Judy Redman on Charles Hedrick’s Thomas Commentary

Judy Redman is at it again. This time she provides a review of Charles Hedrick’s 2010 commentary on the Gospel of Thomas (Cascade). As with her review of Petr Pokorny’s commentary, Judy again applies the three questions from my recent book (date of composition, relationship to the NT, theological outlook) to outline the contributions of Hedrick’s book. [I should say that I'm appreciative of this attention for my argument. While I think my book makes a contribution to the field of Thomas studies, it's nice to have colleagues feel that way as well. So thanks, Judy!]

I have not used Hedrick’s commentary very much but I do own it. One of the peculiar things about Hedrick’s reasoning in the area of the Thomas-Synoptic debate is his assertion that the onus of proof lies squarely on the shoulders of those who claim that Thomas is dependent on the Synoptic tradition–something many of Hedrick’s Westar Institute cronies have also asserted. For my part, I have always been convinced that the onus of proof lies with anyone who makes an assertion, especially in an area of debate with so few certainties as Thomas‘s relationship to the Synoptics. In his article, “An Anecdotal Argument for the Independence of the Gospel of Thomas from the Synoptics,” (in For the Children, Perfect Instruction: Studies in Honor of Hans-Martin Schenke [Leiden: Brill, 2002] 113-26) Hedrick does have an interesting argument for the independence of one logion that he presumably hopes will be used to establish the independence of other (the rest?) of Thomas‘s 114 sayings.

As always, Judy’s insights are helpful and will serve those interested in exploring the world of Thomas scholarship in greater detail. Check out her post when you have a chance.

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4 thoughts on “Judy Redman on Charles Hedrick’s Thomas Commentary

  1. Thanks for the link, Chris. I, too, find the ‘onus of proof’ language interesting. It appears in Hedrick’s commentary, in Gathercole’s new book and also in McIver’s work on memory, so it is not just the Westar Institute who use it.

    • Judy, I see that language a lot as well and I think it’s a bit of a “punt.” If you can assert that the onus of proof lies with someone else, you have (I guess) won part of the rhetorical battle. To me, it’s intellectually dishonest to claim that the burden of proof lies with anyone but you when you are advancing an argument.

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