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Re: [GTh] Hellenist Material in Thomas

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  • Ron McCann
    Thanks, Dave. I see now I wasn t understanding Frank s use of Hellenist . Appreciate the heads-up. Frank, not to deprecate the detailed work you have done
    Message 1 of 31 , Jul 30, 2007
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      Thanks, Dave.
      I see now I wasn't understanding Frank's use of "Hellenist". Appreciate the heads-up.

      Frank, not to deprecate the detailed work you have done here- your posts always get me thinking and they seem meticulously researched and reasoned- but are you not trying to explain-away the presence in Thomas of Neo-Platonist, Platonic and Philonic thoughts and concepts buy giving James a Hellenist pedigree and suggesting that this material arrived in Thomas from the James Hellenistic crowd? Are you not perhaps giving the James the Righteous logion more credibility than it deserves- especially when it is a commonplace that such claims and appeals to authority, provenance and pedigree were an almost universal tool for trying to add status and credibility to ones own writings in those times?
      Would it not be a lot simpler and more economical to just to treat the logion in just that way, and simply posit that an very early "core" Thomas was redacted and brought into it's final, expanded and Greek form in some Hellenized centre such as Alexandria, say about 110 CE? And that some of Philo's and Greek Neo-Platonist "think", and maybe even some Gnostic notions, got added there and then? And further, since Thomas is obviously such an eclectic work, that some of the then-extant Gospels were also THEN raided, adding further Jesus-sayings to those sayings of Jesus that were originally present and found in the more ancient Thomas core?
      I am at least half-convinced that Jack Kilmon and James Tabor have correctly "pegged" the belief-system of the Jesus-Family (Prophecy, Messianism, End of Days etc) and since Thomas is so bereft of these themes that the material in it could not possibly have originated with or be tracked-back to James. I think it's fatal to any Jamesian provenance for Thomas and that the James logion must be considered spurious- at least in as much as it is intended to persuade us that all these sayings are guaranteed by James himself.


      ----- Original Message -----
      From: David Hindley
      To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Sunday, July 29, 2007 9:02 AM
      Subject: RE: [GTh] Hellenist Material in Thomas

      Hi Ron,

      I think the term "Hellenist" as used by Frank has to be distinguished from a term designating persons influenced by "Hellenism" such
      as by language (Greek) or location (Asia Minor, Alexandria, etc).

      Frank's scenario appears similar in many ways to one proposed by Barbara Theiring. She also sees Essene influence, eastern and
      western wings of the Essenes headed by different persons familiar from Christian history, etc.

      However, I would agree with those who think it would have been unlikely that allusions to End-of-Days, Messianic and Apocalyptic
      material could be so effectively edited out. There should be aporias in the materials (awkward transitions in the text that raise
      critical pause - "something is missing here") that should give away editorial seams. While I believe there are a few places where
      aporia can be detected, it is not as wholesale as might be expected had the NT books been produced *within* a reaction vessel filled
      with it. Now, seeing them as productions generated from a reaction vessel filled with ideas that had evolved *from* such an
      environment would be a different matter ...


      Dave Hindley
      Newton Falls, Ohio USA

      -----Original Message-----
      From: sentto-1127921-1372-1185660553-dhindley=compuserve.com@...
      [mailto:sentto-1127921-1372-1185660553-dhindley=compuserve.com@...] On Behalf Of Ron McCann
      Sent: Saturday, July 28, 2007 6:09 PM
      To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [GTh] Hellenist Material in Thomas

      Hi Again Maurice,

      Thanks for your note.
      Jack Kilmon, of this list, has , for many years advocated a scenario similar to what Tabor presents, with perhaps the only
      significant difference being that Jack believes Jesus and the extended Jesus family were well off and prosperous- a view I hold
      If I understand Jack correctly, the Jesus-Family were "Branchers"- those who believed in the prophecy that a "branch would arise out
      of the stump of Jesse" and become the Messiah and King of Israel in the Last Days. For Jack they were members of a small
      "Daniel-Enochan subset" of first century Judaism, used the name "Branchers" to refer to themselves, and were bloodline pretenders
      to the Throne of Israel through their bloodline back to King David. I think Jack and/or Tabor think that the tiny village obtained
      it's name Nazareth because it had become an enclave or refuge of such "Brancher" persons- home base for the Dynasty. Hence "Netzer"-
      "branch"- resulting in our name for it - Nazareth.
      The only problem I have with Tabor/Kilmon on this scenario is that Thomas is utter bereft of the whole Daniel-Enochan End of Days,
      Messianic belief-set and contains no obvious allusions to it. If James is seriously the ultimate source and guarantor of the
      material in it, which claim seems to be made in Thomas, why is all that stuff missing? And what is all that bewildering new stuff
      all about? It doesn't fit with the alleged "Brancher" outlook. I think it's too easy and facile to, as Deconick seems to, dismiss
      the absence of this sort of End-of-Days, Messianic and Apocalyptic material, as having been edited out. If Jack and Tabor are right,
      then Thomas is a crock and we've all been "snowed".
      Perhaps we had yet another "hi-jacker" around, like Paul, but with a different "mystical" take.

      Best Regards,

      Ron McCann
      Saskatoon, Canada

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: jmgcormier
      To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Saturday, July 28, 2007 3:14 PM
      Subject: Re: [GTh] Hellenist Material in Thomas

      --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, Ron McCann <ronmccann1@...> wrote:
      > Hi John, Maurice,
      > According to James Tabor (The Jesus Dynasty) recent
      archaeological evidence seems to confirm there was a small village
      there in Jesus' day.

      Hello Ron ...

      Good read ... but Tabor refers to "a small village" ... while the
      Gospel of Matt refers to "a city" ... and one which "the prophets
      spoke of".

      Seems to me I chased this reference down once and never found a
      prophet who had spoken of "Nazareth" nor one who had even made a
      remote reference to it in the OT.

      Nazoreans, on the other hand were seemingly a sect refered to as
      early as the time of Moses. It has been argued etymologically
      that "netzer" in Hebrew is a likely source for the word, and that it
      is of the same Hebrew root as Nazareth ... wherefrom Matt 2.23 "He
      shall be called a Nazarene." Is it thus why it is translated as "a
      person from Nazareth". Note that "netzer" however, literally
      means "branch" and the Matthean quote seems thus likely to
      mean "from a branch" of Judaism (known as the Nazarene) ... i.e.
      perhaps the Essenes (which, seemingly were known as early as Moses'
      time). Hmmmmm ! ... have translators led us astray with Matt's
      quote ? .... and more importantly, was Jesus an Essene ?

      Cheers ...


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      Gospel of Thomas Homepage: http://home.epix.net/~miser17/Thomas.html
      Interlinear translation: http://www.geocities.com/mwgrondin/x_transl.htm

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    • Ron McCann
      Thanks, Frank. Clearly, I totally misunderstood you and the point you were making in your post, and further confused the references to James the son of
      Message 31 of 31 , Aug 9, 2007
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        Thanks, Frank.

        Clearly, I totally misunderstood you and the point you were making in your post, and further confused the references to James the son of Alphaeus and James the son of Zebedee. Can't keep track of so many durned Jameses! Creeping Alzheimers, no doubt.. (grin). My apologies.

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: FMMCCOY@...
        To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Thursday, August 09, 2007 2:47 PM
        Subject: Re: [GTh] Hellenist Material in Thomas

        Ron McCann writes, "In closing, Frank. Just one more point on the
        Jerusalem Council, the leadership of James and your suggestions that it
        was James sons of Zebbedee, not James the Just that lead it. I remember
        now reading something you posted about that and recall shaking my head
        at the time. How do you square that with the fact that Acts 12 tells us
        that James Zebedee was killed by Herod at about the same time that Peter
        was arrested by him and made his miraculous escape from Prison-
        something that occurs much much earlier and earlier in the account than
        the Jerusalem Council events?"

        Ron, if you re-read what I said, you will realize that what I maintain
        is that, Luke wants us to believe, the James of the Jerusalem Council is
        James *the son of Alphaeus*. Luke nowhere, in either Luke or Acts, ever
        states that Jesus had a brother named James. He names two James in
        Acts--one the son of Zebedee and the other the son of Alphaeus. Since
        the son of Zebedee was dead by the time of this Council, Luke implies
        that the James of this Council is the son of Alphaeus. It is only by
        illegitimate importation of ideas from outside the conceptual universe
        of Luke-Acts that anyone can conclude that the James of this Council
        meeting is a brother of Jesus. In any event, IMO, Luke's account of the
        Council meeting, including the edict, is bogus. IMO, if such an edict
        had ever been issued, Paul would have said something about it because it
        directly impacted on the Gentiles under his jurisdiction.

        Ron, you have an interesting line of argumentation in the rest of your
        post. I will be responding to it, but only after giving it much

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

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