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Re: [GTh] I stilll don't understand

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  • pessy@chez.com
    ... http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/diatessaron.html points to extant fragments and discussions. Klaus Schilling
    Message 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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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