Q 72425

GTh 78

Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John. 'What did vou go out into the wilderness

Whv did vou out into the countryside?

to look at? A reed shaken bv the wind? What then did von go out to see? A man clothed in soft clothing? Behold those who are gorgeously apparelled and live in luxury are in royal palaces'.

To see a reed shaken bv the wind?

And to see a man clothed in soft clothing (like your) kings and great ones? They are clothed in soft clothing, and they are unable to discern the truth.

74. There is probably an allusion to Mai. 4.6 (cf. Sir. 48.10) in Luke 1.16.

75. John 1.6-9, 15, 19-36; 3.25-30; 5.33-36. Note the heavy emphasis on the 'witness' motif (1.7-8, 15, 19, 32, 34; 3.26, 28; 5.33-34, 36), particularly the triple confession of 1.20. As Wink observes, the Fourth Evangelist has narrowed the role of John to that of witness-bearer, but has also increased the focus on that role, 'the ideal witness to Christ' {John the Baptist 87106, here 105).

76. As suggested above, n. 57.

74. There is probably an allusion to Mai. 4.6 (cf. Sir. 48.10) in Luke 1.16.

75. John 1.6-9, 15, 19-36; 3.25-30; 5.33-36. Note the heavy emphasis on the 'witness' motif (1.7-8, 15, 19, 32, 34; 3.26, 28; 5.33-34, 36), particularly the triple confession of 1.20. As Wink observes, the Fourth Evangelist has narrowed the role of John to that of witness-bearer, but has also increased the focus on that role, 'the ideal witness to Christ' {John the Baptist 87106, here 105).

76. As suggested above, n. 57.

In the latter (GTh 78), any allusion to John is absent (given only by the Q introduction). This is significant. For the distinguishing feature and frame of the 'gospel form' evident in all the canonical Gospels is provided not only by the Passion, but also by its beginning with John and his baptism, as attested also by Q. If the Thomas tradition is old, then those who made use of it can hardly have been unaware of this (as GTh 46 probably confirms). In which case it looks as though the Thomas tradents have deliberately abbreviated the Baptist motif. This suggests in turn a conscious elimination by the Thomas tradents of the strong note of imminent judgment, which characterizes the Q account of John's preaching (Q 3.7-9, 16-17), as part of a broader redactional diminution of the larger judgment motif in the Q/Synoptic tradition. This line of reasoning runs counter to the arguments of Koester and others that the theme of judgment in Q is a redactional development of Q (= Q2) unknown to Thomas.11 On the contrary, it rather looks as though Thomas omits what was a clear recollection (in Q) of John's significance for the first disciples of Jesus and of (or despite) the judgmental character of John's preaching.78 It will be well to bear in mind this initial finding since it will have bearing on our attempts to hear again the preaching of Jesus through the ears of his first disciples.

For the moment, however, the initial conclusion can be fully affirmed, that John was seen as the beginning of the good news of Jesus from the earliest days of discipleship to Jesus.

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