Why was Thomas not labelled as Q?

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Why was Thomas not labelled as Q?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Oct 14, 2020 8:40 pm

This is how the Beatitudes shake out:

Matthew

A. 5.3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
B. 5.4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
C. 5.5 Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
D. 5.6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
E. 5.7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
F. 5.8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
G. 5.9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
H. 5.10 Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
I. 5.11 Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Thomas

A. 54[.1] Blessed are the poor, for yours is the kingdom of heaven.
I. 68.1 Blessed are you when they hate you and persecute you. 2 But they will not find a place, where they have persecuted you.
H. 69.1 Blessed are those who have been persecuted in their hearts. They are those who have truly known the Father.
D. 69.2 Blessed are those who hunger so that they may fill the belly of the one who desires.

Luke

A. 6.20b Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
D. 6.21 Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied.
B. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.
I. 6.22 Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. 23 Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets.

I have lettered them according to Matthew, since Matthew has all that Luke (and therefore Q, so far as can be known) has, plus extras.

Matthew and Luke switch the order of two of the blessings. Thomas switches the order of three.

Matthew and Luke have contiguous lists of blessings. Thomas does not; they are scattered all over the text.

Matthew and Luke use the blessings as the introduction to a great speech by Jesus. Thomas lacks that kind of structure entirely.

Matthew and Luke begin with the poor, which happens to be the parallel which comes earliest of the four in Thomas. Does that mean something? Were Matthew and Luke influenced to select the first blessing in Thomas to be the first blessing in their speech? No, because Thomas has four other blessings before the one for the poor:

7.1 Blessed is the lion which the man eats, and the lion becomes man.
18.3 Blessed is he who stands in the beginning; he will know the end and will not taste death.
19.1 Blessed is he who has come into being before he has come into being.
49.1 Blessed are the solitary and elect, for you will find the kingdom.

So Matthew and Luke selected the fifth blessing in the text of Thomas.

In other words, if Matthew and Luke are drawing from Thomas, they are not independently drawing from Thomas; therefore, Thomas cannot replace Q here (by the definition of Q which I gave from Kloppenborg).

If it happens that either Matthew or Luke is drawing from Thomas, but that the two are not drawing from Thomas independently, then Thomas stands more in the relation of Streeter's M or L than in the relation of Q.

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Re: Why was Thomas not labelled as Q?

Post by mlinssen » Wed Oct 14, 2020 11:55 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Wed Oct 14, 2020 7:48 pm
Okay, but none of this matters for whether Thomas can replace Q, because you have not factored Matthew into the mix. The very fact that Matthew and Luke both have a set of beatitudes, with Matthew's list swallowing Luke's whole, all together at the beginning of an inaugural speech means something. The parallels in Thomas are scattered and not in order; they cannot replace Q for the Beatitudes shared by Matthew and Luke.
How do you mean replace Q?
Again, the central question is: do you really expect / assume one single document that has it all?

All the material "in between" Mark and Luke / Matthew, in the right order (good luck with that) and accounting for both, e.g. containing the beatitudes for both Luke and Matthew?

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Re: Why was Thomas not labelled as Q?

Post by mlinssen » Thu Oct 15, 2020 12:29 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Wed Oct 14, 2020 8:40 pm
In other words, if Matthew and Luke are drawing from Thomas, they are not independently drawing from Thomas; therefore, Thomas cannot replace Q here (by the definition of Q which I gave from Kloppenborg).

If it happens that either Matthew or Luke is drawing from Thomas, but that the two are not drawing from Thomas independently, then Thomas stands more in the relation of Streeter's M or L than in the relation of Q.
Yes, the independence between Luke and Matthew is, in my view, impossible: we have a too verbatim part that they share with Mark (satisfactorily explained by the text of Mark), a too verbatim part that they (and almost always especially Luke / Marcion) share with Thomas, and verbatim parts that are unique in the sense that we don't have extant documents to them (the mini-stry for instance) . Until we do, we can only surmise that they "shared their own material" as we really can't expect them to have all that they have come from written documents, without any input from themselves

But Streeter? It's a very romantic theory, but no. It couldn't possibly explain the mini-stry.
Again, the main question is: don't you (anyone) think it is good enough to have roughly half of the Double Tradition in Thomas, and the rest to have come from "oral memory"?

Then we remain with among others the verbatim mini-stry that undoubtedly has a text as source, yes
Last edited by mlinssen on Thu Oct 15, 2020 2:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Why was Thomas not labelled as Q?

Post by davidmartin » Thu Oct 15, 2020 2:01 am

You could reframe the question

Assuming there is some primordial list of parables
Does Thomas draw from this reliably?

If the answer is yes then the theological concept of immanence advocated by Thomas reveals something about Q
Q is said to contain apocalyptic prophecies that are not only absent in Thomas but theologically opposed to immanence

You could use this to argue the apocalyptic prophecies come from some other, later source that overlays the parables in the synoptics
It would prove there is no one single Q source because you can't have that kind of theological difference in one source

People have trouble with Jesus's claim that "Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God arrive with power" - that is no problem from a Thomasine perspective in the least

So Thomas shows an original immanence that later got augmented by an apocalyptic theology that wasn't original
This explains the primitive eschatology found in Paul's writings
It shows that at a certain stage a bunch piled into Christianity bringing with it new doctrines (along with hell) and these folk influences Matthew and Luke more than Mark and John

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Re: Why was Thomas not labelled as Q?

Post by mlinssen » Thu Oct 15, 2020 2:27 am

Thank you David
davidmartin wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 2:01 am
You could reframe the question

Assuming there is some primordial list of parables
Does Thomas draw from this reliably?
I'm "assuming" that Thomas is that primordial list of parables
davidmartin wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 2:01 am
If the answer is yes then the theological concept of immanence advocated by Thomas reveals something about Q
Q is said to contain apocalyptic prophecies that are not only absent in Thomas but theologically opposed to immanence
I say that's just copy-paste from Judaic legacy, abundantly present in the Tanakh. Mark has it, so why do Luke and Matthew need a Q to retrieve it from?
davidmartin wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 2:01 am
You could use this to argue the apocalyptic prophecies come from some other, later source that overlays the parables in the synoptics
It would prove there is no one single Q source because you can't have that kind of theological difference in one source
In IT projects we sarcastically call that "progressive insights" and those are either due to lack of preparation, or to what is labelled "scope creep" when people see the train running and jump onto it.
I think it's fairly clear that every gospel writer has its own target and thence prophecies, why doesn't anyone look for John or Paul to have drawn from a text for that?
davidmartin wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 2:01 am
People have trouble with Jesus's claim that "Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God arrive with power" - that is no problem from a Thomasine perspective in the least
Yes, that was dumb. Doomsday dating automatically leads to the end of your prediction credibility, although everyone gets away with it somehow, even these days. A carrot is fine, but it should be dangling from a long enough stick
davidmartin wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 2:01 am
So Thomas shows an original immanence that later got augmented by an apocalyptic theology that wasn't original
This explains the primitive eschatology found in Paul's writings
It shows that at a certain stage a bunch piled into Christianity bringing with it new doctrines (along with hell) and these folk influences Matthew and Luke more than Mark and John
Exactly. Just like Luke and Matthew fix and disagree with Mark, Mark does that to Thomas. Very tentatively copies only a third, and L/M double that, indicating that Mark apparently wasn't deemed credible enough to have come from Thomas (sic)

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Re: Why was Thomas not labelled as Q?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Oct 15, 2020 4:20 am

mlinssen wrote:
Wed Oct 14, 2020 11:55 pm
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Wed Oct 14, 2020 7:48 pm
Okay, but none of this matters for whether Thomas can replace Q, because you have not factored Matthew into the mix. The very fact that Matthew and Luke both have a set of beatitudes, with Matthew's list swallowing Luke's whole, all together at the beginning of an inaugural speech means something. The parallels in Thomas are scattered and not in order; they cannot replace Q for the Beatitudes shared by Matthew and Luke.
How do you mean replace Q?
Again, the central question is: do you really expect / assume one single document that has it all?

All the material "in between" Mark and Luke / Matthew, in the right order (good luck with that) and accounting for both, e.g. containing the beatitudes for both Luke and Matthew?
Do I myself expect it? Not really, though I would be thrilled if such a manuscript were discovered, because it would answer a lot of questions. And you know that Ken does not expect it, either. But a Q theorist, yes, would expect that such a document, accounting for most or all of the text, actually existed and thus is at least hypothetically possible to discover.
mlinssen wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 12:29 am
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Wed Oct 14, 2020 8:40 pm
In other words, if Matthew and Luke are drawing from Thomas, they are not independently drawing from Thomas; therefore, Thomas cannot replace Q here (by the definition of Q which I gave from Kloppenborg).

If it happens that either Matthew or Luke is drawing from Thomas, but that the two are not drawing from Thomas independently, then Thomas stands more in the relation of Streeter's M or L than in the relation of Q.
Yes, the independence between Luke and Matthew is, in my view, impossible.
Okay, then your theory does not require a Q document at all. So you have no need of any such expectation as the discovery of Q, either, and you have answered your own question as posed in the OP: Thomas is not labeled Q because it does not do what Q is supposed to do, which is to allow Matthew and Luke to be independent of each other.
But Streeter? It's a very romantic theory, but no. It couldn't possibly explain the mini-stry.
I do not know what this means.
Again, the main question is: don't you (anyone) think it is good enough to have roughly half of the Double Tradition in Thomas, and the rest to have come from "oral memory"?
No one thinks that about Thomas, no, though there were certainly hopes about those Oxyrhynchus fragments before the full text was discovered.

If we bring the matter down to the level of wording present between Matthew and Luke, then Thomas possesses nothing like half of the double tradition. And it accounts for practically zero of the common ordering or sequencing, or the blocks of context. I would make an educated guess that Thomas could account, on its own, for less than 10% of the double tradition as a replacement for Q. But I would love for you to run the parallels and prove me wrong. (My own approach to the synoptic problem is wide, wide open to the possibility of multiple documents having contributed to the double tradition.)

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Re: Why was Thomas not labelled as Q?

Post by mlinssen » Thu Oct 15, 2020 5:18 am

Thanks Ben, will do the parallels!
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 4:20 am

Do I myself expect it? Not really, though I would be thrilled if such a manuscript were discovered, because it would answer a lot of questions. And you know that Ken does not expect it, either. But a Q theorist, yes, would expect that such a document, accounting for most or all of the text, actually existed and thus is at least hypothetically possible to discover.


I hear you. Unless, of course, Luke and Matthew were more privileged than Mark - just like John apparently was, as he has quite different material - and decided, likely in their old days, together, to set the record straight for Mark and supplement it with what they had to say, addressing both audiences with one gospel each: a Gentile one, and a Judaic one

(I'm just being nice here LOL)
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 4:20 am
Okay, then your theory does not require a Q document at all. So you have no need of any such expectation as the discovery of Q, either, and you have answered your own question as posed in the OP: Thomas is not labeled Q because it does not do what Q is supposed to do, which is to allow Matthew and Luke to be independent of each other.


Well, now you have helped me get convinced that the real core to "Q as everyone knows it" is the fact that it explains the independence of Luke and Matthew, it does only partially do what it is supposed to do.
It explains 35 new sayings, because those are in Thomas and not in Mark.
It explains 7 new parables (out of those 35), because those are in Thomas and not in Mark.

It does not contain John's mini-stry for example, which can only be explained a mutual text as it is so verbatim between Luke and Matthew

But you're a bit too resolute here really, with your reasoning
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 4:20 am
If we bring the matter down to the level of wording present between Matthew and Luke, then Thomas possesses nothing like half of the double tradition. And it accounts for practically zero of the common ordering or sequencing, or the blocks of context. I would make an educated guess that Thomas could account, on its own, for less than 10% of the double tradition as a replacement for Q. But I would love for you to run the parallels and prove me wrong. (My own approach to the synoptic problem is wide, wide open to the possibility of multiple documents having contributed to the double tradition.)
I sense an irk Ben, unusual strong wording for you

In a nutshell, again: Thomas was the common source to Mark, Luke and Matthew.
Mark, creating his own story out of nowhere on top of only Thomas, tentatively copied a third of it, and made up the rest. He tried to make it legitimate by referring to scripture.
Luke and Matthew doubled what he copied from Mark, and went nuts with the rest. Matthew, that is, because Luke addressed the Thomas supporters who didn't give a damn about eschatology and prophecies

So whatever they did just had to look like what was in Thomas, it has to taste the same. No apparent order there so they could just make up any of their own, etc. They just supplemented Mark with what was lacking, and played with the verbatim agreements where possible. Birth story? Meh. Beatitudes? Some diversion allowed. John B Preaching? Must. Be. Verbatim. And so on

So, what will I do? Much like in posting.php?mode=quote&f=3&p=113565#pr113556 I will do the parallels, and argue that c.q. QS8 is 100% inspired upon Thomas 54, 69 and 68

But, again, Thomas solves only a substantial part of Luke / Matthew agreements, and if you look at the level with which Mark was incorporated verbatim into Luke and Matthew, then it's fair to say that about half of L/M is also in Thomas.
Level of wording between Thomas and Luke / Matthew is really difficult to do given the two separate languages, by the way. If you take a Hebrew Matthew and compare that to a Greek Luke, I'm sure that the level of agreement will substantially change

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Re: Why was Thomas not labelled as Q?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Oct 15, 2020 5:25 am

mlinssen wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 5:18 am
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 4:20 am
If we bring the matter down to the level of wording present between Matthew and Luke, then Thomas possesses nothing like half of the double tradition. And it accounts for practically zero of the common ordering or sequencing, or the blocks of context. I would make an educated guess that Thomas could account, on its own, for less than 10% of the double tradition as a replacement for Q. But I would love for you to run the parallels and prove me wrong. (My own approach to the synoptic problem is wide, wide open to the possibility of multiple documents having contributed to the double tradition.)
I sense an irk Ben, unusual strong wording for you
No, nothing irksome here.

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Re: Why was Thomas not labelled as Q?

Post by davidmartin » Thu Oct 15, 2020 5:44 am

Assuming there is some primordial list of parables
Does Thomas draw from this reliably?

I'm "assuming" that Thomas is that primordial list of parables
it's possible. even if someone was going to argue this given the likely chances of changes along the way you'd have to analyse each one individually
if Thomas is late/dependent that just makes the effort to do this seem pointless
i'd rather see it given an early date so that work is done. it just seems like a convenient way to brush Thomas aside because it's inconvenient
If the answer is yes then the theological concept of immanence advocated by Thomas reveals something about Q
Q is said to contain apocalyptic prophecies that are not only absent in Thomas but theologically opposed to immanence

I say that's just copy-paste from Judaic legacy, abundantly present in the Tanakh. Mark has it, so why do Luke and Matthew need a Q to retrieve it from?
I read somewhere that Q was supposed to contain apocalyptic prophecies. i've no link to that just remembered it, i think it was someone that advocated Q1, 2, 3. I was more suggesting the apocalyptic stuff must be a separate layer if Thomas had any accuracy
You could use this to argue the apocalyptic prophecies come from some other, later source that overlays the parables in the synoptics
It would prove there is no one single Q source because you can't have that kind of theological difference in one source

In IT projects we sarcastically call that "progressive insights" and those are either due to lack of preparation, or to what is labelled "scope creep" when people see the train running and jump onto it.
I think it's fairly clear that every gospel writer has its own target and thence prophecies, why doesn't anyone look for John or Paul to have drawn from a text for that?
What's the difference between a source and a redactor in this case, the gospel writer is adding something that tells you more about them, and what is earlier and later (maybe)
People have trouble with Jesus's claim that "Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God arrive with power" - that is no problem from a Thomasine perspective in the least

Yes, that was dumb. Doomsday dating automatically leads to the end of your prediction credibility, although everyone gets away with it somehow, even these days. A carrot is fine, but it should be dangling from a long enough stick
Ah, but dumb of who? The gospel writer or Jesus?
Within a scheme of immanence the kingdom of God arrives in the present moment so it makes sense as per Thomas
I think the immanent scheme was the earlier one and the entire literal-apocalyptic narrative was added on top in the NT for various reasons
So Thomas shows an original immanence that later got augmented by an apocalyptic theology that wasn't original
This explains the primitive eschatology found in Paul's writings
It shows that at a certain stage a bunch piled into Christianity bringing with it new doctrines (along with hell) and these folk influences Matthew and Luke more than Mark and John

Exactly. Just like Luke and Matthew fix and disagree with Mark, Mark does that to Thomas. Very tentatively copies only a third, and L/M double that, indicating that Mark apparently wasn't deemed credible enough to have come from Thomas (sic)
You think i'm more literal than i think i am!
The argument the gospels witness to is over what to believe, they didn't understand the parables and provided their own explanation
Thomas as a set of parables is inherently limited in reconstructing beliefs, and shows some bias in places. I doubt it would have existed in it's current form back in the 1st century.

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Re: Why was Thomas not labelled as Q?

Post by mlinssen » Thu Oct 15, 2020 6:46 am

davidmartin wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 5:44 am
it's possible. even if someone was going to argue this given the likely chances of changes along the way you'd have to analyse each one individually
if Thomas is late/dependent that just makes the effort to do this seem pointless
i'd rather see it given an early date so that work is done. it just seems like a convenient way to brush Thomas aside because it's inconvenient


The work is already done:
https://www.academia.edu/41668680/The_7 ... al_cousins

An in-depth comparison of the 72 logia of Thomas that are to be found in the canonicals, together with each version of each gospel writer, in full

https://www.academia.edu/40951733/Two_t ... ht_and_day

An in-depth discussion of the two entirely different styles between the two groups of parables: those that are in Thomas and those that aren't. No one would even try to argue that those come from one and the same source
davidmartin wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 5:44 am
I read somewhere that Q was supposed to contain apocalyptic prophecies. i've no link to that just remembered it, i think it was someone that advocated Q1, 2, 3
Only if you demand that all of the material between Mark and Luke / Matthew is to be traced back to one single document, which is more than foolish of course. No one is requiring that with regards to any other gospel or letter, so why start (and end) now?
davidmartin wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 5:44 am
What's the difference between a source and a redactor in this case, the gospel writer is adding something that tells you more about them, and what is earlier and later (maybe)
If you ask me, and if you have even a little opinion on people and the reliability of their memory: we all always tell stories the way we remembered them, and that's why you get 10 different stories when you go to the movies with 9 different people and each of you writes down in a dozen lines what they saw
davidmartin wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 5:44 am
People have trouble with Jesus's claim that "Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God arrive with power" - that is no problem from a Thomasine perspective in the least

Yes, that was dumb. Doomsday dating automatically leads to the end of your prediction credibility, although everyone gets away with it somehow, even these days. A carrot is fine, but it should be dangling from a long enough stick
Ah, but dumb of who? The gospel writer or Jesus?
Within a scheme of immanence the kingdom of God arrives in the present moment so it makes sense as per Thomas
I think the immanent scheme was the earlier one and the entire literal-apocalyptic narrative was added on top in the NT for various reasons


That's what I believe as well, Thomas has it all over the place: the kingdom is here, and "of your eye"

We all know that religion is about control, marketing and monetising. Thomas's message is useless to the contemporary tele evangelist, and Paul shows his rejection of it in
Romans 2:8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.

A flock without a shepherd, that's what Thomas advertises for. And that is not something that the shepherds of that time liked. So they took it, hijacked it, and rammed the eschatology into it so they could scare people into obedience, and giving alms of course!
davidmartin wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 5:44 am
The argument the gospels witness to is over what to believe, they didn't understand the parables and provided their own explanation
Thomas as a set of parables is inherently limited in reconstructing beliefs, and shows some bias in places. I doubt it would have existed in it's current form back in the 1st century.
That, I don't understand. Yes they didn't understand the parables, but how is Thomas reconstructing beliefs, and showing bias towards what?
And why doesn't that mix with a 1st century existence

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