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Re: [GTh] I stilll don't understand

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  • sarban
    ... From: Tom Saunders To: Sent: Monday, June 09, 2003 10:57 PM Subject: [GTh] I stilll don t understand ...
    Message 1 of 11 , Jun 10, 2003
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Tom Saunders" <tom@...>
      To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Monday, June 09, 2003 10:57 PM
      Subject: [GTh] I stilll don't understand


      > Hi Andrew,
      >
      > You say...
      > 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
      >
      > I don't see a parallel to your reference to GT 14 and healing. Saying 14
      goes:
      >
      > GT 14. Jesus said to them, "If you fast, you will bring sin upon
      yourselves, and if you pray, you will be condemned, and if you give to
      charity, you will harm your spirits. When you go into any region and walk
      about in the countryside, when people take you in, eat what they serve you
      and heal the sick among them. After all, what goes into your mouth will not
      defile you; rather, it's what comes out of your mouth that will defile you."
      >
      The saying in its present form is about the uselessness or harmfulness
      ofritual observances particularly about food, the phrase
      "and heal the sick among them" interrupts the chain of thought.
      However the sentence in which it occurs closely corresponds to
      Luke 10 verses 8-9 in Jesus' charge to the 70 where the
      instruction about healing fits well.
      It is probable that the original context of this sentence is a mission
      charge and that it has been taken out of context by Thomas.

      > 2/ Several sayings in Thomas seem to refer to distinctively
      > Gnostic ideas.....
      > As for "Gnostic ideas' you have to consider that the term gnostic itself
      came about in 12th Century France. The term just does not convey a true
      meaning to a concept aligned with a practice(s) that existed hundreds of
      years prior to it. We could call Taoists, Gnostics.

      I agree that the term Gnostic is used vaguely but it certainly goes back
      to the 2nd and 3rd century.
      Are you confusing Cathar with Gnostic ?
      >
      > 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.
      >
      > Could this be a reference to the Penn dissertation, which argues that
      Thomas is a 2nd Century Syriac document, based upon the 'catch phrases'
      aligned with Syrian language? NONSENSE! They gave this guy a Ph.D.. for
      that idea.
      >
      There is a lot of work by people such as Baarda and Quispel on
      the connections between Thomas and the second century Syriac
      Gospel tradition. I will provide an extended discussion if you like
      but I'll need a bit of time to look things up. Certainly the great
      majority of people involved in Diatessaronic or early Syriac studies
      accept the connection for which there are three possible explanations.
      1/ Thomas is based on the Diatessaron.
      2/ The Diatessaron is based on Thomas.
      3/ Thomas and the Diatessaron used a common source or sources.
      For a very early date of Thomas explanation 2 is required. This is
      possible (Menard has argued in detail for this), but there are problems.
      For example although there is a considerable amount of apocryphal
      material in the Diatessaron, none of the non-canonical saying of Jesus
      in Thomas appear to have been present in the Diatessaron.

      Andrew Criddle.
    • swallison
      ... A couple of years ago I attempted to find the Diatessaron on the internet but I don t think what I found was really it. I would be interested in further
      Message 2 of 11 , Jun 10, 2003
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        --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "sarban" <sarban@s...> wrote:
        >
        .............
        > >
        > There is a lot of work by people such as Baarda and Quispel on
        > the connections between Thomas and the second century Syriac
        > Gospel tradition. I will provide an extended discussion if you like
        > but I'll need a bit of time to look things up. Certainly the great
        > majority of people involved in Diatessaronic or early Syriac studies
        > accept the connection for which there are three possible explanations.
        > 1/ Thomas is based on the Diatessaron.
        > 2/ The Diatessaron is based on Thomas.
        > 3/ Thomas and the Diatessaron used a common source or sources.
        > For a very early date of Thomas explanation 2 is required. This is
        > possible (Menard has argued in detail for this), but there are problems.
        > For example although there is a considerable amount of apocryphal
        > material in the Diatessaron, none of the non-canonical saying of Jesus
        > in Thomas appear to have been present in the Diatessaron.
        >
        > Andrew Criddle.

        A couple of years ago I attempted to find the Diatessaron on the
        internet but I don't think what I found was really it. I would be
        interested in further discussions of the Diatessaron.

        Steve A.
      • rickmsumner
        ... Rick replies: Perhaps Peter Kirby s site will be of some assistance to you: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/diatessaron.html Regards, Rick Sumner
        Message 3 of 11 , Jun 10, 2003
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          Steve A. wrote:
          > A couple of years ago I attempted to find the Diatessaron on the
          > internet but I don't think what I found was really it. I would be
          > interested in further discussions of the Diatessaron.

          Rick replies:
          Perhaps Peter Kirby's site will be of some assistance to you:

          http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/diatessaron.html

          Regards,
          Rick Sumner
        • David C. Hindley
          ... but I don t think what I found was really it. I would be interested in further discussions of the Diatessaron.
          Message 4 of 11 , Jun 11, 2003
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            Steve Allison says:

            >>A couple of years ago I attempted to find the Diatessaron on the internet
            but I don't think what I found was really it. I would be interested in
            further discussions of the Diatessaron.<<

            As far as I know, the only online version of the Diatessaron is that based
            on volume X of _The Ante-Nicene Fathers to A.D. 325_, Alexander Roberts and
            James Donaldson, editors, Christian Literature Publishing Company, 1896.
            When I first obtained the full set back in my college days (about 1977) I
            was surprised to learn that even though some church fathers spoke of the
            Diatessaron as if it contained some noncanonical words of Jesus, none of the
            manuscripts known to the editor of that volume supported such readings.
            Availing myself of several libraries, it appeared that this situation had
            not changed much through the late 1970's or early 1980's. In fact, there was
            suspicion that the manuscripts identified as the Diatessaron were in fact
            independent gospel harmonies that somehow became identified with the
            Diatessaron.

            I do not know if this is still the opinion of most researchers, or whether I
            am even correct in my recollection.

            Respectfully,

            Dave Hindley
            Cleveland, Ohio, USA
          • pessy@chez.com
            ... http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/diatessaron.html points to extant fragments and discussions. Klaus Schilling
            Message 5 of 11 , Jun 11, 2003
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              swallison writes:
              > A couple of years ago I attempted to find the Diatessaron on the
              > internet but I don't think what I found was really it.

              http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/diatessaron.html points to
              extant fragments and discussions.


              Klaus Schilling
            • sarban
              ... From: David C. Hindley To: Sent: Wednesday, June 11, 2003 8:19 AM Subject: RE: [GTh] I stilll don t
              Message 6 of 11 , Jun 11, 2003
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                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "David C. Hindley" <dhindley@...>
                To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
                Sent: Wednesday, June 11, 2003 8:19 AM
                Subject: RE: [GTh] I stilll don't understand


                > Steve Allison says:
                >
                > >>A couple of years ago I attempted to find the Diatessaron on the
                internet
                > but I don't think what I found was really it. I would be interested in
                > further discussions of the Diatessaron.<<
                >
                > As far as I know, the only online version of the Diatessaron is that based
                > on volume X of _The Ante-Nicene Fathers to A.D. 325_, Alexander Roberts
                and
                > James Donaldson, editors, Christian Literature Publishing Company, 1896.
                > When I first obtained the full set back in my college days (about 1977) I
                > was surprised to learn that even though some church fathers spoke of the
                > Diatessaron as if it contained some noncanonical words of Jesus, none of
                the
                > manuscripts known to the editor of that volume supported such readings.
                > Availing myself of several libraries, it appeared that this situation had
                > not changed much through the late 1970's or early 1980's. In fact, there
                was
                > suspicion that the manuscripts identified as the Diatessaron were in fact
                > independent gospel harmonies that somehow became identified with the
                > Diatessaron.
                >
                > I do not know if this is still the opinion of most researchers, or whether
                I
                > am even correct in my recollection.
                >
                The Text of the Diatessaron in the Ante-Nicene Fathers is based on
                Arabic translations from Syriac that have been largely adjusted to the
                Peshitta, the standard Syriac bible text. In other words it preserves the
                original order of gospel passages much more accurately than the original
                text. Our best piece of evidence concerning the original text of the
                Diatessaron is the commentary on the Diatessaron written by Ephraem in
                the late fourth century. This was originally written in Syriac but is
                preserved
                more fully in Armenian translation. This commentary mentions several
                non-canonical passages.

                Andrew Criddle
              • Michael Grondin
                ... I m wondering what s meant by a very early date here. Would late first century count? Arguably, that might be a point at which the synoptics would be
                Message 7 of 11 , Jun 19, 2003
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                  Back on June 10th, Andrew Criddle wrote:
                  > ... the great majority of people involved in Diatessaronic or early
                  > Syriac studies accept the connection [between GTh and DT] for
                  > which there are three possible explanations.
                  > 1/ Thomas is based on the Diatessaron.
                  > 2/ The Diatessaron is based on Thomas.
                  > 3/ Thomas and the Diatessaron used a common source or sources.
                  > For a very early date of Thomas explanation 2 is required.

                  I'm wondering what's meant by "a very early date" here. Would late first
                  century count? Arguably, that might be a point at which the synoptics would
                  be available in Syriac, but GJn would not yet be on the scene. Or does GTh
                  have to be pre-synoptic to count as "very early"? The reason I ask is that
                  it's just not clear to me why explanation 2 is required for a "very early
                  date".

                  On a related matter, it's sometimes argued or implied that GTh must be
                  pre-synoptic because the sayings-list genre preceded the narrative genre.
                  Even if this general observation is true, however, I think it tends to
                  over-simplify and ignore the way folks actually operate. Rather than a
                  strict chronological dividing-line between genres (wherein at time T we
                  suddenly see a new genre taking up and the older one completely
                  disappearing), we often see an interim period characterized by a kind of
                  "backlash" effect, where the older genre attempts to survive by
                  incorporating or adapting itself to the new reality. (What I mean by
                  "attempts to survive", of course, is that list-oriented folks might
                  naturally try at first to preserve their favored genre by a process of
                  absorption or adaptation.) Would the existence of such an interim historical
                  period plausibly account for the nature of GTh?

                  Respects,
                  Mike Grondin
                  Mt. Clemens, MI
                • sarban
                  ... From: Michael Grondin To: Sent: Thursday, June 19, 2003 2:59 PM Subject: Re: [GTh] I stilll don t
                  Message 8 of 11 , Jun 19, 2003
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                    ----- Original Message -----
                    From: "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@...>
                    To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
                    Sent: Thursday, June 19, 2003 2:59 PM
                    Subject: Re: [GTh] I stilll don't understand


                    > Back on June 10th, Andrew Criddle wrote:
                    > > ... the great majority of people involved in Diatessaronic or early
                    > > Syriac studies accept the connection [between GTh and DT] for
                    > > which there are three possible explanations.
                    > > 1/ Thomas is based on the Diatessaron.
                    > > 2/ The Diatessaron is based on Thomas.
                    > > 3/ Thomas and the Diatessaron used a common source or sources.
                    > > For a very early date of Thomas explanation 2 is required.
                    >
                    > I'm wondering what's meant by "a very early date" here. Would late first
                    > century count? Arguably, that might be a point at which the synoptics
                    would
                    > be available in Syriac, but GJn would not yet be on the scene. Or does GTh
                    > have to be pre-synoptic to count as "very early"? The reason I ask is that
                    > it's just not clear to me why explanation 2 is required for a "very early
                    > date".
                    >
                    In my original post very early means pre-synoptic, but it is a good question
                    how early a date for Thomas is compatible with explanation 3. (explanation
                    1 obviously requires a late date.) I think any plausible version of 3
                    requires a date for Thomas later than say CE 70. More specificity depends
                    on the type of common source we are talking about. I think the most likely
                    common sources for the unusual readings in Thomas and the Diatessaron
                    are things like an early synoptic harmony or a Syriac/Aramaic Jewish
                    gospel like the "Gospel of the Nazareans" based on Matthew or
                    Matthew's sources. These synoptic based sources can hardly be
                    earlier than the very end of the first century and if Thomas is based
                    on them it must be second century although quite possibly
                    very early second century. Different ideas about the type of common
                    source involved would obviously give a different date range.

                    Andrew Criddle
                  • jmgcormier
                    ... wrote: (snip ... snip .... ... be ... genre. ... I always find it interesting to hear this popular hypothesis. In fact, it has become so often repeated
                    Message 9 of 11 , Jun 19, 2003
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                      --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, Michael Grondin <mwgrondin@c...>
                      wrote:

                      (snip ... snip ....


                      >
                      > On a related matter, it's sometimes argued or implied that GTh must
                      be
                      > pre-synoptic because the sayings-list genre preceded the narrative
                      genre.

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

                      I always find it interesting to hear this popular hypothesis. In fact,
                      it has become so often repeated that it has now almost acquired the
                      status of a "given", and we generally accept it as factual whereas
                      there is absolutely no proof that it is necessarily true. Personally,
                      I could think of dozens of instances where a sayings-list genre might
                      not necessarily precede a "narrative" genre .... suppose that someone
                      is taking crib notes from a written text in the hope of later making a
                      point or an argument ... suppose someone is impressed by a speaker who
                      is rendering a point of view and he/she decides to "take notes" for
                      purposes of later recalling the highlights or the perceived logics of
                      the address for whatever reason, etc etc. Despite the opinion of
                      "experts", I really have to wonder why a saying-list genre would
                      necessarily have to precede a "narrative" genre ... makes no sense to
                      me as a cornerstone of logics ....

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


                      Even if this general observation is true, however, I think it tends
                      to
                      > over-simplify and ignore the way folks actually operate.

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

                      Agreed 100%, Mike !

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

                      Rather than
                      a
                      > strict chronological dividing-line between genres (wherein at time T
                      we
                      > suddenly see a new genre taking up and the older one completely
                      > disappearing), we often see an interim period characterized by a
                      kind of
                      > "backlash" effect, where the older genre attempts to survive by
                      > incorporating or adapting itself to the new reality. (What I mean by
                      > "attempts to survive", of course, is that list-oriented folks might
                      > naturally try at first to preserve their favored genre by a process
                      of
                      > absorption or adaptation.) Would the existence of such an interim
                      historical
                      > period plausibly account for the nature of GTh?

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

                      Hmmmm ! I am going to guess here that in referring to the "nature" of
                      Thomas, you are referring to its "sayings-list" genre/nature vs its
                      "narrative" genre/nature. Well, from my bias as stated above, the
                      answer would have to be a resounding "yes" ... as long as one accepts
                      the premise that "sayings lists" always necessarily preceed
                      "narrative" text ... Having said this, however, I would find it most
                      interesting to step out a bit beyond the genre constraint of Mike's
                      question, and canvass members for a list of the overall nature
                      elements of GTh.

                      In short, what do we know for sure about the nature of this Gospel. We
                      know, for example that it is not a seamless document. We know that it
                      was composed from several important building blocks. We know that it
                      contains tell tale gramatical clues tying it to Semetic origins, we
                      have part of a (earlier ?) Greek copy, we know that it was "tampered
                      with" when comparing the Greek with the Coptic, etc., etc., etc.

                      Perhaps we are assuming all too quickly that we truly have a grasp on
                      Thomas' general "nature", whereas in reality, much like the assumed
                      "given" of "sayings genre is earlier than narrative genre", we dont
                      really grasp its true "nature". (Can't see the forest because of the
                      "givens").

                      As a "for instance" along these lines, I was always struck by logion
                      #3 wherein Jesus tells his audience that they should "not listen to
                      those who lead you" while he himself is seeking their leadereship on
                      the one hand, and is advocating James' continuing leadership in his
                      absence in logion #12 ... is this "text tampering" by way of a
                      creative or zealous scribe (and if so why), or is Jesus 9for some
                      unknown reason) asking that we not follow Him? ... hmmmm ... is this
                      along with other such examples part of the nature of GTh which we tend
                      to overlook because we rely too heavily on suppoded "givens" ????

                      I recall some time ago (I suspect I could now never find the post in
                      question) where Rick Hubbard was planning to give a talk to some group
                      in the State of Maine on "what we know for certain" about the Gospel
                      of Thomas. Indeed, he had canvassed list members at the time with
                      respect to his "talk" material. I am pretty sure no one had added much
                      to his list of "things we know for certain" about Thomas at the time,
                      and unfortunately, he never gave a debriefing to list members as to
                      how well or poorly his talk had gone. Pitty .... !

                      I apologize for all the pontifications and ramblings, but I cant help
                      but wonder if at times we really understand what we read ... shades of
                      Thomas logion #2 B and C perhaps ....

                      Maurice Cormier
                    • pessy@chez.com
                      ... Could it be an antipaulinic statement? Klaus Schilling
                      Message 10 of 11 , Jun 20, 2003
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                        jmgcormier writes:

                        > As a "for instance" along these lines, I was always struck by logion
                        > #3 wherein Jesus tells his audience that they should "not listen to
                        > those who lead you" while he himself is seeking their leadereship on
                        > the one hand, and is advocating James' continuing leadership in his
                        > absence in logion #12 ... is this "text tampering" by way of a
                        > creative or zealous scribe (and if so why), or is Jesus 9for some
                        > unknown reason) asking that we not follow Him? ... hmmmm ... is this
                        > along with other such examples part of the nature of GTh which we tend
                        > to overlook because we rely too heavily on suppoded "givens" ????
                        >
                        Could it be an antipaulinic statement?

                        Klaus Schilling
                      • Michael Grondin
                        ... Before we guess at its intent, let s get it right what it says. It isn t an unconditional statement about leaders(hip), as Maurice claims. Rather, it s a
                        Message 11 of 11 , Jun 20, 2003
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                          [Maurice Cormier]:
                          > > As a "for instance" along these lines, I was always struck by logion
                          > > #3 wherein Jesus tells his audience that they should "not listen to
                          > > those who lead you" while he himself is seeking their leadereship on
                          > > the one hand, and is advocating James' continuing leadership in his
                          > > absence in logion #12 ... is this "text tampering" by way of a
                          > > creative or zealous scribe (and if so why), or is Jesus 9for some
                          > > unknown reason) asking that we not follow Him? ... hmmmm ... is this
                          > > along with other such examples part of the nature of GTh which we tend
                          > > to overlook because we rely too heavily on suppoded "givens" ????
                          [Klaus Schilling]:
                          > Could it be an antipaulinic statement?

                          Before we guess at its intent, let's get it right what it says. It isn't an
                          unconditional statement about leaders(hip), as Maurice claims. Rather, it's
                          a conditional: IF your leaders say such-and-such about the kingdom, then
                          they're wrong. But since the Thomas Jesus denies the "such-and-such", he's
                          not in the same boat with those others. Also, he's made to say (Th13) that
                          he's *not* the master/teacher of the everyman Thomas. Th3 could be, I
                          suppose, directed toward one or more of the canonical Jesuses, but there's
                          no evident inconsistency within GTh on that score.

                          Mike Grondin
                          Mt. Clemens, MI
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