In what way is "Kernel Thomas" appropriately labelled Kernel Thomas? In other words, what is it about this hypothetical collection of sayings that makes it Thomasine? The character Thomas appears in the Incipit and Logion 13, but both of these are among DeConick's accretions. Looking at the character of the accretions, it is also clear that Kernel Thomas is a different kind of entity from the Gospel of Thomas, which focuses the question further.My response
I use the expression Kernel Thomas only in practical terms, to refer to that text which became the Gospel of Thomas. It is not used by me to indicate a theological orientation that we call "Thomasine." By the way, I do not understand the Thomasine theological orientation to be unique or derivative of a church who only uses the Gospel of Thomas. The theology represents early Syrian Christianity, and is most likely associated with Edessian Christians. They did not just produce the Gospel of Thomas, or know only it. They produced and knew many other pieces of early Christian literature including other gospels.Mark Goodacre
How do we know that the author or community producing the Gospel of Thomas was directly continuous with the author or community who used Kernel Thomas as their storage site for Jesus' sayings? Could it be that the Gospel of Thomas author or community had no direct relationship with the author or community behind Kernel Thomas?My response
My analysis of the content of the earliest sayings, the Kernel, suggests to me that the Kernel came from the Jerusalem mission. I don't ever argue for a continuity of communities - that the Kernel and the Gospel of Thomas were created by the same group of people. The Kernel looks to me to have been produced in Jerusalem. Somehow it got to Edessa. I think this most likely happened as the result of mission work from Jerusalem, but there may be other possibilities. The Christians in Edessa develop the text. The text reflects shifts in Christianity there, so it reflects an ever-changing community of Christians and the issues that they faced. This is what I mean by dynamic growth. One group of people have not controlled everything that happened to this text. Even within the Thomasine (or better?: Edessian) community there were shifts and changes in membership and orientation. I tried to get this across in terms of the gradual accrual of the accretions, and the shift in hermeneutics that I see taking place in this accretive material.Mark Goodacre
Is Kernel Thomas the core of the Gospel of Thomas in the same way that the Gospel of Mark is the core of the Gospel of Matthew? Or to put it another way, would we be content with thinking of the Gospel of Mark as "Kernel Matthew"?My response
I rather like this comparison, although I would be afraid that the analogy would be taken too far by other scholars, especially in terms of what the consensus view is about the composition of Matthew as a literary assimilation and redaction of written sources. This is exactly the model of production that I am arguing against. My model is one in which oral consciousness dominated the production - which is not the same thing as saying that I think its creation relied solely on oral sources or orality. This would be a total misunderstanding of my position. I argue quite loudly for a rhetorical model, for an organic process of written and oral texts moving in and out of oration, and for the setting down of what was significant in writing so that it could be preserved.