Re: Q and oral tradition
- At 08:02 AM 8/20/97 -0500, you wrote:
>What do we mean by *independent* source? To me, it seems clear thatWhen I use the term I mean to suggest that Q did not use Thomas in the
>Thomas is not taken directly from the Synoptics; neither were the
>Synoptics taken directly from Thomas. There is too much divergence
>in language for there to be literary dependence.
composition of his gospel; and neither did Thomas use Q in the composition
of his. Further, Q is independent of Matthew- but Matthew is not
independent of Q.
Q and Thomas are independent compositions which sometimes overlap because
they draw on some of the same oral traditions. Just as two eyewitnesses are
independent when they are interviewed by the police after viewing an
accident; yet their testimonies can overlap because they viewed the same event.
>Independent in composition.
>BUT the similarities are too great for the accounts to be entirely
>independent. They go back to a common oral tradition at some point
>on "this side" of Jesus. Does this make them dependent? Semi-dependent?
>I would be interested in hearing how others view this. Even if youQ and Thomas contain both early, reliable tradition concerning the
>don't agree with my reconstruction (which is based on the study of
>oral tradition, not literary criticism), how would you assess the
>degree of dependence if it *were* true?
historical Jesus; but they also contain late, theological interpretation of
the Christ of faith as seen by their communities.
Like gospel texts, the text of Q and Thomas are little windows which allow
us to view the beliefs of a particular community. Each biblical text, in
fact, is such a window.
Jim West, ThD
Adjunct Professor of Bible, Quartz Hill School of Theology
>From Bill Petersen, abroad at the moment:On the Thomas vs. synoptics matter raised by Waltz and others, the works of
Gilles Quispel are seminal. Especially the collations in the appendices of
his *Tatian and the Gospel of Thomas.* Quispel, who was one of the first
scholars to examine GTh, and who (co-)edited the ed.princ., has always
argued for the independence of GTh. His articles (which appeared in NTS,
NovT, VigChr, etc.) are collected in his two-volume *Gnostic Studies*.
--Petersen, Penn State Univ., Netherlands Inst. for Adv. Studies.