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

Thomas Tatian and the Old Syriac

Expand Messages
  • sarban
    Thomas Tatian and the Old Syriac by Andrew Criddle (This is a first draft of a discussion of the relation of the Diatessaron to the Gospel of Thomas. Comments
    Message 1 of 8 , Jun 1, 2003
    • 0 Attachment

      Thomas Tatian and the Old Syriac  by Andrew Criddle

       

      (This is a first draft of a discussion of the relation of the Diatessaron to the Gospel of Thomas. Comments welcome)

       

      Nicholas Perrin’s recent book has revived interest in the relation of the Gospel of Thomas to the Syriac gospel tradition. There is a strong case, made by Perrin as well as earlier writers, that Thomas was written in Syriac, based on a pre-existing Syriac gospel text and on a pre-existing gospel harmony. (Forty years ago Baarda published in Dutch a table of the textual relations of Thomas to the Diatessaron and the Western text in general, reprinted in English in “Early Transmission of Words of Jesus”.)

      If the Diatessaron is the earliest Syriac gospel text then it was presumably the Syriac text used by Thomas. If, however, there was an earlier Syriac version of the gospels, then this could be a source for both Thomas and the Diatessaron.

      It is certain that the Diatessaron was the first Syriac gospel harmony, and probable that some form of harmony lies behind Thomas. There were, however, early Greek harmonies and such a harmony could have been used independently by Tatian and the author of Thomas.

      If we investigate this possibility, we find evidence of an early Greek synoptic harmony used (and possibly composed) by Justin Martyr, which lies behind the gospel references in the pseudo-Clementine literature, and appears closely related to the Gospel of the Ebionites described by Epiphanius. This harmony appears to be a source of Tatian’s Diatessaron.  (See Petersen’s “Tatian’s Diatessaron” for general discussion and  Kline’s “Sayings of Jesus in the Pseudo-Clementine Homilies” for the relation between the gospel references in the pseudo-Clementines and Justin Martyr.)

      There are important textual agreements between the Gospel of Thomas and the Old Syriac and important agreements between Thomas and the pseudo-Clementines; the vast majority of these agreements have at least some Diatessaronic support.  (See essays by Baarda and Quispel for details.)

      What is interesting is that there is almost no overlap between the agreements of Thomas with the Old Syriac and Diatessaron and the agreements of Thomas with the pseudo-Clementines and Diatessaron. (logion 39 parallel to Lc 11,52 and Mt 23,13 may be an exception.)  If the Old Syriac has no Syriac source other than the Diatessaron then one would expect agreements between the Diatessaron and Thomas to appear indifferently in the Old Syriac. If there is a pre-Diatessaronic Syriac source for the Old Syriac which is also a source for the Diatessaron then agreements between the Diatessaron and Thomas deriving from the early Greek synoptic harmony will be less likely to occur in the Old Syriac than agreements from the pre-Diatessaronic Syriac source. This is in fact what we find, providing strong evidence for a pre-Diatessaronic Syriac gospel text used as a source by the Diatessaron, the Old Syriac  and Thomas.

      Similarly there is a Greek Synoptic harmony used as a source by Thomas and the Diatessaron but not directly by the Old Syriac. 

      Thomas could either use these two sources directly or via the Diatessaron. i.e the relation between Thomas and the Diatessaron could either be that Thomas used the Diatessaron or used both the main sources of the Diatessaron. However in the absence of unmistakably Diatessaronic readings in Thomas it may be more likely that they used the same sources, (one Greek one Syriac) rather than one of them using the other. 

       

      Andrew Criddle

       

    • Yuri Kuchinsky
      Dear Andrew, Thank you very much for your analysis. Admittedly, this whole area is inherently very difficult, and not so many scholars have been working in it
      Message 2 of 8 , Jun 8, 2003
      • 0 Attachment
        Dear Andrew,

        Thank you very much for your analysis. Admittedly, this whole area is
        inherently very difficult, and not so many scholars have been working
        in it recently. But, at the same time, it's also a very important area
        that promises to reveal much about the early history of our gospels.

        On Mon, 2 Jun 2003, sarban wrote:

        > Thomas Tatian and the Old Syriac by Andrew Criddle
        >
        > (This is a first draft of a discussion of the relation of the
        > Diatessaron to the Gospel of Thomas. Comments welcome)
        >
        > Nicholas Perrin's recent book has revived interest in the relation
        > of the Gospel of Thomas to the Syriac gospel tradition. There is a
        > strong case, made by Perrin as well as earlier writers, that
        > Thomas was written in Syriac, based on a pre-existing Syriac
        > gospel text and on a pre-existing gospel harmony. (Forty years ago
        > Baarda published in Dutch a table of the textual relations of
        > Thomas to the Diatessaron and the Western text in general,
        > reprinted in English in "Early Transmission of Words of Jesus".)
        >
        > If the Diatessaron is the earliest Syriac gospel text then it was
        > presumably the Syriac text used by Thomas. If, however, there was
        > an earlier Syriac version of the gospels, then this could be a
        > source for both Thomas and the Diatessaron.
        >
        > It is certain that the Diatessaron was the first Syriac gospel
        > harmony,

        Well, I, for one, have my doubts about this. Because it's quite
        reasonable to assume that Justin's Harmony also existed in the
        Aramaic, and that it was current in Syria at the time of Justin. Have
        you read Boismard's little book where he examines the question of a
        possible early (pre-170 CE) Aramaic Diatessaron in some detail? (M-E
        Boismard, LE DIATESSARON: DE TATIEN A JUSTIN, Gabalda, Paris, 1992)

        Among other things, Boismard tries to make a case for Ephrem's
        COMMENTARY in fact including in itself two commentaries, one using a
        more primitive harmony than the other. An English summary of his book
        is available here,

        http://www.trends.ca/~yuku/bbl/boismard.htm

        > and probable that some form of harmony lies behind
        > Thomas. There were, however, early Greek harmonies and such a
        > harmony could have been used independently by Tatian and the
        > author of Thomas.

        But there's also the question if Tatian really had so much to do with
        this area... IMO, there's not enough solid evidence to conclude this
        with any certainty.

        > If we investigate this possibility, we find evidence of an early
        > Greek synoptic harmony used (and possibly composed) by Justin
        > Martyr, which lies behind the gospel references in the
        > pseudo-Clementine literature, and appears closely related to the
        > Gospel of the Ebionites described by Epiphanius.

        Yes, this is quite important. But the language or languages in which
        this pre-170 CE gospel harmony existed still remains an open question,
        IMHO.

        > This harmony appears to be a source of Tatian's Diatessaron.

        And I'd just say (rephrasing a bit) that this harmony appears to be
        the main source of the later versions of the Diatessaron...

        > (See Petersen's "Tatian's Diatessaron" for general discussion and
        > Kline's "Sayings of Jesus in the Pseudo-Clementine Homilies" for
        > the relation between the gospel references in the
        > pseudo-Clementines and Justin Martyr.)
        >
        > There are important textual agreements between the Gospel of
        > Thomas and the Old Syriac and important agreements between Thomas
        > and the pseudo-Clementines; the vast majority of these agreements
        > have at least some Diatessaronic support. (See essays by Baarda
        > and Quispel for details.)
        >
        > What is interesting is that there is almost no overlap between the
        > agreements of Thomas with the Old Syriac and Diatessaron and the
        > agreements of Thomas with the pseudo-Clementines and Diatessaron.

        Sorry, but I'm having some difficulty following your argument here.
        What you appear to be saying is that,

        1. There are broad agreements between Thomas, the separate OS gospels,
        the Diatessaron, and the pseudo-Clementines.

        This part is fairly well accepted, of course.

        2. There also appears to be a certain asymmetry in the way these
        agreements are distributed, that is significant.

        Well, what would really help here IMHO is some sort of a chart that
        would list various agreements as they occur in all these 4 sources (or
        sets of sources). In such a case, any significant asymmetry there will
        be easy to grasp at a glance.

        Or perhaps I'm misunderstanding you a bit?

        > (logion 39 parallel to Lc 11,52 and Mt 23,13 may be an exception.)
        > If the Old Syriac has no Syriac source other than the Diatessaron
        > then one would expect agreements between the Diatessaron and
        > Thomas to appear indifferently in the Old Syriac. If there is a
        > pre-Diatessaronic Syriac source for the Old Syriac which is also a
        > source for the Diatessaron then agreements between the Diatessaron
        > and Thomas deriving from the early Greek synoptic harmony will be
        > less likely to occur in the Old Syriac than agreements from the
        > pre-Diatessaronic Syriac source. This is in fact what we find,
        > providing strong evidence for a pre-Diatessaronic Syriac gospel
        > text used as a source by the Diatessaron, the Old Syriac and
        > Thomas.

        So what you're really saying is that there was a pre-Diatessaronic
        Syriac gospel text used as a source by the Diatessaron, the Old Syriac
        and Thomas?

        If so, I can definitely agree with this.

        > Similarly there is a Greek Synoptic harmony used as a source by
        > Thomas and the Diatessaron but not directly by the Old Syriac.

        Well, in principle, I can also see a very early Synoptic harmony that
        could have served as a source for various later gospel texts. Is this
        your second source now that you're postulating?

        Still, the original language of this early Synoptic harmony remains
        doubtful IMHO, as well as the language(s) in which it may have been
        translated very early on. Again, the work of Boismard seems to be
        quite relevant in this area.

        > Thomas could either use these two sources directly or via the
        > Diatessaron. i.e the relation between Thomas and the Diatessaron
        > could either be that Thomas used the Diatessaron or used both the
        > main sources of the Diatessaron. However in the absence of
        > unmistakably Diatessaronic readings in Thomas it may be more
        > likely that they used the same sources, (one Greek one Syriac)
        > rather than one of them using the other.

        Well, I'm still not quite sure why we need an exclusively Greek source
        at all either for Thomas or for the Diatessaron. There may have been
        such a source, but the evidence for it needs to be brought forth and
        examined.

        In general, what you're proposing seems to be quite sensible. I
        certainly do believe that there was a very early Synoptic harmony,
        going back to ca. 140 CE, or maybe even earlier.

        But also, and this point may be somewhat more controversial, I also
        think that the separate gospels in Syriac existed at a very early date
        already. I really don't see why the Syriac versions of Matthew and
        Luke, at least, couldn't have existed from the earliest times -- from
        about the same time as they existed in Greek.

        Let's keep in mind here that most NT scholars consider Matthew to have
        been produced _in Syria_ well before 100 CE. And Luke also is widely
        believed to have been written originally in the Syrian Antioch, the
        place where, in the first century, most people apparently still spoke
        Aramaic. So I see no earthly reason to think that there were no
        Aramaic (and/or Hebrew?) versions of these gospels already in the
        first century. They would have been translated very quickly IMO,
        whatever their original language was.

        The key question to consider in this area is this. Why should have the
        Aramaic-speaking Christians waited until "ca 170 CE" for some guy
        named Tatian to give them their first Aramaic gospel? (Assuming here,
        of course, that -- contrary to massive early patristic evidence --
        Matthew wasn't written in a Semitic tongue in the first place.)

        And further, the probability of very early Syriac gospels is
        strengthened even more by the consideration that both Mt and Lk are
        widely believed to have been written _in Syria_.

        Thus, to believe that the Aramaic-speaking Christians didn't have any
        gospels of their own pre-170 would seem to presuppose some sort of a
        huge gap between the Greek speaking Christians in Syria (who
        presumably produced Mt and Lk originally), and the Aramaic-speaking
        Christians in Syria... And yet I'm not aware of any evidence
        whatsoever for the existence of any such gap. OTOH, everything seems
        to indicate that there was a lot of mixing between the Greek speaking
        Christians, and the Aramaic-speaking Christians in Syria. Thus, we
        should really assume that both the Aramaic separate gospels, and the
        Greek separate gospels would have been available in Syria more or less
        simultaneously.

        But, I think, these would have been very early versions of the
        gospels, quite different from the present canonical versions.

        All the best,

        Yuri.

        Baqqesh shalom verodpehu -- Seek peace and pursue it (Psalm 34:15)

        Yuri Kuchinsky -- http://www.trends.ca/~yuku -- Toronto
      • Elliot Kennel
        Yuri, Andrew et al., I hope you don t mind if I pick up on this thread. I m writing from West Virginia University. I m afraid I m not much of a scholar in
        Message 3 of 8 , Jul 27, 2003
        • 0 Attachment
          Yuri, Andrew et al.,
          I hope you don't mind if I pick up on this thread. I'm writing
          from West Virginia University. I'm afraid I'm not much of a scholar
          in ancient manuscripts (I'm a research staff member in the Chemical
          Engineering Department), but I find your analysis intensely
          interesting.
          I think I understand the basic arguments which support the
          existence of a Syriac original for the Gospel of Thomas, and a link
          to the Diatesseron.
          What I don't understand is why the Gospel of Thomas is considered
          likely to have followed from the Diatesseron rather than vice versa.
          I understand that the gnostic tendencies of the gospel tend to
          attach a later date to the Gospel of Thomas, at least in some
          circles. Nevertheless, for those who attach an early dating to
          Thomas, it seems to me that it would have some logical appeal to
          consider whether the Gospel of Thomas could have been a source of
          the Diatesseron rather than the other way around. Certainly the
          Diatesseron was designed to replace the individual gospels, rather
          than to promulgate additional versions. It is certainly odd that
          the Gospel bearing Thomas' name is not to be found in the Syriac
          church, but instead turned up to the West, in Egypt, unless it were
          systematically replaced in the Syriac church.


          --- In hugoye-list@yahoogroups.com, Yuri Kuchinsky <yuku@t...> wrote:
          >
          > Dear Andrew,
          >
          > Thank you very much for your analysis. Admittedly, this whole area
          is
          > inherently very difficult, and not so many scholars have been
          working
          > in it recently. But, at the same time, it's also a very important
          area
          > that promises to reveal much about the early history of our
          gospels.
          >
          > On Mon, 2 Jun 2003, sarban wrote:
          >
          > > Thomas Tatian and the Old Syriac by Andrew Criddle
          > >
          > > (This is a first draft of a discussion of the relation of the
          > > Diatessaron to the Gospel of Thomas. Comments welcome)
          > >
          > > Nicholas Perrin's recent book has revived interest in the
          relation
          > > of the Gospel of Thomas to the Syriac gospel tradition. There is
          a
          > > strong case, made by Perrin as well as earlier writers, that
          > > Thomas was written in Syriac, based on a pre-existing Syriac
          > > gospel text and on a pre-existing gospel harmony. (Forty years
          ago
          > > Baarda published in Dutch a table of the textual relations of
          > > Thomas to the Diatessaron and the Western text in general,
          > > reprinted in English in "Early Transmission of Words of Jesus".)
          > >
          > > If the Diatessaron is the earliest Syriac gospel text then it was
          > > presumably the Syriac text used by Thomas. If, however, there was
          > > an earlier Syriac version of the gospels, then this could be a
          > > source for both Thomas and the Diatessaron.
          > >
          > > It is certain that the Diatessaron was the first Syriac gospel
          > > harmony,
          >
          > Well, I, for one, have my doubts about this. Because it's quite
          > reasonable to assume that Justin's Harmony also existed in the
          > Aramaic, and that it was current in Syria at the time of Justin.
          Have
          > you read Boismard's little book where he examines the question of a
          > possible early (pre-170 CE) Aramaic Diatessaron in some detail? (M-
          E
          > Boismard, LE DIATESSARON: DE TATIEN A JUSTIN, Gabalda, Paris, 1992)
          >
          > Among other things, Boismard tries to make a case for Ephrem's
          > COMMENTARY in fact including in itself two commentaries, one using
          a
          > more primitive harmony than the other. An English summary of his
          book
          > is available here,
          >
          > http://www.trends.ca/~yuku/bbl/boismard.htm
          >
          > > and probable that some form of harmony lies behind
          > > Thomas. There were, however, early Greek harmonies and such a
          > > harmony could have been used independently by Tatian and the
          > > author of Thomas.
          >
          > But there's also the question if Tatian really had so much to do
          with
          > this area... IMO, there's not enough solid evidence to conclude
          this
          > with any certainty.
          >
          > > If we investigate this possibility, we find evidence of an early
          > > Greek synoptic harmony used (and possibly composed) by Justin
          > > Martyr, which lies behind the gospel references in the
          > > pseudo-Clementine literature, and appears closely related to the
          > > Gospel of the Ebionites described by Epiphanius.
          >
          > Yes, this is quite important. But the language or languages in
          which
          > this pre-170 CE gospel harmony existed still remains an open
          question,
          > IMHO.
          >
          > > This harmony appears to be a source of Tatian's Diatessaron.
          >
          > And I'd just say (rephrasing a bit) that this harmony appears to be
          > the main source of the later versions of the Diatessaron...
          >
          > > (See Petersen's "Tatian's Diatessaron" for general discussion and
          > > Kline's "Sayings of Jesus in the Pseudo-Clementine Homilies" for
          > > the relation between the gospel references in the
          > > pseudo-Clementines and Justin Martyr.)
          > >
          > > There are important textual agreements between the Gospel of
          > > Thomas and the Old Syriac and important agreements between Thomas
          > > and the pseudo-Clementines; the vast majority of these agreements
          > > have at least some Diatessaronic support. (See essays by Baarda
          > > and Quispel for details.)
          > >
          > > What is interesting is that there is almost no overlap between
          the
          > > agreements of Thomas with the Old Syriac and Diatessaron and the
          > > agreements of Thomas with the pseudo-Clementines and Diatessaron.
          >
          > Sorry, but I'm having some difficulty following your argument here.
          > What you appear to be saying is that,
          >
          > 1. There are broad agreements between Thomas, the separate OS
          gospels,
          > the Diatessaron, and the pseudo-Clementines.
          >
          > This part is fairly well accepted, of course.
          >
          > 2. There also appears to be a certain asymmetry in the way these
          > agreements are distributed, that is significant.
          >
          > Well, what would really help here IMHO is some sort of a chart that
          > would list various agreements as they occur in all these 4 sources
          (or
          > sets of sources). In such a case, any significant asymmetry there
          will
          > be easy to grasp at a glance.
          >
          > Or perhaps I'm misunderstanding you a bit?
          >
          > > (logion 39 parallel to Lc 11,52 and Mt 23,13 may be an
          exception.)
          > > If the Old Syriac has no Syriac source other than the Diatessaron
          > > then one would expect agreements between the Diatessaron and
          > > Thomas to appear indifferently in the Old Syriac. If there is a
          > > pre-Diatessaronic Syriac source for the Old Syriac which is also
          a
          > > source for the Diatessaron then agreements between the
          Diatessaron
          > > and Thomas deriving from the early Greek synoptic harmony will be
          > > less likely to occur in the Old Syriac than agreements from the
          > > pre-Diatessaronic Syriac source. This is in fact what we find,
          > > providing strong evidence for a pre-Diatessaronic Syriac gospel
          > > text used as a source by the Diatessaron, the Old Syriac and
          > > Thomas.
          >
          > So what you're really saying is that there was a pre-Diatessaronic
          > Syriac gospel text used as a source by the Diatessaron, the Old
          Syriac
          > and Thomas?
          >
          > If so, I can definitely agree with this.
          >
          > > Similarly there is a Greek Synoptic harmony used as a source by
          > > Thomas and the Diatessaron but not directly by the Old Syriac.
          >
          > Well, in principle, I can also see a very early Synoptic harmony
          that
          > could have served as a source for various later gospel texts. Is
          this
          > your second source now that you're postulating?
          >
          > Still, the original language of this early Synoptic harmony remains
          > doubtful IMHO, as well as the language(s) in which it may have been
          > translated very early on. Again, the work of Boismard seems to be
          > quite relevant in this area.
          >
          > > Thomas could either use these two sources directly or via the
          > > Diatessaron. i.e the relation between Thomas and the Diatessaron
          > > could either be that Thomas used the Diatessaron or used both the
          > > main sources of the Diatessaron. However in the absence of
          > > unmistakably Diatessaronic readings in Thomas it may be more
          > > likely that they used the same sources, (one Greek one Syriac)
          > > rather than one of them using the other.
          >
          > Well, I'm still not quite sure why we need an exclusively Greek
          source
          > at all either for Thomas or for the Diatessaron. There may have
          been
          > such a source, but the evidence for it needs to be brought forth
          and
          > examined.
          >
          > In general, what you're proposing seems to be quite sensible. I
          > certainly do believe that there was a very early Synoptic harmony,
          > going back to ca. 140 CE, or maybe even earlier.
          >
          > But also, and this point may be somewhat more controversial, I also
          > think that the separate gospels in Syriac existed at a very early
          date
          > already. I really don't see why the Syriac versions of Matthew and
          > Luke, at least, couldn't have existed from the earliest times --
          from
          > about the same time as they existed in Greek.
          >
          > Let's keep in mind here that most NT scholars consider Matthew to
          have
          > been produced _in Syria_ well before 100 CE. And Luke also is
          widely
          > believed to have been written originally in the Syrian Antioch, the
          > place where, in the first century, most people apparently still
          spoke
          > Aramaic. So I see no earthly reason to think that there were no
          > Aramaic (and/or Hebrew?) versions of these gospels already in the
          > first century. They would have been translated very quickly IMO,
          > whatever their original language was.
          >
          > The key question to consider in this area is this. Why should have
          the
          > Aramaic-speaking Christians waited until "ca 170 CE" for some guy
          > named Tatian to give them their first Aramaic gospel? (Assuming
          here,
          > of course, that -- contrary to massive early patristic evidence --
          > Matthew wasn't written in a Semitic tongue in the first place.)
          >
          > And further, the probability of very early Syriac gospels is
          > strengthened even more by the consideration that both Mt and Lk are
          > widely believed to have been written _in Syria_.
          >
          > Thus, to believe that the Aramaic-speaking Christians didn't have
          any
          > gospels of their own pre-170 would seem to presuppose some sort of
          a
          > huge gap between the Greek speaking Christians in Syria (who
          > presumably produced Mt and Lk originally), and the Aramaic-speaking
          > Christians in Syria... And yet I'm not aware of any evidence
          > whatsoever for the existence of any such gap. OTOH, everything
          seems
          > to indicate that there was a lot of mixing between the Greek
          speaking
          > Christians, and the Aramaic-speaking Christians in Syria. Thus, we
          > should really assume that both the Aramaic separate gospels, and
          the
          > Greek separate gospels would have been available in Syria more or
          less
          > simultaneously.
          >
          > But, I think, these would have been very early versions of the
          > gospels, quite different from the present canonical versions.
          >
          > All the best,
          >
          > Yuri.
          >
          > Baqqesh shalom verodpehu -- Seek peace and pursue it (Psalm 34:15)
          >
          > Yuri Kuchinsky -- http://www.trends.ca/~yuku -- Toronto
        • sarban
          ... From: Elliot Kennel To: Sent: Sunday, July 27, 2003 11:59 PM Subject: Re: [hugoye-l] Thomas
          Message 4 of 8 , Jul 28, 2003
          • 0 Attachment
            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "Elliot Kennel" <EKennel@...>
            To: <hugoye-list@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Sunday, July 27, 2003 11:59 PM
            Subject: Re: [hugoye-l] Thomas Tatian and the Old Syriac


            > Yuri, Andrew et al.,
            > I hope you don't mind if I pick up on this thread. I'm writing
            > from West Virginia University. I'm afraid I'm not much of a scholar
            > in ancient manuscripts (I'm a research staff member in the Chemical
            > Engineering Department), but I find your analysis intensely
            > interesting.
            > I think I understand the basic arguments which support the
            > existence of a Syriac original for the Gospel of Thomas, and a link
            > to the Diatesseron.
            > What I don't understand is why the Gospel of Thomas is considered
            > likely to have followed from the Diatesseron rather than vice versa.
            > I understand that the gnostic tendencies of the gospel tend to
            > attach a later date to the Gospel of Thomas, at least in some
            > circles. Nevertheless, for those who attach an early dating to
            > Thomas, it seems to me that it would have some logical appeal to
            > consider whether the Gospel of Thomas could have been a source of
            > the Diatesseron rather than the other way around. Certainly the
            > Diatesseron was designed to replace the individual gospels, rather
            > than to promulgate additional versions. It is certainly odd that
            > the Gospel bearing Thomas' name is not to be found in the Syriac
            > church, but instead turned up to the West, in Egypt, unless it were
            > systematically replaced in the Syriac church.
            >
            The idea of Thomas influencing the Diatessaron is a very serious option.
            Menard has argued in detail for this.
            I'm going to give the reasons why I think it unlikely.

            There is a simple argument that the large quantity of non-canonical
            material in Thomas has not influenced the Diatessaron, and hence
            direct influence from Thomas to the Diatessaron is unlikely.
            (There is a similar argument that the absense of unambiguously
            Johannine material from Thomas makes direct influence from the
            Diatessaron to Thomas unlikely.)

            There is also a more complex argument.
            There is a strong case for a Syriac original for Thomas independent of
            the precise relation of Thomas and the Diatessaron.
            If, as many scholars believe, the Diatessaron is the first Syriac gospel
            text, and Thomas is based on a Syriac gospel text then Thomas is
            obviously later than the Diatessaron.
            If, as Yuri and I both believe (though with important differences), there
            was a pre-Tatianic Syriac gospel text which was a major influence on
            the Diatessaron and the Old Syriac, then the following argument applies.
            There was a pre-Tatianic synoptic harmony which underlies the
            quotations in Justin martyr and the pseudo-Clementines.
            This harmony is used heavily by Tatian's Diatessaron and has influenced
            Thomas. If Thomas does not derive from the Diatessaron then they must
            both have used this harmony independently.
            We are also holding, in this scenario, that Thomas and the Diatessaron
            both independently used a very early Syriac gospel text.
            This degree of common sources removes any need to explain shared
            readings in Thomas and the Diatessaron as due to influence from Thomas
            on the Diatessaron.

            In conclusion of the three possibilities
            a/ The Diatessaron was influenced by Thomas
            b/ Thomas was influenced by the Diatessaron
            c/ Thomas and The Diatessaron were influenced by common sources,
            including an early synoptic harmony and a very early Syriac gospel text.
            a/ is IMO unlikely b/ and c/ are both plausible and it is hard to choose
            between them.

            Andrew Criddle
          • Elliot Kennel
            Andrew, thank you for your reply. Certainly I m not able to go as in depth as you and Yuri can with some of these arguments. Nevertheless I continue to be
            Message 5 of 8 , Jul 30, 2003
            • 0 Attachment
              Andrew, thank you for your reply. Certainly I'm not able to go as
              in depth as you and Yuri can with some of these arguments.
              Nevertheless I continue to be interested in questioning why the
              Gospel of Thomas evidently did not prosper in the Syriac Church from
              whence it persumably came.
              Anyway, I ordered the references you suggested and will continue to
              read your posts. Thank you again

              Elliot
            • Yuri Kuchinsky
              Hello, Elliot, Andrew already answered your main question, and I think what he said was quite reasonable. I just wanted to pick up on this thing that you said.
              Message 6 of 8 , Aug 1, 2003
              • 0 Attachment
                Hello, Elliot,

                Andrew already answered your main question, and I think what he said
                was quite reasonable. I just wanted to pick up on this thing that you
                said.

                On Sun, 27 Jul 2003, Elliot Kennel wrote:

                > Certainly the Diatesseron was designed to replace the individual
                > gospels, rather than to promulgate additional versions.

                Well, I'm not so sure that we can be certain about this. Certainly the
                DT came after the single gospels, as an effort to combine a number of
                narratives into one (first, the 3 Synoptic narratives, and then Jn was
                added to that). It's also likely that each of the single gospels
                belonged at the time to some important community where it originally
                emerged -- and where it remained authoritative. But did the creators
                of the earliest gospel harmony really desire that all single gospels
                should be abandoned once their first harmony started to circulate? Who
                knows, but, on the whole, I'd think that such an expectation would
                have been rather unrealistic.

                In general, I can see two clear reasons why an earliest gospel harmony
                would have been created. First, for the ease of proselytising; after
                all, it's a lot easier to introduce new converts to one gospel, rather
                than to 3 or 4 at once, with substantial differences between them.

                And second, because undoubtedly the earliest Christian communities
                each started out with one gospel only -- which was their main gospel
                that had authority in that particular congregation. So perhaps some
                just wanted to keep it this way -- to stay with one gospel only. And I
                think this would have been the main reason why the Syriac-speaking
                Christians ended up using the Diatessaron as their main gospel until
                the 5th century (as it is generally believed). I assume that they
                originally started out with Matthew as their main gospel, but later
                this was expanded with material from other gospels, and became the
                Diatessaron.

                > It is certainly odd that the Gospel bearing Thomas' name is not to
                > be found in the Syriac church, but instead turned up to the West,
                > in Egypt, unless it were systematically replaced in the Syriac
                > church.

                Sure, that's what probably happened.

                All the best,

                Yuri.

                Baqqesh shalom verodpehu -- Seek peace and pursue it (Psalm 34:15)

                Yuri Kuchinsky -- http://www.trends.ca/~yuku -- Toronto
              • Elliot Kennel
                Hello Yuri, Andrew at al. Although Perrin s arguments concerning the use of catchwords appears to be a very reasonable argument indicating the presence of an
                Message 7 of 8 , Aug 25, 2003
                • 0 Attachment
                  Hello Yuri, Andrew at al.
                  Although Perrin's arguments concerning the use of catchwords
                  appears to be a very reasonable argument indicating the presence of
                  an underlying Syriac text of the Gospel of Thomas, to me the most
                  surprising thing is that the Gospel of Thomas was (nearly) lost,
                  even within the part of the church which most revered him. If the
                  Diatesseron were intended to replace the independent gospels, that
                  would at least provide a tidy explanation for the failure of GT to
                  survive. To me it seems that Perrin's arguments are extremely
                  rigorous insofar as the postulated Syriac version of GT is
                  concerned, but less so in its attempt to assign priority to the
                  Diatesseron.
                  Specifically, I think it is necessary to find a way to
                  distinguish between a variant of the gospel narrative and a
                  harmonization. Perrin believes that GT 45 is a harmonization of
                  Luke + Matt, and as such must have come after those documents. And
                  since the Diatesseron is a harmonization and there is textual
                  dependence between GT 45 and the Diatesseron, then the Diatesseron's
                  priority is established. But the connection of grapes-thorns, figs-
                  thistles could well have reflected the original quotation (assuming
                  of course that there really was a figure known as Jesus Christ who
                  said things that his followers remembered and which they later
                  attempted to record in writing). I do not see any reaons to favor
                  the interpretation of GT 45 as a harmonization of different
                  sources. It could just as easily be an earlier version of what
                  Jesus actually said, as far as I can tell. Perhaps someone can
                  establish criteria for distinguishing between harmonizations and
                  textual variants.
                  As far as the existence of earlier written sources for GT, Perrin
                  has shown clearly that GT is a complex literary work which would not
                  easily have existed as an oral tradition. One might suppose that
                  the author of GT must have as a minimum used written drafts to
                  accomplish the catchword connections present in the transmitted
                  text. Still, to me that falls short of establishing that GT could
                  not have been earlier than the Diatesseron (or the other gospels,
                  for that matter).
                  Perrins arguments probably do cast doubt on the notion that GT
                  was written or substantially edited by a gnosticizing redactor,
                  given the cohesiveness given to the text by the discovery of
                  catchwords. Thus, if GT is not a gnostic fabrication, it is all the
                  more curious that it apparently did not catch on in the Syriac
                  Church.



                  --- In hugoye-list@yahoogroups.com, Yuri Kuchinsky <yuku@t...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Hello, Elliot,
                  >
                  > Andrew already answered your main question, and I think what he
                  said
                  > was quite reasonable. I just wanted to pick up on this thing that
                  you
                  > said.
                  >
                  > On Sun, 27 Jul 2003, Elliot Kennel wrote:
                  >
                  > > Certainly the Diatesseron was designed to replace the individual
                  > > gospels, rather than to promulgate additional versions.
                  >
                  > Well, I'm not so sure that we can be certain about this. Certainly
                  the
                  > DT came after the single gospels, as an effort to combine a number
                  of
                  > narratives into one (first, the 3 Synoptic narratives, and then Jn
                  was
                  > added to that). It's also likely that each of the single gospels
                  > belonged at the time to some important community where it
                  originally
                  > emerged -- and where it remained authoritative. But did the
                  creators
                  > of the earliest gospel harmony really desire that all single
                  gospels
                  > should be abandoned once their first harmony started to circulate?
                  Who
                  > knows, but, on the whole, I'd think that such an expectation would
                  > have been rather unrealistic.
                  >
                  > In general, I can see two clear reasons why an earliest gospel
                  harmony
                  > would have been created. First, for the ease of proselytising;
                  after
                  > all, it's a lot easier to introduce new converts to one gospel,
                  rather
                  > than to 3 or 4 at once, with substantial differences between them.
                  >
                  > And second, because undoubtedly the earliest Christian communities
                  > each started out with one gospel only -- which was their main
                  gospel
                  > that had authority in that particular congregation. So perhaps some
                  > just wanted to keep it this way -- to stay with one gospel only.
                  And I
                  > think this would have been the main reason why the Syriac-speaking
                  > Christians ended up using the Diatessaron as their main gospel
                  until
                  > the 5th century (as it is generally believed). I assume that they
                  > originally started out with Matthew as their main gospel, but later
                  > this was expanded with material from other gospels, and became the
                  > Diatessaron.
                  >
                  > > It is certainly odd that the Gospel bearing Thomas' name is not
                  to
                  > > be found in the Syriac church, but instead turned up to the West,
                  > > in Egypt, unless it were systematically replaced in the Syriac
                  > > church.
                  >
                  > Sure, that's what probably happened.
                  >
                  > All the best,
                  >
                  > Yuri.
                  >
                  > Baqqesh shalom verodpehu -- Seek peace and pursue it (Psalm 34:15)
                  >
                  > Yuri Kuchinsky -- http://www.trends.ca/~yuku -- Toronto
                • sarban
                  ... From: Elliot Kennel To: Sent: Tuesday, August 26, 2003 3:03 AM Subject: Re: [hugoye-l] Thomas
                  Message 8 of 8 , Aug 27, 2003
                  • 0 Attachment
                    ----- Original Message -----
                    From: "Elliot Kennel" <EKennel@...>
                    To: <hugoye-list@yahoogroups.com>
                    Sent: Tuesday, August 26, 2003 3:03 AM
                    Subject: Re: [hugoye-l] Thomas Tatian and the Old Syriac


                    > Hello Yuri, Andrew at al.
                    > Although Perrin's arguments concerning the use of catchwords
                    > appears to be a very reasonable argument indicating the presence of
                    > an underlying Syriac text of the Gospel of Thomas, to me the most
                    > surprising thing is that the Gospel of Thomas was (nearly) lost,
                    > even within the part of the church which most revered him. If the
                    > Diatesseron were intended to replace the independent gospels, that
                    > would at least provide a tidy explanation for the failure of GT to
                    > survive. To me it seems that Perrin's arguments are extremely
                    > rigorous insofar as the postulated Syriac version of GT is
                    > concerned, but less so in its attempt to assign priority to the
                    > Diatesseron.
                    > Specifically, I think it is necessary to find a way to
                    > distinguish between a variant of the gospel narrative and a
                    > harmonization. Perrin believes that GT 45 is a harmonization of
                    > Luke + Matt, and as such must have come after those documents. And
                    > since the Diatesseron is a harmonization and there is textual
                    > dependence between GT 45 and the Diatesseron, then the Diatesseron's
                    > priority is established. But the connection of grapes-thorns, figs-
                    > thistles could well have reflected the original quotation (assuming
                    > of course that there really was a figure known as Jesus Christ who
                    > said things that his followers remembered and which they later
                    > attempted to record in writing). I do not see any reaons to favor
                    > the interpretation of GT 45 as a harmonization of different
                    > sources. It could just as easily be an earlier version of what
                    > Jesus actually said, as far as I can tell. Perhaps someone can
                    > establish criteria for distinguishing between harmonizations and
                    > textual variants.

                    I'm going to answer this point briefly now, I may try and give a longer
                    answer later.

                    Firstly even if a reading in a text is a harmonization it does not
                    necessarily mean that the author is using a preexisting harmony.
                    independent harmonization is very common. An argument for use
                    of a harmony has to be cumulative, and preferably involve comparisons
                    with readings found in other harmonizing texts and authors.

                    As to whether GT 45 could be original and not a harmonization at all.
                    The problem with this is the relation of GT 44 and GT 45.
                    In Matthew the parallels are closely associated (12 31-32 for GT 44
                    and 12 35 & 34 for GT 45), but not in Luke. This association is almost
                    certainly secondary. Therefore unless the agreement here in order
                    between Matthew and Thomas is coincidence, GT has been affected
                    her by the Matthean tradition. On the other hand GT 45 has important
                    Lukan features mostly original, some, like the phrase "in his heart"
                    probably secondary.
                    It is possible that GT 45 derives from some form of proto-Matthew
                    or Matthean Q in which the secondary Matthean features not in Thomas
                    were absent but the association between 12 31-32 and 12 35 & 34
                    already existed, but harmonization of a Matthean type text with a Lukan
                    type text is more likely

                    > As far as the existence of earlier written sources for GT, Perrin
                    > has shown clearly that GT is a complex literary work which would not
                    > easily have existed as an oral tradition. One might suppose that
                    > the author of GT must have as a minimum used written drafts to
                    > accomplish the catchword connections present in the transmitted
                    > text. Still, to me that falls short of establishing that GT could
                    > not have been earlier than the Diatesseron (or the other gospels,
                    > for that matter).
                    > Perrins arguments probably do cast doubt on the notion that GT
                    > was written or substantially edited by a gnosticizing redactor,
                    > given the cohesiveness given to the text by the discovery of
                    > catchwords. Thus, if GT is not a gnostic fabrication, it is all the
                    > more curious that it apparently did not catch on in the Syriac
                    > Church.
                    >
                    I've been looking at evidence for the use of Thomas in the early
                    church. Strong cases can be made for the following.
                    Thomas was used by the Naassene gnostics, by the Manichaeans,
                    and by the radical Syriac ascetic group the Messalians (parallels
                    in Liber Graduum and pseudo-Macarius AKA Symeon of
                    Mesopotania).
                    This implies use by radical but not necessarily unorthodox
                    groups in the early Syriac church and by definitely unorthodox
                    groups outside Syria.
                    As the earlier Syriac gospel tradition was aggressively replaced
                    by the Peshitta and the Messalians were progressively marginalized,
                    the disappearance of Thomas from the Syriac church is not
                    surprising. In the early Syriac church it may have been reasonably
                    well known although, I suspect, always controversial.

                    Andrew Criddle
                  Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.