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Re: [GTh] Re: Recovering Thomas

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  • dagoi@aol.com
    In a message dated 9/05/6 1:29:26 AM, Adaire wrote:
    Message 1 of 6 , Sep 5, 2006
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      In a message dated 9/05/6 1:29:26 AM, Adaire wrote:

      <<
      --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "sarban" <sarban@...> wrote:
      >
      > "I find the proposed history of development of Thomas broadly
      > convincing but remain convinced that the earliest ascertainable
      form of
      > Thomas, the 'Thomas Kernel' is dependent on the synoptics."
      >
      > Andrew Criddle
      >
      Bart D. Ehrman makes the point [snip] that
      the monasteries of Egypt were extremely careful in preserving
      manuscripts unaltered and intact. >>

      This of course being a consequence of believing the Alexandrian is the
      cleanest canonical text?

      << I think that "Thomas" coming from
      the Pachomian monasteries is probably far superior as to the original
      words of Jesus than the synoptics. >>

      big jump here. The Pachomian monasteries can only superiorly preserve a text
      that they were delivered, and we see that between the gThom Greek texts of
      shortly after 200 and the Coptic version of mid 300s there are considerable
      textual changes, even in the little we have. The argument says nothing about
      the relative antiquity of gTh or the canonicals for which we have numerous
      copies from before these times and can probably assume were also copied in the
      Pachomian monasteries.


      << The politics and war at the end of the first century and the
      beginning of the second were probably the cause of the reinvention of
      Jesus' words and teachings.

      Adaire Cain
      >>

      I know little about the politics and war, as you put it, at the turn of I/II.
      According to my own theories, at that time the Bishops were just realizing
      that they were rather orphaned after the Petership of John.
      If I were to make a probably, then the politics and diversity at the end
      of the second century and the beginning of the third were probably the cause
      of the invention from gHeb, gEgy, the canonicals, and Clement's own
      orthodox-gnosticism (the man was on the edge of both) of the book we know as gThom.

      I've posted years ago and have been lurking lately with an antique sometimes
      broke puter and other projects to work on. I've just picked up Ehrman's lost
      christianities, but so far haven't got to the politics and war at the turn of
      I/II.

      Bill
    • dagoi@aol.com
      My last post has me worried that I have stifled discussion on this great list. This was not my intention. I enjoy seeing how others interpret the logions of
      Message 2 of 6 , Sep 21, 2006
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        My last post has me worried that I have stifled discussion on this great
        list. This was not my intention. I enjoy seeing how others interpret the logions
        of gThom. I've been reading the book since the early '70s and am merely
        trying out what it would mean from my proposed point of view.
        Also, just previous to my post on this list, I tried to join Mike
        Grondin's list - again not to be disruptive - I was only going to lurk there, and
        for the same reasons. Over the years I have developed a respect for Mr. Grondin
        as a scholar and a thinker, but the moderator probably thought I was going to
        be disruptive (which I could be if I were that type of blogger or hacker or
        whatever you call the perennially malcontent) so for understandable reasons I
        was turned down..
        I like these posts on this list, though some things seem just too out of
        the way to not be commented on. I don't like to imagine in my perennial
        paranoia that I was the cause of it being stifled for any amount of time.

        Bill


        In a message dated 9/05/6 5:58:46 PM, I wrote:

        paralleling a sentence in the post I was answering,
        << If I were to make a probably, then the politics and diversity at the
        end
        of the second century and the beginning of the third were probably the cause
        of the invention from gHeb, gEgy, the canonicals, and Clement's own
        orthodox-gnosticism (the man was on the edge of both) of the book we know as
        gThom.
        >>
      • David Renfro
        Bill, I ve been experimenting with the idea that Kernel Thomas reached Egypt as a more exact interruption as oral tradition than earlier transcriptions
        Message 3 of 6 , Sep 21, 2006
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          Bill,
          I've been experimenting with the idea that "Kernel Thomas" reached Egypt as a more exact interruption as "oral tradition" than earlier transcriptions found in the synoptics. Less influenced by Hellenistic pressures the GoTh Kernel, confined to the parameters of oral techniques, may represent the "Original" far more precisely than the TEXTs in the hands of "biased" Scribes.
          Dave Renfro
        • dagoi@aol.com
          NOT YET In a message dated 9/22/6 2:38:33 AM, Dave Renfro wrote:
          Message 4 of 6 , Sep 22, 2006
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            NOT YET
            In a message dated 9/22/6 2:38:33 AM, Dave Renfro wrote:

            <<Bill,
            I've been experimenting with the idea that "Kernel Thomas" reached Egypt
            as a more exact interruption as "oral tradition" than earlier transcriptions
            found in the Synoptics. Less influenced by Hellenistic pressures the GoTh
            Kernel, confined to the parameters of oral techniques, may represent the "Original"
            far more precisely than the TEXTs in the hands of "biased" Scribes.
            Dave Renfro
            >>

            But how can you be sure gThom as any sort of package goes any further back
            than the time of the writing of the Stromata (around 195 or so)? Here's
            Clement, definitely into the apocryphal lit; he quotes various logions that we have
            in gThom and says they're from the Gospel of Hebrews or the Gospel of the
            Egyptians (been a little while since I've read all this).
            Clement as much as says somewhere that he's not writing an apocryphal
            gospel himself (for that reference I'd have to read the Stromata all over again
            probably) but in the act of saying it I can tell that he's thought of it. He
            seems pretty sure the 4-fold gospel is secure (even though he quotes gHeb,
            etc., he references ~the four that have come down to us~ (the tilde there meaning
            that it may not be an exact quote, again from somewhere probably in the later
            books of the Stromata). And Clement has a gThomGnostic-like strain in his
            opinions. He says he writes the Stromata (explained in book 1) for the same
            rather mystical reasons I imagine he would write a masterpiece like gThom.
            He, the principal, flees the Christian school in Alexandria (and goes
            south, it is said, but I can't remember right now by who) during the persecution
            of Severus (200?), and is not asked back, but is replaced by a Mozart/Newton
            type 18 yr. old genius fanatic son of a martyr, Origen (who has strange
            opinions also of course), who is the first to actually mention the Gospel of Thomas.
            Why is Clement not asked back? A century later Athanasius (a different sort
            of character) makes a habit of fleeing and being asked back to the Bishopric
            of the same place. Methinks that even though Clement is a noted author, they
            don't want him.
            pOxy 654 (our first gThom fragment) is written on the back of an older
            text of a land survey (which I don't have the bucks for a copy from the British
            Museum, though it is obtainable) in Severe script and dated to 200 or very
            shortly after. What appeared to I think Grenfell or Hunt to be slips of the pen
            convinces him somehow that pOxy 654 is not the original. That's I think a
            reasonable assumption for logions that have appeared quoted to be from other
            books just shortly before this and they know this and even point out that Clement
            in the Stromata has assigned these logions to gHeb. (Oxy Pap IV).
            {I can't find my notes right now and want to write this before it gets
            cold, so check out all facts that may seem pertinent}
            Now, Ehrman in Lost Christianities in discussing Mort Smith's Secret
            Mark points out that Smith went through a lot of scholarship with the lexicons
            of early Christian lit to show that the letter mentioning Secret Mark was
            Clementine type language. Ehrman says it's more like Clement than Clement ever
            was, but I am not equipped to do any of this type of study. I barely eke though
            the Greek. Kloppenberg I think thinks he can point out a Syrian (Aramaic)
            (Diatessaron 170-175?) link to the genesis of gThom. To maintain my theory of
            Clementine origin I could rationalize that quoting from other sources does not
            necessitate that it sound like Clement, and rationalize that maybe even they
            Syrian influences would be there if he found it in his sources, but it would
            complicate the study (which is in limbo for a while while I work on other
            things) - in that case, you might say, why pick on Clement instead of perhaps a
            student or someone else in the 190s?
            Patterson et al claims that gThom's logions are "pithy"er than the
            4-fold, and that supposed to make them earlier. I think this idea goes back to
            Bultman's History of the Synoptic Tradition where he makes a similar point. But
            it is my observation that things get more pithy with revision, as every
            writer, even unpublished ones like me, should know. Oral Tradition (repeated
            re-tellings that hone down the meat and don't stick to the verbatim) would make it
            more pithy, repeated literary revision would make it more pithy, a longer time
            to ponder and rework a thing would make it more pithy. But pithy by itself
            does not strike me as a fit criterion for originality - just the opposite.
            Maybe I don't understand what they are talking about though.
            As for biased scribes, as you call them, (and as perhaps Ehrman assumes)
            these are very early on quite disparate people working on established texts
            in other local and faraway copies than the one they are working on. I think
            you would have to blame the authors, as the first few scribes would be close to
            them.
            Originality must go through the apostles - maybe that does or does not
            legitimize everything the bishops got into (sometimes Ignatius' and Irenaeus'
            faith that the bishops will be always so straightforwardly apostolic is a
            little naive), but reading Paul and Peter and John and Polycarp it must be pointed
            out that what developed into the bishop's church was what was started by the
            apostles. The Jesus of gThom is not the Jesus they historically walked with.
            A text critical study has taken, for me, precedence over a study of the
            Petership of John, which took precedence over my Clement/gThom study.
            You would think from reading some scholars that the apostles vanished
            into thin air after the crucifixion, leaving Christianity to the masses. Simon
            was acknowledged head of the church, a 'weak' non-power hungry one, for his
            whole life because Jesus made him so.
            John is mentioned in the each of the Synoptics as one of the top three,
            with Peter and John's brother James. It is a fairly certain guess that John
            is the person who wrote the epistles of John and almost finished gJn (which was
            finished off by his disciples, as it says even). After the death of Peter,
            John is the most obvious person to lead the cult, if indeed the inner three
            goes back to Jesus.
            If the inner three does not go back to Jesus the Petership of John idea
            is even stronger. Some scholars try to fragmentize the earliest Christian
            cult by making it out to be very disparate communities, but all of the Synoptics
            acknowledge John. When the Synoptics are writ (all except Mark which I think
            lay unfinished when he died with Peter) Peter was recently dead, John's
            brother James was rather long dead, leaving John. Mention of James in the three
            only emphasizes that John has the legitimate second Petership because the martyr
            James is his brother and John is probably more of a fanatic because of it (ala
            like Origen).
            That's most of the first century right there. There is one community,
            just different locals, because each of the Synoptics legitimize John's
            Petership.
            this is getting kinda long, but where does that leave the possibility
            for the nature of oral transmission? My Clement theory would deal with
            1)whether he wrote it of course, and 2)what did he mean and intend by it.

            Bill
          • David Renfro
            [In reponse to Bill Foley]: I never suggested that GoTh dated to the synoptics only the Jesus said s* / Kernel*. My suggestion is that the Kernel arrived in
            Message 5 of 6 , Sep 22, 2006
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              [In reponse to Bill Foley]:
              I never suggested that GoTh dated to the synoptics only the "Jesus said's*"/ Kernel*.
              My suggestion is that the "Kernel" arrived in Egypt at the turn of the century in a more pristine condition as "oral tradition" than is represented in the earlier written textual synoptics.
              Arguing against the antiquity of the Kernel would be a hard "row to hoe", as recent scholarship dates it to at least the time of the synoptics and possibly before.
              There are several "packages" in GoTh but the Kernel stands alone.
              If we are not on the same topic , my mistake. Are you proposing, Clements wrote the Gospel of Thomas or he recorded it?
              *J. Kilmon
              *A. Deconick
              Dave Renfro
            • Judy Redman
              I received my copy of April DeConick s The Original Gospel of Thomas in Translation in yesterday s mail. Obviously, I haven t had a chance to read it from
              Message 6 of 6 , Oct 5, 2006
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                I received my copy of April DeConick's "The Original Gospel of Thomas in
                Translation" in yesterday's mail. Obviously, I haven't had a chance to read
                it from cover to cover, but I am certainly impressed by what I have seen so
                far.

                It has a 25 page introduction that gives an overview of the various theories
                about its origin and the process by which it developed to its current state,
                including, of course, her theory about the Kernel and accretions. This is
                followed by a copy of her English translation of the Kernel, divided into
                five speeches (which tells the reader what she considers to be parts a, b
                and c of various sayings that she divides in this way) and then a copy of
                the translation of the whole, with Kernel sections in regular type and
                accretions in italic. This all takes up the first 42 pages of the book.

                The main part of the book is a saying by saying commentary which begins with
                her English translation followed by the P.Oxy Greek where it exists, then
                the NHC Coptic text. The English translation takes into account both the
                Greek and Coptic versions where there is a Greek version, and she translates
                both the Coptic and the Greek into English as well as providing a
                translation that harmonises both.

                This is followed by a note on her attribution of the saying (ie whether it
                is kernel or accretion), then sections on:
                - text and translation issues
                - interpretative comment
                - source discussion (looking at dependence/independence issues)
                - literature parallels (canonical texts, agreements in Syrian Gospels,
                Western Text, Diatessaron, other Nag Hammadi documents, Manichaen documents
                etc, etc)
                - selected bibliography.

                This is followed by an appendix on Verbal similarities between Thomas and
                the Synoptics in which the texts are placed side by side; a comprehensive
                bibliography (even if it is headed "Select Bibliography" - it's 22 pages
                long!) and the usual indices.

                A quick look at the way she has treated the passages that I've done
                significant work on suggests that I am certainly going to find it a hugely
                useful book for my research, although I suspect that if I wasn't working to
                a reasonably tight submission deadline, I might have given serious thought
                to waiting until the paperback version is released, supposedly in 2007,
                given that the unfavourable exchange rate on the Australian dollar means it
                has cost me well over $200.

                Judy

                --
                "One can easily understand a child who is afraid of the dark. The real
                tragedy of life is when grown men and women are afraid of the light." -
                Plato

                Rev Judy Redman
                Uniting Church Chaplain
                University of New England
                Armidale 2351
                ph: +61 2 6773 3739
                fax: +61 2 6773 3749
                web: http://www.une.edu.au/campus/chaplaincy/uniting/
                email: jredman@...
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