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DeConick v. Patterson!

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  • Michael Grondin
    Well, speaking of Stephen Patterson as I have been lately, there s a doozy of a de facto debate online between him and April DeConick. It started with
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 13, 2010
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      Well, speaking of Stephen Patterson as I have been lately, there's a doozy
      of a de facto debate online between him and April DeConick. It started with
      Patterson's recent uncomplimentary review of DeConick's book TOGTT in RBL,
      followed by DeConick's response in her blog. The best way to begin perusing
      the debate is probably via her blog entry (which links to Patterson's
      review):

      http://forbiddengospels.blogspot.com/2010/03/response-to-pattersons-review.html

      The following juicy tid-bits may whet your appetite for more:

      From Patterson's review:

      "That the Gospel of Thomas grew by accretion, slowly over time, is little
      disputed in the literature on Thomas today-since Wilson's observation more
      than forty years ago, most interpreters of this text have assumed this to
      be true. But how shall we melt away the layers of this snowball, and what
      would we find resting in its center? As much as we would like to know the
      answer to this question, DeConick's method for providing one is too deeply
      flawed to inspire any confidence in her answer."

      From DeConick's response:

      "The long and short of it is that Professor Patterson and I are never going
      to see eye to eye on the Gospel of Thomas. So Patterson's review should
      come as no surprise to any of my readers. It certainly does not come as a
      surprise to me. My thesis does not fit the Jesus Seminar model, and in
      fact, if taken seriously by the Jesus Seminar, would uproot it. I am never
      going to support the program of the Jesus Seminar which has a particular
      version of Jesus and the early church which it wishes to promote even when
      the evidence points in another direction as is the case with the Gospel of
      Thomas, and also in my opinion Q."

      The gorilla of an issue underlying and feeding criticism of DeConick's work
      is that many scholars of the Jesus Seminar (including Patterson) disagree
      with her position (notably held long ago by Schweitzer and more recently by
      Bart Ehrman and others) that the historical Jesus was "apocalyptic", and so
      they are not about to accept an apocalyptic "kernel" for Thomas. The
      general terms of the larger debate may be found in the 2001 publication
      _The Apocalyptic Jesus: A Debate_, edited by JSem'er Robert Miller and
      featuring Dale Allison on the "pro" side and Patterson, Crossan, and Borg
      on the "con" side. There are formidable scholars on both sides of this
      debate and I think it's fun and instructive to watch. I hope you all do
      too.

      Mike Grondin
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