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RE: [GTh] Re: On the Net

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  • Rick Hubbard
    Hi Mike- You have keyed in on something that I have been interested in for the last couple of years; namely the way that popular culture responds to the
    Message 1 of 19 , Feb 14, 2011
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      Hi Mike-

       

      You have keyed in on something that I have been interested in for the last couple of years; namely the way that “popular culture” responds to the Gospel of Thomas. As you, I have my “Google Alerts” thingy set to monitor remarks made on the web containing the phrase “gospel of Thomas.” The range of relevancy of these hits to my own interest ranges from close to distant, with the majority falling in the latter category. Nevertheless, I am fascinated by the “presence” Thomas seems to impose on contemporary sensibilities.

       

      As a rule, I do not trade in broad generalizations, but it seems to me that remarks about GosThom emanate from 5 categories of web-commentators: A) the lunatic fringe, B) Christian apologists bent on defending canonical scriptures, C) refugees from failed (discredited) religious traditions who are looking desperately for a replacement religion, D) the bored and uniformed just looking for something to jabber about, or, E) folks who have an general interest in the artifacts pertaining to historical development of ideologies. I have no statistics to back up the following assertion; however I would wager that categories A and E are a small minority. Category D is the next smallest group while probably more than two-thirds of the remaining commentators fall into either category B or C.

       

      Behind all this speculative taxonomy, however, lurks two legitimate questions: First, what were the motives of the folks who conserved the Gospel of Thomas and, second, how might one describe those for whom the Gospel of Thomas was resonant?

       

      Rick Hubbard

       

       

       

       

      From: gthomas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:gthomas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of M.W. Grondin
      Sent: Monday, February 14, 2011 3:12 PM
      To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [GTh] Re: On the Net

       

       

      I had been thinking lately about mentioning the several times that I've seen

      GosThom confused with the Infancy Gospel of Thomas on the net. By

      serendipitous happenstance, Google Alerts informs me of such a case today.

      Again, it's on Yahoo Answers, this time the question being as follows:

       

      > What does the gospel of Thomas talk about? Is there anything about

      > the apocalypse?

       

      Among the gaggle of goofy and self-serving answers, one was this:

       

      > Jesus as a young boy. He kills one of his friends by pushing him off a roof.

       

      Obviously, this is a reference to the Infancy Gospel. I'm not even sure why

      the name of Thomas was associated with it, but that has apparently caused

      endless confusion both ancient and modern. Again, I felt compelled to add

      my two cents, to wit:

       

      > Although it's often said that GosThom has nothing apocalyptic in it, there are sayings

      > that seem so. One is that "This heaven will pass away, and the one above it will pass

      > away." There is, however, nothing about the death of Jesus, nor it having any atoning

      > effect. GosThom concentrates on what might be called the "ever-living" Jesus, and how

      > disciples should live. Nor is GosThom to be confused (as one writer here does) with the

      > Infancy Gospel of Thomas, which is something completely different.

       

      Mike G.

    • David C Hindley
      Mike, It is because in the Ante Nicene Fathers series, in the introduction to the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, it is identified as the Gospel of Thomas mentioned
      Message 2 of 19 , Feb 14, 2011
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        Mike,
         
        It is because in the Ante Nicene Fathers series, in the introduction to the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, it is identified as the Gospel of Thomas mentioned by Church fathers in spite of the fact the IGT does not contain the saying the fathers attribute to it (which is, of course, from GOT).
         
        It may mean the hapless soul who wrote that post though he had it all figured out, without having to step too deep in the pool. I see it as a case where a Christian has read beyond the BIble. Baby steps, Mike, someday leads to great strides.
         
        Respectfully,

        Dave Hindley
        Newton Falls, Ohio USA

         


        From: gthomas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:gthomas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of M.W. Grondin
        Sent: Monday, February 14, 2011 3:12 PM
        To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [GTh] Re: On the Net

        I had been thinking lately about mentioning the several times that I've seen
        GosThom confused with the Infancy Gospel of Thomas on the net. By
        serendipitous happenstance, Google Alerts informs me of such a case today.
        Again, it's on Yahoo Answers, this time the question being as follows:
         
        > What does the gospel of Thomas talk about? Is there anything
        about
        > the apocalypse?
         
        Among the gaggle of goofy and self-serving answers, one was this:
         
        > Jesus as a young boy. He kills one of his friends by pushing him off a
        roof.
         
        Obviously, this is a reference to the Infancy Gospel. I'm not even sure why
        the name of Thomas was associated with it, but that has apparently caused
        endless confusion both ancient and modern. Again, I felt compelled to add
        my two cents, to wit:
         
        >
        style="WIDOWS: 2; TEXT-TRANSFORM: none; TEXT-INDENT: 0px; BORDER-COLLAPSE: separate; FONT: medium 'Times New Roman'; WHITE-SPACE: normal; ORPHANS: 2; LETTER-SPACING: normal; COLOR: rgb(0,0,0); WORD-SPACING: 0px; -webkit-border-horizontal-spacing: 0px; -webkit-border-vertical-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-decorations-in-effect: none; -webkit-text-size-adjust: auto; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px" class=Apple-style-span>Although it's often said that GosThom has nothing apocalyptic in it, there are sayings
        > that seem so. One is that "This heaven will pass away, and the one above it will pass
        > away." There is, however, nothing about the death of Jesus, nor it having any atoning
        > effect. GosThom concentrates on what might be called the "ever-living" Jesus, and how
        > disciples should live. Nor is GosThom to be confused (as one writer here does) with the
        > Infancy Gospel of Thomas, which is something completely different.
         
        Mike G.
      • M.W. Grondin
        ... I didn t know that, Dave, but still the name Thomas must have been in the original title, right? Why do you suppose that was? Mike
        Message 3 of 19 , Feb 14, 2011
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          > It is because in the Ante Nicene Fathers series, in the introduction to
          > the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, it is identified as the Gospel of Thomas
          > mentioned by Church fathers ...

          I didn't know that, Dave, but still the name 'Thomas' must have been in the
          original title, right? Why do you suppose that was?

          Mike
        • Bob Schacht
          ... Original title? When did these things get their titles? Did these titles start out as descriptive phrases in other letters, which came to be attached to
          Message 4 of 19 , Feb 14, 2011
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            At 08:47 PM 2/14/2011, M.W. Grondin wrote:
            > It is because in the Ante Nicene Fathers series, in the introduction to
            > the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, it is identified as the Gospel of Thomas
            > mentioned by Church fathers ...

            I didn't know that, Dave, but still the name 'Thomas' must have been in the
            original title, right? Why do you suppose that was?

            Original title? When did these things get their titles?

            Did these "titles" start out as descriptive phrases in other letters, which came to be attached to the originals as titles?

            For example, I can imagine Timothy or someone else referring to "the letter of Paul to the Corinthians" as a purely descriptive phrase,  which then got picked up and used by others as a term of reference, even if there was more than one letter, which then became a title.  But could there be an analogous process for gospels?
            How did that process work?

            Bob Schacht
            Northern Arizona University
          • Gnostradamus
            Hello Mike, Excuse me for jumping in here. The intro might have something to do with it.
            Message 5 of 19 , Feb 15, 2011
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              Hello Mike,

              Excuse me for jumping in here. The intro might have something to do with it.

              http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/infancythomas-a-mrjames.html

              The stories of Thomas the Israelite, the Philosopher, concerning the works of the Childhood of the Lord.

              I. I, Thomas the Israelite, tell unto you, even all the brethren that are of the Gentiles, to make known unto you the works of the childhood of our Lord Jesus Christ and his mighty deeds, even all that he did when he was born in our land: whereof the beginning is thus:

              James

              --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "M.W. Grondin" <mwgrondin@...> wrote:
              >
              > > It is because in the Ante Nicene Fathers series, in the introduction to
              > > the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, it is identified as the Gospel of Thomas
              > > mentioned by Church fathers ...
              >
              > I didn't know that, Dave, but still the name 'Thomas' must have been in the
              > original title, right? Why do you suppose that was?
              >
              > Mike
              >
            • M.W. Grondin
              Thanks, James. That s what I get for not doing my homework. I was generally acquainted with the contents of IGT, but obviously didn t recall the intro. In
              Message 6 of 19 , Feb 15, 2011
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                Thanks, James. That's what I get for not doing my homework. I was generally
                acquainted with the contents of IGT, but obviously didn't recall the intro. In fact,
                the intros to the various versions are remarkably diverse, as shown on:
                 
                 
                I have to say that, to my mind, this is a thoroughly loathsome work (hence,
                perhaps, my reluctance to revisit it). How a Christian could have thought that
                he was doing Jesus any great favor by presenting him as an arrogant little snot
                is beyond me.
                 
                In more pleasant news, Chris Skinner has started blogging again. I'm not sure
                whether his workload will permit much activity, but today he discusses three
                reviews of the John-Thomas book we discussed here when it first came out:
                 
                 
                One of the three reviews (the least favorable one) was by Steve Davies.
                Sure would like to read that, but unfortunately, none of the reviews appear
                to be available online.
                 
                Best to all,
                Mike G.
              • sarban
                ... From: M.W. Grondin To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com Sent: Tuesday, February 15, 2011 3:47 AM Subject: Re: [GTh] Re: On the Net ... I didn t know that, Dave, but
                Message 7 of 19 , Feb 15, 2011
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                  ----- Original Message -----
                  Sent: Tuesday, February 15, 2011 3:47 AM
                  Subject: Re: [GTh] Re: On the Net

                   

                  > It is because in the Ante Nicene Fathers series, in the introduction to
                  > the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, it is identified as the Gospel of Thomas
                  > mentioned by Church fathers ...

                  I didn't know that, Dave, but still the name 'Thomas' must have been in the
                  original title, right? Why do you suppose that was?

                  Mike

                  Hi Mike
                   
                  It seems likely that the Infancy Gospel was not originally supposed to have been written by Thomas.
                  In some manuscripts and versions there is no named author and in one important manuscript the work
                  is attributed to James.
                   
                  This still leaves the puzzle as to why the work was eventually attributed to Thomas.
                   
                  Andrew Criddle

                • Stephen Carlson
                  ... As far as I m aware, the attribution to Thomas (and its line mentioning Thomas the Israelite) are later additions to the text, sometime between the sixth
                  Message 8 of 19 , Feb 15, 2011
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                    On Mon, Feb 14, 2011 at 10:47 PM, M.W. Grondin <mwgrondin@...> wrote:

                    > It is because in the Ante Nicene Fathers series, in the introduction to
                    > the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, it is identified as the Gospel of Thomas
                    > mentioned by Church fathers ...

                    I didn't know that, Dave, but still the name 'Thomas' must have been in the
                    original title, right? Why do you suppose that was?


                    As far as I'm aware, the attribution to Thomas (and its line mentioning Thomas the Israelite) are later additions to the text, sometime between the sixth and ninth centuries.  Earlier versions don't have that.

                    Stephen
                    --
                    Stephen C. Carlson
                    Graduate Program in Religion
                    Duke University
                  • David C Hindley
                    James & Mike, Don t know why, but Mike s reply never ended in my in-box. The introduction I speak of was that of the translator, Alexander Walker, on page 352
                    Message 9 of 19 , Feb 15, 2011
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                      James & Mike,

                      Don't know why, but Mike's reply never ended in my in-box.

                      The introduction I speak of was that of the translator, Alexander Walker, on
                      page 352 of ANF volume VIII:

                      "The Gospel of Thomas. - Like the Protoevangelium of James, the Gospel of Thomas
                      is of undoubted antiquity. It is mentioned by name by Origen(1), quoted by
                      Irenaeus(2) and the author of the Philosphumena(3), who says that it was used by
                      the Nachashenes, a Gnostic sect of the second century. Cyril of Jerusalem (d.
                      386) attributes the authorship not to the apostle, but to a Thomas who was of
                      the three disciples of Manes (4). This fact, of course, indicates that Cyril
                      knew nothing of the antiquity of the book he was speaking of. This Manichaean
                      origin has been adopted by many writers, of whom the best known are in recent
                      times R. Simon and Mingarelli.

                      [A discussion about the two Greek forms and a Latin translation are omitted
                      here]

                      It seems pretty clear, from the contents of the book, that its author was a
                      Gnostic, a Docetist, and a Marcosian; and it was held in estimation by the
                      Nachashenes and the Manichaeans. Its bearing upon Christian art(5), and to some
                      extent, Christian dogma, is well know." (Numbered footnotes were added by me)

                      (1) Origen, Luc. hom. I, where it is assigned along with Gospel of Matthias
                      among the heterodox gospels
                      (2) Irenaeus, Adv. haer. 1.20.1, quotes the Infancy Gospel ch 6 where the child
                      Jesus converses with his teacher Zacchaeus. He says the Marcosian sect, a
                      subsect of the Valentinian school, included it among their sacred scriptures.
                      (3) Hippolytus, Ref. V 7.20, mentions it in connection with Naassenes and quotes
                      from a text resembling the Coptic GOT.
                      (4) Cyril of Jerusalem, Cat. IV 36 & VI 31.
                      (5) Giving life to the clay bird
                      Footnotes 1,3,4 from Beate Blatz, "The Coptic Gospel of Thomas", in the E.T. of
                      Schneemelcher's _NT Apocrypha_, vol. 1, revised ed. Footnote 2 is from _An
                      introduction to the New Testament Apocrypha_ By F. Lapham, page 129.

                      Aside from the story of Jesus' alphabet lesson preserved in Irenaeus, and the
                      allusion to the clay bird coming alive in Christian art, all the other citations
                      probably refer to the GOT revered by the present list. How Walker and his
                      comrades could seriously think that the silly collection of stories was
                      composed/revered by Naassenes, Marcosian Valentinians and the Manichaeans is
                      beyond me.

                      However, I do seriously believe the OP references a person who had read the
                      "Gospel of Thomas" of the ANF volume, and did not realize the initial question
                      he was responding to was about the Coptic GOT, or did not know what the Coptic
                      GOT was.

                      Respectfully,

                      Dave Hindley
                      Newton Falls, Ohio USA



                      -----Original Message-----
                      From: gthomas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:gthomas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
                      Gnostradamus
                      Sent: Tuesday, February 15, 2011 8:43 AM
                      To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: [GTh] Re: On the Net

                      Hello Mike,

                      Excuse me for jumping in here. The intro might have something to do with it.

                      http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/infancythomas-a-mrjames.html

                      The stories of Thomas the Israelite, the Philosopher, concerning the works of
                      the Childhood of the Lord.

                      I. I, Thomas the Israelite, tell unto you, even all the brethren that are of the
                      Gentiles, to make known unto you the works of the childhood of our Lord Jesus
                      Christ and his mighty deeds, even all that he did when he was born in our land:
                      whereof the beginning is thus:

                      James

                      --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "M.W. Grondin" <mwgrondin@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > > It is because in the Ante Nicene Fathers series, in the introduction
                      > > to the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, it is identified as the Gospel of
                      > > Thomas mentioned by Church fathers ...
                      >
                      > I didn't know that, Dave, but still the name 'Thomas' must have been
                      > in the original title, right? Why do you suppose that was?
                      >
                      > Mike
                      >




                      ------------------------------------

                      Gospel of Thomas Homepage: http://home.epix.net/~miser17/Thomas.html
                      Coptic-English translation: http://www.gospel-thomas.net/x_transl.htm
                      Related Biblioblogs:
                      PEJE IESOUS (Chris Skinner) http://pejeiesous.com Judy's Research Blog (Judy
                      Redman) http://judyredman.wordpress.com The Forbidden Gospels (April DeConick)
                      http://forbiddengospels.blogspot.com
                      ------------------------------------
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                    • M.W. Grondin
                      Hi Bob, I agree with your comments about titles. I didn t mean to imply that the first ms of IGT had a title on it. What I was trying to say was that some mss
                      Message 10 of 19 , Feb 16, 2011
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                        Hi Bob,
                         
                        I agree with your comments about titles. I didn't mean to imply that the first
                        ms of IGT had a title on it. What I was trying to say was that some mss of
                        IGT must have had that title.
                         
                        I'm reminded of the Gospel of Philip. Why was it given that name? True enough,
                        Philip is mentioned in it, but only once, and even that in a very minor role. So
                        I think that the original authors didn't name their work after him, and if not that,
                        then probably nothing at all. But texts have to have names, else how can other
                        folks refer to them? So my guess is that an untitled condition couldn't last long.
                         
                        Mike
                      • M.W. Grondin
                        Thanks to Stephen and Andrew for responding to the question I posed about IGT. I d be interested to know of sources. One that I found on the net is
                        Message 11 of 19 , Feb 17, 2011
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                          Thanks to Stephen and Andrew for responding to the question I posed
                          about IGT. I'd be interested to know of sources. One that I found on the
                          net is particularly good, so I'm passing it along. Tony Burke, who runs a
                          blog called 'Apocryphicity', wrote his Ph.D. thesis in 2001 on IGT. The
                          thesis (400+ pages) and other info about IGT is available at:
                           
                           
                          In his thesis, Burke writes (p.4):
                          > ... the  true  title  is  ... "The
                          Childhood  Deeds  of  the  Lord  Jesus."
                           
                          I haven't delved into Burke's thesis deeply enough to see whether he says
                          anything about any of the mss being untitled, or not containing a reference
                          to Thomas. Perhaps someone else has the time to do that and can quote
                          the relevant portion of Burke's thesis, or any other source, for that matter.
                           
                          Mike
                        • Stephen Carlson
                          ... My source is: Tony Chartrand-Burke, “The Greek Manuscript Tradition of the Infancy Gospel of Thomas,” Apocrypha 14 (2004): 129-151, at 144. Stephen --
                          Message 12 of 19 , Feb 17, 2011
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                            On Thu, Feb 17, 2011 at 3:00 PM, M.W. Grondin <mwgrondin@...> wrote:

                            Thanks to Stephen and Andrew for responding to the question I posed
                            about IGT. I'd be interested to know of sources.

                            My source is:

                            Tony Chartrand-Burke, “The Greek Manuscript Tradition of the Infancy Gospel of Thomas,” Apocrypha 14 (2004): 129-151, at 144.

                            Stephen
                            --
                            Stephen C. Carlson
                            Graduate Program in Religion
                            Duke University
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