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Crossan on GThom 54

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  • Mark Goodacre
    Here is an excerpt from Crossan s argument for Thomasine independence: One example may again suffice. Thr first beatitude in Luke 6.20b has Blessed are you
    Message 1 of 11 , Jul 7, 1998
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      Here is an excerpt from Crossan's argument for Thomasine independence:

      "One example may again suffice. Thr first beatitude in Luke 6.20b has
      'Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God,' but in Matt. 5.3,
      'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.'
      Scholars had long considered that 'in spirit' was a personal, redactional
      addition by Matthew himself. Now in Gos. Thom. 54 we have, 'Blessed are
      the poor, for yours is the kingdom of heaven.' Precisely what is missing
      is the proposed editorial addition of Matthew. But what if one objects
      that Thomas has simply copied Luke here? That will not work. One would
      have at least to argue that Thomas (a) took the third person 'the poor'
      from Matthew, then (b) the second person 'yours' from Luke, and (c)
      returned to Matthew for the final 'Kingdom of Heaven'. It might be
      simpler to suggest that Thomas was mentally unstable." (_Four Other
      Gospels: Shadows on the Contours of Canon_ (Minneapolis: Seabury, 1985),
      p. 37).

      Am I right in thinking that this argument is in error? I am concerned
      specifically about Crossan's (a) and (b), for the following reason:

      Matt. 5.3: MAKARIOI hOI PTWXOI TWi PNEUMATI
      ("Blessed (are) the poor in Spirit")
      Luke 6.20b: MAKARIOI hOI PTWXOI
      ("Blessed (are) the poor")
      Thom. 54: 2NMAKAPIOS NE N2HKE*
      ("Blessed are the poor")

      * [I have attempted to use Mike Grondin's transliteration scheme for the
      Coptic, at http://www.geocities.com/Athens/9068/x_fonts.htm%5d

      Thomas would not need, therefore, to take "the third person 'the poor' from
      Matthew" for there is verbatim agreement in Greek between Matthew and Luke
      here. The reason for the common translation of Luke 6.20b "Blessed are (you)
      poor" is the second clause which Luke and Thomas share:

      Luke 6.20c: hOTI hUMETERA ESTIN hH BASILEIA TOU QEOU
      ("for yours is the kingdom of God")
      Thom. 54: xE TWTN TE TMNTEPO NMPHGE
      ("for yours is the kingdom of heaven")

      Indeed the only thing that differs between Thomas and Luke is "heaven" vs.
      "God" (Crossan's (c) above). But we will not expect to see "kingdom of God" in
      Coptic Thomas for it is absent (I think I am right in saying) from Coptic
      Thomas in which we find "kingdom of heaven" or "kingdom of the father".

      I propose therefore that Crossan's case above is not a good one, especially as
      the main part of it only works if one is using a combination of certain English
      translations. Perhaps Thomas had knowledge of Luke as well as being mentally
      stable. Perhaps Crossan owes him an apology.

      All the best

      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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      (Please note new address)
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    • Andrew Bernhard
      Thank you Mark for bringing this quote from Crossan up. I ve been meaning to do so for a week or so now (except I haven t had time because I just started
      Message 2 of 11 , Jul 7, 1998
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        Thank you Mark for bringing this quote from Crossan up. I've been meaning
        to do so for a week or so now (except I haven't had time because I just
        started summer school, a new job, and am raising a new puppy that is
        presently fidgeting and whining in my lap and making this post rather
        difficult). I think you have already raised a very valid argument against
        Crossan's argument that I Agree with, but I would also like to add a
        couple of other comments about this passage.

        I think Crossan here is making the very false assumption that the only way
        a writer could be dependent on another text is to be sitting down looking
        at it, and "cutting and pasting" from it. I don't think ancient writers
        were quite as nit-picky about their quotations as a modern biblical
        scholar would be. It seems to me that if I wished to make an argument
        that Thomas was a gospel harmony, I could easily start here. The saying,
        if I have it straight now, is verbatim Luke, except for the kingdom of
        God has become the kingdom of heaven. And this is precisely the kind of
        change that could be made simply if a person was quoting from memory.
        Memory doesn't work like a tape recorder. I'm no expert on the psychology
        of memory, but when I want to memorize something, I try to memorize the
        basic content. For instance, if I wanted to memorize the saying from
        Luke, I would probably store it in my brain somewhat like,
        "Blessed...poor...yours....kingdom." When I wish to quote the saying, I
        will count on my brain to be able to reconstruct the parts I have
        not bothered to waste the energy memorizing because they should be so
        obvious that I don't need to learn them (for, the equitive verbs and the
        "of God"). So, now I try to reconstruct the saying filling in what I've
        not bothered to memorize and I come up with:
        "Blessed (are the) poor, (for) theirs (is the) kingdom (of)...."
        But when I come to reconstructing the last part of the saying (which I
        considered so obvious that I didn't bother to memorize it thoroughly), I
        suddenly realize that there are two words the are conjoined with kingdom
        in my mind: God and heaven. And as I didn't note which one went with the
        kingdom in this saying, but I know that one of them does belong, I just
        pick. Maybe I just read Matthew and the words "of heaven" are fresh in my
        mind, perhaps, I just like "of heaven" for some reason, so my mind makes
        the substitution. And I come up with Kingdom of Heaven. I'm still
        dependent on Luke and Matthew in my quotation, even though I haven't
        followed either exactly. According to Crossan, this would make me
        "mentally unstable." HELP!

        Anyway, I think that even if Crossan had been right about all the
        variations between Mt and Lk (which he wasn't), it still would prove
        nothing about the independence of Thomas. The mind has a tendency to
        harmonize similar information (there is no way to really prevent it).
        So I think Crossan's example is very poor.

        Also, I think I would go one step further and assert that I also think the
        mind is capable of remembering what it found useful and decontextualizing
        sayings for memorization purposes.

        Later,
        Andrew

        Andrew Bernhard
        The Quest of the Historical Jesus
        Recommended by Brittanica Online, by Encyclopedia Brittania
        http://www.teleport.com/~cabern/andrew/index.html
      • Mark Goodacre
        Thankyou, Andrew, for the interesting comments on the above. ... Indeed. Crossan s comment about being mentally unstable would surely have to extended to all
        Message 3 of 11 , Jul 8, 1998
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          Thankyou, Andrew, for the interesting comments on the above.

          > I think Crossan here is making the very false assumption that the only way a
          > writer could be dependent on another text is to be sitting down looking at it,
          > and "cutting and pasting" from it. I don't think ancient writers were quite
          > as nit-picky about their quotations as a modern biblical scholar would be. It
          > seems to me that if I wished to make an argument that Thomas was a gospel
          > harmony, I could easily start here.

          Indeed. Crossan's comment about being "mentally unstable" would surely have to
          extended to all gospel harmonisers, Justin, Tatian and the like. I doubt that
          they were "mentally unstable".

          However Thomas does not seem to be a harmony in this logion. The
          agreement is almost verbatim with Luke. The only difference is over "kingdom
          of heaven". But we will not expect to see "kingdom of God" in Coptic Thomas --
          the phrase is absent altogether. Instead we have "kingdom of heaven" or
          "kingdom of the father".

          One further footnote to this. I notice that _The Five Gospels_ also uses
          conflicting translations in its English synopsis of the Beatitudes (p. 292):

          "Congratulations, you poor!" (Luke 6.20) / "Congratulations to the poor in
          spirit" (Matt. 5.3) and "Congratulations to the poor" (Thom. 54)

          Once more this creates the impression of difference (between Thomas and
          Luke) where there isn't any.

          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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          (Please note new address)
          --------------------------------------

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        • Don Spencer
          ... Mark, when you first mentioned the argument from Crossan, you documented the quote as (_Four Other Gospels: Shadows on the Contours of Canon_ (Minneapolis:
          Message 4 of 11 , Jul 8, 1998
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            On Tuesday, July 07, 1998 10:00 AM, M.S.Goodacre@... wrote:
            > > And perhaps Crossan owes us a better argument for independence.
            >
            > Perhaps there is one. Does anyone know of one? All I can say is that I
            > have
            > not yet come across one, but I have by no means read everything Crossan
            > has written.

            Mark, when you first mentioned the argument from Crossan, you documented
            the quote as (_Four Other
            Gospels: Shadows on the Contours of Canon_ (Minneapolis: Seabury,
            1985),
            p. 37). I don't have that monograph, but I am sure most of us would
            appreciate how thirteen years might make a difference in how we stated our
            arguments, one way or the other.

            In _The Birth of Christianity_, Crossan addresses his methodological
            presuppositions in the context of the sometimes virulent attacks to which
            he has been subjected by people like Luke Johnson. He does not support
            independence for virtually all extracanonical gospels as Johnson implies,
            but argues for four cases of independence from the intracanonical gospels:
            the Gospel of Thomas, the Egerton Gospel, the Secret Gospel of Mark, and
            parts of the Gospel of Peter, which he terms the Cross Gospel. They were
            the subject of the book from which you quoted. But Crossan didn't then,
            and doesn't now, claim originality for any assertions about the
            intracanonical independence of those gospels.

            Bob Schacht said, "I think it must take some scholarly Chutzpah to rest a
            major argument for
            the independence of Thomas on a single example." I wonder if that is
            being fair to Crossan?

            First, he argues against "direct literary dependence", quoting from Bruno
            de Solages (1979) on the order of sayings between synoptic and Thomas
            sources, John H. Seiber's Claremont doctorial dissertation (1966) on
            redactional details, and Stephen Patterson's Claremont doctoral
            dissertation (1988).

            Second, he raises the issue of "indirect literary dependence" with a
            question about GThomas's redactional intentions and composition *if* the
            beatitude parallels from GMatt and GLuke came indirectly. It seems his
            argument has shifted since 1985 to a more moderate one; namely, that the
            burden of proof rests with those who claim indirect literary dependence.
            Methodologically, he is content with this: "the theory of Thomas's
            intracanonical independence is now strongly enough supported by experts
            that one can begin to build on it and thereby to test it further." Please
            note that for Crossan one must make methodological decisions and go with
            them. If one is in error, then of course the whole edifice crumbles. But
            he puts it on the table! He is very clear and willingly to rebuild from
            scratch where proven wrong.

            Crossan states, I think correctly, that arguments for and against direct
            literary dependence can be judged on the criteria of genetic relationship
            and redactional confirmation. All we have for and against indirect
            literary dependence is redactional confirmation. If one suggests depen
            dence, then redactional confirmation must show how an author got from an
            independent to a dependent relationship. And I would agree with him that
            the burden of proof rests with those who claim dependence. Why? Here is
            the crux. How could one ever falsify a claim for indirect literary
            dependence? Falsifying independence is, in contrast, relatively easy to
            do.

            I am no expert in this field, but at least from what I have read in _The
            Birth of Christianity_ and _The Historical Jesus_, Crossan's position
            seems reasonable. GThomas is independent in composition but may contain
            "minor traces of intracanonical influence during later transmission and
            transcription." (p.119).

            Again, this is a methodological presupposition. It is the content of his
            later analysis of the sayings of Jesus and origins of the early church
            that truly concern Crossan. When he speaks of GThom 54 in his books, it is
            not so much to establish the independence of GThomas as it is a
            presupposition from which he elucidates the meaning of ptochoi and heke.
            Here, he explains the radical nature of the blessing on the destitute and
            how such an understanding of the context in the Greek and Coptic
            demonstrate how banal a portrait of Jesus we have received from tradition.

            Shalom,

            Don Spencer
            dspencer@...

            "A high proportion of what I say is probably wrong...The only problem is
            that I do not know which bits are wrong."
            N. T. Wright
          • Mark Goodacre
            Dear Don I am grateful for your drawing attention to _The Birth of Christianity_. I am waiting for my copy of this to arrive and I look forward to looking at
            Message 5 of 11 , Jul 8, 1998
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              Dear Don

              I am grateful for your drawing attention to _The Birth of
              Christianity_. I am waiting for my copy of this to arrive and I look
              forward to looking at Crossan's latest arguments in more detail.

              > First, he argues against "direct literary dependence", quoting from
              > Bruno de Solages (1979) on the order of sayings between synoptic and
              > Thomas sources, John H. Seiber's Claremont doctorial dissertation
              > (1966) on redactional details, and Stephen Patterson's Claremont
              > doctoral dissertation (1988).

              There is also a passing reference to Sieber in _Four Other Gospels_,
              just before GThom. 54 example.
              >
              > Second, he raises the issue of "indirect literary dependence" with a
              > question about GThomas's redactional intentions and composition *if*
              > the beatitude parallels from GMatt and GLuke came indirectly. It
              > seems his argument has shifted since 1985 to a more moderate one;
              > namely, that the burden of proof rests with those who claim indirect
              > literary dependence.

              I look forward to reading it. It might still need to be said that
              the beatitude in GThom. 54 parallels Luke 6.20 practically
              verbatim (when differences in language have been accounted for); the
              only difference is over "kingdom of heavens" (Thom.) and "kingdom of
              God" (Luke), and the latter phrase never comes in Coptic Thomas
              (though it comes once certainly and again possibly in the Oxyrynchus
              fragments). Dependence one way or the other for this saying seems
              quite possible.

              > Methodologically, he is content with this: "the theory of Thomas's
              > intracanonical independence is now strongly enough supported by
              > experts that one can begin to build on it and thereby to test it
              > further." Please note that for Crossan one must make methodological
              > decisions and go with them. If one is in error, then of course the
              > whole edifice crumbles. But he puts it on the table! He is very
              > clear and willingly to rebuild from scratch where proven wrong.

              I am a bit concerned with the sound of "build on it and thereby (sic)
              to test it further". Much scholarship, for example, builds on the Q
              hypothesis that in no way tests that hypothesis. Likewise the
              priority of Mark -- I happily use arguments that build on it that I
              know full well do not "test" it. But again, I will need to look at
              Crossan's latest. I am encouraged to hear that he is discussing
              these kind of issues; one of the things that many found frustrating
              with the brilliant _Historical Jesus_ book was that he did not
              actually discuss key concerns like the complete independence of
              Thomas or the existence of Q. It made it difficult for many trained
              in a different school (especially Europeans) to be persuaded by the
              overall thesis.
              >
              > Crossan states, I think correctly, that arguments for and against
              > direct literary dependence can be judged on the criteria of genetic
              > relationship and redactional confirmation. All we have for and
              > against indirect literary dependence is redactional confirmation.
              > If one suggests depen dence, then redactional confirmation must
              > show how an author got from an independent to a dependent
              > relationship. And I would agree with him that the burden of proof
              > rests with those who claim dependence. Why? Here is the crux. How
              > could one ever falsify a claim for indirect literary dependence?
              > Falsifying independence is, in contrast, relatively easy to do.

              Although the testing of hypotheses can work (e.g. I attempted
              it myself with Goulder), the language of testing, proof and
              falsifiability is not always helpful. Sometimes the language of
              coherence and plausibility is what is needed. With the issue of
              Thomasine dependence or independence what is required is a coherent,
              plausible theory.

              We have been discussing these issues at some length on Crosstalk
              recently and I don't particularly want to repeat what I have written
              there. Those interested in the issue can consult the archives at
              http://www.findmail.com/list/crosstalk. I will however comment that
              I am becoming ill at ease with what I see as an unnecessary
              polarisation in some of the literature. There is often an false
              either-or: either Thomas is wholly dependent on the Synoptics or it
              is wholly independent. I propose instead the following working
              hypothesis (a) Thomas is dependent on oral traditions generated by
              the Synoptics; (b) Thomas is dependent on oral traditions influenced
              by the Synoptics and (c) Thomas is dependent on oral traditions
              independent of the Synoptics.

              All the best

              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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            • Don Spencer
              On Wednesday, July 08, 1998 5:23 PM, Mark Goodacre ... Actually, Crossan makes the same point. He has no truck with those who are unwillingly to do the hard
              Message 6 of 11 , Jul 8, 1998
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                On Wednesday, July 08, 1998 5:23 PM, Mark Goodacre
                [SMTP:M.S.Goodacre@...] wrote:
                >
                > I am grateful for your drawing attention to _The Birth of
                > Christianity_. I am waiting for my copy of this to arrive and I look
                > forward to looking at Crossan's latest arguments in more detail.
                > [.....]
                > I am a bit concerned with the sound of "build on it and thereby (sic)
                > to test it further". Much scholarship, for example, builds on the Q
                > hypothesis that in no way tests that hypothesis.

                Actually, Crossan makes the same point. He has no truck with those who are
                unwillingly to do the hard work in testing their working hypotheses.
                Still, I prefer the language of hypothesis and testing to that of
                plausibility and coherence. The latter, a la Wright, can be spun
                continually with scholars and the public talking past one another forever.
                But like audio tapes, perhaps that is a statement of personal preference
                <g>!

                I like your working hypotheses, Mark, and I guess I will have to wade
                through the rather enormous output of Crosstalk correspondents to get the
                full flavour of your position. The nuances seem quite reasonable and
                modest to me (BTW, that is a compliment!).

                Shalom,

                Don Spencer
                dspencer@...

                "A high proportion of what I say is probably wrong...The only problem is
                that I do not know which bits are wrong."
                N. T. Wright
              • Yuri Kuchinsky
                On Thu, 9 Jul 1998, Mark Goodacre wrote: ... Yes, Mark, I agree that this seems like a false polarisation. ... I m skeptical about (a). As to (b) and (c), some
                Message 7 of 11 , Jul 12, 1998
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                  On Thu, 9 Jul 1998, Mark Goodacre wrote:

                  ...

                  > I will however comment that I am becoming ill at ease with what I see as
                  > an unnecessary polarisation in some of the literature. There is often
                  > an false either-or: either Thomas is wholly dependent on the Synoptics
                  > or it is wholly independent.

                  Yes, Mark, I agree that this seems like a false polarisation.

                  > I propose instead the following working hypothesis (a) Thomas is
                  > dependent on oral traditions generated by the Synoptics; (b) Thomas is
                  > dependent on oral traditions influenced by the Synoptics and (c) Thomas
                  > is dependent on oral traditions independent of the Synoptics.

                  I'm skeptical about (a). As to (b) and (c), some of this may well be true.
                  But I would suggest that the oral tradition may have been only a part of
                  the story. In my view, the original authors of Thomas may have also had
                  some sort of a written collection of the sayings of Jesus to work with. Or
                  perhaps a number of such collections. The genre of the ancient (both oral
                  and written) sayings collection is well attested in antiquity.

                  On the whole, just like with the canonical materials, the writing and
                  editing of Thomas probably continued for many years. In other words, it
                  was a document in progress. I see the creation of Thomas taking place
                  parallel to the creation of the synoptic gospels. It seems to me that the
                  authors of Thomas were in continuing dialogue with the authors and editors
                  of the canonical gospels. So there was cross-pollination between these
                  various parties.

                  Some of the sayings in Thomas seem to me like polemical commentary on the
                  emerging catholic theology. Thomas does seem to be aware of the catholic
                  position and disagrees with it. Likewise, e.g. the "doubting Thomas"
                  pericopes in the canonical material also seem like conscious polemical
                  commentary on the Thomasine theology.

                  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
                • Don Spencer
                  On Sunday, July 12, 1998 7:25 AM, Yuri Kuchinsky ... Mark s three hypotheses ((a) Thomas is dependent on oral traditions generated by the Synoptics; (b) Thomas
                  Message 8 of 11 , Jul 12, 1998
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                    On Sunday, July 12, 1998 7:25 AM, Yuri Kuchinsky
                    [SMTP:yuku@...] wrote:
                    > On the whole, just like with the canonical materials, the writing and
                    > editing of Thomas probably continued for many years. In other words, it
                    > was a document in progress. I see the creation of Thomas taking place
                    > parallel to the creation of the synoptic gospels. It seems to me that
                    > the
                    > authors of Thomas were in continuing dialogue with the authors and
                    > editors
                    > of the canonical gospels. So there was cross-pollination between these
                    > various parties.
                    >

                    Mark's three hypotheses ((a) Thomas is dependent on oral traditions
                    generated by the Synoptics; (b) Thomas is dependent on oral traditions
                    influenced by the Synoptics and (c) Thomas is dependent on oral traditions
                    independent of the Synoptics.) and Yuri's comments about continuing
                    redaction both point to general agreement with Ron Cameron as quoted in
                    Marvin Meyer's introduction to _The Gospel of Thomas_: "An intertextual
                    model may prove helpful, for it enables texts to be understood as highly
                    conscious authorial compositions, adapted and adopted from various
                    encounters with groups and repeated engagements with texts that
                    constituted the cultural tapestry of the times" (p. 357, _The Anchor Bible
                    Dictionary_).

                    When Mark first broached Crossan's arguments from 1984 about the literary
                    independence of GThomas from the synoptics, I suggested some comments were
                    not entirely fair to Crossan. Clearly, most on this list are arguing for
                    a more highly nuanced relationship between the synoptics and GThomas.
                    Mark's hypotheses are completely about oral traditions. Yuri has added
                    suspicions about redactional activities. Perhaps Crossan's latest book
                    has something to offer the discussion; namely, basic inventories and
                    literary stratigraphy. Or to use his own elaboration of Patterson, Crossan
                    suggests a three-step process: establishing the *existence* of a common
                    corpus of materials, establishing the *redaction* of the common corpus of
                    materials, and establishing the *typology* of the common corpus of
                    materials in Q and GThomas.

                    What I'm getting at, in more straightforward language, is that Crossan's
                    1998 discussion might be a more useful and appropriate target for this
                    list. I suggest an irony here. We don't consider it appropriate to talk
                    about intra- and extracanonical relationships without considering
                    redactional activity or the typology of the gospels. So maybe we should
                    do the same with Crossan. He has benefitted dramatically from Q/GThomas
                    research in the past 15 years.

                    But of course, as a newbie on the list, perhaps this has all been covered
                    before, in which case I will make a tactical withdrawal and keep reading a
                    while longer.

                    Shalom,

                    Don Spencer
                    dspencer@...

                    "A high proportion of what I say is probably wrong...The only problem is
                    that I do not know which bits are wrong."
                    N. T. Wright
                  • Viola Goodacre
                    Dear Don Thanks for the helpful Email. I like your quotation from Cameron very much, and I hope you won t mind my using it to ask a couple of ... Cameron s
                    Message 9 of 11 , Jul 13, 1998
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                      Dear Don

                      Thanks for the helpful Email. I like your quotation from Cameron
                      very much, and I hope you won't mind my using it to ask a couple of
                      related questions:

                      > "An intertextual model may prove helpful, for it
                      > enables texts to be understood as highly conscious authorial
                      > compositions, adapted and adopted from various encounters with
                      > groups and repeated engagements with texts that constituted the
                      > cultural tapestry of the times" (p. 357, _The Anchor Bible
                      > Dictionary_).

                      Cameron's article in _ABD_ is indeed useful and I wonder if he is
                      here articulating the kind of thing I was trying to hint at with my
                      threefold model? Cameron does seem quite strongly against the notion
                      that Thomas shows any degree of dependence on the Synoptics, however,
                      and I wonder if that is necessary given this "intertextual model"?

                      I am interested too in the term "intertextual" in this context and it
                      prompts a question based on research I am doing at the moment on
                      narrative-critical readings of the Gospels: Why is it that we tend
                      to avoid the term "intertextual" when discussing texts that have the
                      most interesting and intimate literary relationship of all, viz. the
                      Synoptics?

                      I suppose that a large part of the answer is that narrative-critics
                      (and the like) are looking for intertextuality that works at the
                      level of the implied author, therefore the implied author (and
                      reader) of Luke knows Isaiah, Deuteronomy etc. but does not
                      necessarily know Mark. However, even this might be questioned.
                      Does not the implied author of Luke know of many who have undertaken
                      to set accounts in order before him (1.1)? And is there not at least
                      a hint that the implied reader also knows of these accounts -- "in
                      order that you might know certainty about the things concerning
                      which you have been catechised" (1.4)?

                      What concerns me is that source-critics have become so possessive
                      about the synopsis that narrative-critics tend not even to look at
                      it. Perhaps synoptic "intertextuality" might provide a meeting point
                      for source-critics and narrative-critics, and perhaps too it might
                      help non-synoptic problem experts the grounds to reclaim at least
                      some limited use of the synopsis. Or is this just wishful thinking?

                      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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                    • Don Spencer
                      On Monday, July 13, 1998 4:27 AM, Viola Goodacre ... Mark et al, I wonder if someone more conversant with intertextuality could briefly illuminate the
                      Message 10 of 11 , Jul 13, 1998
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                        On Monday, July 13, 1998 4:27 AM, Viola Goodacre
                        [SMTP:M.S.Goodacre@...] wrote:
                        >
                        > I am interested too in the term "intertextual" in this context and it
                        > prompts a question based on research I am doing at the moment on
                        > narrative-critical readings of the Gospels: Why is it that we tend
                        > to avoid the term "intertextual" when discussing texts that have the
                        > most interesting and intimate literary relationship of all, viz. the
                        > Synoptics?
                        > [...]
                        >
                        > What concerns me is that source-critics have become so possessive
                        > about the synopsis that narrative-critics tend not even to look at
                        > it. Perhaps synoptic "intertextuality" might provide a meeting point
                        > for source-critics and narrative-critics, and perhaps too it might
                        > help non-synoptic problem experts the grounds to reclaim at least
                        > some limited use of the synopsis. Or is this just wishful thinking?
                        >

                        Mark et al,

                        I wonder if someone more conversant with "intertextuality" could briefly
                        illuminate the concept for me. All I have at this point is a very casual
                        appreciation of the term, something along the lines of what follows.
                        ***********
                        This particular genre makes great use of what we will term 'intertextual
                        icons'. These are people like, in terms of the David Letterman show,
                        fitness guru ~Richard Simmons <http://www.sirius.com/> , actor O.J.
                        Simpson <http://www.cs.indiana.edu/hyplan/dmiguse/other.html> or early
                        morning television presenters, Regis and Kathie Lee. The proliferation of
                        Cable television channels that have sprung up in the last decade means
                        that the Late Night audience (and audiences in general) have an immense
                        amount of knowledge of television and television personalities. Along with
                        their knowledge of the personalities comes a knowledge of their background
                        and in very simple terms, what is funny about these people. The Letterman
                        audience understands why a reference linking O.J. Simpson and shoes or
                        gloves (key pieces of evidence in his wife's murder trial) is funny so
                        that a mere mention in, for example, The Top Ten List, guarantees a laugh.
                        This certainly makes the task of writing the show much simpler, and this
                        is illustrated in the amount of Top Ten Lists in which these stars figure.
                        *********

                        Intertextuality in this context strikes me as something quite different
                        from intertextuality in the context of the synoptics. For one, it
                        depends, I think, on a multimedia mass popular culture where both literary
                        and oral transmission are about as complex as one can imagine. In the
                        context of the synoptic communities it seems safe only to assume extensive
                        knowledge of Tanakh and not the common sayings tradition or even early
                        synoptic editions. It might be fun to guess at how the synoptic gospel
                        communities would react to a "top ten reasons why Jesus fed fish and bread
                        to the 5,000", but it would, of course, be almost entirely speculative.

                        Am I missing out on a nuance of intertextuality that someone can help me
                        with?

                        Shalom,

                        Don Spencer
                        dspencer@...

                        "A high proportion of what I say is probably wrong...The only problem is
                        that I do not know which bits are wrong."
                        N. T. Wright
                      • Don Spencer
                        On Monday, July 13, 1998 4:27 AM, Viola Goodacre ... When I quoted Cameron I was completely unfamiliar with the technical meaning of intertextual, assuming it
                        Message 11 of 11 , Jul 14, 1998
                        • 0 Attachment
                          On Monday, July 13, 1998 4:27 AM, Viola Goodacre
                          [SMTP:M.S.Goodacre@...] wrote:
                          > I like your quotation from Cameron
                          > very much, and I hope you won't mind my using it to ask a couple of
                          > related questions:
                          >
                          > > "An intertextual model may prove helpful, for it
                          > > enables texts to be understood as highly conscious authorial
                          > > compositions, adapted and adopted from various encounters with
                          > > groups and repeated engagements with texts that constituted the
                          > > cultural tapestry of the times" (p. 357, _The Anchor Bible
                          > > Dictionary_).
                          >
                          > Cameron's article in _ABD_ is indeed useful and I wonder if he is
                          > here articulating the kind of thing I was trying to hint at with my
                          > threefold model? Cameron does seem quite strongly against the notion
                          > that Thomas shows any degree of dependence on the Synoptics, however,
                          > and I wonder if that is necessary given this "intertextual model"?
                          >

                          When I quoted Cameron I was completely unfamiliar with the technical
                          meaning of intertextual, assuming it to refer obliquely to a
                          methodological process whereby acknowledgement of highly complex
                          interactions between actual texts and oral traditions occur. Not so, I
                          discover. The more precise meaning of intertextual: "Term proposed by
                          Julia Kristeva in La Revolution du langage poetique to describe the way a
                          single work can actually consist of several texts and/or the transposition
                          of one set of signs into another. Kristeva described it as a text
                          conceived as a "mosaic of quotations..., [an] absorption and
                          transformation of another text." By this rather circumscribed meaning,
                          Cameron should not use the term at all. Even in its more comprehensive
                          art historical meaning, it is still too bound to actual cultural
                          artifacts. In other words, it presupposes, in the context of a possible
                          relationship between GThomas and the synoptics, a literary dependency,
                          exactly what Cameron would argue against and that which we are
                          investigating.

                          If we follow the implicit meaning of "intertextual" as used by Cameron,
                          the relationship does not have to be direct in any way. It can simply
                          point to group interaction and to a common textual repository, in our
                          case, what we term the Old Testament and pseudepigraphal writings.

                          > I am interested too in the term "intertextual" in this context and it
                          > prompts a question based on research I am doing at the moment on
                          > narrative-critical readings of the Gospels: Why is it that we tend
                          > to avoid the term "intertextual" when discussing texts that have the
                          > most interesting and intimate literary relationship of all, viz. the
                          > Synoptics?
                          >

                          Maybe because we are uncertain what flavour of "intertextual" is being
                          employed.

                          I'm skeptical, Mark, that intertextual will offer any help to us except as
                          a trigger word for acceptance of nuanced analyses.
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