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[GTh] Re: Thomas Kernel

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  • Andrew Smith
    ... I often feel that when we look at the relationship between Thomas and the synoptics we re not playing on a level field and (to extend the metaphor) it s a
    Message 1 of 14 , Mar 18, 2005
      --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, Mark Goodacre <Goodacre@g...> wrote:

      >
      > Agreed, and more seriously it is a question of what Thomas does
      > contain, i.e. the full range of triple tradition, double tradition, M,
      > L, so-called Mark-Q overlap (more accurately: triple tradition
      > material in which Mark is not the middle term), even Special Mark. It
      > is one of the most interesting features of Thomas that it contains
      > elements of every strand of Synoptic tradition.
      >

      I often feel that when we look at the relationship between Thomas and
      the synoptics we're not playing on a level field and (to extend the
      metaphor) it's a game of three against one. We go in armed with all
      our data about the synoptic problem, and this affects the way that we
      treat Thomas. For instance, in what we might term the four gospel
      problem, a saying that is common to Mark and to Thomas is no longer
      Special Mark. The real question, if we are not assuming that Thomas is
      more likely to be dependent than independent, is: what is the
      relationship between Mark and Thomas; is Mark dependent on Thomas or
      Thomas on Mark, or are they both dependent on another source or
      sources, written or oral; or can the relationship between them not be
      determined satisfactorily. And so on for Thomas and Matthew and Thomas
      and Luke. Or for a Thomas kernel. For instance (and here I am just
      speaking logically) we might decide that Mark and Luke are dependent
      on Thomas, but that Matthew isn't. Stevan Davies and Gregory Riley
      have suggested so respectively.

      Also, what role can we assign to oral tradition? And to what extent
      can we consider the absence of a saying or pericope significant, or or
      affirm that if a writer doesn't include a saying then he doesn't know
      it? How exclusive are these strands of tradition? Special Mark isn't
      very special, it's just that Matthew and Luke don't reproduce those
      sections (and the same is true of Special Matthew under Farrer).

      Steve Davies addresses Meier's dependency argument in the new intro to
      The Gospel of Thomas and Christian Wisdom (every good university in
      the English Midlands ought to own a copy):

      "[Meier] finds it far more probable that Thomas took sayings from the
      canonical gospels than that Thomas used such an "incredibly broad set
      of traditions."
      The question as to whether there is any Matthean or Lukan
      redaction in any Thomas material is not settled; indeed some have
      argued that there is evidence of Thomas redaction in material found in
      Mark or Luke (Stevan Davies 1996 "On Mark's Use of the Gospel of
      Thomas" Neotestamentica 30 (2) pp. 307-334; Gregory Riley 1995.
      "Influence of Thomas Christianity on Luke 12:14 and 5:39" Harvard
      Theological Review 8/2 229). So we'll leave that redactional material
      aside as possibly, or I would argue virtually certainly, the product
      of scholars' imaginations. It begs the question to call a saying
      "special M," meaning it is found only or "specially" in Matthew when
      indeed it is also found in Thomas, and the same for "special L." It is
      better, and not question-begging, to refer to such sayings in our
      present context as Special M/T and special L/T, material found only in
      Matthew or Luke and in Thomas. One more thing: in both Matthew and
      Luke there is one saying that is so very similar to sayings in the
      gospel of John that it is often called "the Johannine thunderbolt"
      (Luke 10:22//Matt 11:27) "All things have been delivered to me by my
      Father' and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the
      Father is except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal
      him." It is far more Johannine than any single saying in Thomas.
      If we look for another ancient Christian text that
      contains "such an incredibly broad set of traditions" one containing
      traditions from Q, special M/T, the Markan triple tradition, and
      similarities to the Johannine tradition, we do find one, and it is the
      Gospel of Matthew! If we substitute in "special L/T" we are speaking
      of the Gospel of Luke, which also contains material from Q and Mark
      and the Johannine thunderbolt. No particular conclusion follows from
      this except the obvious one, that Thomas and Matthew and Luke are from
      a time and environment where a great many of the same sayings
      circulated. But Meier would have it that the diversity of materials
      found in Thomas is so extraordinary that it leads him to find it very
      probable that Thomas used Matthew and Luke and Mark and John's gospels. "

      Best Wishes

      Andrew Smith
    • Jack Kilmon
      ... From: Andrew Smith To: Sent: Friday, March 18, 2005 2:18 AM Subject: [GTh] Re: Thomas Kernel ... We have
      Message 2 of 14 , Mar 18, 2005
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Andrew Smith" <smithand44@...>
        To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Friday, March 18, 2005 2:18 AM
        Subject: [GTh] Re: Thomas Kernel


        >
        >
        > --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, Mark Goodacre <Goodacre@g...> wrote:
        >
        > what is the
        > relationship between Mark and Thomas; is Mark dependent on Thomas or
        > Thomas on Mark, or are they both dependent on another source or
        > sources, written or oral; or can the relationship between them not be
        > determined satisfactorily.

        We have records that Mark took dictation from Peter/Kefa and acted as his
        interpreter (from Aramaic to Greek) as Peter wandered about. We have a
        record of Mark taking his notes (from Peter) to Alexandria to polish a
        gospel....and apparently there were several editions. The notes of "Jesus
        saids..." may have taken on a life of their own to become the Gospel of
        Thomas apart from the "Jesus saids..." of putative "Q" and Matthew's
        "Logia." This sayings gospel probably became attached to Thomas' name
        rather than Mark since Thomas may have used it in Syria and India.

        We already know that Matthew and Luke are revised Marks. Mark contains his
        "Jesus said.." notes which later becomes the foundation for Thomas and later
        Thomas redactions and interpolations. Mark still contains the original
        "proto-Thomas" Logia which will be passed on
        to...and redacted by...Matthew and Luke.

        I have discussed this theory before...simply that Mark did not use the GoT,
        Mark WROTE "proto-Thomas."

        Jack
      • Tom Saunders
        Hi Andrew, I just finished Jean Yves Leloup s The Gospel of Philip. He lays out the Coptic text beside his translation, very much like Kaaren King does in
        Message 3 of 14 , Mar 18, 2005
          Hi Andrew,

          I just finished Jean Yves Leloup's "The Gospel of Philip.' He lays out the Coptic text beside his translation, very much like Kaaren King does in "The Gospel of Mary Magdala." Those that do translations might take a look and comment on how well Leloup does with the Coptic.

          Leloup's position is clear that the Gospel of Philip is written in Jewish traditions of the 'Bridal Chamber' idea. He also postulates the difference between Greek and Hebrew ideas of how the dyadic paradigm works, which is of course relevant to how dualism is interpreted. (Pg . 25, Introduction) After looking at Empedocles' model of the dualism between 'love, and strife,' I see very little difference in the concepts of how dualism was perceived, in both Jewish, Oriental and Greek schools of thought. I would say that if you presented the Yin Yang, I Ching model of Chinese Emperor Fu Hsi to a Pythagorean he would understand it immediately, in the same perspective as Empedocles.

          The fierce defiance and attention that Tertullian, (Treatise of the Soul), Jerome (Letter to Pamachius, and Oceanna), give against Origen is also addressed to Empedocles and other Pythagoreans. Clement on the other hand raises Empedocles and others as Gnostics. Empedocles is mentioned 8 times in 'Stromateis 8,' go figure.

          It makes sense that Thomas is an adaptation of the proto-Synoptics, written to relate to both Jewish and Gentile ideas cohesive to the Jesus monadology of Thomas. The Gentile question starts with Peter and Cornelius in Jerusalem. It makes no sense at all that Mark and Matthew waited until they went to Alexandria to adapt the synoptics to Gentile friendly material. As Stevan Davies points out Jesus was not from Jerusalem and the Temple, he was based from Galilee.

          "All things were together, then thought came and arranged them." (Anaxagoras, a Pythagroean teacher.) This is very much in line with Solomon references in 'Davies,' and the best explanation I have heard yet for the order of the GThom. Think! Then watch the arrangement of 114? come true, for you.....

          Thomas defies two important concepts of the proto-Orthodox. The nature of resurrection of the body (matter) as seen by Jerome.... This would separate many of either Gentile of Jewish epistemologies.

          Jerome paints a vivid picture (Letter to Pachomacius and Oceanna) in some of the comments he makes about the beliefs of Origen and the Pythagoreans, and cites the animate reincarnation, meaning that described in the GJohn., as opposed to 'spirit' or transmigration of the soul. Jerome says, "But as there are bodies celestial and bodies terrestrial(2) and as thin air and the aether are both according to their natures Called bodies, they use the word body instead of the word flesh in order that an orthodox person hearing them say body may take them to mean flesh while a heretic will understand that they mean spirit. This is their first piece of craft, and if this is found out, they devise fresh wiles, and, pretending innocence themselves......"

          The other difiant part of Thomas is in the idea that the individual not the 'body of the church' as Paul said, can reach salvation through personal knowledge of God. (Jesus wisdom) Heracleon states in his surviving fragments that 'God is pure spirit.' This imparts two different Christian idealisms. The Thomasine structure was always there, but at some point Thomas was needed to develop as Jerome calls them, 'heretics.'

          The uneven playing field I think comes from the two factors of trying to convey 'correct' Jewish and correct Gentile concepts in the same model, using synoptics, to Jesus sayings. The parables in my opinion are the oldest part of the gospel, simply because they are known to have been told in Galilee, by Jesus. Thomas is very likely a device polished in the last days of Mark and Matthew in Alexandria.

          Tom Saunders
          Platter, OK











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        • Stephen C. Carlson
          ... I suppose you re talking about the letter to Theodore attributed to Clement of Alexandria that Morton Smith of Columbia photographed in 1958 and published
          Message 4 of 14 , Mar 18, 2005
            At 03:16 PM 3/18/2005 -0600, Jack Kilmon wrote:
            >We have records that Mark took dictation from Peter/Kefa and acted as his
            >interpreter (from Aramaic to Greek) as Peter wandered about. We have a
            >record of Mark taking his notes (from Peter) to Alexandria to polish a
            >gospel....and apparently there were several editions.

            I suppose you're talking about the letter to Theodore attributed
            to Clement of Alexandria that Morton Smith of Columbia photographed
            in 1958 and published in 1973.

            I can think of a number of scholars who accept that Clement
            wrote the letter to Theodore. (Group "A")

            I can also think of a number of scholars who put a lot of weight
            on the patristic evidence for the origin of the gospels. (Group
            "B")

            However, I can't really think of a scholar aside from Jack who
            puts a lot of weight in the testimony of the letter to Theodore
            for the origin of Mark.

            Am I missing anyone else who is a member of both Group A and
            Group B? (Call them Group "AB")

            And, even so, why is Group AB so small?

            Stephen Carlson
            --
            Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@...
            Weblog: http://www.hypotyposeis.org/weblog/
            "Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words." Shujing 2.35
          • Tom Saunders
            In response to Stephen Carlson, and Jack Kilmon s statement..... I think that Jack is correct in placing Mark and the pre-Gospel material in Alexandria.
            Message 5 of 14 , Mar 19, 2005
              In response to Stephen Carlson, and Jack Kilmon's statement.....

              I think that Jack is correct in placing Mark and the pre-Gospel material in Alexandria. Clement's letter to Theodore would be some proof, but the letter is 'shakey' in whether it is a fake. Fortunately Clement's letter to Theodore is not the only thing that points to the Alexandrian lineage of Mark's writing.

              Henry Barchlay Swete, 1835-1917, talks about Glaucius and Mark writing and following around Peter. Swete's work seems to have been centered on Papias. Papias (70-155) is said to have claimed that the Gospel of Matthew was written first, and Mark served as a scribe for Peter's work.

              There is also the record of Pantaenus. Pantaenus is known to have done missionary work as far east as India. He claims to have discovered Eastern Christians in possession of the Gospel of Matthew written in Hebrew and presented by Bartholomew. If this is the case then, Matthew had to have existed prior to Bartholomew leaving Jerusalem, 36-38, C.E. Peter did not meet Mark until the 40's according to Acts.

              I think Jack is on the right track about linking the Thomas text with Thomas teaching in Syria, then parts East. Matthew lived too long not to know that his Gospel was being used in many ways probably some he did not intend. That is why I think his reference to the bridal chamber seems out of place, like he does not want to deal with the other numerous references to the Holy Union, Sacred Kiss, kind of thing. Leloup in his GPhil makes it clear that this is what Phillip (Philip) is about.

              Now if we examine what Logions 75, and 104, are about in NHL, and Origen texts in regard to the 'bridal suite' we get a different allegorical sense than anything Matthew comes up with ten virgins and all. (MT. Ch. 9, and 25) What are the odds that nobody in Jerusalem, or Alexandria ever told Matthew the true significance of the 'Bridal Chamber?' Or, what are the odds that Matthew having been with Mark and the early Alexandrian lineage didn't know about Thomasine Gnosis?

              Did later proto-Orthodox redactors write out that part of Matthew, or did Matthew realize the 'uninitiated' did not need to know the significance of the 'bridal chamber?" Both polished Thomas and polished Matthew are from Alexandria, and they represent two kinds of Christianity. Clement's letter to Theodore explains little but suggests huge alignment with the 'bridal chamber' and Holy Union allegory.

              By the time Mark and Matthew get to Alexandria, Paul has started his 'salvation in the 'Body of Christ being the Body of the Church idea. The Israelite version of the "Apocalypse of Peter" also reflects the salvation being the domain of the Church. The idea of the Holy Union in Phillip is counter productive to that idea of the church having domain over salvation, and declared heretical. But, it would also be counter productive to the Gnostics to expose secrets to those in Christian congregations that would reamain 'uninitiated.'

              There are lots of these lower hylic and misguided 'psychics' to worry about. In the eyes of Thomasine Gnostics, the 'flawed' are doomed to remain in darkness, and ignorance. The use of the Thomasine instrument 'enlightens' the user out of this darkness. This is the aim of Origen's teachings with his Song of Songs, and GJohn approach of explaining ascention. (McGinn's "Early Christian Mystics" ) All 'Bridal Chamber' stuff. (Sometimes "violence is not violence, and sex is not sex')

              Mark 2-18. And John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting: and they come and say unto him, Why do John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not?
              19. And Jesus said unto them, Can the sons of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.
              20. But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then will they fast in that day.

              Mark does not explain the bridal chamber concept beyond what Thomas does. Mark connects the bridal chamber idea to non-sequential allegory, like Matthew that does not explain the concept as process. If Morton Smith forged that Clement letter, he made some really good guesses about how bridal chamber signnificance has to work. Thomas and Phillip, together can tell us 'bunches' about the bridal chamber concept.

              "Frequently, if a woman sleeps with her husband out of necessity, while her heart is with the adulterer with whim she usually has intercourse, the child she will bear is born resembling the adulterer." (GPhil) Matthew does contend that if you lust after another it is the same thing as adultry. (5-28)

              Then, like it would be now in the face of modern science of sexuality, these concepts are too hot to handle. Even now when we can show them as nonsense, these are powerful ideas, and if you let them fly in a group that believes in demons....And Guilt! History speaks for itself as to the results. Clement addresses these ideas in Chapter 3 (Stromateis) They all need a modern 'sex talk' but it is clear that the concept of the bridal chamber has been hidden by GMark and Matthew to a great extent. It looks to me like the concept of the 'Holy Union Contemplation" became part of the Thomasine tradition through Phillip. This decision could have happened in Alexandria.

              Like I said Morton Smith had to make some really good guesses about the bridal suite concept. He didn't have Phillip, or Thomas.

              Tom Saunders
              Platter, OK













































































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            • Tom Saunders
              John Moon asks.... I presume that Origen and others used the New Testament also to achieve Transcendence. What makes Thomas different? Mike adds..... You d
              Message 6 of 14 , Mar 22, 2005
                John Moon asks....

                "I presume that Origen and others used the New Testament also to achieve Transcendence. What makes Thomas different?"

                Mike adds.....

                "You'd have to show that the other texts you mention are examples of "Thomasine Gnosis", and then you'd have to explain why the prototype of "Thomasine Gnosis" doesn't present Matthew in a more positive way."

                Yes, Origen did have a method of Transcendence devised from the Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, and Proverbs which are the three books attributed to Solomon. Origen presents the soul's exegetical-mystical 'ascent' where the soul rises with the Incarnate Word. (Early Christian Mystics, McGinn, Crossroads, 2003, p.29.)

                Thomas by its structure and form is a Contemplation tool of descending, which is related to Origen's method more than it is different, or opposite from it. The legend of Pythagorean numbers from one to ten is ascending, from ten to one is descending. Thomas by its form of 114 sayings has to be a descending tool, from 114 to one, the monad. Thomas is a methodology based upon Jesus being the monadic force in the text. It is by all standards fit for the use of Origen's idea of the "Incarnate Word."

                Thomasine Gnosis is the process of transcending with Thomas as Origen would have one do with his ascending method. This is how Thomasine Gnosis is shown to be Gnosis, meaning primarily transcendence in the realms of the psyche, one's kenomic environment, and a bonding with the Pleroma, by use of the "words of the living Jesus," 'Incarnate Word" of Thomas.

                Part of this process is 'kingdom building,' which includes developing one's self into the form
                of a Craftsman in line with the Wisdom of Solomon, and the development of skills related to personal gifts or qualities. This is not achieved without great personal dedication. Here is where Matthew's Gospel
                can be seen as part of the essential knowledge in Thomasine transition. But there are two Christianities involved in this Gnostic transcendence.

                Matthew is philosophically essential to the Thomasine transition, by virtue that we can see the influence of this text in the body of Thomas. Clement's statement about Apostles being skilled Craftsmen in all the areas of human gifts (Str. Bk 6) puts Matthew in the Craftsman-Pneumatic class of individuals. Jack Kilmon's references in past posts reference Matthew and Mark ending their days in Egypt. (A little help here!)

                Synoptics are 'primers' for Thomasine Gnosis. But so must be the texts of the NHL. So, Mike is right about lining up the NHL texts in the Thomasine arena. Sorting out what is common to Thomasine Gnosis is essential to this idea. This means that the nature, structure, form, perception, knowledge of the mind, soul, spirit, and body must be clarified in a like manner that Tertullian presents in the "Treatise of the Soul." But it has to be done to define the elements of the process of Thomasine transition.

                Peter's use of magic in the "Act of Peter," his denouncement of women, in both the synoptics and NHL, and the obvious falling outs, portrayed in Acts, don't put Peter in anyone's favor. But, if Mark composed the GMark from Peter's notes, this and the GMatt, are not meant to provide clues that Gnostic transition is being practiced by Thomasines or Origenites. This part of the Morton Smith letter referring to secret practices and knowledge portrays the correct picture. The existence of the NHL shows there was indeed secret works and practices.

                Defining and clarifying Thomasine Gnosis, and showing synoptic elements to the process means putting texts into the alignments of what corresponds to the elements we can qualify in Thomasine Gnosis. The use of magic is out, there is no magic in the Thomasine epistemology. The understanding of the 'bridal suite' is in because that is in Thomas. The concept of the 'garment' is in, because that is in Thomas. The concept of the 'storehouse' is in. The concept of demons possessing your soul is out, because this violates the concepts of the power of evil in Thomas. (Th-45) Everything comes from the 'light' and it either goes back to the light or it goes into darkness. Thomas gives no independent power to the darkness.

                Also relative to Thomasine understanding are what known Alexandrian Gnostics like Theodotus, and Hercleon say about the concept of the human essential elements of the soul, spirit, mind, and body. Heracleon's views on the GJohn, show it is also relative to understanding Gnostic transition. The known or known associates of Gnostics do not always agree on the nature of the essential human elements. Because nobody talks about Thomas, Philip, or Mary, openly, we must assume these ancients kept the vow of secrecy about these texts. Including Matthew.

                Using the Thomas text as a monad to the other Christian texts, and NHL texts seems to be one of its designed purposes. Where Origen aligns transcendence with the idea of the Holy Trinity, as many of his followers. (McGinn), Thomas appears to be aligned with creation myths like the Apn.of John. The GPhil, is clearly aligned with the concept of the Bridal Chamber. The Gospel of Truth seems to be aligned with the ideas of kenomic existence among the flawed, IMO. 'Contender' is also aligned, but harder to figure for me, perhaps someone can compare? Use Thomas as a monadic guide, and tool of Contemplation like a Pythagorean thinker in the 1st c.trying to see the vision as described in the GMary....

                Tom Saunders
                Platter, OK
































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