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Thomas and Q

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  • Mark Goodacre
    The recent thread on the relationship between Q and Thomas prompts me to try to clarify and summarise some of my own thoughts in order to add a FAQ to my Q web
    Message 1 of 13 , Oct 13, 1998
      The recent thread on the relationship between Q and Thomas prompts me to try to
      clarify and summarise some of my own thoughts in order to add a FAQ to my Q web
      site. I would be of course grateful for any comments.
      -------------------

      The discovery of the Gospel of Thomas apparently helps the Q theorist to
      dispense with one of Farrer's arguments against Q, that "there is no
      independent evidence for anything like Q". Fitzmyer was one of the first to
      see this. However, we cannot go beyond that to the notion that Thomas
      somehow proves the exisence of Q, particularly when we bear in mind the
      following:

      (1) The existence of Thomas does not help us with the key question of whether
      or not Matthew and Luke are independent, the essential presupposition of the Q
      theory.

      (2) The degree of formal similarity between Q and Thomas should not be
      exaggerated. One (alleged Q) is made up of discourses, sometimes lengthy,
      often linked by theme, usually carefully structured. The other (Thomas) is
      made up of disparate sayings, rarely lengthy, with no easily discernible order.

      (3). There is overlap between the contents of Thomas and the contents of Q
      (i.e. the double tradition material), but there is overlap also between Thomas
      and Mark, Thomas and "M" and Thomas and "L". In other words, Q apparently has
      no unique or special relationship with Thomas.

      (4) Unlike Thomas, Q apparently has a blatant narrative exordium in which
      the progress of Jesus' ministry is carefully plotted. In outline this is John
      the Baptist's appearance in the Jordan, his preaching, Jesus' baptism,
      temptations in the wilderness, Nazara, a great Sermon, Capernaum where
      the Centurion's Boy is healed, messengers from John the Baptist. This sequence
      makes good sense when one sees that these are places where Luke parallels
      the non-Markan elements in Matt. 3-11.

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

      Mark
      -------------------------------------------
      Dr Mark Goodacre M.S.Goodacre@...
      Dept. of Theology, University of Birmingham
      Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre

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

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      Synoptic-L Owner: mailto:Synoptic-L-Owner@...
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    • Yuri Kuchinsky
      ... Mark, Proves is too strong here of course. Supports is better. ... I would say this matter is largely irrelevant. As I ve remarked in the past, in my
      Message 2 of 13 , Oct 14, 1998
        On Tue, 13 Oct 1998, Mark Goodacre wrote:

        > The discovery of the Gospel of Thomas apparently helps the Q theorist
        > to dispense with one of Farrer's arguments against Q, that "there is
        > no independent evidence for anything like Q". Fitzmyer was one of the
        > first to see this. However, we cannot go beyond that to the notion
        > that Thomas somehow proves the exisence of Q,

        Mark,

        "Proves" is too strong here of course. "Supports" is better.

        > particularly when we bear in mind the following:
        >
        > (1) The existence of Thomas does not help us with the key question of
        > whether or not Matthew and Luke are independent,

        I would say this matter is largely irrelevant. As I've remarked in the
        past, in my view, the exact nature of the relationship between Mt and Lk
        does not bear directly on the validity of SSS/Q hypothesis.

        > the essential presupposition of the Q theory.

        Not essential, although it would depend on the exact definition of course.
        Not essential according to my definition of Q.

        > (2) The degree of formal similarity between Q and Thomas should not be
        > exaggerated.

        And should not be underestimated.

        > One (alleged Q) is made up of discourses, sometimes lengthy, often
        > linked by theme, usually carefully structured. The other (Thomas) is
        > made up of disparate sayings, rarely lengthy, with no easily
        > discernible order.

        Now the matters in question are the exact definition of Q, and the exact
        degree of disparity and/or disorganisation in GTh sayings. Both issues can
        be argued in various ways, and yet still some similarities between Q and
        GTh remain.

        > (3). There is overlap between the contents of Thomas and the contents
        > of Q (i.e. the double tradition material), but there is overlap also
        > between Thomas and Mark, Thomas and "M" and Thomas and "L". In other
        > words, Q apparently has no unique or special relationship with Thomas.

        Non sequitur. The main similarity between Q and GTh is their _form_, i.e.
        _gattung_. Both basically are sayings collections. This is of utmost
        importance.

        > (4) Unlike Thomas, Q apparently has a blatant narrative exordium in
        > which the progress of Jesus' ministry is carefully plotted. In
        > outline this is John the Baptist's appearance in the Jordan, his
        > preaching, Jesus' baptism, temptations in the wilderness, Nazara, a
        > great Sermon, Capernaum where the Centurion's Boy is healed,
        > messengers from John the Baptist.

        While you see this as a dissimilarity, it is rather the similarities that
        I would like to focus upon. It is the similarities between Q and GTh that
        are important to my argument. Pointing at dissimilarities will do very
        little to weaken my argument, since I'm not trying to claim the _identity_
        between Q and GTh.

        > This sequence makes good sense when one sees that these are places
        > where Luke parallels the non-Markan elements in Matt. 3-11.

        And if we accept that this sequence "makes good sense" on your assumption,
        as outlined, how would this be an argument against the similarity between
        Q and GTh? I didn't quite get your point, Mark, it being somewhat cryptic.

        Regards,

        Yuri.

        Yuri Kuchinsky || Toronto

        http://www.trends.net/~yuku/bbl/bbl.htm

        The goal proposed by Cynic philosophy is apathy, which is
        equivalent to becoming God -=O=- Julian
      • Stevan Davies
        From: Stevan Davies To: crosstalk@info.harpercollins.com Date: Tue, 13 Oct 1998 16:29:07 -0400 Subject:
        Message 3 of 13 , Oct 15, 1998
          From: "Stevan Davies" <miser17@...>
          To: crosstalk@...
          Date: Tue, 13 Oct 1998 16:29:07 -0400
          Subject: Re: Thomas and Q
          Reply-to: miser17@...
          Priority: normal
        • Stevan Davies
          ... I look forward to the gratitude! ... proves is the wrong word, I think, for nobody says this. Rather supports or evidences. ... yes it does. If
          Message 4 of 13 , Oct 15, 1998
            > From: "Mark Goodacre" <M.S.Goodacre@...>

            > The recent thread on the relationship between Q and Thomas prompts me to try to
            > clarify and summarise some of my own thoughts in order to add a FAQ to my Q web
            > site. I would be of course grateful for any comments.

            I look forward to the gratitude!

            > -------------------
            >
            > The discovery of the Gospel of Thomas apparently helps the Q theorist to
            > dispense with one of Farrer's arguments against Q, that "there is no
            > independent evidence for anything like Q". Fitzmyer was one of the first to
            > see this. However, we cannot go beyond that to the notion that Thomas
            > somehow proves the exisTence of Q, particularly when we bear in mind the
            > following:

            "proves" is the wrong word, I think, for nobody says this. Rather
            "supports" or "evidences."

            > (1) The existence of Thomas does not help us with the key question of whether
            > or not Matthew and Luke are independent, the essential presupposition of the Q
            > theory.

            yes it does. If roughly 1/2 of Thomas //Mt or Lk are // to Lk and 1/2 // to Mt
            then the case of Mt and Lk's independence is "proven." This is the
            case and so since Thomas proves Mt and Lk's independence it "proves" Q.

            > (2) The degree of formal similarity between Q and Thomas should not be
            > exaggerated. One (alleged Q) is made up of discourses, sometimes lengthy,
            > often linked by theme, usually carefully structured. The other (Thomas) is
            > made up of disparate sayings, rarely lengthy, with no easily discernible order.

            This line of thought is dependent on the idea (shared, to be sure, by
            most Q theorists) that Lk preserves the Q order rather than that Lk
            has more constructively engaged his source and produced discourses
            etc.. but the latter is certainly a view that Q theorists could
            maintain. It is a view that you maintain vis a vis Lk in your own theory.

            > (3). There is overlap between the contents of Thomas and the contents of Q
            > (i.e. the double tradition material), but there is overlap also between Thomas
            > and Mark, Thomas and "M" and Thomas and "L". In other words, Q apparently has
            > no unique or special relationship with Thomas.

            This would require some analysis of the percentage of overlap vis a
            vis these various sources/texts. I don't know what those percentages
            are, but I wish I did.

            > (4) Unlike Thomas, Q apparently has a blatant narrative exordium in which
            > the progress of Jesus' ministry is carefully plotted. In outline this is John
            > the Baptist's appearance in the Jordan, his preaching, Jesus' baptism,
            > temptations in the wilderness, Nazara, a great Sermon, Capernaum where
            > the Centurion's Boy is healed, messengers from John the Baptist. This sequence
            > makes good sense when one sees that these are places where Luke parallels
            > the non-Markan elements in Matt. 3-11.

            On the other hand, if Q has these elements in it scattered around
            here and there, and Mt and Lk are following a Mk narrative that
            sequences them as follows:
            > John the Baptist's appearance in the Jordan, his preaching, Jesus' baptism,
            > temptations in the wilderness,
            then Q would be inserted appropriately and only SEEM to have had them
            in this sequence. If we assume NMM and that Mt isn't making this
            stuff up, and that NMM is not a written text, then Mt by your own theory
            has indeed sequenced this stuff in a Markan order. The observable
            FACT is that Mt and Lk sequenced the stuff in a Markan order.
            Question is whether or not it was in that order in Q... maybe not,
            e.g. there is no reason for JB preaching to be at the beginning of Q
            but there IS reason for it to be at the beginning of Mk and
            revisions of Mk.

            The fact that we supposedly had in Q
            > Nazara, a great Sermon, Capernaum where
            > the Centurion's Boy is healed, messengers from John the Baptist.
            does not constitute a narrative. These elements could be put ANYWHERE
            in Q at random. They are "events" rather than "narrative." Thomas too
            has events... Jesus dining with Salome, a man trying to get him to
            divvy up the inheritance, Jesus repudiating blessings upon the BVM.
            The Q "narrative" notion is dependent upon the Markan model vis
            a vis the JBapt stuff, but that would have been put into Markan order
            whether or not it was at the front in Q.

            Steve
          • Mark Goodacre
            Apologies for the length of this post and for the extensive quotation of each others previous posts, which I hope will make it more coherent. I copy this to
            Message 5 of 13 , Oct 15, 1998
              Apologies for the length of this post and for the extensive quotation of each
              others' previous posts, which I hope will make it more coherent. I copy this
              to both Synoptic-L and Crosstalk with apologies to those who receive it twice.

              On 13 Oct 98 at 16:29, Stevan Davies wrote (and I will add our names in block
              letters to make it easier to read):

              MARK
              > > (1) The existence of Thomas does not help us with the key question of
              > > whether or not Matthew and Luke are independent, the essential
              > > presupposition of the Q theory.

              STEVE
              > yes it does. If roughly 1/2 of Thomas //Mt or Lk are // to Lk and 1/2 // to
              > Mt then the case of Mt and Lk's independence is "proven." This is the case and
              > so since Thomas proves Mt and Lk's independence it "proves" Q.

              MARK
              Some of Thomas's Q sayings are closer to Matthew; some are closer to Luke and
              some are closer to neither. This could be explained in several ways:

              (1). Thomas may know both Matthew and Luke.

              (2). Thomas may know oral traditions similar to or underlying Matthew's and
              Luke's Q sayings.

              (3). Thomas may know the document Q.

              We may well hold a combination of the above. I think that a combination of
              (1) and (2) explains the data well and that (3) is unnecessary. The fact,
              therefore, that Thomas is sometimes closer to Matthew and sometimes closer to
              Luke in the Q sayings does not "prove Mt and Lk's independence".

              MARK
              > (2) The degree of formal similarity between Q and Thomas should not be >
              > exaggerated. One (alleged Q) is made up of discourses, sometimes lengthy, >
              > often linked by theme, usually carefully structured. The other (Thomas) is >
              > made up of disparate sayings, rarely lengthy, with no easily discernible
              > order.

              STEVE
              > This line of thought is dependent on the idea (shared, to be sure, by
              > most Q theorists) that Lk preserves the Q order rather than that Lk
              > has more constructively engaged his source and produced discourses
              > etc.. but the latter is certainly a view that Q theorists could
              > maintain. It is a view that you maintain vis a vis Lk in your own theory.

              MARK
              Yes, but if one goes for a more Matthean Q (as did Harnack), then the
              differences between Thomas and Q increase because Matthew's Q
              material is in those great monologues that so many think Luke would
              have been a crank to have broken up. In other words, a Q in Matthean order
              (not now held by any Q theorist I know of) is even less like Thomas than is Q
              in Lukan order.

              MARK
              > > (3). There is overlap between the contents of Thomas and the contents of Q
              > > (i.e. the double tradition material), but there is overlap also between
              > > Thomas and Mark, Thomas and "M" and Thomas and "L". In other words, Q
              > > apparently has no unique or special relationship with Thomas.

              STEVE
              > This would require some analysis of the percentage of overlap vis a
              > vis these various sources/texts. I don't know what those percentages
              > are, but I wish I did.

              Agreed -- I wish I did too. But one would need to be careful to look at the
              proportions of sayings material in the respective strands. After all, Thomas
              parallels alot of triple tradition sayings material (Sower, lamp, Tenants,
              Mustard Seed, question about fasting, tribute to Caesar etc.) in spite of the
              fact that the triple tradition is not as rich in sayings material, in
              proportion to its size, as is the double tradition.

              MARK
              > > (4) Unlike Thomas, Q apparently has a blatant narrative exordium in which
              > > the progress of Jesus' ministry is carefully plotted. In outline this is
              > > John the Baptist's appearance in the Jordan, his preaching, Jesus' baptism,
              > > temptations in the wilderness, Nazara, a great Sermon, Capernaum where the
              > > Centurion's Boy is healed, messengers from John the Baptist. This sequence
              > > makes good sense when one sees that these are places where Luke parallels
              > > the non-Markan elements in Matt. 3-11.

              STEVE
              > On the other hand, if Q has these elements in it scattered around
              > here and there, and Mt and Lk are following a Mk narrative that
              > sequences them as follows:
              > > John the Baptist's appearance in the Jordan, his preaching, Jesus' baptism,
              > > temptations in the wilderness,
              > then Q would be inserted appropriately and only SEEM to have had them
              > in this sequence.

              MARK

              [Lest anyone think me schyzophrenic, I should explain that I will take Q for
              granted in what follows, and use the standard scheme for referring to it.]

              Although no Q theorist I know of has claimed this, of course it is possible
              that this material was scattered around in Q any old how. It seems highly
              unlikely, however. Jesus is baptized by John (Q 3.21-22) so no doubt we are
              expected to know about someone called John, who is apparently introduced at Q
              3.2b and who, we discover, "baptizes with water" in Q 3.16b. At the baptism (Q
              3.21-22) "the spirit" descends on Jesus who is designated a "son" and in the
              Temptation story "the spirit", who here apparently has some special
              relationship with the "son", leads him to the wilderness where he is challenged
              "If you are the son of God . . ." (Q 4.1-13).

              Now these events, so clearly related to one another, could of course have
              appeared at different points in Q, but it is hardly plausible that a document
              will introduce a character (as in Q 3.2) after a story concerning him has been
              related (Q 3.21-22), and so on, and that is why no Q theorist maintains this.

              STEVE
              > If we assume NMM and that Mt isn't making this
              > stuff up, and that NMM is not a written text, then Mt by your own theory has
              > indeed sequenced this stuff in a Markan order. The observable FACT is that Mt
              > and Lk sequenced the stuff in a Markan order. Question is whether or not it
              > was in that order in Q... maybe not, e.g. there is no reason for JB preaching
              > to be at the beginning of Q but there IS reason for it to be at the beginning
              > of Mk and revisions of Mk.

              MARK
              Well Matthew has not always sequenced the non-Markan material in a Markan order
              and that is partly the point. For example Jesus is in Nazara in Matt. 4.13 //
              Luke 4.16 and Capernaum just after the Sermon in Matt. 7.28-29, 8.5 // Luke
              7.1. In other words, Luke apparently has knowledge of Matthew's non-Markan
              order, whether one thinks that this derived from Luke's knowledge of Q or from
              Luke's knowledge of Matthew.

              As for John's preaching, will we not be inclined to think that the redactor of
              Q wanted his book to make sense? If so we will assume that the saying "one
              coming after me is stronger than I" (Q 3.16) appears before Jesus has
              come. Likewise, we will assume that this preaching will have happened
              before John asks "Are you the coming one, or should we expect another? " (Q
              7.19), particularly as Jesus' answer presupposes an active, present ministry
              of healing on his part (Q 7.22) as well as a ministry in the past on John's
              part (Q 7.24-26, "What did you go out to see . . ." etc.).

              This scenario reinforces the differences between (alleged) Q and Thomas. For
              if we were to shake up all the sayings in Thomas (with the exception of the
              incipit), our impression of the book would not be very different -- think of
              all those failed attempts to make sense of Thomas's order. On the other hand,
              if we were to displace (say) Q 7.18-35 and put it earlier in the book we would
              have trouble making sense of it. It presupposes (1) that John's ministry is
              a past event (2) that John and Jesus were acquainted, (3) that the crowds are
              now with Jesus; (4) that Jesus is engaged in an active preaching and healing
              ministry.

              Further, this kind of coherent, relatively lengthy discourse, making sense only
              in context, at the very least reinforces the distinction between Q as a
              "discourses source" and Thomas as a "sayings source".
              >
              > The fact that we supposedly had in Q
              > > Nazara, a great Sermon, Capernaum where
              > > the Centurion's Boy is healed, messengers from John the Baptist.
              > does not constitute a narrative. These elements could be put ANYWHERE
              > in Q at random. They are "events" rather than "narrative." Thomas too
              > has events... Jesus dining with Salome, a man trying to get him to
              > divvy up the inheritance, Jesus repudiating blessings upon the BVM.
              > The Q "narrative" notion is dependent upon the Markan model vis
              > a vis the JBapt stuff, but that would have been put into Markan order
              > whether or not it was at the front in Q.

              One of the things that turns isolated "events" into coherent "narrative" is
              indication of cause and effect of the kind I attempted to illustrate above in
              the case of John the Baptist and Jesus. But note too that some of the
              narrative transitions are in Q itself, most famously

              Q 7.1 ... he ended [these] sayings, he entered Capharnaum.

              In other words, Q clearly locates the entry to Capharnaum to heal a centurion's
              boy after its great Sermon. There is nothing like this in Thomas in which
              transition from one saying to another is regularly abrupt.

              Overall, therefore, the four points of my FAQ stand: the existence of Thomas
              does not necessarily provide evidence for the Q theory.

              Mark

              -------------------------------------------
              Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
              Dept. of Theology Tel: +44 (0)121 414 7512
              University of Birmingham Fax: +44 (0)121 414 6866
              Birmingham B15 2TT
              United Kingdom

              Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre
              World Without Q: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/q
            • Michael Davies
              ... This is an option. Famously, though, no one has ever come up with even the pretense of a reason why Thomas would be utilizing first the one and then the
              Message 6 of 13 , Oct 17, 1998
                > From: "Mark Goodacre"

                > Apologies for the length of this post and for the extensive quotation of each
                > others' previous posts, which I hope will make it more coherent. I copy this
                > to both Synoptic-L and Crosstalk with apologies to those who receive it twice.
                >
                > On 13 Oct 98 at 16:29, Stevan Davies wrote (and I will add our names in block
                > letters to make it easier to read):
                >
                > MARK
                > > > (1) The existence of Thomas does not help us with the key question of
                > > > whether or not Matthew and Luke are independent, the essential
                > > > presupposition of the Q theory.
                >
                > STEVE
                > > yes it does. If roughly 1/2 of Thomas //Mt or Lk are // to Lk and 1/2 // to
                > > Mt then the case of Mt and Lk's independence is "proven." This is the case and
                > > so since Thomas proves Mt and Lk's independence it "proves" Q.
                >
                > MARK
                > Some of Thomas's Q sayings are closer to Matthew; some are closer to Luke and
                > some are closer to neither. This could be explained in several ways:
                >
                > (1). Thomas may know both Matthew and Luke.

                This is an option. Famously, though, no one has ever come up with
                even the pretense of a reason why Thomas would be utilizing first the
                one and then the other (changing elements in each as he goes).

                > (2). Thomas may know oral traditions similar to or underlying Matthew's and
                > Luke's Q sayings.

                This will work but only for a limited number of cases. If there are
                many cases it begins to be special pleading. And we have many cases
                here.

                > (3). Thomas may know the document Q.

                I suppose so. But nobody thinks so.

                > We may well hold a combination of the above. I think that a combination of
                > (1) and (2) explains the data well and that (3) is unnecessary. The fact,
                > therefore, that Thomas is sometimes closer to Matthew and sometimes closer to
                > Luke in the Q sayings does not "prove Mt and Lk's independence".

                It does if Thomas is independent of Mt and Lk. It doesn't if Thomas
                is dependent.

                If Thomas is independent then Mt and Lk are also independent.

                Yeesh. I don't seem to get this through to people. Do you agree,
                Mark?

                Your own comments are more to the effect that if Thomas is dependent
                then Mt and Lk might be dependent (the one on the other). OK. That's
                fine.

                > MARK
                > Yes, but if one goes for a more Matthean Q (as did Harnack), then the
                > differences between Thomas and Q increase because Matthew's Q
                > material is in those great monologues that so many think Luke would
                > have been a crank to have broken up. In other words, a Q in Matthean order
                > (not now held by any Q theorist I know of) is even less like Thomas than is Q
                > in Lukan order.

                I don't think the Thomas is not exactly like Q argument really gets
                you very far. Sounds like special pleading. Far as I know the general
                idea is that Thomas is enough like Q to affirm that things like Q are
                not purely hypothetical anymore but actually attested, more or less.
                That's all anybody ever claims far as I know.

                > Thomas
                > parallels alot of triple tradition sayings material (Sower, lamp, Tenants,
                > Mustard Seed, question about fasting, tribute to Caesar etc.) in spite of the
                > fact that the triple tradition is not as rich in sayings material, in
                > proportion to its size, as is the double tradition.

                Probably the observation that got me started on Mark used Thomas.

                > This scenario reinforces the differences between (alleged) Q and Thomas. For
                > if we were to shake up all the sayings in Thomas (with the exception of the
                > incipit), our impression of the book would not be very different -- think of
                > all those failed attempts to make sense of Thomas's order. On the other hand,
                > if we were to displace (say) Q 7.18-35 and put it earlier in the book we would
                > have trouble making sense of it. It presupposes (1) that John's ministry is
                > a past event (2) that John and Jesus were acquainted, (3) that the crowds are
                > now with Jesus; (4) that Jesus is engaged in an active preaching and healing
                > ministry.

                You are beginning to convince me about this. Makes Q much more of a
                protogospel than a pure sayings list. Seems to be a protogospel built
                upon a sayings list.

                > Overall, therefore, the four points of my FAQ stand: the existence of Thomas
                > does not necessarily provide evidence for the Q theory.

                Independent Thomas does, dependent Thomas doesn't. ANYONE who
                uses Thomas to provide evidence for the Q theory has to be assuming
                an independent Thomas, though, for nobody would be silly enough to
                say that a dependent second century sayings compilation proves a
                first century independent discourseprotogospel existed.

                Steve
              • Maluflen@aol.com
                May I add a comment to this discussion: MARK GOODACRE: Overall, therefore, the four points of my FAQ stand: the existence of Thomas does not necessarily
                Message 7 of 13 , Oct 17, 1998
                  May I add a comment to this discussion:

                  MARK GOODACRE: Overall, therefore, the four points of my FAQ stand: the
                  existence of Thomas does not necessarily provide evidence for the Q theory.

                  STEVAN: Independent Thomas does, dependent Thomas doesn't. ANYONE who
                  uses Thomas to provide evidence for the Q theory has to be assuming
                  an independent Thomas, though, for nobody would be silly enough to
                  say that a dependent second century sayings compilation proves a
                  first century independent discourseprotogospel existed.

                  LEONARD: So an independent Thomas is what needs to be proved -- not asserted,
                  proved. And how does one go about that? It seems to me, one must begin by
                  positively excluding the idea that a second century gnostic writer could have
                  arrived at what we find in Thomas through a process of developing and/or
                  distorting material ultimately traceable to the four first-century canonical
                  gospels. Until this possibility has been positively excluded (which would then
                  allow for the idea that the sayings in GTh go back to a first-century
                  Vorlage), the more natural supposition must remain in place, namely, that GTh
                  is a second-hand, not to say second-rate, second-century re-writing of largely
                  traditional sayings of Jesus, going back ultimately to the first-century
                  gospels, with a gnostic agenda. Moreover, if we adopt the opposite hypothesis,
                  it is difficult to explain historically how the church came to view GTh, along
                  with other gnostic writings, with such disdain in the second century, after it
                  had been treated with such reverence by almost all known Christian writers of
                  the first. Should there not have been at least some registered resistance to
                  the ecclesial attitude of second-century writers from within orthodox circles
                  regarding this change of policy?

                  Leonard Maluf
                • Stevan Davies
                  ... STEVE This is certainly the most strained and almost childish notion of proof that I ve yet seen in internet discussions. You assert a thesis without
                  Message 8 of 13 , Oct 17, 1998
                    > LEONARD: So an independent Thomas is what needs to be proved -- not asserted,
                    > proved. And how does one go about that? It seems to me, one must begin by
                    > positively excluding the idea that a second century gnostic writer could have
                    > arrived at what we find in Thomas through a process of developing and/or
                    > distorting material ultimately traceable to the four first-century canonical
                    > gospels

                    STEVE
                    This is certainly the most strained and almost childish notion of
                    "proof" that I've yet seen in internet discussions. You assert a
                    thesis without argument. Then you assert that the thesis is valid
                    unless somebody proves the contrary. When Yuri, as I recall, informed
                    you that the contrary has indeed been argued you make ad hominem
                    statements against those who did this, state your refusal to read what
                    they wrote, and reiterate your position here as though reiteration of
                    a view constitutes evidence for it.

                    > Until this possibility has been positively excluded

                    No. It does not work like that in actual scholarly discussion. It
                    does not happen that one makes a statement without argument and
                    demands that somebody else positively exclude it without which it is
                    to be understood that the statement is probative. I think this is
                    what is known as the "fallacy of argument from ignorance."

                    > (which would then
                    > allow for the idea that the sayings in GTh go back to a first-century
                    > Vorlage), the more natural supposition must remain in place,

                    I like that criterion: "the more natural supposition" as though
                    nature itself was somehow your witness. You've said you know nothing
                    of Thomas, I infer from your comments you know nothing of Gnosticism,
                    and yet the thesis you prefer is "the more natural." What you mean
                    by "the more natural supposition" is identical, I think, to "my own
                    first impression" for you have rather proudly maintained previously
                    that you base your statements on a first impression.

                    > namely, that GTh
                    > is a second-hand, not to say second-rate, second-century re-writing of largely
                    > traditional sayings of Jesus, going back ultimately to the first-century
                    > gospels, with a gnostic agenda.

                    Second-rate. I like that one too. Would Thomas being "second-rate" be
                    a "natural" supposition too? Do you have any criteria for your
                    thoughts at all? None have been given.

                    > Moreover, if we adopt the opposite hypothesis,
                    > it is difficult to explain historically how the church came to view GTh, along
                    > with other gnostic writings, with such disdain in the second century, after it
                    > had been treated with such reverence by almost all known Christian writers of
                    > the first.

                    "The Church" is an anachronism.

                    "other gnostic writings" begs the question.

                    viewed "with such disdain" in the second century is based on nothing.
                    whatsoever

                    "treated with such reverence by almost all known Christian writers of
                    the first" is just sophomoric nonsense.

                    > Should there not have been at least some registered resistance to
                    > the ecclesial attitude of second-century writers from within orthodox circles
                    > regarding this change of policy?

                    What rot. As though we have records of the canonical deliberations of
                    the ecclesial councils of orthodox circles from the second century.
                    As though there were ecclesial councils.

                    You literally have no idea what you are talking about.

                    Steve
                  • Jack Kilmon
                    ... I m having a lot of trouble with this statement from a logic standpoint. If you have studied the GoT a lot of what you say above just does not make sense.
                    Message 9 of 13 , Oct 17, 1998
                      Maluflen@... wrote:
                      >
                      > May I add a comment to this discussion:
                      >
                      > MARK GOODACRE: Overall, therefore, the four points of my FAQ stand: the
                      > existence of Thomas does not necessarily provide evidence for the Q theory.
                      >
                      > STEVAN: Independent Thomas does, dependent Thomas doesn't. ANYONE who
                      > uses Thomas to provide evidence for the Q theory has to be assuming
                      > an independent Thomas, though, for nobody would be silly enough to
                      > say that a dependent second century sayings compilation proves a
                      > first century independent discourseprotogospel existed.
                      >
                      > LEONARD: So an independent Thomas is what needs to be proved -- not asserted,
                      > proved. And how does one go about that? It seems to me, one must begin by
                      > positively excluding the idea that a second century gnostic writer could have
                      > arrived at what we find in Thomas through a process of developing and/or
                      > distorting material ultimately traceable to the four first-century canonical
                      > gospels. Until this possibility has been positively excluded (which would then
                      > allow for the idea that the sayings in GTh go back to a first-century
                      > Vorlage),

                      I'm having a lot of trouble with this statement from a logic standpoint.
                      If you have studied the GoT a lot of what you say above just does not
                      make
                      sense. Have you studied the GoT agaianst the Synoptic parallels from
                      a form critical standpoint? I would also like to see examples of the
                      gnosticized distortions of Synoptic material.



                      the more natural supposition must remain in place, namely, that GTh
                      > is a second-hand, not to say second-rate, second-century re-writing of largely
                      > traditional sayings of Jesus, going back ultimately to the first-century
                      > gospels, with a gnostic agenda.

                      The natural supposition from studying the language of GoT against the
                      Synoptics is that the Synoptics...in a certain order of development"
                      are second hand. Please explain to me the "gnostic agenda" of GoT.


                      Moreover, if we adopt the opposite hypothesis,
                      > it is difficult to explain historically how the church came to view GTh, along
                      > with other gnostic writings, with such disdain in the second century, after it
                      > had been treated with such reverence by almost all known Christian writers of
                      > the first. Should there not have been at least some registered resistance to
                      > the ecclesial attitude of second-century writers from within orthodox circles
                      > regarding this change of policy?

                      Larry, you've included several anachronisms here along with suppositions
                      not
                      in historical evidence. I really don't know where to begin responding.

                      Jack
                      --
                      ______________________________________________

                      Min d'LA rokHEM l'maRAN yeSHUa meshyCHA niheYAH. maRAN aTHA

                      Jack Kilmon
                      jkilmon@...

                      http://www.historian.net
                    • Maluflen@aol.com
                      In a message dated 98-10-17 19:15:39 EDT, jkilmon@historian.net writes: (In response to: LEONARD: So an independent Thomas is what needs to be proved -- not
                      Message 10 of 13 , Oct 18, 1998
                        In a message dated 98-10-17 19:15:39 EDT, jkilmon@... writes:

                        (In response to:
                        LEONARD: So an independent Thomas is what needs to be proved -- not asserted,
                        proved. And how does one go about that? It seems to me, one must begin by
                        positively excluding the idea that a second century gnostic writer could have
                        arrived at what we find in Thomas through a process of developing and/or
                        distorting material ultimately traceable to the four first-century canonical
                        gospels. Until this possibility has been positively excluded [which would then
                        allow for the idea that the sayings in GTh go back to a first-century
                        Vorlage])

                        JACK: I'm having a lot of trouble with this statement from a logic standpoint.
                        If you have studied the GoT a lot of what you say above just does not
                        make sense. Have you studied the GoT agaianst the Synoptic parallels from
                        a form critical standpoint? I would also like to see examples of the
                        gnosticized distortions of Synoptic material.

                        LEONARD: Let me illustrate the point I am trying to make by an example not
                        taken from the GTh. In Justin the Martyr's Dialogue with Trypho, 81, 4, we
                        find the statement (I translate from the Greek text supplied by Kurt Aland,
                        Synopsis, 532): "Whence also our Lord said: They will neither marry nor be
                        given in marriage, but they are equal-to-angels, being children of God of the
                        resurrection."

                        What I think is a natural evaluation of this evidence (pardon me, Stevan, for
                        the use of the term "natural" here) is that Justin, writing in the second-
                        century, was aware of and ultimately dependent on the Synoptic Gospels (with a
                        possible allusion to Jn 1:12 as well) which we know as Matt, Mk and Lk. The
                        fact that the words are reported here outside of the story-framework that
                        surrounds them in the Synoptic Gospels does not suggest to me that Justin was
                        copying a source that pre-dates the Gospels. I am not persuaded that "from a
                        form-critical standpoint" one must come to this latter conclusion. I believe
                        it is perfectly possible, and indeed more likely, that the "form" of a simple
                        reporting of what Jesus once said, outside of a narrative context for that
                        saying, has here been imposed, in the second century, on the same saying as it
                        appears narratively embedded in the first century Synoptic Gospels. The same
                        line of reasoning would apply to most of the material in GTh.

                        JACK: The natural supposition from studying the language of GoT against the
                        Synoptics is that the Synoptics...in a certain order of development"
                        are second hand.

                        LEONARD: See the above, for a view of what is a "natural supposition" for me.

                        JACK: Please explain to me the "gnostic agenda" of GoT.

                        LEONARD: I am speaking of the gnostic framework imposed on the material as a
                        whole by its introductory statements -- gnostic, I admit, in a broad sense of
                        the term. I think also the gnostic character of individual items in GTh is
                        fairly evident, and needs no comment. As far as "gnosticed distortions of
                        Synoptic materials", I am thinking of such passages as GTh 3, 22, 46, 69, 78,
                        though it is true that the gnostic elements of the text are more prominent in
                        parts with no close Synoptic parallel. If you find the term "distortion"
                        offensive, you may substitute for it the more academically correct "versions".
                        I will even go so far as to follow you in doing so. How's that!

                        Leonard Maluf
                      • Stevan Davies
                        ... STEVE I ve said much the same thing about Justin s sayings. I recall using the word obviously rather than natural and annoying Stephen Carlson in the
                        Message 11 of 13 , Oct 18, 1998
                          > LEONARD: Let me illustrate the point I am trying to make by an example not
                          > taken from the GTh. In Justin the Martyr's Dialogue with Trypho, 81, 4, we
                          > find the statement (I translate from the Greek text supplied by Kurt Aland,
                          > Synopsis, 532): "Whence also our Lord said: They will neither marry nor be
                          > given in marriage, but they are equal-to-angels, being children of God of the
                          > resurrection."
                          >
                          > What I think is a natural evaluation of this evidence (pardon me, Stevan, for
                          > the use of the term "natural" here) is that Justin, writing in the second-
                          > century, was aware of and ultimately dependent on the Synoptic
                          > Gospels

                          STEVE
                          I've said much the same thing about Justin's sayings. I recall using
                          the word "obviously" rather than "natural" and annoying Stephen
                          Carlson in the process. Point is that far as I know everyone who
                          looks at the Justin sayings concludes they derive from the synoptics.
                          It would indeed be useful to know how you and I conclude this is
                          so natural and obvious.... but we do agree on the point.

                          Now, as I went on to argue before, a good many people, (and I'd
                          say not many of whom are morons) look at the Thomas sayings
                          and do not find it at all obvious or natural to say this about them.
                          Thus, an appeal to what is natural stands only in a community of
                          agreement, otherwise argumentation will be necessary. If everybody
                          agrees vis a vis Justin, there's no point in trying to demonstrate
                          the fact agreed upon.

                          Yet the fact that everybody, far as I know, can agree vis a vis
                          Justin (and so we know what sayings dependent on synoptics look like)
                          when we look at Thomas we can assert that Thomas sayings are not of that
                          sort but of some other sort.

                          > JACK: Please explain to me the "gnostic agenda" of GoT.
                          >
                          > LEONARD: I am speaking of the gnostic framework imposed on the material as a
                          > whole by its introductory statements -- gnostic, I admit, in a broad sense of
                          > the term. I think also the gnostic character of individual items in GTh is
                          > fairly evident, and needs no comment. As far as "gnosticed distortions of
                          > Synoptic materials", I am thinking of such passages as GTh 3, 22, 46, 69, 78,
                          > though it is true that the gnostic elements of the text are more prominent in
                          > parts with no close Synoptic parallel. If you find the term "distortion"
                          > offensive, you may substitute for it the more academically correct "versions".
                          > I will even go so far as to follow you in doing so. How's that!

                          I note that 22 is in 2 Clement. The missing proposition in your
                          enthymeme is "If X can be characterized as a gnostic element
                          X is from the second century or later." This is an opinion no longer
                          held by specialists in Gnosticism who will inform you that Gnostic
                          elements were alive and well in the first century, if not before,
                          even if (and it is an IF) the writing of gnostic cosmologies did not
                          begin until the second century. See, for example, Pheme Perkins'
                          Gnosticism and the New Testament, Minneapolis : Fortress Press,
                          1993.

                          Bill Arnal and I have had several exchanges over Thomas' gnosticism
                          but, while he holds against me that "gnosticism" is the word to use,
                          while I'd advocate other words, we are in complete agreement that
                          whatever we call it it was part of the intellectual landscape of the
                          first century.

                          Steve
                        • Maluflen@aol.com
                          In a message dated 98-10-18 18:02:36 EDT, miser17@epix.net writes: LEONARD: Let me illustrate the point I am trying to make by an example not ... the ...
                          Message 12 of 13 , Oct 18, 1998
                            In a message dated 98-10-18 18:02:36 EDT, miser17@... writes:

                            << > LEONARD: Let me illustrate the point I am trying to make by an example
                            not
                            > taken from the GTh. In Justin the Martyr's Dialogue with Trypho, 81, 4, we
                            > find the statement (I translate from the Greek text supplied by Kurt Aland,
                            > Synopsis, 532): "Whence also our Lord said: They will neither marry nor be
                            > given in marriage, but they are equal-to-angels, being children of God of
                            the
                            > resurrection."
                            >
                            > What I think is a natural evaluation of this evidence (pardon me, Stevan,
                            for
                            > the use of the term "natural" here) is that Justin, writing in the second-
                            > century, was aware of and ultimately dependent on the Synoptic
                            > Gospels

                            STEVE
                            I've said much the same thing about Justin's sayings. I recall using
                            the word "obviously" rather than "natural" and annoying Stephen
                            Carlson in the process. Point is that far as I know everyone who
                            looks at the Justin sayings concludes they derive from the synoptics.
                            It would indeed be useful to know how you and I conclude this is
                            so natural and obvious.... but we do agree on the point.

                            LEONARD: I'm really glad to hear this. And would you say the same of the
                            Gospel citations found in the Apostolic Fathers (I Clement, Didache, Polycarp,
                            Ignatius, Shepherd, Barnabas?). Or would you have to treat each separately?

                            STEVE: Now, as I went on to argue before, a good many people, (and I'd
                            say not many of whom are morons) look at the Thomas sayings
                            and do not find it at all obvious or natural to say this about them.
                            Thus, an appeal to what is natural stands only in a community of
                            agreement, otherwise argumentation will be necessary. If everybody
                            agrees vis a vis Justin, there's no point in trying to demonstrate
                            the fact agreed upon.

                            LEONARD: OK, I accept all this (and, by the way, I really didn't know that we
                            agreed on Justin). Having accepted the point that the position needs to be
                            argued and not simply assumed, I will go on to say that I don't really see the
                            essential difference between my citation from Justin and most of what we find
                            in GTh. Even from the point of view of "form", its relationship to Synoptic
                            material seems quite analogous to that of similar material in Thomas, the main
                            difference being but a greater degree of creativity on the part of Thomas in
                            the use of earlier materials. At least that's where I am at the moment on the
                            subject.

                            STEVE: Yet the fact that everybody, far as I know, can agree vis a vis
                            Justin (and so we know what sayings dependent on synoptics look like)
                            when we look at Thomas we can assert that Thomas sayings are not of that
                            sort but of some other sort.

                            LEONARD: I'm afraid not everybody WOULD agree about Justin, but again, I
                            really wonder whether the cases (Justin and GTh) represent more than a
                            difference of degree in terms of the nature of their relationship to the
                            canonical gospels.

                            STEVE: I note that [GTh] 22 is in 2 Clement.

                            LEONARD: This is very interesting, and I see that the saying of Jesus is
                            accompanied in 2 Clement by a much needed and quite plausible exegesis. Do you
                            have a theory of dependency here? Was this saying also in the Gospel of the
                            Egyptians? My editions of 2 Clement all refer here to Gospel of the Egyptians
                            (and not to GTh), but I have not found the quote there. Or is it from the
                            writings of Clement of Alexandria that we know (or do we know?) that the
                            statement is in a non-extant portion of the Gospel of the Egyptians? Also, are
                            there other examples of parallels to specifically GTh material in the
                            Apostolic Fathers?

                            STEVE: The missing proposition in your enthymeme is "If X can be characterized
                            as a gnostic element X is from the second century or later." This is an
                            opinion no longer
                            held by specialists in Gnosticism who will inform you that Gnostic
                            elements were alive and well in the first century, if not before,
                            even if (and it is an IF) the writing of gnostic cosmologies did not
                            begin until the second century. See, for example, Pheme Perkins'
                            Gnosticism and the New Testament, Minneapolis : Fortress Press,
                            1993.

                            LEONARD: OK, I accept this too. At least it is difficult not to admit some
                            marginally gnostic elements in the Gospel of John, and it certainly seems
                            unlikely that they are being invented in via by the author of that Gospel.

                            STEVE: Bill Arnal and I have had several exchanges over Thomas' gnosticism
                            but, while he holds against me that "gnosticism" is the word to use,
                            while I'd advocate other words, we are in complete agreement that
                            whatever we call it it was part of the intellectual landscape of the
                            first century.

                            LEONARD: Could well be, at least in some geographical areas. But isn't there a
                            difference even between the gnostic elements in GTh (referred to thus for
                            convenience) and those found in e.g., the Gospel of John? I realize that even
                            if the answer here is "yes" nothing relevant to our recent discussion has been
                            proved. My point is that it still seems to me, just instinctively, that GTh
                            reflects second century developments in some way (I don't know of anything
                            certainly written in the first century that quite compares). However, I admit
                            that our recent interchanges on the list have considerably shaken my
                            confidence in this position.

                            With apologies for recent incautious statements,
                            Leonard Maluf
                          • Mark Goodacre
                            ... Sorry not to have answered this until now. While I think it likely that Thomas has interacted with the Synoptics, for the sake of argument let us
                            Message 13 of 13 , Oct 20, 1998
                              I wrote:

                              >> The fact,
                              > > therefore, that Thomas is sometimes closer to Matthew and sometimes closer
                              > > to Luke in the Q sayings does not "prove Mt and Lk's independence".

                              On 17 Oct 98 at 12:20, Stevan Davies wrote:

                              > It does if Thomas is independent of Mt and Lk. It doesn't if Thomas
                              > is dependent.
                              >
                              > If Thomas is independent then Mt and Lk are also independent.
                              >
                              > Yeesh. I don't seem to get this through to people. Do you agree,
                              > Mark?

                              Sorry not to have answered this until now. While I think it likely that
                              Thomas has interacted with the Synoptics, for the sake of argument let us
                              consider the above. I think I don't agree with it. Thomas could be
                              independent and Luke could still know and use Matthew. How? Luke might be
                              interacting with oral traditions of material that he knows also from Matthew.
                              In the process he might witness to the material that also finds its way into
                              the independent Thomas.

                              This process is, after all, similar to the process that you yourself imagine
                              in the case of Thomas's parallels with Mark. For on the theory of Mark's use of
                              Thomas, it seems necessary to say that Luke and Matthew revise Mark in the
                              light of materials from oral tradition, thereby witnessing to the existence of
                              material that is also present in the independent Thomas that Mark used.

                              Does that make sense?

                              Mark
                              -------------------------------------------
                              Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
                              Dept. of Theology Tel: +44 (0)121 414 7512
                              University of Birmingham Fax: +44 (0)121 414 6866
                              Birmingham B15 2TT
                              United Kingdom

                              Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre
                              World Without Q: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/q
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