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Re: [GTh] Saying 12

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  • jmgcormier
    ... Frank: ... a lot of good excavation work in your note, but I am left wondering somewhat if we don t yet have a few basic Sitz im Lieben issues to resolve
    Message 1 of 21 , Jul 19, 2007
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      --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, FMMCCOY@... wrote:
      >
      > INTRODUCTION
      >
      > Let us look at Thomas 12: etc, etc ....



      Frank:

      ... a lot of good excavation work in your note, but I am left
      wondering somewhat if we don't yet have a few basic Sitz im Lieben
      issues to resolve before we can even try to legitimize Logion 12 as
      Thomasene /Jacobian.

      For example, while the James "the righteous" (or James the Just)
      referred to in this logion is widely believed to have been James the
      brother of Jesus (Matt: 13:55) and the one who eventually became
      head of the Church in Jerusalem, its main difficulty is that Jesus'
      brother "James" only came to be head of the Jerusalem Church (and
      eventually referred to as "the just" or "the righteous" by anyone
      including Jesus himself as per Acts 1:14) long after His (Jesus')
      death. We know from the wording of "the disciples'" question in the
      logion, however, that the time frame in which the question is being
      asked and answered is necessarily one when Jesus is still alive (or
      at least prior to His resurrection / ascension) because in the
      logion, Jesus has not yet "departed" according to the words which
      the disciples use ... (We know that you WILL - future - DEPART from
      us.) How could Jesus, then, be possibly referring to his brother
      James as "the Just" or as "the righteous" while He (Jesus) is alive
      under such circumstances and under such New Testament references?

      To add emphasis, if we are to believe John 7:5 and Mark 3:21, during
      Jesus' ministry, "His brothers (including James no doubt) did not
      even believe in Him (Jesus) or in His (Jesus') ministry" while He
      (Jesus)was alive ! It sounds to me, then that the title James "the
      Just" or "the Righteous" would be (time-wise, at least) logically
      nonsensical as a title bestowed upon "brother James" by Jesus during
      His lifetime as he seems to be doing in logion 12.

      My own bias, based on this evidence, is that we can only conclude
      that logion 12 has to be some sort of fantasy, fabrication or
      possible add-on (by a poorly informed or late blooming "wanna-be"
      interpretor / author ... at least to the extent that Jesus would
      have actually uttered it). Remember that with much less of an
      argument at hand, some have argued that logion 114 is a
      similar "later add-on" to Thomas by someone wanting to also skew its
      meaning in a given (biased?) direction ... "noblesse oblige" ...

      I am not sure if my point throws a wrench in your Thomasene /
      Jacobian theory (which is not my intention), but I would submit that
      there may be a lot more to Thomas than meets the proverbial eye if
      we dont stand back periodically and look at it from a non
      traditional perspective.

      - Maurice
    • Jordan Stratford
      ... Maurice - I m a little gobsmacked at this. I can t imagine any credible scholar suggesting that Thomas is or was ever intended to be a literal accounting
      Message 2 of 21 , Jul 19, 2007
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        >
        > My own bias, based on this evidence, is that we can only conclude
        > that logion 12 has to be some sort of fantasy, fabrication or
        > possible add-on (by a poorly informed or late blooming "wanna-be"
        > interpretor / author ... at least to the extent that Jesus would
        > have actually uttered it).

        Maurice -

        I'm a little gobsmacked at this. I can't imagine any credible
        scholar suggesting that Thomas is or was ever intended to be a
        literal accounting of the sayings of Jesus. Of COURSE it's not going
        to make literal sense... any more than Acts could be taken as
        reliable history.

        Perhaps "fantasy, fabrication" can be attributed to any parable or
        teaching, but it's apparent that there's a huge paradigmatic gap
        between a model wherein communities of late first / early second
        century Christians were speaking figuratively to convey wisdom
        teachings, and some kind of bronze age CNN reporting. It's like
        arguing about the colour of the fox's fur in Aesop.

        Thrown for a loop,

        Jordan
      • jmgcormier
        ... going ... or ... Hello Jordan, and thank you for your thoughts ... The idea I am trying to capsulize about logion 12 is that like logion 114, it appears
        Message 3 of 21 , Jul 19, 2007
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          --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, Jordan Stratford <jordan@...> wrote:



          > Maurice -
          >
          > I'm a little gobsmacked at this. I can't imagine any credible
          > scholar suggesting that Thomas is or was ever intended to be a
          > literal accounting of the sayings of Jesus. Of COURSE it's not
          going
          > to make literal sense... any more than Acts could be taken as
          > reliable history.
          >
          > Perhaps "fantasy, fabrication" can be attributed to any parable
          or
          > teaching, but it's apparent that there's a huge paradigmatic gap
          > between a model wherein communities of late first / early second
          > century Christians were speaking figuratively to convey wisdom
          > teachings, and some kind of bronze age CNN reporting. It's like
          > arguing about the colour of the fox's fur in Aesop.
          >
          > Thrown for a loop,
          >
          > Jordan
          >



          Hello Jordan, and thank you for your thoughts ...


          The idea I am trying to capsulize about logion 12 is that like
          logion 114, it appears disappointingly foreign to the apparent
          thrust of the Thomasene message and genre given the "literary situ"
          in which it exists ... in fact this is a pet subject of mine within
          the context of Thomas, and I was somewhat disappointed that no
          members of the list were forthcoming to my enquiry of July 2nd in
          search of examples or research done on what you might call "literal
          accounting" in Thomas when I was trolling for "verbatim logia"
          existent in it which may have close or exact commonality with New
          Testament sources. (this has nothing to do with the truth value of
          logia and sayings per se) No one responded, of course, which may
          prove your point ... but then, can one only be a "scholar" if one
          has norms within which he or she limits or embraces his or her
          beliefs or within which one therein finds motivation for his or her
          actions?

          Behold the thoughts of both a great scholar and a great believer on
          the subject ... enjoy!

          "Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not
          believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many.
          Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in
          your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the
          authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions
          because they have been handed down for many generations. But after
          observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with
          reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then
          accept it and live up to it." - The Buddha
        • Frank McCoy
          Maurice: Regarding Thomas 12, you state: For example, while the James the righteous (or James the Just) referred to in this logion is widely believed to have
          Message 4 of 21 , Jul 20, 2007
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            Maurice:

            Regarding Thomas 12, you state:
            For example, while the James "the righteous" (or James the Just)
            referred to in this logion is widely believed to have been James the
            brother of Jesus (Matt: 13:55) and the one who eventually became
            head of the Church in Jerusalem, its main difficulty is that Jesus'
            brother "James" only came to be head of the Jerusalem Church (and
            eventually referred to as "the just" or "the righteous" by anyone
            including Jesus himself as per Acts 1:14) long after His (Jesus')
            death.

            What evidence do you have that James didn't became the leader of Jesus
            Assembly in Jerusalem until long after the death of Jesus?

            You continue:
            We know from the wording of "the disciples'" question in the
            logion, however, that the time frame in which the question is being
            asked and answered is necessarily one when Jesus is still alive (or
            at least prior to His resurrection / ascension) because in the
            logion, Jesus has not yet "departed" according to the words which
            the disciples use ... (We know that you WILL - future - DEPART from
            us.) How could Jesus, then, be possibly referring to his brother
            James as "the Just" or as "the righteous" while He (Jesus) is alive
            under such circumstances and under such New Testament references?

            I agree with you that, in Thomas 12, the extravagant phraseology Jesus
            uses regarding James is almost certainly fictional. Still, there might
            be a kernel of historical reality to Thomas 12, so I wouldn't dismiss it
            out of hand on this basis.

            You continue:
            To add emphasis, if we are to believe John 7:5 and Mark 3:21, during
            Jesus' ministry, "His brothers (including James no doubt) did not
            even believe in Him (Jesus) or in His (Jesus') ministry" while He
            (Jesus)was alive !

            Maurice, your concerns here are addressed by James D. Tabor in the Jesus
            Dynasty (p 165), "It seems that the one thing people think they know
            about the brothers of Jesus is that they did not believe in him. This
            spurious opinion is based on a *single* phrase in John 7:5 that many
            scholars consider to be a late interpolation. Modern translations even
            put it in parentheses. Once we realize that the brothers are a part of
            the Twelve, and that James is the 'beloved disciple,' then many things
            begin to make new sense. There are two passages in Mark that some have
            taken as downplaying the importance of Jesus' family, but they have been
            misread based on the false assumption that the brothers did not believe
            in Jesus. It is amazing what firm opinions have been built upon such
            shaky foundations."

            I would make these qualifications to what he states:
            1. I think that he presents inadequate evidence to validate his
            hypothesis that the brothers are a part of the Twelve. Above all, he
            fails to adequately explain why Luke differentiates the Twelve (or, to
            be more proper, the remaining Eleven after the defection of Judas) from
            the brothers of Jesus in Acts 1:13-14
            2. I think that John 6:1-7:14 and John 21 are late inserts into an
            original version of John, so I do not deem John 7:5 to be an
            interpolation. Rather, I deem it to be a part of a massive late
            addition to John consisting of 6:1-7:14 and Chapter 21.
            3. I only partially agree with Tabor regarding his hypothesis that James
            is the Beloved Disciple of John. I do think that James is the Beloved
            Disciple in the original John. However, in the above late inserts, the
            Beloved Disciple is the pillar named John.

            These qualifications do not mar the basic thrust of his argument--which
            is that John 7:5 is unlikely to be correct because it is a late addition
            to the original John and, once this is realized, then Mark 3:21 can be
            viewed in new light.

            Maurice, if (as both he and I think) James is the Beloved Disciple of
            John 13:23, then James was not only present at the Last Supper, but had
            the place of honor next to Jesus. This is a clear indication that Jesus
            intended James, rather than Peter, to be his successor as the head of
            his movement. In this case, then, there almost certainly is a hard core
            of historical reality to Thomas 12, even though the extravagant wording
            in it almost certainly is fictional.

            What follows is a presentation of the hypothesis that James was the
            original Beloved Disciple.

            JAMES--THE ORIGINAL BELOVED DISCIPLE

            A Introduction

            In the Gospel of John, there is a mysterious figure cryptically referred
            to as the disciple whom Jesus loved. In scholarly literature, this
            person is called the Beloved Disciple.

            Traditionally, the Beloved Disciple has been taken to be John the son of
            Zebedee--one of the Twelve.

            However, as we shall see, it appears that the original Beloved Disciple
            was James, the brother of Jesus. Then, a later editor did a switcheroo
            to falsely make it appear that the Beloved Disciple had been named John.
            This switcheroo has been so successful that the strong Christian
            tradition of the Beloved Disciple having been John the son of Zebedee is
            still very popular--even in scholarly circles.

            B. The Five Passages

            Here are the five passages in which the Beloved Disciple is mentioned:
            1. 13:23-26a--in Jerusalem during the Last Supper, "One of his
            disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining on the bosom of Jesus.
            Therefore, Simon Peter nods to this one to ask who it may be about whom
            he (i.e., Jesus) speaks. Having leaned back, then, this one on the
            bosom of Jesus says to him, 'Lord, who is it?' Answers Jesus, 'It is
            the one to whom I will dip the morsel and give to him.'"
            2. 19:25-27--in Jerusalem, during the crucifixion of Jesus, "But there
            had stood before the cross of Jesus his mother and the sister of his
            mother, Mary of Clopos and Mary the Magdalene. Therefore, Jesus, having
            seen the mother and the disciple whom he was loving having stood by,
            says to the mother, 'Woman, behold your son.' Then he says to the
            disciple, 'Behold, your mother.' And from that hour, the disciple took
            her into his own."
            3. 20:1-10--In Jerusalem, during the next Sunday, "Now, on the first day
            of the week, Mary the Magdalene comes to the tomb early, it still being
            dark, and sees the stone having been taken from the tomb. Therefore,
            she runs and comes to Simon Peter and the other disciple, whom Jesus was
            loving, and says to them, 'They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and
            we do not know where they have placed him.' Therefore, Peter and the
            other disciple went forth and they were coming to the tomb. The two
            were running together and the other disciple ran ahead, faster than
            Peter, and came first to the tomb. And, having stooped down, he sees
            the linen cloth lying. However, he did not enter. Simon Peter (was)
            following him and he entered the tomb and he sees the linen cloths lying
            and the face cloth, which was upon his head, was not lying with the
            linen cloths, but apart. Then, therefore, entered the other disciple,
            the one having come first to the tomb, and he saw and believed. For
            they knew not yet the scripture that it was necessary for him to rise up
            from the dead. Then the disciples went away again to their own."
            4. 21:7--at the Sea of Tiberius, an unknown amount of time later,
            "Therefore, says the disciple whom Jesus was loving to Peter, 'It is the
            Lord.'"
            5. 21:20-24--at the Sea of Tiberius, later that day, "Having turned,
            Peter sees following the disciple whom Jesus was loving--who also
            reclined during the supper upon his breast and said, 'Lord, who is the
            one betraying you?' Having seen this one, Peter says to Jesus, 'Lord,
            what about this man?' Jesus says to him, 'If I want him to remain unitl
            I come, what to you? You, follow me.' Therefore, went out this one
            saying to the brethren that the disciple would not die. But Jesus did
            not tell him that he would not die but if I want him to remain unitl I
            come, what to you? This is the disciple, the one testifying about thse
            things and the one having written these things, and we know his
            testimony is true."

            C. Contrasts Between the Beloved Disciple and Peter in Passages 1-3 vs.
            4-5

            When comparing passages 1-3 (i.e., 13:23-26a, 19:25-27 and 20:1-10) vs.
            passages 4-5 (i.e., 21:7 and 21:20-24, we find three major contrasts
            between the Beloved Disciple and Peter:
            1. The Beloved Disciple is physically closer to Jesus than Peter in
            passage 1, but Peter is physically closer to Jesus than the Beloved
            Disciple in passage 5
            2. Peter speaks to the Beloved Disciple in passage 1, but the Beloved
            Disciple speaks to Peter in passage 4
            3. Jesus speaks to the Beloved Disciple in passages 1 and 2, but Jesus
            speaks to Peter in passage 5.

            These contrasts, I suggest, serve the purpose of establishing who is the
            boss and who is the subordinate, with:
            1. The one who is physically closest to Jesus being the boss of the
            other one
            2. The one to whom both Jesus and the other one speak being an
            intermediary between Jesus and the other one and, thus, the boss of the
            other one.

            So, in passages 1-3, the Beloved Disciple is Peter's boss. However, in
            passages 4-5, Peter is the Beloved Disciple's boss.

            D. A Hypothesis

            How can it be that the Beloved Disciple is Peter's superior in passages
            1-3 (i.e., 13:23-26a, 19:25-27 and 20:1-10), but his subordinate in
            passages 4-5 (i.e., 21:7 and 21:20-24?

            A clue comes from Galatians 2:8-9, where Paul states, "And, realizing
            the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John (the ones
            seeming to be pillars), gave the right hand of fellowship to me and
            Barnabas--that we for the Gentiles, but they for the Circumcision."

            The order, here, is hierarchical, so that James (who is the brother of
            Jesus) is the superior of Cephas (i.e., Peter), while Peter, in turn, is
            the superior of John.

            In light of this, I propose the hypothesis:
            In John, the Beloved Disciple is always one of the three pillars.
            However: (1) in passages 1-3, he is the pillar named James, i.e., James
            the brother of Jesus, and (2) in passages 4-5, he is the pillar named
            John.

            This explains why the Beloved Disciple is the superior of Peter in
            passages 1-3. This is because James, the brother of Jesus, as the chief
            pillar, had been Peter's superior.

            This also explains why the Beloved Disciple is the subordinate of Peter
            in passages 4-5. This is because John, as the least of the pillars, had
            been Peter's subordinate.

            In addition, this explains why, in passage 2 (i.e., 19:25-27), Jesus
            tells his mother that the Beloved Disciple is her son and tells the
            Beloved Disciple that his own mother is also his mother. This entails
            that the Beloved Disciple is a brother of Jesus. Indeed, according to
            this hypothesis, in passage 2, the Beloved Disciple is the brother of
            Jesus named James.

            Finally, this explains why, in passage 5 (i.e., 21:20-24), it is
            declared that the Beloved Disciple has written these things. Since what
            has been written is the Gospel of John, this presumably means that the
            Beloved Disciple had been named John. Indeed, according to this
            hypothesis, in passage 5, the Beloved Disciple is named John.

            E. Rewriting History

            The way that Chapter 21 was written effectively masks the situation of
            passages 1-3 (i.e., 13:23-26a, 19:25-27 and 20:1-10) referring to a
            Beloved Disciple who is James the brther of Jesus and makes it appear
            that they, like passages 4-5 (the two passages within Chapter 21), refer
            to a Beloved Disciple who is named John.

            This chapter thusly begins in 21:1-3a, "After these things, Jesus
            manifested himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. Now,
            he was manifested thus. There were together Simon Peter and Thomas, the
            one being called Didymus, and Nathanael, the one from Cana of Galilee,
            and the sons of Zebedee and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter
            says to them, 'I am going to fish.' They say to him, 'We are coming
            with you.'"

            Here, there are two indicators that Peter is the chief disciple: (1) he
            is the first disciple to be named and (2) the other disciples follow him
            when he decides to go fishing.

            There is a strong entsion between these two indications that Peter is
            the chief disciple and passages 1-3--where there are several indications
            that Peter is subordinate to the Beloved Disciple. Evan in passage 3
            (20:1-10) there is an indication that Peter is subordinate to the
            Beloved Disciple, i.e., it is *twice* explicitly stated that the Beloved
            Disciple beat Peter to the tomb.

            This tension becomes unbearable in 21:7 (i.e., passage 4): where, we
            learn, one of the other disciples in 21:1-3a is the Beloved Disciple.

            So, now the reader of John faces a dilemma. After having read passages
            1-3, where the indications are that Peter had been subordinate to the
            Beloved Disciple, (s)he now finds some indications that the Beloved
            Disciple had been a subordinate of Peter.

            Thus, the reader now faces the question: Which indicators are correct,
            and which are incorrect red herrings?

            What appears to be the answer is found in 21:15-17--where the risen
            Jesus tells Peter in three different ways to feed his sheep.

            This can only mean that Peter had been chosen by Jesus himself to be his
            earthly successor as the shepherd of the holy flock and that, therefore,
            the Beloved Disciple had been his subordinate.

            So, the reader is led to conclude, the indications, in passages 1-3, of
            Peter being a subordinate of the Beloved Disciple must be incorrect red
            herrings.

            Then, to nail things down, it is explicitly declared in passage 5 (i.e.,
            21:20-24) that the Beloved Disciple of this passage is also the Beloved
            Disciple of passage 1 (i.e., 13:23-26a). As a result, the reader is
            forestalled from divining the true situation--which is that the Beloved
            Disciple of passages 1-3 is not the Beloved Disciple of passages 4-5.

            Thus, Chapter 21 is a rewriting of history. It falsely portrays Peter
            as having succeeded Jesus as the head of his movement, when the reality
            is that James succeeded Jesus as the head of his movement. Further, it
            transforms the Beloved Disciple from being James to being the pillar
            named John.

            In effect, Chapter 21 is so written that James is effectively erased
            from history, thereby making Peter, rather than (as was actually the
            case) James, the first shepherd of the holy flock of Jesus and making
            John the Beloved Disciple rather than (as was actually the case) James.
            As a result, Chapter 21 was an important step in the formulation of the
            orthodox position that Peter had been the successor of Jesus as the head
            of his movement and the crucial step in the development of the very
            strong Christian tradition that the Beloved Disciple had been John the
            son of Zebedee.

            Adding insult to injury, it appears that the person who wrote Chapter 21
            also wrote John 6:1-7:14--where (in 7:3-10) the brothers of Jesus are
            pictured as being unbelievers.

            6:1-7:14 is an intrusion that interrupts the narrative flow. So, in
            John (p.10), Rudolph Butmann states, "For example Jn. 6.1 reports a
            journey of Jesus to the other bank of Lake Gennesaret, although chapter
            5 is set in Jerualem. 7:15-24 harks back directly to the Sabbath
            healing that lies far off in chapter 5."

            Bultmann suggests that the intrusive nature of 6:1-7:14 is due to a
            change in the original order of the text, perhaps caused by an
            interchanging of leaves.

            However, there is no readily apparent place elsewhere in John to place
            it.

            So, it appears more likely that, like Chapter 21, it is an addition to
            John by a later editor.

            By thusly portraying the brothers of Jesus as not believing in Jesus
            before the first mention of the Beloved Disciple, this later editor gave
            the biggest red herring of all, misleading the reader into thinking
            that, whoever the Beloved Disciple might be, he surely cannot be one of
            the brothers of Jesus.

            That both Luke and a later editor of John effectively erased James from
            the history of the Jesus movement and portray Peter as having been the
            legitimate successor to Jesus as the head of his movement has led almost
            all Christians to believe that Peter had been the legitimate successor
            to Jesus as the head of his movement. This is understandable,
            especially considering that, in the New Testament, John immediately
            precedes Acts. As a result, Chapter 21 of John (where Jesus appoints
            Peter to be shepherd of the flock) immediately precedes Chapter 1 of
            Acts, where Luke portrays Peter as leading the followers of Jesus right
            after the death of Jesus.

            Frank McCoy
            2036 E. Magnolia Ave.
            St. Paul, MN 55119







            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • jmgcormier
            ... etc, etc, etc ... Hello Frank ... Thank you for your follow-up on logion 12. Your material is always deep rooted and challenging. Regarding your James the
            Message 5 of 21 , Jul 20, 2007
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              --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Frank McCoy" <FMMCCOY@...> wrote:

              etc, etc, etc ...



              Hello Frank ...

              Thank you for your follow-up on logion 12. Your material is always
              deep rooted and challenging.

              Regarding your James "the Just" question, you will have to give me a
              bit of time to tidy up my notes on this subject as I cannot find it
              just now and I am but slowly recovering from recent surgery.

              As I recall, however, notwithstanding the date part, the argument
              had been made based on the writings of Esubius who had produced
              reference notes from James of Hegesippus who was arguing that James
              was not only called "the Just" because of his handling of Church
              issues, but because he was of clean living character since
              birth .... but then, let me try to find the actual reference for you
              if I can ... note that Acts 1, 14 nonetheless gives us a post Jesus
              death timeframe which we cannot ignore.

              On your "kernel of historical reality" point about Thomas 12 ...
              indeed, one has to keep an open mind. In fact, over time, I have
              often argued myself that because James the Just is rumored to have
              died "shortly after the death of Festus" (around 62 C.E.) by
              Josephus/Hegesippus, then unless Jesus (in logion 12) was suggesting
              to his disciples that they seek the guidance of a "late" James the
              Just ... logion 12 would have had to be written and recorded before
              that date .... (so much for the late daters of Thomas perhaps).

              On your "shaky foundations" point, yup ! ... agreed ... indeed, you
              may wish to re-read my Buddha reference to Jordan dated yesterday.
              It is one of my favorites on this sort of "just hold your nose and
              swallow" sort of thing ...

              Finally, on the issue of the Beloved Disciple, let me raise an
              interesting point or two with you "off-line" when I find a moment as
              it is a bit off-topic to the current discussion ....

              Cheers, Maurice
            • FMMCCOY@msn.com
              Regarding Saying 12 on James, Ron McCann writes, Frank, I was using the logion to show, or at least argue, that the Thomasines were aware and knew or knew
              Message 6 of 21 , Aug 13 11:32 AM
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                Regarding Saying 12 on James, Ron McCann writes, "Frank, I was using the
                logion to show, or at least argue, that the Thomasines were aware and
                knew or knew that James had the reputation of being a strict
                Torah-Observing Jew. It was known even to them. This, in the context of
                the argument as to the EARLIEST authorities we have being of one mind on
                that.
                The PURPOSE of the Thomasines for either penning or including this
                logion in their Gospel is a different issue. That addresses the question
                of what they were using this logion FOR. The question might be better
                framed as "Why on earth would they frame and/or include a logion
                apparently tying, linking or submitting themselves to a strict
                Torah-Observant figure, if they themselves were not only not
                Torah-Observant but evidence scorn and derision, if not contempt for
                those things that the Torah-Observant- the Jews, and (arguably) James,
                held most dear, central to their faith, important and precious?" Well,
                clearly, they cannot be using this logion as holding up James as an
                Stirling exemplar to be followed and emulated in his strict Torah
                Observance by all Thomasines. So what are they using it FOR?"

                Ron, you are assuming that, in Saying 12, Jame's title of "the
                Righteous/Just" means that he was Torah observant.

                But is this assumption correct? I suggest that it is not correct.

                In his work, James the Brother of Jesus, Robert Eisenman has several
                discussions on this title.

                He thinks that this title goes back to a Hebrew original, stating
                (pp.14-15), "The mention of Zadok and Yehozedek is important, because
                the root onwhich this noun cluster is based, the three Hebrew letters
                Z-D-K, bears the meaning of 'Righteousness'. This is not only the basis
                for James' cognomen, 'the Righteous' or 'Just One', according to all
                early Church sources, but it is connected to the name of one of the
                sects in Jesus' time, which transliterates into Greek, Sadducee or
                Zadduki/Zaddoki."

                The Greek word for "righteous/just" is dikaios. I don't know Coptic,
                but, eyeballing the underlying Coptic word in Saying 12, it appears to
                be related to this Greek word. Perhaps it is a loan word from the
                Greek?

                As for Saying 12, Eisenman relates it to a passage from the Zohar,
                stating (p. 136), "In this passage from the Zohar, the pre-existence or
                supernatural nature of 'the Zaddik' is stressed, an idea encountered as
                well in the Prologue of the Gospel of John in terms of 'Logos' and
                'Light' imagery, in the description there of Jesus' enterance into the
                world. But there is another allusion in the recently rediscovered Nag
                Hammadi Gospel of Thomas--'the Twin' or 'Judas Thomas'--the putative
                third brother of Jesus after James and Simon. This bears on the ideal
                of this pre-existent Righteous One of Heavenly Zaddik--in more mundane
                terms, James in his role as Perfect Righteous One. In turn this also
                bears on the appointment of James as Leader of the Jerusalem Church and
                therefore of all Christianity everywhere as successor to Jesus."

                He also states (Ibid.), "Aside from being a tradition incorporating the
                long-lost direct appointment of James by Jesus as Leader of the early
                Church, it (i.e., Thomas 12) also bears on the idea of 'the Zaddik'.
                Yet it is a thousand years earlier than the above description in the
                Zohar, which was purportedly written in Spain in the 1200s-1300s."

                Because of the lateness of the Zohar, I am extremely skeptical that it
                can shed any light on Saying 12 and on James' title of "the
                Righteous/Just".

                In any event, later in James the Brother of Jesus (pp. 236-238),
                Eisenman takes another approach to James' title of "the
                Righteeous/Just".

                He begins by stating, "In his famous description of essens in the War,
                as well as that of John the Baptist in the Antiquities, Josephus makes
                it very clear what was implied by this dichotomy (of piety and
                righteousness). Righteousness is 'Righteousness towards men', that is,
                the sum total of one's social obligations in this world towards one's
                fellow man. This is very often summed up in a single commandment, known
                from the Ten Commandments and often presented as the essence of Jesus'
                teaching in Scripture, 'love your neighbor as yourself'. This,
                therefore can be termed the Righteousness Commandment."

                Then, he begins to associate this concept of righteousness with James,
                thusly continuing, "As will also become clear form its use at Qumran and
                in the New Testament, this included an economic dimension as well. One
                could not love one's neighbor as oneself if one made economic
                distinctions between oneself and one's neighbor or, to put it simply, if
                one were Richer than one's neighbor--therefore not only the extreme
                antagonism towards 'the Rich', but the pivotal emphasis on 'the Poor' in
                all traditions associated with James--not to mention Jesus--as well as
                those associated with the Righteous Teacher in all the texts at Qumran.
                This, of course, moves into 'the Poor' or 'Ebionite' terminology and its
                variations."

                Finally, shortly thereafter, he explicitly associates this concept of
                righteousness with James' title, stating, "This 'Righteousness', and the
                ideology associated with it, is not only the basis of the cognomen to
                this effect always attached to his name, it would appear to be a basic
                element of all traditions associated with James, even more than for his
                reputed brother Jesus....This 'Righteousness' ideology is also the basic
                one where 'the Teacher of Righteousness'--the central character in the
                Qumran documents--is concerned. If James is not identical with him,
                then he is certainly a parallel character or one of a long series of
                individuals bearing this title, because James certainly taught a
                doctrine of Righteousness. This doctrine epitomized--as both the Letter
                attached to James' name and parallel portions of the Damascus Document
                attest--by the Commandment to 'love your neighbour as yourself'. It is
                epitomized, too, in the notion of 'the Poor', one of the principal forms
                of self-designation at Qumran, and the name either of James' group per
                se in Jerusalem or the groups in early Church accounts after this, which
                took him as its progenitor."

                Ron, I think that Eisenman hits the nail on the head here. James had
                the title of "the Righteous/Just" not because of any alleged obedience
                to the Law of Moses but, rather, out of his zeal for being righteous to
                men, preaching and doing the love of others.

                There are two reasons why, I think, this is not widely accepted.

                First, Paul's concept that one is justified and made righteous by faith
                rather than by works of the Law of Moses fosters the misconception that,
                for all Jews at the time, righteousness meant obedience to the Law of
                Moses.

                Second, many are unaware of just how wide-spread in first century CE
                Jewish circles was the notion that there were the two cardinal virues of
                piety to God and righteousness to men--and with righteousness to men
                taken to mean love of other men.

                As Eisenman points out above, this notion appears in Josephus and in the
                DSS. Further, in one of the two times this notion appears in Josephus,
                he claims that John the Baptist preached obedience to both of these two
                cardinal virtues.

                It even appears in Philonic thought. Thus, in On Abraham (208), Philo
                states, "For the nature which is pious is also kindly, and the same
                person will exhibit both qualities, holiness to God and justice to men."
                Again, in the Decalogue, 108-110), he writes, "Now we have known some
                who associate themselves with one of the two sides (of piety to God and
                justice to men) and are seen to neglect the other. They have drunk the
                unmixed wine of pious aspirations and turning their backs upon all other
                concerns devoted their person life wholly to the service of God. Others
                conceiving the idea that there is no good ouside doing justice to men
                have no heart for anything but companionship with men. In their desire
                for fellowship they supply the good things of life in equal measure to
                all for their use, and deem it their duty to alleviate by any means in
                their power the dreaded hardships. These may justly be called lovers of
                men, the former sort lovers of God."

                On the Philonic notion that those who love other men "deem it their duty
                to alleviate by any means in their power the dreaded hardships", compare
                the Damascus Document (VII), "They shall love each man his brother as
                himself; they shall succour the poor, the needy, and the stranger."

                Ron, now comes the key point: Not only is it the case that James
                appears to have gotten his title of "the Righteous/Just" because of his
                righteousness to men, loving them and doing what he could to alleviate
                the hardships of the poor, but the Thomas group tried to be righteous in
                just the same way. So, there is a negative version of the Golden rule
                in Th 6. Again, it is stated in Th 25, "Love your brother like your
                soul, guard him like the pupil of your eye." Too, see Th 95, where you
                are told to lend money "from whom you will not get it back."

                As a result, Ron, I do not think that the Thomas group ever renounced
                being righteous in the same sense that James was known to be righteous,
                i.e., in the sense of loving other human beings and providing whatever
                assistance that is needed by those who have fallen on hard times. So, I
                think, they had a legitimate claim to being faithful to him as "the
                Righteous/Just", even though they renounced many Jewish practices
                associated with the Law of Moses.

                Frank McCoy
                2036 E. Magnolia Ave.
                St. Paul, MN USA 55119



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              • Ron McCann
                Hello Frank. Thanks for your message of August 13th. You wrote:- Ron, you are assuming that, in saying 12, James s title of the Righteous/Just means that he
                Message 7 of 21 , Aug 14 4:27 PM
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                  Hello Frank. Thanks for your message of August 13th.

                  You wrote:- "Ron, you are assuming that, in saying 12, James's title of "the Righteous/Just means that he was Torah observant. But if this assumption correct? I suggest it is not correct."
                  You then supply 4 separate quotations/arguments from Robert Eisenman against my view that for "Righteous" in 12 we should be reading it as "Torah-Observant, or "strict Torah- Observant, or perhaps even" FULLY Torah-observant", and for an alternate view that the word "Righteous" in James's name does NOT refer to his (arguable) strict Torah observance, rather it refers exclusively to his pursuit and practice of the cardinal virtue of love for one's fellow man, as exemplified in his "works" to alleviate human suffering in pursuit of the virtue that Eisenman defines as "righteousness to men".
                  You then go into two reasons what Eisenman's view here, is not widely accepted.
                  Then you invoke some material from Philo which appears to support Eisenman's view, and also invoke part of the Damascus document in support.
                  Finally you get to your key point:-
                  "Not only is it the case that James appears to have gotten his title of "The Righteous/Just" because of this RIGHTEOUSNESS TO MEN (caps, mine) (That is- NOT by strict Torah-Observance.) loving them and doing what he could to allegiate the hardships of the poor, but the Thomas group tried TO BE RIGHTEOUS IN THE SAME WAY. (caps mine).

                  You conclude "" ... I do not think that the Thomas group ever renounced being righteous IN THE SAME SENSE that James was known to be "righteous"..{That is_ in pursuing the cardinal virtue of Righteousness towards Men"] ... they had a legitinate claim to being faithful to him [in pursuing the virtue of "Righteousness towards Men"] as the 'Righteous/Just", even though they renounced many practices associated with the Law of Moses."

                  Well, Frank, Eisenman's take on this is one of the worst cases of "hair-splitting" I have ever encountered, and with all due respect to him as a scholar, I think he is just plain wrong here, and completley missed the boat.

                  In the interests of brevity, I do not propose to address his or the other arguments point by point in refutation. Rather I'm just going to cut right through them directly to the heart of this matter. I do appreciate all the careful reasoning and the citations of (arguably) competent authorities on these matters, but I think I can dispose of most, if not all of their argument in another, more economical, way.

                  Frank, "Righteousness Towards Men" is not just some laudible cardinal virtue (How very Greek phisolophyish!) that the Jews, at their option, pursued. Iit is mandated in the TORAH. It is a commandment. It is PART of the Torah itself. It cannot be severed from it. It is every bit as much a part of it as the commandments, statutes, ordinances and regulations of Mosaic Law as "Thous shalt not kill." is.. At least 3/4's of the Ten Commandments address it and are concerned with it. Any Jew who is truly Torah Observant MUST obey it, therefore, and engage in those "humanitarian" and"relief" activities ('works").
                  This is the entire cut and thrust of Chapter 2 of the Letter of James, which you deem authentic. He speficially cites "You shall love your neigbor as yourself." as part of the "Royal Law" (his words). He is pointing out that in disobeying it they are BREACHING THE TORAH, even if, in every other respect, they are obeying it. Full righetousness before God and Man require BOTH.
                  Either Hillel or Gamiel (I forget which) made the same point when, in response to a fellow who demanded he explain the whole of the Torah while he himself stood on one foot, condensed the whole Torah down to two precepts. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all the soul , and with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and your neighbor as yourself." They are both inseparable parts of the Torah. Two legs attached to one body.
                  The same point, that is- that that loving and caring for your fellow man is MANDATED by the Torah, as something you MUST do in addition to loving God (Believing in him, having him as your one and only god, and obeying his commandments, ordinances, and regulations as set down by Moses)- is found underscored in Jesus' teachings in Matthew 22, v 34-40, and Luke 10 v 27- an ancient and hoary Q saying, and I'll quote Matthew's version:-
                  "When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadduces, they gathered together and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. "Teacher, which commandmnet IN THE LAW is the greatest?" . He said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second (commandment) is like it: "You shall love your neigbor as yourself. In these two COMMANDMENTS hang all the Law and the Prophets (The Torah)." True Torah observance required you to do both.

                  So why, on earth, would you seek to limit the aquisition of Righteousness in the eyes of God, and men, to the obedience to just the second of those two commandments?
                  Do we have to get into the story, where a rich man, who pleases Jesus because he has kept all the commandments since his youth, and asks what else he must do to be "saved" (ie: be fully righteous and worthy of salvation in God's eyes) is told that he has missed one, and is directed to go out, sell his possessions and give to the poor?
                  Mandatory conduct
                  In fact, Frank, the Letter of James stands as yet another First Century source (making 5 of them now)) that tells us James himself was strictly Torah-Observant. In Chapter 2, he is telling his fellow Jews in the Diaspora that they are not being FULLY Torah-Observant, and in fact are breaching the law in ignoning them commandment to "Love thy Neigbor",.and he is urging them to FULL observance of the Torah- BOTH legs.. And if he is urging that, of them, then what does that tell us about what he himsefl was practicing? Answer:- Full, strict Torah Observance. He was NOT forgetting that "second" commandment.
                  And I suggest to you that Paul, whom you mention on the point, was correct and that is that the First Century Jews believed that OBEDIENCE TO THE TORAH (What he seemed to call the Mosaic Law- but as we have seen, also included that "second" commandment) conferred righteousness in the eyes of God and men to one who practiced it.
                  I'd like to see you find a Rabbi, even to-day, who would tell you that Obedience to the Torah did NOT confer righteousness is the eyes of God and man.

                  So I say, that James acquired his nick-name, or his honorific, "James the Righteous" by, over the course of his life-time, building up a reputation for strict Torah Obedience. There is simply no warrant to limit his acquisition of the title and reputation for being "righteous" to his performance of only one leg of the Torah- the "second" commandment.

                  I would liked to have addressed some other points you raised, but this is already too long.

                  Ron McCann
                  Saskatoon, Canada


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                • FMMCCOY@msn.com
                  Ron McCann writes, Frank, Righteousness Towards Men is not just some laudible cardinal virtue (How very Greek phisolophyish!) that the Jews, at their
                  Message 8 of 21 , Aug 16 5:14 PM
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                    Ron McCann writes, "Frank, 'Righteousness Towards Men' is not just some
                    laudible cardinal virtue (How very Greek phisolophyish!) that the Jews,
                    at their option, pursued. Iit is mandated in the TORAH. It is a
                    commandment. It is PART of the Torah itself. It cannot be severed from
                    it. It is every bit as much a part of it as the commandments, statutes,
                    ordinances and regulations of Mosaic Law as 'Thous shalt not kill.' is..
                    At least 3/4's of the Ten Commandments address it and are concerned with
                    it. Any Jew who is truly Torah Observant MUST obey it, therefore, and
                    engage in those 'humanitarian' and 'relief' activities ('works').
                    This is the entire cut and thrust of Chapter 2 of the Letter of James,
                    which you deem authentic. He speficially cites 'You shall love your
                    neigbor as yourself. as part of the 'Royal Law' (his words). He is
                    pointing out that in disobeying it they are BREACHING THE TORAH, even
                    if, in every other respect, they are obeying it. Full righetousness
                    before God and Man require BOTH.
                    Either Hillel or Gamiel (I forget which) made the same point when, in
                    response to a fellow who demanded he explain the whole of the Torah
                    while he himself stood on one foot, condensed the whole Torah down to
                    two precepts. 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all the soul , and
                    with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and your neighbor as
                    yourself.' They are both inseparable parts of the Torah. Two legs
                    attached to one body."

                    Ron, James 2:8 reads, "If indeed you perform the Royal Law according to
                    scripture, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself', you do well."

                    According to the way you interpret this passage, the Royal Law is the
                    Law of Moses.

                    However, this is not the only possible way to interpret the Royal Law.

                    For example, according to Luke Timothy Johnson, in "Brother of Jesus,
                    Friend of God (p 134), it is the Law of Love. So, he states, "The law
                    of love from Lev. 19:18b is characterized by basilikos not only because
                    of its 'excellence,' but because it is the 'law of the kingdom' (the use
                    of basileia in 2:5 is decisive for this)...".

                    It appears that our discussions now ends. There are scholars who
                    support your interpretation of the Royal Law as being the Law of Moses,
                    and there are those who do not. I happen to agree with those who think
                    it is a law in its own right. In particular, my opinion is that, in
                    Jacobian thought, the Royal Law, also called the Law of Freedom, is not
                    the Law of Moses but, rather, the Logos as a Law. So, it appears, we'll
                    just have to agree to disagree, since even the scholars can't come to an
                    agreement here. I've enjoyed the discussion, though, and I hope that you
                    have as well.

                    Frank McCoy
                    2036 E. Magnolia Ave.
                    St. Paul, MN USA 55119





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                  • Ron McCann
                    Thank you Frank, And yes, indeed I have enjoyed the fencing . We can agree to disagree as you say. Actually, in this exercise I was just keen on seeing what
                    Message 9 of 21 , Aug 16 8:48 PM
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                      Thank you Frank,

                      And yes, indeed I have enjoyed the "fencing".
                      We can agree to disagree as you say.
                      Actually, in this exercise I was just keen on seeing what sort or evidence and argument your could muster, amass and align that could potentially "take down" those First Century authorities that SEEM to support the premise that James was a Torah-Observant Jew.
                      I had not actually intended to cross swords with you on the issue itself, but found myself compelled to respond to what I perceived to be some obvious holes in your argument, which, in turn, you've given good answer to, in terms of reply/rebuttal. Every time I was about to shout "Touché", you parried the thrust quite effectively.

                      All in all, a very creditable effort - if I can say that without sounding patronizing. Some, surely, will find your arguments compelling. I still have my doubts.

                      I too am feeling somewhat weary, and think that we have pretty much exhausted the matter.

                      In closing, let me just say that if I looked up across the aisle in a courtroom, and saw you appearing as opposing counsel for the other side, I'd certainly know, given your skill at argument, I had no cake-walk ahead of me.
                      As the French say:- "Formidable!".

                      My Thanks,

                      Ron McCann
                      Saskatoon, Canada



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