Re: [GTh] But I have said - GTh46.2
- Hi Mike,
Meant to get back to you earlier on this but I've just got my Ham Radio
Licence this week and have been busy to-day setting up, hooking up and
tuning my Antenna System and Transmitter/Receiver to get on the air
I'm not suggesting that Luke himself understood the saying in question
to be a Realized Eschatology saying- in fact, it likely bewildered him
as much as it did later theologians and Churchmen. There was no such
animal in his day. For him, as well as for Mark and Matthew and
especially Q, the coming of the Son of Man, the End of Days, the End of
this World and the arrival of God's Kingdom on earth, while imminent and
eagerly anticipated, were in the future. It's probably safe to assume
that Luke saw it as some kind of an end-time saying and chucked it in
with the other ones he had on the subject in those several verses on the
Back in the early sixties when I was working on my undergraduate degree
at Bishop's University in Lennoxville, Quebec, as part of a well rounded
education,we were required as part of the degree programme to take
several undergraduate course in "Divinity". These included such things
as a History of the Early Christian Church, and the issues and debates
in both the early church and in modern times by current theologians.
(The college was actually an Anglican (Episcopalian) Church college that
turned out Anglican priests, among other things- and has since gone
One issue that was hotly argued then was the problem created by,
perhaps, up to a dozen sayings of Jesus where he SEEMED to have been
saying that the Kingdom had already come on Earth- which seemed
strikingly at odds with other sayings that clearly spoke of a future
arrival of the Kingdom of God on earth. Succintly- the Kingdom was
a-coming, and yet it was already here- according to Jesus. This saying
in Luke, which at that time, was wholly and exclusively unique to his
Gospel alone- nobody else had it- was considered the primary and central
saying upon which the whole Realized Eschatology debate centered, and
around which the other sayings of Jesus claiming the Kingdom was here
Different Christian churches struggled with the notion or how the
kingdom could both have arrived and yet still be a-coming, and resolved
it in different ways. The Roman Church resolved the issue by decided the
the Church itself was the Kingdom, and when Jesus had founded it, the
Kingdom on Earth had arrived but there would still be future End of
Days. Some just discounted the Lukan saying as genuine- since it
appeared no where else in the Gospels, and others came up with some
ingenious but generally unsatisfactory ways of dealing with it- so it
still remained an issue and a conundrum with no good answer- at least in
biblical scholarship. My main point here is that long before it was
known or known generally that Thomas HAD the saying too, that Lukan
saying was recognized by nearly everybody as a Realized Eschatology
saying- a saying that claimed that the Kingdom was already here.
I previously said, on this list, is that one of the most intriguing
things about the GTh, is not what it contains, rather it is what it does
NOT contain- that is- that is if Thomas was part of the Synoptic Stream
one would fully expect certain themes, prominent in those Gospels to be
displayed in it. And one in particular seems to be all but absent. And
I'm talking about the End Time Scenarios and the expected return of
Jesus as the Son of Man. Mark, Matthew, Luke and Q (at least at the Q 2
and Q 3) levels, are strongly Apocalyptic- so much so that Albert
Sweitzer once persuaded almost all scholars that Jesus was an
Apocalyptic Prophet. End of the Quest for the Historical Jesus!
I claimed Thomas was "bereft" of these themes. That was likely and
overstatement- which I sometimes do for emphasis. It's a bad habit of
mine, and I should be more cautious on an Academic List. Let me just say
that if, indeed there really are any, they are strikingly few and far
between, and nowhere near as many as one would expect if the Synoptic
authors and Thomas were ad idem on the subject. I am familiar with your
view, Mike, that Thomas DOES contain some Apocalyptic themes and
material suggestive of them- although I don't personally see many. Those
which some people cite as such, I have to concede, MIGHT be so
interpreted- but that's far from clear and I have doubts such
interpretations are sound. Such takes may possibly be colored by the
use of that saying or a similar sayings in an End of Day's language and
context by other Gospel writers.
Perhaps a case in point is the very brief "two men on a couch" saying
found at the beginning of the Salome logion, also found in Luke and
Matthew. Just because the saying appears in Luke, used by him in an
Apocalyptic context, doesn't mean it had that meaning when it stood
alone. And stand alone, it once likely did.
Matthew and Luke both use it, and they got it from Q- which is quite
Apocalypse-oriented and may have coloued their take on it and use of
it.. But Thomas has it too- but not in any Apocalyptic context that can
be clearly discerned, and is likely using it to make a different point.
What's intriguing for me if the hoaryness of this saying. Since it
appear in Q and Thomas- a double attestation in Mark or Q, or Thomas-
it's a saying I claim was found in the still earlier Matthean Logia
Collection which I claim was father to there three works.
Anyway, what I'm suggesting here is that the religious community the
Gospel of Thomas was intended to serve, NEVER subscribed to the whole
End of Days, Apocalyptic Scenario and the future arrival of the Kingdom
of Heaven on Earth. They believed it had already come, and that it could
be entered right way and no waiting for it's arrival was necessary.
Their eschatology was "realized"- which sent them off in an entirely
different theological direction and religious evolution and speculations
than the early Synoptic-Q, Apocalyptic, Second-Coming stream of the Church.
I suggest that this Realized Eschatology business is what made the
Thomas Community and their Gospel so strikingly different from the
emerging churches and gospels that grew into to-day's Christianity.
Michael Grondin wrote:
> > [L46.2] seems to echo the same theme which is found in Gth 113
> > (and its' L-Source Lukan counterpart in Luke 17:20). Read this way,
> > the saying is a backhanded swipe at John for failing to realize that
> > the Kingdom had already arrived, and to recognize it. Those who do,
> > are greater than John.
> > Such a belief (in a realized eschatology) may go along way in explaining
> > why the GTh is so strangely and utterly bereft of Second Coming,
> > Apocalyptic and End of Day's sayings and themes.
> But, Ron, if the author of GLk thought of 17:20-1 the way you suggest,
> why would the immediately following passage (17:22-37) prophesy the
> very things you think are antithetical to it? Indeed, the fact that 17:34
> is echoed in Th 61.1 casts doubt also on the "utterly bereft" claim.
- --- In email@example.com, "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@...> wrote:
> we need the Greek word/words in question.Thanks for this, Mike. The Coptic in L.37 supports your preference for translating kouei (BM#164) as "small." Luckily this saying contains three words directly relevant to your point:
- kouei BM#164 "small," "few"
- Sere.SEm = SEre BM#33 "sons," "daughters," "children"
- SEm BM#195 "small," "little"
Also interesting is this saying's comparison of disciples who are "like children," as opposed to disciples "being small" (LL. 22, 46). This saying employs four technical terms apparently shared by GMk9.42-47:
- GTh22 Small, Eye, Hand, Foot
- GMk9.42-47 Small, Hand, Foot, Eye
Since these two sayings are in different languages, I delay discussing the exact Coptic and Greek definitions for now. The immediate point is that both employ a cluster of terms whose meaning appears obscure in GTh and more accessible in GMk. This suggests Thomas, the more difficult variant, may be earlier. If so Mark has reframed it, providing a meaning related to sin which appears to differ radically from the meaning in Thomas (whatever that is!).
GTh37 Blatz-NTA (1991) Small, Children, Son
37.1 His disciples said: On what day will you be revealed to us, and on what day shall we see you? 37.2 Jesus said: When you unclothe yourselves and are not ashamed, and take your garments and lay them beneath your feet like the little [kouei BM#164 "small," "few"] children [Sere.SEm = SEre BM#33 "sons," "daughters," "children" + SEm BM#195 "small," "little"] (and) trample on them, 37.3 then [you will see] the Son [SEre BM#33 "son"] of the Living One, and you will not be afraid.
Since GTh37 includes a double emphasis on "small," I am wondering if "newborn" is the intended meaning. L.4 equates "ou.kouie en.SEre.SEm" (MG "a small little boy") with "ef.hen.saSef en.hoou" (MG "he being of seven days"). If so then perhaps L.37 saying refers to the developmental condition of a candidate for initiation who is ready for baptism (rebirth).
Proceeding on to LL. 46 and 78 with this understanding, these two logia may fit into a somewhat loose grouping that employs similar terminology. This grouping revolves around the common use of terms co-occurring with John the Baptist: great, small, kingdom. The passage from 1Co is included because it shares two terms (offspring, begot) that also occur in this set.
- GTh78 ~JB , great
- GTh46 JB, begotten, small, kingdom
- GMt11.7-11 JB, greater, least, kingdom
- GLk7.24-28 JB, begotten, greater, least, kingdom
- 1Co4.14-17 offspring, guides, fathers, begot
Matthew and Luke use the same Greek terms for "greater" (meizon) and "least" (mikroteros), while Paul and Luke use related terms for "begotten" (gennetois) and "begot" egennesa. So if these represent technical terms their usage is consistent in this small set of passages, and it does not seem that any distinction is made among Matthew, Luke or Paul.
- GTh78 ~JB [later interpretation], great [megistanos MG "powerful ones"]
- GTh46 JB, begotten [jpo BM#155 "to beget," "acquire"], small [kouei BM#164 "small," "few"], kingdom [mentero BM#115 "kingdom," "reign"]
- GMt11.7-11 JB, greater [meizon G3187 "greater," "elder," "stronger"], least [mikroteros G3398 "small," "young"], kingdom
- GLk7.24-28 JB, begotten [gennetois G1084 "begotten," "born"], greater [meizon G3187 "greater," "elder," "stronger"], least [mikroteros G3398 "smallest," "youngest," "least"], kingdom [basileia G932 "kingdom," "kingship," "rule"]
- 1Co4.14-17 offspring [tekna G5043 "offspring," "children"], guides [paidagogous G3807 "tutors," "guides," "trustworthy slaves"], fathers [pateras "fathers," "forefathers"], begot [egennesa G1080 "to be begotten"]
This set also reflects the distinctive usages of "kingdom" in GTh, GMt, and GLk. Mark and Luke use exclusively "kingdom of God," while Matthew employs "kingdom of the heavens." In Coptic Thomas it is simply "kingdom," however in Grk. GTh3 "kingdom of God" occurs. This suggests the original usage in Thomas, "kingdom," may have caused difficulties after the Jewish War, when reference to "kingdom" would likely have offended to Romans. Thus Mark amplified this to "kingdom of God." Mark's usage was retained by Luke and apparently also inserted into a Greek manuscript of GTh. However Matthew opted for "kingdom of the heavens." The simplest explanation here is that Q introduced "kingdom of the heavens" and that Luke opted to follow Mark usage while Matthew followed Q.
So I think here is more evidence suggesting that both Mark and Q depend on Thomas, and that the extant Coptic version more closely resembles original Thomas than the P.Oxy. fragments do.
I will be exploring more precisely the usage of "child," in GTh, GMk, GMt, GLk, and Paul in an upcoming post.
GTh: Cop. mentero BM#115 "kingdom," "reign," also Grk. basileai "kingdom" (L.3) or basileia ton t(he)u "kingdom of God" (L.27)
GMk, GLk: Grk. basileaia ton theou "kingdom of God"
GMt: Grk. basileia ton ouranon "kingdom of the heavens"
GTh78 Blatz-NTA (1991) ~JB, Great
Jesus said: 78.1 Why did you come out into the field? To see a reed shaken by the wind? 78.2 And to see a man clothed in soft raiment? [Look, your] kings and your great [megistanos MG "powerful ones"] men, 78.3 these are the ones who wear soft clothing, and they [will] not be able to know the truth.
GTh46 Blatz-NTA (1991) JB, Begotten, Small, Kingdom
Jesus said, 46.1 From Adam to John the Baptist there is among the children [jpo BM#155 "to beget," "acquire"] of women none higher than John the Baptist, for his eyes were not destroyed (?). 46.2 But I have said: Whoever among you becomes small [kouei BM#164 "small," "few"] will know the kingdom [mentero BM#115 "kingdom," "reign"] and will be higher than John.
GMt11.7-11 (ESV) JB, Greater, Least, Kingdom
Mat 11:7 As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: "What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?
Mat 11:8 What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings' houses.
Mat 11:9 What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
Mat 11:10 This is he of whom it is written, "'Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.'
Mat 11:11 Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least [mikroteros G3398 "small," "young"] in the kingdom [basileia G932 "kingdom," "kingship," "rule"] of heaven is greater [meizon G3187 "greater," "elder," "stronger"] than he.
GLk7.24-28 (ESV) JB, Begotten, Greater, Least, Kingdom
Luk 7:24 When John's messengers had gone, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: "What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?
Luk 7:25 What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who are dressed in splendid clothing and live in luxury are in kings' courts.
Luk 7:26 What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
Luk 7:27 This is he of whom it is written, "'Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.'
Luk 7:28 I tell you, among those born [gennetois G1084 "begotten," "born"] of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least [mikroteros G3398 "smallest," "youngest," "least"] in the kingdom kingdom [basileia G932 "kingdom," "kingship," "rule"] of God is greater than he."
1Co4.14-17 (ESV) Offspring, Guides, Fathers, Begot, Kingdom
1Co 4:14 I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children [tekna G5043 "offspring," "children"].
1Co 4:15 For though you have countless guides [paidagogous G3807 "tutors," "guides," "trustworthy slaves"] in Christ, you do not have many fathers [pateras "fathers," "forefathers"]. For I became your father [egennesa G1080 "to be begotten"] in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
1Co 4:16 I urge you, then, be imitators [mimitai G3402 "imitators"] of me.
1Co 4:17 That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child [teknon G5043 "offspring," "child"] in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church.
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Ron McCann <ronmccann1@...> wrote:
>Hi Ron, Mike:
> It's probably safe to assume that Luke saw it as some kind of an end-time saying and chucked it in > with the other ones he had on the subject in those several verses on the topic.
I think there are two other possibilities that explain, in general, why Thomas tends toward some flavor of realized eschatology, but Luke emphasizes future:
1 - Luke follows Mark in reframing "kingdom" as future;
2 - Luke follows Mark's amplification of "kingdom" as other than Roman kingdom. This seems like a natural way to avoid trouble!
I think too there is partial dependence of later Thomas on the synoptics, just as there is partial dependence on early gnostic themes. Both introduced more developed themes not originally presented.
I realize that is a very broad generalization. But I think that sort of development is to be expected among early competing Jesus communities. Early textual instability has long been recognized for Mark, and there seems to be decent support for it in Thomas as well. Of course it depends on analysis of technical terms and thematic parallels, both of which are less obvious than direct parallels.
- Ron -
I agree with you that the GTh logia that seem to refer to end-times are
few and far between. In fact, I don't think L61.1 is the strongest example,
although DeConick takes it to refer to "the End" (TGOTT, p.200). To my
mind, though, a stronger example is L57's "day of the harvest". I think
it's stronger because it's not so easily susceptible to an interpretation
in terms of individuals, rather than humanity as a whole.
On the other hand, I recognize that some sayings indicate the opposite
at least as strongly, perhaps even more so. A good example is L.51,
wherein it's stated that the "new world" has already come. How can that
be reconciled with the above? One possibility I'm attracted to is the
DeConick model, which allows for eschatological emphasis to have been
altered over time, such that what we find in CGTh is possibly the fading
remnants of traditional end-time thinking, coupled with an emerging
contrary view which had become ascendant. In particular, notice that
L.51 is a disciples' question, which to DeConick indicates a later
development, while L61.1 and L57 are simple Jesus-statements.
Interestingly, one of the Q-and-A sayings has seemed to serve as one
basis for the theory that (later?) GTh envisioned a different kind of
end-times, viz., one in which "where the beginning is, there the end will
be", i.e., a kind of rolling-back of history caused by (presumably) the
adoption of an ascetic life-style by the masses, resulting in progressively
fewer children until the world's population shrinks back to "the Garden".
As I recall, this was a view expressed by Steve Davies, and I think it
gets its plausibility actually more from other Thomasine writings (T. the
Contender, and the Acts of T.) than from GTh, though again there's
some stuff in GTh for that view. (A little something for everyone?)
Now on this "realized eschatology" thingy, my sense is that lumping
different things together and trying to reach a judgement on all of
them at once is counter-productive. In particular, I don't see that
much of a difference between the third century Thomas and the way
the canonicals were developing on the question of when the kingdom
would come, but I do see a big difference on the question of whether
there would be a parousia. The Synoptics at least were stuck with the
notion that Jesus was the messiah. Since he hadn't accomplished
what a messiah was supposed to do, it was necessary that he come
back "in power" to finish the job. The Thomasines don't seem to have
ever had this problem, but even if they did, they had the advantage
over the church in that their Jesus-gospel apparently continued to
develop after the canonical gospels had been pretty much locked-in.
Mt. Clemens, MI
> Mark and Luke use exclusively "kingdom of God," while MatthewThanks for noting that important point about Greek Thomas, Paul,
> employs "kingdom of the heavens." In Coptic Thomas it is simply
> "kingdom," however in Grk. GTh3 "kingdom of God" occurs.
but Coptic Thomas occasionally has "kingdom of the heavens" also.
(See 114, e.g.) That contravenes your suggestion:
> This suggests the original usage in Thomas, "kingdom," may haveOther than that, the deluge of data kinda obscured the theses for me.
> caused difficulties after the Jewish War ...
- --- In email@example.com, "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@...> wrote:
> Coptic Thomas occasionally has "kingdom of the heavens" also.Woops! You're right. L.114 is very late but there are other instances of "kingdom of heaven" and "kingdom of God." I will need to rearrange my position!
> Other than that, the deluge of data kinda obscured the theses for me.Me too. I am exploring the thesis that GMk and Q both depend on original GTh. I am looking for distinctive usages of technical terms (kingdom, child, small, and some others). This is, I think, made more complex by what appears to me to be insertion of later corrections into GTh to harmonize with the synoptics. Of course it may be that original GTh included all three usages of "kingdom." But the very distinctive usages by Mark and Luke ("kingdom of God") as opposed to Matthew ("Kingdom of the heavens") suggests polarization between the Mark-Luke trajectory and Matthew. That in turn would suggest an earlier shared usage, such as "kingdom" in original GTh. But I agree, in the case of "kingdom," the usage in Thomas is mixed.
Thank you for attempting to hold me to the same very high standards of this board!
- Hi Mike,
Thanks for the thoughtful response, Mike.
I agree [L.57] is a stronger example, and when first I encountered it, I
designated it as a clear Apocalyptic Saying. It has a single attestation
in Matthew's Gospel ( From Special Matthew) where it is unquestionably
presented as such, and the only significant variation is that in Thomas
no mention of the wheat being gathered into the barn, is made. I think
the original parable was simply about why God allows evil men and good
men to co-exist and why he does nothing about it right now- it would
uproot the intended and desired growth and development of the good men.
So wait until the desired crop is fully matured- harvest day. Matthew
may have changed it to an end-time separation of the sheep from the
goats, or the good fish from the bad on Judgment Day. That does not mean
we should be reading it that way in Thomas or that it was intended to be
read that way. I guess the question is what "the day of the harvest"
meant to the Thomasines.
I think the Thomas crowd also believed that a selection process for
entry to the Kingdom was involved. But since the Kingdom was here, the
sorting and selection for admission or entry to it was now going on. And
just like in the Matthew examples some would be found acceptable, and
some not. The spiritually mature or spiritually ready presumably get
admitted. The Wise Fisherman who nets the fish, selects the Fine Big
Fish ( mature, developed) and throws the smaller back. The Wise man of
understanding comes quickly when the crop is ripe (mature) and plies the
sickle. The Man who sowed good seed discards the weeds and gathers his
wheat. For the Thomasines, the Day of the Harvest might have meant that
day in which the individual is actually selected and taken into the
Kingdom. It's hard to say. But your point is taken.
I think Deconick's approach makes a lot of sense too. As expectations of
Judgment Day and the Parousia faded, as well they might have by the end
of the First Century and the beginning of the Second, thinking
Christian's may have gravitated to the "Kingdom is already here" sayings
of Jesus and focused their speculations on how to enter that kingdom in
the here and now, whereas the groups of Christians adhering to the old
Messianic/Parousia/Judgment Day scenario re-entrenched, stayed the
course, eventually becoming the modern Church. My point is that late or
early, there was a bifurcation with the Thomas crowd apparently on the
leading edge of "Realized Eschatology" exploration, speculation and
innovation, and going their own way.
Davie's idea is indeed interesting, but my own view on this logion and
others like it is that the Thomasines envisioned the process of entry to
the Kingdom as a return to the Pre-Fall state of Adam and Eve and a
consequent re-entry to Eden, and further, that they believed this was
accomplished one by one, individually.
In Thomas, individual, rather than collective "salvation" seems the
focus, and it's up to the individual, him or herself, to win entry to
I take your point about lumping too many things together- and perhaps I
have here- using Realized Eschatology to describe the Gospel of Thomas
position on the Kingdom. You are right. It might be more useful to
divide those elements up and look at each of them individually. My
problem with Thomas, is that we can get so easily get lost in the
minutia and the non-homogeneous and sometimes conflicting material that
we miss spotting the common overarching themes. So from time to time, I
try to stand back and try to view the sweep and thrust of Thomas and a
whole to see if I can discover what, in at least broad and general
terms, we can say about the beliefs the people this gospel served had in
common, and how these might have differed from the emerging Church's- no
easy task given the complexity of the material. So although my
conclusion is a generality, and only operates in overview, the
conclusion seems well grounded and useful- although, like any other
proposal about Thomas, some specific sayings can be found that argue
Thanks Mike. You always get me thinking.