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Re: [GTh] Thomas and Tatian revisited, Part III

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  • Exolinguist
    ... It takes a lot of time. The book is very dense, full of footnotes, and the Syriac writing is hard on these old eyes. ... Yes, I think you are right. I ve
    Message 1 of 4 , Oct 1, 2008
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      Judy wrote:

      >
      > Thanks for this Don. I really must read this book, but I just don't have
      > time right at the moment.
      >

      It takes a lot of time. The book is very dense, full of footnotes, and the Syriac writing is hard on these old eyes.

      > From what you are saying, though, it appears that Perrin's analysis suffers
      > from the same problem as the analyses of many Christian scholars of Thomas -
      > the desperate need to prove that Thomas is dependent on at least one of the
      > synoptic gospels. For Christians, the possibility that Thomas is early and
      > independent is worrying because it means that two millennia of teaching,
      > doctrine etc might need to be looked at again. If it's late and dependent,
      > then we don't need to worry. The more conservative the Christian, the
      > bigger the problem this presents, I think.
      >

      Yes, I think you are right. I've been following the debate for more than twenty years, and it seems that the positions just get to be more entrenched. After a while you can predict what a given writer is likely to say, because you know what s/he wants to believe.

      > Thus, in Thomas scholarship, you frequently get statements such as the one
      > you quoted:
      >
      > > "It should be
      > > noted, however, that at some points Thomas does indeed follow
      > > the order of the canonical and Diatessaronic tradition."
      >
      > when what should be being said is that the order is the same. This doesn't
      > necessarily mean that one follows the other, of course - they may simply
      > have both accessed the same common source in which the segments appeared in
      > that order. As you point out, the fact that the order is the same does not,
      > of itself, prove which follows which if one does, indeed, follow the other.
      >
      > However, if you approach the text with a conscious or subconscious agenda of
      > finding proof for dependence, that colours how you understand what you find.
      > It seems that Perrin's analysis suffers from this.
      >

      Yes, it seems so.

      > As I said, I really must read the book. :-)
      >

      I wish I could recommend it, but I really can't. It brings nothing new to the table so far as I can see, except an unusual amount of chutzpah. As I said in the first of these posts, it's not a book to be ignored, or one to be read uncritically.

      --Don
    • Judy Redman
      Hi Don, ... Since I am doing a PhD on the parables of the Reign/Kingdom of God in the Gospel of Thomas and their parallels (where they exist) in the synoptics,
      Message 2 of 4 , Oct 2, 2008
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        Hi Don,

        >
        > > As I said, I really must read the book. :-)
        > >
        >
        > I wish I could recommend it, but I really can't. It brings
        > nothing new to the table so far as I can see, except an
        > unusual amount of chutzpah. As I said in the first of these
        > posts, it's not a book to be ignored, or one to be read uncritically.

        Since I am doing a PhD on the parables of the Reign/Kingdom of God in the
        Gospel of Thomas and their parallels (where they exist) in the synoptics, I
        can't afford to ignore the book, because I need to have a position on what I
        think Thomas is (ie early/late, dependent/independent) that at least shows
        that I've considered recent writing. It has been sitting on my bookshelf
        for a number of months, but you are not the first person who has been less
        than warmly enthusiastic about it. I believe he develops this work further
        in "Thomas: The Other Gospel" on which you can find a fairly extensive
        treatment on April DeConick's blog, starting at
        http://forbiddengospels.blogspot.com/2007/05/cautionary-note-1-nick-perrin-t
        homas.html and linking to Mike Bird's Euangelion blog, where Perrin makes
        some comments on April's comments. There is some later comment on Perrin's
        thesis about the Aramaic substratum for Thomas at
        http://forbiddengospels.blogspot.com/2008/06/is-there-evidence-for-aramaic.h
        tml

        Regards

        Judy
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