Re: earliest Thomas reference ?
- 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
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,
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 ??????