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7126[GTh] Re: Introductory Coptic Grammars

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  • Gerry
    Apr 5, 2006
      --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@...>
      > Thanks for saying so, Gerry. It means a lot to me, especially
      coming from a
      > person who knows Coptic as well as you evidently do.

      Oh, I'm hardly an expert, Mike. My lifelong, geeky fascination with
      languages has led me to dabble in the study of a number of them, but
      I've only gained some degree of proficiency in a few (all modern).
      While I've been trying for years to acquire the materials necessary
      to make it possible for me to teach myself Coptic, it is only in
      recent months that I finally have what I consider to be adequate
      resources. Now, I simply need the time required to devote to that
      endeavor. Unfortunately, thanks to work and other demands in my
      personal life, spare time is something that has been quite scarce for
      me, so my mission will undoubtedly continue to be a slow process,
      just as my involvement with Internet groups seems to have become
      relegated to a few moments on my day off.

      > What I'm wondering is whether he covers 77.1. As you know, there's
      > unreferenced third person plural there, but it's not a passive
      > (I have it as "I am the light - the one which is upon all of
      them.") This
      > would make sense if it was, say, appended to the saying about the 24
      > prophets, since they would be the "them", but as it stands it
      doesn't make
      > much sense to me. (If what was intended was "I am the light which
      is over
      > everything", why not use P-THRef as it's used immediately
      following?.) What
      > do you and/or Eccles make of it?
      > Regards,
      > Mike Grondin

      Sorry to say that Eccles does not cover that saying. I'm not sure
      how Marvin Meyer's translation is received here, but my acquaintance
      with his book on the Gospel of Thomas goes waaaay back, and I
      occasionally still find myself resonating with his renderings in
      instances where others leave me cold. Here's that entire passage:

      77. Jesus said, "I am the light that is over all things. I am all:
      from me all came forth, and to me all attained. Split a piece of
      wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there."

      I would have to say that it makes more sense to me as it stands in
      the Coptic. How exactly Meyer viewed the technical particulars for
      his rendering is something that I could not answer. I know that
      Lambdin says that "THR" must take a resumptive suffix, and it does
      indeed match the same pronoun in the preceding clause (eT-2Ijw-OY),
      so maybe the question would be better focused on finding a referent
      for that previous instance of "–OY." I am inclined to wonder if
      something like a prospective referential function (rather than a
      retrospective one) could be applicable here. This would appear to be
      consistent with the remainder of that passage, as well as with
      Meyer's translation.

      As for "P-THRef," it seems to me that the connotation of "the All"
      would be lost if this phrase were also used for the first occurrence
      of "THR." For instance, if we were to have Jesus saying that he was
      the Light OVER the All, before saying that he WAS the All, then we
      either diminish the concept of "the All" or we leave ourselves with
      another contradiction. On a more technical basis, unless additional
      changes were made to the first part of 77.1, the expression "P-THRef"
      carries a definite article and a masculine singular suffix that would
      need to be reconciled somehow with the rest of that sentence. I
      don't see a way to accomplish that without altering the content to
      the point that it becomes unnecessarily redundant.

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