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Re: earliest Thomas reference ?

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  • jmgcormier
    Andrew … you write: In the light of Perrin s claim that the Gospel of Thomas is based on the Diatessaron (composed 172 or slightly later). I have been
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 15, 2007
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      Andrew … you write:

      "In the light of Perrin's claim that the Gospel of Thomas is based on
      the Diatessaron (composed 172 or slightly later). I have been trying
      to find our earliest references to Thomas. What may be our earliest
      evidence is referred to in Origen's' Contra Celsum' book 8."

      (A very interesting quote follows, as does an added reference from
      Andrew
      Bernhard.)

      Your "ancestral dependency" approach to discovering Thomas is very
      interesting, but I have to wonder how one gets around the possible
      mixed bloodline of a text (such as that of Thomas) or parts of it
      which may have been "begged, borrowed or plagiarized" from a
      secondary source and freely used in it. (This, of course, not being
      different from the 4 evangilists). For example, there are scores of
      Rabbinical Sayings, literary peculiarities and even fantasy verses
      used in the NT and Thomas which are not necessarily of Jesus or of
      the attributed author's own pen.

      Notwithstanding all of the "all those who have ears etc etc", note,
      for example,

      Thomas 17 (and say) 1 Corinthians 2:9 "… what no hand has touched
      and what has never occurred to the human mind."

      Thomas 102 (as also used in Matt 23:13 and Luke 11:52) likely
      originated with the Greek fable writer Aesop (mid 6th century BC) …
      as well as (ditto) Thomas #109 / Luke 4:23 ("Physician heal
      thyself" – taken from Aesop's the Quack Frog), and Matt. 7:15 ("The
      wolf in sheep's clothing") etc.

      In fact, the saying "know thyself" (Thomas #3 / # 67) falls in this
      same category of maxims as it is clearly inspired from the Oracle at
      Delphi ... again long before Jesus was even born.

      So, in using such a research method, where do we draw the line on
      text dependency ???? A better case in point (although not used in
      Thomas) … is the Gospel of John. If pushed to extreme, how do we
      come to conclude that it was written c. 100 C.E. when its opening
      lines (Jn 1, 1- etc) are actually taken from the Vedas, a Hindu text
      usually dated at appx 1500 BCE ???? (Vagvisarga TMB,XX,14,2) … "In
      the beginning was Brahman, with whom was Vak or the word … and the
      word is Brahman …"

      Suspecting that you are perhaps more so interested in the references
      to the Gospel of Thomas mentioned in early text (as opposed to
      actual or near quotes found in such texts) I might contribute (if
      useful) that Clement of Alexandria (150 – 211 C.E.) produced a now
      lost book called Hypotyposis which seemingly contained "secret
      teachings" (wow!) taught by Jesus to some of his apostles following
      his resurrection. The details of the secret teachings referred to by
      him in his Hypotyposes, however, are not currently known to us
      (Andrew Bernhard might clarify the detail of this), but depending on
      how young Clement was when he wrote his Hypotyposis, his quotes
      could in fact pre-date Origen's Contra Celsum as your candidate
      for "earliest sourcer" re Thomas … i.e. pre 172 CE

      By the way, in which of his books does Perrin draw his thesis about
      the Diatessaron ??????

      Cheers !

      Maurice Cormier
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