Re: [GTh] I still don't comprehend the late dating of Thomas....
----- Original Message -----
From: "Michael Mozina" <michael@...>
Sent: Sunday, June 08, 2003 7:17 PM
Subject: [GTh] I still don't comprehend the late dating of Thomas....
> As a layman who's followed this forum for a couple of years now, I'm still
> puzzled by the late dating of Thomas.
> I got interested in this topic after reading Steven Davies work on the
> connections between the Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of Thomas. What
> intrigued me was the possibility that the Gospel of Thomas actually could
> an authentic saying list from one of Y'shua's actual apostles.
> If Mark and other subsequent writers truely did use the GoT as reference
> material, that would suggest to me that this was done because the GoT was
> already in circulation within the "Christian" (for lack of a better term)
> communities, and this was Mark's way of adding credibility to his
> The only reason such a document would have credibitility at that time is
> it had been considered authentic within the Christian (The Way?)
> To this day, I still get the distinct impression that the GoT very well
> could be an authentic document based on it's genre, it's style and it's
> by subsequent synoptic gospel writers.
> Is there any real and demonstrateable reason I'm overlooking that
> this document from being an actual sayings list the one of the apostles
> might have penned down while on the road with Jesus the man?
> Michael Mozina
> Mt. Shasta, CA
There are three types of evidence of varying strength against a very
early date for Thomas in its present form.
1/ Although some of the synoptic type material in Thomas may
be more primitive than the synoptic gospels some sayings appear
secondary. E.g. in saying 14 a reference to healing the sick occurs
which is irrelevant in its context in Thomas but makes perfect sense
in the parallel in Luke 10:9 and in saying 57 (wheat and tares) the
agreement with Matthew extends to features that are probably
2/ Several sayings in Thomas seem to refer to distinctively
Gnostic ideas which probably did not enter the Christian
tradition before the very late 1st century CE. E.g sayings
50, 77 and 114.
(Steven Davies presents detailed arguments that these sayings
are part of the Wisdom tradition and not Gnostic but most
scholars do not agree with him and his arguments against
Gnostic ideas in Thomas sometimes involve a narrow
definition of Gnosticism. )
3/ There are connections between Thomas and the 2nd
century Syriac Christian tradition. Not only linguistic and
textual similarities but also such ideas as the "single one"
important in Thomas and in Syrian monasticism.
These connections could be due to influence of Thomas
on early Syriac Christianity but are more probably due to
the use of a common tradition.
This evidence even if valid refers to the present form of
Thomas. An earlier form of Thomas type material could
well be very early.
> see logion 65, where the benevolent[....]
> owner (God) of the wineyard sends his servants (prophets of the Tanakh)
> to the landworkers (people of Israel),
> in order to remind them of their duties,
> and the servants get beaten and chased away.
> Finally, the owner sends his son (Jesus) who gets slain.
> Thus Jesus would anachronistically anticipate his execution.
>Which assumes that the son = Jesus, the owner = God. This is the meaning
> Klaus Schilling
given to the saying in the canonical gospels. But there is nothing in the
Thomas version to indicate that this is the intended meaning. Like so much
else the canonical writers have taken what must have been to them an
incomprehensible saying and have assigned it a meaning based on their
understanding of a literal Jesus.