From: Dan Parker (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue Feb 06 2001 - 12:48:47 EST
> Several days ago, in a discussion of John 20:28, Dan Parker advised David
> > As for whether one or two persons are in view, consider Augustine in
> > 'Tractate CXXI':
> > "Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God." He saw
> > and touched the man, and acknowledged the God whom he neither saw nor
> > touched; but by the means of what he saw and touched, he now put far
> > away from him every doubt, and believed the other."
> In assessing the value of any single comment it is important to observe its
> context. The relevance to Augustine's being cited in the matter of John
> 20:28 is as follows.
> Alex Hopkins (Melbourne, Australia)
I am positive that this is not the proper forum to get into a lengthy
discussion on Augustine's theology, but would like to clarify why I think
he supports the view that KAI serves to distinguish two different things
rather than in an epexegetical fashion as apparently does the current
"orthodox" view. Augustine said:
Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God. He saw
and touched the man, and acknowledged the God whom he neither
saw nor touched; but by the means of what he saw and touched, he
now put far away from him every doubt, and believed the _other_.
I interpret Augustine's use of the word "other" to signify that he
did not view KAI as epexegetical, because he would not have used the
In addition, Augustine emphasizes twice in the Tractate that he views
Jesus' words in John 20 as defining himself as the "mediator" between
men and the Father.
Augustine also clearly stated that the _other_ was the object of Thomas'
belief, and this must be taken as the Father to whom he was mediator.
This is also in line with the logic used by Margaret Davies who said:
Naturally, the interpretation of Thomas's words was hotly debated
by early church theologians who wanted to use it in support
of their own christological definitions. Those who understood
'My Lord' to refer to Jesus, and 'my God' to refer to God
[the Father] were suspected of christological heresy in the
fifth century CE. ... In 14.1 belief both in God and in Jesus
is encouraged, in a context in which Thomas is particularly
singled out ... If we understand Thomas's confession as an
assertion that Jesus is God, this confession in 20.31 becomes
an anti-climax. (Margaret Davies, Rhetoric and Reference in the
Fourth Gospel (JSNTSup69; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press,
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