      > the canonicals.

                                      Thank you -- an excellent survey. I like the idea of arranging it in
                                      these increasingly narrowing circles.

                                      > Getting back to 'IS', this was, of course, a "sacred name"
                                      > abbreviation the meaning of which presumably would have been
                                      > indecipherable to an audience unfamiliar with that particular
                                      > Christian naming-convention. ("Sacred names" of non-persons, such as
                                      > PNA for PNEUMA, and the abbreviation of 'stavros' ['cross'] in Th55-
                                      > with its special symbol for combined 'T' and 'R' - also prima facie
                                      > assume a Christian knowledge-base.)

                                      This is a good point as far as the texts are concerned (Nag Hammadi &
                                      Oxyrhynchus), though we don't know what the authograph(s) had, do we?
                                      We wouldn't judge anything about Matthew's assumed intended audience
                                      on the basis of nomina sacra in extant texts of Matthew, would we?

                                      > "Timelessness" (as perhaps in the Sentences of Sextus) would
                                      > presumably entail the eschewing of names entirely, or the addition of
                                      > identifying information for each one. Less universally, if one wanted
                                      > to write for non-Christians in the time before Christianity became the
                                      > official religion of the Roman Empire, one could have added extra
                                      > identifying material to just the Christian names. The fact that this
                                      > wasn't done at any of the various levels of name-recognition seems to
                                      > indicate that a sub-culture of Christianity (perhaps Edessan) was the
                                      > assumed context and/or knowledge-base of the audience.

                                      Thanks for that. I suppose "timelessness" is a bit of a useless word
                                      -- too ambiguous. What I was thinking of was the lack of what
                                      Koester calls "historicizing" in Thomas, but I don't like that word
                                      because it could be taken to imply that the concrete historical
                                      realia in other texts are secondary. The interesting point you make
                                      here is that the lack of additional information about the characters
                                      in Thomas in a way limits Thomas to a more specific time-frame and
                                      assumed in-group -- it is not trying to introduce these characters
                                      for people who have never heard of them. This is actually quite a
                                      stark contrast with, say, Luke, who often introduces new characters
                                      with "there was a certain . . . ." etc.

                                      Perhaps the term I am looking for is something like de-historicizing.
                                      Does Thomas have a de-historicizing tendency?

                                      Mark
                                      -----------------------------
                                      Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
                                      Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
                                      University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 4381
                                      Birmingham B15 2TT UK

                                      http://www.theology.bham.ac.uk/goodacre
                                      http://NTGateway.com
                                    • Michael Grondin
                                      ... The tax/tribute distinction doesn t strike me as being a significant difference, because it may be accounted for by the vagaries of the languages involved,
                                      Message 18 of 20 , May 13, 2003
                                        Mark Goodacre:
                                        > I think it sounds vaguer -- NOUB (gold piece) and WwM (tax, rent) in
                                        > Thomas over against KHNSOS (tribute money) and DENARION (denarius) in
                                        > Mark, but it's a close call.

                                        The tax/tribute distinction doesn't strike me as being a significant
                                        difference, because it may be accounted for by the vagaries of the languages
                                        involved, but NOUB/DENARION does - as well as other features of Th100 that
                                        make it more generic than the canonical versions (no mention of Caesar's
                                        image on the coin, e.g.), but also evidently with a different point to it
                                        (as per the additional "and give me what is mine" clause). So, yes, I'd
                                        agree that it's less historically-specific than the canonical versions.

                                        > This is a good point as far as the texts are concerned (Nag Hammadi &
                                        > Oxyrhynchus), though we don't know what the authograph(s) had, do we?
                                        > We wouldn't judge anything about Matthew's assumed intended audience
                                        > on the basis of nomina sacra in extant texts of Matthew, would we?

                                        In both cases, lack of knowledge of the autograph prevents us from drawing
                                        any conclusion about the autograph's intended audience, but the question I
                                        put to myself is about the possibility of a *conditional* judgement. That
                                        is, can we not say in general that IF ms X contains numerous Christian
                                        nomina sacra, then the intended READER of X would probably have been a
                                        Christian? The reason I use the word 'reader' rather than 'audience' is that
                                        it may be that the ms X in question was intended to be read aloud to an
                                        audience by a Christian reader - to whom the abbreviations would have been
                                        meaningful ex hypothesi, and who would presumably have "translated" them for
                                        his audience as he read. Put this way, I think the answer is affirmative -
                                        the reader of a ms containing nomina sacra would almost certainly have had
                                        to have been familiar with them. The "audience", however, need not have
                                        been - unless the reader *was* the audience (i.e., reading to and for
                                        himself).

                                        BTW, can you recommend any source on the use of nomina sacra in the extant
                                        canonical mss? I have the impression it was widespread, perhaps universal,
                                        but can't recall a definitive source on this (except for one that
                                        speculatively tied the use of nomina sacra to the development of the codex).
                                        Even (some of) the Greek reconstructions seem to ignore this syntactical
                                        device - routinely spelling out the entire word rather than the
                                        abbreviation.

                                        > Perhaps the term I am looking for is something like de-historicizing.
                                        > Does Thomas have a de-historicizing tendency?

                                        Yeah, I thought that might have been what you were after. And I'd agree that
                                        the answer is clearly "yes". We at least know from inference (Th13) that
                                        Peter and Matthew and Thomas were disciples of Jesus, but neither he nor
                                        they seem to have very much at all in common with "those Judaeans". How
                                        would you say this compares with Paul's de-historicizing tendencies?

                                        Regards,
                                        Mike
                                      • fmmccoy
                                        ... From: Mark Goodacre To: Sent: Tuesday, May 13, 2003 3:16 PM Subject: Re: [GTh] Timelessness ... Dear
                                        Message 19 of 20 , May 19, 2003
                                          ----- Original Message -----
                                          From: "Mark Goodacre" <M.S.Goodacre@...>
                                          To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
                                          Sent: Tuesday, May 13, 2003 3:16 PM
                                          Subject: Re: [GTh] Timelessness


                                          > Thanks for that. I suppose "timelessness" is a bit of a useless word
                                          > -- too ambiguous. What I was thinking of was the lack of what
                                          > Koester calls "historicizing" in Thomas, but I don't like that word
                                          > because it could be taken to imply that the concrete historical
                                          > realia in other texts are secondary. The interesting point you make
                                          > here is that the lack of additional information about the characters
                                          > in Thomas in a way limits Thomas to a more specific time-frame and
                                          > assumed in-group -- it is not trying to introduce these characters
                                          > for people who have never heard of them. This is actually quite a
                                          > stark contrast with, say, Luke, who often introduces new characters
                                          > with "there was a certain . . . ." etc.
                                          >
                                          > Perhaps the term I am looking for is something like de-historicizing.
                                          > Does Thomas have a de-historicizing tendency?

                                          Dear Dr Mark Goodacre:

                                          Does not the phrase "a de-historicizing tendency", when applied to GTh,
                                          imply that it is later than the canonical gospels--which have a greater
                                          emphasis on history? If so, is not as "loaded" a phrase as "lack of
                                          historicizing"?

                                          In any event, I agree that, relative to the canonical gospels, there is less
                                          of an emphasis on history in GTh.

                                          Each canonical gospel is chronologically arranged. That is, it begins
                                          with the earliest time frame and continues in chronological order until
                                          ending with the latest time frame. Too, there are temporal brackets for
                                          Jesus' ministry: with John the Baptist being alive when his ministry begins
                                          and Pontus Pilate being the Prefect when his ministry ends. Further, Jesus
                                          not only moves around, but geographical markers are given so that we always
                                          know at least in a general sense where he is. So, at any given point in the
                                          gospel, we have a fairly decent idea of where Jesus is, both temporally and
                                          geographically. Finally, Jesus is identified as being from a town called
                                          Nazareth, as being from the province of Galilee, and as being a Jew.

                                          In contrast, the sayings/dialogue units in GTh do not appear to be given in
                                          chronological order. Too, there are no temporal brackets given for Jesus'
                                          ministry period. Further, it is never said what town, city, province, or
                                          country Jesus is in. So, at any given point in the gospel, we have no good
                                          idea of where Jesus is, either temporally or geographically. He departed
                                          (12), but the circumstances and manner of that departure are not given.
                                          His home town is never mentioned, his home country or province is never
                                          mentioned, and even his ethnic identity is never mentioned.

                                          ISTM that these contrasts arise out of the world-perspective of the Thomas
                                          community.

                                          As I perceive it (a big qualification), in this world-perspective, there is
                                          the Kingdom and the Cosmos. The Kingdom is a spiritual realm. The Cosmos
                                          is a material realm. The Kingdom is an eternal realm. The Cosmos is a
                                          temporal realm. The Kingdom is a realm of Life. The Cosmos is a realm
                                          of Death. In the Kingdom are God, the Son, the Spirit, angels, and human
                                          spirits. In the Cosmos are beings with body/flesh. Since this is the realm
                                          of Death, all such beings of body/flesh are mortal and die.

                                          One class of being of body/flesh is unique--mankind. Within each human
                                          of body/flesh is a human spirit which has pre-existed in the Kingdom, but
                                          now exists within the body/flesh. Unless it can re-gain contact with the
                                          Kingdom, even while it is yet in the body/flesh, it will share in the death
                                          of the body/flesh.

                                          From the Kingdom, the Son entered into the body-flesh by being born of a
                                          human woman. He revealed to a select group of disciples the sayings which,
                                          if properly understood, enables the spirit to re-gain contact with the
                                          Kingdom, even while yet in the body/flesh, so that, when the body/flesh
                                          dies, it regains eternal life in the Kingdom. Then, when came the time for
                                          the death of his body/flesh, the Son, as he had maintained contact with the
                                          Kingdom, resumed his eternal life in the Kingdom.

                                          From this world-perspective, what is essential is recording these sayings
                                          uttered by the Son--for it is by understanding them that one's spirit can
                                          re-gain eternal life in the Kingdom. All the rest of his existence in the
                                          body-flesh is only of idle curiousity interest--for it is of no real
                                          importance. Hence, there is no need to mention when or where he was born,
                                          or to mention the ethnic group to which he belonged, or to mention where he
                                          lived, or to mention where or when he taught, or to mention where or when
                                          or how he died, etc..

                                          So, I suggest, GTh, unlike the canonical gospels, is a saying/dialogue
                                          gospel with almost no historical information on Jesus because the
                                          world-perspective of the Thomas community was radically different from the
                                          world-perspective of the canonical gospel communities.

                                          The suggested world-perspective of the Thomas community raises questions.
                                          Why is the Cosmos the realm of death? Why is there even death? Why do
                                          pre-existing human spirits enter into body-flesh? Why are they in ignorance
                                          of their pre-existence? Why was it necessary for the Son to come and give
                                          the sayings which, when properly understood, can enable a human spirit to
                                          avoid participating in the death of the body/flesh? Etc. Etc. Out of
                                          these sorts of questions, I suggest, Gnostic systems arose. So, while I do
                                          not deem GTh to be a Gnostic text, I, yet, think that the world-perspective
                                          underlying it had a lot to do with the rise of the various Gnostic systems.

                                          Regards,

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