RE: [Synoptic-L] FH and Thomas
- On: FH and Thomas
Bruce [Previously]: . . . the failure of M Goulder to prove
unidirectionality of common material between Mt and Lk . . .
Ron Price: While I agree with this judgement, I nevertheless see Goulder as
having been partly right. / For it seems to me clear that Goulder and
Goodacre have between them made a thoroughly convincing case for Luke's
dependency on Matthew in both narrative material and in some longer
Bruce: Same statement. The Mt/Lk material is bidirectional. M Goulder has
made a good case for the part of the material that is in fact Mt > Lk
directional. He is wrong for the other part of the material, which is
instead Lk > Mt directional. Ron's remark is like saying that the phlogiston
theory was right for materials which lose weight on burning, but wrong for
materials which gain weight on burning. The bottom line is that the
phlogiston theory was wrong about burning. I have a great affection for
Michael (in real life, he and I were on a sort of first-name basis, albeit
via correspondence), and I love reading his stuff, including his Psalms
stuff, but the planet turns, and the bottom line is the bottom line.
Ron: As for the second century GTh, . . .
Bruce: Needs proof. I would prove it this way: gThos 47:3 = Lk 5:39, nobody
after drinking old wine wants new wine. This violently reverses the meaning
of what precedes it in Luke, and it is absent in Mark, Matthew, and, I think
suggestively, in Bezae. Then it is a late addition to Lk, and most plausibly
an anti-Marcionite addition (defending old = OT tradition, which Marcion had
sought to jettison), perhaps c150. Given this origin of Lk 5:39 in the
history of 2c dispute about the text of Luke, it is not likely to have been
drawn from Thomas or anywhere else, and we thus have not only a
directionality, but a date (and probably a place, namely Rome). If gThos
were a single text, we would have to date it to the latter 2c at earliest.
But Thos may not be a single text, as witness the many stratification
proposals. One simple stratification proposal is that gThos was at one point
confined only to what is attested by the Greek text, namely gThos 1-39. If
we for the moment regard this as a possible core, note that its date is not
affected by the conclusion just reached about gThos 47.3. It might be
earlier. So also for the other theories. These things have to be grasped
entire to be solved.
Ron: . . . its impact on synoptic problem solutions is restricted to its
Bruce: I very much doubt that we can assume this in advance of considering
what gThos actually is, and does. Anything may affect anything. What, for
instance, about Luke? Meaning, Luke the actual guy? Among the things that
were certainly available to him were his own experience of Christian
preaching (sermons), and Christian worship (prayers, baptismal formulae);
his whole life as a Christian. Is it really to be supposed that he began
work on his Gospel by forgetting all this, wiping his mind clean of it, and
then, with his disk suitably erased, and just as stupid as any of the rest
of us concerning First Century matters, going to the reading room of the
British Museum, sitting down, getting his paper and pencil ready, and
calling for the attendant to bring him their second best copy of Mark?
Bultmann buys this scenario, or something very like it. I somehow doubt it.
Ron: I suggest it is neutral in regard to the Farrer Theory, it positively
supports the radical form of the 3ST (which posits a written collection of
Jesus sayings), and it leads to an astonishing lack of critical thinking
when used in support of the 2ST (whose posited source cannot properly be
described as a written collection of Jesus sayings).
Bruce: No text which might be dated even in part to the 1c can be a priori
excluded from relevance for the FH or for any other imaginable H. There may
be textual relations, and those relations may have a directionality. As for
"posited," that is exactly one of the troubles. People posit too much and
observe too little. That is not the correct order of operations.
Who is the main figure in gThos? It is Thomas? There are lines in the text
to that effect, whence a whole literature. But there are also lines which
suggest that the text at one point took James of Jerusalem as its guiding
figure. Does this make any sense? Well, at least it might, since James (to
my surprise, but I am here to learn from the texts and not to tell them what
to do) is associated with a number of Gnostic documents, and gThos at its
beginning (at the point, if such existed, when #12 was its concluding
saying) may have been one of them. Are there any contacts of text or
doctrine between gThos (or at least its first dozen sections) and the other
Jacobean Gnostic literature? What about the pseudo-Clementine literature
(this gets us into Ebionite territory, but why not?), which also makes much
of James as a central adjudicating authority? I haven't tried to find out.
But presumably someone has, and I would appreciate hearing what their
results might have been.
And we haven't even touched the gThos/gJn contacts. Are there any in the
first 12 gThos units? According to the list before me, No. Are there any in
the first 39 units? Some are claimed; I am not sufficiently convinced to
transcribe them here. Does anyone have a Th/Jn list they are happy with, and
E Bruce Brooks / University of Massachusetts at Amherst
- For those who are confused by Bruce's note, no, you are not missing a GThomasnote from Ron Price. Bruce cross-posted to several lists and failed to make it clearwhen he sent his response to Ron here that Ron's comments appeared on another list.Mike Grondin