Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Ehrman on Thomas

0n Hypotyposeis, Stephen Carlson comments on Bart Ehrman on the Da Vinci Code:
I think that the Gospel of Thomas was written about 20 years after John; my opinion on this is the majority opinion; almost everybody who studies Thomas thinks of it as later than John with a few notable exceptions, including Elaine Pagels. She's the main one, but most people think Thomas was written in the early second century.
Ehrman's take on the majority opinion is somewhat different from the impression I have garnered from reading the scholarship of the most vocal (generally North American) investigators of Thomas, but, if Ehrman is right (and he has a better sense of the field than I do), it is a helpful reminder that the majority of scholars are not necessarily the loudest voices.
I think that Ehrman is right about where the majority opinion lies, and Stephen's comment that this is a useful reminder is apposite. I was interested by the same paragraph in the Ehrman interview, not least because I find myself in the minority group on this one (nothing new for me there!). The notion that John may post-date Thomas or something very like Thomas seems to me more likely than the reverse given John's too-perfect characterisation of Thomas as coming to belief in the way of the cross and ultimately the resurrection of Jesus' flesh, with the latter the very occasion for the confession of belief in Jesus as Lord and God. This is a powerful and effective counter to the kind of Jesus movement (if you can even call it that) witnessed by the Gospel of Thomas. The full case takes longer to make, and it is in my forthcoming book on Thomas, if I ever get it finished.

No comments: