The First Synod of ATS Part II: The Gospel of Thomas

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posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 05:33 PM
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reply to post by adjensen
 


There is the occasional scholar that says it does... Though i don't think it is.

I've seen a few sparce claims of it being written as early as 40AD





posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 07:20 PM
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Originally posted by Akragon
reply to post by adjensen
 


There is the occasional scholar that says it does... Though i don't think it is.

I've seen a few sparce claims of it being written as early as 40AD


Check the agendas of those making that claim, because there is no scholarly reason to believe that the whole of text dates to 40AD. Parts, maybe, but the whole thing? No way.



posted on Apr, 24 2013 @ 04:03 AM
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Originally posted by adjensen
Thomas doesn't predate the gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke. Or John, either, for that matter.


Well, I didn't include John because, largely it stands alone from the other 3 or 4 if we include Thomas. It differs linguistically and stylistically, so while it is useful in terms of the overall history of Jesus' mission, for comparative purposes in terms of sayings attributed to Jesus, it is somewhat lacking. Mark, Matthew and Luke belong to the same tradition, and there is some concensus that the three texts are related, if not directly drawn from one another. Thomas appears also to share similar language and phrases I believe. So if we are speculating in order to decide what Jesus may actually have said, then it stands to reason that we return to the earliest version of those texts. Which in this case, would be Thomas. I believe the earliest copy of Thomas is dated circa 100 to 150AD? While we have fragments of Matthew, Mark and Luke from that same period, they are rather small I believe, certainly for comparative purposes. So Thomas remains the closest and most complete example we have to a primary source, even if, the primary source of Thomas was Matthew, Mark or Luke, or the three combined. Aging otherwise, is speculation based on content and is, at current state of play, no where near a concensus of opinion anyway. For the purposes of argument then, Thomas is the oldest reference that we have for comparative purposes.



posted on Apr, 24 2013 @ 08:24 AM
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reply to post by KilgoreTrout
 



I believe the earliest copy of Thomas is dated circa 100 to 150AD?

No, it is not. What we have is a Third or Fourth Century Coptic translation of an earlier Greek manuscript, the date of which is not known. However, we know that the New Testament texts are in congruence with other documents that relate to orthodox Christian beliefs and standards, and which date to First and Second Century, while the Gnostic philosophy/theology that is espoused, at least in part, in Thomas did not exist prior to the mid-Second Century.



posted on Apr, 24 2013 @ 02:34 PM
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Originally posted by adjensen
reply to post by KilgoreTrout
 



I believe the earliest copy of Thomas is dated circa 100 to 150AD?

No, it is not. What we have is a Third or Fourth Century Coptic translation of an earlier Greek manuscript, the date of which is not known. However, we know that the New Testament texts are in congruence with other documents that relate to orthodox Christian beliefs and standards, and which date to First and Second Century, while the Gnostic philosophy/theology that is espoused, at least in part, in Thomas did not exist prior to the mid-Second Century.


The dating is variable...but 2nd to 3rd century, at the outside...


The three papyrus fragments of Thomas found at Oxyrhynchus apparently date to between 130 - 250 CE, and each probably represents a separate unique copy of the Gospel. The textual source of the sayings contained in the fragments was initially unclear; based on the logion found in pOxy 654 – now identified as containing the prologue and first saying – it was speculated they might represent remains of the lost Gospel of Thomas. The Nag Hammadi discovery in 1945 which unearthed a complete and well-preserved version of Thomas in Coptic made it possible to definitely identify the Oxyrhynchus texts as fragments from a lost Greek edition of the Gospel.


gnosis.org...

Hearsay aside, it remains the case, that the earliest, and most complete example of the sayings of Jesus, remains with the Gospel of Thomas. Unless you can provide support otherwise....what 'other documents' are you bringing to the table?



posted on Apr, 24 2013 @ 02:50 PM
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Originally posted by adjensen
reply to post by KilgoreTrout
 



I believe the earliest copy of Thomas is dated circa 100 to 150AD?

No, it is not. What we have is a Third or Fourth Century Coptic translation of an earlier Greek manuscript, the date of which is not known. However, we know that the New Testament texts are in congruence with other documents that relate to orthodox Christian beliefs and standards, and which date to First and Second Century, while the Gnostic philosophy/theology that is espoused, at least in part, in Thomas did not exist prior to the mid-Second Century.



While the cumulative nature of the sayings collection understandably makes the Gospel of Thomas difficult to date with precision, several factors weigh in favor of a date well before the end of the first century: the way in which Thomas appeals to the authority of particular prominent figures (Thomas, James) against the competing claims of others (Peter, Matthew); in genre, the sayings collection, which seems to have declined in importance after the emergence of the more biographical and dialogical forms near the end of the first century; and its primitive christology, which seems to presuppose a theological climate even more primitive than the later stages of the synoptic sayings gospel, Q. Together these factors suggest a date for Thomas in the vicinity of 70-80 C.E. As for its provenance, while it is possible, even likely, that an early version of this collection associated with James circulated in the environs of Jerusalem, the Gospel of Thomas in more or less its present state comes from eastern Syria, where the popularity of the apostle Thomas (Judas Didymos Thomas) is well attested.


second century seems a bit late according to Stephen Patterson...




posted on Apr, 24 2013 @ 02:53 PM
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Originally posted by KilgoreTrout
Hearsay aside, it remains the case, that the earliest, and most complete example of the sayings of Jesus, remains with the Gospel of Thomas.

Sigh.

No, it does not "remain the case", because there is no indication that Thomas, in whole, could possibly have existed before the mid-Second Century, and it is idle speculation to claim that parts of it are "the earliest and most complete" anything. They might be, but there is no way of knowing.


Unless you can provide support otherwise....what 'other documents' are you bringing to the table?

Non-Christian writers, and early Church Fathers, who pre-date Christian Gnosticism.

See Early Christian Writings.



posted on Apr, 24 2013 @ 02:58 PM
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reply to post by Akragon
 



Originally posted by Akragon
second century seems a bit late according to Stephen Patterson...


This Stephen Patterson?

From that page:


He is also a Fellow of the Jesus Seminar and leads the Jesus Seminar on Christian Origins, a group of 150 scholars of early Christianity dedicated to disseminating biblical scholarship to the general public.

There's your agenda. Of course he's in favour of an early dating of Thomas.



posted on Apr, 24 2013 @ 02:59 PM
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reply to post by adjensen
 


*sigh* right back atchya....all those numbers down the side are estimated dates of writing...please supply the dates of the extant, earliest copies. Then we can compare. Until then, hearsay.

Thanks.



posted on Apr, 24 2013 @ 03:05 PM
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Originally posted by adjensen
reply to post by Akragon
 



Originally posted by Akragon
second century seems a bit late according to Stephen Patterson...


This Stephen Patterson?

From that page:


He is also a Fellow of the Jesus Seminar and leads the Jesus Seminar on Christian Origins, a group of 150 scholars of early Christianity dedicated to disseminating biblical scholarship to the general public.

There's your agenda. Of course he's in favour of an early dating of Thomas.


What exactly is the agenda?

That link says he's dedicated to spreading biblical scholarship to the general public... I don't see an issue with that...

in fact if he was one of the people in this "Jesus seminar" which eightbits brought up... I don't agree with many of his conclusions in anycase... that link he provided on that seminar was waaay off the mark on so many of the Thomas sayings.

Other then that he seems to be a pretty solid scholar in biblical studies... he's been a professor for over 20 years...




posted on Apr, 24 2013 @ 03:08 PM
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Originally posted by KilgoreTrout
Until then, hearsay.

So your theory is that your hearsay is better than mine?

Gnostic Christianity did not exist until the mid-Second Century, unless Valentinus had a time machine.



posted on Apr, 24 2013 @ 03:12 PM
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Originally posted by adjensen

Originally posted by KilgoreTrout
Until then, hearsay.

So your theory is that your hearsay is better than mine?

Gnostic Christianity did not exist until the mid-Second Century, unless Valentinus had a time machine.


What has Gnostic Christianity got to do with anything? The text that we are discussing, Thomas, has been dated, in various fragments, to the 2nd century...just because you have decided that Thomas is 'Gnostic' does not necessarily make it so...no theory involved on my part. But then no indoctrination on my part either, hence my open mind. And yours?

So, again, what are the dates of the earliest extant copies of the texts that you refer to? Do those dates precede the date of Thomas?



posted on Apr, 24 2013 @ 03:14 PM
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Originally posted by Akragon
What exactly is the agenda?

The Jesus Seminar is an ultra liberal "think tank" whose purpose is to prove that a supernatural Jesus never existed. They are the 20th Century version of the 19th Century "Quest for the Historical Jesus", and use the same methodology to produce a view of Jesus that conforms to what they want him to be, regardless of what he was.



posted on Apr, 24 2013 @ 03:16 PM
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Originally posted by KilgoreTrout
So, again, what are the dates of the earliest extant copies of the texts that you refer to? Do those dates precede the date of Thomas?

You don't have a date for Thomas.

The consensus among traditional scholars (ie: not the Jesus Seminar crowd) is that Thomas is a Gnostic text with orthodox Christian parts. If you know anything about Christian Gnosticism, you can't help but see that in a large number of sayings.



posted on Apr, 24 2013 @ 03:24 PM
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Originally posted by adjensen

Originally posted by KilgoreTrout
So, again, what are the dates of the earliest extant copies of the texts that you refer to? Do those dates precede the date of Thomas?

You don't have a date for Thomas.



Oh it's going to have to be a *sigh* again...deary me...anyway...the date refers to the fragments that have been found...the dates are for those...that is, those fragments originate from those dates, that is when they, those fragments were produced. Above and beyond that, confirmed, scientifically and academically so, information, I ain't making not one iddy biddy claim. So *sigh* again, what are the earliest extant copies of the documents that you opine to?



posted on Apr, 24 2013 @ 03:32 PM
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Originally posted by KilgoreTrout
the date refers to the fragments that have been found...the dates are for those...

Where is the evidence that fragments of Thomas exist from 40AD?

Historical evidence and archaeological evidence are not the same thing, and the latter does not trump the former. Saying that you have a physical copy of Thomas from 150AD and a physical copy of Matthew from 160AD does not mean that Thomas was written before Matthew, and the historical evidence that orthodox Christianity pre-existed Gnostic Christianity is sufficient to demonstrate that, as a whole, Thomas does not pre-date Matthew.



posted on Apr, 24 2013 @ 03:41 PM
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Originally posted by adjensen

Originally posted by KilgoreTrout
the date refers to the fragments that have been found...the dates are for those...

Where is the evidence that fragments of Thomas exist from 40AD?


Who is making that claim? Not I.


Originally posted by adjensen
Historical evidence and archaeological evidence are not the same thing, and the latter does not trump the former. Saying that you have a physical copy of Thomas from 150AD and a physical copy of Matthew from 160AD does not mean that Thomas was written before Matthew, and the historical evidence that orthodox Christianity pre-existed Gnostic Christianity is sufficient to demonstrate that, as a whole, Thomas does not pre-date Matthew.


I take it you cannot provide an extant document that pre-dates Thomas then? I am making no claims that the 'original' Thomas's writings predate Matthew...Mark or Luke for that matter...what I am saying, simply, is that Thomas is the earliest extant text. Beyond that, I have laid no claims.

Why is Thomas so threatening? Genuine question...I am curious as to why you feel the need to reject him outright...as I said, I'm not tethered to any particular chain of belief, and I really don't get what is so offensive about Thomas.



posted on Apr, 24 2013 @ 04:35 PM
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Originally posted by KilgoreTrout
I take it you cannot provide an extant document that pre-dates Thomas then?

According to this: Gospel of Thomas:


These three papyrus fragments of Thomas date to between 130 and 250.

And according to this: Rylands Library Papyrus P52 (fragment of a copy of John):

The style of the script is strongly Hadrianic, which would suggest a most probable date somewhere between 117 CE and 138 CE.

The overlap is such that the bit of John is statistically likely to be older. But I'm not an ancient documents scholar, I see there are arguments about both fragments, and I know that historical evidence is that Thomas is later, so I don't see the big deal.


Why is Thomas so threatening? Genuine question...I am curious as to why you feel the need to reject him outright...as I said, I'm not tethered to any particular chain of belief, and I really don't get what is so offensive about Thomas.

It isn't threatening -- it's a tool used by some in an attempt to discredit orthodox Christianity. You are welcome to believe what you like about it, but, as a whole, it does not pre-date the canonical texts, as you earlier claimed.



posted on Apr, 24 2013 @ 04:38 PM
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reply to post by adjensen
 


I don't see it as a document that discredits orthodox Christianity... in fact I believe it complements it.

Its another perspective on a very important historical figure...






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