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Re: [GTh] Luke's Treatment of Jacob

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  • Michael Grondin
    In this, the second of two excerpts copied by permission of Bruce Brooks from his Crosstalk message responding to my own, he puts forward a theory about GThom:
    Message 1 of 3 , Jul 29, 2010
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      In this, the second of two excerpts copied by permission of
      Bruce Brooks from his Crosstalk message responding to my
      own, he puts forward a theory about GThom: (MWG)
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      Like so much of what is only hinted at in the canonical texts, this
      business of Jacob as deeply understanding the universe, and thus being
      a suitable Second Master of the faithful, is amply attested elsewhere.
      Jacob is all over the Nag Hammadi texts, under whose Egyptian
      extravagances lies a Greek and at that, a fairly early Greek beginning.

      How early? For a start, how early does Thomas come into the Gospel of
      Thomas? Ignoring the superscriptions, as I think we must (librarians
      usually write them), Thomas enters at Saying 13, immediately after
      Jacob. And if I remember correctly, Jacob never appears thereafter in
      the text. There certainly exists the possibility of suspecting that we
      have here an original Jacob document later overlaid by a Thomas
      enthusiasm. The Jacob document (unless later distributed, which I do
      not begin by assuming) would have consisted of only those 12 sayings.

      [I note by way of excursus that texts that short are not
      inconceivable; some even shorter texts, including the recorded sayings
      of Confucius's follower and successor Dzvngdz, which run to exactly
      four sayings].

      Is there anything else in the 12 sayings that might sharpen our idea
      of how Jacob was regarded by this particular constituency? I don't see
      anything that needs to be related to him in particular. I merely see
      the sayings of Jesus ending with a Jacob succession statement. (But
      perhaps others can correct me).

      The situation (if such it is) in GThos, with an early Jacob core
      overlaid by a long Thomas extension, is paralleled by that in GJohn,
      in which Jacob is not so much as mentioned, whereas Thomas takes
      narrative center stage. And once onstage, Thomas's concern (in GJn) is
      epistemological, which is to say, Gnostic: How do we know? And when we
      know, what exactly is it that we know?

      ...

      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst

      Copyright 2010 by E Bruce Brooks
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