Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Lk 5:39 and the Thomas Scenario

Expand Messages
  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: GPG Cc: GThomas On: Lk 5:39 and the Thomas Scenario From: Bruce [I am cross-posting this GPG note to GThomas, in order to get a wider reaction to the
    Message 1 of 7 , Dec 25, 2010
      To: GPG
      Cc: GThomas
      On: Lk 5:39 and the Thomas Scenario
      From: Bruce
       
      [I am cross-posting this GPG note to GThomas, in order to get a wider reaction to the Thomas part of the proposal. There has been a certain brouhaha of late about cross-posting, and if GThomas officially discourages it, let me know, and this will be the last. / EBB]
       
      I have had Lk 5:39 called to my attention recently; it seems to one reader that Tertullian is chiding Marcion for removing it from his gospel. The whole position puzzles me, and I here try to suggest how it might make sense.
       
      1. Lk 5:39. "The old [wine] is better." This directly contradicts the sense of the preceding passages (which, unlike Lk 5:39, have parallels in Mk and Mt). Despite the efforts of commentators, it is irreconcilable. It can only have been added in order to reverse the sense of the preceding passages. UBS accepts it, but I cannot accept their acceptance. Lk 5:39 is absent in Bezae, and thus (as I see it) belongs in the group of Western Non.
       
      2. Marcion wanted to cut Christianity free from Judaism; he excised parts of Lk which he felt gave too much scope and credence to the old ways of Judaism. He would have had no quarrel with Lk 5:33-38, the "new wine in old wineskins" sayings, which represent Christianity as a new teaching. As I understand it, this was exactly Marcion's own view. He therefore did not himself add Lk 5:39.
       
      3. However, it may well have been added as a specific rebuke to Marcion, championing the old [wine], the version of Christianity which by then had become inextricably wound up with the OT as predicting, and thus as validating, Jesus. There would have been no point in doing this after the Marcion excitement had faded, hence c150. Tertullian, at the end of that century, comparing the interpolated Luke (his standard) with Marcion's Luke (which lacked 5:39 because it did not exist yet) berates Marcion (mistakenly) for omitting it, and argues, for instance, that the "new wine in old wineskins" phrase implies that the person described had old wineskins available, and thus had not discarded them.
       
      So far we are OK with existing constraints.
       
      4. Thos 47:3 unmistakably refers to Lk 5:39, which thus must have existed in the text used by the author of Thos, or at any rate, the author of that passage in Thomas. But Thos is aware only of the Synoptics (chiefly but perhaps not exclusively Luke), and not John, hence it is tempting to see Thos as dating from the period between Luke and John. With von Wahlde 2010, I see John as being written in the late 80's and early 90's. Then Thos ought to be from, say, the early 80's, but this is impossible given its knowledge of the c150 interpolation in Luke.
       
      5. I can only resolve this by going back to my earlier idea of an accretional Thomas, not of the kind suggested by DeConick (where the whole length of Thomas was present in the core layer, and interpolations were later made along its whole length), but of a core and framing accretion type. Thus:
       
      (1) Thos 1-12. Ends by making James the Lord's Brother the chief figure of the text. Thomas is not mentioned. This is more intelligible than it sounds, given the present of James in some of the Coptic literature.
       
      (2) Thos 13 (and the present introit to the text) praise instead Thomas, and he remains the chief figure of the text until its end. How much of the text came in at this time? I don't know, but present evidence seems to be satisfied if we make Greek Thomas (Th 1-39) the whole extent of the text in its second phase. This is the part that would have come between Luke and John. Thomas is its type figure, the possessor of unmatched and unspeakable and esoteric knowledge of the nature of Jesus.
       
      (3) The Gospel of John, which has its own quite different idea of the nature of Jesus, ridicules the esoteric pretensions of "Thomas" by making him the most touch-bound of the disciples.
       
      (4) Marcion goes back to Luke and trims Luke to make it even more purely Christian and not rely at all on OT sanctions and validations. His text of Luke still lacks Lk 5:39.
       
      (5) Someone c150 adds Lk 5:39, as an anti-Marcionite riposte and antidote, to what becomes the mainline text of Lk, ancestral to Vaticanus and others. [The ancestor of] Bezae continues to lack it.
       
      (6) At any point hereafter, GThos might have been extended to a point which included Thos 47. I have no suggestion (at this moment) about where this new addition might have ended. It might have been the whole rest of the text, that is, the Greek text lying behind the later Coptic translation, or it might not.
       
      (7) Tertullian, at the end of the century, has the new text of Luke (with 5:39) and comparing Marcion's older text (which, like all texts at that time, lacked 5:39), he berates Marcion for suppressing it.
       
      ------------
       
      So far the suggested solution. A few questions, for those on GPG or elsewhere who know GThos:
       
      1. Is there any internal reason against the proposed three-layer model of Thomas?
       
      2. Is there a case for four layers? (That is, is there another good stopping place, a point of valediction, between Thos 47 and Thos 114?).
       
      3. Thanks to Rick for sharing his overview page with me. It shows Thos as throughout having Synoptic parallels, but never any John parallels. If so, then the later Thomas remained in touch only with the texts which ancestral Thomas (so to speak) had used, namely the Synoptics. Surely it continues aware of Luke until the end. This means it also ignores John even after John existed. This might have been just inertia, or it might have been resentment of John's anti-Thomas stand.
       
      Or it might not have been true. Is there any passage in Thomas that can be construed as a counterplonk of John?
       
      Any help appreciated.
       
      Bruce
       
      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst
       
    • M.W. Grondin
      With the permission of David Inglis of the GPG group, the following is his response to Bruce Brooks GPG/GThomas note on this subject. (MWG) ... Posted by:
      Message 2 of 7 , Dec 27, 2010
        With the permission of David Inglis of the GPG group, the following is his
        response to Bruce Brooks' GPG/GThomas note on this subject. (MWG)
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

        Posted by: "David Inglis" Date: Sat Dec 25, 2010 10:54 pm ((PST))

        Bruce, I just can't see how what Tertullian wrote re. Lk 5:36-39 supports
        your statement that:

        > Tertullian, at the end of that century, comparing the
        interpolated Luke (his
        > standard) with Marcion's Luke (which lacked
        5:39 because it did not exist
        > yet) berates Marcion (mistakenly) for
        omitting it, and argues, for instance,
        > that the "new wine in old
        wineskins" phrase implies that the person
        > described had old wineskins
        available, and thus had not discarded them.

        I agree with your view that v. 5:39 (and IMHO most likely v. 5:38b) was not
        in Marcion, but I don't see Tertullian berating Marcion for omitting it.
        Tertullian writes:

        "You have erred also in that declaration of Christ, wherein He seems to make
        a difference between things new and old. [5:36-??] You are inflated about
        the old bottles, [5:37] and brain-muddled with the new wine; [5:37] and
        therefore to the old (that is to say, to the prior) gospel you have sewed on
        the patch of your new-fangled heresy. [5:36] I should like to know in what
        respect the Creator is inconsistent with Himself. When by Jeremiah He gave
        this precept, "Break up for yourselves new pastures," [Jer 4:3] does He not
        turn away from the old state of things? And when by Isaiah He proclaims how
        "old things were passed away; and, behold, all things, which I am making,
        are new," [Probably Isa 43:19] does He not advert to a new state of things?
        We have generally been of opinion that the destination of the former state
        of things was rather promised by the Creator, and exhibited in reality by
        Christ, only under the authority of one and the same God, to whom appertain
        both the old things and the new.

        "For new wine is not put into old bottles [5:37], except by one who has the
        old bottles; nor does anybody put a new piece to an old garment [5:36],
        unless the old garment be forthcoming to him. That person only does not do
        a thing when it is not to be done, who has the materials wherewithal to do it
        if it were to be done. And therefore, since His object in making the
        comparison was to show that He was separating the new condition of the
        gospel from the old state of the law, He proved that that from which He was
        separating His own ought not to have been branded as a separation of things
        which were alien to each other; for nobody ever unites his own things with
        things that are alien to them, in order that he may afterwards be able to
        separate them from the alien things."

        I do not see anything here to suggest that Tertullian knew v. 5:38b-39 in
        Luke, nor yet that Marcion had omitted it. Also, there is nothing in
        Epiphanius to indicate that he saw any difference between Marcion and
        Luke at this point. Or do you read Tertullian different here?

        David Inglis
        Lafayette, CA, 94549, USA

      • M.W. Grondin
        After reading Bruce s note, the natural first step was to compare the second portion of Th47 (i.e., 47.3-5 - the part having to do with old versus new) with
        Message 3 of 7 , Dec 30, 2010
          After reading Bruce's note, the natural first step was to compare the second
          portion of Th47 (i.e., 47.3-5 - the part having to do with old versus new)
          with the synoptic parallels. What was most striking to me was a seemingly
          systematic reversal of order between Thomas and the synoptics - both with
          respect to the three segments 47.3-5 and with respect to the order of "old"
          and "new" within those segments. Since this seemed to me to be of some
          importance, it was puzzling to be unable to find any mention of it in Valantasis
          or DeConick or Plisch - with the sole exception that Plisch did note that one
          segment had a reverse order between "old" and "new". Furthermore, none of
          them interpreted the "old" and "new" as referring specifically to Judaism and
          Christianity, as Tertullian did. Nor did they even mention it. The interpretations
          were rather along the generic lines of new versus old ways of thinking, which
          is no doubt correct, but scarcely illuminating of the ways this pericope was
          probably understood and used in early Christian history.
           
          The Synoptic version is as follows (#3 only in Luke):
          1. new cloth not used to patch old garment
          2. new wine not put into old wineskins
          3. new wine not drunk after old
           
          The Thomas version is significantly different:
          1. new wine not drunk immediately after old
          2a. new wine not put into old wineskins
          2b. old wine not put into new wineskins
          3. old cloth not used to patch new garment
           
          In the first place, I think that the word 'immediately' in the Thomas version marks
          a significant difference of viewpoint between it and Luke. If "old" is interpreted
          as Judaism, Luke (or his later redactor) seems resigned that the Jews (for the most
          part) aren't going to drink the "new wine" of Christianity. Thomas, however, seems
          to hold out hope that this can happen over time. (Not that this difference of viewpoint
          has anything to do with the relative chronology of GTh and GLk, but I think it's
          interesting nonetheless.)
           
          The second difference of viewpoint lies in Thomas' 2b and 3, wherein "new" and
          "old" are reversed from Luke's 2 and 3. If we again interpret this as being about
          Christianity and Judaism, the synoptics seemed to have been worried about attempts
          to forge a Christian-Judaism, whereas Thomas seemed to have been worried about
          attempts to forge a Judaistic-Christianity. In other words, it strikes me that the former
          warns that Christianity can't cling onto Judaism, whereas the latter warns that tenets
          of Judaism aren't applicable to Christianity. Or am I reading too much into it?
           
          Mike Grondin
        • E Bruce Brooks
          To: GThos In Response To: Mike G On: Lk 5:39 and Thos 47 From: Bruce Taking Mike s translations, and lining Th up with Lk, I get Lk1: new cloth not used to
          Message 4 of 7 , Dec 30, 2010
            To: GThos
            In Response To: Mike G
            On: Lk 5:39 and Thos 47
            From: Bruce
             
            Taking Mike's translations, and lining Th up with Lk, I get
             
            Lk1: new cloth not used to patch old garment ~ Th #3 (but reversed)
            Lk2: new wine not put into old wineskins ~  Th #2a
                                                                            Th 2b (reversed)
            Lk3: new wine not drunk after old ~ Th 1 not IMMEDIATELY after old
             
            Then Th is aware of Lk 5:39, which is not in Bezae or in Mark, and which contradicts the preceding verses, and which I have concluded is thus post-Marcionite.
             
            Then Th 47 is accessing Lk at a time when Lk contained 5:39, which to me means mid 2c. Th also removes or anyway softens the inconsistency, which is interesting in itself.
             
            As to just what Th means, and in what context, I leave that for the moment to others (though I agree with what I take to be Mike's impression, that Thomas commentators don't much bother with Synoptic angles; see rather Beare, from the Synoptic side; he DOES consider some Th aspects). My chronological take is as above. Is there a refutation?
             
            Bruce
             
          • M.W. Grondin
            Bruce et al, I notice that some mss of GLk do have the word immediately , according to DeConick. As to chronology, one of course can t date GosThos as a whole
            Message 5 of 7 , Dec 30, 2010
              Bruce et al,
               
              I notice that some mss of GLk do have the word 'immediately', according
              to DeConick. As to chronology, one of course can't date GosThos as a
              whole from the content of one saying, although DeConick puts the entirety
              of Th47 in her kernel (30-50 CE), which would mean that if 47.3 is later than
              that, then either the whole kernel is later or 47.3 shouldn't be in the kernel.
              Her take is this:
               
              "The Synoptics have phrases not found in Thomas (cf. 'the wine is lost,
              and so are the skins'; 'new wine is for fresh skins') and significant
              differences in the sequence of the words and phrases including inversions
              of parts of the saying. In my opinion, all of this points to a process of oral
              transmission that was originally independent of the Synoptics."
              (TOGTT, p.175)
               
              I'll just add that there's a certain terse symmetry to the Thomas version missing
              from the more verbose Synoptic that may have been conducive to memorization:
              47.3:      old wine  > new wine
              47.4a:    new wine > old wineskins
              47.4b:    old wine  > new wineskins
              47.5:      old patch > new garment
               
              Do we have any indication that Bezae is particularly good at preserving early
              readings, other than the one in question? If not, isn't it more likely a scribal slip
              or deliberate omission?
               
              Cheers,
              Mike
            • Rick Hubbard
              I ve been pondering this thread since Bruce s initial post and I m having a bit of a hard time getting my head around this dependency scenario (I suppose I
              Message 6 of 7 , Dec 30, 2010

                I’ve been pondering this thread since Bruce’s initial post and I’m having a bit of a hard time getting my head around this “dependency” scenario (I suppose I eventually could be persuaded).

                 

                That L 47:3 is “dependent” on Lk 5:39 is indeed a possibility. However, as DeConick (OGTT, 175) points out, that is not a majority consensus. Setting aside the conjecture that 47:3 was “welded” to 47:4 in the oral sphere, the question that looks for an answer is, why, if Thomas used Lk, was the position of 5:39 in its relation to Lk 5:37-38 reversed? Also, what does one make of the appearance in Thomas of key elements not found in Lk (and //)?

                 

                Using Mark’s arrangement as the initial point of comparison, I see the elements of these pericopae in this way:

                 

                Mark:

                [1] No one puts new wine into old wineskins

                <If they do>:

                [2] New wine will wreck seasoned skins;

                [3] New wine will be wasted;

                {4} New wine is for fresh skins.

                 

                Matt:

                [1] No one puts new wine into old wineskins

                <If they do>:

                [3] New wine will be wasted;

                [2] New wine will wreck seasoned skins;

                {4} New wine is for fresh skins

                [* ] New wine in fresh skins saves both the (new) wine and the (old) wineskin (Unique to Matt).

                 

                Luke:

                [1] No one puts new wine into old wineskins

                <If they do>:

                [3] New wine will be wasted;

                [2] New wine will wreck seasoned skins;

                {4} New wine is for fresh skins.

                [**] “No one after drinking old wine desires new” (shared by Luke and Thom)

                 

                Thom:

                [**] “No one after drinking old wine desires new”.

                [1] New (un-aged) wine is not put in old wineskins

                <If it is>:

                [3] New wine will be wasted;

                [2] New wine will wreck seasoned skins;

                [***] Aged wine is not put into fresh skins (Unique to Thom)

                <if it is>:

                [****] The old skin will spoil the new wine. (Unique to Thom)

                 

                Summary:

                Mark: [1],[2],[3],[4]

                Matt:  [1],[3],[2],[4], [*]

                Luke: [1],[3],[2],[4], [**]

                Thom: [**], [1],[3],[2],[***], [****]

                 

                I suppose there are other ways, too, at looking at these arrangements of the elements- this is one way.

                 

                Rick Hubbard

                (temporarily encamped in Dennistown Plantation, Maine, 16 miles from the Canadian border and where there are more inches of snow than there are people)

                 

                 

              • E Bruce Brooks
                To: GThos In Response To: Rick From: Bruce RICK: That L 47:3 is dependent on Lk 5:39 is indeed a possibility. However, as DeConick (OGTT, 175) points out,
                Message 7 of 7 , Dec 31, 2010
                  To: GThos
                  In Response To: Rick
                  From: Bruce
                   
                  RICK: That L 47:3 is “dependent” on Lk 5:39 is indeed a possibility. However, as DeConick (OGTT, 175) points out, that is not a majority consensus.
                   
                  BRUCE: Suits me.
                   
                  RICK: Setting aside the conjecture that 47:3 was “welded” to 47:4 in the oral sphere, the question that looks for an answer is, why, if Thomas used Lk, was the position of 5:39 in its relation to Lk 5:37-38 reversed? Also, what does one make of the appearance in Thomas of key elements not found in Lk (and //)?

                  BRUCE: Two questions, two answers. (1) On present assumptions, Thos is using Luke, but in ways of its own (Thomas is not a failed scribal copy of Lk). Lk reorders lots of things in his Markan source; so for that matter does Matthew. Barnabas drastically reorders the pieces of the Two Ways document in adding it to the end of his sermon. They do these things for reasons of their own, which I won't here attempt to specify. Why should Thomas not do the same? (2) Thomas has things to say about the world, he is not just making an anthology of Mt/Lk. That he adds to Mt/Lk is just as natural as that Mt or Lk in their turn should have added a ton of things to Mk.

                  What is the default presumption here? That Thos is some kind of copyist? I don't find it tenable. I think that Thos has something to say, and has chosen Late Synoptic bits and pieces as an effective way of saying part of it. The rest he says with invented sayings. Exactly the relation of Luke to Mark, once one comes to think of it.

                  RICK: Using Mark’s arrangement as the initial point of comparison, I see the elements of these pericopae in this way:

                  BRUCE: Since Mark's arrangment does not include the disturbing element of Lk 5:39, I have to wonder how relevant this is. Rick has considered in detail the Synoptic counterparts of Thos. I know this because he has shared with me the chart of them. Is there any one of those situations in which the Markan form is the only one which has a detail also present in the Thomas form? That is, (if Thomas is late), any unambiguous case where Thomas is seeing Mark rather than one of the later Synoptics? If so, please specify; it would be important information for me. If not, why use Mark in this case? But let's proceed anyway.

                  RICK:  

                  Mark: [1] No one puts new wine into old wineskins <If they do>: [2] New wine will wreck seasoned skins; [3] New wine will be wasted; {4} New wine is for fresh skins.

                  Matt: [1] No one puts new wine into old wineskins <If they do> : [3] New wine will be wasted; [2] New wine will wreck seasoned skins; {4} New wine is for fresh skins

                  [* ] New wine in fresh skins saves both the (new) wine and the (old) wineskin (Unique to Matt).

                   Luke: [1] No one puts new wine into old wineskins <If they do>: [3] New wine will be wasted; [2] New wine will wreck seasoned skins; {4} New wine is for fresh skins.

                  [**] “No one after drinking old wine desires new” (shared by Luke and Thom)

                   Thom: [**] “No one after drinking old wine desires new”. [1] New (un-aged) wine is not put in old wineskins <If it is>: [3] New wine will be wasted; [2] New wine will wreck seasoned skins; [***] Aged wine is not put into fresh skins (! Unique to Thom) <if it is>: [****] The old skin will spoil the new wine. (Unique to Thom)

                  BRUCE: But my point, or anyway my point of interest, is precisely that the idea in question (however it is expressed precisely) is NOT unique to Thos, it is also present in a line unique to Luke, namely Lk 5:39.

                  RICK:   Summary:

                  Mark: [1],[2],[3],[4]

                  Matt:  [1],[3],[2],[4], [*]

                  Luke: [1],[3],[2],[4], [**]

                  Thom: [**], [1],[3],[2],[***], [****]

                  I suppose there are other ways, too, at looking at these arrangements of the elements- this is one way.

                   
                  BRUCE: Thanks for the diagrams, that makes the structure very clear. What I get from them is that the order of elements in Mt/Lk departs in a shared way from that in Mk (another of the pesky Minor Agreements). Then Thos is closer to Mt/Lk than to Mk, which for this passage answers my previous question. Bottom line: Thos is contacting the Synoptics, or they him, at the Second Tier level, not at the First Tier or Markan level.
                   
                  But more specifically, the connection with the Second Tier Gospels is with Luke and not with Matthew. If memory serves, the contact noticed by Mark Goodacre several years ago was also between Thomas and Luke. Are we getting a pattern here?
                   
                  Bruce
                   
                  E Bruce Brooks
                  Warring States Project
                  University of Massachusetts at Amherst
                   
                Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.