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Re: [GTh] Part I ofThe Synoptic Gospel Problem and Thomas

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  • fmmccoy
    (Note: This is the first post in a series of five posts) THE SYNOPTIC GOSPEL PROBLEM AND THOMAS: A CASE STUDY I INTRODUCTION The three Synoptic gospels are
    Message 1 of 4 , Oct 13, 2005
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      (Note: This is the first post in a series of five posts)

      THE SYNOPTIC GOSPEL PROBLEM AND THOMAS: A CASE STUDY

      I INTRODUCTION

      The three Synoptic gospels are Matthew (Mt), Mark (Mk), and Luke (Lk).

      There is a large body of material that is common to all three.

      The most widely accepted solution for this situation is the hypothesis of
      Markan priority--according to which Mk was the first of the three Synoptic
      gospels to be written and both Matthew and Luke used Mk as a source for
      their own gospels.

      There also is smaller, but still large, body of non-Markan material common
      to both Mt and Lk. The most widely accepted solution to this situation is
      the Two Document Hypothesis (2DH). This consists of three hypotheses:
      1. the hypothesis of Markan priority
      2. the hypothesis that Mt and Lk were written independently of each other
      3. the Q hypothesis--according to which Matthew and Luke used a postulated
      source that is normally referred to as the Q gospel or, more simply, Q.
      In this case, the body of non-Markan material common to Mt and Lk comes from
      Q.

      The International Q Project (IQP) has issued a postulated reconstruction of
      Q. Many scholars think that there are strata within Q and, so, divide it
      into "layers" of material. In "A Q Community in Galilee?" (NTS, 50, 2004.
      pp 476-494)), Birger A. Pearson notes (p. 480, n. 18), "Some 30 volumes are
      projected of Documenta Q, consisting of commentaries on the individual
      pericopes of Q and the history of research on them."


      Q, particularly its allegedly earliest stratum, has become a Mecca for those
      seeking an "authentic" Christianity as opposed to the allegedly deviant
      Pauline Christianity and Jacobian Christianity. It's place is not the
      Diaspora of Paul's mission, nor the Jerusalem of James' central authority,
      but the Galilee in which Jesus preached.

      It also has become a Mecca for those seeking the "authentic" Jesus. Such a
      Jesus is radically different from Paul's crucified Christ and Savior. For
      some, he is a sage, for some a social reformer, for some a wandering Cynic
      Jew, for some a peasant genius, etc..

      So, even though it is a gospel that does not exist now and for which there
      is no concrete evidence that it ever existed, Q exerts a great influence on
      modern scholarly thought regarding Jesus and earliest Christianity.

      Some scholars have proposed another explanation which is slowly garnering
      more support. This is the Farrer (or: Mark Without Q) Hypothesis (FH).
      This consists of three hypotheses:
      1. the hypothesis of Markan priority
      2. the hypothesis that Luke used Mt as a source
      3. the hypothesis that Q never existed.
      In this case, the body of non-Markan material common to Mt and Lk consists
      of Matthean material utilized by Luke in writing his gospel.

      There are other proposals for solving the problem of explaining the
      relationships between the Synoptic gospels, but these are the main two at
      the current time.

      Even though Thomas (Th) has many passages with parallels in the Synoptic
      gospels, neither the 2DH nor the FH takes it into account. As a result,
      both have the hidden premise that none of the Synoptic gospel writers
      used Th as a source.

      Certainly, this might be the case. For example, perhaps Th was written
      later than any of the Synoptic gospels.

      But, then again, this might not be the case.

      As I have pointed out in past posts, there is some evidence supportive of
      what can be called the Mark and Thomas Without Q Hypothesis (MTH). It
      consists of five hypotheses:
      1. the hypothesis of Markan priority
      2. the hypothesis that Luke used Mt as a source
      3. the hypothesis that Q never existed.
      4.the hypothesis that Th and Mk were written independently of each other
      5. the hypothesis that both Matthew and Luke used Th as a source.

      The first three hypotheses constitute the FH. So, whenever dealing with
      Synoptic material without any parallels in Th, the discussion can be limited
      to the 2DH and the FH. It is only whenever dealing with Synoptic material
      with parallels in Th that the discussion needs to be expanded to include the
      MTH.

      In order to make a case for the MTH, then, two conditions need to be met:
      1. when analyzing Synoptic material without taking into account any
      parallels in Th, it needs to be demonstrated that the FH is superior to the
      2DH
      2. when analyzing Synoptic material in a manner that takes into account any
      parallels in Th, it needs to be demonstrated that the MTH is superior to
      both the 2DH and the FH.

      This is the first is a series of five posts in which an attempt will be
      made to make a case for the MTH by analyzing Mt 11:7-11//Lk 7:24-28//Mk
      1:2//Th 46, 78.

      The analysis of will proceed by looking at each of these three units in
      their sequential order. It will be concluded that:
      1. where the discussion of the Synoptic material does not take into account
      any Th parallels, the evidence of these passages suggests that the FH is
      superior to the 2DH
      2. where the discussion of the Synoptic material does take into account any
      Th parallels, the evidence of these passages suggests that the MTH is
      superior to both the 2DH and the FH.
      So, it will be further concluded, these passages constitute a foundation
      upon which it might be possible to make a credible case for the MTH.

      I know that there are good reasons for many of you not to read the other
      four posts. For example, as I am a layperson, I am not adequately trained
      to do the analysis with the full rigor that a scholar would utilize. So,
      because the analysis, while in-depth, is somewhat amateurish, scholars have
      good reason to conclude that it would be a waste of their time to read the
      other four posts. Again, because it gets rather technical, some of the
      non-scholars will likely find it rather intimidating and, so, think it
      better to skip reading the other four posts. Too, many of you have likely
      concluded that I am somewhat eccentric, to put it kindly (I plead guilty!),
      so the MTH is probably nothing more than the product of an over-imaginative
      mind, so why bother reading the other four posts?

      Still, .I beg you to read the other four posts. While the discussion is
      dry and abstract, there are momentous issues at stake. If there was no Q,
      then a majority of NT scholars are basing much of their studies and
      conclusions on a chimera. If Th and Mk were the earliest gospels, as is
      maintained in the MTH, the roots of the later division of Christianity into
      what can be (somewhat misleadingly) labelled Orthodox and Gnostic wings go
      back to these two foundation gospels and the question arises as to which one
      of them is closer to the real Jesus of history.

      I would appreciate your comments. Also, I hope that this sparks some
      discussions about the possibility of Th being one of the two earliest
      gospels--maybe even the earliest one of all!

      Frank McCoy
      Maplewood, MN USA 55109
    • Ron McCann
      Well, Hello!, Frank. Delighted to see you on this list. Thanks for that lucid presentation in Part 1 of the competing theories of Gospel origins, including
      Message 2 of 4 , Oct 13, 2005
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        Well, Hello!, Frank.

        Delighted to see you on this list. Thanks for that lucid presentation
        in Part 1 of the competing theories of Gospel origins, including your
        own. I will most definitely read and try to follow yoy in the
        remaining parts of your posts.

        You have omitted, quite properly, what I might immodestly claim as
        The McCann Hypothesis, for it has never been tossed into the
        scholarly arena for consideration, save only such vetting as it might
        have received on the gthomas group.

        In that Hypothesis, the two or even four source theories are left
        intact, the Book of Q is not a chimera, and all three of Q, Mark and
        Thomas borrow from a common source earlier to all three of them which
        I presently call Papais's Matthew Hebrew Sayings Collection. In
        Thomas, for instance, all sayings with Synoptic/Q counterparts are
        from that source.

        An existing defect in that hypothesis is that it cannot fully account
        for all those Thomas sayings with NO synoptic/Q parallels- what I
        call "The Spooky Stuff". Some of these sayings are very likely from
        the Matthean Logia Collection (Papias' s collection) , but it is
        impossible to tell if that is true or not, since we don't have a
        copy. I was left to conclude that Thomas, either the Apostle Thomas
        or Jude-Thomas, Jesus brother had supplied them.

        If your, or any other Scholarly hypothesis, has an answer that
        addresses the origins of these "spooky" sayings of Thomas in an
        inclusive and all encompassing way with those sayings of Synoptic/Q
        origin, I would be most eager to read it.

        Am I to take it that I will find that here?

        Eccentric, Frank? I don't think so. Maybe just a tad long-winded?
        (grin). I've always enjoyed your work, and I'll just bet that this
        stuff is sterling, if not gold.

        Ron
      • fmmccoy
        ... From: Ron McCann To: Sent: Thursday, October 13, 2005 2:54 PM Subject: Re: [GTh] Part I ofThe Synoptic
        Message 3 of 4 , Oct 14, 2005
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          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Ron McCann" <ronmccann1@...>
          To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Thursday, October 13, 2005 2:54 PM
          Subject: Re: [GTh] Part I ofThe Synoptic Gospel Problem and Thomas


          > Well, Hello!, Frank.
          >
          > Delighted to see you on this list. Thanks for that lucid presentation
          > in Part 1 of the competing theories of Gospel origins, including your
          > own. I will most definitely read and try to follow yoy in the
          > remaining parts of your posts.
          >
          > You have omitted, quite properly, what I might immodestly claim as
          > The McCann Hypothesis, for it has never been tossed into the
          > scholarly arena for consideration, save only such vetting as it might
          > have received on the gthomas group.
          >
          > In that Hypothesis, the two or even four source theories are left
          > intact, the Book of Q is not a chimera, and all three of Q, Mark and
          > Thomas borrow from a common source earlier to all three of them which
          > I presently call Papais's Matthew Hebrew Sayings Collection. In
          > Thomas, for instance, all sayings with Synoptic/Q counterparts are
          > from that source.

          Hi Tom!

          There's a hypothesis that has some similarities to the one you are
          proposing. This is Brian E. Wilson's Logia Translation Hypothesis (LTH). .

          According to it, the apostle named Matthew made a written collection of
          Aramaic logia. They were translated into Greek and then used by Mark, a
          different Matthew, and Luke in writing their gospels. He posits that the
          Greek logia document was very large.

          One big difference is that the McCann Hypothesis (MH) has Matthew's work
          being a source for GTh, GMk, and Q, while the LTH has Matthew's work being
          a source for GMt, GMk, and GLk.

          Another big difference is that MH appears to take Matthew's collection to be
          a collection of sayings, while the LTH takes it to be a collection of
          reports--meaning that it contained considerable narrative material.

          The difference, here, lies in how to translate the word "logia". Can it
          mean "sayings"? Or, is it only Greek word "logoi" that can mean "sayings"?
          Ron, P Oxy. 654, which includes the Greek version of the incipit for GTh,
          has "logoi" rather than "logia" for "sayings". Perhaps, then, it is a
          mistake to think that Matthew's collection of logia was a collection of
          sayings? Ron, have you considered the idea that, if it ever existed, it
          might have included much more than just sayings?

          Information about LTH is found here:

          http://homepage.ntlworld.com/brenda.wilson99/
          .
          Ron, are you familiar with the LTH? Why do you think that the MH is more
          likely to be correct than it?

          Regards,

          Frank McCoy
          Maplewood, MN USA 55109
        • Ron McCann
          At 10:17 AM 10/14/05, Frank, in response to my last post, wrote:- ... This has me very excited. Thank you for the cite. ... He is sure on the right track here.
          Message 4 of 4 , Oct 15, 2005
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            At 10:17 AM 10/14/05, Frank, in response to my last post, wrote:-

            >Hi Tom! (Make that "Ron")
            >
            >There's a hypothesis that has some similarities to the one you are
            >proposing. This is Brian E. Wilson's Logia Translation Hypothesis (LTH).

            This has me very excited. Thank you for the cite.

            > .
            >
            >According to it, the apostle named Matthew made a written collection of
            >Aramaic logia. They were translated into Greek and then used by Mark, a
            >different Matthew, and Luke in writing their gospels. He posits that the
            >Greek logia document was very large.

            He is sure on the right track here. When I first posited the
            existence of a common earlier source drawn upon by Mark, Q and
            Thomas, I was hard pressed to find ANY evidence of any such earlier
            document. I then found the Papias reference to a Hebrew collection of
            the "oracles" of Jesus collected and written down by the Apostle
            Matthew. That was almost ten years ago. Just this week, Roger Mott (I
            think) of the GospelofThomas group reproduced material from Jerome
            confiming the existence of just such a collection, which he himself
            (Jerome) had been asked to translate. So what started off as an
            unsupported theory ( The sayings from it, as reproduced in Thomas, Q,
            and Mark, when compared and closely examined very strongly pointed to
            the existence of an earlier common source- but that was the only
            support there was for it.) has gained ground, and The Matthean Logia
            Collection may yet be accepted by scholars as real.


            >One big difference is that the McCann Hypothesis (MH) has Matthew's work
            >being a source for GTh, GMk, and Q, while the LTH has Matthew's work being
            >a source for GMt, GMk, and GLk.

            Well, ultimately it is a source for GMt,GLk andGMk, but not directly
            ,except for Mark. Q basically IS GMt,GLK without the Markan material.
            I take it his work doesn't cover Thomas. So it seems a good
            hypothesis, as far as it goes, but it doen't really cover all the
            bases- does it?

            I know some people think that the Book of Q is a chimera. But to
            invoke some Churchillian words "some chicken, some neck!" If it was a
            Chimera, Frank, it could not in a million years have been used to
            generate The McCann Document (if you recall it). The fact that that
            Document "fell out" when material from the Matthean Logia collection
            was struck out of Q 1 really proves that Q is not a Chimera, and
            Neither is the Matthean Logia Collection. The Q-Matthean Logia thesi
            mutually reinforce each other.


            >Another big difference is that MH appears to take Matthew's collection to be
            >a collection of sayings, while the LTH takes it to be a collection of
            >reports--meaning that it contained considerable narrative material.

            In this, this fellow is also correct. Firstly, on a basic sayings
            count, even if only sayings are used
            in it's reconstuition, it's BIG. It's very large. Just how large we
            will never know. When reconstituted (just like Q was) from the
            sayings that are doubly or triply attested in Mark, Q and Thomas (The
            formula for identifing a Matthean Logia Saying) we get only a
            minimalist text but its quite big. The Three likely borrowed more
            sayings from it, but we cannot now know that or know for sure what
            other sayings in Mark or Q, or Thomas may have been in it.

            However, we can say that at least SOME narrative and dialogue
            material with those double or triple attestations ALSO appeared in
            it. You can apply the Double/Triple Attestation Formula I developed
            to Narrative and Dialogue material contained in Mark, Q and Thomas.
            In doing so, you identify any such material which also appeared in
            the Matthean Logia collection. I haven't chased these down because I
            work primarily with individual sayings. Let me give you some examples
            ( there are others):-
            1) The Beelzebub Controversy- found in Mark 3-20-28 and in Q at QS8
            2) The Temptation of Jesus- found in Mark 1 12-14 (where it is
            only a two liner!) and in Q at QS6.
            3) The "Enter Heaven Maimed" story- found in Mark and the "Make
            the Hands a hand" saying found in Thomas ( although you have to
            "massage" both of these bit to see the parallel.)
            4) The Virgins Enter Bridechamber story- found damaged in
            Thomas, and hugely amplified in Matthew, who likely found a simpler
            version in Q.

            >The difference, here, lies in how to translate the word "logia". Can it
            >mean "sayings"? Or, is it only Greek word "logoi" that can mean "sayings"?
            >Ron, P Oxy. 654, which includes the Greek version of the incipit for GTh,
            >has "logoi" rather than "logia" for "sayings". Perhaps, then, it is a
            >mistake to think that Matthew's collection of logia was a collection of
            >sayings?

            The term Logia was my own, borrowed from Ray Summers who issued one
            of the first ever public books containing Thomas. He uses it as a
            plural for logion. It seems from what you say, that's wrong. In the
            original Papais mention, some have transnlated the mention as Papais
            saying "oracles", some "sayings" and some "Logia". As I recall, the
            Jerome reference is vager.

            > Ron, have you considered the idea that, if it ever existed, it
            >might have included much more than just sayings?

            As I just stated, oh, yes, it had more than just sayings in it. It
            had some dialogue and narrative material as well- which makes it even Bigger.


            >Information about LTH is found here:
            >
            >http://homepage.ntlworld.com/brenda.wilson99/
            >.
            >Ron, are you familiar with the LTH? Why do you think that the MH is more
            >likely to be correct than it?

            I haven't yet got to it, and no I was not familiar with it.


            More comprehensive, maybe? I factor in Q and Thomas. From what you
            say, he doesn't- but it seems he is "not far from the Kingdom". I'll
            have to get back to you when I've had a look. Thanks again for this
            info. I'm quite excited about it.

            Ron McCann
            Saskatoon, Canada


            >Regards,
            >
            >Frank McCoy
            >Maplewood, MN USA 55109
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
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