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Re: [textualcriticism] Original/Initial/Archetype text of Gospel of Thomas

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  • Stephen C. Carlson
    ... As far as I m aware, the earliest autograph of a Western literary work to have survived is from the High Middle Ages. (NB: the key word is *literary*;
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 6, 2008
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      Eddie Mishoe <edmishoe@...> wrote:
      >Can I ask where the actual text found in the Nag
      >Hammadi area, known as the Gospel of Thomas, is
      >located on the Original-Initial-Archetype-Copies-etc
      >spectrum? (Or is it Original-Archetype-Initial-Copies?)
      >Is the actual document known as the Gospel of Thomas
      >closer to a copy, an initial text, an archetype, or
      >even an original? To be honest, I'm a little confused
      >about these terms and therefore am not sure I'm even
      >asking a legitimate question.

      As far as I'm aware, the earliest autograph of a Western
      literary work to have survived is from the High Middle Ages.
      (NB: the key word is *literary*; autographs do exist, on the
      other hand, for documentary writings on papyrus, such as
      letters, receipts, etc.) So, as long as you're talking
      about an ancient literary work, its autograph has long since
      perished.

      As for the Coptic Thomas, it is a copy (at some remove) of
      a translation of a copy at some remove of an original
      composition. Its archetype would the most recent common
      ancestor of the Coptic and the Greek fragments. By contrast
      the autograph is the earliest common ancestor. Whether this
      archetype is identical to the original/autograph is not
      determined.

      Stephen Carlson

      --
      Stephen C. Carlson
      Ph.D. student, Religion, Duke University
      Author of The Gospel Hoax: Morton Smith's Invention of Secret Mark (Baylor, 2005)
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