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Re: The gospel of Thomas and Christian Wisdom

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  • Andrew Smith
    ... edition ... been ... the ... Steve s argument in this essay is that Thomas lack of order and lack of coherence allows him to compare it to oracle texts
    Message 1 of 4 , Jan 10, 2005
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      --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Mike McLafferty"
      <mikemclafferty@c...> wrote:
      > Andrew Smith of Bardic Press offered the publisher's blurb for a 2nd
      edition
      > of S. Davies' book:
      >
      >
      > | [...]
      > | A fascinating additional essay speculates that Thomas
      > | may have been used as an oracle text in a similar way
      > | to the I Ching.
      >
      > ...but T. Saunders wrote:
      >
      > | If Davies is correct about the link of Thomas to the
      > | I-Ching, and I think he is more than he knows, ...
      > ("Response to Karl"); and:
      >
      > | If the Gthom has some relationship to the concepts
      > | of Oriental thought, like the I-Ching...
      > ("112 in Thomas").
      >
      > Don't these represent a willful misreading of what seems to be a simple
      > reference to the possibility that an individual GTh saying may have
      been
      > randomly chosen, by some users at some times, to shed light on a given
      > question or problem? I see no implication that Davies "links" GTh to
      the
      > structure or tradition of the Yi Jing, or that anyone has.
      >

      Steve's argument in this essay is that Thomas' lack of order and lack
      of coherence allows him to compare it to oracle texts *such as* the I
      Ching. He compares it more specifically to the Homer Oracle, an
      oracular text that was extracted from the Iliad and Odyssey. "Although
      the dating of magical papyri is uncertain, it is likely that PGM VII
      was in circulation in Egypt during a period roughly comparable to the
      period of circulation of the Oxyrhynchus Thomas papyri, i.e. in the
      third century C.E.. If nothing else the Homer Oracle guarantees that
      oracle lists for random divination circulated in Egypt in manuscript
      form and that they contained enigmatic sentences.... To make use of
      the oracle a client would throw three dice, or one die three times,
      each die containing six numbers."

      In the new intro, Steve writes "In addition to this new introduction,
      the Bardic Press edition of The Gospel of Thomas and Christian Wisdom
      contains an essay entitled "Does the Gospel of Thomas Have Meaning?"
      that I wrote for the annual convention of the Society of Biblical
      Literature. In it I suggest that Thomas may have been used as a
      divination text in ancient times. I continue to think that's a
      possibility, but it is a long way from a certainty."

      Although Steve doesn't mention it in this essay, I seem to recall that
      Metzger mentioned that some early Christian MSs showed signs of being
      used for divination. Does anyone recall this?

      Andrew Smith
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