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Re: [GTh] Four Postulated Secondary Emendations in a Two Strata Theory--Their Significance

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  • fmmccoy
    In The Rhetoric of Marginality, Apocalypticism, Gnosticism, and Sayings Gospels (Harvard Theological Review, 88:4, 1995, pp. 471-94), William E. Arnal
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 16, 2005
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      In "The Rhetoric of Marginality, Apocalypticism, Gnosticism, and Sayings
      Gospels" (Harvard Theological Review, 88:4, 1995, pp. 471-94), William E.
      Arnal states (p. 476), "In fact, the *Gospel of Thomas* shows precisely
      those phenomena we would expect from a stratified document. The two main
      strains can be separated from each other on formal and thematic grounds, and
      each forms a coherent entity untio itself. It is thus both the formal and
      thematic inconsistency of the *Gospel of Thomas* (as with Q) that suggests
      its composite character; it is the formal and thematic consistency of each
      of these two main strands that suggests a stratification, rather than
      unitary or aggregation model for the document's composition."

      The picture here is that Thomas is stratified in the same sense that Q is
      stratified in Kloppenborg-Verbin's schema, so that the existence of
      inconsistencies in the whole is the outcome of the existence of a number of
      distinct entities within the whole, each of which is a coherent entity unto
      itself. ISTM that Thomas could be stratified this way even if Q never
      existed. However, it also ISTM that, as presented in this paper, this two
      strata theory for Thomas does have at least the appearance of being
      indissolvably wedded to the Q hypothesis and Kloppenborg-Verbin's strata

      As respects the two postulated strata, the first is called the sapiential
      stratum and it includes GTh 3. 5. 6. 9. 14. 16. 20. 26. 31, 32, 34-36, 42,
      45, 47, 54, 55, 57, 63-65, 71, 74, 76, 89, 95-98, 107, 109, and 110. The
      second is called the gnostic-leaning stratum and it includes Gth 11, 13, 15,
      18, 21-22, 27-28, 49-50, 51, 60, 61, 83, 84, 101, 105, 108, 11, and 114.

      The postulated sapiential stratum of Thomas closely resembles the earliest
      stratum of Q in Kloppenborg-Verbin's schema--which Arnal calls Q1.

      So, regarding the sapiential stratum, he states (p. 476), "The larger of
      the two coherent bodies of sayings in the *Gospel of Thomas* may be
      characterized, like the materials in Q1, as wisdom sayings, both in form and

      For this and a number of other reasons, Arnal takes the sapiential stratum
      to be earlier than the gnostic-leaning stratum.

      Arnal places a stress on the internal coherence of the postulated sapiential
      stratum, stating, "This material is coherent thematically as
      well. Ranging across formally distinct units is a concern with correct
      understanding of reality; a proper apprehension of the world and its
      significance, and of appropriate human behavior. All, or nearly all, of the
      observations made in this vein are inversionary (without being esoteric)
      whicle they also appeal to common sense and wise observation. An emphasis
      on wise or penetrating discernment (*Gos. Thom.* 5, 26, 32, 34-35, 45, 57,
      76, 97, 109) serves as a basis for implicit claims that things are not as
      they appear to be; conventional expectations and superficial observations
      are continually exposed or frustrated (*Gos. Thom.* 9, 16, 20, 31, 54, 55,
      63, 74, 76, 96, 109), including those pertinent to specifically 'religious'
      issues (*Gos. Thom.* 3, 6, 14, 89). The presence of secondary emendations
      to individual logia which evince or reinforce precisely that oritentation
      which these sayings have in common confirms that this body of sayings was
      collected around a single redactional perspective."

      In this post, the focus will be on the first four of these postulated
      secondary emendations. It will be pointed out that it is questionable as to
      whether they are really secondary emendations. More importantly, it will be
      pointed out that they raise serious questions regarding the validity of the
      Q hypothesis.

      Here are the first two such postulated secondary emendations given by
      Arnal, "Logion 76, the parable of the consignment of merchandise, provides
      the clearest example. The last sentence of the parable is a generalizing
      conclusion ('So also with you, seek his treasure that is unfailing, that is
      abiding, where no moth comes to consume and no worm destroys.'); it
      represents a secondary addition, and indeed is absent in the Matthean
      parallel (13:45-46). Likewise, the gloss describing the merchant is
      secondary: 'That merchant was wise.' The sentence is unparalleled in the
      Matthean version, interrupts the flow of action with a belated
      characterization of the protagonist, and serves an explicit interpretative

      In order to determine whether these really are secondary emendations, I
      think it useful to look at this grid composed of Thomas 76, Matthew
      13:45-46 and 6:19-20, and Luke 12:33-34:

      Part I
      Th 76 "The Kingdom of the Father is like a merchant"
      Mt 13:45a "The Kingdom of the Heavens is like a merchant"

      Part II
      Th 76a "Who had a consignment of merchandise"
      Mt 13:45b "Seeking fine pearls"

      Part III
      Th 76b "And who discovered a pearl"
      Mt 13:46a "And having found one valuable pearl"

      Part IV
      Th 76c "The merchant was shrewd"
      Mt 13:46b "Having gone away"

      Part V
      Th 76d "He sold the merchandise"
      Mt 13:46c "Sold everything which he had

      Part VI
      Th 76e "And bought the pearl alone for himself"
      Mt 14:46d "And bought it"

      Part VII
      Mt 6:19 "Do not store up for you treasures upon the earth, where moth and
      rust destroy and were thieves break in and steal"
      Lk 12:33a "Sell your possessions and give to charity"

      Part VIII
      Th 76f "You too, seek his unfailing and enduring treasure"
      Mt 6:20a "But store up for you treasures in heaven"
      Lk 12:33b "Make yourselves purses not getting old, an inexhaustible treasure
      in heaven"

      Part IX
      Th 76g "Where no moth comes near to destroy (literally: eat)"
      Mt 6:20b "Where neither moth nor rust destroy"
      Lk 12:33c "Where a thief does not come near"

      Part X
      Th 76h "And no worm destroys"
      Mt 6:20c "And where thieves do not break in or steal"
      Lk 12:33d "Nor a moth destroys"

      Part XI
      Mt 6:21 "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also"
      Lk 12:34 "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also"

      What I propose is that Matthew used Thomas 76 as a source. He severed it
      into two separate units. The first severed unit is found in Parts I-VI.

      The second severed unit is found in Parts VIII-X. First, Matthew
      transported it to another part of his gospel. Second, in front of this
      severed unit, Matthew added unit VII. Third, after this severed unit,
      Matthew added unit XI.

      In this scenario, then, Parts VIII-X are not a secondary emendation to GTh
      76. Rather, they belong to the original narrative. Further, they are not
      absent from Matthew, but, rather, present in another part of Matthew due to
      the deliberate action of Matthew.

      For each part of Thomas 76, Matthew substituted an amended part, so that
      each part of Thomas 76 has a Matthean substitute.

      Sometimes the substitute unit is quite similar to the original Thomas unit.

      On occasion, though, it is radically different--as in Part IV
      Thomas, "The merchant was shrewd"
      Matthew, "Having gone away"
      Here, apparently because the Thomas part does (as Arnal points out)
      interrupt the flow of action, Matthew thought it prudent to substitute a
      radically different part that keeps the flow of action going. So, in this
      scenario, the phrase, "The merchant was shrewd", is an original part of
      Thomas 76 rather than a secondary emendation.

      In this scenario, Luke has copies of both Thomas and Matthew. He sees what
      Matthew did with Thomas 76. He goes along with the severing of it into two
      units and the expansion and movement of the second unit. But, there are
      times when he agrees with Thomas against Matthew--as in Part X where his
      version is closer to that of Thomas than to that of Matthew.

      Too, note that, as respects Part VIII, Luke refers to purses that *do not
      get old*, which links to Thomas' *enduring* treasure. Luke also refers to
      *inexhaustible* treasure, which links to Thomas' *unfailing* treasure.
      Finally, Luke refers to treasure *in heaven*, which links to Matthew's
      treasures *in heaven*. The simplest solution to this, I suggest, is that
      Luke composed his version of this line with knowledge of both Thomas's
      version and Matthew's version.

      To conclude, there are four points to be made here regarding this scenario.

      First, in this scenario, neither of the postulated secondary emendations is
      real. Rather, both belong to the original GTh 76. As a result, it brings
      into question the validity of the postulate that these two secondary
      emendations are real.

      Second, in this scenario, there was a version of Thomas containing Saying 76
      that was available to Matthew and Luke. Whether it is the version of Thomas
      we possess is unknown.

      Third, in this scenario, S42, a hypothesised unit of the postulated Q,
      never existed. Rather, Matthew 6:19-21 is a Matthean creation largely based
      on a part of Thomas 76 and Luke 12:33-34, in turn, is based on Luke's
      knowledge of both Matthew 6:19-21 and Thomas 76.

      Fourth, if, as this scenario suggests, Luke knew Matthew, then the validity
      of the Q hypothesis is brought into question.--for, after all, Q, by
      definition, consists of non-Markan material common to Matthew and Luke.
      Perhaps, then, much or, even, all of the material in the postulated Q is
      nothing but non-Markan Matthean material utilized by Luke in his own gospel.

      Next, Arnal points to two identical gar clauses in logia 5 and 6 (i.e., "for
      there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed") as being secondary
      emendations. These are, respectively, 5:2 and 6:5.

      However, it is likely, even in the period of oral transmission, that 5:2 was
      a part of logia 5 and that 6:5 was a part of logia 6.

      So, in The Gospel of Thomas and Jesus (p. 21), Stephen J. Patterson notes
      that "both Thom 5:2 and 6:5-6 are locked into their respective clusters of
      sayings through catch-word connections: 5:2 is linked to 5:1 by 2HP (hide)
      and 6:5-6 is connected to 6:4 by 6OAP (disclose). This suggests that these
      clusters were already formed at an oral stage of transmission, when the
      catchword connection still retained its mnemonic function."

      Further, if, as appears likely, each of these phrases was an integral part
      of its logia even in the oral transmission period, then they are not
      secondary emendations--at least not in a literary sense.

      Also, I think it useful to look at.this grid composed of Thomas 6:5-6,
      Thomas 33, Matthew 10:26-27 and Luke 12:2-3:

      Part I
      Mt 10:26a Therefore, do not be afraid of them

      Part II
      Mt 10:26b For nothing has been veiled which will not be revealed
      Th 6:5 For nothing hidden will not become manifest
      Lk 12:2a And nothing having been concealed is (that) which will not be

      Part III
      Mt 10:26c And [nothing] hidden which will not be made known.
      Th 6:6 And nothing covered will remain without being uncovered.
      Lk 12:2b And hidden which will not be made known.

      Part IV
      Mt 10:27a What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light
      Lk 12:3a So then, what things you said in the darkness, will be heard in the

      Part V
      Mt 10:27b And what you hear in your ear,
      Th 3:33a Preach from your housetops
      Lk 12:3b And what you spoke into the ear in the secret rooms

      Part VI
      Mt 10:27c preach on the housetops
      Th 3:33b that which you hear in your ear {(and) in the other ear}
      Lk 12:3c will be proclaimed on the housetops.

      Here, I suggest this scenario:
      1. Thomas 6:5-6 and 33 are written
      2. Mt 10 26-27 is written in this fashion: (1) Matthew creates a line (Part
      I), (2) he creates his versions of parts II and III using Th 6:5-6 as his
      hypotext and, while doing this, reverses the Thomas order of the two lines,
      (3) he creates a second line (Part IV) and (4) he creates his versions of
      parts V and VI using Thomas 33 as his hypotext and, while doing this,
      reverses the Thomas order of the two lines. So, in this case, Mt 10:26-27
      consists of two units, each consisting by a line invented by Matthew
      followed by modified versions of two reversed lines from a saying in Thomas.
      3. Luke sees what Matthew has done and goes along with it except for
      rejecting Matthew's invented Part I and modifying each of Matthew's other

      If this scenario is correct, then:
      1. Thomas 6:5 was a part of Thomas 6 before Matthew wrote his gospel, which
      lowers the probability that it is a secondary emendation of Thomas 6.
      2.Matthew knew of a version of Thomas which included sayings 6 and 33.
      Whether it is the same version of Thomas we possess is unknown.
      3. The postulated S35 of the hypothesised Q never existed
      4. It is even possible that much or all of the hypothesised Q is really
      non-Markan Matthean material known to, and used by, Luke.

      To conclude: William E. Arnal has proposed a two strata theory for Thomas,
      of which the earlier stratum is called the sapiential stratum. It is
      internally consistent in formal and thematic respects and is reminiscent in
      some major respects of a postulated Q1 strata to the hypothesised Q.

      In this post, four postulated secondary emendations to some sapiential
      stratum material are examined. The first two are in Thomas 76. The third
      and fourth are in Thomas 5 and Thomas 6.

      It is possible that the third and fourth proposed secondary emendations
      were a part of 5 and 6 while they were still in oral transmission. It is
      also possible that Matthew had a version of Thomas in which 76 already had
      the the first two postulated secondary emendations and in which 6 already
      had the fourth proposed secondary emendation. As a result, serious
      questions are raised as to whether these truly are secondary emendations.

      There not only are some indications that Matthew had a version of Thomas,
      but that Luke had both a version of Thomas and a copy of Matthew. This
      raises the possibility that much, perhaps even all, of the postulated Q
      never existed.

      If Matthew did possess a version of Thomas, then the question arises as to
      whether it is the same version of Thomas that we possess.

      In this regard, Arnal's two strata theory might be great help. Of the 35
      sayings in the sapiential stratum, versions, 23 of them are found. in whole
      or in part, in Matthew's gospel (5, 6, 14, 16, 20, 26, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36,
      45, 47, 54, 55, 57, 76, 86, 89, 95, 96, 107, 109). Conversely, of the 20
      sayings in the gnostic-leaning stratum, versions, in only 3 of them are
      found, in whole or in part, in Matthew's gospel (21. 61. 101). This
      raises the possiblity that, if Matthew possessed a copy of Thomas, most, if
      not all, of the postulated sapiential stratum was in that copy of Thomas
      possessed by Matthew, while most, if not all, of the postulated
      gnostic-leaning stratum was not in that copy of Thomas possessed by Matthew.
      However, there is, I suppose, also the possibility that Matthew possessed
      our version of Thomas and liked the type of sayings in it that are typified
      in the postulated sapiential stratum, but disliked the type of sayings in it
      that are typified in the postulated gnostic-leaning stratum. Does someone
      know of a way to test as to which of these two possibilities is to be

      Frank McCoy
      1809 N. English Apt. 15
      Maplewood, MN USA 55109
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