Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Cautionary Note 4: DeConick on Accretions

Perrin (p. 55): "At the end of the day, DeConick shows us four stages (for lack of a better term)." He then assigns certain sayings to Stages 1, 2, 3, and 4, apparently referencing my chart on pages 97-98 but with no citation.

Perrin's description is not the model I have argued for. My chart is labeled "The Gradual Accrual of Logia," not stages or layers (words which I consciously avoided). In fact I wrote in the paragraph immediately proceeding the chart (Recovering, p. 97):

"The first [chart] outlines the approximate dates for the accrual of the accretions in the gospel between the years 50 and 120 CE. The chart should not be read as representing three stages of 'redaction' (literary or oral) of Thomas. Such a reading would represent a complete misunderstanding of my argument. The accrual occurred mainly within the field of oral performance and was gradual."

I think that the creation of the Gospel of Thomas was a complex, organic and gradual process, and I do not want my hypothesis to be rewritten by my critics into the exact type of model I am trying to replace, and then criticized on these terms.

The method I put into place was to identify later material from earlier material, and then to offer an explanation for how and why the later material came into the Gospel. It is not an explanation that involves redactionary layering or stages or phases. It is a hypothesis that sees later material accruing within older material in order to shift the meaning and provide a new hermeneutic once the older material became a liability or required a new interpretation. This is why I use the image "rolling corpus." The three overlapping time periods that I offer for the accrual of the later material is my best estimate based on what we know about similar material and ideas in other early Christian texts which we date to these times.


Geoff Hudson said...


At least you know who Nicholas Perrin is. In the ether world world, there are plenty of anonymous or pseudonymous assassins on various so-called academic lists.

Perrin & Co. are fighting hopeless rearguard actions. They should be really concerned about the implications of the kernal material in both the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Judas.

I think the 'rolling' of the corpus began after the kernals were written. Interestingly, the kernal of the Gospel of Thomas centres on so-called sayings, but the kernal of The Gospel of Judas on narrative. Combine the two, and you have a scheme that begins to resemble the gospels of the NT.

I am sure there is some startling information about Judas obfuscated in the extant Gospel of Judas. The writer of the Gospel of Judas undoubtedly played the status of Judas down.


Geoff Hudson said...

I see in The Book of Thomas the Contender (Thomas again in the title), Judas Thomas is indeed referred to as a twin. The extant text implies he was Jesus's twin. But amazing to me is the mention of Mathaias in the opening words along with the name of Judas. Using Josephus, I have suggested that the real twin of Judas was Matthias who I also believe was the father of Josephus. 'The saviour' is secondary.