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Thomas and the Syriac Gospel tradition

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  • sarban
    I ve mentioned before the analyses of Baarda and others about parallels between readings in Thomas and readings in other ancient texts, see particularly
    Message 1 of 1 , May 8, 2004
      I've mentioned before the analyses of Baarda

      and others about parallels between readings

      in Thomas and readings in other ancient texts,

      see particularly Baarda 'Thomas and Tatian'

      in 'Early Transmission of Words of Jesus'.

      I thought it might be helpful to list the parallels

      between Thomas and the Syriac Gospel tradition

      which seem to lack support outside of Thomas the

      Syriac tradition and texts plausibly based on Syriac.

      More specifically I have excluded parallels with

      Support in Greek manuscripts or Greek Fathers,

      Parallels also occurring in Coptic. Parallels also

      found in the pseudo-Clementine literature and

      parallels with Latin support which can not be

      plausibly attributed to the Diatessaron. I have also

      excluded putative Diatessaronic parallels with only

      Western support.

      List of Parallels

      Thomas 8 chose the large fish. (Syriac parallels to

      addition of word 'fish' here.)

      Thomas 9 birds came and gathered them up (Syriac

      Parallels to 'gathered' instead of 'devoured')

      And did not take root in the earth (Syriac

      Parallels to addition of this phrase)

      Thomas 16 it is dissension I have come to cast (Diatessaronic

      parallels for addition of phrase 'to cast')

      Omission of 'they will be divided' (Syriac

      Parallels for omission of phrase)

      Thomas 20 mustard seed smaller than all seeds (Diatessaronic

      Support for placing 'smaller than all seeds' here)

      Thomas 21 must keep watch (Syriac parallels to 'keep watch'

      Instead of 'be ready)

      When the crop ripened he came quickly (various

      Syriac and Diatessaronic parallels to the

      differences here from Mark 4:29)

      Thomas 32 and fortified (Diatessaronic parallels to this addition)

      Thomas 33 that preach (Diatessaronic parallels to addition of


      Its light (Syriac parallels for 'its light' instead of 'the


      Thomas 35 take by force.plunder (Syriac parallels for this

      instead of 'plunder..plunder')

      Thomas 40 has been planted (Syriac parallels for 'has been

      planted' instead of 'has planted')

      By its roots (Diatessaronic parallels to this addition)

      Thomas 45 which is in his heart and he speaks evil (Syriac parallels

      for this phrase)

      Thomas 46 as a child (Syriac parallels for 'as a child' instead of


      Thomas 47 honour (Syriac parallels to 'honour' instead of 'be

      devoted to')

      drinks old wine and (Syriac parallels for this phrase)

      wants to drink new wine (Diatessaronic parallels to

      addition of 'wine' here)

      lest they burst (Syriac parallels for 'lest they burst'

      instead of 'if it is they burst')

      Thomas 55 whoever does not (Syriac parallels for 'whoever does

      not' instead of 'if anyone does not')

      disciple to me (Syriac parallels for 'disciple to me'

      instead of 'my disciple')

      his brethren and his sisters ( Syriac parallels for this

      instead of 'brethren and sisters')

      father-mother-brethren-sisters (Syriac parallels to this


      Thomas 57 the good seed (Syriac parallels for this instead of 'the


      Lest without preceding 'no' (Syriac parallels for

      omitting 'no')

      They will pull them and burn them (Syriac support for

      'pull' instead of 'gather')

      Thomas 63 There was a rich man (Syriac parallels to this phrase)

      Thomas 64 came and said to his master (Syriac parallels for 'came

      and said to his master' instead of 'came and reported

      this to his master')

      Thomas 65 so that they would work it (Diatessaronic parallels to

      this addition)

      His servant (Syriac parallels to 'his servant' compared

      to either 'a servant' or 'his servants')

      then (Diatessaronic support for 'then' instead of

      'afterwards' or 'finally')

      heir of the vineyard (Diatessaronic support for addition

      of 'of the vineyard')

      Thomas 68 hated and persecuted (Syriac parallels for 'hated and

      persecuted' instead of 'reviled and persecuted')

      Thomas 69 those who have been persecuted (Syriac parallels for

      'have been persecuted' instead of 'are persecuted')

      Thomas 76 merchandise (Syriac parallels for this addition)

      For himself ( Syriac parallels for this addition)

      There where no moth comes near (Syriac parallels for

      this instead of 'where no moth')

      to devour (Diatessaronic parallels to this addition)

      worm (Syriac parallels to 'worm' rather than rust')

      Thomas 78 to see a reed (Syriac and Diatessaronic parallels)

      Thomas 79 he said omitting preceding 'but' (Syriac parallels for

      omitting 'but')

      Have heard (Syriac parallels for 'have heard' instead

      of 'hear')

      For (GAR) (Syriac parallels for GAR instead of OTI)

      You will say (Syriac parallels for 'you will say' instead

      of 'they will say')

      omission of 'the barren and' (Diatessaronic parallels

      for this omission)

      Thomas 86 have their holes (Diatessaronic parallels for addition of


      Nest (Diatessaronic parallels for 'nest' instead of


      Thomas 94 will find (Diatessaronic parallels for 'will find' instead

      of 'finds')

      Thomas 100 give the things of God to God (Diatessaronic support

      for addition of 'give')

      Thomas 107 the one (Diatessaronic parallels for 'the one' instead of

      'the one that went astray')

      The above list may be found unconvincing, either through the

      intrinsic weakness of this sort of evidence, or through my failures

      in presentation.

      If, however, it is convincing as far as it goes, just what does it

      establish ?

      It shows an important connection between Thomas and the Syriac

      Gospel tradition A connection specific to the two and not part of a

      broader Western or harmonistic tradition. (Such broader connections

      exist but my selected list of parallels attempts to exclude them) This

      supports an origin for Thomas within Syriac speaking Christianity

      but does it have anything to say about Thomas's date ?

      If like Perrin one holds that the Syriac Gospel tradition begins with

      the Diatessaron Then this sort of argument could support a date for

      Thomas sometime after the middle of the 2nd century. However, the

      Syriac Gospel tradition is probably older than the Diatessaron. The

      Syriac Gospel tradition may begin with the 'Gospel of the Nazoreans'

      an alternative version of Matthew written in Aramaic and probably

      written at the same time as canonical Matthew. If so then Thomas

      could date from anytime after canonical Matthew and might well be

      very early 2nd century

      Andrew Criddle

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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