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[GTh] Re: "Kingdom of heaven" in Thomas

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  • smithandp
    Hi Mark, That s an excellent point about the Coptic priority fallacy. However the divergence between P.Oxy. 1 and Coptic Thomas 27 underlines that, whether
    Message 1 of 19 , May 24 2:56 AM
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      Hi Mark,

      That's an excellent point about the Coptic priority fallacy. However the divergence between P.Oxy. 1 and Coptic Thomas 27 underlines that, whether "kingdom of Heaven" or "kingdom of the Father" was more original to Thomas 27, there's textual corruption in Thomas and hence we have the complication of knowledge of the synoptics, or other factors, influencing a scribe at the stage of translation or elsewhere in transmission. A "kingdom of Heaven" version of the parable of the mustard seed seems more memorable to me because of the birds of Heaven in the branches of the mustard tree, even if "Heaven" is plural in the former and singular in the latter in both Greek and Coptic.


      I've always felt that Thomas is at a disadvantage as a Johnny-come-lately to the game. There's an awful lot of scholarship about synoptic relationships and dating, forming a relative consensus, but relatively little about Thomas, and no consensus. So Thomas scholarship has to fit itself around the synoptics. For instance, in commenting that "kingdom of Heaven" is "is in Matthew alone in the early Christian tradition" you've already ruled out the possibility of Thomas's use of it preceding Matthew's or even being more or less contemporaneous and independent.

      "Kingdom of Heaven" occurs in the Mishnah, and is attributed to Gamaliel, a first century figure. Unless you want to propose that later rabbinical use of "kingdom of Heaven" derives from Christian usage, and hence from the Gospel of Matthew (which is obviously a possibility) or that later rabbis came up with it independently (which they may have) you have to allow that the phrase may have been circulating in pharisaic/rabbinical circles in the first century, from whence Matthew may have appropriated it, and Thomas too.

      Best Wishes,

      Andrew

      --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, Mark Goodacre <Goodacre@...> wrote:
      >
      > Hi Andrew,
      >
      > Thanks for your helpful comments. I agree that Thom. 54 is a little closer
      > to Luke in the main. I argued in Case Against Q that Thomas is familiar
      > with the Lucan version. I must admit that at that time I had not seen so
      > clearly that Luke might also be influenced by the Matthean version too. I
      > also agree that there are elements with parallels to Luke and Mark in Thom.
      > 20.
      >
      > I think there is a tendency, though, to play down "kingdom of heaven" as a
      > Mattheanism. It is in Matthew alone in the early Christian tradition -- not
      > in Paul, not in Hebrews or Revelation. In Christian works, it only starts
      > to come in in the second century, in Justin Martyr and the
      > Pseudo-Clementinesm perhaps under the influence of Matthew. Although it is
      > often stated that Matthew might have taken this over from Jewish tradition,
      > the phrase is in fact absent from the Old Testament, the apocrypha, the
      > Pseudepigrapha, the Dead Sea Scrolls and so on. Our first known usage of it
      > is in Matthew's Gospel, where it occurs 32 times, frequently in redactional
      > changes to Mark.
      >
      > Patterson's suggestion that Thomas avoids "kingdom of God" language is a
      > symptom of what one might call the Coptic priority fallacy. P.Oxy. 1 (Thom.
      > 27) has kingdom of God, and P.Oxy. 654 (Thom. 3) may have it too. And even
      > if Thomas is trying to avoid "kingdom of God", there are plenty of other
      > options that he uses elsewhere, kingdom, kingdom of the father etc.
      >
      > Cheers
      > Mark
      > --
      > Mark Goodacre
      > Duke University
      > Department of Religion
      > Gray Building / Box 90964
      > Durham, NC 27708-0964 USA
      > Phone: 919-660-3503 Fax: 919-660-3530
      >
      > http://www.markgoodacre.org
      >
    • M.W. Grondin
      Hi Mark, Andrew, et al: I ve enjoyed reading this discussion. The only thing I would have to add is that to my mind the reference to Matthew in Th13 appears to
      Message 2 of 19 , May 24 12:46 PM
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        Hi Mark, Andrew, et al:
        I've enjoyed reading this discussion. The only thing I would have to add is that to
        my mind the reference to Matthew in Th13 appears to indicate that at some point in
        its development, GTh became aware of GMt at some point in its development. Others
        may wish to push the point further, but beyond that the evidence seems inconclusive.
         
        A couple of points in Andrew's notes:
        > ... the divergence between P.Oxy. 1 and Coptic Thomas 27 underlines
        that, whether
        > "kingdom of Heaven" or "kingdom of the Father" was more original
        to Thomas 27...
         
        I think you meant L20 (as immediately preceding remarks indicate). L27 has neither of
        the phrases in question.
         
        > A "kingdom of Heaven" version of the parable of the mustard seed
        seems more memorable
        > to me because of the birds of Heaven in the branches of the
        mustard tree, even if "Heaven"
        > is plural in the former and singular in the latter in both Greek
        and Coptic.
         
        Not sure what 'former' and 'latter' are in this context, but the Coptic text uses the plural
        'kingdom of the heavens' in all three occurrences. I seem to recall someone saying that
        GMt uses the plural also, but I can't locate that at the moment.
         
        Also: CGTh doesn't avoid 'god' completely. See http://www.gospel-thomas.net/htmfiles/god.htm
        Best,
        Mike G.
      • smithandp
        ... No, it was the right reference, pointed out originally by Mark, but I glanced at Valantasis translation which glosses it as the
        Message 3 of 19 , May 24 1:22 PM
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          --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "M.W. Grondin" <mwgrondin@...> wrote:

          >
          > A couple of points in Andrew's notes:
          > > ... the divergence between P.Oxy. 1 and Coptic Thomas 27 underlines that, whether
          > > "kingdom of Heaven" or "kingdom of the Father" was more original to Thomas 27...
          >
          > I think you meant L20 (as immediately preceding remarks indicate). L27 has neither of
          > the phrases in question.

          No, it was the right reference, pointed out originally by Mark, but I glanced at Valantasis' translation which glosses it as "the <father's domain", and assumed that "<father>" was a lacuna, but as you point out isn't in Coptic Thomas 27. The pOxy 1 version has "kingdom of God".

          >
          > > A "kingdom of Heaven" version of the parable of the mustard seed seems more memorable
          > > to me because of the birds of Heaven in the branches of the mustard tree, even if "Heaven"
          > > is plural in the former and singular in the latter in both Greek and Coptic.
          >
          > Not sure what 'former' and 'latter' are in this context, but the Coptic text uses the plural
          > 'kingdom of the heavens' in all three occurrences. I seem to recall someone saying that
          > GMt uses the plural also, but I can't locate that at the moment.
          > Ref: http://www.gospel-thomas.net/htmfiles/kingdom.htm
          >

          By latter I meant "heaven/sky" in "the birds of the sky/heaven". I was suggesting that the reference to Heaven in "birds of heaven/sky" might have prompted the "kingdom of Heaven" usage at the beginning.
          > Also: CGTh doesn't avoid 'god' completely. See http://www.gospel-thomas.net/htmfiles/god.htm

          Good point, particularly in Thom 100. These fellas are never consistent! I love the way that in the parable of the two sons, Matt 21:28–32, which is special Matthew, Matthew uses "kingdom of God" not "kingdom of Heaven".

          Best Wishes,

          Andrew

          > Best,
          > Mike G.
          >
        • Mark Goodacre
          ... Thanks, Andrew. On Logion 27, the choice we have is Kingdom vs. Kingdom of God, but I take the general point about being aware of issue of textual
          Message 4 of 19 , May 24 8:59 PM
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            On 24 May 2011 05:56, smithandp <andrew@...> wrote:

            > That's an excellent point about the Coptic priority fallacy. However the divergence between P.Oxy. 1 and Coptic Thomas 27 underlines that, whether "kingdom of Heaven" or "kingdom of the Father" was more original to Thomas 27, there's textual corruption in Thomas and hence we have the complication of knowledge of the synoptics, or other factors, influencing a scribe at the stage of translation or elsewhere in transmission. A "kingdom of Heaven" version of the parable of the mustard seed seems more memorable to me because of the birds of Heaven in the branches of the mustard tree, even if "Heaven" is plural in the former and singular in the latter in both Greek and Coptic.

            Thanks, Andrew. On Logion 27, the choice we have is Kingdom vs.
            Kingdom of God, but I take the general point about being aware of
            issue of textual corruption. Of course textual corruption could occur
            in both away from as well as towards the Synoptic texts, though, so it
            does not help us a great deal in speculating about what may have been
            present in the now non-extant witnesses. You make a good point about
            the Kingdom of the heavens / birds of the sky, a link also present in
            Matthew.

            > I've always felt that Thomas is at a disadvantage as a Johnny-come-lately to the game. There's an awful lot of scholarship about synoptic relationships and dating, forming a relative consensus, but relatively little about Thomas, and no consensus. So Thomas scholarship has to fit itself around the synoptics. For instance, in commenting that "kingdom of Heaven" is "is in Matthew alone in the early Christian tradition" you've already ruled out the possibility of Thomas's use of it preceding Matthew's or even being more or less contemporaneous and independent.

            The point you make is an extension of the general point about
            canonical bias and it is well taken. However, I think it's easy to
            underestimate just how pervasive a concept kingdom of heaven is in
            Matthew -- it's driven all the way through Matthew and seems to be a
            key element in the evangelist's thought. Given the absence of the
            term in other early Christian texts, it seems more likely, on balance,
            that the flow is from Matthew to Thomas and not vice versa.

            > "Kingdom of Heaven" occurs in the Mishnah, and is attributed to Gamaliel, a first century figure. Unless you want to propose that later rabbinical use of "kingdom of Heaven" derives from Christian usage, and hence from the Gospel of Matthew (which is obviously a possibility) or that later rabbis came up with it independently (which they may have) you have to allow that the phrase may have been circulating in pharisaic/rabbinical circles in the first century, from whence Matthew may have appropriated it, and Thomas too.

            Good points. Few creations are truly ex nihilo, though, and even if
            the Mishnah witnesses to precedents for the usage of the term, we
            still have to reckon with the theme as a pervasive Matthean
            redactional interest.

            All best
            Mark
            --
            Mark Goodacre
            Duke University
            Department of Religion
            Gray Building / Box 90964
            Durham, NC 27708-0964    USA
            Phone: 919-660-3503        Fax: 919-660-3530

            http://www.markgoodacre.org
          • Mark Goodacre
            Thanks, Mike. Yes, Matthew s usage is always plural -- kingdom of the heavens. The fact that he does often have God in his gospel urges caution about the
            Message 5 of 19 , May 24 9:02 PM
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              Thanks, Mike.  Yes, Matthew's usage is always plural -- kingdom of the heavens.  The fact that he does often have "God" in his gospel urges caution about the traditional argument that Matthew uses "kingdom of the heavens" as a reverential circumlocution for "kingdom of God".  There's an excellent study of the issue in Matthew by Jonathan Pennington, _Heaven and Earth_, which I found informative.  All best, Mark
              --
              Mark Goodacre           
              Duke University
              Department of Religion
              Gray Building / Box 90964
              Durham, NC 27708-0964    USA
              Phone: 919-660-3503        Fax: 919-660-3530

              http://www.markgoodacre.org


            • M.W. Grondin
              ... I see that Valantasis used the so-called Scholar s Version , which of course was the creation of Meyer and Patterson within the Jesus Seminar. Valantasis
              Message 6 of 19 , May 24 9:35 PM
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                [Andrew S.]:
                > ... I glanced at Valantasis' translation which glosses it as "the
                <father's> domain",
                > and assumed that "<father>" was a lacuna, but as you point
                out [it] isn't in Coptic
                > Thomas 27. The pOxy 1 version has "kingdom of God".
                 
                I see that Valantasis used the so-called "Scholar's Version", which of course
                was the creation of Meyer and Patterson within the Jesus Seminar. Valantasis
                explains the pointed brackets as indicating "a word implied in the original language
                and supplied by the translators of the Scholars Version".
                 
                Of course, if the JSem had used the word 'kingdom', there would have been no need
                for adding "<Father's>". But since they used the unfamilar language of 'domain' (or
                'imperial rule') instead of 'kingdom', they then had to add something to the unfamiliar
                locutions to make sense of them when they appear in the subject texts without a qualifier. 
                So in all 12 cases where the Coptic text has simply 'kingdom', the SV (and hence Valantasis)
                has either '<Father's> domain' or '<Father's> imperial rule'. Pretty ugly, IMO - and in
                this case (where we're interested in the exact wording), downright misleading.
                 
                Best wishes,
                Mike G.
              • sarban
                ... From: M.W. Grondin To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com Sent: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 8:46 PM Subject: Re: [GTh] Re: Kingdom of heaven in Thomas Hi Mark, Andrew, et
                Message 7 of 19 , May 25 12:32 PM
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                  ----- Original Message -----
                  Sent: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 8:46 PM
                  Subject: Re: [GTh] Re: "Kingdom of heaven" in Thomas

                   

                  Hi Mark, Andrew, et al:
                  I've enjoyed reading this discussion.
                   
                  <SNIP>
                   
                   
                  Also: CGTh doesn't avoid 'god' completely. See http://www.gospel-thomas.net/htmfiles/god.htm
                  Best,
                  Mike G.

                   

                  Hi Mike

                  The references in CGTh are rather ambiguous.

                  It is not clear (at least to me) whether God in CGTh refers to the Heavenly Father of Jesus or to some other being eg the demiurge.

                   

                  Andrew Criddle 

                • Mike Grondin
                  ... Yes, I agree that this is an open question. In L30.1, the definite article isn t used, and for that and other reasons, I don t know what to make of it. On
                  Message 8 of 19 , May 25 11:52 PM
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                    [Andrew C.]:
                    > The references in CGTh are rather ambiguous. It is not clear (at least to me) whether God
                    > in CGTh refers to the Heavenly Father of Jesus or to some other being eg the demiurge.
                     
                    Yes, I agree that this is an open question. In L30.1, the definite article isn't used, and for
                    that and other reasons, I don't know what to make of it. On the interpretation you suggest,
                    though, it would appear to be good to be "one or two" but not good to be "three", which
                    seems a mite odd, but perhaps that could be worked out. As to L100.3, the definite
                    article is used there (thus big-G 'God'), and the suggested interpretation would make sense
                    of the addition of the non-canonical "give me what's mine" clause (100.4), which is in its
                    favor, but I'm rather intrigued with the fact that if the clause is removed, it leaves a
                    symmetrical structure of 4 lines totalling 100 letters. Of course, it could be just a coincidence
                    that L100 would be reducible to a 100-letter structure with the removal of the non-canonical
                    portion, but given the design of the prologue and other features, I have to wonder if it was.
                     
                    Be that as it may, I should point out for our readers, that you aren't the Andrew who has so far
                    contributed to this thread. We have in fact three prominent Andrews on our list: yourself and
                    Andrew Bernhard are moderators and bloggers (in your case, a contributor to Stephen Carlson's
                    blog), while Andrew Phillip Smith (the "Andrew" who has participated up to this point) is also
                    well-known here as a publisher and blogger widely-versed in gnosticism.
                     
                    I should also mention that I've changed a folder name at my site. The sublogia-display  for
                    the word 'god', e.g., is now http://www.gospel-thomas.net/keywords/god.htm
                    (It was previously 'htmfiles' instead of 'keywords'). The main directory (which is slowly
                    nearing completion) is still http://www.gospel-thomas.net/keywords.htm
                     
                    Best wishes,
                    Mike Grondin
                  • steve
                    I had always interpreted this extra bit [in L100] over and above the other versions as a request for the reader s support in his opposition to the romans and
                    Message 9 of 19 , May 26 12:07 AM
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                      I had always interpreted this "extra" bit [in L100] over and above the other versions as a request for the reader's support in his opposition to the romans and the Sanhedrin. Remember, Jesus was regarded as a heretic of the Jewish faith.

                      [Steve Oxbrow]
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