Re: The gospel of Thomas and Christian Wisdom
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Mike McLafferty"
> Andrew Smith of Bardic Press offered the publisher's blurb for a 2ndedition
> of S. Davies' book:been
> | [...]
> | 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
> randomly chosen, by some users at some times, to shed light on a giventhe
> question or problem? I see no implication that Davies "links" GTh to
> 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?