Re: [GTh] Logion # 46
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Achilles37@a... wrote:
(snip, snip ...)
> Two points here:
> 1.) This same argument was used by a follower of John in the
pseudo-Clementine Recognitions to assert that John was the Messiah.
Here is that argument and subsequent rebuttal:
> "And, behold, one of the disciples of John asserted that John was
the Christ, and not Jesus, inasmuch as Jesus Himself declared that
John was greater than all men and all prophets. `If, then, 'said he,
`he be greater than all, he must be held to be greater than Moses, and
than Jesus himself. But if he be the greatest of all, then must he be
the Christ.' To this Simon the Canaanite, answering, asserted that
John was indeed greater than all the prophets, and all who are born of
women, yet that he is not greater than the Son of man. Accordingly
Jesus is also the Christ, whereas John is only a prophet: and there is
as much difference between him and Jesus, as between the forerunner
and Him whose forerunner he is; or as between Him who gives the law,
and him who keeps the law."
> 2.) The saying, as phrased in the Gospel of Thomas, is as follows
(Lambdin's translation): (46) Jesus said, "Among those born of women,
from Adam until John the Baptist, there is no one so superior to John
the Baptist that his eyes should not be lowered (before him). Yet I
have said, whichever one of you comes to be a child will be acquainted
with the kingdom and will become superior to John."
> Now, quite aside from the disputed meaning of what Lambdin
translates as "his eyes should not be lowered (before him)," the
argument can be made that Jesus is speaking only of those who existed
"from Adam until John the Baptist" which does NOT include Jesus since,
according to the canonical Gospels, Jesus was born AFTER John (i.e.,
the mathematical set of those people existing from Adam until John
excludes those people born after John). Hence, Jesus is not saying
that John was greater than himself, if we are speaking only of the
Gospel of Thomas version of this saying.
> Aside from the technical argument of birth order, the saying itself
promises that "whichever one of you comes to be a child will be
acquainted with the kingdom and will become superior to John" and it
is difficult to imagine how Jesus could teach his disciples how to
become "superior to John" if he considered himself to be inferior to
> - Kevin Johnson
Thank you Kevin .... very interesting ...
I am not familiar with the pseudo-Clementine Recognitions, but I can
appreciate the argument as stated. Hmmmmm !
With respect to the age of John vs that of Jesus, I guess that is
reasonably solid, although some might argue that it is somewhat "thin
ice" to skate on. (... very comfortable here sitting on the fence for
One of the interesting points to add, of course, is that in The Matt
(11:11) and the Luke (7:28) versions of this story, there are/is no
mention of Adam or of "from Adam". (Not sure what this means if
Also, Thomas #46 seems to suggest that one "will" (future) "become
superior to John", whereas in Matt and Luke it is those who are
"presently" in the Kingdom who are "presently" greater than John. If
the author of Thomas used Matt and Luke as a "guide" in his logion
(and thus disagrees with them on the timeline),then one has to wonder
why he would seem to later agree with the two evangilists on this
point (in logion # 113) wherein he acknowledges that "The Kingdom of
the Father" ... is "presently" (not in the future) spread out upon the
earth. Hmmmmm ... "what a tangled web we weave ...."
By the way, regarding your point on "lowering one's eyes", do you
think this is just a popular cliche or figure of speech of the times
... a Rabbinic saying perhaps, or do you read more into it ????
- Hi, Maurice -
> I am not familiar with the pseudo-Clementine RecognitionsThe pseudo-Clementines are early Jewish-Christian writings consisting of two works, the Recognitions and the Homilies, that were purportedly written by Clement, a disciple of Peter.
> One of the interesting points to add, of course, is thatYes, compared to the versions in Mt. & Lk., Thomas adds a mention of Adam. Beyond this, the qualification for becoming superior to John in Thomas is to become a child and be acquainted with the Kingdom instead of being the "least" in the Kingdom as in Mt. & Lk. There are also some smaller details of comparison, such as the fact that John is "the Baptist" in Mt. & Thomas but not in Lk. or in the passage I quoted from Recognitions, and so on.
> in The Matt (11:11) and the Luke (7:28) versions of this
> story, there are/is no mention of Adam or of "from Adam".
> Also, Thomas #46 seems to suggest that one "will"I am not one of those who believes that Thomas was dependent on the canonical gospels. That being said, the whole question of whether the eschatology of Thomas is future or "realized" in comparison to the synoptics and John is somewhat of a broad topic that extends beyond saying 46 (though 113 is very important in this regard). But your point here is well-taken.
> (future) "become superior to John", whereas in Matt
> and Luke it is those who are "presently" in the Kingdom
> who are "presently" greater than John. If the author
> of Thomas used Matt and Luke as a "guide" in his logion
> (and thus disagrees with them on the timeline), then
> one has to wonder why he would seem to later agree with
> the two evangilists on this point (in logion # 113)
> wherein he acknowledges that "The Kingdom of the Father"
> ... is "presently" (not in the future) spread out upon
> the earth.
> By the way, regarding your point on "lowering one's eyes",The meaning of the text here is uncertain. While I don't have Mike Grondin's interlinear version in front of me at the moment, I seem to recall that the literal Coptic text here reads: " ...that his eyes should not be broken." Lambdin's guess that "broken" means "lowered" (in deference to John) seems to be a good one, but I think it is only a guess. This passage has confused translators so I don't think it was a popular cliche or figure of speech or Rabbinic saying (as some other passages in Thomas are, such as "for whose sake heaven and earth came into being" in Thomas 12 or "Sabbatize the Sabbath" in Thomas 27). But it is always possible that a common phrase was somehow mistranslated here.
> do you think this is just a popular cliche or figure of
> speech of the times ... a Rabbinic saying perhaps, or do
> you read more into it ????
- Just to let you know I bought Uro's new book on Thomas. It is a slim volume
and completely outrageously priced (I paid £17.50 with a conference discount
- and even it is expensive for what it is).
For those interested I would recommend ILL but here are the details for
those with money to burn:
Risto Uro, Thomas: The Gospel of Thomas in Historical Context, T and T Clark
2003. Normal price $85 (USA) or £45 (UK).
I will probably not have opportunity to read it for a few weeks but if
anyone would like a brief report in due course, let me know.
With best wishes,