Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Thomas vs Synoptics

Expand Messages
  • rj.godijn
    ... verbatim ... really ... Hi Judy, I realize your post wasn t really about synoptic-thomas relationship, but I really must respond to what you are saying
    Message 1 of 26 , Oct 4, 2008
      --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Judy Redman" <jredman@...> wrote:
      >
      >
      > At the most general
      > level, as was pointed out in the Thomas and Tatian thread, people who
      > assume that Thomas is dependent tend to see as obvious that any
      verbatim
      > bits demonstrate that Thomas follows the synoptics, when all that can
      really
      > be said is that the passages are the same.

      Hi Judy,

      I realize your post wasn't really about synoptic-thomas relationship,
      but I really must respond to what you are saying here.

      Scholars who argue for Thomas' dependence on one or more of the
      Synoptics for some of the parallels between Thomas and the Synoptics do
      not necessarily do this because of a canonical bias, they do this
      because the redactional work of one or more of the evangelists can be
      found in Thomas. Obviously it is not always that easy to determine what
      is redactional and therefore it is often possible to come up with
      alternative solutions. Even Stephen Patterson (who favors an
      independence view) agrees that Markan, Matthean or Lukan redaction can
      be found in Thomas in about 10 places (a proponent of the Farrer
      hypothesis would add many more to this list). This should not be
      brushed away so easily. The question of course remains what explains
      these instances? Patterson would favor late scribal harmonization or
      perhaps secondary orality.

      Finding Thomas to be influenced by one or more of the Synoptics also
      does not mean that one considers every parallel between them as a sign
      that Thomas is secondary. It can very well be the case that some of the
      sayings in Thomas are prior to their synoptic parallel. Given the
      popularity of the Synoptic Gospels in the second century it would not
      be at all surprising that some of their sayings were then added to the
      Thomas collection.

      Having said all this I must agree that some (evangelical or
      conservative) scholars are biased against Thomas and will favor Thomas'
      dependence on the Synoptics. The positive and uncritical manner in
      which they responded to Nicholas Perrin's work nicely illustrates this.
      However, this is to be expected, and should not lead to the counter-
      reaction of assuming independence without good evidence.

      Regards, Richard Godijn
    • Judy Redman
      Hi Richard, ... I realise this. What I wanted to do was raise awareness of the ways in which the perspective from which people approach a text, the questions
      Message 2 of 26 , Oct 4, 2008
        Hi Richard,

        You say:
        >
        > Scholars who argue for Thomas' dependence on one or more of
        > the Synoptics for some of the parallels between Thomas and
        > the Synoptics do not necessarily do this because of a
        > canonical bias, they do this because the redactional work of
        > one or more of the evangelists can be found in Thomas.
        > Obviously it is not always that easy to determine what is
        > redactional and therefore it is often possible to come up
        > with alternative solutions. Even Stephen Patterson (who
        > favors an independence view) agrees that Markan, Matthean or
        > Lukan redaction can be found in Thomas in about 10 places (a
        > proponent of the Farrer hypothesis would add many more to
        > this list). This should not be brushed away so easily. The
        > question of course remains what explains these instances?
        > Patterson would favor late scribal harmonization or perhaps
        > secondary orality.

        I realise this. What I wanted to do was raise awareness of the ways in
        which the perspective from which people approach a text, the questions they
        bring to it, if you like, can influence the way they interpret it. So, if
        you approach Thomas asking "what evidence can I find that Thomas is
        dependent on the synoptic material?" you will potentially reach different
        conclusions to the ones you will reach if you ask "are there any passages in
        Thomas that are similar to and/or the same as those in the synoptics and if
        so, what might that mean?" The answer you give, especially to the first
        question will be further influenced by whether or not you have anything
        invested in the outcome. That is, if you want the answer to be "lots of
        evidence" you are more likely to include tenuous evidence. If you want it
        to be "none at all", then you will discard anything that could reasonably be
        considered tenuous.

        > Finding Thomas to be influenced by one or more of the
        > Synoptics also does not mean that one considers every
        > parallel between them as a sign that Thomas is secondary. It
        > can very well be the case that some of the sayings in Thomas
        > are prior to their synoptic parallel. Given the popularity of
        > the Synoptic Gospels in the second century it would not be at
        > all surprising that some of their sayings were then added to
        > the Thomas collection.

        I think it is possible to go back further than this, though, and say that
        the fact that there are parallels between Thomas and the synoptics does not
        mean that Thomas is necessarily influenced by one or more of the synoptics.
        It may be that the influence went in the other direction, or that they
        shared a common source for that particular passage. Of the material that I
        am studying (ie the parables of the kingdom/reign in Thomas that have
        parallels in the synoptics) only one is close to verbatim - the parable of
        the mustard seed - and it is an anomally. It is the only one in Thomas that
        compares the kingdom/reign to an object rather than to a person.

        >
        > Having said all this I must agree that some (evangelical or
        > conservative) scholars are biased against Thomas and will
        > favor Thomas'
        > dependence on the Synoptics. The positive and uncritical
        > manner in which they responded to Nicholas Perrin's work
        > nicely illustrates this.
        > However, this is to be expected, and should not lead to the
        > counter- reaction of assuming independence without good evidence.

        No, indeed. Good evidence is essential, but I think you get good evidence
        by asking the right questions in the first place. That's certainly true
        when you're questioning eyewitnesses.

        Judy
      • Paul Lanier
        ... influence how we translate it because, I think, they can influence what we see as pretty clear meanings. Hi Judy, I agree, and would add that two biases
        Message 3 of 26 , Oct 4, 2008
          --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Judy Redman" <jredman@...> wrote:
          >
          > we bring particular assumptions about a text to the text and they
          influence how we translate it because, I think, they can influence
          what we see as pretty clear meanings.

          Hi Judy,

          I agree, and would add that two biases apply to any historical
          reconstruction: the bias of the historian, and the general social
          paradigms of the intended readers. I think most historians would agree
          there is no such thing as a truly objective history. Recognizing the
          bias of the historian and her or his culture is a necessary basis for
          interpretation of the historian's work.

          Of course, by the law of accretion, texts which elaborate on a simpler
          text are probably later. This can lead to a reasonable presumption of
          dependency.

          It is of course possible (although far less likely) that an elaborated
          text is the earlier one. I would suggest that sort of argument is more
          of an apologetic, because it seeks to preserve doctrine by proposing
          how a much less likely event could still have occurred.

          regards,
          Paul Lanier
        • rj.godijn
          ... ways in ... questions they ... So, if ... different ... passages in ... synoptics and if ... first ... anything ... be lots of ... want it ... reasonably
          Message 4 of 26 , Oct 4, 2008
            --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Judy Redman" <jredman@...> wrote:
            >
            > Hi Richard,
            >
            > You say:
            > >
            > > Scholars who argue for Thomas' dependence on one or more of
            > > the Synoptics for some of the parallels between Thomas and
            > > the Synoptics do not necessarily do this because of a
            > > canonical bias, they do this because the redactional work of
            > > one or more of the evangelists can be found in Thomas.
            > > Obviously it is not always that easy to determine what is
            > > redactional and therefore it is often possible to come up
            > > with alternative solutions. Even Stephen Patterson (who
            > > favors an independence view) agrees that Markan, Matthean or
            > > Lukan redaction can be found in Thomas in about 10 places (a
            > > proponent of the Farrer hypothesis would add many more to
            > > this list). This should not be brushed away so easily. The
            > > question of course remains what explains these instances?
            > > Patterson would favor late scribal harmonization or perhaps
            > > secondary orality.
            >
            > I realise this. What I wanted to do was raise awareness of the
            ways in
            > which the perspective from which people approach a text, the
            questions they
            > bring to it, if you like, can influence the way they interpret it.
            So, if
            > you approach Thomas asking "what evidence can I find that Thomas is
            > dependent on the synoptic material?" you will potentially reach
            different
            > conclusions to the ones you will reach if you ask "are there any
            passages in
            > Thomas that are similar to and/or the same as those in the
            synoptics and if
            > so, what might that mean?" The answer you give, especially to the
            first
            > question will be further influenced by whether or not you have
            anything
            > invested in the outcome. That is, if you want the answer to
            be "lots of
            > evidence" you are more likely to include tenuous evidence. If you
            want it
            > to be "none at all", then you will discard anything that could
            reasonably be
            > considered tenuous.

            RG: Absolutely! I think we can all agree on this. We should simply be
            looking for the model that best accounts for the data (with the
            strongest constraints - something typically neglected in New
            Testament Studies). Why should we 'want' any kind of answer? That is
            of course completely unscientific. Coming from experimental
            psychology I must say that the common desire to find certain answers
            in this field has been quite shocking for me. While many seem to want
            Thomas to be late and secondary others seem to want Thomas to be
            early and independent of the canonical Gospels. Both groups appear to
            be neglecting (perhaps downplaying is a better word) part of the
            evidence (which gives away my position - if that was not already
            clear - that part of it is early, pre-synoptic, and part of it is
            late, post-synoptic)


            >
            > > Finding Thomas to be influenced by one or more of the
            > > Synoptics also does not mean that one considers every
            > > parallel between them as a sign that Thomas is secondary. It
            > > can very well be the case that some of the sayings in Thomas
            > > are prior to their synoptic parallel. Given the popularity of
            > > the Synoptic Gospels in the second century it would not be at
            > > all surprising that some of their sayings were then added to
            > > the Thomas collection.
            >
            > I think it is possible to go back further than this, though, and
            say that
            > the fact that there are parallels between Thomas and the synoptics
            does not
            > mean that Thomas is necessarily influenced by one or more of the
            synoptics.
            > It may be that the influence went in the other direction, or that
            they
            > shared a common source for that particular passage. Of the
            material that I
            > am studying (ie the parables of the kingdom/reign in Thomas that
            have
            > parallels in the synoptics) only one is close to verbatim - the
            parable of
            > the mustard seed - and it is an anomally. It is the only one in
            Thomas that
            > compares the kingdom/reign to an object rather than to a person.

            RG: It is not just verbatim agreement that suggests influence, it is
            finding an evangelists redaction in Thomas. Thus, if there is
            evidence that in a certain pericope one of the evangelists has
            redacted one of his sources and that piece of redaction is also found
            in Thomas then the data can best be accounted by the hypothesis that
            Thomas has somehow been influenced by that evangelists Gospel. This
            cannot be explained by a common source.

            One further point: you can have influence without having any verbatim
            agreement. It just becomes harder (if not sometimes virtually
            impossible) to detect. That is why we start with the strongest cases
            and look at those instances where there is verbatim agreement and
            (this is very important) when one author's redaction can be found in
            the other Gospel.

            Examples would obviously help here (although the literature is filled
            with good examples), but I will save these for a later time when my
            work load is reduced (I am teaching two new courses for a cognitive
            neuropsychology masters) and I have more time to go into specifics.


            >
            > >
            > > Having said all this I must agree that some (evangelical or
            > > conservative) scholars are biased against Thomas and will
            > > favor Thomas'
            > > dependence on the Synoptics. The positive and uncritical
            > > manner in which they responded to Nicholas Perrin's work
            > > nicely illustrates this.
            > > However, this is to be expected, and should not lead to the
            > > counter- reaction of assuming independence without good evidence.
            >
            > No, indeed. Good evidence is essential, but I think you get good
            evidence
            > by asking the right questions in the first place.

            RG: Agreed, but I'm curious as to what you mean by 'asking the right
            questions'? What kind of questions do you have in mind?

            Richard
          • Judy Redman
            Richard, ... JR: Indeed. But if you come from within a theological framework that has been built on a particular set of texts and that is likely to be called
            Message 5 of 26 , Oct 4, 2008
              Richard,

              > RG: Absolutely! I think we can all agree on this. We should
              > simply be looking for the model that best accounts for the
              > data (with the strongest constraints - something typically
              > neglected in New Testament Studies). Why should we 'want' any
              > kind of answer? That is of course completely unscientific.

              JR: Indeed. But if you come from within a theological framework that has
              been built on a particular set of texts and that is likely to be called into
              question if a particular non-canonical text is found to be "more authentic"
              (whatever that means), then you have quite a lot invested in finding that
              the problematic text is "less authentic", whereas if you are researching to
              discredit the prevailing theological framework, you are invested in finding
              the problematic text "more authentic".

              > > > Finding Thomas to be influenced by one or more of the
              > Synoptics also
              > > > does not mean that one considers every parallel between them as a
              > > > sign that Thomas is secondary. It can very well be the case that
              > > > some of the sayings in Thomas are prior to their synoptic
              > parallel.
              > > > Given the popularity of the Synoptic Gospels in the
              > second century
              > > > it would not be at all surprising that some of their sayings were
              > > > then added to the Thomas collection.
              > >
              > > I think it is possible to go back further than this, though, and
              > say that
              > > the fact that there are parallels between Thomas and the synoptics
              > does not
              > > mean that Thomas is necessarily influenced by one or more of the
              > synoptics.
              > > It may be that the influence went in the other direction, or that
              > they
              > > shared a common source for that particular passage. Of the
              > material that I
              > > am studying (ie the parables of the kingdom/reign in Thomas that
              > have
              > > parallels in the synoptics) only one is close to verbatim - the
              > parable of
              > > the mustard seed - and it is an anomally. It is the only one in
              > Thomas that
              > > compares the kingdom/reign to an object rather than to a person.
              >
              > RG: It is not just verbatim agreement that suggests
              > influence, it is finding an evangelists redaction in Thomas.
              > Thus, if there is evidence that in a certain pericope one of
              > the evangelists has redacted one of his sources and that
              > piece of redaction is also found in Thomas then the data can
              > best be accounted by the hypothesis that Thomas has somehow
              > been influenced by that evangelists Gospel. This cannot be
              > explained by a common source.

              JR: Having spent quite a lot of time recently reading psychological
              eyewitness literature, I am no longer convinced that all the differences
              that have been attributed to redaction actually are due to redaction ie a
              deliberate decision by an editor to make additions, subtractions etc..
              Quite a number could as easily be attributed to the sorts of changes that
              can be expected when eyewitnesses retell their stories over time. Then, I
              think, a common source is still a tenable explanation.

              > One further point: you can have influence without having any
              > verbatim agreement. It just becomes harder (if not sometimes virtually
              > impossible) to detect. That is why we start with the
              > strongest cases and look at those instances where there is
              > verbatim agreement and (this is very important) when one
              > author's redaction can be found in the other Gospel.
              >
              > Examples would obviously help here (although the literature
              > is filled with good examples), but I will save these for a
              > later time when my work load is reduced (I am teaching two
              > new courses for a cognitive neuropsychology masters) and I
              > have more time to go into specifics.

              JR: I am in a similar situation - too busy to produce specific examples.

              > > >
              > > > Having said all this I must agree that some (evangelical or
              > > > conservative) scholars are biased against Thomas and will favor
              > > > Thomas'
              > > > dependence on the Synoptics. The positive and uncritical
              > manner in
              > > > which they responded to Nicholas Perrin's work nicely illustrates
              > > > this.
              > > > However, this is to be expected, and should not lead to the
              > > > counter- reaction of assuming independence without good evidence.
              > >
              > > No, indeed. Good evidence is essential, but I think you get good
              > evidence
              > > by asking the right questions in the first place.
              >
              > RG: Agreed, but I'm curious as to what you mean by 'asking
              > the right questions'? What kind of questions do you have in mind?

              JR: Simply the kinds of things you've mentioned - instead of asking "What
              evidence do we have for dependence/independence?" we should ask "What
              differences and similarities do we see in these texts and what is the best
              explanation for the available data?"

              Judy

              --
              Rev Judy Redman
              Uniting Church Chaplain
              University of New England
              Armidale 2351 Australia
              ph: +61 2 6773 3739
              fax: +61 2 6773 3749
              web: http://www.une.edu.au/chaplaincy/uniting/ and
              http://blog.une.edu.au/unitingchaplaincy/
              email: jredman@...
            • jmgcormier
              Hello Richard .... In your post # 8255 on Thomas vs the Synoptics, you point out Even Stephen Patterson (who favors an independence view) agrees that Markan,
              Message 6 of 26 , Oct 5, 2008
                Hello Richard ....

                In your post # 8255 on Thomas vs the Synoptics, you point out "Even
                Stephen Patterson (who favors an independence view) agrees that
                Markan, Matthean or Lukan redaction can be found in Thomas in about 10
                places (a proponent of the Farrer hypothesis would add many more to
                this list)"

                Might it be possible for you (in just a few words) to capsulize for
                those of us who are unfamiliar with Farrer the essential jist of his
                hypothesis ????

                Maurice Cormier
              • Judy Redman
                Hi Maurice, Wikipedia (which in this case is quite reliable) says (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farrer_hypothesis): The Farrer theory (also called the
                Message 7 of 26 , Oct 5, 2008
                  Hi Maurice,

                  Wikipedia (which in this case is quite reliable) says
                  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farrer_hypothesis):

                  "The Farrer theory (also called the Farrer-Goulder hypothesis) is a possible
                  solution to the synoptic problem. The theory is that the Gospel of Mark was
                  written first, followed by the Gospel of Matthew and then by the Gospel of
                  Luke.

                  "It has mainly been advocated by English biblical scholars. It is named for
                  Austin Farrer, who wrote _On Dispensing With Q_ in 1955, but it has been
                  picked up by other scholars including Michael Goulder and Mark Goodacre.

                  "The Farrer theory has the advantage of simplicity, as there is no need for
                  hypothetical sources to be created by academics. Instead, advocates of the
                  Farrer theory argue, the Gospel of Mark was used as source material by the
                  author of Matthew. Lastly, Luke used both of the previous gospels as sources
                  for his Gospel."

                  And if you are interested in a summary of the multiplicity of theories about
                  the sources of the gospels, you can visit Stephen Carlson's blog which has
                  colour-coded summaries, complete with diagrams.

                  http://www.hypotyposeis.org/synoptic-problem/2004/09/overview-of-proposed-so
                  lutions.html

                  Incidentally, whilst searching for something succinct on google, I came
                  across a site that offers the following:

                  "For over seven years, our Farrer Hypothesis term paper experts have helped
                  university students worldwide by providing the most extensive, lowest-priced
                  service for Farrer Hypothesis thesis papers and research paper writing.
                  Regardless of your deadline, budget, specifications, or academic level, we
                  can provide immediate help for your Farrer Hypothesis essay, term paper,
                  book report, research paper, dissertation, thesis, or university
                  coursework."
                  (http://www.essaytown.com/topics/farrer_hypothesis_essays_papers.html)

                  Judy

                  --
                  Rev Judy Redman
                  Uniting Church Chaplain
                  University of New England
                  Armidale 2351 Australia
                  ph: +61 2 6773 3739
                  fax: +61 2 6773 3749
                  web: http://www.une.edu.au/chaplaincy/uniting/ and
                  http://blog.une.edu.au/unitingchaplaincy/
                  email: jredman@...


                  > -----Original Message-----
                  > From: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
                  > [mailto:gthomas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of jmgcormier
                  > Sent: Monday, 6 October 2008 8:29 AM
                  > To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
                  > Subject: [GTh] Re: Thomas vs Synoptics
                  >
                  >
                  > Hello Richard ....
                  >
                  > In your post # 8255 on Thomas vs the Synoptics, you point out
                  > "Even Stephen Patterson (who favors an independence view)
                  > agrees that Markan, Matthean or Lukan redaction can be found
                  > in Thomas in about 10 places (a proponent of the Farrer
                  > hypothesis would add many more to this list)"
                  >
                  > Might it be possible for you (in just a few words) to
                  > capsulize for those of us who are unfamiliar with Farrer the
                  > essential jist of his hypothesis ????
                  >
                  > Maurice Cormier
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > ------------------------------------
                  >
                  > Gospel of Thomas Homepage: http://home.epix.net/~miser17/Thomas.html
                  > Interlinear translation:
                  > http://www.geocities.com/mwgrondin/x_transl.htm
                  >
                  > ------------------------------------
                  > Yahoo! Groups Links
                  >
                  >
                  >
                • rj.godijn
                  ... Hi Maurice, I agree with Judy that wikipedia gives a good description here. Mark Goodacre s website http://www.ntgateway.com/Q/ is an excellent place to
                  Message 8 of 26 , Oct 5, 2008
                    --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "jmgcormier" <cobby@...> wrote:
                    >
                    >
                    > Might it be possible for you (in just a few words) to capsulize for
                    > those of us who are unfamiliar with Farrer the essential jist of his
                    > hypothesis ????
                    >
                    > Maurice Cormier
                    >

                    Hi Maurice,

                    I agree with Judy that wikipedia gives a good description here. Mark
                    Goodacre's website http://www.ntgateway.com/Q/ is an excellent place to
                    learn more about this source hypothesis.

                    Richard
                  Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.