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Re: [GTh] Beyond Belief ...

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  • BitsyCat1@aol.com
    In a message dated 06/06/2003 2:03:03AM, pessy@chez.com writes:
    Message 1 of 14 , Jun 6, 2003
      In a message dated 06/06/2003 2:03:03AM, pessy@... writes:

      << Pessy writes

      Jay Raskin showed recently that Irenaios is just a mouthpiece
      of Tertullian, who forged the New Testament.
      Joseph Turmel figured that John's is of docetic/dualist origin
      and got later catholisised, the editors claiming it to be
      written against the dualist/docetic heresies.
      Thus it had been forged in order to fight its original authors.

      >>

      John replies

      I believe this does fall into the category of the subject of the e mail
      "Beyond Belief"
      IM not sure many people like Tertulian, but you give him too much credit.

      John appears to be contra Thomas in some sections..Especially the Choice
      of Thomas to say "My Lord and My God" A Verification of the Incarnation which
      presumably the Thomasines did not accept.

      This would not be a problem for Tertulian but would be for 1st Century
      and early 2nd Century Believers in The Incarnation of Yeshua Bar Yosef.
      In searching I can find nothing written specifically against Thomasines.
      By that time there were other problems many current problems.

      Regards John Moon
      2401 Crescent
      Springfield, Tenn. 37172
    • sarban
      ... From: Maurice Cormier To: Sent: Friday, June 06, 2003 5:08 AM Subject: [GTh] Beyond Belief ... ... It is
      Message 2 of 14 , Jun 6, 2003
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Maurice Cormier" <cobby@...>
        To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Friday, June 06, 2003 5:08 AM
        Subject: [GTh] Beyond Belief ...


        > I am not sure how many list members have read Elaine Pagels newest book,
        > "Beyond Belief", but I would have expected that a bit of discussion
        > might have surfacced on this list by now about some of her findings
        > therein, particularly as regards to the Gospel of Thomas.
        >
        > To those who have not yet read it, Beyond Belief contains a lot of very
        > valuable insight into early Church history and its reaction and posture
        > with respect to the Nag Hammadi corpus of texts (particularly the Gospel
        > of Thomas) and its underlying doctrine(s), which was/were reasonably
        > widespread (seemingly) up to the time of Irenaeus (and other early
        > Church Fathers ... certainly including that of Athanasius in the 4th
        > century) and leading up to the Nicene Council under Constantine in 325
        > CE.
        >
        > One of the author's foremost conclusions (surprisingly so, by my humble
        > grasp of reality at least) is that the Gospel of John (which promotes
        > the idea that Jesus is God in human form) would have been written so as
        > to specifically counter the Gospel of Thomas wherein the suggestion is
        > postured that oneness with God, or at least the full discovery of Him,
        > is possible not only for Jesus, but indeed for everyone who seeks to
        > know Him ... given that indeed He is "knowable" by all given that we are
        > all "created in His image".
        >
        >
        > Maurice Cormier
        >
        >
        It is interesting the very wide divergence among scholars as to the date and
        provenance
        of Thomas. Perrin recently published a book arguing that Thomas is dependent
        on the
        Diatessaron, which puts it about a century after the date Pagels is arguing
        for.
        Perrin probably overstates his case but even if Thomas is not dependent on
        the
        Diatessaron as such there is a strong case that they both shared the same
        sources in the
        Synoptic gospels. Does Pagels discuss the relation of Thomas to the Syriac
        gospel tradition?

        Andrew Criddle
      • pessy@chez.com
        ... I also sense Tatian s school behind Thomas. Klaus Schilling
        Message 3 of 14 , Jun 7, 2003
          sarban writes:
          > It is interesting the very wide divergence among scholars as to the date and
          > provenance of Thomas. Perrin recently published a book arguing that Thomas
          > is dependent on the Diatessaron, which puts it about a century after the
          > date Pagels is arguing for.

          I also sense Tatian's school behind Thomas.

          Klaus Schilling
        • jmgcormier
          ... (snip, snip ....) ... date and ... dependent ... arguing ... ... Maurice I am not sure (I would have to reread the text) that the author is arguing for
          Message 4 of 14 , Jun 7, 2003
            --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "sarban" <sarban@s...> wrote:
            >
            > ----- Original Message -----
            > From: "Maurice Cormier" <cobby@n...>
            > To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
            > Sent: Friday, June 06, 2003 5:08 AM
            > Subject: [GTh] Beyond Belief ...
            >
            >
            >Andrew Criddle wrote:

            (snip, snip ....)
            > >
            > >
            > It is interesting the very wide divergence among scholars as to the
            date and
            > provenance
            > of Thomas. Perrin recently published a book arguing that Thomas is
            dependent
            > on the
            > Diatessaron, which puts it about a century after the date Pagels is
            arguing
            > for.
            ---------------------------------------------------------------------

            ... Maurice

            I am not sure (I would have to reread the text) that the author is
            arguing "for" any particular or specific date in her book ... although
            I believe she is generally moreso of an "early" dater than a "late"
            dater. The point here, however, is that in order for the Gospel of
            John to have been written explicitely to counter the Gospel of Thomas,
            would mean that the GoT would obviously have to have been written
            before the Gospel of John (c. 100 or so C.E) How many years "before",
            however, is not speculated upon by Pagels as I recall.

            ---------------------------------------------------------------------

            > Perrin probably overstates his case but even if Thomas is not
            dependent on
            > the
            > Diatessaron as such there is a strong case that they both shared the
            same
            > sources in the
            > Synoptic gospels. Does Pagels discuss the relation of Thomas to the
            Syriac
            > gospel tradition?
            >
            > Andrew Criddle

            ----------------------------------------------------------------------

            Maurice

            Your sense of Perrin overstating his case seems sound to me as
            well ... as I recall (and while opinions most certainly vary), the
            Diatessaron seems to "log in" at appx. 175 C.E. That sounds a little
            late for people to be asking (Thomas #53) if "circumcision is
            necessary" (remember ... this question was settled by Paul & Barsabbas
            in or around 49 C.E.) However, you could certainly convince me that
            both (Thomas and the Diatessaron) use common building blocks in their
            Gospels.

            On your question as to if "Pagels discusses the relation of Thomas to
            the Syriac", I dont recall that she does in amy significant way.

            You have a hunch, perhaps, that this could lead to something
            significantly new ???

            I guess what strikes me in this whole John vs Thomas aregument is that
            Pagels largely rests her case on Irenaeus' "say-so". To me, this is
            quite a "stretch" based on his track record of objectivity and
            impartiality as regards testimony in general. I could much more
            readily accept, for example, that the Gospel of John was perhaps
            written to introduce the idea (given that followers of Jesus may have
            been concerned at His failure to "return" by the end of the first
            century as promised) that He had really meant to return/resurrect "in
            the spirit" as opposed to "in the flesh", and that the Gospel of John
            was somewhat "spun" accordingly .... but to posture that John was
            written to counter Thomas seems a bit much. Indeed, not to go so far
            (in time, that is) as Perrin, it may well even be that John was
            written long before Thomas .... no ?

            Maurice Cormier
          • Michael Grondin
            ... Barsabbas? Well, at any rate, the range of meanings of the Greek loan-word ophelei used in Th53 doesn t seem to have included necessary . Typically, it
            Message 5 of 14 , Jun 7, 2003
              Maurice:

              > ... as I recall (and while opinions most certainly vary), the
              > Diatessaron seems to "log in" at appx. 175 C.E. That sounds a little
              > late for people to be asking (Thomas #53) if "circumcision is
              > necessary" (remember ... this question was settled by Paul & Barsabbas
              > in or around 49 C.E.)

              Barsabbas? Well, at any rate, the range of meanings of the Greek loan-word
              'ophelei' used in Th53 doesn't seem to have included 'necessary'. Typically,
              it meant 'advantageous', 'beneficial', 'profitable', etc. - something beyond
              necessity. Even after Paul, a Christian audience might still have been
              asking, "OK, circumcision isn't necessary, but isn't it (at least)
              advantageous?" Or: "We know it isn't necessary to be Jewish, but isn't it
              helpful?" This continuing question might be taken to favor post-Paul dating,
              though I'm myself agnostic on the dating issue.

              > ... to posture that John was
              > written to counter Thomas seems a bit much. Indeed, not to go
              > so far (in time, that is) as Perrin, it may well even be that John was
              > written long before Thomas .... no ?

              I don't know about the entirety of the original version of John, but chapter
              21 is widely accepted as a later interpolation, and the part about Thomas in
              chapter 20 strikes me as a bit suspicious as well. It seems to have been
              written to counter a specific set of beliefs about the "resurrection", and
              Thomas was chosen as representative of those beliefs, which must mean
              something. Could the "doubting Thomas" material have been added at the same
              time as chapter 21? There doesn't seem to be much, if any, anti-Thomas stuff
              elsewhere in John, however, so I'd agree with you that the general
              conclusion about the whole of John having been written to counter Thomas is
              "a bit much". (This said having not yet read Pagels' new book.)

              Mike
              The Coptic Gospel of Thomas, saying-by-saying
              http://www.geocities.com/mwgrondin/sayings.htm
            • pessy@chez.com
              ... Following G.A. Van den Bergh van Eysinga , i see it coming from semi-gnostic circels in the second quarter of the second century, and gradually catholised
              Message 6 of 14 , Jun 8, 2003
                Michael Grondin writes:
                > I don't know about the entirety of the original version of John,

                Following G.A. Van den Bergh van Eysinga ,
                i see it coming from semi-gnostic circels in the second quarter
                of the second century, and gradually catholised in the second half.

                Klaus Schilling
              • odell mcguire
                Dear Mike, list I read Beyond Belief a month ago, after it first came out, and don t have time right now to revisit. But I have the distinct impression that
                Message 7 of 14 , Jun 8, 2003
                  Dear Mike, list

                  I read Beyond Belief a month ago, after it first came out, and don't have
                  time right now to revisit. But I have the distinct impression that she
                  placed the writing of both gospels in the 90s, GThom being the earlier, in
                  the vicinity of Syria, if not explicitly, then easily inferred. She shows
                  little or no interest in the the thesis, accepted by most, that both are
                  compilations rflecting the incorporation of both earlier sources and later
                  additions. Actually the calender time is unimportant to her; only the
                  sequence and place of writing.


                  Her main point is that author 4G was a salesman for the LOGOS solution to
                  the "Who WAS Jesus, anyway?" probem. As a salesman, he had competitors,
                  active in the same neighborhood, and part of his pitch was a diminution,
                  denigration of THEIR products--so modern readers can best judge who that
                  competiton was by who it was that author 4G was most interested in
                  diminishing.
                  In 4G, to be specific: The Baptist, was a Witness to The Light, nothing
                  more; The Magdalen, tho first to enter the tomb, mistook Jesus for the
                  gardener; Peter was outrun by the BD (John, no real ? about it here) to the
                  tomb; Thomas was out of town, was the absolute LAST of the original Apostles
                  to see the risen Jesus, and even then, didn't believe what he saw.
                  Obviously, the gnostics, Mary M. and Thomas, are LEAST qualified to answer
                  ?s about Jesus' identity and that places their cults, if not their written
                  expositions, among author 4G's existing competitors.

                  I think her case is convincing. You ought to read it Mike.

                  As far as Irenaeus is concerned, I think the most interesting thing about
                  him is that, according to Pagels, he wrote out of a conviction that he,
                  himself, could trace his apostolic succession directly through Polycarp, his
                  1st teacher, to John, the BD and author 4G, who in turn was Polycarp's 1st
                  teacher. Again, she has a good case. And in any case, the notion that such
                  a writer as Irenaeus could be a mere mouthpiece for the Latin Tertulian is
                  about as preposterous as any I've seen voiced on this list. And as you
                  know, from my own contributions if not otherwise, thats goin' some.

                  Odell McGuire
                  Lexington, VA




                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@...>
                  To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
                  Sent: Saturday, June 07, 2003 11:42 PM
                  Subject: Re: [GTh] Beyond Belief ...


                  > Maurice:
                  >
                  > > ... as I recall (and while opinions most certainly vary), the
                  > > Diatessaron seems to "log in" at appx. 175 C.E. That sounds a little
                  > > late for people to be asking (Thomas #53) if "circumcision is
                  > > necessary" (remember ... this question was settled by Paul & Barsabbas
                  > > in or around 49 C.E.)
                  >
                  > Barsabbas? Well, at any rate, the range of meanings of the Greek loan-word
                  > 'ophelei' used in Th53 doesn't seem to have included 'necessary'.
                  Typically,
                  > it meant 'advantageous', 'beneficial', 'profitable', etc. - something
                  beyond
                  > necessity. Even after Paul, a Christian audience might still have been
                  > asking, "OK, circumcision isn't necessary, but isn't it (at least)
                  > advantageous?" Or: "We know it isn't necessary to be Jewish, but isn't it
                  > helpful?" This continuing question might be taken to favor post-Paul
                  dating,
                  > though I'm myself agnostic on the dating issue.
                  >
                  > > ... to posture that John was
                  > > written to counter Thomas seems a bit much. Indeed, not to go
                  > > so far (in time, that is) as Perrin, it may well even be that John was
                  > > written long before Thomas .... no ?
                  >
                  > I don't know about the entirety of the original version of John, but
                  chapter
                  > 21 is widely accepted as a later interpolation, and the part about Thomas
                  in
                  > chapter 20 strikes me as a bit suspicious as well. It seems to have been
                  > written to counter a specific set of beliefs about the "resurrection", and
                  > Thomas was chosen as representative of those beliefs, which must mean
                  > something. Could the "doubting Thomas" material have been added at the
                  same
                  > time as chapter 21? There doesn't seem to be much, if any, anti-Thomas stu
                  ff
                  > elsewhere in John, however, so I'd agree with you that the general
                  > conclusion about the whole of John having been written to counter Thomas
                  is
                  > "a bit much". (This said having not yet read Pagels' new book.)
                  >
                  > Mike
                  > The Coptic Gospel of Thomas, saying-by-saying
                  > http://www.geocities.com/mwgrondin/sayings.htm
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > --------------------------------------------------------------------
                  > Gospel of Thomas Homepage: http://home.epix.net/~miser17/Thomas.html
                  > To unsubscribe from this group,
                  > send a blank email to gthomas-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                  >
                  > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                • sarban
                  ... From: Michael Grondin To: Sent: Sunday, June 08, 2003 4:42 AM Subject: Re: [GTh] Beyond Belief ... ...
                  Message 8 of 14 , Jun 8, 2003
                    ----- Original Message -----
                    From: "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@...>
                    To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
                    Sent: Sunday, June 08, 2003 4:42 AM
                    Subject: Re: [GTh] Beyond Belief ...


                    > Maurice:
                    >
                    > > ... as I recall (and while opinions most certainly vary), the
                    > > Diatessaron seems to "log in" at appx. 175 C.E. That sounds a little
                    > > late for people to be asking (Thomas #53) if "circumcision is
                    > > necessary" (remember ... this question was settled by Paul & Barsabbas
                    > > in or around 49 C.E.)
                    >
                    > Barsabbas? Well, at any rate, the range of meanings of the Greek loan-word
                    > 'ophelei' used in Th53 doesn't seem to have included 'necessary'.
                    Typically,
                    > it meant 'advantageous', 'beneficial', 'profitable', etc. - something
                    beyond
                    > necessity. Even after Paul, a Christian audience might still have been
                    > asking, "OK, circumcision isn't necessary, but isn't it (at least)
                    > advantageous?" Or: "We know it isn't necessary to be Jewish, but isn't it
                    > helpful?" This continuing question might be taken to favor post-Paul
                    dating,
                    > though I'm myself agnostic on the dating isssue.

                    Doesn't the answer to the question about circumcision in Thomas suggest that
                    the point isn't just that circumcision is unprofitable to Christians but
                    that it was never
                    of any value as a physical rite?
                    This would be similar to the position of the "Epistle of Barnabas".

                    Andrew Criddle
                  • pessy@chez.com
                    ... That epistle even predates Christianity. Therapeutae or other diaspora Jewish mystery cults may have given up on the outer expressions of the law when the
                    Message 9 of 14 , Jun 8, 2003
                      sarban writes:
                      > This would be similar to the position of the "Epistle of Barnabas".
                      >
                      That epistle even predates Christianity.
                      Therapeutae or other diaspora Jewish mystery cults may have given up on
                      the outer expressions of the law when the Romans oppressed those
                      after the temple fall, and even more the messianic wars of Lukuas
                      and Artunion,
                      and sticked the more to the inner values of the Thorah instead,
                      like some later Quietist Christian movements
                      e.g. the Beguines (13th century) or Miguel De Molinos (17th century).
                      Another important work of those circles is the Didache, or
                      Doctrina Apostolorum.
                      This has been developed in Edwin Johnson's book "Antiqua Mater".
                      The Didache knows some of Matthew's logia,
                      but in a varia lectio that represents a more judaist phase.
                      For example, the Golden Rule appears still in its passive formulation
                      the Talmud ascribed to Hillel (1 cent. BCE).

                      Klaus Schilling
                    • pessy@chez.com
                      ... that d be Barnabas. Barsabbas is the guy who drank lethal poison without being harmed. ... Following Couchoud La Premie`re E dition de St. Paul and Van
                      Message 10 of 14 , Jun 9, 2003
                        jmgcormier writes:
                        > Your sense of Perrin overstating his case seems sound to me as
                        > well ... as I recall (and while opinions most certainly vary), the
                        > Diatessaron seems to "log in" at appx. 175 C.E. That sounds a little
                        > late for people to be asking (Thomas #53) if "circumcision is
                        > necessary"
                        > (remember ... this question was settled by Paul & Barsabbas
                        that'd be Barnabas.
                        Barsabbas is the guy who drank lethal poison without being harmed.
                        > in or around 49 C.E.)

                        Following Couchoud "La Premie`re E'dition de St. Paul"
                        and Van den Bergh van Eysinga "Marcion als Getuige voor een
                        voor-katoliek Christendom" I put Paul's epistles into the
                        second century, and posterior to the Marcionite versions
                        reported by Tertullian and Epiphanius.
                        Justin Martyr does not use the Paulinics where they should be used,
                        so this first chief ideologer of fledgling Catholic Christianity
                        does either not know about the canonical versions or not consider
                        them as authorative, even if (which I doubt severely)
                        they were extant before Irenaios and Tertullian wrote against Marcion.
                        In any case this shows that in Antonius Pius' times, they were not
                        accepted as guidelines throughout early Christianity.
                        This has been pointed out by E. Johnson in "Antiqua Mater".
                        Severians and Elkasaits also refused Paul as too hellenic.
                        Van den Bergh van Eysinga, using H. Raschke's "Werkstatt des
                        Markus-Evangelisten", showed also that the Marcionite Gospel
                        predates, or at least is more original than the canonical ones.
                        Turmel in "The Fourth Gospel" shows that John's contains much of
                        Marcionite stuff, thinly overpainted by Catholic redactors.
                        Justin Martyr even is ignorant about Evangelia as a literary genre,
                        and talks about Memorabilia Apostolorum, which contained much
                        of the material of the canonical Gospels.

                        Klaus Schilling
                      • kirby@earthlink.net
                        ... Jay Raskin has shown (according to him) that Justin Martyr is the mouthpiece of Tertullian as well. best, Peter Kirby
                        Message 11 of 14 , Jun 9, 2003
                          On 9 Jun 2003, at 12:27, pessy@... wrote:

                          > Justin Martyr does not use the Paulinics where they should be used,
                          > so this first chief ideologer of fledgling Catholic Christianity
                          > does either not know about the canonical versions or not consider
                          > them as authorative, even if (which I doubt severely)
                          > they were extant before Irenaios and Tertullian wrote against Marcion.

                          Jay Raskin has shown (according to him) that Justin Martyr is the
                          mouthpiece of Tertullian as well.

                          best,
                          Peter Kirby
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