Re: Thomas Sayings Most Disliked by a Methodist Sunday School class: Part 2 of a cas
I find your thread extremely fascinating and I look forward to more
installments. I think it's a very interesting idea, presenting GThom
to practicing Christians in order to get their reaction to it.
Hopefully projects like this will help to break with the notion that
Christianity emerged in the first century BCE as some homogeneous,
monolithic entity. For the most part the reactions to GThom that you
have relayed to us didn't surprise me, but there were two passages in
particular that I think need some reflection.
> L.44GThom 44(scholar's translation), Jesus said, "Whoever blasphemes
> Reason disliked: "incomprehensible"
> Truth found: sin against Father or Son is forgiven
against the Father will be forgiven, and whoever blasphemes against
the son will be forgiven, but whoever blasphemes against the holy
spirit will not be forgiven, either on earth or in heaven."
Mark 3:28-30 (scholar's translation), "I [Jesus] swear to you, all
offenses and whatever blasphemies humankind might blaspheme will be
forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the holy spirit is
never forgiven, but is guilty of an eternal sin."
These passages are very closely related thematically, thus I don't
think it would be a leap to say that these students would have
similar critiques leveled against the passage in Mark.
> > L.101GThom 101, "Whoever does not hate [father] and mother as I do cannot
> Reason disliked: "hate"
> Truth found: (none)
be my [disciple], and whoever does [not] love [father and] mother as
I do cannot be my [disciple]. For my mother [...], but my true
[mother] gave me life."
Luke 14:26-27, "If anyone of you comes to me and does not hate your
own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters--
yes, even your own life-- you're no disciple of mine."
Again we have a GThom saying, that is interpreted negatively, that
has a parallel in Luke and Matthew. This observation could have real
consequences on how people interpret the bible. It is one thing to
reject the ideas of an apocryphal gospel, but it is another all
together to challenge texts within the canonical bible.
I would be curious to know how well these students know the bible,
would they recognize GThom 44 and 101 as having strong parallels in
Mark, Matthew and Luke?
I wonder what other people think on this. This project could
potentially bring biblical criticism to non-scholars (both insiders
and outsiders) in a new and provocative way. Currently public
discourse of the bible (especially literal readings of it) is
polarized, theologians on one side, radical atheists (think Dawkins,
Hitchins, Harris) on the other. GThom could provide a meaningful,
accessible way for people to approach the bible, and rethink what it
says, and how binding its words should be.
University of Manitoba
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "ianbrown6796" <ianbrown6796@...> wrote:
>Christianity emerged in the first century BCE as some homogeneous,
> Hopefully projects like this will help to break with the notion that
I hope so, too. This particular class seems especially receptive. They
view themselves as progressive and nearly all have a strong commitment
to lifelong learning. Most are highly educated; all are independent
thinkers. Most of the resistance has come from passages that, on the
surface, appear to reject inclusivism (that's a strong Methodist
principle). I won't spoil this week's Part 3 of the case study, except
to say that today's open discussion on Saying 98 was especially
productive. The entire class found their own solution to this saying
and left with a very good feeling about their process, even though
this saying was opposed by everyone at first.
> I would be curious to know how well these students know the bible,would they recognize GThom 44 and 101 as having strong parallels in
Mark, Matthew and Luke?
I suppose that will always be an issue in Sunday Schools! LL 55 and
101 were at first attacked, until one mentioned the Mt-Lk parallels.
There was a question of whether "hate" is a mistranslation there, so I
used this as an opportunity to introduce the Mt-Lk parallels, and
Matthew's deletion of "hate". Basically I found the class truly
receptive to the idea that modern scholarship has not filtered down
the the Sunday School class, and this has been the case for decades.
Some already knew this, and I think they truly strive for a much more
informed approach to ther bible.
> GThom could provide a meaningful, accessible way for people toapproach the bible, and rethink what it says, and how binding its
words should be.
Borg (The Heart of Christianity) speaks of a new paradigm, one that
emphasizes metaphor rather than literality. And of course Funk called
for a lessening of canonical boundaries. I think Thomas is perfect for
this. The many parallels to intracononical sayings may be the best way
to introduce Thomas initially, with sayings that require much
introspection coming later. I will have much more to say about this
after I study more carefully today's process!