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Thomas by Uro

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  • sarban
    I ve recently been reading Thomas: seeking the historical context of the Gospel of Thomas by Risto Uro and I m posting brief comments. (Uro previously edited
    Message 1 of 2 , May 18 3:28 PM
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      I've recently been reading 'Thomas: seeking the historical context
      of the Gospel of Thomas' by Risto Uro and I'm posting brief
      comments. (Uro previously edited and contributed to the interesting
      collection 'Thomas at the Crossroads')
      The book has five chapters (plus prologue and epilogue). The five
      chapters are reasonably independent and some have been
      previously published or presented in earlier forms.
      The first seeks to relate the Gospel of Thomas to other 'Thomasine'
      literature and to early Christianity in Syria.
      The second argues that Thomas is not Gnostic in the sense of
      teaching a demiurge hostile to the true God and compares the
      cosmology of Thomas to that of the 'Dialogue of the Saviour' from
      Nag Hammadi and the teachings of the Syrian writer Bardaisan
      (IMHO the comparisons are valid but I regard both the 'Dialogue of
      the Saviour' and Bardaiasan as more dualistic than Uro does)
      The third discusses Thomas's view of the body and the material
      world, suggesting that Thomas is less hostile to the material world
      than many scholars have thought.
      The fourth discusses authority in Thomas, the roles of Thomas and
      James in the Gospel and the differences between leadership in
      Thomas and canonical Matthew.
      (There is a tendency in chapters 3 and 4 for Uro to argue that Thomas
      is intended for isolated individuals seeking private enlightenment. It is
      easy for modern readers to understand Thomas in this way but I'm
      worried whether this is anachronistic for early Christian times)
      The fifth discusses the interaction of oral and written material in early
      Christianity, possible layers in Thomas and the relation of Thomas to
      the canonical gospels.
      (Some of this chapter is only plausible to those who take the division
      of Q into several layers seriously.)
      Uro believes that Thomas was written in Syria in the early second
      century and that it is based on traditions independent of the canonical
      Gospels but in its present form has been heavily influenced by
      canonical Matthew.

      Andrew Criddle

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    • Tom Saunders
      Hi Andrew, I have tried to look at your contention that Thomas is Syrian. I just don t see it, except that if the first Gospels were written in Aramaic, it
      Message 2 of 2 , May 19 10:05 AM
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        Hi Andrew,

        I have tried to look at your contention that Thomas is Syrian. I just don't see it, except that if the first Gospels were written in Aramaic, it might have had Syrian -Aramaic influences, being that Galilee is so close to Damascus, and the language may have had some Syrian influence. It would be very hard to detect. I would say that Egypt would be far more likely to have produced Thomas if it did come about in the 2nd century.

        "(There is a tendency in chapters 3 and 4 for Uro to argue that Thomas
        is intended for isolated individuals seeking private enlightenment."

        This makes a great deal of sense. However, isolated does not have to mean geographic location. It may well relate to individuals capable of personal enlightenment. This would be consistent with the idea of, "ecclesiolae in ecclesia," little churches within a church.

        Certainly for Gnostics the idea of meaning being independent from other Gospels would be the case. This is a matter of how the Gnostics would interpret the works, aside from say proto-orthodox factions.

        Tom Saunders
        Platter Flats, OK


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