Sunday, December 2, 2012

Preliminaries, and a new diagram

I have little time this week, unfortunately, to devote the attention I need to the question of the Gospel of Thomas and the Synoptics (though I have already drafted some comments), but I did have time to put together a new HSH diagram.  Here it is:





Some comments:


  • I replace the line of influence from Didache to canonical GMk with one from Greek GTh to canonical GMk. This adds no complexity.  It's the result of a great deal of thinking prompted by Goodacre and Gathercole's work, so I have them to thank for it.  It's also a much more satisfying and even rewarding solution to various problems.
  • I replace the hypothesized "Syriac GTh" with the less-hypothetical "G" (for "Gospel"), which I now think may simply have been oral tradition.  The existence of early Christian oral traditions is not very controversial, and so here I think I do little wrong in including it.  I still maintain it could have been an early, written version of GTh (which at the time would not have been attributed to Thomas) in one Aramaic/Syriac dialect or another, but I by no means insist on this.  This likewise adds no complexity, and even removes some.
  • I add a direct line of influence from this G to the Didache, as seemingly evidenced by the Didache document itself, in referring to the "Gospel".  Since this is based on textual evidence, it adds scope without adding complexity.  I place it in parentheses to indicate my uncertainty about whether it was a written or oral tradition.  It receives its own color (purple) to indicate it is related to other traditions (especially the Thomasine and Markan ones) but had its own unique character, impartially and even inaccurately reflected in later developments.
  • While I was at it, I added one of the (commonly-agreed-upon) sources of the Didache document, the hypothesized Jewish "Two Ways" document.  Since this is also currently seen as a basis for the Epistle of Barnabas, I threw that in, too.  This is a mostly non-controversial addition to the diagram, and helps to place G in context while also explaining commonalities between the Epistle of Barnabas (Barn.)
  • And I figured I might as well throw in Paul's influence on the Markan tradition, since I take it for granted by now and it is garnering some attention in scholarship.


Things are really falling into place.  (Someday I'll clean up those pesky grey links to and from the "Gospel of the Hebrews" tradition.)  My next post will have to deal with the question of parsimony--more specifically, how I can claim that the HSH is more parsimonious than the FH.  I can assure you it is at least no more complicated than the FH, and I will explain why.

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