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Re: [GTh] Beyond Belief ...

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  • 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 1 of 14 , Jun 7, 2003
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      --- 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 2 of 14 , Jun 7, 2003
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        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 3 of 14 , Jun 8, 2003
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          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 4 of 14 , Jun 8, 2003
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            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
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            >
            >
          • sarban
            ... From: Michael Grondin To: Sent: Sunday, June 08, 2003 4:42 AM Subject: Re: [GTh] Beyond Belief ... ...
            Message 5 of 14 , Jun 8, 2003
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              ----- 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 6 of 14 , Jun 8, 2003
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                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 7 of 14 , Jun 9, 2003
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                  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 8 of 14 , Jun 9, 2003
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                    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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