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Mary Magdalene in the Dialogue of the Savior. Mary Magdalene in the Gospel of Mary. Mary Magdalene in the First Apocalypse of James. Mary Magdalene in the Gospel of Philip. Mary Magdalene in Pistis Sophia. Bremmer; Leuven: Peeters, , 11—35, esp. Clark, , King, What is Gnosticism? Cambridge, Mass. Introduction 5 were in a situation of conXict. Notably, the theory of a conXict between John and Thomas is almost completely restricted to American scholars, whereas European scholars have remained remarkably inactive in this discussion.

If so, the whole idea of John being written in response to Thomas would not make much sense. In fact, my estimation is that Thomas and John are roughly contemporary with each other. Although it is impossible to date either of them with absolute certainty, the dating at the turn of the Wrst century has much to recommend itself for both gospels.

This conclusion is supported by some of my text analyses; see chapter four, section nine below. It may even be that these ideas have unnecessarily been overshadowed by, and neglected in, the recent attempts to construct a direct conXict between John and Thomas. DiVerences in literary style aside, John and Thomas do share many ideas that make their symbolic worlds look quite similar to each other.

Jesus is portrayed as pre-existent and associated with the origin of all things Gos. Words of Jesus are linked with a promise of immortality, resulting either from understanding Gos. Discipleship is based upon election Gos. The world is denounced in both gospels Gos. Both gospels bear witness to a dualism of light and dark Gos. In John, realized eschatology can be seen, for example, in how the resurrection of the dead John —26; —27 and the Wnal judgement John —19, 36; ; are interpreted.

Jews are characterized by their misunderstanding. In John, this is a recurring feature e. Karen L. Risto Uro; Edinburgh: T. Clark, , — Introduction Attitudes towards Jewish customs are similar. In Thomas, bodily circumcision is ridiculed Gos. The similarities between Thomas and John listed above are abundant enough to raise a question about their mutual relationship, regardless of what one thinks of the merits and drawbacks of the theory that the two gospels were in conXict.

Several methodological diYculties are involved, however, in examining their relationship. The conXict theory contains problems of its own to be discussed below; here I will conWne myself to more general methodological considerations. Not only are they frequently quoted but they can also be regarded as witnessing to Jesus or as Wnding their fulWllment in him cf.

John ; ; Introduction 9 To begin with, it cannot be known with certainty which of the two gospels antedates the other. Moreover, since neither gospel presents quotations from the other, conclusions about their relationship can be drawn only by comparing their contents to each other.

Conclusions from such comparisons are, however, diYcult to draw with any certainty because of great diVerences in genre. Since Thomas is a sayings collection, it is unlikely that it would contain numerous references to the Johannine narrative order. Lengthy Johannine discourses would have been unsuitable in the literary genre of Thomas, too. Thus, if the author s of Thomas knew the Gospel of John, the most likely strategy of using it would have been 11 As regards the dating of the Fourth Gospel, the traditional dating of P52 c.

In consequence, the argument of order cannot play as important a role as it does, for example, in the study of the relationships among the synoptic gospels. Another crucial problem is related to diYculties in tracing the redaction histories of John and Thomas. It is commonly acknowledged that the Gospel of Thomas can be considered to be dependent on the synoptics only if clear redactional traces of them can be found in it.

Many scholars have reached the opposite conclusion; cf. Introduction 11 None of the theories concerning the sources of John has gained a dominant position comparable to that of the Two Source Theory in the study of the synoptic gospels. DiVerences between Greek fragments and the extant Coptic manuscript of Thomas such as the placement of Gos. In fact, each saying in Thomas can have a tradition history of its own, and it is possible that this 14 John 21 is often regarded as a secondary appendix to the gospel, but even those who are in favor of this view disagree as to whether this chapter stands alone or whether it represents a larger redactional layer also visible elsewhere in the gospel.

Francis T. Brill, , 23—41, esp. This approach needs to be complemented by a broader comparison with other early Christian literature. This broader approach is also needed for evaluating the claim that John and Thomas were gospels in conXict. It is necessary to clarify whether the aYnities between John and Thomas imply a particular connection, or whether the ideas they share with each other were more commonly attested in early Christian literature. Many of the aforementioned issues that bring John and Thomas close to each other will be discussed in the course of this study, while some of them I have dealt with elsewhere.

Kenneth V. Snodgrass, however, only oVers examples of sayings in Thomas which he claims to be secondary to the synoptic tradition. Jon Ma. Asgeirsson, April D. Introduction 13 The second main part of this study chapters Wve, six, and seven is devoted to the Wgures of the Beloved Disciple in John and Thomas as portrayed in the Gospel of Thomas.

It seems to me that Thomas and the Beloved Disciple are used to authenticate these gospels in strikingly diVerent manners. My discussion is, however, not conWned to the Beloved Disciple and Thomas, but I will take into account other Wgures used for similar purposes elsewhere.

Special emphasis will be placed on other beloved disciples of Jesus portrayed in early Christian texts. The theory of a conXict between John and Thomas has dominated most recent discussions about the relationship between these gospels. Nevertheless, at least two major solutions to this puzzle were already oVered before the conXict theory was coined. At an early stage of research, it was suggested that Thomas is either directly or indirectly dependent on John.

Another theory, which, in fact, paved the way for the conXict theory, was that the aYnities between John and Thomas go back to some common traditions. As will become apparent, there has been surprisingly little discussion between the proponents of the diVerent views. In outlining the history of research in some detail below, my goal is to engage myself in critical discussion with the previously suggested models instead of simply leaving aside the views with which I do not agree. April D.

Press, , 26— Clark, , 33—64, esp. The remote parallels include Gos. It is likely that such lengthy passages in John are literary compositions by the Johannine author. Thus, Brown concluded that Thomas is dependent on the Gospel of John in its Wnal literary form rather than on some common traditions behind these texts. First, Brown obviously assumed that the Gospel of Thomas is a later writing than the canonical gospels, including John.

This can be seen in the fact that he does not at all raise the question of whether John could be dependent on Thomas. At present, however, there is an ongoing debate about the date of Thomas, and the early dating has received considerable support from several scholars. Stevan L. This, in turn, has proved to be a vexing problem. In light of recent studies, it seems very diYcult to give a satisfactory deWnition of Gnosticism that would not carry along, in one way or another, biased generalizations inherited from early Christian polemics.

It is not possible to reproduce here the entire recent discussion about the term Gnosticism and its usefulness as a scholarly category. Yet it needs to be pointed out that specialists on the Nag Hammadi texts have become increasingly critical of using the term Gnosticism. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, A number of the parallels Brown mentioned in his article were between Thomas and Revelation. Thomasevangeliets hemliga Jesusord Stockholm: Diakonistyrelse , 9.

Sharpe; London: Collins, , John and Thomas in ConXict 19 Johannine writings is, however, far from certain, and Brown himself discarded this view later. In fact, it would work only if we could be absolutely sure that Thomas is later than John. Otherwise, the argument can easily be turned upside down.

Thus, by using the same argument as Brown did, one could also conclude that the Gospel of John presupposes Thomas in its Wnal form because John contains echoes of diVerent parts of Thomas. This reversibility shows that the dispersion of parallels in diVerent parts of certain Johannine passages or in Thomas is no conclusive argument. In fact, there are similar materials in the two gospels, but they are neither arranged in a similar manner, nor are there any clear cases where the order 12 Raymond E.

Mohr [Paul Siebeck], , — Sell parted company with Brown only in that he found the intermediary between John and Thomas suggested by Brown unnecessary. Sell insisted that Thomas is directly dependent on John. Snodgrass added little to the discussion. His suggestion was based upon only one saying in Thomas. When you will be in the light, what will you do? Tjitze Baarda has suggested that, taken together, the sayings 42 and 43 in Thomas presuppose the narrative sequence in John — Yet it is not clear that reference is made only to the previous saying.

John and Thomas in ConXict 23 ments from other gospels. As to the relationship between John and Thomas, Charlesworth and Evans simply oVer a brief list of what they consider parallels without qualifying them in any detail. Quispel maintained, in addition, that the author of John could have been familiar with some distinctively Palestinian traditions represented by the Gospel of Thomas.

Charlesworth and Craig E. Bruce Chilton and Craig E. Brill, , — — Furthermore, he has traced similar sayings traditions in two other Nag Hammadi texts, the Dialogue of the Savior and the Apocryphon of James. The Dialogue of the Savior shows the initial stages of larger compositions. The Gospel of John contains fully developed dialogues and discourses. Brill, , —61; id. Charles W. Hedrick and Robert Hodgson; Peabody: Hendrickson, , 97—; id. Koester provided lengthy lists of parallels to support his contention, but did not examine these parallels one by one.

Moreover, Koester does not take seriously the possibility that the Gospel of Thomas has run through several editorial stages. His suggestion was that the Gospel of Thomas had its origins in the Johannine community before the Gospel of John was written. According to Davies, this theory of the origin of Thomas would explain several things: Indeed, the hypothesis that the Gospel of Thomas is a sayings collection from an early stage of the Johannine communities accounts for the fact that Thomas contains no quotations from the as yet unwritten Gospel and Letters of John, accounts for the use of both Johannine vocabulary and synoptic-style sayings, and to a certain extent accounts for the fact that the ideas of Thomas are less well conceptualized than the ideas in John.

John and Thomas in ConXict 27 If we assume that the sayings of Jesus in the Gospel of John were in part derived from sayings of Jesus such as are found in the synoptics, then the oral preaching of the early Johannine community must have contained sayings of Jesus modiWed in a Johannine way, but less modiWed than the sayings now preserved in John. One would expect then that a document which remained from the period of the oral preaching of the Johannine communities and which Thomas used would have been a sayings collection, as Thomas is. It probably would have contained some sayings closer to synoptic sayings than are the discourses in John, and would show signs of early development of the Johannine tendencies.

For example, Davies does not try to explain why it should be assumed that an earlier sayings collection of the Johannine community was more closely related to the synoptic traditions than the extant Johannine discourses are. Moreover, he does not explain why the synoptic-like sayings tradition that had already established its position in the Johannine community would have gone virtually unnoticed when the Gospel of John was written.

This, however, should not distract us from his otherwise sensitive remarks on theological similarities between the Gospel of John and the Gospel of Thomas. For example, Davies has oVered the best inventory thus far of the sapiental motifs common to John and Thomas. He did this in his book Resurrection Reconsidered , which was based upon his Harvard dissertation supervised by Koester. Riley maintained that Thomasine Christians denied the resurrection of the body while Johannine Christians believed in it.

The struggle that became one decisive factor in deWning Christian orthodoxy and heresy in later centuries was, according to this view, anticipated by an earlier debate over the same issue between Johannine and Thomasine Christians. John and Thomas in ConXict 29 After Riley, other scholars have posited a conXict between John and Thomas, too, but they have sought reasons for it elsewhere.

April DeConick already hinted in her study, Seek to See Him , at the possibility that John and Thomas were engaged in a debate about ascent mysticism and visio dei 34 which, according to her, formed the key to the correct interpretation of Thomas. Robert T. Asgeirsson, Kirstin de Troyer and Marvin W. But it is inconceivable that the Gospel of John is not responding to some of these ideas. John D. Brill, , —26, esp. According to Johnson, this feature demonstrates a Johannine reaction against the Thomasine version of the promise of immortality. Riley insists that, while Johannine Christians accepted the resurrection of body, Thomasine Christians denied it, and that the two groups were engaged in a battle over this issue.

The latter shows, according to Riley, a Thomasine response to the Johannine interpretation of the temple saying John — Be that as it may, Riley argues that the Gospel of John was not only addressed to the Johannine community but also to Thomasine Christians. Nevertheless, the author of John could scarcely have entertained any hopes of great success for his writing 43 Riley, Resurrection, 2. John and Thomas in ConXict 33 among them, if they saw his portrayal of the disciple Thomas as negatively as Riley does, and read this portrayal as the complete refutation of their views.

DeConick reads the Gospel of Thomas as advocating vision mysticism, where salvation is acquired by seeking and by ascension to the divine realm, leading to a visio dei. Her view about a conXict between John and Thomas is based upon four key arguments. DeConick, Voices, DeConick, Voices, , cf.

DeConick, Voices, — These texts, unlike Thomas, reckon with the possibility that a visio dei takes place only after death. The author of John emphasizes that nobody John , or the Son only John , has seen the Father. The clearest indication of the Johannine critique of vision mysticism is the discussion between Jesus and Philip in John —9. Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.

Thomas does not raise this issue in his question to Jesus John The Gospel of Thomas no doubt considers transformation to divine status possible cf. It remains doubtful, however, whether this transformation was really thought to be acquired through heavenly journeys, for the Gospel of Thomas 58 DeConick, Voices, — Her comprehensive tradition-historical analysis demonstrates that the closest parallels to Thomas 50 are indeed connected with either the post-mortem or mystic ascension of the believer. In addition, Thomas contains passages that can be understood as a critique of heavenly journeys; these passages are not discussed at all by DeConick.

The kingdom is, however, inside of you and it is outside of you. John and Thomas in ConXict 37 importance is downplayed Gos. This makes her interpretation subject to the same criticism that I earlier levelled against Riley. DeConick adduces John , where Thomas insists that he wants to see the Lord, in support of her view.

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This is not a matter of course, but needs demonstration. DeConick recalls the distinction made between open and hidden controversy by Marc G. John and Thomas in ConXict 39 for it is almost impossible to prove or disprove such controversy in ancient texts. The crucial question is how to diVerentiate between the positions the author deliberately ignored or concealed, and those that were not there because the author did not know them or because the author did not Wnd them interesting or useful.

The authors are using 70 DeConick, Voices, To what extent the mirror reading of John, as reXecting the situation in which it was written, is justiWed in general, however, is a matter of debate.

The Pedagogy of the Logos

This is not to say that the experiences of the community could not have any impact on how the story of Jesus was 73 DeConick, Voices, 20 emphasis added. John and Thomas in ConXict 41 told in John, but it is very diYcult, if not impossible, to reconstruct these experiences on the basis of the Johannine story. Martyn argued that the lame man in John 5 represents an informer on Johannine Christians, and that John 9 was really an account of Jewish interrogations of Johannine Christians.

The underlying interpretive presupposition that the Gospel of John should be read as an allegory of what Johannine Christians went through is, however, far from self-evident. In her study of the interpretations of Genesis 1 in John and Thomas, Pagels avoided the diYculties embedded in mirror reading, as she did not place so much importance on the Wgure of Thomas in John. Brill, , Martyn, History and Theology, 52— For Jewish views 42 John and Thomas in ConXict however, the evidence she oVered in this study for a real conXict between the two gospels remains thin.

Perhaps it is for this reason that in her new book Pagels now rehearses the same arguments concerning the portrayal of Thomas in the Gospel of John as did Riley and DeConick to support her conclusion that John and Thomas are gospels in conXict. Brill, , esp. John and Thomas in ConXict 43 cf.

John and becomes perceptible to humankind exclusively through the logos incarnate. The author of John could have written against any of the groups and traditions mentioned by Pagels Thomas, Hellenistic Jewish authors, Hermetic texts , or, as seems the most plausible explanation to me, John and Thomas employed a similar tradition in two diVerent manners.

It does not seem necessary to assume that one interpretation emerged as a reaction to the other. The two interpretations could easily have come into existence independently of each other. I believe this is also the case for the theory of a conXict between John and Thomas in its diVerent forms. Proponents of this theory have their own views about what the Gospel of Thomas is all about, and then Wnd a conWrmation, in the form of opposition, for their particular views about the Gospel of Thomas in the Gospel of John.

Johannine Bibliography: Studies of the Gospel

The evidence derived from John proves very Xexible in the usage of these scholars. They have constructed quite diVerent, and mutually exclusive, pictures of the Thomasine position rebutted in John. In my view, this demonstrates that the Johannine story world remains too vague to justify any particular form of the conXict theory. A number of allegedly Thomasine positions have been seen as condemned in the Gospel of John, but the question remains how persuasive this way of reading John is in the light of the results achieved by it.

In my opinion, Riley, DeConick, and Pagels have managed to show several points where John and Thomas diVer from each other, and may even have opposing views. But John and Thomas in ConXict 45 how can it be shown that these gospels, or communities behind them, were really in debate with each other? Riley, DeConick, and Pagels have found the necessary proof in the Johannine characterization of the disciple Thomas. He is interpreted as a mirror, reXecting ideas attributed to a rival group of Christians leaning on the authority of Thomas.

Thus, a focal point in their argument is the Johannine story of Doubting Thomas John — Both Riley and DeConick maintain that Thomas is portrayed as a fool in this story, and that the Johannine author characterized Thomas in this way to combat ideas characteristic of Thomasine Christians.

Is the Thomasine position refuted in John —29 the denial of physical resurrection, as Riley believes, or is it vision mysticism, as DeConick argues? Both views cannot both be right. In that case, the saying would no longer bear witness to vision mysticism in Thomas, as DeConick and Fossum suggested. Gregory J. This point will be worked out in more detail in the following chapter devoted to the narrative Wgure of Thomas in John.

Nevertheless, there is a striking disagreement as to what Thomas represents in the Gospel of John. Does he represent denial of the resurrection of the body, as Riley suggested, or is he portrayed as a vision mystic rejected by the Johannine Jesus, as DeConick argued? Within the New Testament, John is the only gospel to display any close interest in Thomas.

In John, the picture drawn of Thomas is not very favourable. At the same time, there are early Christian texts in which Thomas is the key Wgure and the basis for their authority. Although their pictures of the conXict between John and Thomas were otherwise quite diVerent, Riley and DeConick agreed that Thomas is portrayed as a fool in John and that this portrayal is part of the Johannine campaign against Thomas Christians. Therefore, Riley and DeConick have devoted intensive work to the interpretation of the Johannine passages in which Thomas appears.

Moreover, there is little to suggest that the author of John knew the Judas Thomas tradition visible in the Thomasine literature. Riley, Resurrection, 78—; DeConick, Voices, 77— The Figure of Thomas in John 49 1.


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One of the brothers of Jesus was also called Judas Mark ; Matt. Since one of the brothers of Jesus was called James, the author of this letter identiWed himself indirectly with Judas, the brother of Jesus. One part of the Thomas literature derives with certainty the Acts of Thomas , and other parts with great likelihood the Gospel of Thomas and the Book of 3 Gos.

Raymond E. The idea that Thomas is the twin of Jesus is, however, unevenly attested in the Thomas literature. Helmut Koester, Introduction, 2. As for the Gospel of Thomas, Riley Resurrection, suggests that Thomas could have been identiWed as the twin of Jesus in one of the three secret words of Jesus in Gos. However, this theory remains as conjectural as any other suggestion on the three secret words in Gos.

This is, however, not the case. There is variation in how Thomas is named in diVerent versions of the Gospel of Thomas. Moreover, the lack of didymos in the Greek version indicates that this word did not appear in the original incipit of the Gospel of Thomas, but was added to it at some later stage. This conclusion is supported by the fact that, in a later transmission of the New Testament text, the designation didymos was also attached to Thomas in places where it did not appear originally.

Brill , —19, esp. On the other, the repeated use of didymos in connection with Thomas in John shows that when this gospel was written didymos was already a traditional epithet attached to Thomas. In fact, Thomas is not even connected with the brothers of Jesus, who are not only mentioned in John, but also described as unbelievers —9.

If the author of John had intended to combat a tradition in which Thomas was portrayed as the twin of Jesus, as Riley and DeConick assume, one could expect Thomas to be included among the brothers of Jesus. While no direct links to the Judas Thomas tradition can be found in John, scholars have detected more subtle allusions to that tradition. It seems likely, therefore, that the author of this gospel did not know about the identiWcation of Thomas with Judas.

In that case, the link drawn by Riley between Thomas and Judas the Betrayer in John remains quite unpersuasive. Since this designation is not attached to Thomas, he is, in fact, on the better side of the Twelve in the Johannine narrative. Rudolph Schnackenburg, Das Johannesevangelium 4 vols. This possibility cannot be excluded. In that case, however, it should be concluded that the author of John knew that Thomas was called didymos but did not know why. Moreover, the use of mav as a name is attested in at least one Semitic inscription. Davies, Wisdom 18—19; Stephen J.

Kloppenborg et al. BAA s. It should be noted, however, that evidence oVered for the use of Thomas as a name in this entry remains meagre: it oVers only a reference to the Greek prologue of Gos. Moreover, her solution creates a new diYculty: If Judas and Thomas were identiWed in the Johannine tradition, why did the author of John separate them? Jn The Figure of Thomas in John 57 2. The negative characterization of Thomas in John, however, is undeniable.

The problem is whether his portrait in John justiWes a leap from the story world to the real-life situation of the communities. This leap is especially diYcult if it is based upon narrative Wgures in John, since almost all of them are described in negative terms. It does not seem feasible to assume that each of these Wgures is a representative of a distinct group of believers with whom the author of John was in conXict.

Much is dependent, therefore, on the question of how negative the picture drawn of Thomas in John is. Is it clearly more negative than those of other Wgures in the story? It is true that the question Jesus poses to Thomas after his confession John is sarcastic, yet 24 Riley, Resurrection, John ; — He is associated with—rather than dissociated from—the other followers of Jesus. He is occasionally portrayed as a representative of all the disciples in the story.

In John 14, Thomas is one of the interlocutors who do not understand Jesus. Nonetheless, this portrayal does not separate Thomas from the other disciples. In the Johannine Last Supper scene, of which John 14 is a part, misunderstanding is ascribed to all the disciples John —29; cf. From now on you pl. Therefore, there is no solid basis for the claim that Thomas is portrayed as a fool in John Even in this passage, the Wgure of Thomas corresponds to the general characterization of the disciples of Jesus. In neither story, however, do the addressees believe this testimony.

In John, Thomas is no more closely linked with a visio dei than Mary in John , or other disciples in John and The repeated sequence of eyewitness testimony and its veriWcation in John —29 underscores the reliability of that testimony for the intended audience of the gospel. The blessing of those believing without seeing John is the 29 DeConick, Voices, Riley demonstrates that a plausible trajectory through the Thomas literature can be drawn on this basis.

In addition, Riley suggests that interpretations of the temple saying in John —21 and in Gospel of Thomas 71 reXect distinct views as regards the resurrection of Jesus. The temple saying in Thomas 71 will be discussed later in this study. The lacunae in the text may admit other emendations as well, but Riley accepts the text in this form.

This does not prove, however, that the sentence was added secondarily to Thomas. I Wnd it more likely that the Greek version provides the original reading of the saying, which 35 Riley, Resurrection, —5. Thomas is invited by Jesus to touch him, but it is not reported that he really did so; even for Thomas, seeing the risen Jesus oVers suYcient evidence for believing. The Figure of Thomas in John 63 was then edited at a later stage to conform to the antieschatological stance characteristic of Thomas.

Taking the Johannine story as it stands, Thomas doubts the claim of the other disciples that they have seen the Lord John At Wrst sight, it may seem that Thomas requires evidence for the physical resurrection of Jesus.


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  • Riley ibid. In both stories, it is important to aYrm that the risen Jesus was identiWed in a speciWc manner. It is striking that the Johannine author not only includes Thomas in the group of believers but also attributes to him a full-blown confession of Jesus. Hurtado, Lord Jesus Christ, Ignatius, Smyrn.

    If there was an ongoing, contentious debate between Johannine and Thomasine Christians, would it not have been confusing to the Johannine audience that it is Thomas, the hero of the rival community, who performs the paradigmatic confession? While we cannot know how the Wrst readers of the Gospel of John took the presentation of Thomas, there is evidence to the eVect that later Thomas Christians were not oVended by it. This can be seen in the fact that the confession ascribed to Thomas in John 20 is repeated twice in the Acts of Thomas 10; The Johannine portrayal of the Doubting Thomas, thus, was entirely acceptable to those who held Thomas in high regard.

    Apparently, they did not think that the Johannine portrayal of him denigrated his authority. The real-reader responses, to which these texts bear witness, show that neither Thomasine nor later Johannine Christians considered the portrayal of Thomas in John —29 oVensive. However, there proved to be several problems with this approach. First, the Johannine terminology used for Thomas does not reveal any close familiarity with that used in Thomas literature.

    Second, the Johannine picture of Thomas is negative, but in a manner similar to that of most other Wgures of the Johannine story world. Thomas is not the only follower of Jesus in John who understands him poorly; most other characters do this as well. Should we, then, posit early Christian groups behind all other followers of Jesus rebuked by him? In my view, Thomas, Philip, and Martha are, above all, necessary actors in the Johannine narrative, and it would be unwarranted to reconstruct communities behind each of them.

    It proved especially diYcult to identify the distinct theological position that Thomas might represent in John. This diYculty is best demonstrated by the conXicting interpretations of this position by Riley and DeConick. Finally, if there were a conXict between Johannine and Thomasine Christians over theological issues, one could expect to see more visible signs of it.

    For example, neither John nor Thomas leave any doubts about their opposition to the Jews. Whatever the relationship between John and Thomas was, it is not characterized by such unmistakable indications of controversy. The diVerence in genre and the lack of consensus about the editorial layers of these gospels make it diYcult to apply traditional methods of biblical scholarship, such as redaction history, to prove or disprove literary dependency between John and Thomas.

    Moreover, I argued in chapters two and three that it does not seem plausible to assume a conXict between these gospels or the communities behind them. In consequence, it seems advisable to approach the relationship between the two gospels from a broader perspective.

    The most important task is to isolate and analyze points where Thomas and John seem to be dealing with the same or similar issues, although we should not assume that they were necessarily engaged in a mutual discussion of these issues.

    The Beloved Disciple in Conflict?: Revisiting the Gospels of John and Thomas

    This group of sayings recommends itself as a test case for several reasons. These sayings constitute a relatively large amount of evidence in Thomas, and, as prominent expressions of Thomasine Christology, they are theologically relevant as well. Moreover, since the selfdeWnition of Jesus is also a central issue in John, it is easy to trace a number of Johannine parallels, both formal and theological, to these sayings in Thomas.

    To begin with, there is a relatively small group of identiWcation sayings. As to the negative identiWcation sayings of the Gospel of Thomas, Johannine parallels can be found to Gospel of Thomas 13, but not to Gospel Thomas Many I-sayings in Thomas are exhortations Gos. Strikingly enough, there are no close Johannine parallels to these sayings.

    They are all characterized by a synoptic-like terminology. John ; ; ; —38; 2 In his short survey of I-sayings in Thomas, Koester contends that Gos. Rudolph Bultmann, Das Evangelium des Johannes 21st ed. Sturdevant argues that the Gospel of John portrays Jesus as an adaptable teacher, who accommodates to different people in various ways to a singular end, to bring each to faith.

    In the same way, the Logos accommodates to humanity via the incarnation. Adaptability serves as both an interpersonal and universal category. Early Christian interpretations of John, especially that of John Chrysostom, describe the Jesus of John by echoing characterizations of the ideal Greco-Roman pedagogue, adapting to his diverse students. By looking to such interpretations, as well as illumination from the milieu of the Fourth Evangelist, Jason S.


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    • Sturdevant provides a new lens through which to understand the characterization of the Johannine Jesus. Editor: Tat-siong Benny Liew. Contact Sales. What is the current state of the field known as biblical studies? How will biblical studies continue to develop in this diverse, globalized, and digital age? In this book, a diverse group of scholars who are known for their innovative practice of biblical interpretation come together to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the critically acclaimed journal, Biblical Interpretation , by sharing their thoughts on and questions about the assumptions, practices, and parameters of biblical studies as well as their desires and fears about its disciplinary future.

      Covering a wide range of topics, geographical regions, resources, understandings, and viewpoints, this exceptional collection of essays will make you and help you rethink the conventions and convictions of biblical studies as an academic discipline.