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Re: [GTh] Skinner's Interview with Davies

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  • Stephen C. Carlson
    ... I should have checked this sooner, but looking at what has survived of Athanasius 39th festal letter, he does not condemn any apocryphal text by name,
    Message 1 of 15 , Nov 12, 2009
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      >--- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Stephen C. Carlson" <scarlson@...> wrote:
      >> Michael Grondin <mwgrondin@...> wrote:
      >> >So - if as Steve says there's no "meat" (i.e., POV) on Thomas
      >> >at all, then why did Athanasius think it important to outlaw it by
      >> >name, rather than ignoring it as just another inconsequential piece
      >> >of light reading for Christians?
      >>
      >> By the time of Athanasius, wasn't Thomas being read and
      >> used by the Manicheans? That would be enough not to
      >> ignore it as light reading.

      I should have checked this sooner, but looking at what has
      survived of Athanasius' 39th festal letter, he does not condemn
      any apocryphal text by name, much less the Gospel of Thomas.

      stevandavies <stevandavies@...> wrote:
      >As regards the following letter, I'm usually sceptical about
      >titles of ancient manuscripts found in writings unless there
      >are quotations or something else to confirm that the title
      >reflects the text I'm dealing with. I don't, for example, think
      >the references to the Gospel of Judas are necessarily about the
      >text that was revealed recently. I don't know that the Manicheans
      >used Thomas. Maybe you have evidence that they did but I've not
      >been convinced by what I've seen. Not that they couldn't have....
      >I don't see why not. But I don't know of convincing evidence
      >that they did.

      Well, as it turns out, there isn't even a title to go on in
      Athanasius. ;-) Helmut Koester, ANCIENT CHRISTIAN GOSPELS,
      78, asserts: "The GOSPEL OF THOMAS was also used and valued
      highly by Mani." Koester says that this fact is attested by
      "several Church fathers" but he only cites explicitly Cyril
      and the Decretum Gelasanium. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catecheses
      4.36, condemns by name a gospel of Thomas in use among the
      Manicheans. Unfortunately, there's no quotation of the text
      in Cyril, but Thomas 52 was quoted as coming from an apocryphal
      work by the former Manichean Augustine, Contra adversarium
      Legis et Prophetarum 2.4.14. Also,

      >Recall that there is another Gospel of Thomas and one reason I
      >recently published a book about it is that I want to be the only
      >person in history to have published books on both Gospels of Thomas.
      >Anybody can do just one!

      Yeah, there's a work now known as the Infancy Gospel of Thomas,
      but it does not seem to have acquired that attribution until some
      time between the sixth and eleventh centuries.

      Stephen


      --
      Stephen C. Carlson
      Ph.D. student, Religion, Duke University
      Author of The Gospel Hoax: Morton Smith's Invention of Secret Mark (Baylor, 2005)
    • Michael Grondin
      ... Sorry. My fault, Stephen. I should have checked my recollection before posting. Mike
      Message 2 of 15 , Nov 12, 2009
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        > I should have checked this sooner, but looking at what has
        > survived of Athanasius' 39th festal letter, he does not condemn
        > any apocryphal text by name, much less the Gospel of Thomas.

        Sorry. My fault, Stephen. I should have checked my recollection
        before posting.

        Mike
      • Michael Grondin
        ... Nice try, Bob, but no cigar. Though there may be a hint of chronological order in some of the ways we normally use the word contrary , the meaning of the
        Message 3 of 15 , Nov 12, 2009
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          > [if GTh has] a "contrary ideology", as you suggest, that would imply
          > that it was compiled in response to something, which would make it
          > later in date ...

          Nice try, Bob, but no cigar. Though there may be a hint of chronological
          order in some of the ways we normally use the word 'contrary', the
          meaning of the word doesn't include that. It simply means 'opposing',
          or something like that, and it doesn't matter which of the opposing
          objects came first. Ex: if a result is contrary to our expectations, it's
          also true that our expectations were contrary to the result.

          Mike
        • sarban
          ... From: Michael Grondin To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com Sent: Friday, November 13, 2009 5:27 AM Subject: Re: [GTh] Skinner s Interview with Davies ... Sorry. My
          Message 4 of 15 , Nov 13, 2009
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            ----- Original Message -----
            From: Michael Grondin
            To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Friday, November 13, 2009 5:27 AM
            Subject: Re: [GTh] Skinner's Interview with Davies



            > I should have checked this sooner, but looking at what has
            > survived of Athanasius' 39th festal letter, he does not condemn
            > any apocryphal text by name, much less the Gospel of Thomas.

            Sorry. My fault, Stephen. I should have checked my recollection
            before posting.

            Mike




            I think you may have meant Cyril of Jerusalem's condemnation in his Catechetical Lectures.
            <QUOTE>Of the New Testament there are (only) four gospels: the others are pseudepigraphical and harmful
            (the Manichaeans indeed have written a Gospel according to Thomas, which by the fragrance of its evangelical title
            corrupts the souls of the more simple sort).</QUOTE>

            Andrew Criddle

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Bob Schacht
            ... Mike, I can t let you get away with this. First, though, I have to restore ... If it is contrary, or opposing, as you prefer, then it has to be contrary or
            Message 5 of 15 , Nov 16, 2009
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              At 10:47 PM 11/12/2009, Michael Grondin wrote:
              >
              >
              > > [if GTh has] a "contrary ideology", as you suggest, that would imply
              > > that it was compiled in response to something, which would make it
              > > later in date ...
              >
              >Nice try, Bob, but no cigar. Though there may be a hint of chronological
              >order in some of the ways we normally use the word 'contrary', the
              >meaning of the word doesn't include that. It simply means 'opposing',
              >or something like that, and it doesn't matter which of the opposing
              >objects came first. Ex: if a result is contrary to our expectations, it's
              >also true that our expectations were contrary to the result.
              >
              >Mike

              Mike,
              I can't let you get away with this. First, though, I have to restore
              the context. What I wrote was this:

              >...Steve was right in another message when he wrote, IIRC, that its not
              >that GThomas has no POV, it just has too many of them, and none
              >coherent with the others.
              >
              >And if it is a "contrary ideology", as you suggest, that would imply
              >that it was compiled in response to something, which would make it
              >later in date, i.e., after the following three ideologies had become
              >important enough to dispute that:
              >* The death of Jesus was part of a divine plan to atone for something
              >* there was resurrection in the flesh
              >* belief is sufficient for salvation
              >In fact, if that is where you want to rest your case, then a (late)
              >date for GThomas ought to be easy to calculate.

              If it is contrary, or opposing, as you prefer, then it has to be
              contrary or opposed to *something which existed at that time,* which
              forces a chronological datum. You wrote,
              >it doesn't matter which of the opposing objects came first.

              No, it doesn't, but *all three* would have to be in circulation
              before Thomas. You can't say Thomas is opposed to something that was
              not yet an issue.

              Besides, as Steve pointed out, what you call "opposing" is not so
              much opposing as indifferent to. As he wrote in the message that you
              forwarded on Thu, 12 Nov 2009 12:06:56 -0500,

              >No... Thomas is [not] AGAINST the resurrection in the flesh, it just
              >has nothing to do with it. It's not against repeating the Nembutsu
              >or sacrificing goats to Legba either, it just doesn't mention them.
              >Salvation lies in figuring out what the list of sayings is communicating,
              >we hear at the outset of Thomas, but as I wrote in my skinner interview
              ><http://pejeiesous.com/>http://pejeiesous.com/ I don't think that
              >the Thomas people themselves
              >thought they understood the text.


              Bob Schacht
              Northern Arizona University


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Michael Grondin
              Hi Bob, Thanks for giving me something to think about late at night (here). ... I can and do. I take it you haven t looked up the word contrary , or if you
              Message 6 of 15 , Nov 16, 2009
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                Hi Bob,
                Thanks for giving me something to think about late at night (here).
                You wrote:

                > You can't say Thomas is [contrary] to something that was
                > not yet an issue.

                I can and do. I take it you haven't looked up the word 'contrary', or
                if you have, were unable to find a definition to support your position.
                My creaky old 1980 OAD, e.g., has the following:

                "1. Opposite in nature, opposed; 2. Opposite in direction ..."

                No mention of chronological priority there, but let's look at it this way:
                Suppose I claim that text A contains ideas contrary to those in text B.
                According to you, I can't also claim that text B contains ideas contrary
                to those in text A, since one of them had to come first, hence one of
                my two claims has to be false. But of course that's not so. If A is
                contrary to B, then B is also contrary to A, and vice versa. That's just
                the way we use the word in both Logic and ordinary language.

                Other examples may suffice: I think you may agree that Paul's accounts
                of his travels are somewhat contrary to what was written in Acts. Or that
                Mark's report of the final words on the cross is contrary to any of the
                other gospels. But how can that be, according to your argument, since
                the latter texts didn't yet exist? QED, I believe.

                [Bob]:
                > Besides, as Steve pointed out, what you call "opposing" is not so
                > much opposing as indifferent to. As he wrote in the message that you
                > forwarded on Thu, 12 Nov 2009 12:06:56 -0500,
                >
                >>No... Thomas is [not] AGAINST the resurrection in the flesh, it just
                >>has nothing to do with it. It's not against repeating the Nembutsu
                >>or sacrificing goats to Legba either, it just doesn't mention them.

                Witty, of course, but somewhat irrelevant, since the text DOES mention
                human flesh, and it doesn't much like it. The problem I have with
                responding to Steve on this point is that there seems to be no response
                that he would deem adequate. If I quote some logia, he might accuse me
                of falling victim to what he pointed to as a common tendency to draw a
                general ideology out of a few logia. An end-around might work if he would
                allow consideration of other Thomasine writings (Book and Acts) which
                more clearly denigrate the flesh, hence suggesting that to Thomasines
                a resurrection in the flesh would be an abomination, but I'm afraid he
                wouldn't do that. That pretty much makes his position impregnable.

                Dare I say that Paul's position on resurrection in the flesh was likewise
                contrary to the canonical gospels (leaving aside GosMark, and the
                endless variations of scholastic reasoning employed to show otherwise)?

                Mike
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